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Why I Love Fasting (And Why You Should Too)

WARNING: This is long. This is important. You MUST read it. It will be vital to your life. So get a nice cup of tea, kick back, and dive in!!! 


I love fasting. You should love fasting. You should be fasting. Every human should be fasting.

Blog complete.

Lol, right. I mean that truly is all that I want to say and all that needs to be said. However, I recognize this would never be taken seriously because people want evidence! Where is the study? The fact that the vast majority of people have no idea how to interpret nor comprehend studies has no pertinence on the matter.

So I will endeavor to deliver an explanation of my opening statement, nay, of my opening conviction, in the hopes that you can garner a new understanding of why this topic is so very vital to you.

But if you don’t feel like reading at the moment, let me give you the conclusion now so that you can get on with your day: you need to have fasting periods in your life as a regular part of your health plan.

There you go. Objective completed.

For the rest of you, here we go!


I am going to present to you in this article an overview of the primary benefits related to fasting and health. The goal is that you will finish with enough information to guide your own personal inquiry. You should not believe everything I say, in fact you should not believe everything ANYONE says. You should be a competent investigator when it comes to your health. Read, learn, read more, and then formulate your own conclusions. While I am not going to include a list of journal citations (AHA Coach Taylor! I knew it!!! This is all just your personal opinion!! No citations? Then you haven’t done your home work!), I am going to provide a summation of the existing literature. I read journals and expert information on this daily but I believe spoon feeding lists of references simply leads to blind faith followers. That is not my style.

I want you to question me. I want you to doubt me. I want you to go out into the world of information and prove me wrong! This is how I ensure that my arguments are sound.

Ok, ok…I am getting on with it…

Let me first say that I hate the term intermittent fasting. Why? Mainly because it has become far to ‘catch=phrasey’, as most things in the fitness industry do. Over the last five years it has become another ‘diet plan’ or something that ‘you do’ and the true importance of fasting for your body is now overshadowed by the never-ending quest for weight loss.

There is also a complete lack of English comprehension at work here as well. Even if I chose to keep the term ‘intermittent fasting’ it is readily apparent that most people have never read a dictionary.



16:10, warrior fasting, 5:2, eat stop eat, alternate day. All labels within the fitness community for different fasting protocols. Everyone is seemingly oblivious to the fact that by following a schedule you are no longer doing anything ‘intermittently,’ right?

Weight loss. Fat loss. The two primary tenants of the modern concept of fitness. EVERYTHING is related to these concepts and if your diet and/or exercise program is not demonstrating how to lose weight it is relegated to the dustbin of failed promises. Yes, there is the other side of fitness, ‘how much can you lift, bro?’, however, those people are so enchanted by the mythology of eons past I don’t even attempt to explain to them the ignorance of their thinking

The FACTS are simple: fasting is essential to your health and is the easiest way you can make positive changes to your life immediately.

Please note that for the duration of this article I am simply going to say fasting and will be desquamating the term ‘intermittent fasting’ forthwith.

This is the point where dieticians and most of the medical industry will begin to freak out. Their outdated beliefs that we must eat every three hours to balance blood sugar and that breakfast is a vital component to ones health are so ingrained into their DNA that the mountain of evidence and information contrarian to said beliefs are completely ignored. It is disheartening and actually a little bit scary.

The peer-reviewed, longitudinal evidence available on the effects of fasting on human (and actually on all animal) health is voluminous and categorically affirmative. In my five years of studying the results of fasting on biological organisms I have yet to find a negative outcome in the literature. As stated above, PLEASE go out and find the evidence otherwise because I want to ensure I am not missing something!

Typically when people attempt to point out that the outcomes of fasting protocols do not show strong evidence, it is because they are fixated on weight loss.

It is true, ‘intermittent’ fasting as a mechanism of weight loss has mixed evidentiary findings. I would say in my learning that it is pretty evenly divided between the findings that the protocols are effective as a weight loss program and the findings that the protocols are not effective. One very strong finding here is that almost overwhelmingly the data suggests that the protocols studied so far are no more effective than other weight loss interventions. Essentially, if the goal is weight loss the fasting protocols do work, but so do many other weight loss interventions.


This brings me to the essence of this article.

I am not writing about weight loss and I firmly believe we have to take that idea out of the discussion of fasting. Well, actually, I firmly believe that we have to take weight loss completely out of the discussion for everything fitness related but that is an article for another day.

Because when we look at fasting through the lens of every single scientific field that has invested time into researching the effects on biological organisms (yes, that includes you, you beautiful homo sapien you!) the results are truly extraordinary.

Improved health, increased longevity, decreased disease risk, improved immunofunction, and improved cognitive health are just some of the verified outcomes.

It sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it?! And isn’t that what every health program promises? Yes. Yes it does. So what makes this any different? How do you know this is for real?

Simple. Neither myself, nor anyone discovering these findings, is trying to sell you something. Because there is nothing to sell. There are no products, supplements, or specialty foods required. There is no money to be made. And this opens the door wide open to explore actual evidence with no ulterior motive of profit gain.

Trust me, that sucks. I have spent a decade and a half watching sham snake-oil sales people and idiot fitness people make fortunes, while I stay true to my ethics and make ends meet. I’m ok with it. All I truly care about is improving the quality of people’s lives.


What then is the purpose of this article?


I want to provide you a stepping stone to further learning. I am going to give you a very brief overview of my learning to date and all of the areas that fasting has shown positive results for human health. You have two options from there.

First: take what I say as factual, trusting that I have done my research and will continuing to follow all of the latest information as it becomes available. Then you can focus on incorporating fasting into your life. I will talk about strategies for this at the end of the article.

Second: begin your own learning. Use these areas I am about to highlight as a starting point to begin your own investigation into the history and benefits of fasting. Question everything. Hunt for a variety of sources. Ensure you are investigating a variety of fields of study.

***************

Here we go! The primary benefits of fasting I have gleaned from years of research, self-experimentation, and observational information from clients I have helped to incorporate fasting.

  1. History

Anthropological

In the history of the planet earth it has been the rare exception that any species or organism has had access to nourishment (food) easily and at all times. Life itself is a constant struggle to obtain enough resources to live. The physiology of animals and plants has been completely evolved around the procurement of resources to sustain us.

Only humans through the use of technology and highly evolving intelligence have been able to surpass this limitation. And only in the last 100 years have large numbers of our species been able to have unlimited access to food. Today, modern western societies and increasing numbers of other societies have access to a large variety of immediately accessible food whenever it is desired.

Of course we over eat. We are genetically built to consume and store as many calories as possible. It is how we ensure long term survival – store as much as you can when there is plenty in order to give yourself the best chance of surving the periods of scarce resources.

We are living in a time, however, that food is always available. Not just available but actively pushed on us. Our bodies were not designed for this and as we continually eat we eschew the mechanisms our bodies have to keep us healthy.

Only recently have we begun to understand that these mechanisms are not just about keeping us alive in times of scarce resources but they are actually essential to our health. Our bodies need times of scarcity in order to function at optimal levels. When we eat too often this break never occurs.

While this article is not going to dive too deeply into WHAT we eat it is important to also note here that until around the 1950’s highly processed food that was able to last for weeks or months did not exist. Later we will briefly discuss the importance of what you eat but it must always be remembered that did not evolve to eat 90% of what you currently find in most grocery stores (not to mention about 99% of what you find in convenience stores…)

Socio-cultural

Eat your breakfast! It is the most important meal of the day! Say’s all of the corporations who want to sell you cereal. There is actually a well documented history of the rise of the cereal companies and I highly recommend you look it up. Although it can be a little bit scary!

My point here is that there are many ideas that have become common place in our modern times, which run completely contrary to the actual history of humanity. I do not want to get all ‘conspiracy theory,’ however, it is important to note that if you dig a little deeper into the history of our food and our food supply almost all of our food habits and food supplies have been crafted, created, and manufactured intentionally to increase profits. Seriously, I am not making this stuff up.

The truth is that for the majority of the existence of humanity we have eaten once or twice a day, typically around mid-day, and experienced times of feast and times of famine.

The idea of three meals a day plus snacks in between is a VERY modern creation and is beginning to show its horrific effects to our health. It is going to be a very hard battle to fight any kind of change to this ideology and I personally believe it is a losing battle. There is too much vested interested in having us consume as much food as possible.

It must also be noted that feasts and treats were VERY different than what we currently experience. I have written a lot about this and delved a little deeper in my article, ‘The Brutally Honest 6 Reasons You are Still Over-fat,’ so I will not go too deep here.

Feasts were rare. Special occasions and after harvests. Obviously, harvests were annual so this was beyond our control. Feasting would have been during celebrations like weddings, specific holidays, or other communal gatherings and would have been very infrequent, most likely only a few time a YEAR.

Today we feast almost daily. Weekends are a constant feasting period and in between there are birthdays, work parties, congratulations you went to sports practice today and deserve a huge meal times. It is constant.

Treats have NO meaning. Cookies, cakes, ice-cream, donuts, pastries, candy, and all of the other shit crap non-nutritive food didn’t even exist before the 20th century! Today they are consumed almost daily. We are especially bad at stuffing this crap down the throats of our children because apparently if they go longer than a day or two without it they will be emotionally devastated and their lives will be terrible.

What does this have to do with fasting? As I will touch on later, when we have fasting periods (as we should) daily there is an even greater importance needed on food quality and there is far less room in our diets for this non-food shit.

Let us dive into the documented benefits of fasting from different disciplines.

  1. Autophagy

In 2016 the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to Yoshinori Ohsumi for his discovery on the mechanism for autophagy. Why is this important? Because I want to highlight how new this information is. While we have discovered A LOT about science and nature in the last 400 years, we are still not fully versed in the functioning of our physiology. This concept was hinted at in the 1960’s but wasn’t actually elucidated until the 1990’s!

Autophagy is a term for the underlying mechanisms with our bodies that is a fundamental process for degrading cellular components and then recycling those components. Essentially, it is the garbage truck system of your body and is responsible for cleaning up the degradation of cellular components, which includes things like bacteria and viruses.


Thanks to Ohsumi and others following in his footsteps, we now know that autophagy controls important physiological functions where cellular components need to be degraded and recycled. Autophagy can rapidly provide fuel for energy and building blocks for renewal of cellular components, and is therefore essential for the cellular response to starvation and other types of stress. After infection, autophagy can eliminate invading intracellular bacteria and viruses. Autophagy contributes to embryo development and cell differentiation. Cells also use autophagy to eliminate damaged proteins and organelles, a quality control mechanism that is critical for counteracting the negative consequences of aging.

Disrupted autophagy has been linked to Parkinson’s disease, type 2 diabetes and other disorders that appear in the elderly. Mutations in autophagy genes can cause genetic disease. Disturbances in the autophagic machinery have also been linked to cancer.”
-https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/medicine/2016/press-release (Visited March 14th, 2019)


Did you read that? If not go back and READ IT. This isn’t some random theory spewed off from an over zealous celebrity on GOOP. This is real science that won a Nobel Prize. This process is already recognized as vitally important to our physiology and we are just beginning to learn about it!

You want to do everything you can to keep this process functioning at optimal levels. How do you do that? There are only two known ways:
1) Exercising with rigorous intensity
2) Fasting periods of 16 hours or longer.

Two things that are vital to your health. Do them.

  1. Brain Health

Periods of fasting have been associated recently with reduction in risk of many cognitive issues currently plaguing our population. Research is ongoing in the fields of Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, depression, and other areas. So far all of the research is demonstrating positive outcomes for those with fasting periods. Obviously, with these types of conditions longitudinal research will take time but with all of the other benefits, why bother waiting?

The brain itself has been shown to have positive effects from fasting periods which many people associate to the other demonstrable benefits of fasting, which include: better sleep, better focus, increased attention spans, clearer thoughts, and improved memory. There are many mechanisms being investigated at the moment and it is unknown at this time the exact physiological process that is creating these results.

  1. Improved Immune System

Improved functioning of the immune system has been observed as a result of fasting and current research is being conducted with AIDS patients as well as cancer patients.

Again, the exact processes are currently not known, however the outcomes are all positive.

As far as I can tell, the following is mostly anecdotal, but it is prolific enough that I do think there is something worth noting. Decreases in sickness and illness are very commonly reported from those who fast and I have personally observed this myself and with my clients. It does stand to reason that if fasting has positive effects on the immune system we would be less susceptible to these types of illnesses.

It is unknown if these outcomes are resultant from fasting itself or other mechanism that themselves are improved as a result of fasting, for example our microbiome, which we will discuss shortly.

  1. Inflammation

Multiple studies have linked fasting to decreases in body inflammation and inflammatory response. It is widely accepted that chronic body inflammation has very deleterious effects on the human body so any mechanism of reducing this should be explored rigorously. Again, the exact mechanisms are unknown at this time but the correlation is there.

  1. Cardiovascular Health

There is small amounts of data on fasting and cardiovascular health and to my knowledge there have not been any specific studies addressing this. However, there are many research summaries that have found links as well as fasting studies that have found links.

The fact that fasting has been linked consistently with reductions in bodyfat, blood pressure, and improved blood triglycerides is undoubtedly underlying the reduction in CVD risk.

  1. Improved Blood Sugar Balance and Hormone Level

A common fear amongst medical practitioners and dieticians is that prolonged fasting period will wreck havoc on blood sugar levels and the levels of other hormones, such as IGF-1. This in turn could negatively impact both healthy people and those with diseases such as diabetes or metabolic disease.

However, all current research as demonstrated improvements to both type 1 and type 2 diabetes as well as reduction, if not complete reversal of metabolic disease. Hormonal research has also found the fasting protocols lead to an improvement in the bodies hormone balances.

  1. Other Medical Issues and Lifespan

It is FAR to early to think that fasting is a cure for major disease, however it must be noted that there is a growing body of research demonstrating reductions in incidences of cancer and reductions in incidences and symptoms of multiple sclerosis. Again, this is not yet a viable treatment option but the correlations are beginning to be observed.

It has been known for decades that a reduction in an organisms overall calorie intake is directly related to increases in lifespan. A 30% reduction in overall calories over the course of an organisms life statistically leads to a 30% increase in the organisms lifespan. This has held true across all organisms studies. Fasting invariably leads to long term reduction in calories so it is not surprising that this is correlated to increase life span.

  1. Gut Health and Microbiota

Like autography, our understanding of our gut microbiome and our gut health is still in its infancy. To date however, all data in this field continually supports the idea that the bacteria living inside of us and all over us are VITALLY important to our health.

As I write this article, yet another article, published in the Journal of Physiology, links our microbiota with health benefits, in this case, reduction in cardiovascular disease risk.

Our fascination with sterile environments and our war on all bacteria is linked to dozens of modern health issues such as increases in allergies, increases in disease, reduced immunity, and a host of metabolic disorders. This is just to name a VERY few.

Fasting protocols have consistently been found to have positive effects on our microbome and on our gut health. As I shall discuss shortly this is most likely from two factors; giving our body a beak from constant digestive work, and creating a focus on healthier foods by limiting available eating time. Again, this research is still very new and the next few years will be very exciting!

  1. Matches Our Physiology

As I have stated, there is no organism on earth that has constant and easy access to a source of sustenance. Life is essentially a battle to obtain enough food to keep us alive so that we can procreate. Yes, humans have developed beyond that into future planning and philosophy, however, our genes and our cells do not know this. They are still operating on the premise that the purpose of life is to consume as much food as possible to prevent starvation.

Because of this fact our bodies have a host of mechanisms to deal with periods of low to no food availability. The keto club LOVES to talk about ketones, which is just one of many tools our body has at its disposal to protect us from starvation. This system flips us over to a fat metabolism in order to keep us alive and this is why people love the idea of it. Burning fat as fuel? I can finally get those abs! Our bodies also will down regulate our metabolism and they will shut of different functions in an effort to preserve energy, to name but a couple of others. There are a host of possible routes our bodies can take to protect us.

The purpose of this article is not to discuss the efficacy, nor the intelligence, of attempting to manipulate these systems as a means of conceivably obtaining some kind of culturally mediated aspiration, but is being written to discuss the benefits of fasting protocols for your body. The question of IF we should manipulate these systems can be left for another day.

The last decade has shone a new spotlight on how our bodies truly work and what has been uncovered is that because the rigours of life have created the multitude of protective systems, our bodies have actually come to need periods of eating restriction. We are literally built to function without constant food ingestion. With the richness of modern culture attempting to prevent any type of starvation because of the fact that we are able to constantly have food (unprecedented in history), the idea that constantly eating must be better for us took a strong foothold.

It is now quickly being understood, however, that this is not the case. Example after example, and data point after data point, is demonstrating that our physiology does its job the best when we eat less frequently.

Our physiology is literally designed for this. The grand experiment of constant eating has been an abject failure and we need to move forward armed with a better understanding of how we actually work.

  1. Your Teeth

As of yet I can find no empirical research on this topic so this fasting benefit is a mixture of anecdote and knowledge within the dental health world.

Anecdotally, everyone reports how clean their teeth feel. I have noticed this myself somewhat dramatically. It feels like you have had them cleaned everyday! One of the first things I notice on days with no fasting is that my teeth have that fuzzy feeling to them.

Well, just brush them! Sure, that is possible! Let’s say you subscribe to the three meals a day plus two snacks so typical of modern dietary recommendations and typical of just about every single fitness ‘expert’ out there. That would mean you are brushing your teeth five times a day. Find me the dentist who recommends brushing your teeth five times a day is a good idea. It isn’t. Over-brushing can lead to a host of tooth and gum issues.

And let us not ignore the demands of the amount of time this would eat up combined with the necessity to pack your dental tools with you constantly.

Our teeth don’t want to be covered in food constantly any more than the rest of our digestive system wants to be constantly working.

  1. Time

The last couple of benefits are going to discuss the psychological aspects of fasting.

The first of these is time. Time to cook, prep, pack, carry, and ingest food on a five meal a day basis. Anyone who has attempted this will be the first to tell you how impossible it is for anyone living in our western culture.

Yes, all you fitness buffs out there and wananbe figure and fitness models, I get it. You fucking get off on filling up your perfect little containers with your perfectly portioned little snacks and meals. Cool. Go for it. But please recognize that the rest of us have no interest and most likely no time to do this. Oh, and it’s completely unnecessary but if you disagree with me on that you have learned nothing so far reading this article.

Cooking three meals and prepping snacks for just yourself is time consuming and those who prepare food for their families or others know even more how much time this can take. And then we must also consider the amount of time for shopping, planning, prep, cleaning of dishes and pans and containers, to name just a few other aspects. The fact is that eating this way is very time intensive.

No wonder we have turned to fast food, pre-made meals, boxed and shipped to us meals, delivery, and restaurants. Our modern lifestyles simply do not afford the time to truly prep constant food supplies in a healthy way unless you are able to make that the primary part of your day.

Fasting periods eliminate much of this. Prepping one or two meals a day is far less work and allows the ability to get back to other essential aspects of taking care of our health like cooking. Couple that with creating meals that lend themselves to being eaten multiple days and we can essentially be in the kitchen every other day if that is all that is permitted. Or you can spend a Sunday afternoon preparing a few meals that can be quickly cooked or reheated during the week leaving most of the week free from food preparation.

There are dozens of ways that time is saved by adding in fasting to your life and a quick search of the internet will provide countless blogs with tips, tricks, and advice.

  1. Fixation on Food and the Psychology of Fasting

This is a very common criticism of adding fasting to our lives. The argument is that by skipping some meals we will be so hungry that we will become completely fixated on eating all the time, or that this will develop disordered eating patterns.

Even if this were the case that fasting makes us fixate on food (which it does not), how would this be any different than eating five times a day? People are already constantly fixated on food. When is the next meal? When is the next snack? What time is it…oh shit….I was supposed to eat eight almonds and six pieces of celery ten minutes ago….I’M GOING TO GO CATABOLIC – MY METABOLISM IS CRASHING! Lol. Seriously, you’ve thought this before. I know it.

The truth is, for myself and everyone I have seen go through the transition ot adding fasting, that you focus on food FAR less as time passes. Instead you begin to spend your extra time doing non-food related things and do not fill the time constantly pondering the next meal. If you eat good food you aren’t hungry, ever, and eating becomes a very pleasurable experience instead of just cramming food into your mouth because the clock says so.

We are already fixated on food. Fasting decreases this over time.

And what about developing disordered eating patterns? ALWAYS someone throws out how terrible this would be for people dealing with anorexia or bulimia. The answer to that is, as far as I can ascertain, unknown. If you have seen some data on that please send it my way. But this argument is indicative of so many problems within the world of health and fitness. I am not writing this to deal with psychological issues of a very small minority of the population, I am writing this to the vast bulk of the population who are not anorexic or bulimic. Those people should be in the care of practitioners trained to deal with them and should never be assisted by personal trainers and fitness coaches.

To date I am unaware of anyone who has attempted fasting and then become anorexic or bulimic. So I do not think this is something that need be of concern to 99.9% of people reading this article. If you do deal with those conditions or know someone that does, seek proper help for that!

For the majority of people I talk to and coach the common psychological roadblocks are simply culturally mediated. You have been trained your entire life to ‘eat three squares a day!’ and to, ‘never miss breakfast, it’s the most important meal of the day!’ (You can thank Mr. Kellogg and a fancy marketing campaign for that last one. Oh, you didn’t know that cereal companies are largely responsible for many of our modern eating habits? Hmmm.) I hear constantly, ‘oh I could never do that, I just get too hungry!’, or my personal favorite, ‘my blood sugar would get too low if I did that.’

This makes me LMFAO (laugh my fucking ass of…it’s a thing…) for real. I promise you that 99% of people who complain about their ‘blood sugar being too low’ have no fucking idea of how their blood glucose levels actually work, how hormone regulation works via negative feedback loops, nor have they enough scientific understanding to even begin attempting to explain how their physiology works in conjunction with food ingestion.

Yes, many people feel hungry when they start to add fasting periods. Of course you will! You have spent decades eating all the time and changing those habits is going to be noticed. Maybe for a while, although my experience is that these feelings disappear within a week or two. And yes, you might feel low energy at times. But guess what? You were already feeling low energy periods BEFORE fasting and you were masking that behind stimulants. You felt low energy so you turned to sugar and caffeine to pick you up. Try some meditation or a 15 minute nap and see just how easy it is to get through those periods WITHOUT eating food.

Fasting periods do not lead to more fixation on food nor to psychological issues like anorexia and bulimia any more than our modern eating habits already do. These issues aren’t mediated by food timing but by a much larger host of issues that are irrelevant to when you are eating.

To date all I have seen are positive outcomes from a psychological perspective from those who adapt fasting periods long term into their lives.

  1. Fasting Makes You Eat Better

Modern food timing is insane. Eating 8 almonds for a snack in the afternoon to ‘keep your blood sugar up’ (LMFAO – that is one of the stupidest expressions out there that people toss around all the time), or to ‘increase my energy’, makes absolutely no sense. Tired in the afternoon? Did you get enough sleep the night before? Do you exercise? Are you stressed? Are you bored? Those are the most likely contributing factors to the ‘afternoon slump’ and not anything you did or didn’t eat.

When you add fasting into your life the number of meals you have to get in the calories your body needs to function becomes even more vitally important. There is less and less room for bags of chips, chocolate bars, ice cream sandwiches, Halloween candy, and all the other shit we stuff our face with mindlessly that have nothing but deleterious effects on the body. You have to make sure that you are getting everything you need.

Yes, this can be a challenge at first. Most people have no idea what they actually need to be eating and you are going to have to learn. I don’t apologize for this nor will I write an article to make this easier. I firmly believe that it is everyone responsibility to learn for themselves what healthy food is and what we should be eating.

[*** Fine. In order to prevent the bombardment of questions pertaining to this I will tell you how to source what you should be eating. Read: Food, What the Heck Should I Eat, by Dr. Mark Hyman. No, this isn’t a clickable link, search for it yourself and stop being a lazy fuck.

Buy this book, read it, do what it says. Done.]

The truth is that meals and eating are far better when you have to get all the calories and nutrients you need in smaller windows of time. Because you have to EAT. You need to get in fat, and fibre, and protein, and everything else. There is no room for chicken breasts on a bed of lettuce with a couple of almonds and a vinaigrette on the side, there simply isn’t enough nutrition nor enough calories in that meal (and shouldn’t this say something about the typical diet foods we are all conditioned to believe are the ‘healthy’ options?). You have to eat meals with more calories. Fattier cuts of meat, full fat dairy, butter, nuts, potatoes and sweet potatoes, legumes, rice, breads, and a host of other foods that are typically avoided because people think they are unhealthy.

Trust me, eating high quality food that actually is full of calories and nutrition is awesome. Getting over our cultural fucking fixation on how low we can get the calories in something like it is some kind of coveted gold standard (have you seen a yogurt commercial?) is something we all need to strive towards!

You don’t have the room in your diet to fit in the garbage that Costco calls food. Additionally, you will be full and satiated and after a while won’t crave the mindless packaged shit we all love to stuff our mouths with.



There we have it. A decent summation of the benefits of fasting to your life. Again, please, go out and discredit anything I have written with solid empirical resources. Be a good learner and put in that work. Don’t take what I say verbatim unless you already know my writing and content and have a high level of trust with me.

I want to add two additional points here.

First, it is extremely vital that when you begin to add fasting to your life it is imperative that you focus on quality food and that you get adequate nutrition. The idea here is not to starve yourself or to dramatically decrease the number of calories you eat. This is not a diet or a diet program. The goal is to get the number of calories you need for optimal health in smaller windows of time. I firmly believe that one or two meals a day is ideal, however, as I will list later, many other protocols work and are successful.

How do you know you are eating enough calories without weighing and measuring everything (check our episode 45 of my podcast for a detailed discussion on why calculating your macros is stupid)? Pay attention to your body. After a couple of weeks with fasting protocols in your life you should not feel hungry, you should feel alert, and you should have lots of energy. If you don’t then you need to eat more. If your clothes start to get tight then you need to eat less.

Second, I want to address a conspiracy theory. And while I am not a crazy conspiracy theory extremist, I do believe that there is something that warrants serious thought.

Why is their so much push-back and resistance to the idea of fasting, from the medical community, from the pharmaceutical community, and from many large institutions, companies, and organizations? It begins with a complete lack of understanding of human nutrition to be sure, however, I believe there is more insidious reasoning at work.

What if everyone did this? What if everyone ate one or two meals a day and only of non-processed and packaged food? What if people were healthier and the obesity epidemic disappeared? What organizations, companies, and industries would be devastated? Would disappear?

I have always believed in questioning everything and coming to intelligent conclusions based on continually asking questions vs. merely following the status quo. So take those questions I just posed and dig a little deeper. Do some research and analysis on the history of food, the history of food systems, and the modern industrialized food systems, and then ask yourself those questions again. I have done this and it shocked me even though I have always thought myself to be well versed on the topic.

I will leave it at that.



To conclude I want to present a brief overview of the best way to begin fasting and how to begin incorporating it into your life by looking at my experience and the experiences of the people whom I have coached through this process.

I began fasting after the evidence of its efficacy became overwhelming. Like most people, my first question was, ‘how do I start?’ I went through all of the same thoughts and feelings you are probably having right now.

I will be hungry. I can’t not eat breakfast. My blood sugar will crash. Etc., etc., etc..

My solution was to simply pick a protocol and dive right in.

I began with one 24 hour fast every week. I would have dinner on Thursday night, and then fast until dinner on Friday night. Typically Friday is a busy day for me so I figured I wouldn’t have a lot of time to sit around and think about food and that the day usually goes by pretty quickly so that would help make it easier.

The first couple of weeks were challenging but definitely not as challenging as I had anticipated. A few headaches were had and some mild hunger pangs happened during the first two or three Fridays. Interestingly, the hunger pangs were always at typical meal times, breakfast and early afternoon. I now believe that was far more psychological than physiological.

After those first few weeks it was easy. Honestly, it was literally easy. Then it started to become something I looked forward to every week. Getting over the feelings that I ‘should’ be eating was the biggest challenge. Thursday night it felt – weird – not eating dinner. Like anything, however, you adapt quickly.

I believe I did this for about a year and as I delved deeper into the learning I wanted to incorporate more fasting. Sometimes it is like tattoo’s, once you start you want more and more. I loved the feeling of being fasted so I wanted to incorporate more fasting to have that feeling more frequently.

I opted to try an experiment with what is commonly referred to as Warrior Fasting. This means eating all of your calories in a four-hour window everyday. You fast for 20 hours and eat within that smaller window. For me this meant eating dinner and then a smaller snack or meal in the evening. Dinner is usually around 630/7pm and then the rest of the food around 10/11pm.

The challenges here was my love of breakfast and getting over the long instilled idea that eating at night, or even worse, before bed, was one of the worst things you could do. The idea was to experiment with this style for two weeks and see how I felt.

That was over 9 months ago now and the result? I would NEVER go back to any other system of eating. Ever. You couldn’t pay me to. I don’t miss breakfast at all. I thought I would but I really don’t. Every once in a while we have breakfast as I don’t believe you should follow a set schedule all the time (more on that later) and everytime I do this I comment the entire day that I don’t feel as good as I normally do.

I feel sharper, more alert, have more energy, and get more shit done, than I ever have. I feel ficking awesome. I love it. I love food, I love cooking, I love spending an evening meal with my wife everyday. I love everything about it.

3 months ago I embarked on a year long Health Odyssey which saw me overhaul much of my diet and many habits as well as add in many new habits (Read about the Odyssey on my Facebook Page and in my Facebook Group). The first six months of this style of fasting I was eating a nutritious and delicious dinner meal but my next group of calories was terrible. Chocolate, chips, cinnamon buns, and a host of other terrible shit non-food that I so dearly love and used to fill the sadness I have not yet kicked at the sudden loss of my mother 6 years ago. That is a story for another day.

Before I overhauled the types of foods I was eating, while I definitely was feeling a lot different, I was buying larger clothes as the shit calories were bulking my gut to balloon-like proportions. Sadness effects us all differently.

Since the beginning of this Odyssey and some dietary changes I am developing a serious problem. I was complaining about this to my wife just the other day. I told her I might have to go back to my old habits and scrap the Odyssey.

Why? My pants are starting to fall off and so many awesome shirts that I have purchased in the last couple of years are beginning to look like drapes on me. My body fat is dropping. My goal is not aesthetic at all but the accumulation of visceral fat was leading me to a road of horrific health consequences that I know enough should be avoided.

Additionally, the food changes have increased my energy, alertness, thinking, industriousness even further. Something I didn’t really expect. This is a perfect example of how important it is to still focus on healthy food even with fasting.

It is an alarming trend within the fitness industry that I see regularly. The idea that you can eat whatever you want, fast, and lose weight. This is NOT THE POINT of fasting. Fuck. If you are interested in ‘eating whatever you want and losing weight’ then I am sorry you have read this far. You have wasted your time. It is imperative that you focus on healthy, whole foods. Period.

What do I eat? Read the book I listed above. That is my food guide. I have coupled this with two years of culinary learning and can say that my wife and I rarely eat out because there are no restaurants in our town that make better food than me. Check my personal instagram if you want to see the meals I eat (taylorsimon_renaissanceman). That is my dinners or main meal.

Here are some examples…..

I have always loved eating at night. My grandmother would have snacks and read until very late hours and my entire life night time snacks have been a highlight and a bonding experience with my family. It is something I really love. I have changed what I eat.

Instead of chips, chocolate, snack food, ice crème, cinnamon buns, and whatever other junk I used to gorge on, I now eat far more nutritious food that I truly love. Most common (not exclusively) I create a small charcuterie board. A couple of different cheeses, dried fruit, fresh fruit, two or three different nuts, seeds, crackers (made myself), and olives or pickles. Yes, all of that. Other times I will toast slices of a sour dough baguette with butter and put smoked salmon on them. A couple of times a month I will make popcorn in oil on the stove and drizzle with melted butter and salt. Every night with a big glass of kombucha an more recently with milk kefir that pretty much tastes like a milkshake.

Looks like this…

Sounds pretty terrible right? It is all real food. Reputably sourced. Hand prepared. And my clothes are starting to drop off. And I eat this sometimes at 10:30pm then go to bed right after. And I sleep like a baby waking up refreshed and happy.

Healthy food is great food, not just for you, but for your enjoyment and taste as well

I would never go back to my old style of eating. I feel awesome. I am far healthier. And life just feels amazing.

These same results are exactly what the people I coach every single day report as well. Some people have a little bit harder time with the initial adaptation phase, however, if they eat better quality food and stick it out, the result is always the same.

And over the long term we are all setting ourselves up as best as we possibly can to maximize our potential for positive long term health.

This is important because these habits aren’t a 100% guarantee you won’t get cancer, or alzheimers, or some other issue, as there is nothing that can give you that guarantee. But these habits are part of the arsenal you can employ to give yourself the best chance possible to avoid so many deleterious health outcomes.



Finally, here are the most common protocols that people follow and where I think most people should start.

PLEASE note: there is something that I love about the term intermittent fasting. It is the word ‘intermittent’ itself. You have to pay attention to this word as it is key.

For all biological organisms there are times of food scarcity and there are times of food plenty. It is never consistent. I do not believe fasting should be consistent. It should have undulations just as our food sources would have had throughout our evolution and before modern food industrialization. We would have had periods of feasting and periods of close to starvation. When you add fasting it is ok to have week with no fasting and periods with 24, 36, 48, or even longer fasting periods. In fact I think it is imperative that is fluctuates like this.

Don’t get stuck on one pattern and adhere to it with religious fervor. Allow for this idea of changing things sporadically.

That being said, here are the most common systems and the ones I like:

5:2

The first really researched protocol on humans was this style. 5 days regular eating with 2 days only eating 500 calories. While the results were present I have found this style to leave people very hungry on those low calorie days as the body never really adapts to the fasting. I have seen very low adherence to this long term and think it should be avoided.

24 Hour

This is where I began by incorporating one 24 hour fast every week. I think this is the second best place to begin for most people, however, I actually like it best as a starting place. I think there needs to be an element of challenge, discomfort, and difficulty to give you something to overcome. This leads to the best change of habit outcome.

16:8

By far the most common method. Fast for a 16 hour period and consume all of your calories in an 8 hour period. How easy is this? Eat dinner at 6pm, then skip breakfast and eat lunch around noon the following day. Most of the fast you are sleeping! It does not have to be those times it is merely important that you get a full 16 hour fasting period.

Beyond these protocols it is up to you. As long as you have a minimum of 16 hours fasted you will be ensuring that all of the benefits previously discussed will become a part of your life. Experiment with it as time goes on to see what works the best for you!!!



Remember that there is no ‘right’ way or ‘only’ way. There is no mandatory system you must adhere to forever. Our food resources have never had that kind of regularity before the early 1900’s. Find YOUR way.

I have taken the time to write this because I truly believe this is one of the most important things you can do for your physical health and for so many other aspects of your life in general. Will there ever be widespread adoption of fasting? I am unsure but I am very doubtful. Our modern western cultures are too focused on obtaining pleasure and avoiding discomfort to explore anything that might be perceived as difficult. While the long term effects of fasting are more pleasurable than the immediate gratification of stuffing our faces with sugar and treats it is s tough sell in this modern age.

If I have inspired even one person to make fasting a part of their lives then I will feel myself accomplished. Everything I do is for the love of my fellow humans. To cut through the marketing bullshit that s our lives and help steer them on a course to the best possible health. I will never quit in this endeavor and will always bring the best of my learning to those who are interested.

Much love to you all,

Coach Taylor

Everything You Need for Optimum Health Is Older Than Your Grandma

 

This is a longer article. It’s going to take a good ten minutes of focused attention. Come on – you can do it!!!! Because this is a vital message.

Everything you need to know about health and fitness happened before 1920. Everything since then is stupid.

I have spent the last few years learning. Deep learning. Most of 2018 I stopped putting out any new content and focused solely on being a student. And it was glorious.

It was also disheartening, scary, thought provoking, eye-opening, and interesting. I wouldn’t say my philosophies or techniques changed. I think I have always known the right path to human health, as I believe that all humans instinctively know deep in our genetic code.

I have spent a lot of time in the modern world of health and fitness, I have learned all the ‘new’ techniques, studied every diet and nutritional strategy, and sometimes been woo’ed by the idea that modern knowledge and technology has somehow created a superior way to care for our health.

This is not true, however.

Everything we need for our health and fitness was being practiced from about 1920 and earlier.

[Side note: modern medical technology is amazing. This is not what I am talking about. If you have been in a horrific accident, developed cancer, have a genetic disease, lost limbs, or a suffer a variety of other ailments that have killed humans in the past, like plagues, bacterial infections, and pandemics, then relying on modern medicine is an amazing aspect of the modern world.

But modern medicine is horrific at prevention and constantly either ignores fitness and nutrition or gets lulled into peddling garbage as doctors are no longer trained in anything other than treatment. I have great respect for aspects of modern medicine, however, this does not mean that it is perfect or that it is missing some huge and very vital components of health. ]

Lol, I do not know how to make this post less ‘boring’ and to get everyone interested enough in the topic to soldier on to the end! Because this is probably the most important information I have ever presented to the public.

This is how I train, how I coach, and how I instruct my team. Everything I am talking about is the culmination of two decades of intense study and learning in the world of human health and fitness. It isn’t going to be flashy or glamorous but it is going to be important.

 

Nothing is Better Than the Old Ways

Yeah, I said it. I fully believe that everything you need for your health and fitness was around before, let’s arbitrarily say, 1920. Nothing. Nothing that has been developed since that time has improved the health and fitness of the human body.

Now, before a bunch of indignant armchair warriors rise up in arms against me, listen. 

  1. Our understanding of the physical sciences has dramatically improved. This has led to the development of a lot of terribly shitty fitness. Body-part splits, selective training, separation of energy systems, and a host of other issues. We have become so enamored with the increasing detailed knowledge base that training and nutrition has become cumbersome and overly specialized. We forgot that the human body works as an integrated unit.
  2. We have really cool looking equipment made out of insanely advanced materials. Cool. We don’t need any of it. It’s all unnecessary. Does that mean that all of the new fangled equipment should be thrown in the garbage? Well, I would argue yes….however, I believe some of it can find a place in your training if you really cannot let go.
  3. Our food systems have been completely decimated and bastardized since the advent of mass production and refrigeration. This is beyond the scope of this article but there is A LOT of very good information out there if you dig in a little.

There. Band-aid ripped off.

Oh but what about how much better athletes are today? Modern athletes would crush athletes from the early 20th century!!! True!

.s¯@

ARE YOU A FUCKING ELITE ATHLETE? No? Then what the fuck is your point? I am not writing about training elite athletes and this is an entirely separate article I could write – STOP TRAINING LIKE AN ELITE ATHLETE UNLESS YOU ARE ONE. We have put elite athletic training up on some pedestal like it is the epitome of health and fitness. It isn’t. Athletes are not healthy. They are impressive but they aren’t healthy. They push their bodies far past the point of good health. They also dedicate their entire life to training. They have hours of practice, training, recovery, and fitness daily. They have entire teams of coaches, trainers, physiotherapists, doctors, massage therapists, chiropractors, psychologists, and athletic therapists supporting them. Because they need it. To handle the beating they put their bodies through.

You are not an elite athlete and you shouldn’t train like an elite athlete.

What do I mean by nothing is better than the old way then? That is literally the entire point of this article.


We need to regress fitness and nutrition to a very different time.


  1. Training wasn’t for decreasing fat and getting jacked biceps.

There was a time when the purpose of physical training was merely to make the body strong and resilient. When was this? From about the early 20th century and going back roughly 4000 years…

There were exercise programs and there were exercise tools. But they were very, very different than the disaster I see today. And for most of human history our lives themselves kept us strong and mobile with the need to grow, raise, and prepare food, look after our homes, and care for our families. Our lives were very physical.

Fitness equipment was first and foremost the body itself. Climbing, jumping, sprinting, and obstacles made up the majority of training. Yes, there was training equipment and we are starting to bring back some of these classic methods such as the mace, stones, and Indian clubs. But note something about these tools: they only existed for two reasons, 1) as weapons, or 2) as tests of strength to assess someone’s ability to handle weapons.

Training was designed to improve strength, resilience, balance, and movement. The goal was always to develop a stronger human capable of doing a variety of things. To be able to handle life.

The outcome goal was to be fitter and stronger, period.

And the training program was not really designed. When formal training programs were instituted it was typically simply a block of time dedicated to working on the body. It was varied, it was intense, and it was doing whatever was available at the moment.

There were no 10% monthly improvement goals, no rest days built in, or recovery weeks. The purpose of training was TO DO REGULAR TRAINING.

Training was for the sake of training. To keep the body ready to handle whatever it needed to handle.

 

  1. It wasn’t about more weight and it shouldn’t be now

There is a limit to how much weight you will ever lift. At some point you will hit your max ever and for the rest of your days it will be a constant downhill slide. How’s that for motivation??!! So why are we so fixated on always, always looking for more?

The same goes for all you ‘cardio’ junkies. There is only so fast you can go on a bike, so fast you can run on a treadmill, so long you can ruin yourself on an elliptical trainer. At some point you can’t or won’t go longer or faster. Then what? A life looking back at what you USED to be able to day.

How motivating.

I have the discussion frequently with people; it shouldn’t be about how much you can lift, it should be about how much do you need to lift.

What are your goals? What are the activities you do in your life on a regular basis? Do you NEED to be able to deadlift 300lbs? No? Then why put yourself at risk of injury trying to get to 300lbs? If you want to be able to pick up a cooler of beer to take to the cottage what you need is to be able to pick up about 40lbs, at a weird awkward angle, carry it beside you and then lift it into the car at yet a more weird and more awkward angle. Barbell deadlifts do not prepare you for that.

‘But coach they make the muscles strong, so then you can do those things!’ Do they? Do they really? There is a big difference between a strong muscle and strong muscle that can actually DO stuff. How many people have I seen over two decades who can deadlift 400lbs and then torque their back to shit picking a case of water bottles out of the car?

One for sure. Me. Lol.

Training historically was never about how much you could lift. It was about what you could do and how long you could do it for. 1RM might be great at a powerlifting meet today but when you had to swing weapons for an hour in a battle or spend half a day chasing prey, or spend a whole day gathering plants or fishing, a good combination of strength and endurance was far more important.

And to all the fitness people out there, AND ESPECIALLY to all the trainers and coaches out there…listen up. And listen hard.

YOU get off on how much you can lift, on the thrill of picking up a bigger dumbbell, on adding another plate to the bar. You talk about it with all your friends, post it on Insta, and add it to your CV like it’s important for some reason.


Are you listening hard?


You. Are. A. Freak. YOU are the abnormality. Not your clients. Not the people sitting on the couch. It’s you. It’s you who is different. Because the VAST MAJORITY of people Do. Not. Give. A. Fuck. about how much they can lift. Oh I know, ‘Mary Sue was so stoked last week when she grabbed that bigger dumbbell!’ Ok. Check with her again in 3 years if that is still her guiding force.

Oh. And most of your clients are abnormalities too. They are the people who are actually doing something for their fitness. A small minority of the population. And know why most of them won’t be training in 3 years? Because they don’t give a fuck about how much weight they can lift.

It doesn’t matter how much you can lift. It doesn’t matter how much endurance you have. It matters that you have the strength and endurance to be healthy and to do the things you like to do.

 

  1. Machines Didn’t (Shouldn’t) Exist

Machines came about during the first world war. A man by the Name of Alexander Mackenzie became interested in helping the men wounded and maimed in the first world war live better lives. The birth of physiotherapy followed.

For my purpose here we will simply need to understand that he began to create machines to figure out how to help these men get stronger because they could no longer do proper fitness training.

Somehow we have come to a place where machines are considered normal for exercise. It is the expectation that a gym be filled with torturous looking constructs of steel with an array of cables running through pulleys that require months just to understand. Why? Why are we there?

I often am presented the argument that machines are more effective and that they are safer. No. And No.

More effective? More effective at what? Yes they can isolate a specific muscle and strength just that one place in that one specific range.

WHY DO YOU WANT TO DO THAT? It’s weird. It literally makes no sense. Oh, and IT ISN’T HOW THE BODY WORKS. Our body is an interconnected system that balances and supports itself in a beautiful symphony of movement. Exercise machines completely destroy all of this.

Safer? How are they possibly safer? I think they are the opposite of safe. They fuck up your basic movement ability leaving you are way higher risk for issues in your everyday life. You know, like when you carry groceries, or your kids, or have to lift that pesky cooler of beer into the car…

Life doesn’t happen in controlled predictable ways moving through set ranges of motion. Training it that way leads to far more harm than it does good. Exercise machines are stupid.

And this included the exercise bikes, ellipticals, treadmills, and whatever other new contraption your local gym has installed to keep you interested. They are all stupid. They are all stupid. They are all stupid. Am I being clear enough?

Want to have some fun? Grab a couple of machine junkies, either cardio or weight machines, and get them to push a heavy sled, toss some battle ropes, sprint up a hill, or jump onto a box 50 times. Just see how hard that is for them. Watch them suffer.

Trust me, it’s fun!!!!

Because those machines are NOT getting them fitter, they are masking how unfit they really are. Or letting them hide behind poor movement and injury. If you can’t jump on a box or push a sled or carry a heavy kettlebell across the gym floor but you can elliptical then you are hiding. You have to get yourself to a point that you can do those things or your movement will degrade to the point you won’t be able to do anything.

 

  1. No one separated ‘cardio’ and ‘strength

I am not going to spend much time on this. Why? I have ranted on about it enough in my career and frankly the whole idea of doing this is so fucking stupid that I am totally in shock that it is even debated anymore, or that it is still a thing.

Your cardiovascular system and your muscular system do not work independently of each other. That is literally basic physiology. Like, that’s basic biology most high school students could explain to you. Muscles need oxygen when they work, therefore, the heart and lungs must work to get oxygen to the muscles.

There is your reason.

Now, all of you researchers out there, stop being idiots. Stop basing your research on either strength training or ‘cardio’ training. Enough is enough. The body works as a unit, let’s start studying it as a unit.

Thanks.

 

  1. No one went for a jog or took up running

Why? Because it’s stupid. Lol. But it is. Walking and running are activities with a purpose – to get us places, to get away from something that was going to eat us, or to catch something we wanted to eat. If we didn’t have to do one of those things then you minimized these activities.

I am not going to dive into the history of the running movement. Look it up if you like. I can’t spoon feed you everything.

Our bodies are designed to run and to sprint when we need them to. And they are fucking fantastic at it. But they were not designed to run, and run, and run, and run, and run. Nor were they designed to ONLY run.

We ran sometimes (see above reasons for running) but then we also lifted things, threw things, built things, gathered things, moved things. And stuff. We did all of those things with stuff as well.

Not today though. Today ‘runners’ are about as annoying as vegans. They are a self-righteous group of people who don’t actually understand what it is they are doing. Do you know the stats? 80% of runners have pain or injury at any given time. What? But no one see’s an issue here? You shouldn’t be this injured or in pain.

Running is a limited range of motion activity that decreases markers of cardiovascular health, wreaks havoc on numerous body systems, and completely throws off proper movement patterns.

CAN you run? Sure. I think everyone should do some running, especially sprinting! However, it should be a small percentage of your overall movement and training. You know, like what it was designed to be.

We were NOT meant to run hundred of kilometers a week. We just weren’t.

 

  1. Nutrition was easy

 

Before the 1920’s nutrition was easy. Everything was local, naturally raised, pasture fed, non-processed, seasonal and fermented. Restaurants barely existed, food manufacturing was in it’s infancy, and people ate well. (Let’s ignore the issues with poverty and access for this article please). Literally, you couldn’t eat poorly.

Cakes and cookies etc. existed but they were rare and expensive. So you had things like that as a treat on very special occasions. There were no hydrogenated oils. No chemical stabilizers.

You had to cut and prepare all of your food. You had to know how to cook. You prepared food as a family and as a community.

You ate once a day, maybe twice on average. This would have been a pre-1900 and really pre-industrial revolution which is where we begin to see the advent of breakfast and scheduled eating. Before that we ate like all other animals on earth: when food was available and when we had time. Typically, lunch was a large meal. There were no scheduled snacks and breakfast pretty much didn’t exist. Look it up, this is real history. Now we call it intermittent fasting but it is really just the way we evolved to live.

Fast food, deep fryers, and packaged food didn’t exist.

Food was seasonal. In off seasons (like winter in Canada) we relied on fermentation to have food supply. This kept us stocked up on good bacteria and our micro biomes healthy and happy.

Done. There it is. Everything you need to do to eat healthy. Eat like we did before the 20th century.

 

  1. Sacrifice, hardship, and pain

I think this is the most important thing we need to consider.

Our modern culture is fixated on ease and on taking away any kind of hardship. We create products and systems to minimize pain and discomfort. Everything with health and fitness is designed to be easy, quick, simple, painless.

This is not normal.

Pain is real. It sends signals we need. When you learn to play the guitar it hurts. But your fingers build up callouses. The same as doing pullups. At first it hurts. Your poor little modern baby hands will hate it. But you keep going and you will build callouses. And then it won’t hurt as much.

Hardship is real. Historically people trained because life was training. Life was hard. Everything was physical. You didn’t get to go to every party. Vacations? What the hell are those? Is that when you are off to war for a couple of years in a foreign land? Which is also why you were training with those heavy maces, consequently. You had to work the farm, build a barn, fix your house, care for your animals, grow your food.

Sacrifice was part of life. It just existed. It didn’t matter if you didn’t feel like feeding the livestock that day. It didn’t matter if you wanted to do something else. No one cared. It was life. You didn’t get to do what you want whenever you wanted to. Sometimes FOREVER. For your whole fucking life.

We are built to deal with these things. This is what makes us strong and resilient. And while you may think this is a strange thing to add to this article, I am telling you that this is the most important part.

 

Conclusion

 

Life itself was training before the early twentieth century and early, to the dawn of humanity. Literally just staying alive and feeding ourselves required an enormous amount of physical labour. There are lessons we must take from this to live a healthier life now.

 

  • Do physical activity every single day
  • Fitness should be based on whole body training
  • Fitness should be ancient tools or just your bodyweight
  • Mix it up with different activites: run, sprint, climb trees, swim, swing a mace, carry heavy things all over, throw stuff, roll around on the ground, act like a kid, hang upside down.
  • Deal with the pain and discomfort, it makes you stronger
  • It is a challenge. It isn’t easy. But you have to do it. You have to schedule it. You have to suck it up. It doesn’t matter if you like it or not. Do it. Or you are an asshole.
  • Eat once or twice a day
  • Eat less red meat, more poultry and seafood
  • Eat veggies and fruits and whole grains
  • Eat eggs
  • Eat fermented food everyday
  • Always be learning new skills

 

That is the roadmap for you to be healthy, strong and fit for the rest of your life.

And that, my friends, should be the goal.

 

-Coach Taylor

 

 

 

Fitness Should Be A Chore

I can feel the fitness industry cringe as they read the title of this article.

There will be a backlash coming for sure. “How could you say that Coach Taylor? We have to make fitness fun and exciting for people to keep them interested and help them change their life!”


 


After 15 years working full time in this industry I would just have one question to all of those who disagree with me: how is that working out for you?

Seriously. Let’s just try for one second to look at the ACTUAL statistics instead of further diving into the magical unicorn wonderland that exists inside the heads of all the well meaning but grossly maligned people working in the fitness industry.

Obesity is on the rise.

Participation in fitness programs is stagnant.

Diabetes is on the rise.

Heart disease is not disappearing.

Joint replacement surgeries, bariatric surgeries, and other medical procedures related to poor fitness are all on the rise.

Depression is on the rise.

I could continue this list for most of my morning. However, I believe I have made my point.

The entire fitness industry has acted with alarming repetition for the last 4 decades. Fun. Interest. Excitement. The keywords that guide every fitness program and are puked out of the mouths of almost every speaker at every conference I have ever attended.

The thought is that we need to entice and coax people into a fitness environment that they enjoy and find fun in order to get them healthy and exercising. The whole industry does everything they can to make sure people have a plethora of options so that they can choose something that work the best for them. If we can help people find that one thing that they love doing then all of their health and fitness problems will be solved!

And guess what? YOU SHOULD LVOE LIFTING WEIGHTS! Or, YOU SHOULD LOVE RUNNING.

Not only do we want to make sure you love what you are doing, we also know what is best for you and will spend exorbitant amounts of time coercing and convincing you that you will love it too!

Three weeks! That’s all it takes to make a habit! You just have to stick it out for three weeks and then you’ll also love getting up at 5am, chowing egg whites and cabbage before heading to the gym to throw some iron around! Don’t worry you’ll love it! Look at me, look at me, look at me!!! See how much I love it!!!! And have you seen the latest half naked pic of me on my Instagram feed? Don’t I look awesome? Don’t you want to look awesome like me?

All you have to do is find out what you like doing that fits within the same things that I do and tough it out for three weeks and then fucking BAMMMO…..you will also be living inside my magical unicorn wonderland!!!!!!

Again fitness industry….how it that working out for you?

We need to flip the script. To change everything. To completely revamp the message and the practice.

I have evolved. And now you all need to live inside MY magical unicorn wonderland.

Lol, that’s a joke for all the idiots who are going to message me later about my huge ego and how I have no fucking idea what I am talking about. Don’t bother, there is a very high likelihood I don’t much care about your opinion.

Why?

I am old. Very, very old. I am pushing towards 40 years old and have been doing this full time as a career for over 15 years. Literally, when this became my career the majority of today’s fitness trainers and coaches were averaging in age around 5 to 10 years old. If you survey fitness professionals with more than a decade of full time experience and are around 40 years of age or older I would suspect they would tell you the same thing I am about to tell you.

I don’t know for sure though as it is a tough group of people to question as they are more concerned with actually working to make peoples lives better and aren’t answering the latest insta story survey question.

Alas….I digress again.

Fitness should be a chore.

No, wait. Let’s make that a more assertive statement.

Fitness IS a chore.

I hear the chorus of voices now, ‘but I love fitness, it isn’t a chore at all!’ I hear you. You just might think that.

Did you know there are actually people who LIKE gardening? Who LIKE cleaning their house? There are even humans that exist who LIKE cooking their own food!

But for the vast majority of people all of those activities are chores.

They are all activities that HAVE to get done in order for us to live and be healthy. We let farmers do our gardening. We either force ourselves to clean or join the growing trend of hiring house cleaners so we can avoid that as well. And most people wouldn’t know the difference between sautéing, steaming, boiling, or roasting their veggies anymore. Because that is just so much work.

These three examples are great to elucidate the fact that fitness led the pack many decades ago of things that are vital to humans that we will not do if given the chance.

And I truly believe that it is destroying us.

The great social experiment has to end. We have tried. We have tried to convince people to exercise. We have tried to make it fun, inviting, and entertaining. It hasn’t worked.

Now more than ever we must change the entire way we perceive health and fitness. Because we are on a treacherous path that is getting worse and most people have their heads stuck in the sand.

People don’t open their own car doors anymore. Chop or prepare their own food. Walk anywhere. Fuck, grocery DELIVERY is becoming more popular. We are so lazy now we can’t even be bothered going to a store to collect the food that has been grown, harvested, and prepared already for us.

We are moving less and less and less. If you truly look at how much you move in a day and go even deeper and look at the quality of that extremely small amount of movement I believe most people, including those working in the industry, would be truly shocked. It is horrific. It is scary. It needs to change.

And we need to change our entire collective attitude about it.

Fitness is a chore.

We need to coach it as a chore.

We need to treat it like a chore.

We need to market like a chore.

It needs TO BE a chore.

I am going to let you in on my philosophy of physical fitness:

 

I.Do. Not. Care. If. You. Like. Your. Fitness. Program.

 

I don’t care if it’s boring, I don’t care if it’s not exciting, I don’t care if you have done that exercise twice this month already, I don’t care if you don’t like getting up early, I don’t care if Netflix just released a whole season of Stranger Things and you need to binge it right now.

I. Do. Not. Give. A. Fuck.

What I do care about it that you are able to move better tomorrow. I care that you are able to wipe your own ass when you are 70. I care that you can take that dream vacation to Europe and you don’t have to spend it riding around on a bus merely looking at landmarks as you pass by. I care that you don’t have high blood pressure. I care that you don’t develop type 2 diabetes. I care that you can take our dog outside and enjoy watching them frolic in the grass while the sun warms your face and you sip a freshly ground coffee.

How much you ‘like’ getting to that place is irrelevant.

We live in a culture of excess and comfort that is beyond anything humans have experienced in our thousands of years of evolution. And if we continue to view our fitness as something that we don’t have to do simply because we don’t like it and it makes us a little uncomfortable then we must prepare to build more braces, commit to more surgeries, and get a drug plan subscription in order to keep our hearts still beating.

It is a truly horrific path that we are walking down.

And I won’t be a part of it anymore.

If you can find physical activity that you love and you get excited for I think that is truly awesome. Keep it up!

But for the other 90%…

It’s over. Your lazy, excuse fueled, bullshit rhetoric of why do choose to let your bodies die a slow death while you agonize over the atrophy of decay that is so visceral you can smell it, just won’t work on me anymore.

I am here to help those who want advice and who want to make their lives better.

I am not here to be your entertainer, your friend, your confidant, your motivator, or your therapist.

I am here to be your health and fitness coach. I will tell you exactly what you need to do to ensure the best chance of a long and active time on this earth.

I don’t care if you like it. I only care that you do it.

And if you do then you will be in a position to truly make the most of this precious thing you have been granted that so many are deprived of: Life.

 

-Coach 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.

health covers

 

 

 

 

 

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.

magnolia-active-lifestyle-600x400-480x400

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Meal-Plan-Monday-Week-5

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.

Fasting-black-and-white

 

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…..

personal-trainer-with-clipboard

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.

Posture-Chart-Wall-and-Door-Sizes-with-Plumb-bob

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?

beurer-bg51-xxl-diagnostic-scale

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.”

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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.

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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?

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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