The other day, I had a client mention that he saw a photo from my last Whole30 challenge. He paid me a really nice complement, saying “You looked shredded dude. I’ve never seen someone look like that.” Then he followed that statement up with: ”You’re a genetic freak man.”
Now, I know this client was trying to give me a compliment and had the best intentions, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized it bothered me. Saying someone is a “genetic freak” takes away from all the hours, months, and years of hard work they put in. It also sets up a situation where you can make an excuse. ”I don’t have the genes for that kind of body.” ”I’d never be able to get there.” ”I can never compete with guys/girls like that.” That’s not how you #getyourmindright. It’s simply setting you up for failure before you’ve even begun.
Let’s be clear. Genes set the stage, and probably determine what our maximum potential is, but it is how those genes are EXPRESSED, i.e. our phenotype, that truly determines how much of that potential we achieve – and that is dependent on environment. And environment IS something that you can control, at least in part. Here are four different environments I focus on in my life and with my clients: Continue reading →
Why do you work out? Why do you eat the way you do? What is your end-goal? While these questions may seem simple on the surface, I think its time we took a good, hard look at what truly motivates us and why.
You see, the fitness industry is ill. It’s been infected by negative images, misinformation, and too many people trying sell you on why you aren’t good enough, and how to fix it. I can’t stand it any more. Nothing drives me up the wall like listening to good, caring, hard-working people talk about how they hate their bodies, about how they’ll starve themselves to lose 5 more pounds, about how they just wish they looked like this, or could get rid of that fat under their arm. And don’t think I’m only talking about women: men are in the same boat, though the overall pressure on them to fit into a certain body-type is arguably different.
Let’s take a look at different messages we are fed by the media, our peers, and ourselves, why they suck, and how things could be so much better. Continue reading →
After several more months of my no soap, no shampoo regimen, I started having dandruff issues. Not horrible, but there all the same. It started with the hot summer weather. Eventually I decided to try a natural alternative to shampoo recommended by Nature Mom‘s: baking soda and lemon juice.
So far (2 months +) my experience has been great. I wash my hair twice a week by taking about 2 Tbs of baking soda, adding a splash of water, and scrubbing the resulting paste into my roots. After you rinse it out, your hair will feel, for lack of a better term, “waxy”. This is where the lemon juice comes in. I take a table spoon or two, pour it into a small cup, and fill the rest with water. Pour the lemon juice over your head and scrub one more time, and then rinse thoroughly. No more dandruff problems, and I smell great after a shower. Plus you still avoid all those nasty chemicals that can be found in shampoo. Check out the Nature Mom’s post for other natural solutions to combat frizzy hair, greasy hair, and itchy scalp.
Still no body soap necessary. Just a bath towel to scrub with.
Note: I’ve updated the original post to contain this info as well. :)
This month I’ll be finishing up my job as an English teacher abroad and returning to the states to pursue Personal Training. On my last day in the office, the head of the Board of Education came over to me and handed me a slip of paper. Across the top he had scribbled “5 Traits of a Leader.” Hamada-kaicho, who is 71 and still plays in a basketball league for 30-40 year olds, has been involved in public service since he joined the police force at the age of 20. Over the past two years, I’ve come to know him as a kind, thoughtful, and deeply spiritual man whose words always carry weight with those around him. I’d like to share with you what he wrote down for me.
人道を忘れず (Jindo wo wasurezu): Never forget your humanity.
基本を忘れず (Kihon wo wasurezu): Never forget the basics.
感謝を忘れず (Kansha wo wasurezu): Never forget to be thankful.
自然を忘れず (Shizen wo wasurezu): Never forget nature.
相手を忘れず (Aite wo wasurezu): Never forget the other person.
The elegance of the words in Japanese are difficult for me to capture, but I hope you take something from it, all the same.
The latest post in Stephan Guyunet’s ongoing series about food reward and how it affects obesity (or body-fat set point) is out, and it comes with recommendations for how to lower body-fat. I’ve been waiting for this post for a while. I’ve really enjoyed reading about food reward theory, but was unclear about how to put it into practice. I was more than a little worried that I would have to be even more strict about my food choices. Luckily, that isn’t the case. But before we get to my thoughts on that, let’s do a quick overview of food reward theory for those of you new to the concept.
What the heck is food reward anyway?
“Food reward is the process by which eating specific foods reinforces behaviors that favor the acquisition and consumption of the food in question.”(1) Our brain rewards us for good behavior – behavior that it perceives as positive for our survival – and discourages behavior that it perceives as threatening. As you can imagine, this was quite useful for the survival of our species. Fire causes pain, so don’t touch fire, etc. This same system of reward also extends to food. There are several qualities in food that we are programmed to seek out, such as: fat, starch, sugar, salt, meatiness, absence of bitterness (though we can learn to like this in the right context [i.e. beer]), certain food textures, certain aromas, and caloric-dense foods.(2) In the natural environment, foods that contained a high amount of sugar/salt/etc. would have been very limited in quantity, and prized whenever found. As these food qualities were important to our survival, it is completely natural to crave them. Continue reading →