Knowing about myelin changes the way we see the world.

The Talent Code

In short, talent (and inherent awesomeness) is bogus and research into myelin (pronounced just like it reads) is proving that.

Myelin, insulation that wraps neural circuits, is showing us that when this grows (such as with practice), our skills grow as well. When it shrinks (such as with disease and age), however, we become less capable and our skills (or talent) are diminished.

Myelin is showing us that, in large part, what we want to achieve is NOT fixed and who want to become IS possible.

This is what it looks like:

  1. Every human movement, thought or feeling is a precisely timed electric signal traveling through a chain of neurons – a circuit of nerve fibers.
  2. Myelin is the insulation that wraps these nerve fibers and increases signal, strength, and accuracy.
  3. The more we fire a particular circuit, the more myelin optimizes that circuit, and the stronger, faster, and more fluent our movements and thoughts become.

So the more we fire a circuit (say practice a cartwheel), the more myelin is created to make that movement smoother and natural.

This reaffirms something we already know: Practice makes us better.

Just practicing something, however, is not enough to become awesome at it.

It’s not about how many pitches we can throw, how many reps we can do, or how far we can run. We have to take into account the quality of our action as well.

Did you know every time we do a deadlift with horrific form, we are growing our myelin (to make that bad form more natural)? And every time we check facebook, we are growing our myelin (so that next time it will be easier to log on)?

We are training ourselves, both in good and bad action. Because of this, we have to be smart about how we grow our myelin.


You want to become a strong mofo? When in doubt, practice the methods of olympic lifters and gymnasts. By this, I mean follow a high frequency program (every or every other day) of exercises that are quite heavy (70 – 90% of 1rm), high in sets ( 20 +), but low in reps (1-3).

This is how I managed a body weight military press, a #140 turkish get up, +25 consecutive pullups, and how I am currently training my handstands.

To ensure that the myelin growth is the growth you want, use a video and/or a coach for feedback.


Love, gratitude, empathy, and other forms of positive thinking are a skill. And in today’s world, this is not a natural skill to have as it often goes against our “dog eat dog” capitalist attitude.

For this, surround yourself with positivity: Read books, watch documentaries, and listen to people as they share their own love and passion.

It’s contagious. :)


Are we really bad at math? Or have none of us really made an effort to become good at it?

I thought I was bad, that is, until I started doing math problems in my head (on long drives and just for fun). Now I am pretty damn good (…because of pretty damn good practice).

Challenge yourself in reading, writing, speaking, and arithmetic.

Our mind needs exercise too.


How well we are able to sell ourselves (both as a human being and a business person) as well as our ideas will have a phenomenal impact on our life.

Whenever you hear someone say something such as “It’s political” you can guess that someone got passed up, didn’t win, or (insert whatever) because they were not able to sell themselves as effectively as the other person. Now obviously this “selling” can go beyond interpersonal matters ( like money or connections), but communicating still has a large say on it.

So learn how to communicate (understand our shared psychology and human nature) and apply ( talk 1 on 1, groups, different mediums, etc.).

To neglect either one could result in a failure to sell.


  1. Nerve firings grow myelin => myelin controls impulse speed => impulse speed is skill
  2. We decide how good of form we are using and if this myelin growth is for our exercise habit or for smoking.
  3. We know how to do it. It’s on us now.

Struggle is not optional – it’s neurologically required. In order to get your skill circuit to fire optimally, you must by definition fire the circuit suboptimally; you must make mistakes and pay attention to these mistakes; you must slowly teach your circuit.

Note: All the science and the quotes are from chapter 2 of The Talent Code.


[Autodidactism means self-directed learning. As an autodidact, you teach yourself. In learning anatomy and physiology, no where else will this be more needed.]

The way we typically go about learning Anatomy and Physiology (i.e. in a school setting) is, and I don’t mean to offend anyone with these words, funking retarded.

It’s all-theory and all-mind.

And because it’s usually “learned” through cramming, it is information that is easily forgot.

If we want to train ourselves (and everyone does), however, we have to learn these symbols (words like “internal rotation of the humerus” and “latissimus dorsi“) that we are playing with.

Failure to do so will not only have us being the person 20 years down the exercise road who still points to muscles and mimics movements when discussing their program, but also still has to rely on trainers (to design proper programs) and physios (to repair thesmelves from following unbalanced ones).

The truth is, no one is going to be a better trainer than you or I. We all have an innate intelligence that only we can tap into. Dipping into some objective science, however, will be required first.


Step 1: Exercise

Our brain was built for movement. Need I say more?


Step 2: Buy an anatomy book

First and foremost, our best companion will be Dr. Google. After we feel a little comfortable with terms, however, buying an anatomy book and/or poster will be recommended. I like the books of Frederic Delavier.


Step 3: Ask Questions

The key to learning is not so much learning for the sake of learning, but learning because we need to learn (more emotion = more retention). How we start this process is simply by asking about that which we must know.

Here are some examples of the “down the rabbit hole” process I use.

#1 – You may notice that you have a tight muscle on your back:

  • “What muscle is that?”
  • “How can I stretch it and relieve the pain?”
  • “What is the function of this muscle and why might it be tight?”
  • “What muscle(s) are it’s antagonists (i.e do the opposite action)?”

#2 – You may suddenly want a bigger booty:

  • “What muscles make up the glutes?”
  • “What muscles are it’s antagonist and may be preventing the glutes from firing?”
  • “What exercises work the glutes and how do they grow best?”

Make Your Butt Bigger Intro

#3 – You may have a grand dream to do a deep squat:

  • “What muscles and movements are involved?”
  • “What typically prevents someone from doing a squat and what are the fixes?”
  • What exercises (regressions) can I do that will help me squat while I work on my limitations?”


You probably won’t care until….

I received high 90s in my A & P courses, but I can’t say I really learned anything. It wasn’t until I got hurt and worked with those that were hurt, that I had real motivation to learn. It will probably be the same for you.

When we are fit and healthy we take this movement thing for granted. When we lose the ability to move pain-free, however, than that is when the questions start. Rather than defer those questions to someone else, I challenge you to take them on.

Good luck.


I like to keep things fun. When things are fun, they are also sustainable.

This means when I want to maintain (or lose more fat), I don’t do it by cutting calories or doing more exercise sessions ( I already like the way I eat and train).

Instead, I walk.

3 – 5  times a week for an hour or longer.


Unlike running, walking is so low intensity that we are primarily burning fat for fuel. And because of this, we do not feel the need (the hunger) to replace the fuel we burned (ie carbs).

I can burn a total of 1000 calories in a 2 hour walk and not be ravenous afterwards.  Try doing that with long-distance running.

So walking, as we can see, is an optimal choice for exercise. Not many of us do it, however, because it can become boring.

So how do we make it more fun?

Walk with others, in lovely areas, or listen to podcasts/ books on tape (these all keep the mind engaged). Here are two of my favorite podcasts: Joe Rogan Experience  and I Love Marketing.

And  more challenging?

Wear a weighted vest (#20 and #40 lbers are great for this), speed walk, or do hiking.

In the end, walking is dummy proof. This is why I like it the most. You can overdiet and overtrain, but you can’t really overwalk.

To want to walk the fat away, however,  you will probably have to  find a way to make it fun.

Podcasts work for me. What works for you?


We humans are rational creatures.

We do things for reasons and not on just on a whim.

When we make an investment (with time, money, or energy), it is in hopes that we get some type of reward in return. We don’t just do things to do them. We figure out what we want then we calculate what we have to do to get it. This thing we do (ie the investment) is really what creates the value of the thing we want.

Degree of investment = degree of value.


  • We are going to value a bike that costs the equivalent of 100 hours worked a lot more than a bike that was given to us for free.
  • We are going to value a mate that was harder to get over one that was easy.
  • We are going to value money that we earned much more than money that we found or that we won in a lottery.
  • On and on and on…


As much as I like seeing “free” attached to things, I realize it’s only hurting me. The fact is, the things I get for free, I respect less.

Free food? I overeat.

Free beer? I overdrink

Free knowledge? I skim or don’t consume at all.

Free anything else? I take for granted.

The same goes for things that are CHEAP. My brain just won’t let me assign value to something that is so easy to obtain.

So knowing this, what do we do?

=> Find what is important and pay for it.

There are two things that you should ALWAYS spend lavishly on. Health and Education… because they both become who you are.

Elliot Hulse

For the most part, these are things we do not want free or cheap:

  1. Food and supplements
  2. Training and equipment
  3. Seminars, books, and coaches
  4. What else?

I just bought this wordpress theme that you are reading these words on right now. Before, I worked on and off on this blog. Now, I am committed to “get my money’s worth“. Funny how that works.

In the end, if you want to play, you got to pay. Life finds a way to balance things out. Going the cheap route will help you save money but it may cost you results as well…

Note: I don’t care for dieting in and of itself, but I am a fan of the price tags of some diets (like Ideal Protein). Expensive works!


If you are anything like the majority of the adults in this world, you did.

And if you did, it was probably bad coffee.

Here’s why:

  1. Once coffee beans are roasted, they become alive. And with this (like all living creatures), they slowly lose their freshness and “life”.
  2. Within 7 days, roasted beans are considered fresh and living.  After this time period, flavor and aroma (and life) are pretty much gone.
  3. Most coffee being drank today (whether from starbucks, a folgers can, or a keurig machine) is 6 – 12 months old.
  4. Conclusion: You are drinking dead (bad) coffee.

Thankfully, there is a solution.

==> Roast your own beans

Be your own coffee god and give life to some good beans.

Unroasted / Roasted

It’s a fairly easy process.

1) Buy some unroasted beans. (I bought some Costa Rican beans from Amazon that Asher recommended)

2) Roast them. (Either on top of the stove in a skillet or in popcorn popper)

That’s it.

Since roasted coffee beans can lose up to 40% of its life and potency after 24 hours, Asher recommends roasting new beans every 3 days. If you do this twice a week, it should take no more than 20 minutes total.

Throw in some MCT/ Coconut oil and you’ll have one hell of a fat burning treat.


2 Ways To Skin A Fat Cat

I think it is safe to the say that most of us have some degree of fat that we want to lose.

So what’s the game plan?

There are generally 2 different methods people use to go about achieving this.


This is a left-brain, mathematical approach that puts the focus on calories. “Calories in, calories out“, the Accountants say. So if you want to lose weight, eat less and exercise more. Dieting and 60 minute elliptical sessions are often the result of this type of thinking.


This a more right-brain, holistic approach that puts the focus on positive hormones and how we feel. Managers see fat loss as a by-product to how well our life is running. So if we want to lose weight, learn to manage stress and cultivate a healthy relationship with eating, exercise, and ourselves. Invigorating resistance training and lax meal plans are often the result.

Both methods work, but for a large majority of us, the first one  is not sustainable. Counting calories, stressing over food intake, and dreading exercise,  this all eventually takes it’s toll on us.

This method – entry level position as an Accountant – is where most of us begin. This position, however, can only be a temporary one.

Our options are 1) get fired or 2) be promoted to Manager.

Gain all the weight back….. or keep it off for good.


The 2 most common complaints/excuses I hear from people who know they should exercise but don’t are:

  1.  I have no time.
  2.  I am in pain.

A close third is “I don’t know what to do”.

Just subscribing to one of these beliefs is enough to derail someone, but a lot of us actually have all 3.

Because we were never taught to move properly, our bad movement caused wear and tear on our joints which now have become painful ( ps – if they aren’t, they will be). And because we lack mobility and pain-free movement, it’s not like we can just drop to the floor to do some pushups or some squats for a quick workout when we have no time.

It takes time to address pain and learn how to move properly.

Don’t let this discourage you. We don’t have to wait till we are pain-free/can move properly before we can start reaping the benefits of exercise.


With exercise, our goal is to significantly increase strength, increase muscle mass, improve fitness, increase bone density, substantially affect appearance, and slow down or even reverse some of the natural physical declines with aging.

And we want to do this without causing injury (and pain).

What matters most in exercise is not a specific weight we are lifting or a movement we are doing, but the amount of tension our muscles create. The more resistance, the more tension, the more our muscles break down, and if we let them rest, the more they overcompensate and grow back stronger.

We can do this with machines.

We don’t need to learn any special skills. Nor do we need a personal trainer. And if we have a bum shoulder, that doesn’t mean we still can’t train (we can still do exercises such as leg press).

The best part is that we don’t need to be in the gym 3 or 4 times a week. We can accomplish this “muscle damaging” in one session a week.

The only bummer is that you’ll have to find a gym that has machines (which is not hard) and you’ll have to have sort of a clue of what you are doing. For the latter, I recommend reading Body By Science or checking out reviews (like this one) on the web.

In the end, it’s never too late to start nor is it possible to do “too little” exercise when we are currently doing nothing.

If you never got the habit to stick with anything else, maybe it’s time for machines?



When I was younger, I wanted to go to school to become a nutritionist.

I believed nutrition was everything and that if we could just change someone’s eating habits, then we could get them on a path of health and wellness.

During this nutrition-centric time, I experimenting with multiple diets and read about a million books  on the topic of nutrition alone.

Here’s more-or-less what I learned:

  • Diets are bullshit and those that push them are even more-so (and yes, I used to be one of them).
  • The whole “eating clean” thing isn’t as important as we think and that intentionally cutting calories to lose weight may actually be one of the hardest ways to attain the body we desire.
  • Focusing on our diet takes energy away from other areas of our life that we could be improving.
  • The more holes we dig in other areas of your life (sleep, exercise, emotional), the more strict we will need to be with nutrition to achieve our goals. Still, however, the focus should be filling in those holes first.
  • Nutritionists and dietitians are often fat (red flag much?).
  • Eating is an emotional, intuitive, and a right-brained experience but diets are often left-brained, scheduled, and full of numbers. See the clash?
  • Selling diets and foods is a lucrative business. Selling just as important things such sleep and meditation is not.
  • And perhaps, most importantly: The more we restrict foods, nutrients, and calories – the more our body and mind will work its magic to get us to consume them.

I guess you can say that I am no longer impressed with nutrition. Yes, I believe it’s still important but just not as important as everyone (your doc + media) is telling us.

And as far as getting someone on a path of health and wellness, there is no greater habit to create than that of exercise. This is why I am a trainer and not a nutritionist.

Now a while back I wrote a short piece that summed up my philosophy on eating which I will re-state again here: Eat in a manner that gives you energy and satisfies you, both in the short-term and long-term.

This vagueness comes with good and bad news.

The bad: This means you are responsible for creating your own diet.
The good: This means you are responsible for creating your own diet.

This will not be a quick fix type of thing, but rather a trial-and-error experiment that, in the end, will produce a way of eating you can actually follow indefinitely.

To get you started (and hopefully inspire you), here is a list of 21 facts and reasons on why I eat the way I do.


  1. My key to productivity ==> I naturally fast to start my day. Usually for 14 – 16 hours. Coffee, half n half, stevia, and sometimes MCT oil / coconut oil is about all I consume during this period. Read more: Coconut Oil, Coffee, and The Best Morning Ever
  2. When I consume caffeine, I almost always exercise (even if for 5 minutes). This means my workouts are [99% of the time] in the AM. Read more: Got Coffee Belly?
  3. No caffeine after 1 pm. Cannot risk screwing with sleep.
  4. I tend to break my fast after exercise and I do this with an easily digestible meal (see: carbs). Honey, oatmeal, and creamer is a favorite here.
  5. I don’t use protein powder. Seem to be doing fine without it.
  6. I usually nap after my first meal (sometime around 1 – 3 pm). When I miss my nap, I seem to eat more.
  7. I wake up and I eat again. Usually another carby meal.
  8. I can (and should) consume a rather high carbohydrate diet for 2 reasons: 1) I have lots of muscle and 2) I am quite active. Read more: Carbs: Where Your Diet Journey Begins
  9. How I lose fat ==> I don’t diet nor do I do extreme workouts. I eat to sustain performance and performance for me means both mental and physical strength. So instead of cutting calories or restricting myself, I create a caloric deficit by walking more. Read more: How I Lose Fat
  10. In the evening, I’ll have my biggest meal (usually high-fiber). Right now, this means roasted red kidney beans in ghee with a stir fry mix. I’ll eat enough servings to feed a small family.
  11. Before this meal, it is typical for myself to drink 2 – 4 cups of boxed wine or cider. Read more: Getting Drunk Tonight?
  12. I love dairy but I realize my body responds unfavorably to it (tongue turns to a white coat). Because of this, I only stick to my favorite sources: Creamer, chocolate, and ice cream. We seem to go through about 2 cartons of ice cream a week.
  13. Same story with wheat. I have a wheat allowance and I am not going to waste it on silly bread. Usually pizza, nachos, and chinese food buffets is what I spend it on. Try to do at least one of these a week.
  14. I have very little emotional stressors in my life. As a result, reward-eating is not an issue. When I do eat  “junk” it is more for the experience rather than an attempt to fill in a hole.
  15. One thing I despise: Trans fat (also known as hydrogenated oils). I’m pretty lax when it comes to processed food, but I refuse to buy products that have this “brain-numbing” chemical.
  16. I rarely eat meat. No or little beef, chicken, fish, or eggs. Once again, seem to be doing fine without it.
  17. Most of my protein comes for lentils and other beans.
  18. Because legumes contains a substance that impairs zinc absorption (and becomes my activity requires a crap load of magnesium to prevent a deficiency), I supplement with ZMA. Read more: The Best Supplement For Athletes
  19. I typically eat right up until bed. Having a feel stomach not only helps me sleep, but ensures that I am able to rock a wicked fast in the morning.
  20. More important than food ==>I try to be in bed by 10 pm and shoot for at least 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. This is the biggest factor of what I can and cannot eat. Failing to get enough sleep changes the way my body responds to certain nutrients. Read more: How To Go The F*ck To Sleep
  21. How I know if I am eating the right foods ==> The next morning, the answer will be in my poo. If I am eating something that I am allergic to or doing something else that is stressful (like being Negative Nancy), my poo will tell me. Read more: You Are What You Poop



Once again, you will have to follow your [own] energy. The reality is, different genetics with different environments will require different sustenance. To find out what that is, I suggest you experiment. A lot. Take notes and eventually you’ll find out what that is.

With time, you’ll be your own authority (nutritionist).



“I cannot do this without a gym.”

Hate to say it, but you’re right.

Our biggest obstacles are not real in the material sense, but are actually beliefs like these.

If we want to become the person we know we can be, we will have to battle all the limiting ideas that tell that us first why we CANNOT do it.  Here — without a gym and in charge of our own destiny — this is where we will take our stand.

To help you with this, we are giving you our actionable 3 step process that has helped transform the minds of countless others:

  1. Change Your Words
  2. Challenge Your Assumptions
  3. Create Your Environment

You will not get to where you want to go without belief. Let this book be your travel guide.



“I don’t have time to research all this.”

It can be difficult crossing over from a gym to a non-gym.

It can be even harder transitioning from getting trained to actually becoming your own trainer.

Luckily, for both, we can take “shortcuts” to circumvent many of the unnecessary struggles. This book is one of those shortcuts.

In it, we save you time and energy by telling you:

  • What equipment you should buy (and where you can get it for cheap)
  • How you should eat (aka what trainers and nutritionists are afraid to tell you)
  • The 5 most beneficial supplements that you [probably] aren’t taking
  • And the books we read (and you should too) to “get motivated”

Best zero dollars you’ll never spend…



Coming soon…

Stimulus + Recovery = Adaptation

This is the master equation.

This is the formula that sums up what we trying to achieve in our efforts to LOOK, PERFORM, and FEEL the way we want.

Our world lives in a fantastic balance of growth and destruction, and this formula lies at the heart of it.

Worded a different way, it looks like this:


What’s it all mean?

Starting with the end product, if body composition refers to the proportion of muscle and fat we carry, body recomposition means to change that relationship. For most people, a successful “recomp” would mean adding more muscle while subtracting fat.

The signal that our body listens to for that to happen is exercise.  With this, there are essentially 2 different forms: One that sends a signal to our body to build (ie maintain or grow muscle mass) and one that sends a signal to break down (both fat and muscle).

In order for our body to hear that signal, however, we need to cut out outside noise (other stressors) and provide the means for our body to recover. During sleep is when our body gets to work repairing damaged tissue and making the hormones needed for us to thrive (both in fat loss and muscle growth) and food/nutrients is what our body uses as its building blocks to do that with.

So, as you can see, it’s pretty simple.

==> Provide a stimulus. Provide time and building blocks for recovery. Then reap the adaptation. <==

Let’s get more specific.


I am NOT talking about weight loss (this is easy: just go to the bathroom). What we really want is not to see the number on the scale move, but for the fat in the mirror to disappear.  So how do we that?

We have 3 variables to work with: Exercise, Sleep, and Nutrition.

A        +         ( B    +    C)     =   Fat Loss

We can improve all 3 for optimal fat loss, but we don’t have to.

Here are the options:


So before I was talking about the 2 forms of exercise: One that builds and one that destroys.

Well, cardio and aerobic activities are the destroyers. Biking, running, walking, and swimming all fall into this group.

They send a signal to our body that in order to survive and become better at these activities, we have to get smaller. To do this (and depending on the intensity and length of the activity) they will break down both fat AND MUSCLE for fuel.

Most aerobic activities are not body-friendly for this reason, but they can still be used correctly.

Here is a guideline:

  • The less intense they are, the more we can do them and the more likely that a large % of the breakdown will be fat. An excellent example of this is walking.
  • The more intense they are, the more we should limit them as they will target a lot of our muscle for fuel. An example of this is training for a marathon or running 5+ times a week.

Another side effect of high-intensity aerobics is that they give us cravings in an effort to replace lost fuel. So this is why running to lose weight will literally leave us running in circles (as we run long distances and then gorge on food).

A better alternative is walking every or every other day and doing 1-2 runs a week (if you must).


If you are sleeping less than 6 – 7 hrs a night on average, by increasing sleep to 8 – 9 hrs, your cravings will decrease, your energy will improve, and other aspects of health (such as digestion) will significantly improve.  This will all lead to fat loss.

Note: If sleep needs are not met, then exercise is out of the question.


Dieting is the typical approach to fat loss. This is hard to do right as far too many people feel that if they are going to diet than they got to do it hardcore. What’s hardcore?  Taking what you used to eat and dropping it by 500 or more calories a day.

This sucks because:

In chronic calorie deficits, our body is going to eat up fat AND MUSCLE for fuel, positive hormones are not going to be made in sufficient amounts, and our metabolism is going in the toilet. In short, life (and your energy) will suck.

A smarter approach is to just eat better foods. With this, we will be getting the right nutrients so cravings will naturally diminish. Fat loss will be slower but so will be muscle loss.


A big problem with losing weight is the chance that a large % of that could be muscle.

We care about this because it is muscle that gives us our shape and curves.

If we lose 50 lbs of total weight (25 of that is fat and 25 of that is muscle), we are just going to become a smaller version of ourselves. But if we can manage to make that 40 lbs of fat and 10 lbs of muscle, we are going to come out with a sleeker, trimmer, tonier look.

So how do we tell our body to lose more fat while keeping the muscle?

  • =>> Lift heavy weights
  • =>> Sleep 8 hrs
  • =>> Eat Better (and slightly less) food

For the first one, we do not have to do anything extreme. Simply lifting weights 2x a week for a full body workout will be enough. Keep the reps relatively low (2-10) and keep the workout short ( within 50 min) and the signal will be sent.

We also want to tell to our body to lose fat. For this to happen, we need to create a teeny weeny caloric deficit. To create this, eat better food (of course) and try going to bed slightly hungry every other night.

Lastly, SLEEP. This is obviously crucial for any positive goal.



With muscle (and unlike fat),  there is a limit to how fast and how much we can create. Once we evolve past the “noobie gains” stage where putting on 10 – 15 lbs of muscle in a year is feasible, muscle growth can slow to 1-2 pounds a year (if we do everything right) or maintenance (if we don’t).

And as far as the whole “I don’t want to get bulky” debate goes: fat is what makes us bulky. If you are afraid of getting too big. spend time getting lean first (with what I mentioned for fat loss).

Now, when it comes to muscle growth, we have less variables to play with.

Sleep is super important for muscle growth, but by itself, it is not enough to tell your body “to grow“. Eating will do this  but without a proper stimulus, the excess calories will just be stored as fat (and not help make muscle). And if we train “bawlz out” but neglect sleep and nutrition, we won’t be going anywhere either.

So, as you can see, muscle growth can be hard.


Muscle Growth for Dummies:

When we lift something heavy (could be a barbell or a fridge), the muscles that we used tear” and become damaged. This is the stimulus. It is telling your body “Hey bro, we need bigger muscles“. So with enough sleep, calories, and time, your body will allow for that to happen. For those same muscles to grow again, however, the resistance has to become greater. Our body needs a new reason. So we either have to lift a heavier weight or lift that weight more times (sets and reps) to accrue the proper amount of damage (ie another stimulus).

It really doesn’t have to be harder than that.

  1. Progressively add weight to the bar and attempt to do more sets or reps to continually give your body reasons to change.
  2. Sleep (8-9 hrs for intense trainees).
  3. Eat slightly above your caloric maintenance.

For this last one, you cannot grow muscle if the building blocks are not there. Or to put it another way, a construction site can have all the workers in the world, but no building will be built if the bricks are not present.

Now what is slightly above? In terms of calories, 250 – 400 more a day should be enough. In terms of feelings, don’t go to bed hungry.

Also something worthy to mention is the fact that people tend to chase feelings/physiological states in the gym such as making sure they get a pump or making sure they are completely pooped after their workout.

This type of training is only reserved for those that have the ability/capacity to recover. A key question to ask yourself is, “Are my numbers going up?”. If the answer is no, scale back the stimulus.

Stimulate, Don’t Annihilate.


That’s it.

That’s all I have.

Hopefully this article will have left you pondering the stimulus’s you are currently sending with your own training and lifestyle.

And if you can probably imagine, it just doesn’t end with fat loss and muscle growth.


Advice for Resolutioners

With the new year approaching quickly, I thought it would be prudent to share some tips on goal-setting.

Many people are going to vow to “lose weight and get in shape” this year both through exercising and dieting. Many will also fail.

This change (or failure to change) all starts with a game plan and if you can get started in the right direction, you may just survive.

Here are 3 tips to help you with that.



No one loses weight by doing the activity “losing weight”.

Weight loss happens when our body becomes better able to burn our current caloric intake or we adjust our calories [slightly] lower so we don’t have to burn as much.

Behaviors that contribute to this are:

  • Getting More Sleep. Make it a game/more interesting by wearing a ZEO.
  • Eating Better. No special diet is necessary, just eat better than how you are eating now. For most, this means more whole foods (see: unprocessed). A strategy that has been successful for both myself and others is to eat primarily whole foods during the week (experiment with cooking?) and whatever goes on the weekend (reward: eating out?).
  • Engaging in Resistance Exercise. The more intensely you train, the more supercharged your hormones and metabolism will be which will not only allow you a few eating hiccups but will give you more energy throughout the day. On top of this, more intensity equals far less time spent needed to exercise. In fact, to reach your goal, you will probably only need to spend 1 – 2 days a week for 20 – 40 minutes doing this. To make that a reality, recruit a training partner or trainer, join a competitive environment such as a training group or a gym, and/or dedicate yourself to chasing an ambitious goal such as competing in a Tough Mudder.

Whatever your outcome goal is, try to attach a behavior to it.



So your “I want to lose 50 lbs” goal is now  “I want to compete in a 5 mile obstacle course”.

What’s the next step?

If you are not currently exercising, aim for the smallest most comfortable step you can take to get you to that behavior.

There is no need to rush into this and start exercising hardcore 4 times a week. Not only is this killer on your body but it will freak your brain out as well.

Instead, aim for teeny weeny change such as one 20 minute workout a week. Still, this may be too scary. If it is, go buy workout clothes OR go for a 1 minute walk OR do some research for your goal.

The key here is to always be moving forward however small that step that is.

Inch by inch its a cinch.


With this, you will eventually get to where you want to go.

Note: On the same token, attempting 1 small goal is ENOUGH.  As Resolutioners tend to prove time and time again, the more one takes on (like trying to change diet and exercise at the same time), the more likely one is to fail. When in doubt, change one small thing at a time.



When we are moving towards this goal we have in place, what is most important is not burning calories but building the habit. If we can make it a habit, we can make it automatic. With this, we can even make weight loss unintentional.

How we do this is by making our options more health/fitness friendly.

Because willpower is a limited resource (and when it gets drained we make shitty decisions), we must make sure the decisions we make are good one even when they are bad.

For example, I tend to only keep whole foods in the house. Regularly, veggies and meat is my main food. When I want to get “naughty”, however, I will cook up yam fries in heavy coconut oil. Both are wins, right?

Sure, I eat ice cream and pizza from time to time, but it is not a fixture in our house. If it was, I’d eat it every night.

Bottom line: If crap is in the house, crap will be eaten. “But it’s for my ___”   ==> Shouldn’t they have the right to eat awesome too?

Working out at home is similar. Give yourself options (ie different equipment and routines) so that it is exciting enough for you to want to exercise even when you really don’t.

I’ve found, however, that we can only do so much in this arena. We are social creatures so, of course, our environment is filled with other social creatures. These people will impact our goal more than a cupboard full of treats ever could.

We may not be able to “get rid of” people in our circle that are negatively impacting your goal, but we will certainly be able to bring in new ones that will help spur us forward.

If you are scared, find others that can help make it less scary.

If you think you can do it yourself, look back at your track record and be honest about how much your goal really means to you. If you are not really good at “change” and/or this goal is “high value“, you may want to look outside yourself.

For example, I hired out for this website. Looks pretty nice, right? This is what it looks like when I try to do it myself (gross…).

In the end,  people are the most critical environment piece. If you can get that down, you may not even need a goal. The environment will take care of it all.

And with that, you may just survive…