The (Im)Patience of Fat Loss 

I can probably count on one hand (possibly two) the amount of people I’ve worked with who are in no particular rush to lose unwanted weight. 

Most everyone wants the weight off yesterday

At a base level, I understand it. By time someone comes to my door (in my brick and mortar business or through online coaching), they’re sick and tired of the number on the scale.

They’re ready to change right.this.very.second. 

Or, at least, they think they’re ready to change which can be a step in the right direction. 

There are just a few problems right off the bat. 

-Your body doesn’t care how fast you want to lose weight. 

-The deficit you need to create to make fat loss occur quickly is more than what most people are willing to stick to. 

-If you want the weight to stay off, you have to play the LONG game.

Hence, the title of this week’s post.

I think the most “weight” (not the same as fat) I’ve successfully helped a client lose in one month without embarking on a 500 calorie diet or doing anything crafty with water and sweat is about 20 pounds.

Would you like to know what that client asked me when I remarked how astounding that was?

“What do I need to do to get the weight off faster?”

Counter that with clients who legitimately need to spend days, weeks, perhaps months learning how to eat at their body’s current maintenance levels because they’ve only ever known two speeds: aggressive deficit followed by uncontrollable surplus, rinse, repeat.

As a result, some of those clients need to appreciate conscious effort at maintaining a given body weight before they can psychologically handle some type of deficit to lead to fat loss.

Follow enough fitness pages, health influencers and well meaning coaches and you’ll no doubt see transformation photos, testimonials, fad diets, food swaps, trending supplements and more. All of which has a fantastic chance of convincing you that maybe what you’re doing is wrong. That if you hop over there on the other side of the fence, the grass will not only be greener but the fertilizer is better (not to mention, organic, LOL) and that means you can get to your goals faster.

Let me know how that works out.

Seriously. I want to know. I have a vested interest.

The point I’d like to leave you with is this:

You may indeed be one of those people who can lose weight quickly (like my aforementioned client). If that is you, I applaud you. Keep doing what’s working, pay attention to the details, and live a life at maintenance. Godspeed.

If this doesn’t sound like you, consider yourself more the majority and less the exception. You’ve got company and let’s get you in good hands.

Also, please, be patient.

This journey (I love that word) will take longer than you want, it will have more detours than you planned for, it will frequently hit potholes which will feel like the bottom is falling out of your world, and you, my dear reader, are 100% normal.

You’re not broken.

Whether you have menopause or perimenopause, PCOS or PCOS with insulin resistance, a healthy thyroid or a thyroid that needs attention, or you just need to “get focused”…put on your seatbelt, grab your popcorn (or protein shake) and get ready to ride.

Impatience with fat loss will riddle you with doubt, it will steer you off course (when you were likely already heading the right direction) and it will lengthen the amount of time the journey (there’s that word again) will last.

Imagine having a geographical location you want to go to. You start at home, hop in your car, set the GPS, turn on some great tunes, and you’re on your way.

You will likely hit bad traffic, construction, rough weather, and possibly some detours due to closed ramps. All of which will slow down the time it takes to get to your destination. That doesn’t mean your GPS was wrong. It just means, that some obstacles couldn’t have been overlooked. You try to re-route yourself because you don’t want to lose valuable time but every option available stretches time out further.

Fat loss is similar.

A case can be made for rapid weight loss. There’s data to support that an aggressive start to a fat loss plan can actually be more motivating than a conservative start because if you see that needle moving down quickly, you’re more likely to stay the course.

However, rapid fat loss isn’t for everyone and for good reason. It’s hard to sustain (especially if you strength train and/or exercise regularly).

And, if all you’ve ever tried is the aggressive route and you’re still not where you want to be, you may have to accept that slow(er) and more conservative is the route to go.

That’s not failure of you as a person. It’s just the best route your “GPS” can give you right now.

(Photo courtesy of Pavel Danilyuk)

The Change You Embrace (Jackson at 15)

Last weekend, it took the better part of 30 minutes to talk my son Jackson into staying with us.

For those who don’t know, Jackson is my son from my first marriage. He has autism and on the day that this post is being released, he will be 15 years old.

As he has gotten older, and more so in these delicate teenage years, Jackson has become more expressive with what he does and doesn’t want to do. He has always struggled with verbal skills and being able to communicate how he’s feeling to express it in sentences. He may be able to tell you “No” but he might not be able to say why the answer is no.

Many of his responses can be scripted and plucked from movies, TV shows or YouTube videos, so you’re not always sure where a phrase or a sentence comes from.

This last year in particular has been one of the more challenging ones as his father. I try my best to remind myself that not only is Jackson growing into a body, physically and hormonally, he’s doing things not unlike any neuro-typical child of the same age, autism aside.

Navigating the world through COVID brought its own challenges, because neither his mother nor I wanted him to catch the virus. She was one of the first people I personally knew who tested positive for it before vaccines were available and the general concern wasn’t just that Jackson might catch it but that he wouldn’t know how to express himself if he got sick.

The other downside to the pandemic was that each sniffle in our respective households carried its own anxiety about what was potentially being passed around, not to mention, many children in Jackson’s school were testing positive and that raised the anxiety levels as it pertained to him.

All of this has manifested into scenarios where Jackson has become more resistant to his visitations with us and more hesitant to break up his normal routines to see us as frequently as he used to. It’s no one’s fault and none of us are quite clear why there is so much friction but we’re all trying to piece it together.

Which is why his mother, my mother and myself spent those 30 minutes last weekend trying to get Jackson comfortable with staying the weekend with us, something that, once upon a time, happened with very little drama.

I can’t quite put into words what it feels like when you’re child tells you, in their own special way, that they don’t want to see you. Especially when you know that they generally seem happy on each occasion.

I write these words not searching for sympathy but more to remove the highlight filter and to have some documentation for myself of a snapshot in time.

For someone who spends most every day asking his clients to embrace change, I have to be able to walk the talk.

Over the last year, I’ve tried to be a respectful father and if Jackson was able to pull all of his words together to tell me he didn’t want to leave his mother, then I wouldn’t make him. We would find a compromise and if it couldn’t be one weekend, maybe we could do the next. This has worked with some success.

We balance that with reminding him that sometimes in life, we have to do some things even if we don’t want to (within reason, of course).

I have always, and likely will always, give credit to his mother for always doing her best to make sure we keep the ship straight. We may not have been the best couple for each other, but we have ALWAYS given Jackson our love, our respect and our attention.

I remember one night, several months ago, when I met up with Jackson and his mother to do our visitation exchange, and after speaking with him for a few minutes, we determined that maybe this wasn’t the best weekend for him to come over. He was uncomfortable enough that it warranted pushing off to the next weekend. That was the very first night that I drove back home without him on a weekend where we expected to see him. It’s not a feeling I look back on with fondness. And it’s a very difficult scenario to explain to his little step-brother, Sebastian, who gets very excited when he knows that Jackson will be around.

But change doesn’t always look pretty when it happens. It can be painful, it can leave you with an inexplicably hollow feeling as you transition from “what was” to “what is”.

I know my little boy is no longer a little boy. He is my young man. He may not be able to express himself like other 15 year olds but he can say enough that I have to be proud, as his father, that he is evolving.

Autism makes you measure progress in very different ways.

I tell myself, as many people I know would do the same, that this too shall pass.

For now, the best I can do, is what I’ve always done: to love my son no matter how seldom or how frequently we see him, to love him whether he is comfortable during his weekends with us or anxious for reasons he can’t put into words, to sing songs with him, to dance with him, to encourage him to engage with his little brother, and to wrap my arms around him, give him a big kiss, and let him know how proud I am of him.

Because at the root of all of this, I am so incredibly proud of my 15 year old. I may not have known what life would be like by time he reached this age, and I may not understand all that he’s feeling, but he’s still the boy who changed my world.

I’ll take the comfortable with the uncomfortable, because no one ever promised me that change would be easy.

Just that change would be worth it.

Happy Birthday to my big boy, you are always worth it.

What If You Don’t Catch A Break?

If I were to ask you how stressed out you are right now, what would you say?

Are you a relatively calm person with a laidback demeanor and only a handful of things in life truly stress you out?

Or, are you more anxious, more on alert, always in the middle of a fire drill while you valiantly attempt to put out fires like a Whack-A-Mole game?

It’s the latter that I find a very fascinating type of client to work with.

Often I hear from these types of people: I just can’t seem to catch a break.

And because they’re waiting for some type of reprieve from their high-stress life, they spin their wheels rarely making progress towards their goals.

So, my question is this: What if that break doesn’t come? What if the best you can ask is a very small reduction in stress and for only a short window of time; a gap that only comes sporadically and with little advance notice?

In other words, are you waiting for a circumstance that may never arrive?

It’s not fair of me to compare one person’s stress against another. Much like trauma, it’s difficult if not impossible to say: my trauma was more severe than yours, therefore my suffering is greater. No one wins in contests like that.

I have clients with relatively lower stress lifestyles who struggle to reach their goals and clients who seem to carry all the world’s weight on their shoulders who struggle as well.

Simply having less stress in life doesn’t guarantee success with your health. Quite the opposite, it could promote complacency.

What I would encourage anyone to do is to work within the parameters of their life as it’s been dealt to them.

If you can’t change the stress of your life, how can you improve your life within that stress?

-Can you get better quality sleep?

-Can you raise your step count?

-Can you reduce the abundance of less nutritious foods in the home?

-Can you drink more water?

-Can you start lifting weights?

-Can you start scheduling periods of self-care in bouts of 10-15-30 minute intervals in a day?

-Do you have a list of activities you find to be relaxing or rejuvenating when stress is high?

-Do you have a gratitude journal?

-Do you pray/meditate to find some grounding and a sense of calm?

-Can you fully accept that for as far as your mind and eye can see that progress towards your goals must happen within your stressful life?

Rather than waiting for life to become less stressful for you, how can you foster an environment for success?

I have no blueprint for you.

I have no blueprint because there is no blueprint.

There is your life and there is how you react to it.

And if you’ve been waiting for months or years to reach your goals because you can’t “catch a break” then maybe the most advantageous position to be in is to assume that you won’t get a break.

So, you have a choice to make:

Stay stuck because you see no hope for success OR succeed in spite of it.

Abandon Ship

I made a post last week on Instagram related to this week’s article and wanted to take to this format to expand on it.

Throughout most of my professional career, I’ve heard time and again that if you’re reading a book that you can’t get into, then you shouldn’t waste any more time on it. Simply shelve it and move on to something else.

I understand this from a time management standpoint. We only have so many hours in a given day and energy we put in one place is energy we’re taking from some place else.

I’ve even shared the sentiment before that it’s better to give up on a book (or something like it) than to give up on yourself.

However, the more I think about “wasted time” on a book, the more it bothers me.

Depending on the types of books you read, the value may not grab you at the beginning. Many novels might fall into this category. The author might be weaving a slow burn of a story that doesn’t take hold until further along.

I read a lot of biographies (most of which related to music) and, in all candor, the birth and upbringing of many celebrities is less interesting to me than what happens once their careers take off. Of course, chronological timelines being what they are, those books begin with what I think is the least exciting part.

We live in a day and age where convenience is king. We don’t have to wait in lines for food, food can be delivered to us. We don’t have to be disappointed by empty, lacking shelves in retail stores, we can just “Buy Now” and Amazon will have our desired item at our doorstep in mere days.

There’s a small problem with convenience though.

It’s difficult to transform our bodies, our minds, our careers or our relationships with a “Buy Now” approach.

These things, as they say, take time.

One side to this argument is that perhaps it’s not even about time management. How many people do you know (myself included) who miraculously carve out time in their busy schedules to binge watch a streaming show. How many hours was that…3, 5, 10?

And we watch these shows to escape, to be entertained and sometimes, simply to be informed, lest there’s a fear of missing out on the “water cooler” conversations.

Books can be a nuisance because we have to think to use them. It’s not a passive activity.

I work and thrive in an industry that pushes back against many of the “get fit quick” schemes because an effective nutrition plan that works for your goals and lifestyle takes time to implement and execute on. An effective strength training plan won’t transform your body in two weeks but it could do wonders in two years.

We’re told to “trust the process” with diet plans and training plans.

We’re told to push through the discomfort when things aren’t easy and when motivation wanes.

We’re told that when we push through discomfort that action precedes motivation.

And these are the tools with which we transform our bodies, our lives, and our minds.

For me (and if you’re anything like me), the very process of finishing a book makes me happy.

To “finish what I started” is fulfilling, it is productive and it could help me help others.

Sure, I’ve read many books that I wasn’t a huge fan of, but taste is subjective. I finished them. That’s a victory, right?

Coincidentally, I’m reading a book right now that I very likely won’t come back to. I had asked a friend and trusted mentor many years ago what books he recommend I read and this one came up in the list.

I try to think about that person when I read this book and wonder: What about this resonated with them?

It’s not a long book but it’s just not my type of book.

I made it through 100 or so pages of a 180 page book before I came across a section that fascinated me.

Not because I necessarily agreed with it but it made me take pause and pay attention. Perhaps, those words will serve me at another point in my life.

But I’ll finish this book, like I have the others (and I average consuming around 150 books a year).

I believe that reading helps me creatively, I believe it helps me professionally, and sometimes there are books that I discuss with my wife (even though she may not choose to read them).

The overarching philosophy is this: if books don’t serve you, then by all means don’t read them.

But if you abandon ship just because you’re not instantly gratified, I think a lot of areas of life will disappoint you.

Call Your Shots

I’ve never been much for New Year’s resolutions. It’s not because I think there’s anything wrong with them however, the concept of them doesn’t speak deeply to me.

That aside, I find value in taking some time in clarifying and solidifying the changes you want to make in your life.

So, I’m putting in print the things I am going to work on in 2023. I know that by doing so, I’m holding myself accountable to those changes and I’m more likely to accomplish them.

If it speaks to you, I hope you’ll give yourself the time and space to use this process as well.

“Giving Back To My Marriage”-My wife has only ever known me as the owner of RevFit. She has seen nearly every bit of the sweat equity, struggle and success I’ve had with that business. I average at least 60 hours of work per week in those four walls. It’s a long, relentless schedule which includes 40 hours of “on the floor” training and the remainder being the behind the scenes admin work, writing of programs (which I share with my coaches), consultations of both face-to-face and online clients as well as my own training. 2023 is where I aim to step away for no less than one training shift each week to spend time with my family. Whether I stay home in the morning with she and Sebastian or I come home early to close out the day with them, it’s time to start giving time and attention back to the people who have given me the space to work and build the business. I don’t want to miss out on too much of the time I can spend with Marissa and in helping to raise our son.

“Improving My Financial Health”-Having a healthy diet and a healthy exercise plan are “easy” for me. I don’t struggle with those things the way others might. Financial health is a different matter. I don’t have a lack of money, I have a lack of healthy financial skills. I’ve reached out to my accountant to sit down with me at the start of this year to help me better understand and improve my relationship with my finances in much the same way as people hire me to improve their relationship with food and their bodies. Coincidentally, the motivations for doing so are eerily similar.

“Improving My Mental Health”-I remain a staunch advocate of being in therapy. It has made a tremendous effect on my life and I find a deeply satisfying connection with my therapist. Much to our benefit, Marissa has elected to speak with him as well. We both recognize that our mental health as individuals and as a couple can benefit by having an external sounding board to help us process our thoughts and feelings. To be able to sit in front of a therapist when things are functioning well in our marriage is a sign of solidarity and a commitment to continue improving the life and love we “come home to”. We will continue this work this year.

“Building Up My Coaches”-I believe I’ve reached a professional point in my career where I’m no longer chasing carrots. Searching for the next financial milestone is no longer motivating to me. What is motivating is continuing to find ways to help my clients succeed. I believe that what it takes to do so is to put more of my time and effort into helping my coaches succeed. I read sometime back that if you want your staff to take care of your customers/clients, then you need to take care of your staff. I try my very best to do so. We keep an open line of communication with one another, they ask me questions about how to build their respective businesses and I ask them questions about how they manage their businesses too. Just because I’m successful doesn’t mean I don’t have more to learn, more efficient ways to learn and any other tips that might help me improve how I evolve my business. I am fortunate that not only do I get to work with coaches I enjoy being around but they have ways of working I can learn from as well. I’ve shared with each of them a great deal of transparency in the things that have worked, things that haven’t and situations I’ve been in which I hope I can encourage them not to fall victim to.

“Book 3”-I’ve been sitting on the idea for my third book since I released my last one back at the tail end of 2019. The good news is that the writing of it is at least half way done. I’m not on a particular timeline which is part of the reason the book hasn’t come out sooner. When you self-publish, there is no deadline and that means that procrastination is an easy thing to suffer through. I will release the book this year and just being able to write those words out so they can face me in black and white is a step in the right direction.

“Be A Better Team Player”-When I spoke to Dr. Spencer Nadolsky in the fall of 2021, I had no idea where my work with Big Rocks Nutrition would take me. To be candid, I was motivated by a lot of different things: I wanted to challenge myself as a coach working in a fully virtual landscape and I wanted to be part of a team of coaches where I could learn and grow. Also, I hadn’t “worked under” someone in 13 years. It was a refreshing change to not be responsible for every decision being made for a business and it requires a slight pivot of focus and performance when it’s to help someone else build their brand and vision. It’s been a great experience for me thus far and I’ll make all strides to help Spencer and my fellow coaches take Big Rocks to the next level in 2023.

That’s A Wrap! 2022 In Review

It’s that time of year and as I’ve done in years past, I wanted to give you my ridiculous reading list, the most read articles on this blog for the year and a roundup of podcast appearances.

Before I do, I want to again shout out my coaches here at RevFit who have made this year another big success: my humble thanks to Coach Mike, Coach Nick, Coach David and a shout out to Coach Megan and Coach Ryan who also made this year possible.

2022 was also the beginning of Big Rocks Nutrition Coaching which is where I’ve been putting my time outside of RevFit. A huge thanks to Dr. Spencer Nadolsky and the incredible crew he’s built around that platform. It’s been an honor to be a part of it.

Let’s break down the lists.

I was featured as a guest on these podcasts this year:

The Lifestyle Chase with Chris Liddle

Bo Knows Health with Bo Babenko

PT Profit Podcast with Beverly Simpson

The Strong Jon Podcast with Jon Vlahogiannakos

Also, I was featured on the Canvas Rebel website as a small business owner and you can read that one HERE.

As for articles, here are the Top 5 most read articles on the site with one honorable mention:

Stay Alive

20 Life Lessons From “Gram”

How’s Your Wife?

47 Random Thoughts At My 47th Birthday

What A Decade Of Dealing Drugs Taught Me About Coaching

And the honorable mention goes to: I Remember…(This One’s For Terry) This article blew up when I wrote it and this year marks two years since Terry’s passing. His sister had reposted it on Facebook on the anniversary of his passing and I did the same that day. Not surprisingly, it blew up again. It’s credit to who Terry was and how much he is missed.

This was the first year in many years that I made a conscious attempt to read/consume more books than I bought. Part of that is because my library here at the studio is packed to the gills and if I want to buy more books, I need to purge the ones I won’t be reading a second time. The good news is: I’ve almost read every single book I own and I think 2023 will be the year I will have conquered them all…just don’t ask me how much I remember about each of them. My retention isn’t great!

  1. Bourbon: A Story of Kentucky Whiskey by Clay Rizen
  2. Waiting For The Last Bus by Richard Holloway
  3. Courage Is Calling by Ryan Holiday
  4. The Listening Party by Tim Burgess
  5. The New Power Eating by Dr. Sue Kleiner
  6. Born For Love by Bruce Perry and Maia Szalavitz
  7. The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields
  8. Co-Active Coaching by Henry Kimsey-House, Karen, Kimsey-House, Phillip Sandahl, and Laura Whitworth
  9. Mini Habits For Weight Loss by Stephen Guise
  10. Eat, Drink, And Be Healthy by Walter C. Willett and Patrick J. Skerrett
  11. Lame Deer, Seeker Of Visions by John (Fire) Lame Deer and Richard Erdoes
  12. Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me) by Tavris and Aronson
  13. Science And Development Of Muscle Hypertrophy by Brad Schoenfeld
  14. Trail Of Crumbs by Kim Sunee
  15. Journey To The Centre Of The Cramps by Dick Porter
  16. Peace With Self, Peace With Food by Galina Denzel
  17. The Atrocity Exhibition by J.G. Ballard
  18. The Greatest Footballer You Never Saw by Paul McGuigan and Paolo Hewitt
  19. Science Of Strength Training
  20. The Good News About What’s Bad For You, The Bad News About What’s Good For You by Jeff Wilser
  21. Sing Backwards And Weep by Mark Lanegan
  22. Girl With A Future by Parker Ames
  23. Protein by Alan Aragon
  24. In Evidence We Trust by Jamie Hale
  25. The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler
  26. Rip It Up And Start Again: Postpunk 1978-1984 by Simon Reynolds
  27. The Diving Bell And The Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby
  28. Burning Britain: The History Of UK Punk 1980-1984 by Ian Glasper
  29. My Pocket Guide To Stretching by K. Aleisha Fetters
  30. Devil In A Coma by Mark Lanegan
  31. Move The Body, Heal The Mind by Dr. Jennifer Heisz
  32. The Power Of Story by Jim Loehr
  33. Meditating To Attain A Healthy Body Weight by Dr. Lawrence LeShan
  34. Hunger by Knut Hamsen
  35. Speedboat by Renata Adler
  36. The Good Mood Diet by Susan Kleiner and Bob Condor
  37. I Am The Wolf by Mark Lanegan
  38. Meaningful Work by Shawn Askinosie and Lawren Askinosie
  39. A Fast Ride Out Of Here by Pete Way
  40. Eating After 40 by Abby Langer
  41. Fanocracy by David Meerman Scott and Reiko Scott
  42. Healing The Shame That Binds You by John Bradshaw
  43. Reach by Don Bajema
  44. Man Fast by Natasha Scripture
  45. Atlas Of The Heart by Brene Brown
  46. Crash by J.G. Ballard
  47. Motivational Interviewing in Nutrition And Fitness by Clifford & Curtis
  48. Buffalo, Barrels, & Bourbon by F. Paul Pacult
  49. Big Feelings by Liz Fosslein and Molly West Duffy
  50. The Ripple Effect by Greg Wells
  51. 1984 by George Orwell
  52. Positivity by Barbara Fredrickson
  53. Angel by Elizabeth Taylor
  54. Hollow City by Ransom Riggs
  55. Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday
  56. A Farewell To Arms by Ernest Hemingway
  57. Losing It? by John Whitney
  58. The Fortress Of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem
  59. The Quantum Thief by Hannu Rajaneimi
  60. Next Year In Havana by Chanel Cleton
  61. Why We Do What We Do by Edward L. Deci & Richard Flaste
  62. Can I Kiss You? by Michael Domritz
  63. Tales Of The City by Armistead Maupin
  64. The Sense Of Style by Steven Pinker
  65. Pride & Discipline: The Legacy Of Jack LaLanne by Elaine LaLanne & Greg Justice
  66. Scaling Up Excellence by Robert Sutton & Huggy Rao
  67. Anatomy Of A Warrior by Alexander Lanshe
  68. Crime And Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  69. Authentic by Paul Van Doren
  70. Pop! Stand Out In Any Crowd by Sam Horn
  71. A Fine Balance by
  72. As Serious As Your Life by Val Wilmer
  73. Zen Wrapped in Karma Dipped In Chocolate by Brad Warner
  74. The Science Of Stuck by Britt Frank
  75. Erotic Stories For Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal
  76. Outwitting The Devil by Napoleon Hill
  77. How To Win Over Worry by Joseph Haggai
  78. Slash: A Punk Magazine From Los Angeles 1977-80 by Brian Roettinger and JC Gabel
  79. Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart
  80. Effective Weight Loss by Forman and Butryn
  81. The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah
  82. Hustle Harder, Hustle Smarter by Curtis Jackson
  83. The Despair Of Monkeys And Other Trifles by Francoise Hardy
  84. Of Human Bondage by W Somerset Maugham
  85. The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy
  86. Candide by Voltaire
  87. Eat It by Jordan Syatt and Michael Vacanti
  88. Record Play Pause by Stephen Morris
  89. Fast Forward by Stephen Morris
  90. Overcoming Binge Eating by Christopher Fairburn
  91. The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker
  92. InsideOut Coaching by Joe Ehrmann
  93. Fitness For Every Body by Meg Boggs
  94. Willpower Doesn’t Work by Benjamin Hardy
  95. Post by Eric Grubbs
  96. Burnout by Emily and Amelia Nagosaki
  97. Is It Still Good To Ya? by Robert Christgau
  98. Changing For Good by Drs J. Prochaska, Norcross and DiClemente
  99. Alchemy by Rory Sutherland
  100. Personality Isn’t Permanent by Benjamin Hardy
  101. This I Believe by Jay Allison and Dan Gediman
  102. Chatter by Ethan Kross
  103. The Appetite Awareness Workbook by Linda Craighead
  104. Deviation by Luce D’eramo
  105. The Jokers by Albert Cossery
  106. The Doctor’s Quick Weight Loss Diet by Dr. Irwin Stillman
  107. The Myth Of Normal by Gabor and Daniel Mate
  108. Cutting For Stone by Abraham Verghese
  109. Circle Of The 9 Muses by Dan Hutchens
  110. Gates Of Fire by Steven Pressfield
  111. A Song For A New Day by Sarah Pinsker
  112. The Campitelli Advanced Method For A Flat Abdomen And Thin Waist by Frank Campitelli
  113. A Man Named Dave by Dave Pelzer
  114. Heroes, Rogues And Lovers by Dabbs
  115. Geek Love by Katherine Dunn
  116. Flexible Dieting by Alan Aragon
  117. The Elements Of Style by Strunk and White
  118. You’re History by Lesley Chow
  119. Life On The Ledge by Ivor Hanson
  120. In Dreams Begin Responsibilities by Delmore Schwartz
  121. The Joy Of Half A Cookie by Jean Kristeller
  122. 33 1/3 Selected Ambient Works Volume II by
  123. 33 1/3 Entertainment by Kevin J.H. Dettmar
  124. 33 1/3 Blank Generation by Pete Astor
  125. 33 1/3 Donuts by Jordan Ferguson
  126. 33 1/3 Smile by Luis Sanchez
  127. 33 1/3 Definitely Maybe by Alex Niven
  128. 33 1/3 Exile In Guyville by Gina Arnold
  129. 33 1/3 My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy by Kirk Walker Graves
  130. 33 1/3 The Grey Album by Charles Fairchild
  131. 33 1/3 () by Ethan Hayden
  132. Excavate: The Wonderful and Frightening World Of The Fall by Various
  133. A Heartbreaking Work Of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers
  134. The Short Stories by Ernest Hemingway
  135. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
  136. The Essential Guide To The ACT Matrix by Polk, Schoendorff, Webster & Olaz
  137. See To Play by Michael Peters
  138. Somebody In Boots by Nelson Algren
  139. The Book Of Disquiet by Fernando Pessoa
  140. Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood
  141. Bird Lives by Ross Russell
  142. The Golden Age Of Strength And Conditioning by Various
  143. Sic by Henry Rollins
  144. The Lost Boy by Dave Pelzer
  145. Turn, Magic Wheel by Dawn Powell
  146. Wizard’s First Rule by Terry Goodkind

How’s Your Wife?

This week marks 13 years since my first “not-so-date” with my wife.

I affectionately stole the title of this article from a chapter in the book “Younger Next Year”.

I read that book shortly after I opened RevFit and it’s arguably been my most referred book to clients, especially men, who the original book was primarily written for. 

While the book was written for men who are nearing retirement as a way to get them to focus on their physical bodies, nutrition, finances and relationships, this particular chapter was one that stuck with me. 

At the time that I read it, I would have been in my early 30s, with one dissolved marriage behind me and dating the woman who is now my wife (Marissa). 

A concept in that chapter is that we (as men) might wake up one day in that phase around retirement and look at our wives and notice that, they’re not as young as they used to be…conveniently forgetting, that neither are we. 

It was a plea to make sure that the relationship is sound and that, after the kids have grown up and moved on, that something of the marriage is left. 

I could tell you that it was love at first sight and that would not be wrong. I saw pictures of Marissa all over her parent’s workplace long before I ever met her. There was plenty to be attracted to.

I could also tell you that once we started dating everything came together very quickly. That would also be true.

For those who don’t know, I “robbed the cradle.” Marissa is nine years younger than I am. I have no idea at what age I’ll retire or even if I could ever mentally do so. I’ve always joked that Marissa might strangle me if I didn’t have some kind of work to focus on. 

Of course, the authors of the book highlight that it’s not just about aging bodies, what life is like in retirement, or how it feels to be empty-nesters. It’s about how strong the bond of marriage is at that stage of life that it can survive AND thrive.

I’ve had the chance to see my wife from countless perspectives in our time together: through happiness and anger, grief and joy, through illness and days of health.

What I wasn’t completely prepared for was how motherhood would change her.

Marissa, by comparison, has only ever known me as a father. Jackson was from my first marriage and he was just shy of his second birthday when Marissa and I started dating. She has been a constant fixture in his life ever since.

And, as anyone who has been in a similar position can attest to, it’s one thing to be a stepparent, it’s another thing altogether to bring a child of your own into the world.

I would love to tell you some fantastic fairy-tale about how our marriage became all sunshine and roses after Sebastian was born but that would be untrue.

We survived the most turbulent period of our relationship after Sebastian was born as well.

I believe that what we learned about one another from that period had all rights and potential to break us.

We chose to let it change us for the better and, as one might imagine, it took time for all of that to change course.

I look at my wife with a different set of eyes now.

Where we are now is something beyond my dreams or my comprehension. A lot has changed in 13 years.

I joke with my wife that she is more attractive to me now than she was thirteen years ago…and she was REALLY attractive to me then too.

Motherhood made her more beautiful (inside and out).

Making the commitment to stay together made our marriage not only better but significantly stronger.

Watching each passing year change between us in every possible way makes this life more valuable.

And I tell her those things more often than I used to.

Maybe it’s because the words and sentiments in that book stuck with me all these years.

In another 13 years, Sebastian will be on his way to college. I’ll be 60, Marissa will be 51.

We’ll have each other then and I hope to still have those words from the book in my mind.

I saw an incredible marriage between my own parents until my father passed away.

I’m watching something incredible happen in my own.

I look at my wife now and I often think to myself: My God, how on Earth did I get someone like you?

So, when I think about that chapter of the book: “How’s Your Wife?”

I think: She’s absolutely amazing.

How’s yours?

Maintaining Weight Through The Holidays

An intentionally short post this week…

I’m writing this in between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Depending on where you are and who you are in the world, these holidays may have a little or a lot of significance for you.

On the heels of Christmas will be New Year’s, another holiday centered around food, celebration and possibly alcohol.

And then…the calm arrives.

Rather, there’s a span of time where the parties and events and gift giving and emotional chaos shrink back and give people a chance to breathe and perhaps try to succeed at New Year’s resolutions.

I’m writing this to remind you that it’s okay if you don’t lose any weight between now and January 1.

If fat loss is a priority for you, that’s perfectly fine. Just remember that now is a criminally difficult time to focus on fat loss.

That doesn’t make it impossible it just means that you arguably have more things competing for your attention, your mental health, your schedule and your bank account than at any other time of the year.

Asking you to be successful at fat loss, which is already stressful enough as it is, is maybe more than you can do right now.

However, you can focus on another skill, which is maintaining your weight.

Give yourself a buffer of say, 3-5 pounds.

Allow yourself that room throughout the remainder of the year.

You can change that buffer if you’d like with one guiding question: How far behind do I want to be when the holidays are over?

There’s no wrong answer. Just measure what amount of surplus you’re mentally okay with and stay within those parameters.

You don’t need to count calories.

You don’t need to slog away on the treadmill.

You don’t need to measure your uncooked steak to make sure you’re getting in enough protein.

Just breathe, have some grace and forgiveness, and focus on time with your family, with your friends and try to find some moments to give yourself some attention and care.

If I don’t take the chance to tell you again before the end of the year, Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas no matter how you choose to celebrate it.

Is It Loud?

Last year, I started teaching Sebastian how to put records on a turntable. 

Using records of mine that I was less concerned about him handling, I would show him how to hold the record, how to start the turntable, how to lift the tone arm and how to put records away in their protective sleeves. 

I have two turntables at home, both of which are vintage tables which have been restored so it was always with the understanding that he only play records when I’m with him. 

Because he was taking to the vinyl experience so well, Santa Claus brought him his first turntable and his first few records last year for Christmas. 

I figured that if he took care of his turntable, maybe we would sit back and see if the interest in records continued. If so, we could look at getting him something better later on. 

Sporadically, I started taking him to record stores with me. 

Much like it was for me at that age, having the ability to look through record stacks was fascinating for him. 

He’s not able to read all of the artists nor is he able to reach every stack, but because we listen to a fair amount of SiriusXM in the car, he has started to recognize certain bands and songs. 

Admittedly, his favorite station is SiriusXM Turbo which plays mostly late 90s/early 2000s era rock, alternative and metal. 

Sebastian’s life has been filled with music since he was born. Through his mother, it’s a combination of jazz, showtunes and some pop music. Through me, it’s a hodgepodge of metal, punk, grunge, shoegaze, BritPop, and random bits of hip-hop if I can find mostly clean versions of that music. 

His main qualifier for whether or not he wants to listen to something is one simple question: Is it loud? 

And of course, me being his smart-ass dad, I have to say: “Buddy, everything is loud if you turned the dial to the right.” 

Yet, that’s not what he’s asking about. Loud to him generally means: fast, heavy or both (and of course, at ample volume) 

His mother is not impressed. 

It is fascinating to hear him in the back of my car when a song comes on the radio and shout: “Dada, that’s Linkin Park! Or, Dada, that’s Rage Against The Machine!” 

A few weeks ago, I decided to start unloading some of my own collection to a local record store for trade-in value. I told Sebastian he could come with me and I’d pick up a new record for him. 

We got in the car and I can hear my child in the back say: “Dada, I want a Pantera record.”

Now, I don’t know what you know about Pantera but they fit the bill for all that Sebastian loves about music: fast, heavy and…loud. 

Unfortunately, it’s damn impossible to get a Pantera record without also absorbing a lot of explicit lyrics. So, Sebastian is temporarily out of luck for adding one of these to his record collection. 

Nevertheless, we made our way into the record store and Sebastian started looking around.

The first thing that caught his eye was Hysteria from Def Leppard. He recognized the logo and knew some of their material from getting lost in a YouTube loop last year.

“Dada, I want this Def Leppard record.”

“Ok, buddy.”

“Dada, what’s this record?”

“That’s Halestorm.”

“Is it loud?”

“Eh, it’s kinda loud, they’re a rock band.”

“What’s this record?”

“That’s Overkill.”

“Is it loud?”

“Yes, they’re a thrash band. It’s loud.”

“I want that Overkill record.”

“Sebastian. I am not spending $40 on a record of a band you’ve never listened to before. By the way, look at this record…”

“What is that record?”

“It’s Nirvana. You have a Nirvana t-shirt.”

“Is that loud?”

“Yes. Some of it. Not all of it.”

“I want that Nirvana record.”

So, we grab Nirvana and Def Leppard and take them to the counter. The owner of the store looks at the records, looks at my son, and says: “You’ve got good taste!”

Sebastian smirked from ear to ear.

Since then, we’ve added another AC/DC record to his collection and a Deftones record. This goes along nicely with albums from Queen, Twisted Sister, Van Halen, Journey, Beastie Boys and Metallica.

I also took another vintage turntable that I had sitting in our attic and upgraded him from the one Santa brought him last year. Now, our little rock-n-roller has a vintage turntable, a receiver, a phono pre-amp and some speakers (that will need to be upgraded soon) to play his tunes on.

He still needs to learn how to take better card of the records and the sleeves but he’s done a damn good job taking care of the turntable.

One of my client/friends here at the studio (Rachel H) said: “You know, J, most 5 year-olds like toys and trucks and action figures. Your 5 year old likes turntables and records!”

If I was any more proud I’d probably split.

To be honest, I don’t remember a lot of details from my childhood but I do remember scouring music stores with my parents looking for 45s and looking through some of my Dad’s old records from bands like Steely Dan, Poco and Hookfoot.

I took a detour from some of the recent health posts to share this story before my old brain forgets some of the details.

The next time you hear something loud, think of Sebastian.

Better yet, turn it up.

47 Random Thoughts At My 47th Birthday

  1. Drink more water (don’t worry about the Ph level of it) 
  2. Raise your fiber content: chia seeds, flax seeds, raspberries, blackberries, steel cut oats, green veggies, and sprouted grain bread are good places to start.
  3. Do cardio for mental health, heart health and stress relief. Don’t do it to burn calories (even though it burns calories). 
  4. If you’re doing cardio to burn off what you eat or what you plan to eat, you’re probably missing the point of cardio and your relationship with food. 
  5. For the love of all that’s holy, get stronger. You don’t need to be a power lifter. You just need more strength. 
  6. Love the life you have, not the life you want. You’ll appreciate the life you’re striving more much more if you can love what you have now and improve it. 
  7. Hatred, revenge and holding grudges has never served me well in 47 years. If you live with these sentiments, you’re wasting valuable energy. 
  8. Social media is not your therapist. If you need a therapist, hire one. It may be the best money you’ve ever spent on yourself. 
  9. A lot of people spend time waxing nostalgic about their glory years of youth. In my 20s, I was neck deep in drugs. Do I want to be in my 20s again? Absolutely not. The best years of my life are happening right now. 
  10. Read more books. Real books. Physical, tactile…smell them, devour them. 
  11. I collect records. I’ve become somewhat snobby with them. Being a record collector is a lot like taking care of your health. There is no shortcut to enjoying music that way. It is more expensive than listening to music digitally, it is more time consuming, it takes up more space than digital files, you have to handle vinyl with care if you want it to last. There are lessons in owning vinyl that transition to how you take care of your body. Sometimes, what’s convenient isn’t what’s best for you. 
  12. Do your share at keeping your house clean. There are certain chores I legitimately love doing and I know I’m contributing to a cleaner house, a more organized house and a happier marriage. It is not my wife’s complete responsibility to raise our son and stay on top of the house. That’s teamwork.
  13. The worst supervisor I’ve ever had in my professional career taught me a very valuable lesson about what kind of supervisor I didn’t want to become. He was a tyrant of a human being and I owe him a debt of gratitude for that lesson of who not to be.
  14. Carbs, insulin and toxins aren’t the problem with your diet. Guilt, shame and denial are the problem.
  15. What makes for great and popular social media posts is a terrible example of what works in changing your life. A great social media post makes its point quickly and is there for quick consumption. The things that will alter the course of your life for the better take time, focus and conscious, consistent effort. Don’t let impatience and a need for hyper-convenience derail you.
  16. Walking is the single most underrated form of movement that you can put into your life.
  17. With advice, it’s not necessarily WHAT we hear or HOW we hear it, it’s WHEN we hear it that matters. Case in point: how many times have you heard you need to increase your fruit and vegetable intake? It doesn’t matter how many times you hear it. It doesn’t matter who says it. It matters when your body feels like trash and you realize that you can improve your diet by X% by eating more nutritious food. As the adage goes: when the student is ready, the teacher appears.
  18. Everyone overeats. Seriously. Everyone does. Normalize the fact that it happens and if you feel that the frequency/size of overeating is negatively affecting you, seek help.
  19. I have loved my wife for all of the 13 years that I’ve known her. However, we have not always had a loving relationship. Changing that reality was a monumental move for our marriage. It made everything in our lives better: the way we treat each other, the way we raise Sebastian, the way we contribute to the upbringing of Jackson, and how we treat ourselves as individuals.
  20. A good coach puts themselves above no one. I am not better than my clients because my exercise and my diet are generally on point. We all have things we struggle through. I look at coaching much like a slow dance: sometimes I lead, sometimes I follow. The point is to pay attention so you don’t step on toes.
  21. I have always appreciated dissenting opinions. I don’t need to surround myself with people who agree with me. I want to learn from people who see things differently. The trick is to have a difference of opinion without being an asshole.
  22. The feeling I get when I take Sebastian into a record store and see him comb through vinyl like I did when I was not much older is a feeling I can’t put into words. I hope he carries a love of music with him for the rest of his life.
  23. You’re not lazy or unmotivated if you can’t lose weight successfully. You may, however, have a lot of unprocessed trauma you need to work through. See #8.
  24. To everyone who reads my blogs, follows me on FB or IG and shares my work: Thank you. It means a lot and I try my best to educate, inspire and entertain.
  25. Some people need a diet/exercise intervention to lose weight successfully. Some people need weight loss medication AND a diet/exercise intervention. Others may need bariatric surgery, potentially a weight loss medication, AND a diet/exercise intervention. There is no wrong path to fat loss. There is what works for you and you are not a lesser person because you couldn’t just work the diet/exercise path on its own. The human brain and human behavior are complex. We were not designed to all travel this world in the same way.
  26. I love my mother. I miss my father.
  27. There is no one-size-fits-all probiotic for gut health. We don’t know enough about the gut microbiome yet. That being said, a probiotic is likely safe for you to take and either you find the benefit or you don’t. You still probably need to revisit #2.
  28. Just because something is natural doesn’t make it safe for you.
  29. If someone you follow makes you fear certain foods and you do not have an allergic reaction to said foods, you should probably unfollow them. Fear mongering has absolutely no-place in a reasonable diet.
  30. About the only thing in nutrition that has very little gray area it’s this: you need to achieve an energy deficit (through either intake or output or both) to lose fat.
  31. Asking an individual to make changes to their diet is challenging enough. If they’re in a relationship, those changes are harder to make. If they’re in a relationship and raising a family, it’s even more challenging. That doesn’t make change impossible, it means that the more people who eat within your close environment, the more they have a direct influence on how, how much, what and where you consume food.
  32. Fat loss solves SOME problems. It doesn’t solve every problem. Not every pain and discomfort in the body is because of excess weight.
  33. Your body is constantly giving you signals. Spend less time numbing out emotions, stress and discomfort and pay attention to those signals. It could save your life. This has nothing to do with how much you weigh.
  34. I talk trash about a lot of things. Part of it is me just being opinionated (especially with music). There’s actually only one thing in life I truly hate. It’s cancer. Fuck cancer.
  35. I made a pact with myself at the beginning of this year to get my wife and I out of town for an evening each month. I didn’t succeed with that pact but we were able to do more than in previous years. I’ll keep an eye on that for 2023. That’s not a New Year’s resolution, that’s taking care of my marriage and reestablishing some sanity for us by having a routine getaway.
  36. Stop reading about self-improvement. Start improving. You can’t simultaneously read about ways to move your life forward and be executing on the knowledge.
  37. The only time motivation is more important than action is when you’re just getting started. It’s what you need to get you off the couch. After that, action will always precede motivation. Show up when you don’t feel like it (especially when you don’t, unless you’re sick or injured).
  38. On the note of injuries, they happen. This could be related to exercise or not. The goal is to recover as quickly as you can, rehab what needs it and move the other parts of the body that can still be stimulated. We can’t eliminate the occurrence of injuries, we CAN work to reduce the frequency and severity of them. Also, see #33
  39. Turn off all electronics (phone, laptop, computer, kindle, tablet, TV) within 30-45 minutes of bedtime. Use the bed for sleep and sex. You’re welcome.
  40. I am extremely lucky that I work at a place that I genuinely love coming to. I spend 60+ hours a week at the Rev and I don’t take that circumstance for granted. I don’t believe that you need a job that you love to be happy. I do believe that you need a job you can do proficiently that allows you the time and space to do something you love outside of it.
  41. If you’ve hired someone to be your coach, tell them about yourself. Not just your goals. Talk about your pain, talk about your past, talk about the things that rattle around in your head at night. THAT’s the stuff that will help you get closer to your goals. The less you unveil, the less a coach (or therapist, for that matter) can get to the heart of the obstacles. If we’re talking about diet, it’s never JUST about food.
  42. You can’t be great at everything. Give yourself a tablespoon of slack if you really kick ass at certain areas of your life but you’re a hot mess of a human in other areas. Hi, I’m Jason. I’ll be your coach and conductor on the Hot Mess Express. Put your seat belt on, grab your popcorn, we will be listening to no Taylor Swift music on this ride.
  43. There is almost no reason whatsoever to be hopped up on caffeine all day long. The problem isn’t that you need more caffeine, it’s that your sleep habits are god-awful. Why are they god-awful? Because you drank two coffees, 2 Bangs and you thought you needed a pre-workout before your evening lift. Get.Some.Sleep. Read #39.
  44. There’s a really good chance that you need less variety in your diet to succeed at fat loss (or at least get momentum in starting fat loss). Start with consistency and predictability and be okay with some boredom. Add in variety as you go along.
  45. A little bit of hunger is okay on a fat loss diet. Being ravenous with a growly tummy is not okay.
  46. Most diet advice on the internet is terrible advice for people with a history of eating disorders.
  47. I have done a lot of things in my life that I am not proud of or am otherwise ashamed of. I have also done a lot of good, caring, and thoughtful things. Every day, I have a choice of what tape I want to play on loop in my head of the person I think I am: the person I’m proud of or the person I’m not. That tape informs the trajectory of the rest of my life. You may not have the same past that I do, but pay close attention to what your tape is playing on loop in your mind. The message matters.