All posts by Taylor

Fitness Professionals or Porn Stars, the (supposed) Leadership of the Fitness Industry

**Repost –> original post was hacked and deleted!!!!!**

**Update – February 15th – ISSA is STILL running the ad**


I can’t let this go. I just can’t. I was getting ready to go to bed as was about to read a cute article on the joys of owning a dog, which I thought would be a great way to send myself off to sleep.

And there, right in the middle of my article, between cute pictures of puppies being cute, was this image.

What is there even to say?

What is this ad? What is its intent? What are its implications?

Why am I so infuriated with this?


***Caution. I curse. And as I get fired up it gets worse. If this offends you REALLY shouldn’t follow my stuff. ***


Because this is a beautiful representation of everything that is wrong with the fitness industry and that the supposedly ‘reputable’ certification organizations are doing a severe injustice to everything true professionals are trying to accomplish.

This post is singling out the ISSA because of an egregious marketing campaign but it is simply a convenient and current example of an underlying cancer that eats away at the heart of an industry I have dedicated my life to.


Search Google images for personal trainers and you get images like this….An exact representation of what society believes personal trainers to be and exactly what I fight every day to change!!!

 


have publicly and privately endorsed the ISSA (International Sports Sciences Association), I have advised dozens of people to do their certification, in fact my entire staff are (sorry, WERE) required to complete the ISSA designation.

I was even able to let go of other issues with the ISSA. Like, in 2015 when one of their public directors, John Rowley was quoted in an article as saying kettlebell swings are a waste of time because it uses momentum and doesn’t train the legs, a completely ridiculous statement that demonstrates a complete lack of basic knowledge of the exercise.

The ISSA defended his stance because the media gave him glowing reviews. Because that means that he is obviously qualified. I think the media also gives Dr. Oz glowing reviews….. They list him as the director of wellness for the ISSA yet seem to think his opinions do not reflect on their organization.

I was willing to let that go.

I was.

But now this.

This ad.

Are you cut out to be a personal trainer.

 

With a racy image of an anonymous female mid-section in low rising shorts or pants and a sports bra.

Because that has what exactly to do with being a personal trainer?

Now I am going to make some comments which the ISSA will deny before they backpedal and cry that this isn’t what they meant. At this point I have come to expect this from them. I have come to realize that they are more concerned with publicity than they are with authenticity. That social media clicks are more important than helping to create a better health and fitness industry.

What does this image and slogan have to do with being a personal trainer?

The slogan on its own I could live with.

Are you cut out to be a personal trainer.

Should mean: are you willing to study, learn, educate, and better yourself everyday in order to better serve the people who hire you to make their lives better? Are you willing to spend late nights researching, to invest time and money in conferences, clinics, seminars, and mentorships to ensure you become a consummate professional?

Those things make show you are cut out to be a personal trainer.

But pair that slogan with this image?

Oh I get it ISSA!!!!! Are you CUT out to be a personal trainer?? Cut. Like as in lean, like the woman’s abs in the photo. I get it. They are cut. It’s a double entendre. I think every adolescent boy and grade 7 English student gets it.

How much did you have to pay the copywriter for that one?

So your implication then is that to be a personal trainer you have to be cut, lean, skinny, or match whatever physical characteristics you deem to equate to health that you have chosen this week.

No, you argue? That isn’t what you meant? Please then, enlighten me?

Oh you were just having fun? Trying to be a little puny? (See what I did there?) Because I don’t think it’s very fucking funny.

Not at all.

I think this plays right into the pornification of the fitness industry and exacerbates huge issues currently plaguing the fitness world.

You are objectifying women’s bodies to play into an asinine belief that to be a fitness professional all that is important is what you look like.

And sorry, if you argue that you are more than that you need to go look at your ad.

I didn’t see anything professional about it. I didn’t see any implication about the hard work being a true health and fitness professional takes. I didn’t see anything speaking to the years of learning and education it takes to be entrusted with the health and wellness of people. People paying you money to be a professional.

When was the last time a physiotherapy or medical school advertised their educational offerings with a half naked woman as their featured ad?

 

Oh they don’t because that would be ridiculous? Because they are professionals?

So then even taking away the sexist and overtly sexualized nature of your ad you are implicitly stating that personal trainers are not professionals. Again, fighting against everything I have dedicated my life to change. You are cementing the belief that personal trainers are not professionals but merely a group of narcissists more interested in displaying their abs than their knowledge and experience.

And there you might just be on to something.

The world of personal training and fitness coaching is everything you are implying with this vomit inducing marketing campaign. You hit it right on the nose. You explained it perfectly.


 

Google image search for ‘female fitness coach’

 


And I expected, nay, I HOPED for more than that from you. Because at the root of it, the reason I used (not the use of past tense, another great use of the subtleties of the English language) to endorse your certification was because it has the best information of all the certifications available. It is the most current and progressive material combined with actual testing that isn’t just multiple choice but includes methods to assess actual application of knowledge and principles.

And then you go and belittle everything that you had the potential to be.

Your ad is sexist, irrelevant, and damaging. I. Am. Appalled.

I may just be one random little coach in a small Canadian city but I promise you ISSA, I am not the only person offended by your antiquated and misogynistic marketing ploy.

Sex sells, but this isn’t the porn industry.

Shame on you.

-Coach Taylor

The most important thing I have ever written.

How the Fitness Industry Destroys Itself; and How To Fix It

A Manifesto

By: Coach Taylor Simon


Prefer an audio version? CLICK HERE 


 

This has been percolating a long time in my head.

The fitness industry is broken. It defeats itself. It stands in its own way and prevents some truly passionate, educated, and intelligent individuals from being able to truly make the health of our entire population better.

The health and fitness industry struggles to help the population at large deal with the continued epidemic of lack of activity combined with an indulgence of poor nutritional practices. We blog about it, post about it, make TV shows intended to inspire people to change their lives, publish hundreds of magazine every month filled with information to assist people to make positive change.

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And all the while it is the fitness industry itself that is the problem.

Yes. It is us. It is the gym owners, bloggers, personal trainers, fitness coaches, strength coaches, aerobics instructors, crossfitters, nutritional coaches, figure models, bodybuilders, and fitness enthusiasts who are the real culprits behind the lack of efficacy in delivering the right message to the population. The message that could actually make everyone live a healthier life.

We like to sit on our high horse and blame Dr. Oz, magazine publishers, and a plethora of others for creating the issues. And don’t get me wrong; magazine publishers don’t give a fuck about your health. They just want to increase readership using the same tactics CNN utilizes to maintain viewership – sensationalization. And Dr. Oz – not much to really hash out there – if anyone still listens to any of his advice there is nothing that is going to get through that wall in their head.

But the age of the Internet should have taken away control from the mass media and allowed professionals to deliver true health information.

Alas, it has not.

Personal websites, Instagram, and Facebook pages of the vast majority of individuals and businesses in the fitness world do nothing but spew out a constant barrage of self-indulgent images and information that is so obviously a narcissistic need to garner support to bolster personal egos and feelings, that we are no better than the media conglomerates doing whatever it takes to make a buck.

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The fitness industry itself does not even know what health is. The so called ‘fitness professionals’ have completely lost the definition of health. Somehow we have perverted what the word health is. There is an overriding belief that the measure of health is somehow related to appearance.

This could not be further from the truth. You cannot judge a person’s health based on their appearance. Period. Yes there are some outward indicators that can speak to the health of an individual. Jaundice is visible, anorexia is visible, morbid obesity is visible. But the real things that matter are not visible. Blood pressure, VO2 max, respiratory function, strength, mental health, stress, cancer, diabetes, and just about every actual health issue we should be concerned about is not readily apparent based on what we look like.

Yet consistently EVERYTHING in the fitness world is based on what we look like. Magazines, modelling, and celebrity aside, it is the fitness industry itself that perpetrates this delusion. It is the majority of personal trainers, fitness business owners, group exercise instructors, yoga and Pilates instructors, sport coaches, and strength coaches that cause the very problems they pretend to want to solve.

Where does it come from? When did we lose what the true meaning of health really is?


Focus on the aesthetic is nothing new. Since antiquity we have talked about the human form. However, this discussion was always combined with a focus, an association, on work and performance. The appearance of the body was idolized as a way to demonstrate

Mosaïque_des_bikinis,_Piazza_Armerina (1)the physical feats of what the body was capable of accomplishing. It wasn’t until the rise of bodybuilding, which began around the year 1900 that the focus of what health was began to shift towards purely the aesthetic. Even as late as the 1950’s the majority of what we idolized as healthy were the strongmen and athletes, who did not poses the aesthetic of 6 pack abs and stick thin limbs.

Between 1900 and the late 1950’s we shifted from valuing strength and function to valuing leanness and thinness. After that, the population became less physically active and a larger percentage of people had the resources to access as much food as they could consume and the size of people began to swell. This further continued the shift towards focus on physique over strength and health as the bodies of people in developed countries drifted further away from a perceived notion of health based on aesthetics.

In 1963 we saw the formation of the first diet program, Weight Watchers, which is still one of the largest health organizations in the world today. I mean, just look at the words in the name, weight watchers. A focus on what you weigh, as if that had anything to do with your health. By the late 1970’s and early 1980’s we see the emergence of facilities catering to physical fitness for the general population with the advent of the gym.

Understand that gymnasiums have existed since the days of the Greeks and from 1700’s to the 1900’s gymnasium facilities existed based on German and Nordic models. But as the Western population grew and our daily activity decreased to levels of inactivity never before seen in large human populations in the late 20th century, more and more people began to seek out facilities to partake in physical exercise.

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Welcome to the rise of the modern gym. And who opened, designed, operated, and grew this flourishing gym business? The bodybuilding community did. Almost everything in modern fitness stems from the bodybuilders of the late 1960’s through the 1980’s. And today what we epitomize as ‘fitness’ are bodybuilders, figure models, and other physique focused groups.

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We are only now slowly seeing a shift away from bodybuilding style training; however, it isn’t a shift in the right direction. Today, 2016, we are slowing starting to move away from the aesthetic focus. Instead we are now idolizing only the most elite of the elite. American Ninja Warrior, the Crossfit Games, and The Biggest Loser.

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All impressive feats and all out of reach for the vast majority of the population. They promote such an elite and physically demanding approach to fitness that anyone not properly prepared for the rigors of participation are doing more harm than good to their health.

The new attitude that fitness is only effective if you barf during training and cannot walk normally for days has combined with the bollocks belief that the leaner the body is the healthier it is. This has created an even larger misconception amongst the population as to what true health and fitness truly is.

I had hoped that the rise of the Internet would help to counteract this. That we could move away form pure focus on the aesthetic and move towards a focus on physical fitness that actually was focused on improving health.

It has not. Instead we continue to put those with very specific physiques on a pedestal as the perfection of health. And the supposed leaders of the fitness industry who have pledged to help the population become healthier, merely continues to ingrain and persist the notion that fitness = appearance.

Don’t believe me?

Check out various covers Men’s and Women’s Health Magazines from 2015. Note the name of the magazines, Men’s HEALTH and Women’s HEALTH.

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health covers 2

 

 

 

 

 

There is a lot of debate and discussion amongst the fitness community that these publications need to change and stop canonizing these images as the epitome of health but then the same fitness community DOES THE EXAcT SAME THING.

The majority of people who think they are helping to make us healthier and fitter are actually driving the majority of people away and perpetrating the very false beliefs they fervently rally against.

How?

Go through the images, posts, and publications of various well-known fitness names and business on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. What do you see?

gym selfie

brit fit

 

Before and after photos, weight loss challenges, photos of very lean individuals, success photos in clothes that don’t fit anymore, and picture, after picture, after picture, of wannabe ‘health professionals’ showing off their bodies.

We idolize everything we are supposed to be trying to change.

Every selfie of your abs, every snap of you without a shirt on, every post of your plastic containers of perfectly measured organic, gmo-free, gluten free, paleo approved, low carb, low cal, free range, local diet, is teaching people that there is only one way to be healthy and only one way to measure what healthy is.

Every fitness program, every fitness challenge, every fitness business, every fitness inspiration story celebrates the same thing. Getting smaller, losing weight, looking a certain way, and fitting into a false notion of what health is.

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Before and after photos. Transformation challenges. Skinny jeans programs. Weight loss competitions. The message: skinny is healthy, being smaller is better. This idea that the measure of a persons health is in anyway related to what they look like is fucking preposterous and yet everything the fitness industry does is built on the back of doing everything possible to fit into an aesthetic ideal.


The fitness industry today is a narcissistic fantasyland of people who think they are helping to motivate the population to health and fitness but are actually driving the vast majority of people away.


Most of these fitness people truly think they are helping. I guess I can’t fault them for that. They want to help and they are going about it the best way they know how. The way they learned, from the people before them, who did the same thing.

Those people learned from the people before them. It all stems back to the rise of modern fitness, which as we discussed, is based on the ideals of the bodybuilding world that created the gym world that made fitness and health what it is today.


The part that really nauseates me is that the vast majority of these ‘fitness professionals’ who truly believe they are helping people have not and are not, required to learn anything or garner the pre-requisites necessary, to be qualified educators and coaches.


Being able to get yourself lean and have a muscular physique DOES NOT qualify you to assist others to do the same. The fact that you LOVE fitness does not mean you have to try and make everyone else love fitness. Your ability to stringently monitor your nutrition is not an indicator that you are exemplifying the best strategy for diet that all humans should adhere to.

The problems facing the fitness industry are resultant of two factors:

  1. Most fitness people are narcissists
  2. Most fitness people in the industry do NOT have the requisite knowledge of physiology, biology, psychology and motivation to be responsible for others health and fitness

(It might look like we are about to head off on a tangent as you continue on – but bear with me – this is all going to tie together at the end!!!!! We are going to explore point number two and then bring it back to point #1)

I have been in many debates with trainers and coaches over the years concerning the fact that personal trainers and fitness coaches step out of their scope of practice ALL THE TIME.

The fact that the vast majority of personal trainers, fitness coaches,

group exercise instructors, and others involved in the fitness industry DO NOT have anywhere near enough education and experience in physiology and biology is not the point of this article. It is not the primary issue confronting us. It’s horrific, yes, but it is not the root of why the fitness industry really fucking sucks.

 

So much of the fitness industry’s focus is on motivation. That we should be talking to our clients to understand their needs, to understand the issues in their lives, to delve into the real reasons behind their fat gain, to source out the issues with their personal lives and how it is affecting their health.

#sorrynotsorry for the following caps…


PERSONAL TRAINERS AND FITNESS COACHES ARE NOT QUALIFIED TO TALK TO CLIENTS OR TRY AND ASSIST CLIENTS WITH PSYCHOLOGICAL HEALTH ISSUES, PERSONAL ISSUES, AND MOTIVATIONAL ISSUES.


We are fitness professionals. We build fitness programs. We teach fitness techniques. We monitor progress. We motivate people to try their best during a workout. We give guidelines for nutrition and what to eat.

That. Is. It.

Sitting with your crying client to try and understand what is happening in her personal life or in her past and how that is affecting her ability to commit to the fitness program she is desperately trying to stick to IS FAR BEYOND YOUR SCOPE OF PRACTICE.

Trying to employ tactics to increase adherence to a fitness program and motivate people to train more regularly is BEYOND YOUR SCOPE OF PRACTICE.

Your job is to provide exercise knowledge, physiology knowledge, support during training and programs, cueing, and long term tracking of progress towards the client’s goals.

That is it. That is all we are supposed to do.

And we aren’t even very good at that in the fitness industry. We literally do not even have standards across the industry to ensure that the basic aspects of what fitness professionals are supposed to do are done adequately and with integrity. We are really quite bad at even what should be the core of our profession.

We vehemently skewer and gorge dozens of other professions for overstepping their scopes of practice. We lambaste doctors for giving fitness advice. We bicker amongst ourselves at who is allowed to teach certain fitness techniques. Personal trainers lament that group exercise instructors attempt to teach advanced exercise form. Group exercise instructors are aghast that personal trainers start their own bootcamp programs. Everyone in fitness explodes when chiropractors or massage therapists give exercise advice.

And then we go and pretend like the most important part of our job is the work of a trained therapist, counsellor, or psychologist.

And because we feel qualified to dispense this kind of advice and information without a proper understanding of human psychology and behaviour and without ANY formal training in the field we are actually doing FAR MORE harm than good to the population.


(HERE WE GO! The moment you have been waiting for – where the fuck am I going with all of this??)


The narcissistic atmosphere of the fitness industry and the focus on the aesthetic has combined with our lack of understanding of human psychology and motivation to destroy our ability to improve people’s health and fitness.


You think you are motivating people when you post an after workout selfie in your sports bra.

You think you are motivating people to want to exercise when you snap a video of fitness advice in front of a mirror with no shirt on with your abs popping.

You think showing the progress of your glute development on your Instagram account with your ass at eye level to the camera will make people want to deadlift.

You think posting photos of your perfectly portioned meals for the week in their perfect little plastic containers is helping teach people how to eat well.

You think a Facebook post talking about how hard you work and how difficult all of your choices to be a fit person are is encouraging people that they can make the same decisions.

YOU. ARE. WRONG.

Dead fucking wrong.

All of these things that fitness people do that they think are motivating others to make changes and be to be healthier and fitter, aren’t. All this talk about making sacrifices and that you must suffer through the hardships in order to be healthy does not make people want to make changes.

The truth is that all of these things are DEMOTIVATING people to be healthy. They are turning people away from the fitness industry.

All of these things are driving the majority of the population into the arms of Dr. Oz, the food babe, David Wolfe, and the rest of the ‘health’ charlatans.

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We spend so much time denouncing these people without ever realizing that the reason they have amassed such a huge influence is because WE HAVE DRIVEN THEM THERE due to our lack of understanding of human psychology and motivation and a narcissism that underlies the very core of the fitness world.


It is time for the fitness industry to become an actual profession, to grow up, to mature and until we do there will be no change.


What actually happens when we post half naked selfies, constantly promote health as a specific body image (almost always young and very low fat), and talk about how much hard work and sacrifice people will have to make to be healthy and fit?

We turn them off.

The best way to learn this is to read, The Willpower Instinct, by Kelly41-vHbuLMFL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_ McGonigal, Ph.D. It is a fantastic introduction to the world of human motivation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remember in the 90’s when anti-drug campaigns were all the rage? Did you know that they actually increased marijuana use?! How? They kept talking about how many other kids were using marijuana, especially all the star athletes and popular kids, and to just say ‘no’ when they approached you.

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So they told you all the popular people are smoking pot. Leading to everyone to the realization that way more people were getting high and that those kids were popular. And humans want to be a part of the popular group. Off went many more kids to take a toke.

That’s real psychology and motivation at work.

 

We know that people like to be comfortable and minimize work. Yet we spend countless hours telling people how much work they will have to do and how many sacrifices they will have to make in order to achieve the ultimate fitness goal of leaner limbs and 6 pack abs. Guess what? This drives people away from wanting to take up exercise or change their diet. They want to be comfortable. They don’t want to do hard work.

And then we report over and over how only 10% of people exercise regularly, and more and more people are becoming obese, that most people don’t exercise and everyone eats unhealthy food.

Do you see it? Do you see what we are doing?

We are, AT SCALE, telling people that most people don’t exercise, don’t like exercising, and are eating whatever they want. We then tell them that to be a part of the minority of people who are different is going to be hard work, require a ton of sacrifice, and be uncomfortable.

Do you see it?

WE ARE DRIVING THEM AWAY. People want to belong to the group. To do what everyone else is doing. We live in a culture that loves to believe in individuality and that everyone is unique. Unfortunately, this is just not true. People actually want to fit in, not stand out, and be a part of the group. That is basic human behaviour.

And off goes the fitness industry doing exactly the opposite of what we need to be doing to actually having an impact on the health and fitness of the population.

I recognize there are many other issues contributing to the current health issues of our population. Mass media messages, schools, and other cultural and institutionalized processes also play a part. Those are beyond our control as fitness professionals. But how we teach people about health and fitness is within our control.

And the modern Internet age SHOULD be allowing us to get the real message out.

Yet the vast majority of fitness wannabe professionals are actually pushing out a constant barrage of messaging that is driving away the majority of the public.

And I very much believe it is as much a result of narcissism as it is the result of lack of understanding and education (not school based, you don’t need University to be educated).

Fitness professionals need to educate themselves on the topics of biology and physiology. They need to understand what they are doing and stop simply copying what other people are doing. Teaching fitness isn’t about grabbing exercises off YouTube or from another persons program and giving it to a client.

Fitness professionals need to stop trying to be psychologists and therapists. This is way beyond our scope of practice. Period.

Fitness professionals should not be posting picture of themselves. Obviously a professional profile photo is just fine. But fucking stop it with the shirtless pics, the sports bra and booty shorts Facebook banners and Instagram posts, the close-ups of your ‘glute progress’, and the diatribes on your perfectly portioned meals for the week. THAT IS NOT WHAT A FUCKING PROFESSIONAL DOES. PERIOD.

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It IS NOT motivating people to want to achieve what you are doing. It is you showing the fuck off and hoping someone tells you how awesome you are, how great your story is, and how well you are doing. FUCK OFF.

Go ahead and have your own personal accounts to fulfill every little narcissistic cell reverberating in your body, all the power to you. But if you want to be a professional, if you want to help make the term fitness professional MEAN something, you need to act like a professional.

I cannot remember the last time I saw a doctor, lawyer, or physiotherapist post a picture of themselves without a shirt or in a skin tight sport bra and short shorts talking about how their progress is coming along or showing off the #gainzbro.

 


Solutions.


What can we do? Where can we go? What should we be doing?

My business and practices over the years have been guilty of many of the things I am speaking out against. But we have learned. We are changing. We are making new commitments.

What is fitness? What is health?

There are 3 common definitions of fitness.

  1. The condition of being physically fit and healthy.
  2. The quality of being suitable to fulfill a particular role or task.
  3. An organism’s ability to survive and reproduce in a particular environment.

(Source: Google definition search: fitness)

Understanding these definitions of fitness can guide the future of the industry.

Number 1 is not definable. To be physically fit and healthy. What does that mean? How do you measure that? It is so variable and esoteric a concept that we should not pay any attention to it.

Number 3 is our biological imperative – our ability to stay alive and reproduce. That is not resultant from the fitness industry – that is modern technology and society itself. It is not a concern of the fitness industry.

But the second definition; the quality of being able to fulfill a task or a particular role, that is the real purpose of the entire health and fitness industry. We now calling it functional fitness and it’s a growing trend. You will hear statements like, ‘being in shape for what you want to do.’ That is looking at fitness as a measure of the ability to perform a task or activity specific to the person at that time.

We need to be able to fulfil a particular role or task.

Play with our kids. Compete in an event or race. Balance our blood sugar so as to not die of diabetes. Decrease our blood pressure to prevent a heart attack. Have endurance to explore new places while travelling. Be an athlete. Maintain flexibility and mobility into old age. This list could go on indefinitely.

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These are real health and fitness goals. These are the things that will actually make the population better. That will actually improve the quality of people’s lives.

If people want to be able to call themselves a fitness professional they need to be promoting REAL health goals and outcomes.


No more before and after photos. No more celebrating weight loss. No more photos of people in their early 20’s with under 10% bodyfat (which isn’t healthy by the way), no more focus on how many inches people lose. We need to change our focus on the outcomes that REALLY MATTER.

Where are the photos of Sally who trained 200 times last year, Ed who met his goal of training 4 times a week, of Sue who competed in a sport tournament, of Paul who hiked with his grandkids last weekend, of Barb who no longer has diabetes, of Phil who improved his cholesterol and blood pressure, Anne who is not battling anorexia anymore, or Chris who improved his vo2 max over the last three months?

You know – all the things that ACTUALLY make your health and fitness better. That ACTUALLY makes your life better – forever. Not just for your vacation next month.

We are changing our direction. We are leading the change.

At my business, Taylored Training, we will only be promoting the measurable things that are within our scope of practice that will lead to long-term positive health changes.

Two things are our primary focus going forward and what I believe what the entire fitness industry needs to focus on.


Frequency of activity and level of effort during activity.


Firstly, frequent activity. The human body was meant to be active and moving daily. And it is meant to be able to move and work vigorously. Those are the variables.

Encourage people to be active as frequently as possible (our members average 4.5 training sessions a week) and when they are engaging in activity to exert an effort level of 80% of their personal maximum.

Do they have to be active in a gym or fitness facility? No. They can play sports, hike, bike, surf, run, walk, whatever. Unfortunately, the truth is that our modern culture is necessitating the use of fitness facilities and coaches. The lack of physical activity in our daily lives and the pressures and commitments on our time have led us to the point that participating in a structured fitness program is no longer a hobby for the few.

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My father hates this fact but it is now necessary for people to partake in a structured and rigorous physical activity program. It is not a hobby anymore. Modern western culture is so devoid of physical activity and effort that we must now recognize the need of a formal exercise program.

Secondly, we must ensure people are working at 80% of their personal maximum. It is well documented that the perceived exertion scale, is quite accurate at measuring how hard we are working. And setting a standard on this means that everyone from a couch potato to extreme athlete can adjust their effort according to their ability. And this allows the individual to adjust the level of exertion based on their current state of health and physical ability.

Both of these fitness and health goals also come without an expiration date.

MOST fitness standards all have an end date. Weight loss, inches lost, a special diet, a race or even, and even fitting into clothing, a vacation or trip, or a figure show, all have end dates.

Then what? Where do we go from there? “Just pick another goal!” is the shout from personal trainers. No. That doesn’t work. It might for the small percentage of the population who love fitness and exercise, but we need to talk about the general population. And they have very few, and very limited goals. We need to be setting goals that last for the rest of our lives.

The target of regular frequency and high levels of effort never end. They are goals that are set for life. All other goals, such as the ones I just mentioned, can be achieved and worked towards with a focus on frequency of training and effort during training. Because when it really comes down to fitness programming and training, those are really the most important variables anyway.
Workout frequently, and workout with purposeful effort.


I hope that this message reaches many people. I hope it can start a new conversation and a new dialogue.

I want to see the fitness industry mature, to grow up, to change to what it can be. We have the most important job on the planet.

We are at my business. Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 11.28.12 AM

 

 

 

 

 

Personal trainers, group exercise instructors, fitness coaches, and many other members of the fitness community are more important than doctors, politicians, and the pharmaceutical industry.
Those professions are very important as well. They are necessary.

But it is the fitness industry that has the most power to affect change for the entire population with the lowest cost and effort.

We have to  mature, educate ourselves, and work together. When we do that, when we drop the ego, when we banish the narcissism, then we will truly be the force that changes the world.

 

-Coach Taylor

This Holiday Season, Don’t Be an Asshole

Seriously though. I mean it.

Don’t be an asshole this holiday season.donkey

A good chunk of the world will be celebrating holidays over the next two weeks and fitness people just can’t seem to keep their stupid mouths shut.

I am the first to apologize about it. I used to be a fitness holiday asshole too. Maybe we should get that hashtag going – #fitnessholidayasshole.

It’s like the entire industry decides that the best thing we can do at this time of year is attempt to make your life miserable. And not just by telling you how many stupid things you do, how you don’t exercise enough, and how you don’t have any willpower. We also tell you that any kind of life enjoyment will make you over fat and probably die. But just as bad is the amount of time trying to get you to do things that simply make you look like an asshole to everyone else in your life.

I’m sorry. I promise not to do that to you anymore.

Yet I am still inundated by a non-stop barrage of chastity worthy articles, posts, rules, and comments from fitness people trying to turn you into a fitness asshole.

Did you know that 90% percent of the population HATES exercise, globoHATES fitness, and HATES your constant annoying self-righteousness at their holiday parties. I rant about this a lot around Halloween. The incessant barrage of ideas on how to prevent kids from eating too much Halloween candy.

Here’s an idea – if you’re that worried about it, don’t let them go out with a sack or pail and collect copious quantities of plastic wrapped shit (sorry, hardened sugar and fat that tastes delicious). That is strategy one.

Strategy two. Let them eat as much as they want. Gorge themselves. Get it done! Trust me, it is not Halloween candy that is causing the epidemic of childhood obesity and diabetes. No. That is from the shit, candy, sugary drinks, and other ‘typical’ kid fare the rest of the year. Halloween ain’t the problem.

And this leads to the holiday season.

There are going to be parties. Events. Dinner. Family get togethers. Celebrations. Let’s be honest. Some holiday cookies and a rum laced egg nog are probably all that will get you through the season without being involved in an incident that will get you a staring role on Criminal Minds.


Then it begins. Trainers, nutritionists, and the rest of the industry start laying into you about what you should be doing to make sure that you don’t gain 20 pounds over the holidays.

Most of them seem to forget the basic laws of physiology that tell us gaining 20 pounds of fat over two or three weeks is pretty fucking ridiculous. Sure you could gain some fat, who knows, I bet no one is actually measuring their fat. The scale may inch up (note: if you weigh yourself fucking stop it) but that is mostly water getting retained after consuming half a fruit cake. Wait – do people actually eat fruit cake?

So the industry rambles n doing it’s best to make you feel like a piece of shit or at the very least act like an asshole. Let’s look at some common recommendations.


Pack up your own healthy snacks and food so you are sure healthy options are at the party.

What. The. FUCK. Seriously? Who the fuck things this is a good idea? Yeah. Pack up your own food into little containers and show up at the party. Then you can be a fully pretentious asshole sitting in the corner dunking your carrot sticks in your home made GMO free hummus giving dirty looks to the rest of the party scoffing down traditional holiday fare.

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You’re not an inspiration. Everyone else is laughing at you. And when you leave the room they are talking about you and how ridiculous you are being.

So you probably won’t get invited again next year. And guess what else you did? You just confirmed the worst fears of everyone at the party. That in order to be healthy you have to avoid everything in life you love and you have to sit in the corner of the room dipping carrot sticks into hummus.

No one wants to be that person.

If someone asks you why you are making healthy choices, tell them your trainer is making you!

No. Please don’t. Don’t make people hate fitness coaches and perpetuate the belief that we are all horrible overlords dictating every aspect of your life.

If they ask you. Tell them the truth. Maybe they really want to know. If you choose not to drink booze or mow down on the baking platter because you are attempting to avoid a sugar spike that will put you within sight of cardiac arrest, that is your choice. It isn’t their business. Just do what you are going to to.

 

Practice Table Push Aways

Eat. And then push yourself away from the table so you theoretically can’t eat anymore.

Hey, how about try being a fucking grown up and just stop eating when youre full. Or if it your mom’s famous Christmas dinner feast, join your dog and eat until you are so stuffed you puke and then go back from thirds. Hey, it’s Christmas dinner. Enjoy it.

The point here? Do whatever you want and don’t feel guilty about it. It’s the holidays. If you eat that much the rest of the year you have problems. Don’t blame the holidays.

 

Fast All Day

Yeah. Good. Starve yourself. You won’t over do it that way.

I can’t even say more about this one.

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Use This as an Opportunity to Educate Others

No. Don’t.

Don’t sit on your high horse lecturing everyone around you about all the bad decisions they are making and compare them to the super healthy decisions you are making. Making other people feel like shit is only going to make them LESS interested in fitness then they were before and any chance they will come to you for advice later is pretty much shot.

Besides, they already think you’re an asshole for showing up with all your little pre-packed food containers. Preaching off your soap box is NOT going to help you.

 

Don’t Go to Holiday Events

One of my favorites. Ignore your friends and family, sit at home, eat your veggie sticks, and watch reruns of The Biggest Loser for some motivation.

It’s the holidays. You should be family, friends, and whomever else you enjoy spending time with. ‘Tis the season.

 


 

These are just a few common things I see get passed around EVERY SINGLE HOLIDAY. Stop my friends. Just stop.

Now to be fair, there are a lot of really great recommendations out there as well and a good chunk of the fitness world is starting to get the point and shift towards realistic ideas that won’t turn you into the holiday fitness asshole.

What should you do this holiday season?

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  1. Eat, drink, and be merry.
  2. Be active every, single, day.
  3. Eat your regular healthy food as normal because you aren’t at parties 24/7 for 3 weeks.

We created a 30 Day Challenge (check our Instagram: tayloredtraining or search #TT30daychallenge on IG) designed to build positive habits through the holidays and still help people enjoy themselves. Check it out if you like!

Enjoy yourself. Be with the people who matter to you. Use tequila shots to dull the pain of being with the people you ‘have’ to be around. Do something active daily. Most of the time, eat your usual food. When you are at an event or a party, enjoy it and have a good time.

Don’t be a fitness asshole.

Don’t preach. Don’t lecture. Don’t take your own fucking food to someone else’s party.
Be smart, enjoy the season, keep your activity up, and know that the other 11 and a half months of the year is FAR more important to your health then a few weeks a year celebrating life with those around you.

-Coach Taylor

Coach Taylor TV

For anyone who is not aware, I thought I would share my new Coach Taylor TV videos.

Here are the first two episodes!! Hope the new format is helpful and that I am answering questions that provide everyone with solid information that helps with your fitness goals.

I will be basing this show around questions from viewers – so if there is anything pressing you would like to have me answer or simply get my opinion on – reach out!

Email, twitter, facebook, and commenting on here or youtube are all easy ways to get your questions to me!!!


Coach Taylor TV – Ep. 01

-what does it take to get abs
-what are the best ab exercises
-how often should you workout
-how much cardio vs. strength training should you be doing
-why do you need to train if you’re already lean


 

Coach Taylor TV – Episode 2
What awesomeness did we cover in this episode?
*Baby GOT BACK – how Sir Mix-a-Lot figured out fitness 23 years ago!
*Are crunches bad for you?
*Should you do full body workouts or split your workouts into separate body parts?
*What is the best time of day to workout?
*What is the best warm-up on earth? Is 5 minutes on the treadmill the best way to warm-up?


 

Again – send your questions or comments my way!!!!! I am here to give you the information you want to help with your fitness goals!!!

-Coach Taylor

How to Change (Fix) The Fitness Industry

The fitness industry has failed.

This is not going to be another blog about unrealistic expectations or the horror of modern fitness. This is much deeper than that. The fitness industry is flawed right down to its roots, to the very foundation of everything the fitness community coaches and markets.

It is flawed. And as the world changes it is getting even worse.

To my fellow fitness professionals I want to offer my condolences, note that I do not say apologies because I am not sorry. I do offer my sympathies because this is going to hurt. It is going to turn everything you believe on its head and wound everything you thought you know about what you do.

Also note that this is about the general population. This is not pertinent to athletes. Athletes are a whole different story and have a completely different set of needs and values. This is for the other 99% of the population that struggles ceaselessly to improve the quality of their lives, alas, to no avail.
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Seth Godin talks about the sacred cows of an industry. These are the that any industry has that are held as the standards of what makes the industry what it is. They are the things that everyone so wholeheartedly believes are necessary that no one ever bothers to question their efficacy.

“Every organization is filled with vestigal activities, sacred cows that feel as though they must be defended. We defend them at our peril… do it too long, and the whole thing is gone.” – Seth Godin

As Mr. Godin states, we defend these sacred cows even though they are destroying what we do. And in order to make things grow and change we must first analyze and possibly destroy these long held beliefs.

How then does this apply to the fitness industry.

Let me describe it by a small description of what I do with my clients and what my business, Taylored Training, which I co-own with my wife, has stopped doing.

The sacred cows we let go of years ago.

We do not weigh people. We do not track and record how much weight clients lift. We do not track what workouts people have done. We do not periodize programs. We do not build individual workouts for each client. We do not track measurements. We do not record food journals. We do not do extensive postural and alignment screens.

Holy.

Fucking.

Shit.

What terrible fitness professionals we must be! All fellow fitness professionals (and the wannabe professionals) just had cardiac arrest.

We never do this…..

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These tracking metrics are the sacred cows of the fitness industry. They are the strategies and metrics that everyone believes MUST be tracked and recorded in order to ensure success.

The general public has been taught that any fitness professional worth the money will have an extensive list of tracking metrics that will measure their progress. They think being measured, poked, prodded, pinched, and photographed is normal. Even though it scares the shit out of most people.

Remember, I am not some internet quack making this stuff up to be controversial and get a lot of blog hits. I live and practice this stuff every day.

Is it true? Could we slaughter these sacred cows and still make people happy, healthy, and fit?

Yes. Yes you can. Proof? Since getting rid of the sacred cows of the fitness industry our business has grown almost 100%, our staff have grown 300%, our referrals have increased by 100%, and our conversion rate from potential members to full members has increased to 90%.

The most telling statistic though is our renewal percentage. Repeat business is the heart and soul of any company and is a clear indication of how well you are matching the needs and wants of your clients. If we take out members who leave because they move out of town or lose their jobs, my business has an industry drool worth renewal rate of 90%.

That means that 90% of our members sign up for another year-long membership when their membership expires. 90%.

I can’t really give you stats on how many times people renew because we have barely had any members who renew once not continue to renew. They are still our member today and we hope for the rest of their lives.

Why do I cite these stats? For the simple reason that it is proof slaughtering the sacred cows of the fitness industry is not only achievable but, in fact, it is beneficial!

What is Wrong with the Sacred Cows? Kill These Sacred Cows. 5 Sacred Cows That Need to Die.

Why? Why is tracking weight, weight lifted, measurements, and workouts doing more harm than good? How is it possible that this is hurting the fitness world, and in turn the fitness of the population?

All of these traditional goal setting strategies and progress strategies instantly setup all of our clients for failure. I will delve into a couple of examples.

Weight.

It goes up and down. There is a lower limit. You will never weigh 50lbs. You’ll die first. So at some point you will reach a lowest weightsadwomanscale amount. Then what? You will most likely increase your weight again. Which will freak you the fuck out and spiral you into a yo-yo weight battle.

And lower weight doesn’t make people happy. Being 130lb vs. 140lbs doesn’t mean anything. People really care what they look like. What clothes they fit. Happiness doesn’t come at a certain weight. I have seen it time and time again. ‘Oh, I lost 10lbs, I could go for another 5 though…”

Specific Weight Lifted.

You are NOT superman. There is a limit to how much weight you can lift for any given exercise or movement. You will never bench press 5000 pounds. Disregarding the fact that 99.5% of human beings should never bench press.

This means that at some point you will have lifted the most weight you will ever possibly lift. From there on out it is all down hill. It is a constant message to yourself that you are not as good as you used to be.

Tracking Workouts.

I have done it. The little journal or book tracking every exercise, set, rep, weight, and other details about every training session. Where are all of those journals and books now?

I have no fucking idea.

I rarely even went back and redid a workout. The only thing the journal did was show specific weights on specific exercises, which I just mentioned about how stupid I believe this metric to be. It is normal to lift more one week and less the next and then back up again. Totally normal. So tracking this, again, leads to failure.

Yes, I recognize that it can also lead to success. But why the fuck would I want to use goals that I know a significant percentage of the time will lead to failure?

Postural and Biomechanical Assessments.

Just the tittle alone is enough to scare people away from your measuring tape, protractor, and spread sheet.

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We have to know people are fit enough to handle exercise and we use a movement screen to ensure this. In fact we built our warm-up, that EVERY SINGLE member does at our facility, EVERY SINGLE training session, to include all the movement assessments we need to see.

Here is the deal. The human body is a fucking remarkable piece of machinery. But it isn’t perfect. In fact it is so fucking remarkable that is can perform at very high levels when it is totally messed up. Don’t believe me? Watch the Paralympics sometime and see just how spectacular the human body is! Those athletes are fucking remarkable!

Yet our industry insists on analyzing every joint, every angle, every imbalance, and every imperfection to see if it matches some kind of idealized model that in reality doesn’t exist. And when you don’t meet that model we work tirelessly to ‘fix’ you, to ‘correct’ you, and to ‘repair’ you.

The human body isn’t perfect. Striving to make it perfect is just simply going to dishearten people. Making sure they are safe is one thing but we have gone to a corrective exercise lala land attempting to mould everyone’s body into an ideal that changes every 5 years as we learn more about the body.

Individualized Programs.

You are not a unique snowflake. I know. It hurts. I do not want to belittle your uniqueness but from a purely physiological standpoint we are all pretty similar.snflk

Sure, there are a few basic differences between different parts of the population so some variety of programming is essential. But not much. So this inane need to create individual and unique programs for each person because everybody is different is just simple marketing to justify the need of one on one trainers to charge you $100 an hour.

If you look through history the times the human population has been the most fit coincides with very general programming, training, and fitness that was spread among the entire population. We still do this today with sports training. I have yet to see a soccer practice or swimming practice where each player on the team has their own unique training objectives and are each doing their own thing. Yet we instantly fall back onto this when it comes to fitness training for the general population.


This is not an exhaustive list of the sacred cows I have listed at the beginning of this article. However, I think that the general point has been made. All of these core beliefs are hurting our ability to improve the health of the population. We need to let go of these things in order to truly change the world and to change the direction we are headed.

I recognize that humans need goals and objectives. People need something to strive for. To build towards. We all need some way to gauge if we are on the right track and doing the right things.

And we do this.

I believe in tracking two things.


Frequency

How frequently do you exercise. I truly believe that this is THE MOST IMPORTANT single thing we can track to ensure we are improving our health and fitness.

Gone are the days of telling people that 2 sessions a week for 30 minutes is all they need for their fitness.

This is THE BIGGEST BULLSHIT LIE we are being fed and that the ENTIRE FITNESS industry has to STOP FUCKING SAYING. Maybe it is because we are so scared of turning people off and losing a sale. Too worried to tell the truth.

Two half hour workouts a week ARE NOT ENOUGH.

Maybe at one point it was. But it isn’t anymore. Our obsessive need for convenience and ease has changed what we need. We don’t even open doors anymore, or walk up stairs, or cut our own food up, or walk a block to the corner store.

Now we sweep our foot or push a button and the door opens. We take escalators and elevators, even to the second floor. We buy pre-cut veggies. And we order food online and pick it up already bagged at the grocery store.

Each of these little things adds up. We barely move. We never lift anything. We barely raise our heart rate or challenge our hearts and lungs.

Your body was meant to move. To lift, twist, jump, throw, drag, climb, and carry. You HAVE to do all of these things EVERYDAY. No longer is a fitness program a luxury or a hobby. It is an essential part of our lives. Lack of a fitness program is literally KILLING huge portions of the population.

Yet the fitness industry loves to toss around these sacred cows. You HAVE to wait at least 24 hours between training sessions. You can only train each body part once a week. NEVER train longer than an hour. Keep your heart rate in this specific range. I could go on for pages.

But it is all bullshit. It is based on no science or poor science. Don’t you dare train two days in a row! But soccer practice 6 days a week is OK. What. The. Fuck. That doesn’t even make sense.

Frequency is king. And that is the primary goal we set for all of our members. We strive for a minimum of 4 days a week. As people get into the groove we recommend 6 to 10 training sessions a week.

Yes, sometimes that is 2 times a day. The right fitness creates an environment that makes this not only completely safe but actually good for you. This is why crossfit and The Biggest Loser can be so dangerous. You can’t train like THAT 10 times a week.

We want people being active, training, 6-10 times a week. This can include playing sports, quick workouts at home, training at our facility, or a host of other physical activities.

And I am not sorry to all of those out there who disagree. You are wrong. The human body was designed to move and be active many hours every single day. It is time we began to treat it like that.

Frequency is also a sustainable goal. It isn’t like the rest of the industry sacred cows. Training a minimum of 4 days a week never changes. It never ends. It is irregardless of age, sex, experience, or injury.

It takes away the negative aspect of all the other goals we typically use like weight, food journals, lifting more weight, or corrective exercise. Even if you have a week where you only get 2 sessions – no problem! Just do 5 the next 2 weeks and make them up. Problem solved. The world hasn’t ended. No negative feelings.


Effort

How do we track the success of these training sessions? Simple. Effort.

You should be sweating and breathing hard. You should be working out with focused effort. At each and every training session.
So it doesn’t matter if you weigh more today than yesterday, or if you are lifting 30 pounds today instead of 35 pounds last week. Totally does not matter. Are you lifting with enough effort that you are sweating and breathing hard.

That is all you need to track.

Often people go train and hit specific goal numbers. Yet they don’t break a sweat. Other times people train and they are busting their ass, sweating, breathing hard, maxing their effort, yet are lifting or doing less than a week or two ago.

Can you see how these sacred cows of the fitness world are not actually helping? How they can even be detrimental?


When it comes down to it, every single fitness goal can be met by only tracking these two metrics. Frequency and effort.

Want to run a marathon or tough mudder race? If you are consistently training 5 days a week with good effort for a year or more, running a marathon is going to be much easier.

Want to be stronger or just improve your health? I have yet to see someone train 5 days a week with good effort who does not improve their health and get stronger.

Want to lose weight? Training with good intensity 5 days a week leads to all sorts of changes, including eating healthier food. Weight loss will come if you train intensely, 5 times a week, and eat well most of the time.

Want to look hot in a bathing suit on vacation? You guessed it. You are going to look a lot better in a bathing suit if you train 5 days a week, with good intensity, and eat well most of the time.

See how these all build upon each other and they all have the same base?! And the best part is that there is no failure built in. There is no end point to hit and then ‘fall off the wagon’ or have to spend weeks soul searching for a ‘new goal.’

Yes, you can still have specific goals, and you should. Do an adventure race this year. Climb a mountain next year. Look hot in a bathing suit on a cruise the year after. And then join a sports league the year after that.

All the same tracking metrics apply and ALL are BEST achieved with frequent training at a high level of effort.

Is WHAT you are doing important? Absolutely. I also believe that everyone needs a fitness coach. I do not believe that people can do it on their own.

Lets say you are going to have a heart attack next week. So you need heart surgery. You and your friends read a few books and magazines, do some online research, buy some equipment and the local hardware store, and then get prepped.

Good idea? Fuck no. You don’t know the details about the surgery, the physiology. You don’t have the support staff (nurses, anesthesiologists, cleaners, etc). You don’t’ have the right tools or facility. It’s ludacris.

Your health and your body are important and complex. You cannot do it on your own and you shouldn’t. You need a coach to ensure that your programming and exercise choices are appropriate. That is their job.

Your job is to commit to adequate frequency and effort of training.


My final message to my peers and to the population in general is this:

Let go of the sacred cows of the fitness industry. Focus on what really matters. Focus what is effective and sustainable. Focus on what works for everyone. Focus on treating the body the way it is supposed to work. Stop trying to make it easy or fit within an otherwise crappy lifestyle.

 

Train frequently. Train with effort.

Everything else will begin to fall into place.

 

-Coach Taylor

Is your body fat scale accurate?

I was asked a question yesterday that everyone needs to hear the answer to.

How accurate is my body fat scale?

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The answer is that it is not very accurate and it is very accurate.

WTF.

Here is the deal: for actually telling you how much body fat you have they are woefully inaccurate.

For telling you if you are gaining or losing body fat they are quite accurate. What does this mean for you?

First, let’s understand what these scales are and how they work. Bioelectrical impedance. The brief/simple explanation is that the device sends electricity through your body from one sensor to the other and measures how long it takes. More accurately it measures resistance to the electrical current.

From this information total body water can be estimated and when used in conjunction with your body mass an estimate of your body fat can be calculated.

Key words for you: estimates, body water, and speed.

Why is that important? Because there are so many variables that are being guessed that a truly accurate number CANNOT be gleaned from this method. The least accurate bio impedance is the two point setup.

Like that scale you stand on with a sensor under each foot. Two points. The next most accurate is the four point system, which is two sensors on your feet and one on each of your hands. There is also an eight point system, which as you can guess, is more accurate than the four point system.

Most people will purchase the scale you stand on, so it is safe to assume a two point system is the most common unit out there.

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What will affect the signal? Water. How much water is in your body will determine the results. This is determined by a number of factors: how much muscle you have, how much fat you have, how hydrated you are, how long your limbs are, and a few other factors. Even how recently you ate or exercised will affect this.

That means that changes to any of these variables will affect the resulting reading.

The scales don’t know how long your legs are, so really, how can they know how to measure the resistance? And what if you store more fat in your abdomen? That won’t even really become a part of the measurement. Leg to leg.

What and when you eat, how hydrated you are, the length of your limbs, and a ton of other variables affect the reading and subsequent measurement.

So, no, the reading is NOT very accurate. They are notorious for UNDERESTIMATING your true body fat percentage.

Now, they can be useful for tracking changes in your body composition over time. If a person uses the same device (scale) regularly over a long period of time and averages the results you will have a fairly accurate guide as to changes in that individuals body composition.

We don’t use them. Or any other scale for that matter.

Take photos of yourself. If you like them –awesome! If you want to have less fat – eat well, exercise and in a month take more photos. If you like the changes you are on track! If not, tighten up the diet ad some more exercise intensity.

We will also use measurements such as hips, waist, chest, arms, and thighs. Measure them. In a month measure again. If they change, you are changing. Combine these with photos and you have the only body fat and weight tracking system you need.over_weight_measure_tape_waist_man

Our base rule: if your clothes are fitting looser you are on the right track. If they are getting tighter you are heading in the wrong direction.

Blog Critique: The Law of Thermodynamics Argument is Bullshit

A recent blog calling out the belief that under-eating can cause weight gain has struck a chord with me. And so, I shall leverage in an opinion.


Here is the blog if you want to take a look. The dumbest myth in nutrition, by Eric Boch.


Unfortunately, the author has taken a basic scientific principle and cast it as a truth bomb over the complex physiology of how your body actually works.

While I agree with the author that there is a ton of shit information out there in the internet and fitness world that absolute shit, the article in question is actually another part of that pile.

What is the article? Entitled, The Dumbest Myth in Nutrition, is a fantastic example of someone writing who does not understand how applying one specific physics law to the human body does not work and making bold statements like this with poor understanding makes them no better than the people and myths he is attempting to create a counter argument to.

The author lambastes typical fitness headlines, such as ‘sugar is as addictive as heroin,” and, “diet soda causes weight gain,” as glaring examples of, “a world rife with nutritional myths.” Yes, those headlines are nutritional myths. As is the authors own article, which is inclusive of its own scientifically overly broad bullshit.

The author’s assumption is that the first law of thermodynamics, that energy can neither be created nor destroyed, is idyllically applicable to losing and gaining weight. Unfortunately, this is absolutely not the case.

According to those making this assertion all that matters is calories in vs. out. If you eat less than you expend you lose weight, if you eat more than you expend you gain weight. This actually is very true.

Eat less calories than you expend you will lose weight. Eat more calories than you expend and you will gain weight. I guess I should offer the author an apology. On this fact he is correct.

However, this broad and overly simplistic view is as alarming as the sensationalist tittles he is purportedly attempting to debunk.

I agree with him, any broad statement is bad. And yes, a lot of people are taking the ‘I don’t eat enough calories so I can’t lose weight’ argument fully out of context. Let’s look a few actual science bombs when it comes to calories and the human body and gaining and losing weight.

 

#1 – Weight vs. Fat

 

The entire thermodynamics argument relies on the term weight. True fitness professionals don’t give a shit about your weight. Because your weight is most often irrelevant of your health.

Your weight is the total of your fat, muscle, organs, blood, and all other tissues, in addition to the water stored in your body. We can decrease your weight by taking away any of those elements. Drain your blood, lose weight. Cut your water, lose weight. Cut off your leg, lose weight. Decrease fat, lose weight. Decrease muscle, lose weight.

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See how irrelevant your weight can be?

What most people are looking for when we entertain this topic is a reduction in bodyfat. And we shouldn’t be too hard on the general public if they don’t understand the difference between weight and bodyfat.

So yes, if you take calories below your daily required calories you will lose weight. But from where? Your fat? Your muscle? Your organs? Water weight?

You see, this author makes a completely untrue scientific claim hidden down in the belly of the text. “If you are eating fewer calories than your body needs to function, your body will get its energy from another source – in the form of adipose tissue. Bye, bye love handles.”

Weight-Loss-VS-Fat-Loss3

Um, overly bold untrue scientific statement there, sir? Maybe it is adipose tissue. Maybe it is muscular tissue. Maybe it is water weight. Your statement about love handles and assertation that it will be adipose tissue puts you on the same level as those whom you so fervently are lamenting against.

Just because you eat less than you expend does not mean you will lose fat.

It means you will lose weight. But there is so much more.

 

#2 – Metabolic Rate

 

You see, your body can change and adjust your metabolic rate. I know, makes things uber challenging. You metabolism can speed up or slow down based on your hormones. And your body changes this metabolic rate over time when patterns emerge.

Your body is always looking to conserve energy. It does this by slowing the metabolism to the minimum required. It also does this when a pattern of not enough energy becomes apparent.

So if we take the base law of thermodynamics and always consume fewer calories than we expend your body will slow metabolic rate in order to function on the lesser amount of energy.

Additionally, your body will make up the net energy loss with metabolically active tissue and it will preserve its storage tissue. So yes, it will break down muscle tissue and conserve fat tissue in addition to slowing the overall caloric requirements.

Will you be losing weight? You bet!

 

#3 – Long term Effects

 

What is the long term effect of this weight loss? A slower metabolism, decreased muscle mass, and increased fat storage.

All done for you own safety. This is where the term ‘starvation mode’ comes from. While overly simplistic, it is the body’s way of protecting itself in periods of decreased access to energy, aka, food.

Weight-Loss-vs-Fat-Loss

Chronic under eating will cause this effect. And as the metabolism slows to match the reduced caloric intake you will have to further reduce the amount you eat to keep the weight loss going. A vicious cycle that is extremely detrimental to the body. Over time it has negative impacts on not just muscle tissue, but also bones, cardiac tissue, the brain, and other organs.

So the long term effect of simply reducing calories results in a slower metabolism and a body that wants to store as much fat as possible.

 

#4 – How people actually act

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To this now, true fitness professionals must look at the way people actually act. In most western cultures we don’t under eat all the time. We diet and then eat whatever and then diet again.

Over time this cycle confuses the fuck out of the body. So if we counsel people to simply keep eating less calories to lose weight they will be stuck in a vicious cycle of the body thinking it is starving and then getting fed. Because of the starvation style signals, when the body does get extra energy, you know, like when on vacation, or birthdays, or the weekend, it will try and store more fat to prepare for the next round of dieting (AKA applying the first law of thermodynamics to your nutrition).

This is resultant from another scientific principle that you seem to have completely overlooked and disregarded, the fact that the body operates under the principle of homeostasis.

Homeostasis means the body is always attempting to stay the same. One hormone goes up another is released to bring it back down. Too few calories coming in and the body reduces the energy needs of the body to match what is available.

Yes, there is no magic number of how many calories people need. It is medically accepted that 1200 calories is the minimum needed to sustain life of most adult humans. But other than that the base needs change.

But applying the first law of thermodynamics to human weight loss is woefully overly simplified and in our culture a poor way to approach health from a long term perspective.

The goal must be fat loss and maintenance of a healthy body fat percentage. The goal should never be weight loss or achieving specific weight goals. That is as stupid as your assertion that , ‘a minimum of 1800 calories for adequate health [parenthesis removed and is added by this author] is complete bullshit.”

 

So what is one to do?

confused-02

What then is the best way to take care of your health and diet?

The fact is that ‘starvation mode’ does exist and dropping your calories too low for too long will make these changes to your metabolism.

The other fact is that most people using this as an excuse why they aren’t losing weight are pretty full of shit and using it as an excuse. But for anyone who struggles with fat loss who has been on and off various diets for a long time, this process may vary well be playing a role.

As a coach who has worked with thousands of clients I have seen this time and again with those trying to lose fat. They don’t eat enough too often and then splurge and binge on holidays and weekends. See above why that is bad.

You need to know YOUR base metabolic rate. This is dependent on sex, age, activity level, body composition, and other factors. Once you know that then you can figure out how many calories you need to lose fat.

And stop tracking your weight. Who gives a fuck about your weight. You need to track how much fat you are losing.

The most current literature and the most current practice from some of the top coached in both fitness and nutrition as finding a caloric deficit of around 200 to 300 calories a day is effective for losing body fat. We have found it is also important to make that deficit half from lowering calorie intake and half from increasing calorie expenditure.

So if your metabolic rates requires 1800 calories a day then we would drop your intake by around 100 calories, to 1700, and we would add 100 calories more of exercise.
This is still a simplistic view as hormones, stress, and sex also play a role, as well as the style of exercise that you undertake. But for a good general place to get you started a modest calorie decrease with a modest exercise increase is most effective for fat loss.
Additionally, we only let our clients have even this modest calorie deficit 4 to 5 days a week and we match input and output the other days of the week. This we are also finding effective at staving off the body’s homeostatic need to slow the metabolism while you are trying to lose body fat.

This is how to apply all the pertinent science to the human body and not focus in on one physics principle that is only a small sliver of how the body actually works.

-Coach Taylor

The 500 Calorie Myth and 4 Reasons You SHOULD Track Your Calories

I truly believe that everyone should track his or her calories.

Whether you have fat loss goals or you want to improve your performance you need to know what is going in and out of your body.

calorie-counting-foods

Stop freaking out. I know that there is a huge movement among a lot of the fitness world against tracking calories.

It’s too hard. It’s too much work. It creates unhealthy eating patterns. It creates a fixation on weighing and measuring your food. It isn’t sustainable long term.

Most of these arguments come from fitness professionals who are already obsessed with their fitness or from people who have tried every diet under the sun and still nothing works. Other fitness pros are welcome to their opinion but I write this for the rest of the population.

Why have you tried every diet and system yet still cannot achieve the fitness you want?

Have you ever thought that maybe it is because YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT THE FUCK YOU ARE EATING?

It’s true. People do not know what they are eating. They read nutrition labels at the supermarket and feel like a health rockstar. Aside from the fact that they look cool, most people are really wasting their time.

What are you looking for on that label? Ingredients. Ok, I get that. But then you are looking at what? Calories. That is the only other thing on there. Great – you read the calories. What the fuck was the point of that?

When you go home and consume the product do you measure out your portion? Do you know how many calories you are supposed to be eating? Do you know what percentage of carbs, fat, and protein you should consume in a day?

No?

food labelThen what the hell is the point of reading that label? You are just one of the people that think reading the label is the healthy act unto itself. This is not the case. The purpose of the label is to give you the information you need to make informed decisions as to your health.

But if you don’t know how many calories you should be eating and from what sources you should be getting them from, there is really no point to reading the labels.

And this my friends, is why I believe that everyone should spend time counting their calories and weighing/measuring their food.

Now, before we get to the reasons WHY you need to track your calories for a while, let’s talk about one of the biggest myths in fitness: the 500 calorie a day deficit.


Eat 500 Calories a Day Less to Lose 1lbs of Fat Per Week!

myth busted


This myth hails from a simple mathematical calculation. And it is fraught with more holes than the BMI chart that the medical community just won’t seem to let die.

What is the hypothesis? 1 lbs of fat on your body has 3500 kcals of energy. So 3500 calories divided by 7 days = 500 calories a day.

Take in 500 calories a day less then you put out and WHAMMO; 3500 calories a day torched from your system. Seems logical.

Here is why it doesn’t work in real life.

First, what is a calorie deficit? It means that, say your body needs 1800 calories a day to live, you know, grow new cells, breathe, feed your brain, keep your heart pumping, let you walk around, good stuff like that. This is your BMR (base metabolic rate) or the number of calories you need to live. To. Live.

Generally, anything under 1400 calories is considered a starvation diet. 1400 calories if you lay in bed and do not move and just want to live. Base requirement. Less than this and you are starving. Obviously, this  base number can be more for bigger people (taller or more muscle not bigger as in fatter) but we need a good base. Even if you are not active and don’t move much you still need calories to survive. 1400. Minimum to survive.

So, add some exercise and we determine you need 1800 calories to survive. But you want to lose a pound of fat a week! Perfect. Take out 500 calories a day. 1800-500 = 1300.

Ummmm. Problem

Not enough calories to live. And for all of you about to write me and tell me all the stories of how you eat 800 calories a day and feel great – don’t bother unless you also provide proof of how active you are and a full medical check of your health.

So we can see the issue here. Simply taking off 500 calories might not always work.

There is also the issue of increasing energy output and decreasing calories. A lot of people add exercise and also cut their calories at the same time. Adding 300 calories a day of exercise means your base need of 1800 is now 2100. But you are only eating 1400 a day – so now with the added exercise you are in a deficit of 800 calories a day.

starving-diet

YOU ARE STARVING YOUR BODY. Seriously. You are in a metabolic nightmare of starvation that will signal your body to do all sorts of things you don’t want; like eat its own muscle tissue and slow your metabolism.

But you want to lose fat and be healthy. No problem at all!

How much of a deficit should you be in to lose fat?

In my experience and based on the current research a calorie deficit of between 100 and 300 calories a day is the sweet spot. This puts your body into a calorie deficit but doesn’t signal your brain that you are starving to death. So when your brain goes looking for a way to make up those couple hundred calories it can dip into your energy reserve.

Your body fat.

Aaaaannnndddddd…..all of this brings me to my real point. You have to track calories.


Here are the 4 reasons you HAVE to track your calories


  1. You have to know what you are eating.

Could you fix your car all by yourself? (Mechanics stay out of this, you do not fit this analogy!). No. Why? You don’t know all the parts, or how the parts fit together, or what all the parts do, or how much fluid is needed, or when to change which fluid.

do-you-know-what-youre-eatingYour body is the same. It is actually way more complex then a car. And it has certain needs. There is an appropriate amount of energy it needs and set ways to tune it to keep it healthy. You cannot fix or take care of your body if you do not know what you are putting into it.

Are you eating 50% carbs? 20%? Do you eat enough healthy fat? Are you sure? How do you know?

The fact is you don’t. You might guess but you don’t really know. And unless you have some training how could you possibly even guess? You might think you are eating 2000 calories when you are in fact eating 1100 calories. Or the other way, you might think you are eating 1500 calories and are in fact are eating 3000 calories.

The only way to know for sure is to add it up. Make sure you have an accurate portion and then add up all the portions and get the total. *fist bump* NOW you know what you are eating.

And we are talking about the difference of a few hundred calories setting the stage for fat loss or fat gain. It is vital that you know the numbers.

  1. You need to understand what you need

This isn’t exactly counting the calories but it is uber important. You have to know roughly how many calories a day you need. I am going to give you a general rule of thumb. General. This is not a prescription but the base nubers I use with clients.

Fat loss – 14 calories per pound of bodyweight

-between 20 and 30% carbs, 40% protein, the rest healthy fat

Maintenance – 16 – 18 calories per pound of bodyweight

-30-50% carbs, 30 percent protein, the rest healthy fat

 Performance – 18-24 calories per pound of body weight

-40-65% carbs, 30% protein, the rest healthy fat

Those are the general guidelines we use. Everyone is a little different so we use a little trial and error as the weeks progress. But we have to know the facts in order to know what to change. We have to have the data.

Otherwise you are just making a huge guess and guessing doesn’t get you results.

  1. You’re Guessing Wrong

The untrained eye is very bad at guessing food. If I put down broccoli and potatoes in front of you, could you accurately portion out a 300 calorie portion of each? I bet you could not.

guessing-the-meaning-of-strange-words-in-english-reading-articles-1Yet that is what you are doing everyday with your food.

Now, if you learned what 300 calories of broccoli and 300 calories of potatoes was then I bet you could do it just fine. But you have to learn that first. Know a great way to do that? Weigh it and measure it. Do that a couple of times and guess what? You will then be able to figure it out without measuring it.

But unless you do that you will probably guess wrong.

I see it all the time. You are on a weight loss plan and all of a sudden your portions would make a sparrow hungry. Calories plummet, you feel like a lethargic piece of shit, and 4 days later your misery orders a pizza, wings, and an ice cream cake.

You dropped your calories too low, signaled your body that it was starving and then feasted it with enough glorious calories to pack a little more fat on those love handles.

Or maybe you have been eating healthy and making smart choices but do not realize that broccoli is far less calorie dense than rice and you are way under your calorie deficit, again signaling your body that you are starving.

The fact is that you cannot guess with your health. You have to know. And to know, you have to learn. And to learn you have to count.

Period.

  1. You Have To Learn

As I have been alluding to, you have to learn what calories are in what food and what portion will get you the number of calories that you need.

You have to measure and count your calories for a little while. It isn’t to punish you for life or make you miserable. It is so that you can learn how many calories are in what you are eating. This, and this alone, will allow you to make the right choices for your health.

Sticking your head in the sand and arguing that it is too difficult and unnecessary is fucking stupid. It is a lazy way to give yourself an excuse for the lack of your success. Don’t do this.

You don’t have to turn yourself into a human abacus and calculate abacusyour food for the rest of your life. You have to do it long enough that you can make an educated and fairly accurate summary of what you are fueling your body with.

If you don’t know how to do this you will never be successful. I truly believe this is something that should be taught in schools. It is a skill that is vital to modern culture where we have access to more food than we could ever consume.

Calculating your calories isn’t a punishment or something you have to do forever. It is an educational experience and you need to do it long enough to actually understand what you are eating.

And frankly it is super easy now with the advent of apps. There is no excuse. Online sites and apps have made calculating your calories a simple plug and play experience. Not like the three years I spent with graph paper, a food count book, and a calculator. Yeah, that’s right. 3 years I did that. And now I can look at a meal and tell you the total calories pretty accurately

Take the time to educate yourself. Not only will it help with your fat loss or athletic performance goals but it will help ensure your health for the rest of your life.

-Coach Taylor

The ‘Paleo Diet’ Is Just Marketing Hype

I know this is going to ruffle some feathers. But before you get angry at me and tell me I am an idiot, blah, blah, blah, just sit back and listen for a minute. Try to have a bit of an open mind for just the next 5 minutes of your life.

Feather Ruffle

I watched last week’s episode of Shark Tank (cool business TV show for those who don’t know) and was moderately enraged by a woman on the show who is now selling Paleo Diet Bars. She is a dental hygienist by trade and is a hobby a fitness instructor. So yes, obviously she is qualified to be creating food products to improve people’s health. Alas, that is a topic for another day and I already seem to be digressing.

Let me open by saying if you follow the ‘Paleo Diet’ and the whole ‘Paleo’ movement, you are not doing any harm.

Overall it is a good diet. I mean, it isn’t the BEST diet and it cuts out a lot of stuff you really don’t have to cut out based on some quackery false as fuck pseudoscience, but overall Mr. Cordain at least isn’t recommending anything that is dangerous. And at least he has some credentials as opposed to Quack Oz and his trusty sidekick, the Food Babe.

According to the Paleo website you should eat grass-produced meats, fish/seafood, fresh fruits and veggies, eggs, nuts and seeds, healthy oils. You SHOULD NOT eat cereal grains, legumes (including peanuts), dairy, refined sugar, potatoes, processed foods, salt, refined vegetable oils.

All in all that is some healthy food. If you follow the To Eat foods, yes, you will feel like a million bucks and probably change your health for the better. Not to mention you will be eating better than 90% of those around you!

But really, no cereal grains at all? No legumes? No dairy? No potatoes? (FYI – potatoes are a fucking vegetable. They won’t kill you,in fact they can have a great place in your diet!). When you dig into the actual archaeological data, humans have been consuming cereal grains and dairy for 10,000 years-ish. Without the domestication of animals and the advent of farming and agriculture we wouldn’t all be here today living in urban centres and reading shit on the internet.

This is where I have issues with the ‘Paleo” diet.

 


Here are some honest truths for you:

-No one knows what the ‘paleo’ diet was. We have some good ideas and some great guess and detective work but it is still open to interpretation.

-The paleolithic era stretched from around 2.2 million years ago until around 10,000 years ago. That means it is an era 2.1 MILLION years long, from which we have found a few fossils. It is not much of a stretch to think that just MAYBE the diet of humanities ancestors changed a few times throughout this period. 2.1 million years. Rome was at the height of its power 2100 years ago. Think how much we have changed in the last 2100 years – and that’s only 0.1% of the total time of the Palaeolithic era. If we have changed this much since the time of the Roman Empire, think how much things changed during the other 2.1 MILLION years.Timeline

-The food eaten by Paleo Diet advocates is NOT what humans ate tens of thousands of years ago (more on that later).

-Without refrigeration or food preservations techniques, such as salting, you ate what was available when it was available. Banana’s and berries in Europe in February? Where the fuck do you think those came from?

-Different parts of the world: different diets. Yeah, that’s right. There wasn’t a Whole Foods 20,000 years ago with a selection of food from anywhere in the world that you could pick and choose from at any time of year. You ate what you were close to. Live in Northern Europe? You ate animal fat and root veggies. Live in South America? Plants and fruits. Asia? Fish and plants. The point? There is NO ONE diet.

Those are a few hard truths that people need to understand. The people walking around preaching this asinine ‘I am paleo, I only eat like a caveman’ bullshit are misinformed assholes. Sorry, sometimes the truth hurts.

I mean, even the fact that people say, ‘eat like a caveman,’ shows their complete lack of knowledge and ignorance of actual facts. Cavemen? Do you even know when people lived in caves? Which people did? Did you know a lot of people over the last 2 million years DIDN’T live in caves? They lived in all sorts of different environments and structures. If anyone uses the term ‘caveman’ you can instantly disregard the rest of what they are saying because it is just shit they are reciting from other misinformed people.

If our Palaeolithic ancestors followed todays ‘paleo’ diet that is making the rounds today – they would all die. They wouldn’t have access to most of the food most of the time, as what they have access to, of course depends on where in the world they lived. And the foods in the ‘paleo’ diet are not the most calorie and nutrient dense. 10,000 years ago you needed all the nutrients you could get.

Let’s look at what someone in this Palaeolithic era MIGHT have eaten based on surveys and studies by actual anthropologists. For the sake of this article we are going to assume a European ancestry. African or Asian ancestry will be different than this. Why? Because they didn’t have shipping and trucking to get food moved around the world to share with each other.

So you are living in Europe 20,000 years ago. You are hungry. WTF do you do?

paleolithic-Diet

Well, you could kill some large animal to get at the delicious juicy lean meats. But that is a shit-ton of work – days in fact. And you can get really hurt as well, so there is a big risk. Plus the energy to actually find and kill it is an enormous expense and lack of a kill could leave you in a pretty energy depleted state.

Most likely you will turn to a way better and easier to get at protein source: bugs and insects. Uh-huh. True story.

Add in some delicious roots and plants for fiber and carbs. Say it’s late summer so maybe you can scrounge up some berries. Enjoy them though because you will only have access to berries about, oh, 1 month out of the year.

That is a more typical diet. For shits and giggles, though, let’s say you do get a big elk or some other larger mammal killed. Awesome! Look at all the wicked nutrition. Here is what would actually happen:

-The LAST thing you would ever eat is the LEAN meat. What a waste of your time. You need calories, nutrition, vitamins and minerals. You only get big game every once in a while, so don’t waste it!

-First you drink the blood. Seriously. Minerals, vitamins, calories, everything about it is great for you!

-Next you need to eat the organs because that is where the most G2osYhenutrition is after the blood. And while sharing liver with your grandpa as a kid seemed gross but you think you could handle it, that isn’t what we are talking about. You need to get at the brain, eyes, tongue, liver, heart, and other fatty organs. Maximize that nutrition!

-After that: the fat. Highest calorie counts in there and 20,000 years ago you needed the most calories possible all the time.

-Now once that is all done you can get to the fatty meat cuts and then onto the lean meat cuts. It is all about energy maximization.

 


 

And THAT my friends, is how most Palaeolithic people in Europe would eat.

Berries and fruit in February? Lean meat when the higher calorie nutrient dense organs are right there? I think not.

What about dairy? Well, pigs, cows, and goats have been domesticated since around 8,000 BCE – so that is for the last 10,000 years and there is strong evidence that humans have made use of the AMAZING and easy to get at energy from their milk since that time. We have been adapted to drinking milk from other animals for 10,000 years.

Now, what is the point of all of this?

I HATE self-righteous people who have read a book or a website and then feel like they know what the fuck they are talking about. Even worse, they start teaching this misinformed rhetoric to other people. Learn your facts before becoming an advocate. And especially before you go espousing the virtues of this diet to other people.

The ‘paleo’ diet in its current form is a mass marketing machine that is designed to sell products. For something that is supposed to be all natural and ‘just like our ancestors’ there sure seems to be a lot of packaged products you can purchase to help fit into your diet.

LMAO. Because Paleolithic people had some wicked protein powders and packaged bars.

Paleo Products

No, it is a marketing machine. Designed to make money. Period.

If you follow the guidelines, for sure it can be a really healthy diet. Much better than what the majority of people are eating now. So go forth and ‘eat paleo.’

But don’t for a second believe that you are eating in a more natural way that your body is designed for based on ancient genetics. That is simply a bunch of bullshit.

 

-Coach Taylor

 

 

Latest Videos From Coach Taylor

Here are some of the latest videos I have put out on various topics – just in case you missed any!

And I have put in a couple videos I made for my fitness business – never know when you might need a little motivation or information!

Latest Videos

Does Cardio Make You Fat

 

How To Tell A Crappy Trainer – Long, Lean, Muscles

 

An Exercise EVERYONE Should Be Doing – The Turkish Getup

 

Top Videos

Here are the videos that I get the most questions and comments about!

 

My current favorite 6 best ab exercises!

 

How we train girls at my studio!

 

Questions or comments? Anything you would like to see me talk about? Feel free to let me know!

-Coach Taylor