I wrote the first version of this article in 2014. Since then, the article and its various syndications have been read by a few hundred thousand people. I actually encountered someone on Reddit who carries around a physical totem (one of the strategies that I discuss below) as a reminder to himself. After lots of feedback and hundreds more clients and hours Continue reading
As human beings, we like to think we’re rational, but unfortunately we’re not. As a person whose self-control could go from high to “feed me all the things” in the matter of seconds, I found my own decision making to be fascinating.
The reality is that when it comes to fitness, we all have a multiple personality disorder of sorts. I call these “fitness psychological states.”
Part 1: Cohort Analysis 101 and Analyzing Your Users’ First Week Funny enough, half of people who know me (or of me) have no clue that I’m a fitness blogger, while the other half have no clue that I spend most of my time growth hacking (and not the fitness kind). I’ve decided to devote an even portion to this Continue reading
Many commercials and products make weight loss out to be extremely difficult. However, with the right knowledge, weight loss can be relatively simple and easy. Here, we’ll discuss the basics of nutrition and get you started on your weight loss journey.
One of the largest hangups that clients have is the lack of movement on the scale. Weight loss, however, isn’t linear. Let’s take a look at a sample of a few dozen real-life data points to see what successful weight loss really looks like.
When it comes to fitness, how do we get past the impossible? You know–how it’s impossible to find the time to exercise, stop your cravings, or [insert reason that you ended your New Years Resolution here]. Here’s how to break down any impossible fitness problem into something you can overcome.
You’ll likely find more success counting macronutrients (or “macros” for short) than plain ol’ calorie counting. The concept of counting macros can be intimidating, so I’ve written this “how-to” guide on how to nail your targets like a pro. (Note: This guide assumes that you already know the basics of macronutrients…if you don’t, check out my Lifehacker article here.) Part Continue reading
When it comes to making progress–be it in fitness, startups, or pretty much anything–I have a strong focus on using the correct metrics in order to see consistent progress. It’s important to see your weight decrease from week-to-week as consistently and frequently as possible in order to build a positive feedback loop around fitness.
But your weekly weigh-ins doesn’t tell the whole story. In fact, the most important client victories occur when no weight was lost, but instead, the client didn’t gain weight or had another breakthrough. In fact, pushing yourself every single week in order to see a budge on the scale may backfire. Let’s take a look at why.
Shortly after I began coaching, I started recognizing patterns in those who are successful vs. unsuccessful in their fitness endeavors. People who find fitness success all have one thing in common, and it has to do with the way they think.
Figuring the body fat percentage of you or your clients can be tricky. Sure, you can use images, calipers, or a something more accurate like a Bod Pod or hydrostatic test, but sometimes you need a way to figure it out on the fly. In this case, you can use the simplified charts that I created below. Semi-Scientific Methodology Continue reading
Almost everyone loves a good before-and-after picture. Like watching a feel-good romantic movie where the awkward guy/girl finds an attractive mate at the end, it awes and inspires. But there’s a dark side to many fitness transformations that you don’t see…one that doesn’t have a happy ending. Those reading this probably know about my former-fat-kid background by now. There’s Continue reading
I’m fortunate enough to have a rare insight into what makes people successful in fitness. There’s nothing really special about me, except for one important fact – I’ve trained hundreds of clients and pay close attention to patterns that lead to success and/or failure. When you look at the subset of clients who have made Continue reading
Weeks away from training. Consecutive days of binging. Not wanting to step on the scale.
We’ve all been there.
At this point in my life, I’ve probably fallen off the fitness horse a dozen times or more.
Some people fall of the horse once and never get back on. I’ve seen this with some of my clients, unfortunately; if I don’t get to them before it’s too late, they have dropped fitness for the immediate future.
Fortunately, I’ve saved many of them and have been able to iterate and tweak the steps that I recommend.
Here’s exactly how to get back on the horse when you’ve fallen.
If you “train clients” in the fitness profession, chances are that you call yourself a trainer.
I say the phrase “train clients” loosely enough to encompass anyone in the fitness industry who works with clients towards some fitness goal.
But if you are like most forward-thinking fitness professionals, especially the ones who play in the online space, you shouldn’t call yourself a trainer. Moving away from the trainer/trainee mindset might be the most powerful thing that you can do.
There are few things that have the power to dictate our mood, confidence, or self-worth more than your weighing scale.
Those that have never struggled with fitness likely have an innocuous relationship with the scale. It’s simply a piece of equipment that simply reports one’s weight.
But for those who have struggled with their body image, the scale represents much more. It’s a deity to which they pay homage by enduring great pains in hopes of a favorable number.
One of the most frequent questions that I get from my female clients is “Should I train my chest? What impact will building muscle have on my breasts?”
Anecdotally, I’ve heard nothing but good things, especially from clients who…
1. Are relatively “flat-chested” (quotations to emphasize that it’s their words, not mine. I’m equal opportunity here.)
2. Have lost a significant amount of weight before..
While I’ve seen great results – testimonials even – from women about their boobage, I’ve yet to actually show evidence of what chest training can do for women. Until now.
Here is a client’s before-and-after picture after improving the musculature behind her chest as well as reducing her body fat. This is taken almost exactly a year apart.
Welcome to Part 2 of The Ultimate Guide to Cheating.
If, at the end of Part 1 you were thinking, “God, you’re such a Dick. You didn’t tell us anything about implementing the cheat,” then you would be 100% correct. In truth, this series is part of something larger – guide that will show you how to never stray from your diet again.
But more on that later. In the meantime, let’s talk about how to implement the cheat, shall we?
There are various levels of cheating and for good reason. If you implemented an all out cheat (i.e. a “storing fat for the apocalypse” kind of cheat) every time you had to go to lunch with coworkers, progress would come to a standstill if not outright go in the other direction.
So, we’ll break down cheating into 4 categories and discuss the implementation and appropriateness of each. You’ll want to make sure that you read the guide to counting macros, as I’m going to refer to some shortcuts with regards to eyeballing portions, counting alcohol, etc.
In the last decade, as a fitness coach and the co-founder of Fitocracy, I’ve been exposed to the stories and data of millions of people and countless successful transformations, including my own.
Despite these success stories, most people fail at fitness and obesity rates are increasing. Yet, if people understood the secret to fitness, success would eventually be inevitable.
You see, the one thing that I hear the most is “If I just had the motivation…”
People think that the secret to making a successful fitness transformation is about finding motivation.
They think motivation is like some sort of fitness Tinker Bell that you can pull out of your pocket at any time. She’ll sprinkle magic pixie dust that makes you instantly hate the taste of pizza and love the treadmill.
I’m not sure why, but I get pensive and analytical at the end of these conference-style events. Whether it’s the physiolgoical impact of alcohol withdrawal trickling into my mood or the fact that I overanalyze human interactions (and consequently sometimes I think I may be a high-functioning sociopath…) is anyone’s guess.
Last year, immediately after the summit, I wrote about my analysis of the fitness industry and why it’s broken. This year, a few comments about “The Fitness Summit” being a circle jerk, coupled with a Facebook post by my brilliant friend Clifton Harski (this guy totally gets it, by the way) left me wondering the same thing.
On a scale of 1 to 10, the “judginess” of Clifton’s post is close to Judy, but I always respect a bold opinion. It’s interesting that I would agree with Clifton’s overall sentiment, because I absolutely adore everyone who spoke. Echoing Clifton’s sentiment, at the atomic level, everything was great, and I truly enjoyed (if not idolize) almost all of the presenters.
Overall, however, something gave me pause.
So… is The Fitness Summit a circle jerk? (And just for clarity I loved the experience and am planning to go every year.) To answer this question, let’s look at some characteristics of the fitness industry.
There’s been a lot written about the physiological justification behind overfeeding, cheat meals, and cheat days. I want to talk about a different perspective – more specifically the psychological importance of deviating from diet and how it can make or break your success.
If you are the type of person who’s always trying to maintain your diet through countless work dinners, happy hours, weddings, and weekend benders, listen up because this is for you.
I only really excel at a handful of things (aside from drinking) so I don’t brag much. But I’m going to brag for a bit for the sake of an important concept.
Between my personal Fitocracy Team Fitness groups and one-on-one coaching, I believe that I have one of the highest client transformation success rates out there. Keep in mind that all of my clients are your “Average Joe,” most of whom could never get into fitness consistently. I’m literally inundated with client messages saying “this is the first program that has ever worked for me.”
Now, I wasn’t always a good coach. My methods once consisted of handing out macros and then yelling at clients when they missed their targets. This worked for fitness enthusiasts, but the second that I started training “normals,” nine out of ten trainees dropped off. Compare this to my current Fitocracy Team Fitness training group, in which I retained 39 out of 40 trainees month-over-month, standard deviations above the norm.
It’s worth noting that I have no fitness credentials. None. Nada. Zip. You might think that my client success rate is despite this, but I believe that it’s actually because of this.
Once I started getting a large breadth of clients, I quickly realized is that there is tremendous variance in someone’s ability to count their macros. (You can read more about the actual mechanism of counting macros in Mike Vacanti’s article here. IMO this should be the bible for counting macros.) That variance exists on a spectrum.
At one end of the macro spectrum, you have people who are able to seamlessly plan each meal and always know how to hit their remaining macros as the day goes on. (Whether or not they execute this is a different matter, which we’ll talk about later.) Unsurprisingly, this type of person tends to be the meticulous OCD type. They are creatures of habit, enjoy categorization, and are always well organized.
**NOTE** This article will soon become accessible to Dick Inner Circle members only. To read it, please sign up for my email list.
Women, especially short women, seem to get the short end of the stick when it comes to fat loss. Despite seemingly-endless amounts of cardio and dieting, it is really @%&@!# hard for some women to lose fat, especially once they start to plateau. You’re probably saying “duh they just need fewer calories,” and you wouldn’t be Continue reading
Women, especially short women, seem to get the short end of the stick when it comes to fat loss. Despite seemingly-endless amounts of cardio and dieting, it is really fucking hard for some women to lose fat, especially once they start to plateau.
You’re probably saying “duh they just need fewer calories,” and you wouldn’t be wrong, it’s just that the problem – and the solution – is a bit more nuanced than that.