New year. Don’t waste it.
It’s a new year. Don’t waste it. Since the vast majority of New Year resolutions are based around body weight and image, we’ll start there.
35.7 percent of Americans in the United States are obese. Not just overweight, but bloody OBESE. In 2008, medical and healthcare costs resulting from obesity-related conditions were $147 BILLION. And I’m not just pulling these numbers out of ass. I’m probably the antithesis of religious, but even I’ll admit the Bible is right when it tells you that your body is your temple. So stop feeding your temple garbage. Seriously. Sit down and educate yourself on the SCIENCE behind how your body works, then go forth and reap what you’ve sown. Start here. Then move to here. If you’re a power athlete or someone generally looking to grow bigger, faster and stronger, then start here. Avoid anyone that preaches the benefits of whole grains, tells you carbs are okay in the morning as they’re low-gylcemic, or tells you that cutting certain foods is “dangerous” and “unbalanced.” Drink less alcohol, eat more green vegetables, and double your protein intake. Your body is an engine. Why would you ever think you can fill up the tank with low quality fuel (that’s food) and get high quality output (that’s your body fat percentage)?
A lot of the quite literally shitty nutritional advice we receive comes from our own government, which has unfortunately put forth advisory policies that aren’t based on any sound, peer-reviewed or critiqued science. Is it really so surprising that whole grain carbohydrates are the biggest thing recommended by the government when US agriculture represents a sizable portion of the GDP?
So stop making excuses and lose the fat. Notice I said fat, not weight. I do NOT advocate that anyone, especially women, become waifs trying to survive on 800 calories a day to stay “thin.” Your weight is a number, and your BMI (body mass index) is only a slightly less useless number. What I am talking about is losing body fat, which almost all of us (myself included) have an excess of. And no, it is not fucking healthy or natural to have rolls of fat. So we work on it. The problem is most of you don’t have even the slightest clue what you’re doing, so you fall for stupid advertising and shitty nutritional advice. You sit on an elliptical or treadmill for 45 to 60 minutes regularly. You maybe dabble with some weights, but usually dumbbells rather than barbells, and never heavy because you “just want to tone up.” So you waste hours of your life doing this, eating lots of whole grain granola bars because they’re low in fat and “healthy.” Flash forward a month or two, and maybe you’ve lost a few pounds, but more likely than not, you’ve barely made a dent in your fat reserves. Your motivation drops, you struggle, and then you quit. You resign with thoughts of how you just don’t have “skinny genes” and how you were “super healthy” but it didn’t work.
The reality is you were an ignorant sheep who followed the masses because you didn’t know any better. The good news is that all of that is in the past and you have the opportunity from here on out to do better.
This is Staci, who was featured here. The picture on the left was here trying to follow the typical “Cardio Bunny” routine at the gym. Low fat, lots of grains, lots of running and other forms of “cardio.” The picture on the right is Staci after she educated herself and found a barbell. She starting powerlifting training, cut the excess carbohydrates and grains, and started eating more along the lines of the Paleo nutrition model. Yup, she ditched the granola and elliptical and starting lifting HEAVY. And guess what? She didn’t “bulk up” or turn into a She-Hulk or a man. Only an idiot would say the girl on the left looks better than the girl on the right. The kicker? Staci weighs more in the photo on the right, but looks better do to a lower body fat percentage.
Stacy isn’t alone in realizing the secret to a fabulous female figure is found in iron, not circles.
So far, the discussion has been skewed towards women, so let’s shift gears over to men for a few. Gentlemen, women like muscles. They tell you that they don’t, that they just want guys that are lean or built like swimmers, but honestly, begging forgiveness of the fairer sex here, they don’t know what they want. They claim they want swimmers bods, but then they fawn and openly drool over Brad Pitt in Troy, or models like Greg Plitt. Hell, anybody remember a little movie called 300? Women like muscles. In college I started lifting weights. At just a hair under six feet tall, I went from skinny and lean 160 pounds up to 185. The difference was startling. Even girls I had been friends with for years started cooing over my arms and chest. Suddenly, sorority girls who had never even known I existed were talking among themselves to figure out why no one was dating me. This is a personal account, yes. But I’m not alone:
It wasn’t long before I was in a zone. I was lifting at the gym three or four days a week, and supplementing that with a day or two of home workout. The differences in my physique and behavior were noticeable. Previously fitted shirts became snug around my arms and chest. My posture improved, making me look longer and sturdier. I threw out the trash shirtless.
Girls’ reactions were a lot more interesting. I’d catch them staring—sometimes several times during a conversation—at my arms and chest. Girls’ hands would linger on certain parts of my body when they would do one of those you’re-so-funny pawings. The nerdiest, most bookish girls, the kind who like sci-fi and talk with a slight lisp—who most people never-in-a-million-years would imagine cared about such things—would oooh and ahhh when I’d tell them to feel my biceps and half-jokingly explain that I was “in the middle of getting ripped.” I had unwittingly leveled-up.
Girls like muscles. They like men that look like men, that radiate strength and confidence. They downplay it, intentionally or not, because I think they are afraid of it being revealed that they can be as superficial and shallow as the men they sneer at. It’s easy to claim that they don’t care about such things. Words are cheap. Yet you look at their behavior, their actions, and it paints an entirely different story.
So, gentlemen, it’s time to lift. Start here and here. Forget everything else. To paraphrase Mark Twight, appearance is the result of fitness. Bodybuilding is a horribly vain and superficial sport. Lift for strength, speed, and power. Eat clean. The aesthetics will take care of themselves. Don’t worry about supplements, but eat whole foods, and lots of them. Get rid of your shitty Nike Frees or Shox or gel Asics. Buy some Inov-8s or some Chucks. Squat, press, deadlift, do pull ups, and sprint your way to an epic physique.
Most people are shitty, weak-minded individuals, who spew hate and insults at those who have the strength to do what they cannot. Don’t announce to the world that you’re going Paleo for 30 days, but simply do it. If people ask you what you’re doing, explain the bare minimum. Few people really give a shit about insulin levels or the negative impact of gluten on the human digestive tract. If you tell them you’re doing this “hardcore” (it’s not) diet, and removing grain and dairy from your diet, most people will try to talk you out of it. Heed the words of Dave Tate: “90% of everyone you meet are negative pricks who will go out of their way to tell you why you can’t do something. Once they know your goal, they’ll try and tear you down. Just keep it vague, and all they can do is wish you success.”
Or find a community that encourages you to be athletic and strong. Surround yourself with like-minded individuals who push you to be better rather than tearing you down to make themselves feel better.
The definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over, yet anticipating or hoping for different results. Everything you want can be yours if you have the audacity and strength to forge yourself into something better and just take it.
Just do it (Hooah, Nike).