Project Sexification: The Final Push

Fat loss is a lot like being a super secret spy, flying a super secret plane, on a super secret mission.

Yeah, I know that I’m crazy, but there really is a method to my madness.

So you’re on a top secret mission from the government, commissioned with the task of flying into enemy territory and taking out as many bases and strongholds as you possible can. Where are you headed exactly? No idea –  that right there is classified information. What you do know is that the odds off success aren’t stacked in your favor. Time is limited and failure is not an option.

Luckily for you, you’re piloting the most well-armed aircraft that the world has ever seen. Her name is the X14 Aunt Esther, and she’s a bad mama jama. Even with her plethora of laser guided rockets and time-space continuum warping bullets, there is one major flaw: she has the armor of a marshmallow and can’t take nearly as much punishment as she can dish out.

Tactics will play a critical role in your mission’s success. So you fly in above the cloud cover, just high enough to avoid their radar while at the same time getting a feel for the landscape.

And then you strike.

You make a nose-dive right into the heart of the enemy’s base with guns blazing, leaving destruction in your wake. You take one hit, they take twenty. More and more enemies are starting to lock onto your position though, so you disengage and take cover above the clouds to recover. Then you swoop down and hit them again, and again, and again.

And then you win. Mission complete.

A lot of people do the exact opposite, though. They spend most of their time above cloud cover (a caloric surplus) with only brief dives into enemy territory (a caloric deficit). When they do decide to dive in, the enemy fire is so great (fear,hunger, emotional eating, old destructive habits, etc) that they retreat high above the clouds again before any real progress is even made. This is how some people end up trying to lose the same 10lbs for years on end, and I hate to see this.

Fat loss should be a high-octane push towards the finish right from the start. Commit to nothing but success, arm yourself with the knowledge and foods you’ll need and dive in for the kill, staying there as long as you can. Take a break when you can’t handle the heat anymore, but only long enough for you to recover and prepare for another descent.

Get in and get out.

Everyone can’t adhere to the same harsh deficit due to a wide variety of lifestyle factors that have to be taken into consideration, but what they CAN do is make the decision that they’re going to spend more time fighting the enemy than running from them. By doing this, it’s only a matter of time before victory is achieved.

This is my declaration of war. I’m publicly committing to getting leaner than I’ve ever been right before your very eyes. For 8 weeks, every other week I’ll update with pictures and share with you what has worked for me along the way, showing how you can apply it to yourself as well.

The goal is to reach a minimum of 180lbs while maintaining my strength and muscle mass.

Starting weight: 190.6lbs

If you’re tired of having your fat loss goals evade you, then I encourage you to enlist alongside me in this battle as well by leaving a comment in the comment section. You don’t have to post pictures of yourself. Committing to yourself and moving forward towards your goal is all that’s required.

In 8 weeks you’re going to either be the same, better or worse off than you were before – which path are you going to choose?

Are You Having Fun Yet?

Do you remember when being active used to be fun? I don’t know about you, but I’ve never had more of a blast being physically active than when I was back in middle school.

I was never a particularly active kid. I’d always much rather play an awesome video game than go outside and ride my bike, so anytime I got off my butt to do something there should have been a multi-day parade thrown in my honor. Despite the sad and depressing fact that these parades never materialized, I’ve managed to stay strong over the years and fight through this emotional pain.

Gym class was pretty dope. I wasn’t really good at any of the activities that we did such as basketball or volleyball, but I wasn’t the worst guy out there either, so that helped keep me from letting the emo set in and going to sulk on the locker room benches. Above all else though, there was one game that I looked forward to more than anything else in the world: dodgeball.

It was fun enough playing with other members of my class; you know, those whose strength, speed and coordination levels were similar to my own. Sure there were those who were a bit better in one of those area than the rest of us, but not by an embarrassing amount. While those days were cool, they weren’t the ones that nearly pushed my mind off the edge and into the dark abyss of insanity.

Every once and awhile, for some sick and twisted reason, our gym teacher picked a side to join and jumped into the fray. His name was Mr. Avery, and he was a monster.

When he was on our team, we felt invincible, like we couldn’t lose; to a bunch of kids it was like having Superman on your team. But when we were on the other side of the half court line wondering if would make it home for dinner that night, the game took an entirely different tone.

Folks were getting taken out left and right; a 12 year old body just isn’t built to handle the blunt force trauma caused by a grown man hurling a rubber ball towards them at the speed of light. I’m usually motivated not by any intrinsic reward, but from the avoidance of shame and embarrassment, and there’s nothing more embarrassing than getting your chest caved in in front of all your homies, regardless of your age.

But hot damn those days were fun! I used that nervousness to my advantage – it kept me sharp, on the edge, where I needed to be. You would’ve thought that I had hornets in my pants with the way I was running around like a certified fool trying to avoid ending up in a body bag. Resistance was futile, so the goal was simple: keep moving or get moved. I’ve heard stories that one fateful day some kid caught one his balls and survived, but I won’t believe it until I see some grainy Youtube footage.

Alright alright, so what was the point of that little trip down memory lane? It’s simple: have some fun.

You’re more likely to be active and stay active if you like what it is that you’re doing. And besides, the journey towards your goal is a lot more interesting when you’re having fun along the way.

Intervals will never hold a long-term spot in my life, but walking on the treadmill will. So will playing the Dance Central game on the XBox 360. Why? Because they’re fun to me. Because I can do them everyday without mustering up some serious mental preparation. I love that it allows me to think, read, and generate new ideas while I’m burning some calories that I otherwise wouldn’t have.

And I’m going to successfully get lean while having one hell of a time doing it.

These methods might not be fun for you, and that’s totally cool. Whatever activity it is that you love and find fun, just make sure to do it and do it consistently – you’ll be so much better off for it, not only physically but mentally as well.

What fun ways do you manage to sneak activity in during the week? Drop your creative methods in the comment section below. If you like this post, please share it those grumpy faces in your life who think that fitness has to be guts and glory all of the time.

Photo Credit: Jinx!

A Dream Deferred Is A Dream Denied

I recently came across a book by Chris Guillebeau called The Art of Non-Conformity, and to say that it changed my life would be an understatement. The gist of the book is this: the life you lead is yours and yours alone – you don’t have to live it carrying the weight of the heavy expectations that others place on you.

I picked this book up on a whim, not sure if what I was getting myself into was more of what I was used to: another self help book that simply repeated what I already knew. Unlike other books though, it connected with me in a much different way, and not only did it show me a bit of the “how” but, more importantly, it also inspired me to do more, to be better.

I bought several copies for family members during the holidays, and even gave my own copy away to a friend as a way to pay it forward.  I just wanted to spread the message. So of course when I found out that Chris was hosting a summit in June filled with like-minded people, I knew that I had to go. Sadly though, the choice had already been made for me.

World Domination Summit has now sold out

I was in the middle of writing a blog post when I found out the news, and it took the wind right out of my sails, so I shut down the computer and went to bed defeated. The next day though was a different story entirely

I sat there telling myself that while I’d missed out this time that there was always next year, but the more I tried to convince myself of this, the more upset that I became.

What if there is no event next year?

What if  there is and I can’t make it due to unforeseen circumstances?

No. I couldn’t wait until next year, because I know that if i did the chances of it actually happening were slim. Dreams and goals are funny like that; they’re malleable things. The longer you wait to get started towards achieving them, the more that you begin to compromise, the more those dreams begin to change shape, so much so that before you know it they’re no longer recognizable to you.

So I said screw it and bought my plane ticket to Portland. If it was going to happen at all, it was going to happen now.

I have no idea how I’m going to get into the summit, or even where I’ll stay once I get there, but I do know one thing: there is 100% chance of me not attending if I stay at home and sulk. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

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Fog Horn Alert Volume 2: Meal Frequency

Doesn’t it burn your biscuits when someone says that you absolutely have to do something without taking into consideration anything about the most important factor in the process: you? I know that it really gets under my skin, especially when not much outside of these few things matter in terms of looking good buck nekkid.

1. Eat at a calorie level that is in line with my goals.
2. Get enough protein to prevent significant muscle loss.
3. Train in a way that helps maintain/build muscle mass.

To quote the great American hero Morgan Freeman, aside from this, all I have to do is be black and die, and even those two are debatable!

But this is exactly how many people are being treated. Even in some instances where they’re paying someone a good amount of money to help them get into the best shape of their lives, all they’re getting in return is a bunch of nonsensical statements that are regarded as truth simply because they’ve been repeated often enough. Not only does this do the person they’re trying to help a disservice, but it gives the preacher of said gospel the impression that they know it all and thus no further investigation is needed.

This has to stop.

One of these often recycled “truths” is that of increase meal frequency. More specifically, folks are often told that they need to eat small meals every few hours, usually to the tune of 5-6 meals or more per day, in order to maximize fat loss. This rubs me the wrong way, mainly because I have personal experience with this myth that was downright debilitating.

As I pointed out in this post, back in college I used to be THE MAN at eating frequently throughout the day. If you earned a living by following me around and reporting back every time I missed one of those sacred meals, then you would be homeless because that just wasn’t how I rolled back then. I always sat in the back of the room in classroom so that I could maximize the space I needed for my friends – Mr. Tub of chicken and Mrs. Contain of broccoli.

I was getting leaner, but it came at a cost. If I wasn’t eating, I was thinking about when I had to eat next. If I wasn’t worrying about that, I was busy prepping food for the next day, or figuring out where I could store my food on campus. To put it mildly, I was living to eat and not eating to live. It was putting a cramp on my social life and I eventually hit a point where if this is what I had to do to look good, then it simply wasn’t worth the trouble anymore.

Then I went AWOL. Off the reservation. Off the grid. Rogue.

It was as if damns became the world’s rarest commodities, because I just couldn’t give one anymore. Overnight I stopped obsessing over how many meals I ate and when I ate them. The stress became too much and I had mentally prepared myself to let the pounds start packing themselves back on at the speed of light.

But then something amazing happened: I not only stayed lean, but I got leaner.

Was it divine intervention? Did I accidentally drink some of that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle ooze? Or was it the fact that meal frequency wasn’t the determining factor at all? I’m sure it was a little bit of ooze, but mainly a whole lot of the latter.

I don’t want to focus on the science of things today, because while I read and understand it, I want to speak to practicality and application more than anything else, because that’s the world we live in.

1. It fails to take the individual into account

Meal frequency is a completely individual issue, but when generic, blanket statements like eating every 2-3 hours/5-6+ meals a day are given, they take the power out of the individuals hands, and, if you’ve been reading this site at all, you know that homie don’t play that! What may work for a 230lb bodybuilder trying to put on a significant amount of muscle wouldn’t be appropriate for 130lb woman looking to lose bodyfat.

I also find it backwards that the standard advice given to overweight people who have physiological and psychological issues with controlling their food take that the answer to the problem is to not to eat less, but to eat more.

2. It makes failure inevitable

By nature of the fact that it removes the individual from the equation, if success is achieved at all then it is usually only by dogged determination and an unwillingness to give up. None of these are bad qualities, but with the stress and issues that people have to deal on a daily basis, their dietary success shouldn’t and doesn’t have to require so much mental and physical suffering.

It comes as no surprise to me when I hear of people falling short of the “ideal” meal frequency and, because of it, feeling like let down and defeated, which often leads to nonconstructive dietary discretion (I.E. eating a bunch of food they wouldn’t have otherwise eaten). That mindset doesn’t really make sense, but it is a reality for some thing. It’s similar this scenario: if I can’t workout 6 days a week like my personal trainer told me to, I might as well not work out at all.

With the odds stacked against us, failure and disappointment usually aren’t too far behind, but and that’s just not how it should be.

Here is the take away point: Experiment. Find what works for YOU

If you like eating 6 meals a day and it works for you, dont you dare change a thing.

If you like eating one meal a day because it lets you cut loose like a dietary beast and it works for you, don’t you dare change a thing.

But if you’re constantly falling short in your quest to get from where you are to where you want to be because you can’t follow some predetermined route, then abandon the map – you have nothing to lose and everything to gain from it.

The diet that you can stick to in the long term is the most effective one; think of it as the bed frame and the mattress of your life. Anything beyond that is simply details; the precious looking pillow covers and 9,000 thread count comforters – nice to have, but not necessary for a good nights sleep.

What’ve been your experiences with meal frequency? How has it shaped your beliefs about eating? I’d love to hear it below in the comment section. Also, if you liked this post please use the buttons below to share it with your friends – I hear this dogma preached far too often these days, often to the detriment of the people they’re trying to help.

Photo Credit: Remy_Free

The Year Of The Beast: 2011 Is YOUR Year

“You just wait. I’m going to be the biggest Chinese Star in the world.”
– Bruce Lee

You know the best part about this? As wild as his goal was, he actually did it.

Think back to a time where you failed to achieve what you set out to do and how you felt once you realized that it wasn’t going to happen. It sucked , didn’t it? Now, let’s think about why you failed. Was it a lack of knowledge? A lack of action? A lack of commitment? Maybe it was an amalgamation of them all. Regardless of what caused it, let’s talk about how you can prevent these from becoming road blocks on the way to having a beast of a year.

Problem: Lack of knowledge

Solution: Find it

In this day and age where we can acquire accurate information faster than ever before, this is no longer a valid reason. In the unlikely event that you can’t find what you’re looking for on your own, seek out people who you know have achieved what you want to do and contact them.  Most of them will be more than happy to help you step your knowledge game up, and they can also point you in the direction of other helpful resources where you can continue your education if needed.

Problem: Lack of action

Solution: Create emotional content

If you’re not acting on your goal, then it’s not important enough to you….yet. Harsh, I know. If you consistently say that you want to lose weight but spend the free time that you have doing things that don’t bring you any closer to that goal, then you’ve just proven my point.

The good thing is this: you can change it; you can make it important to you.

Find your reason why. Why do you want to become a successful writer? Is it to prove to yourself that you’re capable enough? Is it to show your college professor who laughed at your creative work that you can do this? Is it simply a means to get out of your unsupportive environment and connect with people who support you rather than drag you down? That’s what I call emotional content.

Whatever your reason is, make sure that it puts some fire under your feet, because this is what will fuel you when your energy is low and it becomes easier and easier to give up. You should wake up every morning excited to do something that brings you closer and closer towards your prime objective.

Problem: Lack of focus

Solution: Create checkpoints

Ok, so you’ve created your emotional content and you’re raring to go, but there is another barrier in the way of your success – it’s a lot to bite off at once.

Totally understandable, but we’re not going to let this stop you. Not this year.

Think of your goal resting atop of a ladder and all that you have to do is go get it. Simple, right? Yep, it is simple, but it’s not easy. It would be nice if we could just jump right up to the top of the ladder, snatch it down, and be done with the whole process, but sadly that’s not how this works.

So you have your goal. Now, sit down and write all of the possible actions, no matter how small, that you can take on a daily basis that’ll bring you closer to it – I like to think of these checkpoints as the steps on that ladder.

If you’re prone to falling off the ladder and giving up, start with easy checkpoints that you know can easily be accomplished. By starting off with these small checkpoints, you are eliminating failure and false steps during that crucial time where you’re still trying to gain traction, and by doing so you’ll gain the confidence that you need in order to continue moving forward.

I can’t stress this point enough – make progress on these checkpoints daily. By doing so, especially in the beginning, you’ll not only form and solidify the habits that you’ll need in the future, but you’ll be able to objectively track your progress towards your goal, allowing yourself to celebrate these victories along the way.

Problem: Going it alone

Solution: Find a fellowship

I love Lord of the Rings, but let’s be honest – Frodo would have died within 5 minutes of leaving The Shire if his allies weren’t there by his side to help him in his quest.

Too often we go it alone because we think that it makes us weak if we reach out for help from others, or that it will somehow dilute the victory, but this couldn’t be further from the truth, especially if going it alone has only hurt you in the past.

This website almost ceased to exist after only 4 months back in early 2010, and if it weren’t for the urgings of a close friend to keep on writing, I would have never updated it again. I knew that I couldn’t do it alone, at least not then, and they helped hold me to my mission, which I haven’t wavered from since.

Put your goal and the steps that you intend to take in order to reach it out there. Tell a close friend or family member – anyone that you know won’t let you slack, even when you want to. Do the same for them and you’ll be surprised to find that this may motivate you even more because that person is leaning on you for strength as well.

Sexification Challenge

One of my main goals for 2011 is to connect more with my readers, because you’re the reason why I do this. I get my energy from the comments and e-mails that I receive, from knowing that what I’m doing here is helping you in some way.

With that said, here is what I’m going to do. If you’ve ever left a comment on this site, I’m going to personally e-mail you this week and see how I can help you. Do you need advice on how to tackle your physique goal for this year? We can chat about how to get you going. Want to bounce some ideas that you have floating around in your head off someone? Let’s do it. Do you simply need a compassionate individual to hold you accountable to any other goals that you have? I’ll be that dude.

If you don’t want to wait and need to get the ball rolling NOW, then write down your goals + action steps and send them to me here:

Even if you only have a goal with no idea how you’re going to reach it, send me an e-mail as well and we can work together to create some action steps.

The past is done with, but today, right now, we have the opportunity to disregard it completely and take steps towards creating the future that we crave with every fiber of our being. Are you going to let this year slip quietly into the night like so many others, or are you going to make it your best one ever?

“To hell with circumstances. I create opportunities.”
– Bruce Lee

Photo Credit: Negativz