Guest Post: Most People are Dead at 35

Today’s guest post comes from the god father of the strength and conditioning field, Michael Boyle. Having seen him speak at seminars, I enjoy his ability to take complex subject matter and break it down in such a way that everyone can take something away from it. If nothing else, he also encourages you to think about a topic in a different light. This post from his blog falls into that latter category.

Most People are Dead at 35
By Michael Boyle

A few years ago I listened to a Paul Chek nutrition CD and Chek used the following quote from a nutritionist.

“Most people are dead at thirty-five, they just walk around for another thirty to forty more years.”

The quote was intended to apply to most adults from a nutritional standpoint. I find the point both amusing and accurate from a physical standpoint also. By thirty-five most of the damage is done and without an intensive program of exercise, the damage is difficult to reverse.

The truth is that quality of life begins to deteriorate after thirty for many people due to lack of exercise. Activities that were once simple and normal become increasingly difficult. The sad part is that the deterioration doesn’t become readily apparent until the fifties or sixties and at this point, it gets much harder to change. The baby boomers are fueling the personal training business in an attempt to improve not only the length of their life but the quality. However, the time to fight back is right now. Don’t wait until you are fifty and try to undo 20 years of damage. One of my favorite quotes is

“the best time to plant a tree was three years ago. The next best time is today”.

Don’t wait another day to begin an exercise program, start today.

The truth is that obesity, neck pain, back pain, and so many of the debilitating conditions that we suffer from in adulthood are entirely preventable but, the earlier we start the better. Don’t make excuses. You only need about 30 minutes three days a week. Try to get 5 minutes of warm-up, 10 minutes of total body strength training and 15 minutes of cardiovascular work.

The bottom line. Don’t walk around in a dying body. We would never treat our cars the way we treat our bodies. Imagine never changing the oil, using the cheapest possible gas, and driving until the tires are bald. Unfortunately this is the way we treat our bodies. The only problem is that we can’t buy a new body after we ruin the old one. The damage may be irreversible. If the damage is reversible, we need to reverse it with exercise instead of with drugs. Exercise is the most powerful wellness drug on the planet. It’s just difficult to take. Try taking a good dose of exercise three times a week and you might be able to throw away the Lipitor and the blood pressure medicine and all the other junk.

Also, be sure to check out the great resource of strength and conditioning information that Mike has put together over at

Death to cake!

I was at a gathering last weekend and I ran into an acquaintance of mine who I hadn’t seen since I graduated from high school. We briefly caught up, finding out what the other had been up to since back in the day, so I let her know that I was actually a personal trainer now. After a series of unimpressed Carl Winslowian glances, we part ways for what I presume will be the last time.



Then, suddenly, it happened…

Its dinner time. I’m at the food table, loading up my plate with copious amounts of meat and fruit, when I notice out the corner of my eye the most precious looking piece of cake I have ever seen. As a fan of all things precious (shout out to Gollum), I consider it not only my right but my duty to devour said piece of cake with reckless abandon. As I load heaven on Earth onto my plate and prepare for action, I hear a familiar voice from behind me, filled with much admonishment, and I know that I’m about to get a tongue lashing of epic proportions.

“Cake?! Is that cake?! As a personal trainer I thought you would know better than to eat that.”

By the look of sheer horror on her face, you would have thought that I rappelled into her home, kidnapped her dog, and strategically hid raw meat all over the house. At this point I viewed her as an obstacle between me and my grub, so the only reply that I was able to muster was that one had to simply live their life; then I peaced out, leaving her to struggle under the gravity of such a profound statement.



It always amazes me how much you can tell about where a person is coming from by hearing statements like this. From what I gathered, I got a feeling that she was under the impression that in order to get and stay lean there are certain foods that you can never eat again. Having been in the same position as for several years, I can certainly relate. I went from the Abs diet to the Atkins diet to pretty much bathing myself in fat on the anabolic diet wondering why I couldn’t defeat the chub monster in mortal kombat…all while eating entire packs of chicken thighs every day. Let me say this loud and clear as to hopefully save at least one person from the pain and frustration that senselessly spinning ones wheels can cause: in the pursuit of the kind of body that you desire, no foods are off limits.

I think this point needs to be hammered home again and again until it sticks because a lot of people fail in achieving their fat loss or muscle gaining goals due to the fact that they’re stuck in this good vs bad food dichotomy and end up binging on foods that they’ve attached this mythical, grail-like status to. Luckily for us, it doesn’t have to be that way. If you want some of the best advice you’ll ever receive on fat loss, look no further than Jay’s sage wisdom to Steve Carell in The 40 Year Old Virgin – don’t put the food on a pedestal. Ok, so maybe it wasn’t food he was talking about, but the point remains just as valid.

After such a severe restriction of the foods that one loves, there tends to be a huge rebound (gorge-o-mania if you will) and then feelings of weakness and discontent rear their ugly heads, only prolonging the situation. How many of you out there have turned a cheat meal into a cheat day, week, month or even year? Maybe it’s just me then! By drop kicking the pedestal that you’ve put all of your favorite foods on, you’re one step closer to gaining the psychological edge in the fat loss battle. You certainly can have the foods you love as long as you stick to the following stipulations – they are both infrequent (I.E. once a week, month, etc) and portion size is controlled. Take me for instance: I love Cinnabons. Heck, I might even fight a silverback gorilla or 1990s Mike Tyson if there is a box of them waiting for me on the other side of defeat. So, every other weekend after my Saturday training session, I stand in line to acquire my large, guilt free Cinnabon and I am no less lean because of it.

I am by no means suggesting that you substitute your standard food staples for delicious treats; rather I am saying that you should include them into your overall plan. Yes, you should get your necessary amounts of protein, essential fatty acids, fruits and veggies, but after that anything else is simply discretionary calories. If you are training and creating a caloric deficit via movement, diet or both, then success is eminent, even if you have cake while doing so.

Mail Bag #3 – Motivation

I haven’t been into the gym in almost two months. I seem to have an irrational fear of going back. I have gained back a little weight since i was going regularly and I keep thinking about how I was once a regular and how everyone who knew me (from my frequency) would only notice my lack of attendance and my weight gain and it’s kind of scary, yet I know it shouldn’t matter at all! Any tips on overcoming stupid psychological blocks? Have you ever had any problems with consistency yourself?

First of all, thank you for stopping by and dropping a great question on me.

You’re certainly right when you say that it shouldn’t matter at all! The first thing that you should do is stop being so down on yourself and simply ease your way back into a regular training routine. For whatever reason, life gets in the way and we find ourselves drawn away from the gym for more time than we’d like it. When I first started lifting, I had a big problem with consistency. I’d train for like a week and think I was the baddest man on the planet and take 3 weeks off and achieve absolutely nothing. Once it clicked in my big head that consistency was the key to my results, that problem took care of itself. It happens to the best of us, so don’t dwell on it and get back in there with a vengeance!

The second thing that will help you get back into the swing of things is simply changing your mindset. I’m not sure where I heard this quote at, but it definitely rings true in all cases – when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change as well. Instead of feeling and worse and worse the more time you spend away from the gym, try and put a positive spin on it to get your mind right. You’ve been out for 2 months? Well then, you’re raring and ready to go, so there is absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t go in there and tear sh*t up! Of course after being gone so long you shouldn’t try and pick up where you left off as that may increase the likelihood of injury, but mentally and physically you are rested and are capable of great gains, so take advantage of them.

The easiest way to solve your problem is to stop thinking about getting in the gym and just get back in there, even if it’s just to do some cardio at first. By just being in that atmosphere again, it will remind you of your past success and will motivate you to get back on the horse and ride into the sunset of awesomeness. I remember when I took an extended break from the gym, to the tune of about a month, and upon my return I most definitely caught some lip from the regular crew, but I just laughed it off and got back to the business at hand. Some flak is expected, so just take it in stride and if anything use it to light the fire under your butt cheeks and light some heavy weight!

The time you lost is already gone, so to continuing to reflect on it and using it as an excuse to extend your gym break helps the situation 0.0%. Think 2 months into the future – the time will pass regardless of what you do with it, so wouldn’t you rather get back into the gym now and cut your losses instead of racking up 4 total months of inactivity?

Hope that helped!

– Rog

Guest Post: The Myth of Discipline

I came across a fantastic post on Charles Poliquin’s site that I felt a strong need to share with as many people as I could.

The Myth of Discipline

by Charles Poliquin

There is no such thing as discipline. There is only love. Love is the most powerful creative force in the universe. You are the result of what you love most. You either love finely etched muscular abs more than donuts or you love donuts more than wash board abs you could do your laundry on. It is as simple as that. Don’t beat yourself up that you have no discipline or further drown yourself in a sea of refined carbs. Admit that you like crappy food more than you love strength. Or ask yourself this, what do you really love? Self-esteem is the reflection of self-judgment. One of the best ways to raise self-esteem is to make truly loving choices that lead to increased strength of body and mind. For example, if you truly love yourself in the gym, you choose the full squat with chains over the leg extension machine. At the restaurant, if you truly love yourself, you pass on the heavenly smelling basket of bread and creamy butter, and ask for some more limes for the water. Limes alkalize your body which in turn helps your bones, muscles and your ability to deal with stress.

When you are faced with difficult choices, ask yourself, in context of course, what would a loving expert recommend? For example, when working chest, would a loving strength coach recommend the pec deck, or full range dumbbell presses. When choosing desserts, would the loving nutritionist recommend a bowl of berries or the triple decker brownie submerged under melting vanilla ice cream.

How to free yourself from the outdated concept of discipline:

  1. Accept that all your choices are reflections of what you truly love.
  2. Love is the greatest creative force of the Universe. Use it wisely.
  3. Choose to love yourself more than external things.
  4. Treating yourself well accelerates the growth of your self-esteem.
  5. When people comment on your results and say things like “Wow you have a lot disciple” answer “No, I just make loving choices for myself”. Reinforcing your own positive behavior will help you grow in strength.
  6. What you appreciate appreciates. Whenever you make a truly loving choice, say to yourself ‘Thank you for taking care of me in a loving way”. The more you talk to yourself like a loving parent, the faster you will grow. Let’s say, for example, you just did a single on the squat with a load you didn’t feel like doing. Say: “Wow! I am impressed with your strength of mind, that’s why you are a champion”. By documenting and rewarding your successes, they will grow in magnitude and frequency. Whenever I meet a goal, I reward myself with positive things like a vacation or a new piece of equipment. When I get something better, I make the choice of giving away the old piece to someone who will appreciate it. Living a clutter free life allows for more growth.
  7. The more you believe in yourself, the more objectively you will be able to take the advice of authority figures.
  8. “Use your faults” was French singer Edith Piaf’s motto. I don’t like to stretch athletes. It is too time consuming and requires too much energy. Using that fault, I developed the Poliquin Instant Muscle Strengthening Technique (P.I.M.S.T.),  which is a system that uses a myriad of body work techniques such as acupressure points that instantly give increases in flexibility. No wonder it’s always the fastest selling course we offer in the PICP!

There is an old Hindhu saying: “The World is as we are”. Are you tired of seeing the condition of the world around you? Start by changing yourself- be the change you want to see in the world.