1. What useful information, as someone who knows a lot about nutrition already, is there to learn?
2. How to deal with criticism when it comes from your own family?
3. When you’re having an absolute “off day,” what’s the best way to get yourself out of it and back on track?
4. How’s the Closet Fitness Podcast coming along?
5. What’s your favorite type of vacation?
6. Thoughts on cauliflower pizza?
7. What’s the best way to deload?
8. What sets your soul on fire?
9. I don’t feel shoulders lateral raises. At all. Is it ok if I only do OHP 2x per week, low & high rep range + rear delt?
10. How to fix imbalanced muscles?
11. What does the current research recommend for daily water intake?
12. Thoughts on women taking creatine during a cut?
13. How do you know when to listen to your body about not going to the gym vs being lazy?
14. What’s the most awkward thing that’s happened to you at the gym?
15. How do people who do Beach Body programs get dramatic results with their before & afters?
16. Any way to deal with the ‘all or nothing’ mindset when it comes to adhering to one’s diet?
17. How beneficial is taking creatine, inconsistently?
18. Things you wouldn’t expect while prepping for bodybuilding competitions?
19. What’s more important for muscle gain, strength training or hypertrophy?
20. How do you stay motivated and on track with being your own boss?
1. WHAT USEFUL INFORMATION, AS SOMEONE WHO KNOWS A LOT ABOUT NUTRITION ALREADY, IS THERE TO LEARN?
As they say: the more you know, the more you realize you actually don’t know. And in a field like nutrition and the human body — the learning process is literally never ending. As soon as you DO think you know all there is to know, you will start to fall behind and regress in your knowledge.
There’s new research coming out every week in the field of nutrition that brings us just a smidge closer to the truth. There will hardly ever be concrete black-and-white answers, but we can extrapolate results from the data to further confirm or disprove our past assumptions.
If you think I know a lot on nutrition, please refer to the ACTUAL researchers in the field to realize there are, indeed, levels to this shit. Brad Dieter, PhD with sciencedrivennutrition.com and James Krieger, M.S. with weightology.net are solid places to start if you want to feel really dumb.
Don’t even get me started on the exponential learning curve of real-life experience that needs to be considered as well.
2. HOW TO DEAL WITH CRITICISM WHEN IT COMES FROM YOUR OWN FAMILY?
This one is tough for me to answer, to be honest. I’m in no position to recommend anything besides what I would do, personally, so take this with a grain of salt.
Option 1: How much have you openly expressed your concern with their criticism of what you’re doing? Over-communication needs to be the first step because they may not even realize what they’re doing. Be open and honest, and if they don’t accept that, then move to option 2.
Option 2: Fuck your family. This is obviously harsh and not practical for a lot of people, but hear me out. You don’t have to be mean to them or anything, but use their criticism as fuel to the fire. Prove them wrong. Go all-in on what you’re trying to do and if you accomplish it, they won’t be talking shit much longer. In fact, they’ll likely ask you for help.
I wrote this post that will give you more options.
3. WHEN YOU’RE HAVING AN ABSOLUTE “OFF DAY,” WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO GET YOURSELF OUT OF IT AND BACK ON TRACK?
I told this to a coaching client the other day when they were feeling down/sad: start cleaning your surroundings around you.
When you’re “off”, it’s usually a lack of focus, clarity, and motivation.
Cleaning your desk or your room around you is a small enough task to get you over that small hump of doing ANYTHING. This small bit of productivity builds momentum, gets you physically moving, and allows you to remove mental and physical clutter space.
Something about cleaning is therapeutic, so throw on some of your favorite music or podcasts and just get started. Keep moving. The rest usually dominoes into place — objects in motion tend to stay in motion.
4. HOW’S THE CLOSET FITNESS PODCAST COMING ALONG?
In case you are unaware, I now have a podcast called The More Than Fitness Podcast. In the first episode, I explained to people that I was recording this podcast in the closet of my apartment.
Now one of my followers thinks it’s funny to call it the Closet Fitness Podcast.
But it’s going good so far! I’m really excited for it and I’m gonna start getting guests on as soon as I get it approved from iTunes and other platforms.
2020 Update: You can listen on all podcast platforms now
5. WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE TYPE OF VACATION?
Any type of vacation with my family.
We typically go somewhere like Myrtle Beach, South Carolina every summer, so I’ve made a ton of memories there.
I’m actually not the biggest fan of the beach itself because I get hot easily and “soaking up the sun” has me bored in about 20 minutes. Plus, the sand everywhere irritates the shit out of me. I like to have a good book, podcast, or a beach game like Kan Jam to keep me occupied.
OH, and now that I think about it, I love exploring new places with my friends or girlfriend.
2017 was a crazy year for me as I went to Amsterdam, Germany, and Iceland all within a 6 month time period. I’ll likely do a write-up on both of those experiences in the near future, because they were life-changing.
6. THOUGHTS ON CAULIFLOWER PIZZA?
7. WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO DELOAD?
Check the September Q & A for my answer on this (question 5).
8. WHAT SETS YOUR SOUL ON FIRE?
I want to hate on this question so bad because it’s so idealogical flowery 2018 bullshit, but I know the girl who asked it and I know she had pure intentions behind the question, SO…
Progress. Progress “sets my soul on fire.”
No matter how small or in what form or facet, there are no better feelings than progression.
And I don’t necessarily mean this in a successful business, ambition-driven sense of the word. I mean it for all pillars of life: relationships, friendships, family, money, freedom, education, writing, skills, work, etc.
Something as small as slowing down to appreciate the vibrant colors of the leaves outside, to something as big as getting married — it’s all a form of progression.
9. I DON’T FEEL SHOULDERS LATERAL RAISES. AT ALL. IS IT OK IF I ONLY DO OHP 2X PER WEEK, LOW & HIGH REP RANGE + REAR DELT?
I would make sure you’re doing lateral raises with the correct technique, first. They’re a great exercise to cap your delts, but I know they can be difficult for some to feel. You may need to lighten the weight (I use about 20 lbs for sets of 10-12, for reference) and use higher reps.
If you still don’t feel it, OHP and rear delt exercises will be just fine. Don’t stress it too much.
10. HOW TO FIX IMBALANCED MUSCLES?
Most people have “muscle imbalances,” so I want to make that clear first — one bicep bigger than the other, one calf smaller, etc.
If you have a true muscle imbalance, you may want to see a physical therapist or specialist because it may be a structural/mobility thing.
My recommendation would be 100% sure you are using correct technique on exercises, aren’t compensating on one side during your main exercises, and establishing a solid mind-to-muscle connection.
Performing one-arm exercises and bilateral exercises with dumbbells or machines can be a great help too. Anything with DBs will make sure you’re using both arms equally, so avoid using barbells for your main lifts. Single leg leg press, leg extensions, leg curls, RDL’s, etc., can all be useful for lower body.
11. WHAT DOES THE CURRENT RESEARCH RECOMMEND FOR DAILY WATER INTAKE?
These guidelines are straight from The Muscle and Strength Pyramids nutrition ebook.
This includes fluids from coffee (it does not dehydrate you), diet soda, milk, juice, tea, flavored waters, and any drink (besides alcohol) will count towards this intake. Alcohol actually does dehydrate you.
12. THOUGHTS ON WOMEN TAKING CREATINE DURING A CUT?
Lucky for you, creatine isn’t sexist and it works through the exact same mechanisms on all humans.
People often ask about creatine and let me set the record straight, right the fuck now (my source) because people love to talk shit about this magnificent supplement.
- Creatine is one of the most thoroughly researched compounds, and no adverse effects have been documented through supplementation.
- Creatine is NATURALLY found in meats. It’s not a steroid.
- Creatine is safe, even long-term, for HEALTHY (no kidney issues) individuals of all ages.
- You don’t need to cycle creatine.
- Just take creatine monohydrate — it’s cheap and effective.
- Take creatine post-workout, every single day (YES, even non-training days), in 3-5g per day.
- Creatine may cause weight gain from WATER being pulled into your MUSCLES (not fat gain). If you’re looking fat, it’s because you have fucking fat — don’t blame the creatine, focus on your diet.
- Don’t load creatine. This is usually what causes gastrointestinal distress and lots of water bloating. Read again = 3-5g per day is perfect.
- There has been some research to show 3 out of 10 people will be non-responders to creatine. It won’t work for everybody, but there’s literally zero downside to trying it.
So, yes. Take the fucking creatine, even during a cut, even if you’re a woman, man, transgender, or alien.
13. HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN TO LISTEN TO YOUR BODY ABOUT NOT GOING TO THE GYM VS BEING LAZY?
You should make your default that you’re just being lazy.
Unless you’re sick or injured, you should probably go to the gym if your training plan calls for it. Now, you may just have a shitty training program that isn’t individualized at all and have no way of monitoring your progress, so that’s something to consider fixing as well.
In very rare cases, you may be overtrained and need to scale things back some.
Here’s a good guide from top sports scientist, Asker Jeukendrup:
When in doubt, you probably know in your gut if you’re just being lazy vs. genuinely concerned with your training status.
With the former, go to the gym. The latter, take a few days off until your motivation to train returns.
14. WHAT’S THE MOST AWKWARD THING THAT’S HAPPENED TO YOU AT THE GYM?
I was 17 or 18 and just recently got into lifting more seriously.
I was working with my older trainer at the time and he had newly introduced me to using bands on squats…
Well, I thought I was stronger than I actually was and used too much weight.
I gripped the bar and placed it across my back to begin the lift.
Took a deep breathe, un-racked it (immediately knowing it was way heavier than normal), took 2 sets backward and I slowly started to feel the bar slipping down off my traps.
The bands were pulling way too hard and ripped the bar straight off my back. The weight slammed into the catch bars and the whole gym stopped, like it normally does when there’s an idiot who makes the weights crash.
Everyone looked over at me and my face filled red with embarrassment.
So, yeah, that was probably it.
15. HOW DO PEOPLE WHO DO BEACH BODY PROGRAMS GET DRAMATIC RESULTS WITH THEIR BEFORE & AFTERS?
You gotta remember that MOST workout plans work. If there’s even some structure to it, people can see results from it.
Especially considering many of the people who use those products weren’t doing ANYTHING before they started a Beach Body program.
If you go from nothing to something consistently, you’re gonna see results.
Then, consider Beach Body programs sell thousands and thousands of products.
Just from a pure statistic standpoint, there were thousands of possible opportunities for extreme results — which results do you think they choose to post?
The amazing ones, usually from genetic freaks who would get great results doing literally anything. And, of course, you have Photoshop.
It’s just not something you should get too caught up with.
“Rule 4: Compare yourself with who you were yesterday, not with who someone else is today.” – Dr. Jordan B. Peterson
16. ANY WAY TO DEAL WITH THE ‘ALL OR NOTHING’ MINDSET WHEN IT COMES TO ADHERING TO ONE’S DIET?
Look, unless you’re competing in a bodybuilding competition, there is absolutely NO reason you need to stress over one “bad” meal while dieting.
The “all or nothing” mindset is actually a lazy and ineffective way of dieting.
You may assume eating one “bad” meal takes you “off” your diet, so the rest of your meal choices don’t have consequences.
You view your meals as a collective choice—one cheat meal results in a whole cheat day, then to a whole cheat weekend, then a whole week off, etc.—instead of what they really are: multiple small choices every single day.
Every single meal you eat is an opportunity to get back on track and to take one step closer to your goals.
Avoid the “fuck it” mentality. Eating care-free is not “empowering,” it is the easy way out of taking responsibility for your choices.
You are in control.
I say this not to scare you, because it can be scary to take extreme ownership, but to encourage you to be strong and make the right decisions from here on out.
And if you can’t hold yourself accountable to make the right choices, hiring a coach is absolutely the right choice. I’ve had multiple clients snap out of this mindset because they were finally accountable to someone else besides themselves.
17. HOW BENEFICIAL IS TAKING CREATINE, INCONSISTENTLY?
DON’T YOU GET ME STARTED AGAIN.
But seriously, probably not really. Do your best to take it consistently.
18. THINGS YOU WOULDN’T EXPECT WHILE PREPPING FOR BODYBUILDING COMPETITIONS?
Hmmmm. I’ll name some good and bad.
- Your life will actually get MORE organized because if you prep to win, you HAVE to get in all your meals and workouts. They become non-negotiables.
- You’ll usually see noticeable progress each week or bi-weekly. This is simply a result of being obsessively disciplined and consistent for long periods of time.
- You will forever have an appreciation for food and the freedom of choices you’re granted on a daily basis.
- You’ll realize how much of your life has to revolve around food and working out (if you do everything in your power to win, i.e., no slacking/cheating).
- If you’ve ever been stoned and had the munchies, imagine having the munchies 24/7 and not being allowed to eat more than your daily calorie amount. If you thought you thought about food a lot before, just wait until you’re less than 6 weeks out.
- You may see some bad sides of the close ones around you due to insecurities, envy, worry, etc. Some will intentionally try to poke fun and give you a hard time about it, while others (like parents, grandparents, etc.) will just be ignorant and constantly ask if you’re sick or dying. Don’t compete if you have thin skin.
I think if you’ve heavily thought about competing for a while, you should give it a try as long as you aren’t susceptible to eating or body image disorders (or had them in the past).
It is probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but I’m proud that I did it. To be honest, I won’t compete again (due to #adulting), but I don’t regret doing it.
19. WHAT’S MORE IMPORTANT FOR MUSCLE GAIN, STRENGTH TRAINING OR HYPERTROPHY?
I believe the question here is if you should focus on strength (lower rep ranges; 1-6 reps) or focus on more “pump work” (higher rep ranges 8-12+) in order to gain muscle mass.
Welp, the answer is both.
As we know from previous blog posts, the main driver to gaining muscle is (likely) volume.
New research has came out showing that the intensity matters less for muscle hypertrophy (i.e., muscle gain), as long as volume is matched.
The takeaway here is that staying in the 8-12 rep range will typically allow you to accumulate the most volume in an efficient manner, but you can explore into the other intensities/rep ranges and still see muscle growth.
20. HOW DO YOU STAY MOTIVATED AND ON TRACK WITH BEING YOUR OWN BOSS?
In the most non-pretentious way of saying this, I set up my career so that I wake up every day and love what I do, so motivation actually comes very easily.
As far as staying on track, this is a different story. Working from home with infinite freedom and no boundaries sounds cool until you realize you actually have to make a living for yourself.
Which means you have to produce fucking results.
So, I treat my day as if it is a normal work day.
- I wake up at 8:45 AM every morning (before you laugh at how “late” I wake up, I’m also writing this blog post at 10:46 PM and haven’t even started editing yet).
- Get showered and get dressed by 9:05.
- Read and prioritize my day until 10.
- Work from 10-4 PM, then go to the gym until 5:30 or 6.
- Eat dinner and hang out with my girlfriend until she goes to bed around 9:30 or 10 PM.
- Study for my Registered Dietitian exam and work from 10 PM-12 AM.
- Chill and eat from 12 AM-1:30 AM, then sleep.
And quick note: when I say work, I mean no distractions, laser-focused work.
Learning how to work deeply has been my primary weapon in battling the struggles of being my own boss.
“Deep work is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. It’s a skill that allows you to quickly master complicated information and produce better results in less time.” – Cal Newport, author of the book ‘Deep Work’.
Working deeply and using the Eisenhower Box to keep my priorities straight have been crucial to my success.
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