QUORN BOLOGNESE !

Fitness On Toast Faya Blog Girl Healthy Recipe Food Quorn Bolognese Meal Low Fat Diet Healthier Lighter Light Protein-9GAP

Spaghetti Bolognese remains a firm favourite dish the world over, but it’s one that we secretly know can’t possibly be that healthy. The reality is a seriously calorific event, often loaded with salt and high in fats (and not the healthy avocado-esque kinds). As part of my ongoing collaboration with Quorn, I’ve created a version that you can consider a far healthier alternative. As I’m a pescatarian (fish, but no meat) I’ve always used products like Quorn Meat-free Mince as a high-protein, low-saturated-fat source of nutrition – something I personally consider to be a key part of any healthy diet. Click MORE to get the recipe and ‘how-to’…GAPFitness On Toast Faya Blog Girl Healthy Recipe Food Quorn Bolognese Meal Low Fat Diet Healthier Lighter Light Protein COMPILATION

GAPFitness On Toast Faya Blog Girl Healthy Recipe Food Quorn Bolognese Meal Low Fat Diet Healthier Lighter Light Protein-7GAP

Quorn mince is low fat (1.9g in every 100g) and rich in protein (14.5g in every 100g) as well as being packed full of dietary fibre (containing an estimated 22% of your GDA in 100g). In short, it’s a very lean and credible alternative to minced beef, weighing in at just 90 calories per 100g.

I used spelt spaghetti to go with this dish, as it’s a lower-GI alternative to simple white egg-pasta, and one which I find contributes a peanutty flavour, with hints of date!

To help differentiate this dish, I’ve also spent plenty of time on the tomato sauce component. I once used to use tinned tomatoes, but that doesn’t seem authentic when cooking homely, healthy foods! The nutritional value of the tomatoes can be compromised by the presence of some toxins in the tin too, so my solution… make your own tomato sauce! It’s utterly delicious, super easy to make, you have creative control over the degree of spices, and it’s completed in virtually no time at all! Find my Tomato Sauce and Quorn Bolognese ‘how to’ below…
GAPFitness On Toast Faya Blog Girl Healthy Recipe Food Quorn Bolognese Meal Low Fat Diet Healthier Lighter Light Protein-5
GAP
There are so many ways to make the tomato sauce. Some like to boil the tomatoes, then peel them, and allow them simmer languidly for some 30 minutes plus… However on FitnessOnToast I prefer to make quick and easy recipes which are nutritious and still delicious. Therefore this recipe takes max 15 minutes to make!
GAP
SAUCE: Ingredients (serves 2)
1. 10 ripe tomatoes
2. Large handful of fresh basil
3. Pinch of pink salt
4. Pinch of chilli powder
5. 2 cloves of garlic
6. (optional) 1/2 onion

GAP

SAUCE: How to?
1. Start by de-seeding the tomatoes and chopping them into 4 pieces.
2. Pop the tomatoes into a food blender. I used my Vitamix. Personally I prefer the consistency to have some tomato components in it so only mix for a short few seconds. If your prefer a smooth texture, mix for longer.
3. Thinly slice the garlic and the onion and fry for a few minutes in coconut oil along with a tbsp of fresh basil. Make sure it doesn’t burn.
4. Add the tomatoes, a pinch of chilli and pink salt and let simmer for 10 minutes
5. Once it’s finished add another large chunk of fresh basil and prepare to add it to the below…
GAPFitness On Toast Faya Blog Girl Healthy Recipe Food Quorn Bolognese Meal Low Fat Diet Healthier Lighter Light Protein-3GAP
QUORN BOLOGNESE: Ingredients (serves 2)
1/2 yellow onion
1 fresh chilli
300 grams of Quorn meat-free mince
Homemade tomato sauce
250 grams of spaghetti

50g kidney beans

GAPBOLOGNESE: How To?

1. Peel and finely chop the onion. Fry it in avocado oil until soft, and add fresh chilli.

2. Add the Quorn meat-free mince and let it fry for circa 5-10 minutes.

3. Add the homemade tomato sauce you whipped up in the above steps, as well as the kidney beans.

4. Cook the spelt spaghetti according to the instructions on the packet.

5. Plate, top with a sprig of fresh basil and drizzle with olive oil, serve and enjoy!

Fitness On Toast Faya Blog Girl Healthy Recipe Food Quorn Bolognese Meal Low Fat Diet Healthier Lighter Light Protein-4Fitness On Toast Faya Blog Girl Healthy Recipe Food Quorn Bolognese Meal Low Fat Diet Healthier Lighter Light Protein-2GAP

_________________________________

DISCLOSURE: FOR MORE GREAT RECIPES, VISIT QUORN.CO.UK. THIS IS A SPONSORED PIECE OF CONTENT.

* QUORN MEAT FREE MINCE IS A NUTRITIONALLY HEALTHY PROTEIN SOURCE. PROTEIN CONTRIBUTES TO THE GROWTH IN AND MAINTENANCE OF MUSCLE MASS

_________________________________

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE:

QUORN BOLOGNESE !

Fitness On Toast Faya Blog Girl Healthy Recipe Food Quorn Bolognese Meal Low Fat Diet Healthier Lighter Light Protein-9GAP

Spaghetti Bolognese remains a firm favourite dish the world over, but it’s one that we secretly know can’t possibly be that healthy. The reality is a seriously calorific event, often loaded with salt and high in fats (and not the healthy avocado-esque kinds). As part of my ongoing collaboration with Quorn, I’ve created a version that you can consider a far healthier alternative. As I’m a pescatarian (fish, but no meat) I’ve always used products like Quorn Meat-free Mince as a high-protein, low-saturated-fat source of nutrition – something I personally consider to be a key part of any healthy diet. Click MORE to get the recipe and ‘how-to’…GAPFitness On Toast Faya Blog Girl Healthy Recipe Food Quorn Bolognese Meal Low Fat Diet Healthier Lighter Light Protein COMPILATION

GAPFitness On Toast Faya Blog Girl Healthy Recipe Food Quorn Bolognese Meal Low Fat Diet Healthier Lighter Light Protein-7GAP

Quorn mince is low fat (1.9g in every 100g) and rich in protein (14.5g in every 100g) as well as being packed full of dietary fibre (containing an estimated 22% of your GDA in 100g). In short, it’s a very lean and credible alternative to minced beef, weighing in at just 90 calories per 100g.

I used spelt spaghetti to go with this dish, as it’s a lower-GI alternative to simple white egg-pasta, and one which I find contributes a peanutty flavour, with hints of date!

To help differentiate this dish, I’ve also spent plenty of time on the tomato sauce component. I once used to use tinned tomatoes, but that doesn’t seem authentic when cooking homely, healthy foods! The nutritional value of the tomatoes can be compromised by the presence of some toxins in the tin too, so my solution… make your own tomato sauce! It’s utterly delicious, super easy to make, you have creative control over the degree of spices, and it’s completed in virtually no time at all! Find my Tomato Sauce and Quorn Bolognese ‘how to’ below…
GAPFitness On Toast Faya Blog Girl Healthy Recipe Food Quorn Bolognese Meal Low Fat Diet Healthier Lighter Light Protein-5
GAP
There are so many ways to make the tomato sauce. Some like to boil the tomatoes, then peel them, and allow them simmer languidly for some 30 minutes plus… However on FitnessOnToast I prefer to make quick and easy recipes which are nutritious and still delicious. Therefore this recipe takes max 15 minutes to make!
GAP
SAUCE: Ingredients (serves 2)
1. 10 ripe tomatoes
2. Large handful of fresh basil
3. Pinch of pink salt
4. Pinch of chilli powder
5. 2 cloves of garlic
6. (optional) 1/2 onion

GAP

SAUCE: How to?
1. Start by de-seeding the tomatoes and chopping them into 4 pieces.
2. Pop the tomatoes into a food blender. I used my Vitamix. Personally I prefer the consistency to have some tomato components in it so only mix for a short few seconds. If your prefer a smooth texture, mix for longer.
3. Thinly slice the garlic and the onion and fry for a few minutes in coconut oil along with a tbsp of fresh basil. Make sure it doesn’t burn.
4. Add the tomatoes, a pinch of chilli and pink salt and let simmer for 10 minutes
5. Once it’s finished add another large chunk of fresh basil and prepare to add it to the below…
GAPFitness On Toast Faya Blog Girl Healthy Recipe Food Quorn Bolognese Meal Low Fat Diet Healthier Lighter Light Protein-3GAP
QUORN BOLOGNESE: Ingredients (serves 2)
1/2 yellow onion
1 fresh chilli
300 grams of Quorn meat-free mince
Homemade tomato sauce
250 grams of spaghetti

50g kidney beans

GAPBOLOGNESE: How To?

1. Peel and finely chop the onion. Fry it in avocado oil until soft, and add fresh chilli.

2. Add the Quorn meat-free mince and let it fry for circa 5-10 minutes.

3. Add the homemade tomato sauce you whipped up in the above steps, as well as the kidney beans.

4. Cook the spelt spaghetti according to the instructions on the packet.

5. Plate, top with a sprig of fresh basil and drizzle with olive oil, serve and enjoy!

Fitness On Toast Faya Blog Girl Healthy Recipe Food Quorn Bolognese Meal Low Fat Diet Healthier Lighter Light Protein-4Fitness On Toast Faya Blog Girl Healthy Recipe Food Quorn Bolognese Meal Low Fat Diet Healthier Lighter Light Protein-2GAP

_________________________________

DISCLOSURE: FOR MORE GREAT RECIPES, VISIT QUORN.CO.UK. THIS IS A SPONSORED PIECE OF CONTENT.

* QUORN MEAT FREE MINCE IS A NUTRITIONALLY HEALTHY PROTEIN SOURCE. PROTEIN CONTRIBUTES TO THE GROWTH IN AND MAINTENANCE OF MUSCLE MASS

_________________________________

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE:

How to Make a Chili Stuffed Sweet Potato

This is an article from Nerd Fitness Rebel Chef Noel Fernando

Imagine sitting around a camp fire on a clear desert night. Decked out in ponchos, boots, and 10 gallon hats, you and your posse settle down for a hot meal after a long day of ropin’ and ridin’ and roughhousin’ with outlaws. The Waco Kid lazily strums a guitar while you stir up a steaming cauldron of chili.

Life in the Wild West might be long gone… the closest you can get to this scene is a few nights of camping. But for now, let’s dress in cowboy hats and get down on some Texas-inspired chili.

If you’re looking for a flavorful meal with tons of veggies or a new way to use that pulled pork you learned to make last year, look no further.

A small disclaimer: This is a recipe intended to be a version of Texas style chili. Purists, look the other way. We know how passionate you are about your food. Personally, I try to stuff as many veggies into a meal as I can, and come up with interesting recipes that align with the dietary values we practice on this site. Cool? Cool.

Chili Stuffed Sweet Potato

Pulled_Pork_025_Noel

This recipe takes a little more prep work than the other recipes for pulled pork meals we’ve posted in the past. If you’re feeling up to it, get your chef’s hat on! This makes a big ‘ol pot of chile, and adds a decent amount of veggies to the meal. Plus, it’s great for freezing for emergency meals later. For those of you who like to prep meals for the week, this is a great option!

The hardest part of this recipe is gathering all the ingredients. After that, it’s all downhill: you cut things up however you want, throw them in a pot, and cook!

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 – 2 cups cooked pulled pork
  • 1 tbsp (15ml) olive oil
  • 2 bell peppers – I used one red and one green here, but you can use whichever colors you prefer.
  • 1 jalapeno – you can use less or more depending on how spicy you like your chile
  • 1 red onion
  • 2 zucchinis
  • 1 28 oz (828ml) can crushed tomatoes – look for a can that’s BPA free or tomatoes in a jar! And as always, read the ingredients to make sure your tomatoes don’t have any added sugar or other weird ingredients!
  • 1 tsp (5ml) cumin – find this in the spices aisle!
  • 2 tbsp (15ml) chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp (2.5ml) garlic powder
  • 1 tsp (5ml) oregano
  • 1 tsp (5ml) paprika – smoked paprika is awesome and will give your chili a more camp-firey feel.
  • 1 tsp (5ml) chipotle powder – (optional) again, for that camp-firey goodness
  • 1/2 tsp worchestershire sauce – (optional)
  • A few dashes salt
  • A dash pepper
  • 4 sweet potatoes

Optional toppings:

  • Diced avocado
  • Chopped bacon

Instructions

1. Wash and dry the bell peppers, jalapeno, and zucchinis.

2. Heat up a pot on low with 1 Tbsp of olive oil at the bottom.

3. Chop all of your veggies. As you’re cutting, you can add the chopped veggies to a bowl to make room for cutting more, this way you can add all the veggies to the pot at the same time. HOWEVAH! Don’t add the zucchini with the peppers and onion. Zucchini takes less time to cook and you don’t want it to be over cooked. We’ll add it in a little later.

You can cut peppers however you like. I like to do it like this:

  • Chop off the top of the pepper.

Pulled_Pork_028_Noel

  • Carefully move the knife around the perimeter of the pepper, removing the seeds and loosening the white core from inside.

Pulled_Pork_001-4_Noel

  • Cut it in half lengthwise.
  • Remove any extra seeds or core-bits.

Pulled_Pork_030

  • Slice the peppers length wise, then cut them again short-ways (into little squares).

Pulled_Pork_031

And for the zucchinis:

  • Chop off the top stem and the bottom of the zucchini
  • Cut in half length wise then in half again (kind of like you’re making thick zucchini fries).

Pulled_Pork_001-5

  • Then cut all the pieces short ways so you have small triangle-like shapes.

Pulled_Pork_037_Noel

If you need a reminder on how to dice an onion, check out the paleo shepherd’s pie recipe (scroll down a bit)!

Note* A little tip to help keep your kitchen clean is to clean as you go! Keep your cutting board from getting crowded by putting the extra bits you’re not going to use (like the bell pepper cores and seeds) in a bowl next to your cutting board. This makes it easier to dump in the trash (or compost) later.

Pulled_Pork_036_Noel

4. Add the peppers and onion to your heated oil in your pan. Mix them around so the veggies are coated with the oil. Add some salt and pepper. (Cook about 5 minutes.)

Pulled_Pork_035_Noel

5. Once the onions are somewhat translucent and the peppers have started to cook, add your zucchini and mix this in. Let it cook about 5 more minutes.

Pulled_Pork_041_Noel

6. Now add your spices and can of tomatoes and let this warm up (another 5 minutes).

Pulled_Pork_042

7. Add your pork to the mix. Stir it well and let it warm up. Cover your pot with a lid and let this mixture simmer on medium/low for about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Pulled_Pork_044

Now we can cook our sweet potato. I almost always do this in the microwave because it’s fast.

1. Poke a bunch of holes in your sweet potato with a steak knife or fork. Pay attention and be careful not to stab yourself. (I stab myself on accident doing this all the time. It’s not recommended.)

Pulled_Pork_045

2. Put your potato in the microwave. Mine has a potato button. Convenience! No potato button? Toss that sucker in the microwave for 4-8 minute (4 for smaller sweet potatoes, and 8 for larger). The potato should be soft and when done – a knife or fork should easily glide through. If you don’t like the microwave or you want to bake a bunch of sweet potatoes ahead of time, follow this recipe!

3. When the potato is done, leave it in the microwave for a few minutes. It’ll be super hot to the touch if you pull it out right away.

Put it all together!

1. Cut your cooked sweet potato almost all the way in half.

2. Spoon a good amount of chile into the potato.

3. Top with avocado and bacon as desired!

yee-haw!

JD Hancock

Now, this recipe makes a lot of food, so you might want to save some of it in containers in the freezer for emergency meals later on.

+10 EXP for meal prep!

If you want to change the recipe around, be my guest. Here are some other serving and recipe suggestions to mix it up:

  • Use a different meat. There’s no need to limit yourself to using pulled pork if you don’t have any or you don’t have a crock pot. You can use ground beef, buffalo, elk, turkey, etc. in this recipe.
  • If you don’t like some of the veggies included, eliminate them or use your own favorites.
  • You’ll notice I like to put things in sweet potatoes. I do this because it looks nice for pictures. Also, it’s fun and delicious. But remember, this is a serving suggestion. You can totally just put your chili in a bowl and enjoy it that way.

Do you have any other serving suggestions?

Is there a secret ingredient you use in your chili that I missed?

What are some of your favorite big-pot meals to prep?

Let us know in the comments!

-Noel

PS: We’ve been adding these recipes and a few dozen more to our Nerd Fitness Academy, which has recipes, meal plans, workout plans, and the ability to complete quests and missions and level up as you get healthier. Check it out!

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Photo: JD Hancock: Scouting Lines

How to Deal With An Unexpected Death.

“What we do in life, echoes in eternity.” – Maximus Decimus Meridius

Life sucks sometimes.

On September 12th, 2015, my friend Scott Dinsmore tragically passed at the far-too-young age of 32 while climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. Scott is one of my best “internet” friends, the creator of LiveYourLegend.net. He was on a trip around the world with his wife, doing what he loved. Chelsea, I’m so sorry for your loss :(

To say I am heartbroken is an understatement.

I like to think our businesses, lives, and communities grew up together; Scott was more like me than anybody else I knew in this online space. In fact, he was always pushing me to be a better version of myself and led by example: he was in amazing shape, with a beautiful family, a thriving business, and had a love of life that was unparalleled.

I’m still trying to make sense of this tragedy, and can’t imagine what his family is going through. My friend Chase Reeves (who designed both this Nerd Fitness site and Scott’s) captured Scott’s personality better than I ever could, and there are already dozens upon dozens of tributes to a man who impacted a lot of people.

Earlier this year I lost another friend at the age of 31. I’ve lost three grandparents since I started my adventures, and two good friends have died far too young. It’s never easy.

I don’t have all the answers, but I know I’m not alone in dealing with tragedy. Life is short, and it can be taken from anybody in an instant.

Today I wanted to write an article about how I’ve tried to cope with these situations in a healthy way, and encourage you to share your stories too.

Cry your eyes out, hug somebody.

This first part is the worst, and more often than not feels like a Falcon Punch to the gut.

I woke up on Sunday morning to an email from Scott’s wife Chelsea with news of his passing, and I burst into tears and just sat there numb. I kept waiting for more news to come in, or another email to say that it had been a hoax. How could Scott have died? The dude was bullet proof. It didn’t make sense to me.

I got angry at fate. I got angry at nature. I got angry at mountains. I got really really sad too. I kept waiting for things to be different – to not be as they were.

I later met up with my good friends from college and gave them all big hugs. I called my dad and talked to him for a good hour or so. I told my friends and family that I loved them and that I was happy for the time we have had together.

Being with people I loved helped.

We try to make sense of these terrible situations, or ask what the heck happened… what could have been, what if, and what else could have been done. It’s natural, it’s part of coping. It’s not supposed to make sense. And it always sucks.

If you are dealing with an unexpected loss, cry your eyes out. Get mad at the universe. Hug somebody and squeeze them tightly. Call somebody and vent. Once I got confirmation and heard from other friends who knew Scott, reality set in, and I had to think about life without a dude who only made the world better.

Celebrate their life in a unique way

Instagram Photo

The above picture with Scott and James Clear is from a conference I attend each year and get to catch up with friends. You’ll notice both James and I are covered in paint, and Scott is wearing a cape. Why a cape? Because he just wanted to. Seriously. There was no theme or costume. He spent the night wearing a cape, throwing imaginary smoke bombs and disappearing like a ninja because that’s what he wanted to do. That’s Scott.

Earlier this year I lost my friend Tiffany unexpectedly while I was out at sea with a lot of her friends and former co-workers on the Rock Boat. We gathered for a moment at the back of the ship, watching the boat quietly slip through the Caribbean; despite the chaos happening everywhere else on the boat, we were alone in silence back there. We shared stories, laughed, cried, and then all took a shot in her honor as members of the Shot Club, a “secret club” that Tiffany had helped create years prior. Although she was gone, it was a way to connect with her memory and share a happy moment with those who knew her well.

Scott was one of the most amazingly persuasive people I have ever met. In fact, the first time we met, he got me to go running! If you’ve been reading this site for a while, you know running and I don’t necessarily get along; within minutes of us meeting, he had me convinced this was a swell idea. No joke, I haven’t run a mile since then. Then the last time we hung out together, he challenged me to a handstand contest at 3 AM. Sure enough, I said yes.

Last week I went for a jog through Central Park, and then did some handstands; it was seriously the first time I have just “gone for a run” since I met Scott four years ago. It was something that he and I had done together, and something I hadn’t done since. It gave me a chance to be thankful and reflect on the impact he had made on my life, pushing me to step outside of my comfort zone.

If you’ve lost a loved one, look for a specific activity that tied you to that person in a unique way. Like the Viking tribute to fallen warriors destined for Valhalla, or Maximus being carried out of the Coliseum.

Share a story with those who are grieving, and do something that connects you to the person who was lost. Like a paddle out circle in the surfing community, a 21-‘shot’ salute when golfer Payne Stuart died, the ordering of a special drink (it was “Dewers on the rocks, please” when my grandpa passed), or even just a quiet reflective moment in a specific location that was special to both of you.

Make it a point to do this deliberately.

What Would THey want you to do?

When there is a devastating loss, life is flipped upside down in an instant. At this point, it’s very easy to slip into major depression and get completely derailed. In fact, anything other than a complete shutdown can make us feel guilty, as if we’re not mourning the deceased enough. It’s tough not to ask or feel: “Did I mourn enough? Too much? What’s the protocol?”

Because we all grieve in different ways, it’s up to us to determine how to move forward, how to honor their passing, and how life will be different.

Unfortunately, the default for most of us is to spend days and days and days grieving, drinking, eating poorly, curling up in a ball, and shutting out reality. After all, if we avoid reality, then maybe it didn’t really happen, right? Unfortunately, we don’t have access to time-machines and we can’t change what happened, no matter how desperately we want to. We can’t change history. If we’re not careful these few days can turn into weeks, months, and years before we realize that we stopped living.

The best thing I’ve found to help me grieve is asking myself: “If I could talk to this person right now, what would they want me to do?” I know that if I could talk to Scott, his response to me would be “Live, you idiot! Get out there and make a great story. Maybe also wear a cape.” Scott’s site was called “Live Your Legend,” and he truly was a living legend.

I know Scott would be angry if I said no to an adventure as a result of his death. He lived every day as if it was his last, and he got to spend his last day on earth doing something he loved, with the person he loved more than anything, in one of the most beautiful locations in existence. We should be so lucky.

Make a fundamental change.

I remember the first time I saw Star Wars IV: A New Hope when I was 5 or 6 – specifically the moment when Obi Wan was struck down by Darth Vader:

I didn’t want to believe it. How could Obi Wan die? He was a freaking JEDI! It didn’t make sense to me, and I thought the movie was ruined as a result. I probably started crying. However, I also remembered Obi Wan’s words before he relented to Vader: “If you strike me down, I will become more powerful than you could possibly imagine.”

And sure enough, although this great Jedi passed away, his impact was felt through every molecule in the galaxy after that. In fact, it was Obi Wan’s impact on Luke (“Use the Force, Luke. Let go.”) that allowed him to successfully blow up the Death Star.

Although Obi Wan had died, he did in fact become more powerful than anybody could have imagined. It was through Luke and the other Jedi that his legacy lived on. Luke took fundamental steps to live a life that Obi Wan would have been proud of. He changed his fate.

When Scott passed away, I couldn’t help but think of the scene above. Although Scott is gone, it’s clear to me that he has already changed the world, and with 2.7 million views and counting on his TEDx talk, he will continue to change the world long after his passing. Just like Obi Wan, Scott’s impact will be measured through the people who choose to fundamentally change their lives as a result of knowing him.

Like Luke and Obi Wan, Scott will pop into my mind for the rest of my life, and I’ll ask: “What would Scott do in this situation?” And I’ll do my damndest to leave this planet a better place than when I arrived. Scott has become my Obi Wan, and it’s my responsibility to make a fundamental change to do and be better.

I challenge you to do the same. If you are dealing with a loss – most people say things like “things are going to be different now,” or “I’m going to make a change.” And within a week or two, no positive progress has been made. Think long and hard about the person who passed, and ask yourself “What would they want me to do?”

And then I want you to make a fundamental change to your day-to-day life. It can be a small change, but it needs to be something that sets you on a happier, healthier, and more grateful path. After all, that’s all we can ask of life. We have no idea when that game over screen will show up.

Enjoy Today.

Scott boat

Although I’ve watched the video, “A Story for Tomorrow,” probably 50 times since discovering it years ago, I think today is a good a day as any to share it again here on Nerd Fitness.

Ultimately, we hope we get to answer the question, “Did you enjoy your story?” With a “hell yeah.” I will forever think of my buddy Scott when I watch this video, because it seems like something he and his wife Chelsea would make.

We should all be so lucky to experience as much as Scott had in his 33 years on earth. Ben Franklin once said, “Some people are dead at 25, but aren’t buried until 75.” That was not Scott, and I’m thankful for the brief number of years that we got to spend together on this planet. He made my life better, and he made the world a better place before he left it.

This is a goal we can all aim for:

  • Do one thing daily that makes you happy and makes you feel alive.
  • Make somebody else’s life better today, in any way, big or small.

This is how I’ve chosen to deal with death and tragedy over the past handful of years. Do you have any stories or words of advice for your fellow Rebels? Are you going through a tough situation yourself?

I still know I’m going to break down crying at random moments, or when I’m next with other distant friends that knew Scott well, and that’s okay. I’m going to continue building my living legend, and try to help as many people as possible do the same.

Scott, I miss you man.

The Rebellion salutes you.

-Steve

###

Want Results? Be like Groot. I AM GROOT!

Most of the time, boring is bad.

A boring date sucks. A boring movie can put you to sleep.

But sometimes, boring is exactly what you need.

You wouldn’t call Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy boring would you? Yes, I’m referring to the talking Flora Colossus (tree, essentially) from Planet X in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. Sure, everybody loves the fast-talking, wisecracking Rocket Raccoon, but there’s something more to Groot than just a simple, stoic character. In fact, it’s Groot’s strength and versatility that turns the tide against the forces of evil.

How the hell does this relate to you getting healthy?

I am groot. (Sorry, I had to.)

I am groot.

Groot Cosplay

Groot is an ent-like creature who is big and strong, and just wants to be who he is.

President Teddy Roosevelt once said: “speak softly and carry a big stick.” Groot took that advice to mean “speak softly and be a giant stick.” He doesn’t say much, and his quiet confidence just exudes through everything he says and does. He puts his head down, does his job, and doesn’t make a big fuss of it. He’s stable, he’s reliable, and he might even be considered boring if you didn’t know him. But, Groot is the character that steals the show.

Why? Because he keeps things simple. “I am Groot?” “I am Groot!” ” I AM GROOOT!” – in three words he can convey and do all of the things he needs to say and do. He’s strong at his core, and consistently.

For the past month, I’ve felt like Groot. I’ve been going to every gym I can find in New York City in an effort to find my new workout home. Before I go into a location, I mentally prepare myself to hear the same spiel over and over by the eager salesman or woman trying to get me to join their gym.

“On this floor is all of our cardio equipment, including our new [fancy term for a useless piece of equipment]. Over here we have our newest high tech machines. This is where we have our [insert some ridiculous name] classes that are designed to target your [obscure body part]. This is where you can check your email and use our lounge area.” I nod my head politely and smile, let them go through all of these things, and then they ask if I have any questions.

My response is always: “Can you just point me in the direction of the squat rack?” I can see the look of confusion on the face of the marketer trying to sell me on the dozens of amenities that everybody thinks they want but I would never use.

Four days a week for 45 minutes, I go through a ‘boring’ workout routine with Groot-like dedication and simplicity.

In fact, my workouts are stupidly simple: they require a barbell, occasionally some dumbbells, and a pull up bar or high anchor point to hang my rings from. I’ve been following roughly the same routine for the past two years. A simple combination of squats, deadlifts, overhead presses, dips, pull ups, and some gymnastic holds. The workout, other than weight on the bar or number of reps, has remained relatively consistent.

It might not make fitness marketers excited. But it achieves Groot-like results, because every day I grow stronger.

There’s no “muscle confusion,” a bullshit marketing term to sell DVDs. There’s no gimmick to target my abs or obliques or glutes. Instead, I get stronger every day, every week, every month. The workout strategy is simple but solid, like a tree growing from sapling to giant badass who can only say three words.

I stay injury-free due to building a sturdy core (or “trunk,” in tree terms), and I get excited to be like Groot and be satisfied with teeny tiny consistent growth. I’m still a long way off from where I want to be, but I am way closer now than I have ever been in the past – I shifted my focus from the exciting and short term to the boring and long term.

And it’s working. Slowly. Here’s the last 18 months for me – though I need to get new photos, progress has continued consistently!

Weight (Date): 180 (Jan 1, 2014), 172 (Oct 1, 2014), 194 (May 1, 2015)

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In fact, many people will look at the photos above and say “That’s not drastic. You lost some weight and then gained some weight and maybe some muscle. And it took you 18 months?!”

In today’s entitled world, we’re told we can get results with minimal effort. 15 minutes a day, just 3 times a week is enough to get results. Get shredded in 90 days! ONE TRICK that will banish belly fat.

My results might not be drastic, but they are realistic, consistent, dependable, and sustainable. You don’t see stories like this in supplement ads or hanging on walls in gyms because it’s not exciting. I add 1 rep to a deadlift, or 5 pounds or less to an exercise, or hold a gymnastic pose for half a second longer. And slowly, consistently grow stronger.

Now that I’m following the Groot method, every day is a small, humble improvement.

Or, as Groot would say, “I am Groot.”

We are Groot.

We Are Groot

Groot doesn’t quickly grow from tiny sapling to walking tree-badass-hero in a few hours. Your body won’t transform overnight either.

In fact, when it comes to trees and tree-like creatures, it’s the slow growth that creates the deepest roots and thickest trunk. I actually have no idea if that’s scientifically true, but it fits the metaphor we’re using, and I’m on a roll, so let’s go with it.

Groot is okay with slow consistent growth – and you should be too. James Clear wrote a fantastic article about the idea of 1% improvement:

“In the beginning, there is basically no difference between making a choice that is 1 percent better or 1 percent worse. (In other words, it won’t impact you very much today.) But as time goes on, these small improvements or declines compound and you suddenly find a very big gap between people who make slightly better decisions on a daily basis and those who don’t. This is why small choices don’t make much of a difference at the time, but add up over the long-term.”

So, YES, you MIGHT see fantastic results in 90 days. However, we all know from studies like this one, and from numerous past attempts of losing weight and gaining it all back, rollercoaster weight change is a losing strategy.

We need to be more like Groot. We need to develop a quiet confidence that knows that despite the chaos around us, what we are doing is working. We eek out tiny, slow, small, steady, PERMANENT progress.

I want you to grow stronger and healthier consistently. I don’t want you to grow quickly and then fall over from doing so in an unsustainable way. That would make Groot unhappy.

It’s why the first and most important part of the Nerd Fitness Academy is fixing your mindset. It’s not sexy. It’s not exciting. But it sets you up to win permanently, every day.

So be more like Groot. The next time you are bombarded with the latest and greatest, or the newest fad, simply respond with “I AM GROOT!!!!” and get back to work growing stronger. Slowly.

Questions? Comments? Please keep your comments to three words only.

-I am Groot.

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photo source: Mike Mozart: We are groot, tausend und elns: baby groot, Gage Skidmore: groot cosplay

The Truth About NET Carbohydrates

What exactly is a “Net Carb” and how is it different from the traditional carbohydrate? If you ask that question to 10 people, you are bound to get 10 totally different answers. While managing my coaching clients who are prepping for the stage or getting ready for IronMan, every calorie counts, and the non-adherence to strategic nutritional programming can be the determining factor in overall performance.

The term “Net Carb” has been a dirty little marketing secret in the food industry for too long, with mega-corporations using these misleading terms to sell products and swindle customers. I teamed up with registered dietitian Mike Gorski this week to bring you the truth behind Net Carbs, to finally set the record straight.


HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW…

1. What if I told you that your food labels were not exactly accurate, and if you are passionately tracking macronutrients and calories your counts may be skewed?

2. The confusing and downright misleading marketing strategies centered around carbohydrates, and more specifically “NET Carbs” has many consumers baffled on what actually constitutes a carb.

3. Unfortunately, there is no FDA regulation of the term “net carbs” and thus no legal definition, but it can be roughly defined as the difference between total carbohydrate composition of a food minus the dietary fiber.

4. While adding fiber to the diet is advantageous for general GI function, one of the most popular fiber products used in protein bars and snacks is isomalto-oligosaccharides (IMO), a highly processed and insoluble form of fiber – some would hardly even call it fiber.

5. While inaccurately tracking those net carb calorie numbers aren’t likely to completely derail your diet efforts, the fact is these foods still contains more calories than you may think, and when muscle gain or fat loss is the goal, calories are still king.

6. Be educated about what you are consuming, especially if your physique pays the bills or your general health is at risk. Knowledge is power, but sometimes you have to cut through the crap to use it!


YOUR NUTRITION IS SPOT ON…RIGHT?

You meticulously track your macros, count everything out to the nearest gram, and scour labels like the 500 page textbooks you should have been studying in college instead of calculating the carbs in 23 Keystone Lights. Lets face it, you are now that guy and are damn proud of it!

You tirelessly count out carbs for your workout days and non-workout days based off of your aesthetics goals. You stock up on low-carb bars, labeled with only three grams of net carbs, or paleo bread, because I know the cavemen made some pretty tasty loafs from twigs and berries.

You are the new age fitness phenom when it comes to what you smash to your face on a daily basis, congratulations. But before you celebrate your awesomeness, what if I told you that your labels were not exactly accurate, your numbers may be skewed, and everything you thought you mastered about your diet approach may be downright bullshit? Brace yourself, this may be a gut shot to…well, your gut most likely if you have been swindled by this nutritional scam.

WHAT EXACTLY IS A “NET” CARBOHYDRATE?

It’s no surprise that the food industry is quite talented at fabricating foodie loving terms in order to sell more products, make more money and ride out every new diet trend like Mel Gibson in Braveheart. As soon as low-carb diets started to consume the minds of chronic dieters and CrossFit fanatics alike, terms such as “net carbs”, “active carbs” and “impact carbs” all of a sudden started being showcased on the fronts of food labels as the next All-American health food innovation.

All these misleading terms refer to the total carbohydrate content minus the fiber/sugar-alcohols or “non-impact carbs” associated in a food’s composition. For example, if a product contains 20 grams of carbohydrates, but 17 of them are from a form of fiber, companies will market this as “only 3 net carbs”! Instantly, people are absolutely thrilled to be consuming a protein bar that more closely resembles a Snickers than the healthy form of nutrition you have been swindled into consuming.

Unfortunately, there is no FDA regulation of the term “net carbs” and thus no legal definition. This is what leads savvy marketers in the health food industry to plaster this attention grabbing infographic on the front of any product they want, just as long as it’s semi-justifiable.

While it’s important to increase fiber intake for many reasons including regular gastrointestinal function and gut health, fibrous carbohydrates don’t just magically vanish after chomping them down and should certainly not be discounted towards anything metabolically related, especially when it comes to accurate macronutrient tracking.

Along the same lines, sugar alcohols are lower in calories than sugar itself, but may also cause some unpleasant side effects such as bloating, and diarrhea. It should be noted that sugar alcohols are derived from a the processing of actual sugar, so that extra processing step alone should raise some red flags.

Sugar alcohols are very tough to literally swallow alone, and many times are combined with everyone’s favorite carcinogen the artificial sweetener just to make it semi-palatable. And while we are at it, it’s important to understand that sugar alcohols do indeed increase blood sugar levels when consumed. So if you’re still justifying these tasty snacks to control insulin release and uptake, think again.

Maybe the most pivotal point for eating food for the average person is taste. If taste didn’t matter, we could all get away with eating dog food a few times a day and be totally fine, really. Back to sugar alcohols, if you’re wondering what that aftertaste is in your mouth after eating a “Healthy Protein Bar”, it’s the sugar alcohols mixed with a little sucrose. Mmm, making me hungry just talking about it!

If your main goal is just getting more fiber in your diet, don’t turn to supplements and protein bars, but rather whole vegetables, beans, and some high fiber grains – all of which are loaded with other beneficial phytonutrients to benefit your body. Fact; daily fiber intake can be increased by consuming a brand new food source called green leafy vegetables that we’ve heard can be pretty good for your general internal health, along with improving body composition. See how sexy marketing can make anything sound good, even vegetables?!

NET CARB USAGE

Many protein bars, diabetic targeted foods, and weight loss focused foods use the term net carbs to stand out to these populations. However, some companies have recently come under legal attacks for misleading labeling and manufacturing. Also, the flashy labels on the front of the package don’t tell the whole story of the food, and sometimes the legal ingredient label on the back is just as confusing and misleading as that star with the net carb count on the front.

Beware of the products that are specifically marketed as “paleo” or “carb-free”. Be sure you are looking at the back of the product, and checking how many carbohydrates are in the product – it may be extremely different from what is on the front of the package. This day and age, it sometimes takes nothing short of a nutritional degree to dispel these hard sell marketing myths, but that’s why we are here writing about these things so we can simplify the process for you.

When someone says the term “net carbs” the first nutritional product that comes to mind are the magic protein bars that are just too good to be true. One of the most popular fiber products used in protein bars is isomalto-oligosaccharides (IMO), a highly processed form of fiber – some would hardly call it fiber. This is a form of insoluble fiber and a prebiotic in the diet. The claims behind IMO include, it is a low-glycemic carb, it doesn’t get digested, and doesn’t count toward your carb intake.

This is why you are left utterly confused after smashing one of these bad boys to your face and wondering how they amazingly produce flavor after flavor of protein bars with over 20 grams of protein and less than 200 total calories. We’ve all “cheated clean” and yeah these bars are probably the better alternative than the average shitty American fast-food meal. But for individuals who depend on their physique for a living, or who are battling health issues and need a strategically based nutritional plan, the overconsumption of these products can really derail even the most noble goal-oriented person.

THE COLD HARD TRUTH ABOUT NET CARBS

Sounds like a pretty compelling argument, doesn’t it? With further review, all of these claims can be easily disputed by professional marketers. First, while IMO is technically a low glycemic carbohydrate, it’s hardly considered the lowest of the low. The glycemic index ranks foods based off of their affect on blood glucose levels. Studies have shown that IMO is a 34.66+/-7.65 on the glycemic index (1). This would be equivalent to barley or grapefruit (26 GI) or apple juice (41 GI). These are hardly foods that are thought of as having an uber low glycemic index.

On a side note, if your goal is to be on an ultra low carb, or ketogenic diet, IMO and other “non-impact” carbs will derail your ketosis goals, so be aware of that as well. Sneaky, sneaky!

Also, studies have shown that IMO does not cause a reduction in post-prandial (post-meal) glycemic response in humans, a very important part of making nutritional claims for products (2).

As far as sugar alcohols go, most of them are very low GI (ranging between 1-12), aside from maltitol at 35 GI. They still elicit a blood glucose response – but are not counted as a carbohydrate source on many labels. As stated earlier, there may be some gastrointestinal issues associated with increased sugar alcohol intakes. And if you are thinking all that “fiber” you are consuming with the sugar alcohols are going to clear you out just fine, think again. Don’t be surprised when everything slows down; you’ve been warned.

The idea that non-impact carbs are negligible is a ridiculous idea as well. If a food has 20 grams of carbs, it has 20 grams of carbs, even if 17 “don’t count” according to the manufacturer. IMO’s contain roughly two calories per gram – thus meaning – they count for something (3)!

While those calorie numbers likely won’t completely derail your diet efforts, the fact is, the bar still contains more calories than you may think, and when muscle gain or fat loss is the goal, calories are still king. As most people choose to eat low carb for weight loss purposes, by only paying attention to the front label that has the flashy graphics on it that says “ONLY 3 GRAMS of SUGAR!” , you may be completely ignoring the caloric value of the entire bar, and just basing your consumption off of the “3g Net Carb” claim. This is a common trap that many dieters fall into. Be better than the average dieter, be informed about what’s going into your body.

PROTECT YOURSELF AGAINST THE MARKETING MACHINE

Here’s the bottom line, don’t get fooled by the net carb marketing ploy. You can still consume products that contain them. However, if you are serious about your health and nutrition, as I’m positive you are from your interest in this article, you need to track these carbs and calories diligently. If you only track “net carbs” you could easily be consuming hundreds of grams of carbohydrates more than you think, and thus blunting your composition goals from becoming a reality.

Put action to what you know. You need to stop reading the front labels with the flashy designs, and read the back to figure this stuff out for yourself. If the bar says it has 20 grams of carbs, it has 20 grams of carbs – count it as that. Don’t overthink it, move on, and as always, lift some heavy weight and drink some damn water!


ABOUT THE AUTHORS

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Mike Gorski is a Registered Dietitian and personal trainer located just outside of Madison, Wisconsin. Mike works with clients on a wide variety of goals including sports performance, post-rehab training, weight loss, and overall healthy behavior change. His ideas and methods have been featured on some of the top publications in the fitness industry including the Personal Trainer Development Center. Mike’s mission is to create positive behavior change with all his clients that will not only get them to their personal goal, but last them a lifetime. Learn more about Mike on his Website: www.mgfitlife.com.

About Dr. John Rusin About Image

Dr. John Rusin is an internationally recognized coach, physical therapist, speaker, and writer, whose published over 100 articles in some of the most widely regarded media outlets in the industry like Testosterone Nation, Mountain Dog Diet, Breaking Muscle, and Muscle and Strength, to name a few.

Along with an impressive laundry list of publications, Dr. John works with some of the world’s most elite athletes, including Gold Medalist Olympians, NFL All-Pro Quarterbacks, MLB All-Star Pitchers, Professional Bodybuilders and World Class IronMan Triathletes. He takes pride in offering uniquely customized programming to clients of all walks of life in the exact same detail and passion as the Pros! Follow Dr. John Rusin on his Facebook: John Rusin Fitness Systems


REFERENCES

1. Sheng G.E., et al., (2006) Determination of Glycemic Index of Xylitol and Isooligosaccharide. Clin. J. Clin. Nutr., 14 (4); 235-237.

2. EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA); Scientific Opinion on the substantiation of a health claim related to isomalto-oligosaccharides and reduction of post-prandial glycemic responses (ID 798), and increase in the frequency of daily bowel movements (ID 800) pursuant to Article 13(1) of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006. EFSA Journal 2010;8(10):1801. [14 pp.]. doi:10.2903/j.efsa.2010.1801. Available online: http://www.efsa.europa.eu/efsajournal.htm

3. Slavin, J. Fiber and Prebiotics: Mechanisms and Health Benefits. Nutrients 2013, 5, 1417-1435.

8 KEY BENEFITS OF HEADSTANDS !

Fitness On Toast Faya Blog Girl Healthy Ibiza Balearic Bootcamp Holiday Active Travel Luxury Retreat Detox Training Headstand YogaGAPThese days, Instagram is awash with mega-flexible Yogis dispatching pin-like headstands in all manners of exquisite locations. On my recent active escape to Ibiza I re-learned this liberating manoeuvre! Of course as a child, it was a daily activity, but as an adult it’s not something I have too much cause to practice often! In the photos below, my friend and yoga legend Mel demonstrates some of her favourite poses and how to do them correctly. I was a little apprehensive at first to enter the headstand pose (a.k.a. Sirsasana), but after reviewing the benefits and under expert guidance I gave it a shot! Click MORE to get the full 8 reasons you might like to try it too (with pro supervision!)…

GAPFitness On Toast Faya Blog Girl Healthy Ibiza Balearic Bootcamp Holiday Active Travel Luxury Retreat Detox Training Headstand Yoga - DemoGAP

Sirsasana is a pose which supposedly reverses the flow of gravity, increasing blood flow to the brain, and is thought to promote more effective concentration and mental focus, through seeing the world upside down. Regardless of your belief in this, there are a set of demonstrable benefits to mention:

1) CORE BLIMEY

This little exercise, considered by some king of yoga poses requires some serious core strength to hoist the legs right up. It will target your back, obliques, the rectus abdominals and the transverse abdomens.

2) BALANCING ACT

Aside from the superficial muscles it’ll switch on the deeper stabilising muscles as well honing in on your balance skills.

3) DEEP BREATHS

I find that one automatically focuses more on the breathing – deep inhalations and exhalations. This upside down pose is said, through encouraging deep breathing, to help with more efficient oxygen-to-blood exchange and stronger more capacious lungs.

4) STRONG-ARM TACTICS

You instantly feel it in the arms. As with most yoga poses they appear deceptively simple, but holding the pose is often harder and more fatiguing than lifting heavy weights. This pose will tone your arms, forearms as well as shoulders, in order to keep you upright a release some to the pressure off of your head and neck.

5) A MINI FACIAL

This pose is thought to ‘nourish’ the face by increasing the circulation to the skin, and thus stimulating a sequence of blood drain & flow to the face.

6) ANTI GRAVITY!

When sitting or standing, gravity pulls fluids downwards. By performing headstands the idea is to reverse this impact on the circulatory system. This system is made up of the heart, lungs and the entire network of vessels that provide oxygen and expel carbon dioxide and other waste products from the cells. Arteries fan out like a delicate and detailed system of tributaries from your heart, which pumps nice freshly oxygenated blood onward from the lungs.

Veins bring the blood back to the heart and constitute a low pressure network that relies on movement 0f muscles, or indeed gravity, to get the blood flowing. Various valves stop backwash, at regular intervals, and make sure fluids are kept moving onwards as they travel to the heart – that’s a system called ‘venous return’. By turning one’s self upside down through sirsasana it promotes this process of venous return!

7. LYMPHATIC SYSTEM

The lymphatic system is responsible for the removal of waste and toxins from the body. Headstands promote the draining of lymphatic fluid, enabling the whole body to be regularly detoxified. Because it’s a ‘closed pressure system’, and it has one-way valves to keep fluid moving towards our hearts, if we’re turned upside down, the entire lymphatic system is stimulated – thus theoretically strengthening your immune system.

8) CARDI-OH YES!

The heart works against its usual perception of gravity – by doing the headstand, it reduces some of that strain as de-oxygenated blood flows more easily from the extremities of the heart, which therefore improves cardiovascular function.

Fitness On Toast Faya Blog Girl Healthy Ibiza Balearic Bootcamp Holiday Active Travel Luxury Retreat Detox Training Headstand Yoga-4

Mel dispatches a beautiful variation on the Shirsasana!

HOW TO?

I’d highly recommend seeking the assistance of a professional instructor to help when attempting a headstand as it does put a lot of pressure on your neck, spine and full body, so correct technique is critical. Also I’d certainly start by practicing against a wall for extra support and margin of error.

1. Interlock your fingers and place your forearms on the floor.

2. Place your head inside your interlocked hands

3. From this point walk your feet in as close as possible to your upper body. Your hips are aligned at the top

4. Then slowly lift one leg up keeping it bent (don’t kick up). Make sure to engage your abs and avoid pushing your hips back

5. Then slowly roll your legs upwards, with toes dangling down towards the floor.

6. Finally, straighten the knees and thus point toes up in the air.

7. Getting down is the same in reverse. Pursue the corpse position for a few minutes afterward to redistribute blood properly through the body.

N.B. The Sirasana is contraindicated in the following situations: high blood pressure, heart palpitations, glaucoma, detached retina, conjunctivitis, brain disease, brain injury, menstruation, severe hypotension or hypertension, hiatal hernia, obesity, neck injury, and back injury. Always seek professional instruction before attempting this pose.

Fitness On Toast Faya Blog Girl Healthy Ibiza Balearic Bootcamp Holiday Active Travel Luxury Retreat Detox Training Headstand Yoga-3

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4 Steps to Become an 80’s Action Movie Hero. You’re Welcome.

The 80’s were the best.

Specifically, 80’s action movies. Larger-than-life characters played by Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Jean Claude Van Damme, Chuck Norris, the Ninja Turtles, and international superstar Ralph Macchio (yeah you heard me!). Although I wasn’t aware of it at the time, the hundreds of hours spent watching these movies instilled within me a lifelong philosophy that has helped me level up my life, my health, and my wealth. Thanks, 80’s action heroes!

Hopefully you’re looking at me like I’m crazy at this point. Which is why I’m going to teach you how to become your own 80’s action movie star, and use your new identity to level up your life.

You can thank me later.

Now, clearly the first step is find a grizzled mentor PRONTO. Ideally, somebody old and weathered, who preferably speaks in half-sentences and riddles.

Yoda and Danbo Fitness Skeptics

Although Yoda started the trend in Star Wars, a grizzled mentor can be found in nearly every 80’s movie. Think Mickey in the Rocky films, Master Splinter in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Mr. Miyagi in The Karate Kid. (Quentin Tarantino paid homage to this coveted role with Master Pai Mei in Kill Bill Vol 2.)

Seriously. One of the best things you can do for yourself, whether you’re trying to get fit, or build a business, is find a mentor who can have a profound impact on your life.

What to look for in a grizzled veteran mentor:

  • They have done what you hope to accomplish. Regardless of how radical you are, a coach can make you better… but make sure you are taking advice from a master who has been there, done that. Far too many people teach without first having had success.
  • They aren’t afraid to call you on your bullshit. If ever want actual advice or a strong critique, don’t ask your friends and family. Your mentor should be someone who can call you on your b.s. (especially if you’ve hired them!). Yes, you have time to train. Yes, working on your mullet is important. Of course, neon spandex are fashionable. Etc.
  • They are always teaching you.Wax on, wax off! Paint the fence!” Your mentor should be challenging you in different ways. Find should be someone you respect beyond the narrow skill-set you’re seeking. (Van Damme being goaded into dancing and fighting in Kickboxer was maybe the most ridiculous scene of the 80’s).

Although I run a fitness website, after creating my own exercise programming for well over a decade, I hired my own Mr. Miyagi (Anthony Mychal) who has been virtually mentoring me for the past two years. It’s been a game-changer.

Do you have a mentor in your life? Along with practical advice here from Art of Manliness on finding a mentor, here’s how you can find one:

  • Check your current network or social circle.
  • Check the Nerd Fitness message boards. Look for people in similar circumstances who have succeeded. Reach out to them and start with a basic question or ask to take them out to coffee. Expect rejection or a polite “thanks, but I’m really busy.” Thank them profusely either way, and learn whatever you can from everybody you can.
  • If you can’t start an informal mentorship, and you have the means, hire somebody! It need not be expensive. Ask for recommendations on coaches before cold calling.

Gather Enough Footage for a Montage

Steve RunRailay

80’s action stars were ripped, but they didn’t always start that way.

They had to endure years of training with their grizzled mentor, start at square one, be okay with sucking, and slowly get better over time. Of course, we don’t have years to wait, which is why we have training montages.

As this South Park song, “Gonna Need a Montage” hilariously points out:

“A sports training montage.

Show a lotta things, happening at once,

Remind everyone of what’s goin’ on.

With every shot show a little improvement,

to show it all would take too long.

That’s called a montage.

Even Rocky’s had a montage.

in any sport, if you want to go

from just a beginner to a pro.”

Or, as Steven Furtick puts it: “The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.”

So, if you’re going to build a montage showing you getting better at something (I imagine your goals are “get fit and be a badass,”) you’re going to need lots of footage. Like, years and years worth. After all, who wants to see a montage of somebody who’s in shape just get more in shape?

We need the struggle! We need dramatization! We need transformation!

So start today! Take measurements, take photos. And start training. Because you’re gathering footage for a montage, don’t expect results overnight. You won’t notice the changes day to day, but over many months the montage will start to take form.

And hopefully this is already common knowledge, but the most dramatic montages involve training with old school methods (namely, strength training).

Your future 80’s action star self thanks you:

Feel free to add some gnarly tunes to the montage you’re building too. After all, would Karate Kid be the same without Joe Esposito’s “You’re the Best?” or Peter Cetera’s “Glory of Love?” No way. And don’t even get me started on Rocky’s “Eye of The Tiger” or “Gonna Fly Now

Identify Your Arch Nemesis

Darth

Rocky had Apollo Creed, and then Clubber Lang, and then Ivan Drago.

Conan the Barbarian fought to avenge his family’s death, seeking out the evil sorcerer Thusla Doom.

Daniel-san trained to right the wrongs of the privileged Johnny Lawrence and Cobra Kai.

In order for you to become the best version of yourself, you need a villain of epic proportions to direct your anger and motivation towards. Whenever possible, seek out a villain that has wronged you or your family at a young age, defeated your best friend in battle, and has an overblown sense of superiority and self-worth.

Now, if you’re not lucky enough to have had your family wiped out by an evil sorcerer, you’ll have to make due with what you have. Are there any people in your life that have told you that you can’t be what you want to be? How about an all-powerful disease that claimed the lives of your ancestors (namely, heart disease or diabetes)?

Like John Rambo, you need to adopt a “me against the world” attitude if you’re going to be a kick-ass 80’s action star. Nobody believes in you, the odds stacked against you are insurmountable, and chance for success is minimal.

Fortunately for you, the deck IS stacked against you, even in the 10’s:

  • You are bombarded daily with food that is designed to get you addicted and craving more.
  • You are surrounded by advertisements for things you don’t need, to keep you complacent.
  • Most people choose to knock others down rather than elevate themselves. Haters gonna hate.

Sounds like a pretty solid bad guy to me. Rather than getting disappointed about how dire things seem, you need to realize that this is how great movies are made!

Instead of seeing challenges as hopeless situations, realize that they are opportunities for greater redemption and revenge at the end of the story. Use them to empower and motivate yourself:

  • Instead of seeing the McDonald’s every day on your drive home from work and feeling powerless (and eventually going in and ordering food), get angry. Use that anger (“They can’t control me!”) to motivate you to defeat the Empire and cook a great meal at home. Turn this into a story. Imagine yourself as your favorite hero, or create your own.
  • Are you the latest in a long line of overweight, unhappy, unhealthy relatives? Screw genetics. Get angry that you’re expected to fall in line. Be the first in a new line of healthy people. Start a trend that carries over to your children and their children.
  • Have you been told your whole life that you can’t do something (either by others or yourself?). Bullshit. Get pissed. Break the damn mold. Feed off that “nobody believed in me” attitude. Build up to that moment where you get to say, “Howdya like me now?!”

The greater the challenge to overcome, the more glorious it is when you defeat the bad guys and are victorious (aka healthy!).

Make Everything WAY More Important Than It Really Is

runner

Ever seen the movie “Over the Top”? Sylvester Stallone literally arm-wrestles for the custody of his child.

Rocky IV? The dude single-handedly predicted the end of the Cold War, years before it actually happened!

Daniel-san wasn’t just fighting in a Karate tournament. He was fighting for all of the other kids who have ever been bullied and couldn’t stand up for themselves.

Go ahead and add a bodacious amount of importance to every decision you make daily.

It makes things way more interesting, and reminds you of the gravity of every choice. You’re not just deciding between a healthy lunch or a Big Mac, the fate of your stomach is at hand. Every time you train, you’re not doing it because your doctor prescribed 20 minutes of exercise, you’re doing it to pay tribute to the men and women who fought before you.

The more interesting and engaging your story is, the more likely you are to follow through.

Start looking at life like it’s an 80s movie. You must honor your parents and grandparents who fought hard to give you the opportunities you have today. Or, you are part of an elite group of underdog commandos (The Rebellion!) and you owe it to your brothers and sisters in arms to give it your all.

You might not ACTUALLY be arm-wrestling for the custody of your kid, but every day you decide to eat better and exercise is another day you can watch your child or grandchild grow up.

Life can be a movie if you want it to be. What’s the last step?

What’s your movie about?

movie mission complete

And just like that, you’ve turned your life into an 80’s action movie. To recap:

  • Find a grizzled mentor who will show you the ropes.
  • Find an arch-nemesis who keeps you training and vigilant.
  • Gather enough footage for a montage.
  • Make everything way more important than it needs to be.

I want to hear about your 80’s movie. You’re the main character, and I want to hear about your movie. What’s your character name? Who’s the enemy? What are you fighting for? And what song will you use for your montage?

Get creative, and leave a comment with the plot to your 80’s inspired life movie.

Here’s mine (read in this voice) :

A lowly skinny boy of humble beginnings. The first of his tribe who chose to stand up against the evil and oppressive Emperor Boredemo. For decades Bordemo and his henchmen have kept the human race unknowingly enslaved: fat on Empire-sponsored food, dull-witted due to Empire-sponsored television programs, and complacent thanks to propaganda telling us “this is as good as things get.”

One day, Steve rescued an old man who had fallen down, who begrudgingly agreed to train him in the ways of the ancients. Over many years (with this song for the montage) Steve strengthened his body and his mind, ate food from the land rather than a lab, and now aspires for a better future for him and his tribe. Word has spread, and a Rebellion set on taking down the Empire has begun. The leader of this Rebellion?

Rebel-One, coming to theaters Christmas Day, 1985.

Your turn. Go ahead and make your 80’s pitch below. And then go out and get started on your training.

We’ll pick a winner and hook ’em up with a free Nerd Fitness T-Shirt.

-Steve

PS: I can’t write this article and not mention my two favorite things that pay homage to 80’s culture in recent years. Ready Player One, a book I read in a single sitting, and Kung Fury, maybe the most insane 30 minute 80’s homage you’ll ever see. You’re welcome.

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photo source: Kristy Robb: Mission Complete, The Community – Pop Culture: Yoda Head, Josh Jansen: Runner, Stefan Ogrisek: Rocky