Fitness – The End Game Fitness

Why You’re Not an Athlete and How You’ve Been Misled

So human beings move towards pleasure and away from pain. In the past this has been a huge factor in our ability to survive; however, in the modern environment, pleasure comes in the form of canned soda and pierogis. It comes in the form of Lay-Z Boy recliners and moving staircases. Just watch the next time how many people take the escalator over the stairs. It’s insane! Pleasure is making us fat and unhealthy.

Here’s the relieving part – it’s not your fault. At all. And it never has been. Your instincts tell you to preserve energy and stay as rested as possible for the next hunt, because if our ancestors didn’t catch anything, it was life or death.

Carbohydrates used to be far scarcer than they are today. Scientifically, they are the best form of energy for your body and our instincts tell us to eat them because they think might be a while before we find good healthy carbohydrates to keep us moving. The problem is that our modern environment has made it possible to have an abundance of carbohydrates in any meal, at any time of the day. Food company giants have clinically tested and engineered food by modifying the mouth feel of these carbs and processing the salts within them, sometimes more than 12 times, so that when you put it in your mouth, your instincts go absolutely insane. “Betcha can’t eat just one”, sound familiar?

So here’s the problem in a nutshell: we don’t want to exercise and we don’t have to, we want carbohydrates always and now you can even use a smartphone to have them delivered right to your doorstep. Never before has it been more difficult to balance your energy levels and get your butt off the couch!

Just like our school systems with pass or fail, we have the mentality that if we are not good at something, it’s just not our forte. If you’re not “naturally” good at it, it’s okay not to challenge yourself by working to improve it. Have you ever said something like, “I’m just not good at math”?
The truth is, human beings can learn and do almost anything they put their minds to. The reason you’re not good at math, for the most part, is because you believed yourself long ago when you told yourself you’re not good at math. Whatever you spend your time doing, you can master. It took Mozart 9 years to master his compositional brilliance. It took Bill Gates 10 years to build Microsoft; from age 20 to 30 he never took one day off – not even one. If you work hard enough at anything, you can be anything, period.

What I know to be true is that I took an obese diabetic and made him an athlete. He became so functional that while playing a baseball game, he was hit in the chest with the ball and it had left a massive bruise. I’d asked him after how it happened and he told me, “Well to be honest I had never been able to run that fast to the baseball before and by the time I had realized that I not only got to the ball, but got there early, I panicked and the ball hit me in the chest instead of my glove. I actually enjoy having the bruise as a reminder of how athletic I am becoming.” The man had no idea he could move!

Here’s the takeaway. You know that gym-nut friend you have that hates missing workouts? Who tells you all the time how much they love it and how great it is? Then you go and try to exercise and it’s painful, unenjoyable, hard and time- consuming. Not to mention how you can’t stand up from the toilet for about 3 days after. What’s wrong with you? Well, it’s okay, you’re just not an athlete. Right? Absolutely WRONG!

Here’s the thing, we are all wired to enjoy exercise, but only after you have begun moving. No one enjoys dragging themselves to the gym every day, hell I’ve been exercising rigorously for more than 25 years and I still hate it some days. But instinctually we are wired with pleasure sensors and release more serotonin and dopamine once we have begun exercising so that we continue exercising. Think about it, if we were discouraged once exercising to stop, we never would have caught anything on our ancestral hunting sessions. After long bouts of intense exercise, you get that “high” of endorphins rushing through your system. This is actually a survival mechanism to move humans towards pleasure!!!!!

We are all wired to be athletes. You just have to put in the work to change your habits. That is the hardest part. I have helped hundreds of people get into the best shape of their life, and more than 75% of them thought they “weren’t athletes”. Stop lying to yourself, and stop denying your instinctual right to move. Change your habits and you can start moving like my client Kyle. Just beware of baseballs.

What is the most important macronutrient?

While all three of the base macronutrients are important for different reasons (carbs and fats mainly for energy, proteins for growth), people often miss the most important building block of them all. Water. Water is responsible for everything. It is the backbone of every existence, not just human physiology. Most people know they need to drink more water, but this post should give you a better understanding as to how much you really need each day and why.

Evolutionarily speaking, we came from the ocean. Our mineral-rich, fluid-based body helps us move around and regulates our biological functions. Our body is composed of about 55-60% water. (If you weigh 200lbs, about 120lbs of that is water!) Water levels vary throughout your body: your muscles and brain are about 75% water, your blood is 83% water and our eyes are 95% water! Pretty crazy eh?

Even more interesting is what all of this water does for us. Without getting too nerdy, I will try and explain. Water provides nutrients like magnesium and zinc. It also transports nutrients throughout your body and regulates body temperature. It is the backbone of your metabolism – you know, the process entirely responsible for regulating your digestion? In other words, water is important. As a baseline in my coaching practice, my first step with my clients is always the water question. How much do you drink every day?
Dr. John Berardi, founder of Precision Nutrition, suggests drinking roughly 30-40 milliliters (mL) of water for every kilogram (kg) of body weight, daily. For the sake of simplicity, I used 35mL/kg in my personal equation, which breaks down for me as:

84kg x 35mL = 2940mL or 2.9L

Whether you are trying to gain muscle or lose body fat, the first and most important step is DRINK MORE WATER! For fat loss, water boosts metabolism and regulates so many important bodily functions that as soon as you start to consume more water, you start – you guessed it – losing weight! For building muscle, water hydrates our cellular structure. When the cells are hydrated effectively, they function better overall and improve a process called muscle protein synthesis, aka, using proteins most efficiently, which leads to muscle growth.

If I still haven’t sold you on the magic of drinking water, I encourage you to look at the stats. People can live for longer than 21 days without food, but at most last only 3 days without water. Water is mandatory for life and proper functioning. Increase your water intake! Use Berardi’s measure as a guide to drink (at least) the amount experts in nutrition today are recommending.

There is one prevalent problem that we have yet to consider: COFFEE! Everyone loves it, or has learned to love it, because, well, it keeps you awake. And one might think that the more coffee you drink, the more water you’ve ingested, but the problem is that coffee acts as an active diuretic. Which means it makes you pee! (Before your body can utilize that water.)
As a nutritional guideline, for every 500mL of coffee you drink, it needs to be replaced with an additional liter of water. An average cup of coffee is just under 250mL. So if you drink your recommended 3L of water (based on my results above) plus two coffees in a day, you will actually need to drink 4L of water that day in order to compensate. I am a coffee lover, don’t get me wrong, but having more than one per day is just way too much of a task to stay hydrated for optimal muscle growth and fat loss.

Here’s how I do it. I have a filtration system in my home to avoid the contaminants in tap water and the environmental issues of buying bottled water. (PS – it’s also cheaper. I pay $16/month to a company called HOMEwater to filter my tap water and remove all of its contaminants, and every 6 months they come and replace the filters. You can also use companies that offer reverse osmosis like Pristine Solutions… Google it!) . When I wake up in the morning, I drink 500mL of water in a veggie/protein smoothie. I pour 3L of water into bottles (stainless steel or glass only, steer clear of plastic’s BPA folks) and take them with me to work, finishing them before I leave. When I arrive home at night, I am sure to drink a glass or two as I am winding down (usually in the form of tea – this counts!). This puts me above 4L of water every day, which is exceptional – but as I’m sure you’ve guessed, I drink a cup of coffee every morning on my way to work. This puts me back into the 3L zone of acceptable hydration.

This might seem like a lot just to ensure you drink enough water, but like I said, it’s crucial for functioning, and for the achievement any fitness goal you may have. To make it easier for yourself, you can buy those mammoth mugs that gym nuts carry around, or mark your bottles with hourly goals. It all comes back to habits. If you can build this into your daily regime, trust me, it will benefit you in ways you can’t imagine. It may seem like an inconvenience, but I assure you, it is far less inconvenient than getting diseases too young, or struggling with weight loss for years because you simply couldn’t master this simple thing we call H20.

Is Working With a Personal Trainer Worth It?

You can find information anywhere on the web. You can also use this information in any way you wish, without warning or guidance. But why would you? Why risk injury or wasted efforts? In such a specialized society, we each play a vital role in the function of civilization. If you want to fly to Fiji on a paradise vacation, would you want to fly the plane without any training? If your vehicle has broken down, would you want to fix it? Sure, you could say yes I want to do all of those things but that’s just your ego talking. Truth be told, it takes human beings roughly 10 years to master any skill to the point of excellence.

Just like car mechanics, coaches can be a dime a dozen and they might not always fix your vehicle properly or for the right price. But if you find the right specialist, you will be humming along in no time, better than when you arrived for the price the service deserves. Before you go diving in to find just any coach, spend the time necessary to ensure your coach knows what they’re doing and have helped people in your situation before.

The real value of the coach comes from mastery. Much like when you attend a lecture at a university, the professor teaching the class has had years and years of experience in the field of study being discussed. You are learning from an expert. You might not see it the same way, but a good coach has spent years doing the research, trialing the exercise programs and testing them on themselves. A good coach can cut your learning curve down from 10 years to 6 months. You not only save yourself the time, but the emotional trauma of failing – because trust me, it is hard as hell to get the fitness thing right the first time, or even the fifth time, you try it alone.

Sure, you might say it’s too expensive. I’m saying it’s an investment, and it’s worth it. Every single penny, and then some. It comes down to priorities. Many people don’t have a problem buying a new car, and the average price of a car is over $25,000. Often these vehicles are used and some even break down within 5 years, and there you go again purchasing another one. A good coach costs a fraction of that, and your body is the only vehicle you have for the rest of your life!!!

I’ll give you another example. Many of us enroll in college or university after high school; it takes 3-4 years to complete, and the average debt of each graduate leaving school is $30,000. An education in fitness doesn’t consume years of your life (unless you want it to, like me), and absolutely everyone can use it. Here’s the kicker, from a good coach, it costs less than $10,000 for an effective education. If this number still seems high to you, start re-reading this post.

Okay, I understand, you could read this over and over and that $10,000 could still seem like a lot to fathom. Here’s why it’s not. $10,000 invested into a good coach can entirely change your health and fitness habits for life (not just when you’re with them). It has been found that, on average, every minute spent doing effective exercise adds at least 7 minutes to the length of your life. Work out for an hour, four times a week, and that is an additional 28 hours you’ve added onto your lifespan. In a week! In fifty years, you’ve added 8 whole years! Therefore, working with a personal trainer to help you create these long-lasting, effective habits rewards you with the ultimate prize – an additional 8 years with your loved ones. You can’t tell me $10,000 isn’t worth living another 8 years!

Here are more statistics. Gym owners need 10 times the number of members signed up than their gym’s capacity allows in order to even turn a profit. Meaning when you sign up to a gym they don’t necessarily want you to use it all the time, because if every member went every day, they would risk hitting capacity. Luckily for them, the average gym goer only walks into the gym about twice a month. Is this you? Are you paying for a barely-used membership, based on good intentions but no action? What are you paying for? Working with a coach makes it 9 times more likely that you will achieve your goals. You’re 9 times more likely to live a long and healthy life. So here’s what I am offering you. Instead of merely owning the snazzy gym tag on the keys to your $27,000 car, you can also own a nice body. One that you can drive for the rest of your life. Now this vehicle doesn’t come with air conditioning or adjustable seats. This vehicle is actually the only model ever made, and it’s your own unique body. But here are the perks of the purchase. Confidence, self-worth, high energy levels, a clean bill of health, the ability to run around with your kids, grandkids and family members. It’s the ability to do anything you want. From Iron Man races to simply being able to take the stairs when you’re 80. The choice is yours, but the next time someone asks you if you think personal training is worth it? You’ll say: ______. Fill in the blank.

Ask yourself why the person who makes $100,000 per year is looked up to over the person who makes $30,000 per year? In Western society, we associate the ability to create material worth with value. That person could be a criminal, with the worst possible past and we could still value them higher than the lower income earner. Why? Social bias. We have been told that the correct life trajectory is the following: go to school, get a job, make good money, get married, have kids, and retire. We’ve been socialized this way as far back as we can remember, as if this is the only moral standard for how to live your life.

Let’s say your income increases by $5,000 every year from the age of 30-50. By age 50 you would make, at the absolute minimum, $100,000 per year. Even if your salary remained the same for the next fifteen years, That means you can make with those 15 years, another $1.5 million dollars. From the initial investment of $10,000 to $1.5 million is a return on investment of 15000%. What the heck kind of investment is that!? Sure you could retire earlier, sure you might not make that much money, but your telling me without even playing with those logical numbers that