Get the Garbage out of your head

It’s been a while since I’ve written one these types of blog posts.  It’s about the garbage in our head when it comes to succeeding in weight loss, lowering body fat percentage or anything for that matter.


Have you ever had someone compliment you and it made you feel good all day? It’s really nice to get a compliment every now and again but some of us have more junk than we’d like.

how about this..

Has anyone ever complimented you and you thought something like this to yourself:
“He/she is just being nice”

“I’m still hella fat.”

“I’m really not doing that well.”

“I wish.”

Basically anything that goes alongs the line of “I don’t believe you.”

In the book Feeling Good by David D. Burns, he calls this discounting the positive.

On the flip side of things.  If we are doing something positive in our business, health or life, why does one negative remark or comment will mess with our motivations to move forward?

To varying degrees, some of us amplify the negative crap in our life unnecessarily. Sometimes it takes a friend or family member to get you out of your one person pity party. Or you could be one of those people who sort things out yourself.

If you don’t have this problem, you should stop reading right now and know that I’m jealous of you.

For many years I’ve suffered with depression and because I tend to be introverted I don’t reach out much.  Luckily I’ve chosen to work in a field where I have to be less introverted. Being inherently introverted, I have a job designed for a naturally extroverted individual is ironic.Through maybe fate, circumstance, chance or just plain dumb luck – it’s saved my life.  It’s saved my health and it’s kept me sane.

Everyone suffers with self doubt. Much of this self doubt comes from our inner dialogue. It’s what we say to ourselves that has a great impact on how we feel.  It affects how we things, it affects what we do which ultimately determines our outcome.

Now you might be thinking, “I don’t talk to myself.” Trust me when i say you do. It’s called thinking. Part of my way of communicating sarcastically has to do with getting people to like me.  If you can stand my a**hole like remarks and still manage to hang around me it means you like me enough.

Okay enough of self analyzing.

I’m sort of running out of time so I’ll try to make this quick.

The reason why most of us fail in following a diet or an exercise regiment has to do with what we think.  It’s about all the positive and negative things we say to ourselves that leads us to our decision making.

I can’t do that because…

I don’t have time because..

I can’t follow a diet because…

If you want to conquer this, keep a journal of what you say to yourself.  Write down your own internal dialogue when you find yourself flinching.

I want you to stop and imagine jumping into a pool of water.  As you jump into the pool of water you find out that it’s 0 degrees Celsius. or the coldest water you’ve ever jumped into.

I’m not sure if that was a good example, but you might have felt a slight chill reading the above line.  Mind you that you haven’t actually touched any water while reading this blog post.

Or when you smell something unexpectedly bad. You make that face and you react.  You flinch.

This is an automatic response.  And as simple as it might seem this is we all do when we think of something that is less physical like the thought of doing a hard exercise program.

Like the thought of not eating carbs.

Like the though of lifting heavy weights and being sore all weak.

Like the thought of running and breathing heavy because you’re out of shape.

Like the thought of taking the time log your food in a journal

Like the thought of doing leg day

Like the thought of doing 100 burpees for time

These things typically cause a response that similar to a flinch.  Why do you flinch? Why do you respond in that way.  Understand your thoughts and you’ll understand you’re feelings.  Understand your feelings and you’ll understand your actions.  Understand your actions (or lack of action) and you’ll understand your results.

Change how you think and you will change everything.




Mark Bell doesn’t try to be a motivator but he is

I’m a big fan of Mark Bell and really love what he stands for.  He’s about making people strong and has a deep passion about.  His message maybe a bit vulgar or off kilter for some people, but I love this guy, he’s legit.

*viewer discretion advised, there is profanity, you’ve been warned.*

.”..there’s no excuse you still gotta push forward.  The main thing is you gotta follow through.  People are a bunch of <bleep> out there. I’m gonna give it to you straight right now.  People are a bunch of <bleep> <bleep>, people are a bunch of <bleep> and they don’t follow through on <bleep>.  They don’t follow through on any idea they have.  They talk about there dreams and passion before they go to bed they wake up the next day with those hope and dreams deflated before they even drink there first <bleep> cup of milk.  Don’t be that <bleep>.  Don’t be that person….”

“..all this really is a taking a concept and following through on it no matter what anyone else says…”


markbell screen shot

How much carbs should I eat? is that too many carbs?

I was going to write this somewhat long email response and I figured why not turn into an article?  It’s been a while since I made blog post, so I felt this would be totally appropriate

How should I eat to lose weight? How many carbs should I have?

First off, there is no one size fits all approach when it comes to nutrition.  I know there are a ton of diets out there – some of which have gotten people great results.  Most fad diets out there are meant to give a basic frame work for how to eat to lose weight quickly.  An example would be Carb Nite.  That’s a program that I like for most people who don’t exercise hard or frequent enough. It’s also simple to follow and almost error proof.  The only problem with it is that it’s an ultra low carb diet which is very difficult to follow.

In other words you have to be “gung-ho” to follow that program.

When it comes to nutrition for health, sports performance and weight management I subscribe to a Pro Paleo diet + dairy approach.  Another way to look at it is a vegan / vegetarian that eats meat. In a nutshell it means I do my best to eat foods with the least amount of processing possible.  It either has a face (like an animal) or it game from the ground (like a vegetable).

Health and performance for the reason of eating a diet that is low in anti-inflammatory.  This allows for overall better health (less inflammation) and better recovery from intense training sessions.

If you’re interested in a paleo approach diet for weight loss you can view the guidelines I wrote on this blog post.

There’s always more to this nutrition story, but it really depends on the physical demands placed on the individual.  In this article I wanted to address the specific question about “how much carbs should I have if I’m trying to lose weight?”

As much as necessary to sustain reasonable energy level. (well, how much is that?)

From my personal experience and knowledge, I would prioritize diet over exercise performance.  The common problem with a lot of people trying to go on an aggressive “fitness” plan is to start making better food choices, cut the calories, increase the protein and workout hard.

Working out hard could be a body builder workout plan, a marathon training program or crossfit endurance.  All of which have different energy demands.

In my case it would be mean workout less (and/or reduce intensity) and eat less carbs.  Increase protein and fat intake.

(the example I’m going to descirbe below is a very simplistic explination of what happens in the body, its doesn’t go into detail. This is a kind of “bird’s eye view” of what goes on, but lots of stuff are happening. If you want to know more, you know where to look.)

Why would I workout less or reduce intensity? Most exercise is highly glycogen demanding. Glycogen is primarily created from ingested carbohydrates.  When carbs are reduced and you’re blood sugar isn’t being propped up by dietary carbs your pancreas starts to release glucagon.

“The pancreas releases glucagon when blood sugar (glucose) levels fall too low. Glucagon causes the liver to convert storedglycogen into glucose, which is released into the bloodstream.” -taken from wikipedia about glucagon

When liver glycogen gets depleted, the body starts to rev up ketogensis and ketone bodies are formed causing the body to run on fat metabolism better.

Okay, that’s more science than I thought I was going to write.  Here’s what I usually tell people:

When you go on a low carb or ultra low carb diet, your body has to shift gears from burning sugar to burning fat.  Depending on how high your carb intake is and current physical activity is like it could take a while before your body adjusts to burning fat as a primary fuel source.

If you’re the average sedentary american with a high body fat, I would argue that you have enough fat on your body to function just fine.

If you’re a high intensity athlete, ultra low carb days may not always be ideal for days that consist of intense physical activity exceeding 60+ minutes and if you multiple training sessions a day.

With the main goal of fat loss, eat enough carbs to get by and function reasonably well.  However if it’s your first time attempting an ultra low carb diet, you have to give your body 2 weeks to adapt.

I say start at 100g of carbs a day and tinker around with what works (after the 2 weeks).

The success of low carb diets has to do with controlling blood sugar levels which keep insulin levels relatively low.  You will inevitably become more insulin sensitive  and break a weight loss plateau.  Different things work for different people, but that’s the reason why the low carb works for weight loss.

Here’s a common mistake that happens on a low carb diet: not eating enough fat.  If you go low carb and low fat you will fail.   If you think having low carbs is bad, try eating low fat and low carbs. Why doe this happen?  The reason why mistakes similar to this happens is that people are afraid of fat.  People are use to counting calories and/or points with weight watchers.  People learn about the paleo diet, atkins, warrior diet, fruit diet or some other diet that causes a lot of confusion.  This leads to combining information and following practices that contradict one another.  I could easily go into a rant, but I won’t.

Anyways, I’ll leave it there.  Post a comment if you have a question.

Stages of Weight Gain Denial

This doesn’t appy to everybody, but it’s my attempt at humor, mixed with fiction and some true life experience.

Stage 1:

One bad weekend of food indulgeces floods into monday’s lunch with more carbs than usual. It could be a burger, maybe pizza or it’s a sandwhich. It occurs every other day or so but 2-3 weeks go by without really paying attention. For some it’s several months.

Stage 2:

You step on the scale and you think, “oh I didn’t gain that much weight.” So it’s not as bad as you thought you continue to stay “off” diet.

Stage 3:

You look at the Mirror with your shirt off and you angle yourself just right so you don’t look as bad as you would so the lighting in your bathroom hits you just right. Purposely trying to find the right “slim angle” in the mirror. Thinking “Its not that bad”

Stage 4:

Okay now, you really feel it. Clothes are a tiny bit tighter and you feel like “blah.” Scale is up a few pounds, but doesn’t reflect how “heavy” you feel. (Or how flabby or soft you feel).

Stage 5:

You mitigate damage by cutting your carb portions down on a few meals during the week, but then by thursday you go out with some friends for lunch and you lack self control. You think, “I’ll start next monday.”

Stage 6:

Maybe you’ve been working out all this time, “sort of.” Getting a little bit of a sweat, but nothing really challenging. Fooling yourself into believing the 1 hour of zumba canceled out the slice of cake you had on the weekend.

Let’s say you’re working out hard, but you find a way to cancel the calories burned and probably more.

Stage 7:

Now you’re officially up 10lbs (or more), and you’re thinking, “okay time to get on a diet.” This is about the time your form fitting clothes that you use to look decent in, feel disgusting.

Hope that was motivating!
thanks for reading!


Why you shouldn’t drink a Protein Shake after your workouts

when-to-drink-protein-shakesHaving a protein shake has always been perceived as being healthy.  Most people think that just because you’re drinking liquefied food you’re being ‘more’  healthy for some reason.  If you think about it, protein shakes are a type of processed food.

Aren’t processed foods bad for you?

They can be.

All food  has its purpose, and if you were to compare a protein shake to cinnamon toast crunch cereal for breakfast in the morning I would say the shake is a much healthier choice.

What about having a protein shake after a workout?

If you’re doing some challenging resistance training, having a protein shake or any sort of meal replacement can have some positive effects.  If the protein shake you’re having has decent amount of carbs, it will cause a spike in insulin which will aid in quicker recovery and increased muscle protein synthesis.

After an intense bout of weight lifting your muscle cells become sensitive to absorbing sugar and using it for good processes instead of storage.  If you’re the type of person who is having some trouble being disciplined with your nutrition, you can at least optimize your nutrition to eat your carbs after your workout to minimize the negative impacts of fat storage.

However, if you have 40 or more pounds to lose it might be best you skip all the carbs and even the protein shake all together.  It really comes down to your goal and prioritizing nutrition practices for what you want to accomplish.

For those out there that have a significant amount of weight to lose , I would recommend a very low carb shake (10 or less grams) high in protein.  You’ll get a mild rise in insulin which will signal your muscle to uptake nutrients to grow and recover faster.  I would rarely recommend a client with a big weight loss goal to have a protein shake (or any liquid calories) for a meal replacement or a meal.  Most processed food causes quick rises in insulin.  Insulin signals growth of tissue.  This means all tissue, fat and muscle.

For quick weight loss, stick to the low carb plan with minimal meal replacements.  Use them when it makes sense, such as after intense resistance training.

If you’re 10-15lbs from your goal weight, post workout carbs in meal replacement shakes is a good plan to follow if you’re still trying to get lean.  However, this isn’t always optimal for fat loss.  Nutrition practices that are optimal for muscle growth are not ideal for fat loss.

If you are training for an endurance event like a half marathon or triathlon, doing low carb isn’t ideal.  Fitting carbs into the mix will be important, however if your goal is still to lose weight – you’ll have a conflict.  Of course you can do both, but there will be conflicts in best practices to optimize performance.

This is why it’s important to set specific goals and stay focused on them.


When we get on the fitness bandwagon we feel good and then we want to conquer the world.   We want to run faster, run longer, become stronger and have that lean flat stomach.  Pick 2 or 3 specific goals and narrow in on them.  After you accomplish them, choose another.  Fitness goal setting is like going to college for a specific major.  I highly doubt that there is someone who is studying for the bar exam while attending medical school.  It just doesn’t work out well.  If your attention is divided, you decrease your chances of getting anything done.

I know how hard it can be sometimes, because there is so much information out there.  You hear one thing is good for you and then later you hear it’s not so good.  It seems like a new diet book comes out every day.  Information is coming in at us in such a rapid rate it can be hard to decipher what to do.

With most people trying to lose weight and get lean, post workout high carb (15 or more grams) protein shakes are not ideal if your body fat percentage is above 20% for male and above 30% for female.

Doing so will slow down your weight loss.  However, it will increase your potential for muscle gain.  If you have about 10-15lbs to lose, the boost in muscle growth potential will help a lot.  If you have a big weight loss goal and you’re just trying to get your body fat % down as fast as possible, the benefits of the post workout shake will be too small to notice.

Each person’s situation is a different.  There are always exceptions depending on your circumstances.  Use these suggestions as a guide to help you make the optimal decisions for your fitness goals.

If you disagree, comment below.


Results after Carb Nite : Follow up 16 weeks later

I’ll be honest by saying that I got derailed by the holidays. It made more sense for me to do carb back loading instead of doing carb nite. Although my Carb Nite-ing was more like Carb Back loading, I was still able to get leaner.

At the end of 8 weeks I managed to drop from 192lbs down to 184lbs and put on a significant amount of muscle. After listening to so many podcasts and reading about how inaccurate body fat calipers can be, I based most of nutrition decisions on how I looked the following morning after a carb backload.

Photos don’t show infomercial type results, but they’re a big deal for me. I haven’t been able to get this lean at this size before. I’ve been lighter, but I was not nearly as muscular.

My before picture is at this blog post.

Low Carb Dieting strategies

This is my most recent photo taken a week ago from this blog post. I haven’t been able to put the time I want into this blogging as much as I would like. So to give you a brief summary of my results: my 16 week carb nite project turned out to be only 8 weeks. Then went on carb back loading plan for 6 weeks. Then took a break from structured nutrition after Christmas up until now.

My wife on the other hand did a fantastic job of changing her body over the 16 weeks.

Naomi [Before]


Naomi [After]

















We just had a new addition to our family A beautiful baby girl. During that pregnancy period, I gained a few pounds.  At the end of doing carb nite, Naomi got down to her pre-pregnancy weight and I got to where I was prior.

My dieting effort were really thanks to her because she did all the cooking :) (yeah I know I’m lucky!)

Results have been good for both of us while on Carb Nite, however I think that there is a small percentage of people out there that still struggle with it. My next blog post will be about the workarounds and some of my opinions. But before I end this post I will say that food volume still does matter.  If you have a history of overeating often, you may want to consider counting calories while on Carb Nite.


Time Muscle Matrix 1.0

Time Muscle Matrix

The design of the plan is really focused on muscle gain with a specific emphasis on time management for busy people.  One of the main components to building muscle size is volume (reps & sets).  Intensity is also important, but if you workout too intensely you won’t be able to get enough volume.  Anyways here’s the gist of it.

Here are the exercises – these exercises DO NOT CHANGE.  This is a 10 week program specific to tracking progress and getting sufficient volume within a reasonable amount of time.  One of the biggest challenges with working out and building size is getting enough volume in.  The problem with getting lots of volume in is TIME. People don’t have a lot of time, so this plan will make it so that it’s hard to skip a beat.

You will do these exercises over a course of a 7-9 day cycle.  Depending on your schedule, it may be hard to get all this done in a week, so you’ll have to stay on track and know what days you’re doing what.  The whole concept of this program is that you do the exercises over a course of a week and not to a particular day or days.

You will do 6 working sets of the following exercises (9 exercises)
Bench press
Lat pull down
Dumb bell chest press
Seated row
Dumb bell shoulder press
Rear delt fly (you can do dumb bells but I prefer the pec deck aka chest fly machine)
Barbell Squat
Dumbbell Bicep curl
Tricep rope push down

The progression
|Week 1 & 2 starts at 15 reps
Week 3 & 4 drops down to 12 reps
Week 5 & 6 is 10 reps
Week 7 & 8 is 8 reps
Week 9 & 10 is 5 reps
In other words you’re doing two weeks of a particular repetition regiment.  Each week you will increase the weight.

The workout Strategy
|The important fact of this program is that you NOT train to FAILURE. You’ll want to make sure you can complete the number of reps for whatever week you’re on.  So sometimes, depending on your condition, you may have to lower the weight.

You want to train as close to failure without getting to it.  When you’re done with each set it, you should feel like you can do 1 or 2 more repetitions.  I refer to this as “minus 1” or “minus 2,” this is what you’ll want to do to be on the safe side.

Time management
You are to complete 6 sets of each exercise.  You can organize it almost any way you want.  If you need help with this, let me know. Post comments or send me an email.

I will give an example of what I’ve been doing that’s been working for MY schedule.  Again the idea is that you learn to think for yourself and build your program that works for you.

Here is a 5 day a week schedule.

Day 1
Bench Press
Seated Row

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4
DB Shoulder press
Rear delt fly

Day 5
DB chest press
Lat pull down

Day 6

Day 7
Bicep curl
Triceps Push down

3 days a week is possible but the workout will take over an hour to complete.  6 sets  is a lot, and will take time.  Rest periods are 90-120sec long

3 day a week schedule

Day 1
Bench press
Lat pull down
Dumbbell Bicep curl

Day 2
Barbell Squat
Dumb bell shoulder press
Rear delt fly

Day 3
Dumb bell chest press
Seated row
Tricep rope push down

OFF days based on your schedule

Below I will give an example of my workout progression on one exercise. This comes straight from my workout journal.  I will be using one exercise to show you what my progression was.


Week 1 & 2: 15 Rep Cycle
August 14th 2012


August 23rd 2012

Week 3 & 4: 12 Rep Cycle
August 29th 2012

September 6th 2012

Week 5 & 6: 10 Rep Cycle
September 15th 2012

September 24th 2012

Week 7 & 8: 8 Rep cycle
October 1st 2012

October 8th 2012

Week 9  & 10: 5 Rep cycle
October 15th 2012
225x10x4, 195×2

October 22nd 2012






Let’s Face it, Weight Loss is Difficult

[mini rant]

Let’s face it, weight loss is difficult.  There will be times where you will get a very quick loss in weight in a single week, but usually after, that weight loss slows and then almost eventually stops.  It’s nearly impossible to keep losing more than 3 pounds per week.  Heck, it’s hard to lose a single pound in a week sometimes.  You have to realize that any quick drop in weight is usually mostly due loss in water.  Of course some of that weight is fat, but if you lose 7-10lbs in a week it’s because you dropped a lot of water.

If you want to keep losing weight at such fast rate, you have to realize that it just isn’t possible.

Anyone that tries sell you on weight loss being easy is bullshitting you (and trying to get you to buy something).

The only circumstance where weight loss is very fast is because you’re already very fat.  When I say fat, I mean 50+ pounds overweight.

What about those people in magazines and commercials that have had an amazing transformation in a short period of time? Under most circumstances those advertisements are very much exaggerated.

Weight loss in a nutshell is hard work.  You have to watch your caloric intake, eat according to your goal and consider your specific circumstance.  You have to bust your ass and stay disciplined to get results.

Yes, sometimes it’s easier for some and harder for others – but face it, it is work.  Even if you get a personal trainer, it’s still going to be a lot of work.  Personally for me, the Carb Nite Solution and Carb Backloading have been working well, but it’s still not easy.  When you’re trying to reach a level of leanness you haven’t been in a while, it’s simply going to take some time.

So make sure you’re doing all the right things and stay discipline with those things.  The results will come.

Intermittent fasting for weight loss: a simple plan

Skipping breakfast has been the single most convenient and effective change for my weight loss results. What I should really be saying is that it’s really been a way for me to maintain my weight during the busy times of my business.

It reduces my caloric intake for the day and allows me some “error room” for cheating. I know you’ve probably heard that 6 small meals a day is the way to go, but everything has its time and place. For me, eating 2 meals per day has helped me immensely. Here is a plan that incorporates frequent eating with the intermittent fasting concept

Wake up: 7:00am

Meal #1: 9:30am

Meal #2: 1:00pm

Meal #3: 4:00pm

Meal #4: 6:30pm

Sleep: 11:30pm

A few notes
Fasting window: 13-14 hours (last meal 6:30pm and first meal of next day is at 9:30am)
Water Intake: Minimum of 1/2 body weight in ounces. (example 170lbs person will drink 85oz of water)
Optional: Meals #2 & 3 are optional
Calories still matter: you still need to maintain a caloric deficit to lose weight.

If you want to really get into the nitty and gritty of the science of intermittent fasting, there are some great articles by Martin Berkhan at lean gains website. He’s a great writer and he always has good stuff. Here are two of my favorite articles:

Scorch Through your Fat loss plateau

The Lean Gains Guide


Recommended Resources

These are great programs that condense a majority of my 10+ years of knowledge of coaching clients professionally in a nice bite sized, action oriented step by step plan that I use and have 100% belief in.

Carb Nite Solution , currently the most effective program for clients looking to lose 30lbs or more

Carb Nite Solution Book

Carb Back loading is my favorite program, however it isn’t for everybody.  You have to know how to lift weights and push yourself hard. This is what I personally use when I’m doing programming for myself. You can read my review of carb back loading here.

carb backloading photo

Truth about abs is designed for those that have trouble doing the paleo diet. I’d recommend this program to just about anybody because it really does show you the way to get a six pack.


Rob Wolff’s 30 Day Transformation Program
Robb has been an inspiration to me, and his perspective on nutrition has opened up my eyes to a whole new world nutrition.  If you’re interested in a push and play guide on what to do, his 30 day program may be for you.  However if you’re into the science and love information overload (like me) then you’re better off getting his book, The Paleo Solution.


These are programs I use and 100% believe in when you need a thick manuscript of information. If you’re interested in my paleo style diet method you can request it from here.