Strength and Fitness Blog
Years ago when I was an iron pumper, it was considered important to pound the protein bars. They were considered necessary fuel for body building.
I did as I was told and ate these things religiously. As a result I gained plenty of pork on my frame. And I felt tired and weak and gained zero extra muscle.
But this protein bar worship continues today.
Take a gander at any fitness or muscle mag and you’ll notice all the ads for protein bars. Or walk throughany “health food” store or section at the grocery and there’ll be aisles of these “nutrition” bars. They claim this is the way to eat, this is the modern food for modern man.
True, but that’s part of the problem. Fake food for fake bodies.
Modern man’s body ain’t exactly anything to write home about. Not enough activity and poor eating. Time to go back to Mother Nature and the Jungle.
Protein bars can have their place, albeit a small one. Here are some reasons to consume protein bars:
1. Meal replacements under a physician’s order. Sometimes this is what the doctor orders for underweight folks who need calories fast and furious.
2. Once in a while where there’s nothing else to eat, or you’re on the run, need a quick fix. It might be the only thing you can eat fast and easily.
3. On cheat day when you can eat any garbage you want, or just once in a blue moon.
My problem with these bars is that too many people rely on them for most or all their meals. Not a good idea. They’re loaded with all sorts of strange unnatural stuff. Humans need real food. The human race is morphing into an amorphous blob of blubber. The less a food looks like in nature the less you should eat of it.
I’m not harshing on someone who eats these because I realize he’s trying to do his best. If for whatever reason you have to eat these then do so. Just make sure most of what you eat is good food.
If you really want the best food for building muscle instead of building blubber, and best for your health and athletic performance, then you’ve got to eat like an animal – natural good jungle food, not synthetic man-made chemicals.
For more information on the best animal foods to eat for health and strength, I have a special report on the best foods to eat in my program Animal Kingdom Conditioning II – Call of the Wild.
All the best,
Bruce Lee is known for his incredible abs. I’m not talking about his ripped to shreds 6-pack, but his insane core power.
One of his biographers, Mito Uyehara, said:
“Bruce always felt that if your stomach was not developed, then you had no business doing any hard sparring.”
No doubt. Someone who didn’t have good abs would get served.
Therefore, Bruce was definitely a fanatic about ab training. I read that he would constantly train his abs throughout the day because it was so critical to do so.
And he’s right. No matter what you do, you’ve got to have strong abs. And you’ve got to train them correctly.
But the good news is that you don’t need to train your abs for long periods of time. Gymnasts don’t, and they have the strongest abs of all.
Gymnasts don’t have the time to spend hours on ab training. They’re too busy training skills. So, they need to get the biggest bang for the buck with the most effective movement and technique.
The skills they perform require such strength, explosiveness, precision and finesse that they wouldn’t be able to do what they do without supreme ab development. Or worse, they’d break in half if something went wrong. Their abs are not just for function but for safety. It makes them more bullet-proof.
And that’s why training abs like a gymnast is the best way to train the abs, especially if you’re a martial artist. Gymnasts have a huge advantage when starting martial arts.
It’s not just that they’re great athletes who have super strength, it has a lot to do with their phenomenal ab strength that enables them to hit, kick and grapple better than most.
For more information of how you can get the best abs for fighting or any other activity, check out Gymnastic Abs.
All the best,
I’m noticing more and more how people have less and less manners.
Just the other day I was holding the door open at the post office for a young slacker dude. He didn’t say a word or even acknowledge me. No “thanks, bro” or even a nod. Nothing.
I laughed it off and sounded like an old man by grumbling to myself about those young whippersnappers. Did it ruin my day? Of course not, but a little gratitude would’ve been nice.
And what’s with all the people being rude to waiters? They’re not your servant. Just treat them like you’d want to be treated. That’s just common courtesy.
And a word of advice: if you must be rude to your waiter, wait ’til AFTER you get your food, not before. That’s just common sense.
To me, manners is showing respect and appreciation for others. It’s as natural as breathing and takes no effort yet it goes a long way.
Which brings me to the point of all of this (finally, geez):
Show respect and appreciation for yourself.
Most people disrespect themselves by being rude to their own bodies. They do this by not exercising or doing the wrong exercises. They abuse, misuse, neglect and do all sorts of discourteous things to their own physiques.
Have good manners and behave like an animal.
Being an Animal the most polite and respectful thing you can do. Your body will thank you by getting lean (but not mean), fit (but not fat) and fabulous (but not flabulous).
All the best,
I always stress the importance of eating lots of fruits and vegetables. They’re the best food for flab loss, lean muscle building and your overall health.
But the fact is that most people hate vegetables and only can tolerate them if they’re on pizza or deep fried.
So how do you eat vegetables without forcing yourself? How do you replace junk food with good food without feeling like you’re suffering or sacrificing?
I understand that it’s not easy to switch gears completely and eat all the right foods. Some people can go cold turkey and be perfect. Most can’t, though. I know I sure couldn’t.
I tell people the same thing when they’re first learning to eat right as I do when they’re first learning to exercise:
Start off slowly and gradually ease your way into it. It should be a gentle change, not a kick in the gut.
Begin with one serving of a vegetable a day. Add some flavor to it. Salsa is always good, as long as it doesn’t contain garbage like corn syrup or excess salt. Instead of chips and salsa, eat carrots and salsa, or celery. Olive oil is also good, too.
Add a serving of vegetables every few days to your meals. After a while, eat two servings a day. Then when that’s no effort, add another one and so on.
Very soon you will develop a taste for them, as this is your body’s natural way of eating. It’s hard-coded in you so it won’t be a struggle for you to do once you’ve built a habit of it. And in no time you will feel better and look better.
Remember that very few people come out of the shoot with perfect habits. If you can switch gears and go from eating trash to eating perfectly in a snap, well, then congratulations on that. But most of us – myself included – need to ease our way into the right habits. This way is actually the fastest, easiest and most permanent way to change behavior.
So don’t feel rushed or pressured. Don’t sacrifice or struggle. Just go about it in your own natural time and it will happen. No matter what your pace, though, you do have to start.
All the best,
P.S. For a how to go from Garbage to Garden, read more here…
Here’s a letter from a father who tried everything to de-flab his body, but nothing worked:
I’ve been doing Animal Kingdom Conditioning for 3 weeks now and have lost pnds already, even though and I take medication which causes obesity as a side effect.
I used to lift weights, run 10-12 miles a day and I still gained 30 pnds of fat due to medication. I thought there was no getting away from these fattening side effects. I felt as if there was no hope until I came across your ad in a magazine. Then I read your website over and over and wondered if this was the answer. So I saved for 3 months and bought your entire set.
My body’s muscles have started reconstructing themselves and taking the shape of a gorilla as opposed to a bodybuilder and I feel incredible just like an animal!. This would have never happened if it wasn’t for your program. It was truely inspired.
My daughter trains everyday with Animal Kingdom Conditioning and she is DOMINATING her martial arts class because of it.
That’s awesome. Glad you were persistent and were open to a different way of training. Things do work out for the best when you follow the Way of the Animal. Keep in touch to tell us your progress.
If you’ve been struggling like David was, or want to dominate your martial arts, then now is the time to go Animal.
All the best,
Back in the ’80′s there was the old bodybuilding mantra “No pain, no gain.” Of course what they meant by “pain” is the muscles working and fatiguing, not the pain of an injury occurring.
And they’re right. If you don’t work your muscles, you’re not going to gain a thing.
But since most people are so averse to moving their bodies – and consider even the slightest movement like walking up a flight of stairs to be torture – they associate exercise fatigue as pain.
And some don’t even know the difference between that and injury pain; they think it’s the same thing. But they’re not – though sometimes sloppy and haphazard exercising can lead to injury.
If you feel like something’s going to rip, tear, snap, pop, break or anything else that’s bad, then you’re not exercising correctly. Stop immediately. You’re doing your body more harm than good.
Slow it down, start from the beginning, and test the waters of your movement to see if things are okay. Slowly and gradually push the envelope.
Now, in regards to the good exercise fatigue (which is not pain), that needs to be approached slowly, too.
Each workout, regardless of level, is based on how your body is feeling at that precise moment, not on what you did in the past or think you should do, but what you can do right now.
If you’re a beginner, don’t kill yourself exercising. Don’t go brutal. Going through the motions at first is fine until you get used to training. Start slowly increasing the intensity so you’re always pushing a little more. That might mean one more pushup or going a little bit faster. Keep building on this each workout if you’re up to it.
Beginners might be physically ready to push very hard but mentally they’re not, at least not doing so consistently. A beginner’s role is to acclimate his body and mind to the long term habit of consistently exercising.
Hardcore training for the beginner, even if it doesn’t result in physical injury, will usually result in mental pain – mental fatigue, disdain for working out – which will ultimately lead to quitting. Very few beginners are able to push hard for a long time without quitting.
Yes, I fully understand the desire to get to the goal as fast as you can but if you don’t take a long term approach you’re never going to get there.
Fitness is a process. Start from the start and move. There are no skipping steps.
When you get to the advanced level, then you can start playing around with the hardcore brutality of pushing yourself to the extreme where you go animal or go home. You’ll intuitively understand what your body and your mind can handle, and you’ll understand what it needs each workout.
Building the proper mental and physical foundation is the most important thing for your fitness success.
Pain, whether it’s physical or mental, has no role in fitness.
All the best,
P.S. To understand how to progress through the process of physical supremacy, check out my courses here…
A great Seinfeld episode is where George Constanza starts acting in ways that are completely opposite of what he’s used to doing.
Usually a neurotic, insecure and self-loathing mess with a life that reflects this, George decides he’s had enough and the only solution is to do everything counter to what he’s done in the past.
Thus Opposite George is born.
He starts by ordering the opposite type of lunch. This leads to him asking a beautiful woman – a complete stranger whom he considers out of his league – on a date using the greatest pickup line ever:
“My name is George. I’m unemployed and I live with my parents.”
Of course she’s smitten, and it’s all gravy from there. Not only does he start dating this woman, the rest of his life completely changes for the better, such as he gets a killer job and stands up to two huge bullies.
As funny as this episode is, there are many lessons we all could learn from Opposite George and apply it to our fitness, though perhaps with much less wanton disregard for the consequences.
1. Change your thinking – Sometimes your thinking has to be reversed for things to work out.
Before, George was coming from his fearful mind, not his confident happy one. When he changed his thinking, everything fell into place.
2. Stop trying so hard – You don’t have to force anything. Usually when you force something it doesn’t happen or it goes bad. George put in the right amount of effort and just let things happen without expectation. He was in flow.
3. Don’t take yourself so seriously – What’s the worst that can happen, seriously? Is the world going to end if things don’t go your way? Does it mean you’re a big POS if someone doesn’t like you?
George stopped worrying about the outcome, how he looked and what others thought of him. He didn’t take things so personal. His neurosis was gone and he enjoyed life.
4. Trust – Trust that everything is going to work out just right in the big picture regardless of the immediate results. That’s real confidence.
If what you’ve been doing hasn’t been working, then follow the lessons of Opposite George and things will fall into place. Your fitness will make huge improvements.
If your typical thinking is that you’re a big, fat, weak, sloppy, unhealthy mess of a , then knock that off. Observe these thoughts and then start thinking the opposite, which is your truth: that you’re a strong, healthy, mean, lean animal machine.
Then you’ll start acting that way, and then your body will follow suit and match your thinking. And it’ll be true. Trust it.
All the best,
P.S. George’s new girlfriend, so impressed with him and puzzled by his uniqueness, asks “Who are you, George Costanza?”
“I’m the opposite of every guy you’ve ever met” was his reply.
Well put. Do the opposite of every exercise you’ve ever met.
We all know the story of the Three Little Pigs where the first pig is lazy and impatient and builds a house of straw. It goes up very fast but, of course, it lasts all of two seconds because the big bad wolf blows it down with ease.
His brother, pig number 2, does a little better with his house of sticks, but it doesn’t last much either.
Luckily for these two pigs their brother pig number 3 built a brick house. He took the time to lay the foundation, built it brick by brick, made it strong and functional. And it’s the best looking house of them all.
If it wasn’t for this third pig, the wolf would be feasting on bacon and ham.
Of course when you grow up you don’t apply the moral of this story to fitness. We want the fastest way to a flabless body, even if it means building a weak structure and doing ourselves harm. We don’t care. Just give us the magic pill now.
But the lesson of the The Three Little Pig especially applies to health and fitness.
Building supremely physical supremacy takes time. It’s not going to happen overnight. Yes, there are some people who are gifted physically coming out of the shoot and don’t have to try, but these are few and far between.
Most of us have to be committed to change and be patient about it. But we know it will pay off in the long run because then we will have our brick house. And what we gain on the way is even more valuable than the house we’ve created.
There are no shortcuts to building a brick house body. You’ve got to do it right, with one gain built on another, just like a brick. The payoff is a better looking house, a stronger house and a safer house than any straw can build. You’ve got to think long term and see the big picture. Because that’s what’s going to last forever.
All these people with their straw houses and their quick fixes, are merely putting a bandaid on the problem instead of changing things permanently.
Build a brick house – nay, a STEEL house – starting from the core, with Gymnastic Abs.
That way your body is strong, resilient, sturdy and can’t be touched by any wolf.
All the best,
P.S. When I was a goofy kid, the Commodores’ song popularized the term “Brick House” for a well-built woman. Now it means a real, strong, permanent and functional body for both men and women. Get your steel house here…
I read an interview of a yoga teacher who was discussing all the injuries caused by yoga. Apparently yoga is getting a bad rap for being dangerous.
Yoga? Dangerous? Well, anything can be dangerous. Heck, sitting on your butt all day is dangerous.
Yoga in itself isn’t dangerous. In fact, Yoga is great, a super way to build a structurally balanced body.
The problem is that yoga has become so popular that instruction has become watered-down. When this happens, schools become degraded with unqualified teachers who don’t understand the subject, the human body or the clientele.
Teachers forcing students to do things their bodies aren’t ready for, or just aren’t that good to do. No wonder there are so many injuries.
Whatever your activity, if it feels bad, don’t do it. Become aware and conscious of your body, and that you understand what your body is feeling and what it’s supposed to be doing at the moment. And make sure the instruction is top notch.
Regardless of your level, your foundation is key. Don’t push too hard, go easy and build up a strong foundation that’s bullet proof. That way injuries will be kept to a minimum, if at all, and your progress will be much faster. You’ll build a physically supreme body if you do it this way.
This is why all of my courses have beginning, intermediate and advanced progressions so you’re always building up instead of tearing down.
Remember, fitness and health is a process. You start from the beginning and progress up, building on each level to the next, like a brick house. Otherwise your straw house will crumble and be destroyed.
All the best,
The other day I was driving in my car listening to the radio. The deejays were talking about a study that warned if your spouse all of a sudden starts exercising and losing flab, they might be doing it because they’re cheating on you. In other words, having a new partner in their life is the only reason they’d get fit.
Whenever I hear someone say “study” it raises a few red flags. First off, we don’t know what kind of study this was, how accurate, how biased, the study design, number of people, etc.
Also, journalists always misinterpret research findings so by the time it gets watered down to the listener/reader, it might reveal totally different findings. So, I don’t know how accurate this information is to begin with.
But let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that this study is accurate, that those who are married and begin exercising are only doing so because they’re cheating on their spouses.
So adultery is the only reason a married person would begin exercising?
That’d be pretty sad. It means that people won’t exercise for their own benefit, be it health, fitness or even vanity. And they definitely couldn’t care less about their spouses so they’d never once consider getting fit for them. I know there are people with so much disdain for their mates that they wouldn’t consider doing anything nice for them. If that’s the case, why stay married?
However, I like to give people the benefit of the doubt and have a more positive outlook. While I’m sure there are some adulterers out there who are getting fit because they’re cheating on their spouses, I’m willing to bet there are people who are actually exercising for themselves and for their spouses.
Some people genuinely care about their bodies and it’s not about looking better for the “other” man or woman.
Thus, this summer give yourself (and your spouse) a surprise by getting lean and mean by going here.
All the best,
P.S. A decade ago I’d often watch the TV show “Cheaters” which followed suspected adulterers around and then confronted them. But like too much junk food, too much trash TV isn’t good for the brain and turns it to goo. A little crap is fine, but you need real substance for real health and happiness.