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Personal Training – Maximal Effort for Little Results

I know a personal trainer who is also a competitive bodybuilder.  He has lots of clients who train with him every week.  Still, you can’t help but notice an obvious lack of visible progress for many of his clients – especially the ladies.

One of his clients is extremely loyal and disciplined.  She actually runs 2 to 3 miles to her training sessions at the gym as her warm-up, and then runs back home.  She puts an incredible amount of spirit and effort into her workouts.  She is constantly working and sweating, with an incredible will to endure an almost endless array of repetitious resistance exercises with little to no rests.  And so her workouts continue in the same manner, week after week, month after month.  I have witnessed her weekly training sessions for the better part of a year – with no visible physical improvement.

The problem is, she looks exactly the same as she did 6 months, or even a year before.  She works so hard because she is trying to lose 15 to 20 extra pounds.  I know one definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.  But, this woman is very smart.  She is an intelligent and extremely determined professional lady.  It’s not just her though, the same situation is repeated every day many times over in gyms across the country.

I believe people persist in this situation for a couple of reasons:

  1. First, they look to their physically perfect trainers and make a big error in logic.  They connect the near perfect physicality of these folks with the veracity and effectiveness of their methods they use on their clients.
  2. Second, they blame themselves and therefore look at their workouts as some sort of punishment or strange “act of contrition” for not being better physically (like their trainers)

What most folks who have really buff trainers don’t realize is that these folks spend an inordinate amount of time in and around gyms and working out.  This is how they make their living.  In the same way that we go to work every day at our professions – exercise is what they do.  Therefore, the idea that we can use their methods to get into the same shape as they are is almost entirely illusory.  Further, many of these trainers and fitness people we emulate compete in figure or bodybuilding contests, entailing all kinds of specialized dietary, dehydration, and supplement protocols.  Thus, this illusion becomes even grander.   The carrot is firmly on the end of the stick.  For us, their methods are impractical and ineffective.

Back to the lady who was training so hard.  I asked her once about her diet and I received the answer I almost always get:  “we eat really well – lots of whole grains, and almost everything is organic”.  In other words, her process of elimination had removed food as a possible reason as to why she could not get rid of those extra pounds.  Unfortunately, the trainer concurred.

I had been in the same position myself, years before.  I spent up to 3 hours in the gym lifting weights and then doing long, arduous cardio I finally cut my calories drastically.  The more effort, discipline and denial I applied, the tougher it was to get those final pounds off.  It didn’t end well.  After 4 or 5 months of hell I had completely exhausted myself physically, mentally, and emotionally.  I quickly ballooned right up past my starting point in a few short months.  It wasn’t until I ignored popular fitness culture ideas that I finally reached my desired physical state, permanently.

The solution to our problems involves understanding and applying the rules of basic human physiology with regard to diet, exercise and building muscle.  For anyone struggling with extra pounds, the solution begins with diet.  Unfortunately, this information is rarely found in the fitness industry where, “Eat less and do your cardio” are still the default prescriptions.  It’s just a shame that this tenacious lady and so many millions like her have to work so hard, spend so much money and waste so much time and effort – only to fail.

If you’re looking for a time tested weight loss diet and exercise plan based on both scientific evidence as well as thousands of years of practice by our ancestors, check out the eco-diet. Follow it and you’ll lose weight, gain muscle and feel better than you have in years.

You See Them All The Time

They can usually be found on the cardio machines at your local gym.  Often, they are hanging around in the warm-up area doing some stretching with their personal trainer.  These are the middle aged men, who have been steered away from free weight resistance training and instead have been told to practice some form of cardio exercise, almost exclusively.  As a result, they are almost always exercising via distance endurance activities.

They have usually been told by a doctor, trainer or dietician or a combination of the above that their days of pushing weights are long over.  They are often told that they will be risking the revival of old sports injuries they experienced when in their youth, or worse, new injuries.  So, they have bought into the maxim that to lose that middle aged spread – “you must do cardio and you must cut back on your calories!”

You can almost always peg these guys just by the way they look.  Unfortunately, I have heard the most unflattering descriptions directly from ladies of the same age lamenting about what the hell happened to their college athlete men.  These guys are usually 40 to 60 years old, with a sizeable belly.  They often have skinny arms and I have heard their legs described as (this hurts) “two white baseball bats standing on end” holding up their rather oval bodies.

What’s sad is that most of these guys were really strong and active only a few years before.  They often played sports competitively and lifted weights.  Many times I have heard them talk about the amounts of weight they used to be able to lift or how strong they were when they were younger.  These recollections of youthful vitality always sound odd to guys the same age who have embraced a responsible, but aggressive strength training program.  Many of them are setting new personal records for strength, speed and power, despite their age.

Suppose you are 50 years old and not very active.  You are 30 pounds overweight and you embrace the aforementioned bad advice.  Let me run through the basic path of physiology you will unfortunately follow:

  1. Your cardiovascular condition improves and some weight loss occurs
  2. Muscles, begin to atrophy (get smaller!) and weaken due to insufficient use
  3. Bones, tendons and ligaments, also stressed insufficiently, begin to weaken
  4. You eat less meat (as advised) and more grains, etc. to help fuel long cardio exercise
  5. Less testosterone is produced due to a lack of any intense muscular stimulation
  6. Fat loss slows as your body adapts to cardio exercise – so you do more and more
  7. Further atrophy of muscles (primarily fast twitch) lowers your resting metabolic rate
  8. Your lower resting metabolic rate requires extra cardio work to burn any body fat
  9. Visible muscle disappears but fat is much harder to remove, so you cut calories
  10. Calorie reduction causes your body to further conserve your fat calories.

This vicious cycle continues as your muscle mass and resting metabolism drop to new lows – you are increasingly SKINNY-FAT  – consisting primarily of bone, fat, and skin

This does not end well.  Trust me, #5 is especially bad.  Testosterone is what drives our youthful male vigor.  We really like testosterone!  Believe me, you want to create as much of that as possible.  So, the only real benefit we get in this scenario is an improvement in our cardio-vascular fitness, every thing else gets worse.

Who on earth imagined that this state is where we, as middle aged men want to end up?!?!?!  Enough already!  I believe I speak for most if not all of my middle aged brothers when I say that HERE IS THE LIST OF WHAT I WANT, DAMNIT!

  • I want as much speed, power and strength as possible!
  • I want visible muscle, and not just for show – I want it to do something!
  • I want super strong bones, tendons and ligaments!
  • I want to be able to eat as much good food (like steak) as I want!
  • I want extra testosterone and all the youthful hormones I can possibly get!
  • I want to hold my own in bar fight!
  • I want a strong desire to chase women around and the ability to actually do something if one of them lets me catch her!

Regarding making progress over the age of 40, please consider the case of Mr. Louis Simmons, owner of the Westside Barbell Club – arguably the most successful power and strength training gym in the world.  Louis has been a competitive lifter since he was a teenager, yet he broke all of his previous records in his 50’s.  How could this guy have possibly accomplished this apparent physical anachronism?  He simply applied newer, more effective methods, thus creating greater power and speed than he ever had, even though he was older.  Louis is over 60 and still breaking records.  Over the years his gym has produced champion athletes from all kinds of different sports.

Don’t get me wrong – I think endurance sports are fantastic, and I think the athletes who participate in them are amazing!  My issue here is with the broad denunciation of middle aged men aggressively trying to get stronger and faster by building functional muscle (and the bad dietary advice that often accompanies that misinformation).  Unfortunately, these tired old maxims still pervade popular information on diet and fitness.

I only wish the best for my middle aged brothers, and I want to help save them from this bad advice that invariably sends them into this harmful, do-it-yourself, physical atrophy.  Bottom line – free weight resistance training is even MORE important for guys like me in their middle age!

If you’re looking for a weight loss diet and exercise program to put you on the road to wellness, we invite you to take a look at The Eco-Diet. It’s an all-natural program that’s scientifically based and modeled after the diet our ancestors followed successfully for thousands of years.

Government Food Guides – Use at Your Own Peril

I read major newspapers all of the time with famous dieticians referencing the United States or Canadian food guides as the final, gold standard for all good dietary advice.  I continually disagree most of what they are saying.  This doesn’t mean that I’m a genius.  It only means that I’ve taken the time to read and understand exactly what humans are scientifically meant to eat to be as lean, strong and healthy as possible.  Where did I get this great information?  I learned it from evolutionary biologists.  Not government food guides!

It’s been said that “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”  I tend to agree.  If you believe that money is basically synonymous with power then you can get an idea of how our government system, or at least that part of it which is supposed to look out for the good health of the public has become softened, compromised and finally corrupted.
Where government oversight is concerned, there are two principles that our modern food industry has taken complete advantage of in its ability to exploit us for our money.  Please consider the USDA, and specifically two important concepts to be aware of:

  1. The USDA by its very statement of purpose represents two completely conflicting missions:

1   To officially tell us (the public) what is healthy for us to eat.

2   To promote the interests of domestic agriculture.

Promoting what is scientifically proven to be the healthiest diet for the human race and at the same time promoting the food products of big agriculture would be completely conflicting endeavors!  If agriculture is creating food that is not healthy for us to eat and the USDA is promoting it, then our health is at risk.  (6,368)

  1. The USDA has dictated that any specific food is of equal quality regardless of its origin or how it was produced.  That is, an organic tomato is exactly the same as a tomato which has been grown with industrial fertilizers, and chemical pesticides and herbicides in a synthetic soil mixture.  That would also dictate that meat from a corn fed industrial raised cow, given hormones and antibiotics and fed other dead animals is exactly the same as meat from a grass fed, pastured cow raised in a purely natural environment (like a field).   This is not true.  This is a lie.  I repeat – this is absolutely, scientifically untrue – period.  (3,269)

Imagine if the USDA was embodied by one person.  Let’s say this organization was personified in a single man.  I would think that it would be really tough for him to sleep at night.  I mean, imagine the guilt.  As this person, you would be completely aware that you were knowingly doling out bad dietary advice.  You would know that this advice was causing untold illness and often death.  Your ill-advice was harming not only men and women, but defenseless children.  All the while you would be completely betraying your mandate to enlighten the public with the best dietary information for healthy eating.

Your betrayal of the people you literally exist to protect would correspond directly to your cowardice and surrender to the big agricultural businesses influencing and sometimes dictating your compromised, tainted advice.  If your identity were known to the public, to your fellow citizens you would be about as popular as a swinger with really bad hygiene.

You would be living with the fact that your weakness alone made you bow to food industry influence and intimidation so they could line their pockets with money.  All the while you would know that you were a failure.  You would live with the fact that you did not have the courage to stand up to these companies and their mistruths to protect the innocent and keep the promise of your duty.  If you had even a semblance of a conscience, I would imagine you would have a pretty bad alcohol and drug habit to go along with your sleepless nights.  Just imagine the guilt and anguish of living this way.  Imagine the shame you would feel, knowing that every day you traded the very health of the many for the financial benefit of the few.  Imagine knowing that you had sacrificed the innocent and vulnerable you had been entrusted to protect for the greed and power of the agricultural businesses you were supposed to keep in check.  Meet the USDA.

That’s all fine but the USDA is not a person with a conscience.  Unfortunately, it is a giant government bureaucracy where the blame for this situation is impossible to pin on just one person.  Quite the contrary, I doubt anyone who works for the USDA has any feelings of shame or guilt but rather feels proud of their small daily contribution to this organizational paradox.

If you’re looking for a scientifically based weight loss diet and exercise program, we invite you to check out the eco-diet and it’s an all-natural program based on both science and the natural diet followed by our ancestors for thousands of years.

Dogs and Cats

Many of us have a pet dog or a pet cat.  Most of us love our pets and treat them as if they are part of the family.  Consequently, we spend millions of dollars on food, regular care and when they get sick, veterinarians.  Unfortunately, our dogs and cats are stricken with many modern diseases that do not afflict their wild counterparts to nearly the same degree.  The list includes obesity, tooth and gum disease, cancer (tumors), osteoarthritis, heart disease, kidney and liver disease, dementia and diabetes.  Sound familiar?!?  Yup, these are the same diseases that we are increasingly affecting us; some at epidemic levels.

I saw a pet food commercial just the other day describing how progressive their new pet food was and how all the other pet foods were inferior because of their ingredients.  One of the ingredients they touted was whole grains.  I scratched my head.  The true, natural diet of a dog would be primarily the raw meat and bones of a wild mammal such as a deer, chicken or rodent (and the occasional fish).  This diet would include the vegetable contents of the stomachs of the animals they ate.  The natural diet of a typical house cat would include primarily:  mice and other rodents, small mammals, birds, fish, snakes and other reptiles, insects, and the contents of their preys’ stomachs.  So, without getting too complicated – the healthiest diet you could possibly feed your cat or dog would be as similar to their wild diets as possible.  There is ample research to prove this.

I was in the park near my work the other day with a couple of friends and their dogs.  The dogs love me because I usually have some grass fed bison, elk, chicken and beef and always throw them some of the scraps or a bone.  I felt bad because a lady was walking her dog and he smelled the meat and ran over to join the other dogs.  The lady followed.  As I fed the scraps to the other dogs I explained to her that this was grass fed, naturally raised meat and I would be happy to throw her dog a scrap or two.  The lady reacted with shock.  She snapped back the leash of her dog as she strongly protested.  She then tried to pacify her dog with some kind of a peanut butter flavored doggy snack that resembled a ball of cookie dough.  The look on her dogs face as the rest of the pack ravenously gobbled up their natural food said it all.  If he could talk, I am quite certain he would have yelped out “please, just kill me”.

It’s remarkable to me how closely our dogs and cats have come to resemble us.  Obese, physically dysfunctional, riddled with tumors, going blind, stricken with dementia, diabetes, or worse.  Perpetually weaker and sicker, they are more and more dissimilar to their wild brethren – who, all things considered are much, much stronger and healthier physical specimens.

Now, knowing this, some people have begun to feed their beloved pets their true raw diets via responsible producers of more naturally authentic cat and dog foods.  I think this begs the question though, if we can dramatically improve the health, function, quality of life, and life span of our pets; (not to mention the thousands of dollars we can save on veterinary bills) then why wouldn’t we follow the same logic ourselves?

Allow me to make the leap here and address how we commonly approach our own diets or more importantly the diets of our children.  The scientific proof is absolutely conclusive.  Just like with the cats and dogs, people that eat the natural evolutionary diet of our species are not stricken with a plethora of modern deadly and chronic diseases.

I think cats and dogs provide a great analogy only because we are not so set in our thinking regarding what our pets are actually meant to eat.  The same thing cannot be said for us humans and what we commonly perceive to be “our diet”.  When even our government food guides include hearty quantities of highly processed dairy and grains the truth remains obfuscated from the vast majority of us.  As such, most people don’t realize what is, or is not, a part of the natural, human evolutionary diet – the diet that has been proven to be healthiest we could possibly consume.

Please follow this same “species agnostic” advice and proven path of reason when considering what you are going to eat.  Consume primarily human evolutionary foods:

  • Naturally raised meats (animal foods)
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Nuts and seeds

Simply make these foods your staples (try to make them at least 70-80% of your total caloric intake).  If not for yourself, at least do so for your children. If you’re not sure where to get started, we invite you to check out our natural weight loss diet and exercise program called “The Eco-Diet.” It’s scientifically based and centered on the natural diet our ancestors followed for thousands of years. This is a gift that will last you and your families a lifetime.

The Girls At My Gym

Over the last two years I have witnessed many fantastic success stories amongst the ladies who have graced us with membership in our gym,
Having been to many gyms before, I have noticed that it can be very difficult terrain for many ladies to navigate.  I have been informed by many that the problems some of the typical big gyms pose for ladies include:

  • Creepy dudes who glare at and bother ladies who are just trying to workout
  • Intimidating equipment and members
  • Patronizing treatment via highly differentiating the training of men and women
  • Confusion:  lots of work, repetition, time in the gym, misinformation and expensive personal training, but no real results

The above issues and many others have contributed to the success of women-only training centers and gyms.  The problem here is that women are invariably pushed in the direction of very light weights, if any (often matching and with really cute colors), hours on cardio machines and cardio classes and expensive personal training.  This is stuff that makes the fitness industry a ton of money, but fails the majority of women who wish to improve physically.

At our gym, I have witnessed women express themselves physically with no regard to intimidation or any of the above listed nonsense.  Here, we introduce women to the great methods of the top Olympic figure skaters, track & field athletes, volleyball players, basketball and soccer players, to name but a few sports.  These amazing athletes do the same free weight strength and speed exercises as their male counterparts.

Almost every day I see our female members completing explosive squats, bench presses, standing presses along with dead-lifts and many variations.  They use 45 pound bars and dumbbells, kettlebells and 30 pound chains.  They groan with effort, drop barbells on platforms and clang the weights against the safety pins in the racks – just like the men.  Just the other day one of our lovely members and her friend were doing sled runs with weight and added 60 pounds of chains around their necks for added resistance.  They are fashion models, business executives, yoga instructors, grandmothers, wives and ladies of all ages.

A few months ago we were graced with a visit by a gold medalist from the last winter Olympics.  This woman was the personification of physical beauty and health.  She weighed about 115 pounds and it’s hard to do justice to her physique in a written description.  She was very slim and shapely and feminine but remarkably strong.   Her body seemed to move like it was like tanned, liquid, female stainless steel  (best I can do, and no wonder I’m not a poet).  Anyway, this lovely girl put 275 pounds on a bar and proceeded to squat that free weight up almost from the floor like it was nothing; even though she was recovering from a broken ankle.

These ladies all have one thing in common; they are all building functional, contractile muscle with a vengeance.  Consequently, they are shaping their bodies exactly where they desire.  Even better, this new muscle is burning body fat all day long via a new increase in their resting metabolic rate.  These things simply cannot happen by doing 5 pound dumbbell curls on a Bosu ball, or via completing only high repetition, light weight exercises or cardio work.  Most important, their diets are completely under control since most follow what is primarily an evolutionary diet.  This diet allows them to eat as much as they want, while feeding the new muscle and burning body fat.

It has been an absolute pleasure to see these women embrace many of the most optimal training methods available.  Their progress has been nothing short of amazing and continues to finally deliver the results they were after.

If you’re looking for real results, we invite you to check out our weight loss diet and exercise program called the eco-diet. It’s based on scientific evidence as well as the natural diet our ancestors followed for thousands of years. Give it a try–you’ll feel and look better than you have in years.

Industry Information vs. Scientific Truth – Choose a Side. Please Choose Carefully.

Please allow me to separate the worlds of diet and fitness into two specific sides.  For the sake of simplicity, I’ll call one side “industry” and the other side “science.”  I want to do this so we can separate the two major sources of information available on what to eat into just two main camps.

Please consider the dietary advice the public receives on what we should eat.  Let’s first look at the “industry” side.  Let’s take any part of our modern agricultural industry – the major food companies and their brands, food processors, fast food companies, restaurants, etc.  I think most anyone would agree that these companies (being companies) are in business to make money.  No matter which way you cut it, they need us to buy their food products so they can make more money – simple enough.  Unfortunately for us, this side of things is precisely the source of dietary information that our media, schools, and governments use.

Okay, now let’s look at the other side; it’s decidedly smaller.  On that side, we have the evolutionary biologists and anthropologists who study the natural diet of the human species.  The question becomes then – which side do you trust for the source of your information and guidance on what to eat in order to stay lean, strong and healthy?

Does the marketing director for Heinz ketchup or Cheerios have my health and my family’s health interests in mind and can I trust him to do the right thing for us?  What about the president of McDonalds, or Pizza Hut?  What about the guys who run General Mills, Cargill, Monsanto or ADM?  Is their primary goal my dietary health and well being, or is it profit and a return on investment.  I think it’s ostensibly clear that their motivation is money

Okay, what about the other guys, the evolutionary biologists or anthropologists studying the human diet and their recommendations.  Most of these guys would be tenured professors at some of the best universities in the world.  Their motivation is the pursuit of the scientific truth.  They do not get a monetary payoff based on how many blueberries you buy or how much bison you eat.

I think that when the simple motivations are laid bare, we are exposed to remarkably upsetting realities.  The scary thing is that there is a gigantic, chasm-like difference between the information each of these groups offers us.  As far as veracity, without getting into the details, the science guys win hand down.  Quite simply, their dietary advice will keep you lean, strong and healthy.  The other guys – not so much!

Okay, let’s look at the same logic with reference to the fitness industry where we are generally told how to exercise and get ourselves back into shape.  These industry folks sell us gym memberships, books, programs, training sessions and fitness products.  They comprise our modern fitness industry.  Let’s compare those guys to the top amateur and professional athletes along with their coaches and trainers.

  • Modern contemporary fitness industry  GOAL – MAKE MONEY
  • Top amateur and pro athletic coaches and sports scientists  GOAL – WIN

Therefore, the shareholders and investors in a large chain of modern fitness gyms will not have same goals as a top athletic coach.  The guys on the side of athletic science carefully research just how to produce the fastest, strongest physical specimens on the planet.

I hope breaking it down this way shows clearly just how preposterous it is for us to listen to anyone in the modern food industry.  We should never take any of their advice seriously relative to the real scientists whose goals are completely congruent with ours.  I don’t think there is any question as to which source we should listen to for answers on either food or fitness.

Unfortunately, the rational voices of the science side are easily drowned out by the bad guys who misinform us daily.  They do so to separate us from as much of our money as possible.  Please carefully consider the source for any of the diet or fitness you are considering.  Your time and money is extremely valuable – so go with the best.

We endeavor to be the best possible messengers for the good guys. If you’re interested in a natural weight loss diet and exercise program based on both science as well as thousands of years of evolutionary evidence, please check out the eco-diet.

To save time and for more information from these great scientific sources of information please visit our blogs, our expanding book reference lists and the links on our websites: or

Personal Training – A Cautionary Tale

At my gym, we have on a few occasions had to politely ask personal trainers not to return.  It’s not that we have anything against them.  They usually have the most popular industry certification and they seem like really nice people.  When this has occurred these folks were almost always brought in by new members of the gym who insisted on having their long time personal trainer join them.  The equipment and methods at our gym are decidedly counter to what the mainstream fitness industry offers the public.  As such, for some personal trainers, our methods seem highly unusual.

One particular incident involved a trainer who came to our gym at the insistence of one of our new members.  This member joined our gym with the goal of losing 30 pounds for her wedding.  The first things she asked about were cardio machines and aerobics classes.  We promised that we would help her lose the 30 pounds permanently, but that it would have very little to do with cardio machines or aerobics.  We promised her that it would mostly involve diet and that successfully reaching her goal would actually be quite easy and fun.

Unfortunately, she had no interest in our methods, but just wanted to bring in her own personal trainer and stick with their regimen.  I asked her when she had first gained the extra 30 pounds and she told me it had been at least 5 years.  I then asked how long she had been with her personal trainer – the answer was 3 years.  It turned out that she was also getting dietary advice from this same trainer.

I met her personal trainer – very nice lady – and witnessed their first few training sessions.  These sessions were very high on the cardio side with a ton of huffing and puffing, no rests and little resistance work.  They were really quite tough for the member who was doing what looked like a continuous series of cardio exercises with little to no rest breaks.  Basically, this amounted to some continuous circuit training.  To get through this workout, the lady required the constant motivation of her trainer.

After one of their training sessions, I briefly explained our training methods to the trainer.  She seemed shocked and couldn’t understand how we could possibly teach ladies or new people exercises such as the squat or the dead-lift.  Her opinion was that these were dangerous exercises, and certainly not for her client (thankfully, we didn’t even broach the topic of diet).  She much preferred the newest isolating machines of the bigger gyms where she had previously worked.

My answer to her concerns was that these movements are not only safe, but are natural, biomechanically correct human movements, unlike the restricting machines she preferred.  I gave here the following examples of how people complete these natural human movements every day:

Squats = going to the bathroom
Deadlift = picking up a throw pillow off the floor
Bench press = pushing in a drawer
Standing press = putting luggage in an overhead bin on a plane, or a shelf in a closet

These exercises do in fact represent the natural, multi-joint movements of humans.  Some of the best examples of people naturally performing the squat include sitting (think of Asia) and infants as they are first learning to walk from a crawl.  At our gym, we make sure they are being done correctly and scale them with weight.  For beginners, we start with a 5 pound bar, or sometimes just body weight.  We then raise both the resistance and variation as people build new muscle and get stronger – this invariably happens very, very quickly.

Further, these natural multi-joint movements arguably create the most benefit – new muscle, bone strength, tendon and ligament strength, coordination, flexibility, optimally raising metabolism to burn fat, etc – of all free weight resistance exercises.  This makes them top of the list for highly efficient choices in the gym.

Sadly, 3 months later, at the time of her wedding our member was still 30 pounds overweight.  The only thing she had to show for all of her hard, expensive sessions with her trainer is perhaps a moderate improvement in her cardio-vascular condition.  Still, she was no where near the size and shape she desired.  She never once enquired about our philosophies regarding diet or exercise.  We would have shared the eco-diet with her. It’s a scientifically-based and nutritionally sound weight loss diet and exercise program. Sadly, she chose to remain exclusively under the guidance of her trainer.  I really wish we could have helped her, but we were never given the chance.

Elite Athletic Strength Training – For The Untrained Middle Aged

So, let’s say you’re a man or woman over 40 and you haven’t played a sport in years or never did.  You can’t lose that middle aged spread and really want to tone up and look and feel better.  Most of us will look to our local gym for the solution.  This usually happens when we finally respond to one of the hundreds of glossy coupons that jam up our mail boxes each day luring us in with free trial memberships.

If you are closer to 50 like me, or older you may have experienced our modern fitness industry generally telling us to be “good little middle aged people and to do as we are told.”  We are introduced to a really hot 25 year old trainer who will basically baby sit us for $80.00 per hour of training.  They have us balancing on Bosu balls with 5 and 10 pound dumbbells and introduce us to all of the comfortable, futuristic, isolating fitness machines.  We are led into non-impact step classes and the cool looking cardio equipment to walk or run while we watch our favorite television shows.  We are often surrounded by other “ageing and physically challenged” people who are just like us.

I have personally experienced these condescending attitudes.  They are not only patronizing, but are dead wrong when it comes to getting us as healthy and fit as possible.  Most of the trainers at these gyms will steer us away from low repetition, free weight dead-lifts, squats, presses and other useful exercises.  Nope, for us it’s out to the “fitness pasture”.  We just need to accept it and to move on gracefully into the autumn of our lives.  It’s like we’re in some kind of “fitness daycare”.  Gyms are the only place I can think of where a CEO or neurosurgeon can get told what to do by high school drop-out who completed a 1 day personal training certificate.

It’s obvious from the rising statistics on obesity and ill-health that what the fitness industry is offering is simply not working.  So here’s my question; what if we went about this in an entirely different way?  What if we dared to ask what the fastest, strongest most “in-shape” humans on the planet are doing?  That is, how did the best athletes in the world get into their peak physical conditions?  What if we then boldly applied the same elite athletic methods?

Imagine if, even in your 40’s 50’s and 60’s you could get into not just “really good shape”, but quite possibly the best shape you’ve ever been in your life.  That is, stronger, faster, and slimmer than you’ve ever been, even when younger?

How could this be possible?  The main reason is that most of us have never been exposed to the advanced methods that the top Olympians and pro-athletes use to get so strong and fast.  This begs the question though – why would I want to train like a pro-athlete if I’m 51 years old, I work at a desk all day and the only sport I play is some pick up slow pitch every summer?  I understand completely and the reason why is simple – RESULTS!  The end game is not to make an Olympic team or the Pittsburg Steelers.  Rather, it is to get into fantastic shape as quickly as possible and with the smallest investment in time.

Again, the numbers show clearly that the fitness industry, for whatever reason is failing us miserably.  Typical big gyms generally offer us watered down bodybuilding routines on isolating fitness and cardio machines along with various fitness classes.  Please compare any results you may have had using those methods with the benefits obtained by applying the best principles known for dramatically improving human speed, strength, and power.  Following an athletic power and strength training regimen will deliver the following list of great advantages:

  • Fastest and most effective way to build new muscle
  • Develops the most speed
  • Builds the most physical strength
  • Best methods for strengthening bones
  • Best methods for building tendon and ligament strength
  • Best methods to build powers of concentration
  • Maximal hormonal response (testosterone, human growth hormone, etc)
  • Most effective methods to transfer for use in sports, work and life in general
  • Best way to strengthen the body overall to prevent physical injury
  • Shortest workouts (usually under 45 minutes and actual training time “under tension” is well under 5 minutes)
  • Least number of workouts per week – 2 or 3 are just fine
  • Most pronounced fat loss due to highest increase in resting metabolic rate

You will simply not receive all of these amazing results sitting in the comfortable machines or using the cardio equipment at your local gym.

At the gym I go to we teach 68 year old grandmothers (and everyone else) how to do free weight dead-lifts, full squats, bench presses, standing presses and all of their derivative exercises.  They’re dragging sleds, their pushing prowlers.  They are hauling heavy chains, balancing on gymnastics rings, swinging kettlebells and lifting in power racks!

Do we use the same volume as pro athletes?  Nope.  Do we use the same intensities and loads?  No way.  Make no mistake though, the methods are elite and the progressions are there to be taken.  The reason we can do this is that most of these methods are scalable.  The ones that aren’t can be progressed to as we get increasingly lean, strong and fast.

One of the most common questions we get is “Hey…am I supposed to be getting THIS strong?”  The answer is “Yup…absolutely, and you know what those rising numbers in strength mean?  They prove that you have more functional, fat burning muscle.”  It’s amazing how -given a responsible diet – empirical improvements in physical strength tend to correspond directly to visible fat loss and improvements in appearance.

I still hear concerns regarding the safety of applying these methods to folks my age and older.  I believe one of the best ways to allay these fears is by explaining the SAID (specific adaptation to imposed demands) principle.  That is, the body adapts to reasonable, progressive stresses that are placed upon it.  Dr. Mel Siff describes this principle more specifically with regard to plyometrics, “joints subjected to heavy impact are relatively free from osteoarthritis in old age and that those subjected to much lower loading experience a greater incidence of osteoarthritis”  he continues “it appears that the cartilages of joints subjected to regular impulsive loading with relatively high contact stresses is mechanically much stiffer and better adapted to withstand the exceptional loading of running and jumping than the softer cartilage associated with low loading”  (Siff, Supertraining, 2004)

To anyone trying to get into shape, I strongly suggest looking into the best, most proven methods available.  Even though they are rather esoteric to the public in general, please don’t be intimidated.  Do a little research and find a responsible, functional strength training gym or training center where they understand and practice these principles.  Further, these methods are completely scalable, exhilarating and the costs of time and effort are highly outweighed by the great results.  I can promise you that the dramatic positive changes will be well worth your efforts.  And if you’re looking for a weight loss dietto go with an elite exercise program, please take a moment to check out the eco-diet at It’s designed to go hand-in-hand with an exercise program that will have you feeling better than you have in years.

Here We Go Again

The messages from the media are clear – gas prices and the cost of food are about to increase dramatically.  Just yesterday, while listening to the news this information reminded me of the ominous words I had heard from a small farmer just outside of New York City before the last large scale food shortages hit in 2007/2008 resulting in a global food crisis.

A few years ago I completed a price study involving the cost of eating truly organic, farm direct food in New York City.  One of the small farmers I had the privilege of talking with at the time suggested that I do another price study 6 months later.  He talked of the inextricable links between fossil fuels and modern agriculture and that the price increases in oil were about to ripple their way through the agricultural system.  He reminded me that this simply wasn’t the case for small, non-industrial farmers who create food naturally.

I’ll never forget his words “Last time I checked, the soil, fertilizer (natural), grass, sunlight and rain on my farm were all free…no price increases expected”.  It turned out that this farmer’s predictions were far more ominous than we could have ever imagined at the time.  The global food crisis of 2008/2009 resulted in never before seen commodity food price increases and many countries experienced a food crisis of epic proportions.  Its spring of 2011 and here we go again!

The farmer’s wisdom reminded me of the economics behind the surprisingly low cost of the local farm-direct healthy food I was pricing.  These small, local farmers simply do not have the expensive inputs and outputs of the modern, industrialized food industry.  As a simple example, they pay for both the feed and the transportation of the feed to the animals in their massive commercial farming operations.  This is also true for their fertilizers and the unusable, toxic waste their tortured animals produce.  Also, their animal and produce products must be transported out comparatively long distances to huge regional distribution centers.
In contrast the local farmers’ animals wondered around eating grass, grubs and other free food courtesy of the sun and soil.  There simply were no major feed or transportation costs.  As such they were largely unaffected by fuel and corn price increases.

This was a simple example which could be applied to the entire cost chain of both types of farming operations.  The same negative results for big industry and the same hyper efficiencies for the small farmers glaringly reveal themselves.  Where the local farms were concerned this was another reminder of the sanity of it all.

Their inputs of their natural system are largely free.  This beautiful system (I think its called nature!?!?!) operates in a perfect feedback loop where the outputs of the system become the inputs.  In contrast, it was stark recognition of the sheer madness and inefficiency of our modern industrial system of agriculture.

Summarizing, our modern food industry or agro-industrial food complex or whatever you wish to call them provides us with the following laundry list of disadvantages:

  • Low grade, low nutrient food which makes us fat, sick and generally unhealthy
  • This food is made with hormones, chemical additives and increasingly, genetically modified organisms
  • Their methods of production torture animals, ruin the land, create dangerous new microbes and produce huge amounts of pollution causing untold damage to our environment
  • They have recently adulterated and come to monopolize the term “organic” (among other terms) lowering the overall quality of production of the food allowed to be sold under this name.  This lower grade “organic” food is extremely expensive.
  • They discreetly take our money in the form of tax subsidies in order to accomplish the above
  • Roughly 10% of every dollar you spend on this food pays for the actual food causing it’s relative cost value and quality to be inherently low
  • To follow this food from its origins to your grocery store you would need to travel thousands of miles, sneak past multiple levels of security, and break trespassing laws.  The average person would still be unable to figure out many of the industrial processes this food is subjected to.

Then we’ve got the guys I met in New York, the small farmers who quietly exist all over the country.  They provide us with the following comparative list of advantages:

  • Fresh, high quality, high nutrient, naturally produced food which will keep you healthy and strong
  • The food they produce is made in conjunction with the processes of nature, as such there are no dangerous chemical inputs or outputs and they let nature handle all of the genetic evolution
  • Their farming enriches the land, produces no pollution and preserves agricultural landscapes
  • These farms create a net tax gain – they contribute more tax revenue than they use
  • They have nurtured, perpetuated and protected the true meaning of the original “organic” idea through their simple and natural farming processes
  • 100% of every dollar you spend goes to those actually growing your food giving you the most relative value in terms of your food’s quality, purity and nutrition.
  • The farming and creation of this food is entirely transparent.  Almost every farmer I have encountered proudly invites customers to their farms to witness their plants and animals at every natural stage of life.

This journey of discovery also confirmed my belief that we, as consumers and as a society, can no longer afford to sleep-walk through the process of procuring our food.  We simply must wake up to the ugly realities of our current modern system now and embrace and strengthen the alternatives while they still exist.  We must support our small, local farmers.  Over the last few decades especially, our food has come to seriously control us.  Clearly, it is time for us to once again control our food.

Modern Food – Consider the Logic

Consider the Logic Underlying Our Modern Diet

Do you have a pet?  Let’s say you do.  Let’s say it’s a cat.  Now, instead of feeding the cat its natural diet of small animals, insects, a tiny bit of grass, raw vegetation and water (basically what a wild cat would eat in its natural habitat and what the animal has been eating for millions of years), you began to feed it odd, strange foods like beef flavored licorice and Mountain Dew soda pop.  So your cat starts to get fat and sick.  It becomes lethargic and unhealthy within a few weeks.

Still, because of the flavorings and the fact it is thirsty, it waddles over to the feeding dish and keeps eating the new food.  What would you do?  Take it to the vet?  Feed it more licorice, or perhaps other candy?  Maybe pork or chicken flavored candy?  Get it on a cat fitness program?  I know, maybe feed it a little less beef flavored licorice and Mountain Dew and get it on a cat fitness program?  Just accept the fact that it will be sick and fat for the rest of its life?  This is going to sound crazy, especially within the context of our modern food system, but here goes anyways; what if you put it back on its original diet?  That is what the cat and its entire species have been eating in their natural habitat since cats have existed?  What’s true for cats is true for us.

When we put animals in our zoos we replicate their natural environments and diets.  Koala bears are given eucalyptus leaves, killer whales are fed wild fish.  We would not one day just randomly choose an animal species and suddenly conclude that we have a better idea for what to feed them than what their natural diet dictates.  (Except of course for our dogs and cats which are equally as sick as we are with cancers, obesity and other diet related illnesses)

As an example, we would never insist that our zoologists, naturalists, and forest rangers suddenly start making sure that all bobcats in the wild are eating some new and different man-made food concoction called “Bob-Cat Crunch”.  We wouldn’t start feeding the remaining wild lions in Africa yogurt and granola instead of the animals they hunt and kill for themselves.  So how could we have allowed this very thing to happen to ourselves as a species?

This is just how ludicrous and bizarre our situation has become.  We have been marketed, socialized and fooled into eating dangerous and unhealthy food.  Cockroaches and field mice are smart enough not to purposely eat themselves into horrible debilitating illnesses and often death.  We have unwittingly figured out how to deliberately and at immense cost to ourselves, our environment and fellow animals create and eat food that makes us sick and kills us.

To me, the base-line for a respectful and natural standard of life for any animal on the planet would be to first allow that animal to live in its natural environment.  This would include access to its own natural diet and related foods.  Yet, for the majority of our human population we don’t allow ourselves this simple right.  It is crystal clear that humans do indeed have an original and natural diet (please see previous blog!).  It is also just as clear that many serious health problems have arisen as a consequence of diverging from it.

If you put a dollar amount on the true all inclusive costs of eating food from our modern food industry vs. eating real food produced in concert with nature, the cost of the real food would be far less.  The irony of this is profound indeed.  For instance, the low price of a fast food hamburger does not reflect its real cost – but it should.  The profits of the fast food chains have been made possible by the losses imposed on the rest of society.

The annual cost of obesity alone is twice as large as the fast food industry’s total revenues.  Not only is the industrial food more expensive but it is hurting and killing us.  It’s not like we are getting more for our money.  Rather we are paying much more and getting much less along with the added byproducts of damage to the environment and physical damage to ourselves to an increasing but as of yet unknown depth.