Over the next couple months, I will be providing short summaries of each of the experts to be featured in my upcoming book, Twelve Paths to Health & Fitness (Part 1) (this is a working title). To see a breakdown of the research I have done on each expert, go to my About Twelve Paths Page. Some of these experts focus on strength and conditioning, some focus nutrition, and others focus on physical therapy and these biographies show how they built their platform along with all of the tips and tricks that I've learned from them.
Whether you are a beginner on your own self-improvement journey, an intermediate lifter who wants to make tweaks to their nutrition or fitness program, or a coach who wants to learn what other coaches with enormous platforms have learned form their experiences, I guarantee you will be amazed by all of the helpful information in this book.
Each biography in the book is about 20-30 pages long, whereas the profiles in this series will be quick summaries with some of my favorite quotes and tips so you can get a taste of what the book will be like.
As I create each Expert Profile, I will provide the link to the profile below:
This weeks' post is a quick one but I hope you find it valuable. Through my research, I always hear recommendations of other books, websites, etc. to check out and there are a couple websites I feel everyone should know...
One of the keys to living healthy is eating fresh foods. By buying our food locally, we are not only benefitting our health but our community as well. LocalHarvest.org is a fantastic resource for finding local farms, CSAs, farmers markets, and stands near you and seeing what they offer if you live anywhere in the United States. I live in a relatively remote area but it's amazing how many local resources there are around me that I would have never known about without this website.
Whether you're looking for fresh eggs, meat, vegetables, honey, meat, maple syrup, you name it - you should be able to find a local resource if not multiple options through this site. If you are looking for a farm/CSA to get food from regularly, many farms provide information on when you can tour their land so you really know where the food is coming from and how the animals there are treated.
I highly suggest checking it out. You'd be doing your community service by supporting local farmers and yourself a service by getting fresh, organic foods. You can also easily find grass-fed beef, pasture-raised pork, free range chicken and eggs, and other high quality foods through this resource.
Thank you, Ben Greenfield, for showing me this website. I believe I first discovered it in his book, Beyond Training.
Another key to having good health is obviously water. According to Shawn Stevenson, here are the best sources of water in order:
FindASpring.com is a resource that can be used all around the world (especially in North America or Europe) to find a natural spring near you. I just discovered this resource recently - I've used it near where I live and when I've traveled but have not a had a spring near me yet. But when I do, I will report back.
Thank you, Shawn Stevenson, for letting me know about this website and I look forward to using it.
Check out those resources and let me know what you think in the comments. If you end up using one of them to get fresh food or water, definitely share your experience!
This is an unusual post - normally I cover specific topics on nutrition, fitness, or inspiration to help others on their self-improvement journeys. If this is the first post you read, I encourage you to look at one of my other recent posts:
If you enjoyed it enough to subscribe so that you get notified of new posts or news about the blog, head over to my Contact Page! Thank you for reading!
Guest Post - Written by April Shwe-Paul
I'm April Shwe-Paul, a Success Mindset & Purpose Coach from Auckland, New Zealand. I help ambitious people find clarity on what true success looks like and help them in achieving their goals. My YouTube Channel is all about self-development, where I share knowledge and expertise specifically in the area of mindset so that I can improve the quality of your life.
We are currently in uncertain times and the next few years will certainly bring more challenges and curveballs our way. While we can't control what happens in the world and external forces that affect us, we have control over how we react to it.
Here is a brief summary of my top 7 tips on how to manage stress given in the video above...
Getting out of your head and into your body is a great way to manage your state in stressful situations. Walking, hiking or getting out in nature will have a profound and positive impact on your mental state.
Meditation allows you to be more present and live in the moment instead of worrying about future scenarios. This trains your brain to be more patient, learn to stay in the present, and to focus on what you can control.
Meditation also help you be more relaxed. So the more stressed out you are, the longer you should meditate.
3. Perspective Change
Having a perspective change is really helpful to look at situations more objectively. I always think about the big picture when I encounter a stressful situation and ask myself questions that help me snap out of the downward spiral.
For instance, I'll ask myself questions like: “If you were given a month left to live, is this really that big of a problem in your life?” Questions like this help bring perspective and center my thoughts on what is really important.
Do a brain dump into your journal to help you manage stressful situations. Getting your thoughts on paper can help you realize how irrational some of your thoughts are. More importantly, journaling gives you an opportunity to address some of those issues. Once you’re able to prioritize your problems to resolve, you can create a step-by-step action plan to address them.
5. Take Care of Your Well-being
Look after your overall well-being. It's easy to neglect our health when we feel stressed but in order to overcome obstacles in our lives, we must be in a good state to tackle them. Having a balanced diet, getting enough sleep, and drinking enough water are all keys to taking care of yourself.
6. Hugs & Talking to Friends
There's scientific proof that hugs help you manage stress. Oxytocin is produced when you hug someone. Oxytocin is a hormone that has been shown to reduce blood pressure and it also counters norepinephrine (the stress hormone). So embracing someone can boost both your mental and physical health.
On top of all that, talking to someone you trust who has an outside perspective can help you have a better perspective on your situation.
7. Focus on What You Can Control
Don't just focus on the outcome. Make sure to also focus on what you can control in the moment. Look at things as a learning experience rather than looking at it from an outcome perspective.
Asking yourself questions focused on empowering solutions can help with this. For instance, ask questions like:
I decided to reach out to April because I found her content valuable and thought you would as well! April provides great information in creative ways through her Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube Channel.
Follow her content if you enjoyed this post and let her know your thoughts in the comments below!
The main reason that nutrition is so confusing nowadays is the variety of diets based on opposing ideas. The biggest argument of all – carbohydrates. There are many different forms of diets based around the idea that carbohydrates should be as low as humanly possible if you want to lose weight. And then there are those that focus on a lower-fat, calorie-counting approach?
So, which is right? What is the key to weight loss? Low-carbohydrate, low-fat, or calorie counting?
Before proceeding, please know that I am no expert. I feel that I can have an open discussion about this topic because I have experimented with both diets enough to have a good understanding of what works for me and have researched multiple experts on both sides of the coin.
From my research, here is where the experts side on this…
The experts that mainly focus on longevity like Dr. Cate Shanahan, Dr. Steven Gundry, and Ben Greenfield state that low-carbohydrate diets are what matters. The statements they make against carbohydrates are along the lines of, “Carbohydrates are just complex sugars and end up being equivalent to simple sugars after being broken down as glucose in the body.” They explain how crucial healthy fats are in your diet and that cholesterol is wrongly accused of heart problems and instead label processed foods, vegetable oils, and sugars as the culprits.
The experts that mainly focus on muscle-building like Mike Matthews and Greg Nuckols state that calories are what matters when it comes to weight loss/gain. They do not disagree with the importance of eating natural foods and state that if you go to the gym, it is even more important to eat natural foods. Outside of your total calorie count, they explain the importance of eating enough protein and prescribe a more balanced diet between carbohydrates, fats, and protein. For instance, Mike Matthews prescribes 45%, 25%, and 30% respectively (this specifically is for maintaining muscle), while also suggesting 80% of your diet comes from fresh, natural foods at a minimum.
From my experience, this is where I stand…
Personally, I enjoy using a low-carbohydrate diet when I need to cut weight. I aim to eat less than 50 grams of carbohydrates per day and 90% of the time can hit that goal. I do not think there’s any solid proof that this is any better than a low-fat diet but for me, I like it because it essentially forces me to mainly eat natural foods and fat is much more satiating so I really never feel hungry, even if I decide to fast for most of the day.
When I need to build muscle, I eat more carbohydrates and I don’t worry about it. As long as I hit my goals for calories and protein and am still eating natural foods for the most part, I feel I am on the right track. I’m progressing in my workouts, adding weight, and feel great overall.
At the end of the day, you need to find the diet that works best for you. Find a diet you’re interested in and buy a couple cookbooks to make sure it is something you will enjoy. The best diet (and exercise program) is the one that you will adhere to and implement consistently.
If a diet (or exercise program) has worked for hundreds of thousands of people, it obviously works for some. Ultimately, you should never take a diet or exercise program as gospel. Experiment and make tweaks so that you enjoy it but are still making progress.
Side Note: I do not mean to discount any experts. I respect all experts I have done deep research on; they've done great work to influence hundreds of thousands of people, have taught me a ton, and have made an enormous positive impact on my life.
You are more than welcome to add to the discussion or ask questions in the comments below!
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Thank you for reading and please share on!
I’m not sure about you but I am noticing a TON of negativity lately. And rightfully so.
Are you upset about politics? Are you worried about what things will look like in a year from now? Or five years from now? Have you gone through a major career change? Or lost your job and aren’t sure what direction you’re headed in? Are your kids struggling with learning from home and you’re at a loss because you simply don’t have the time outside of your full-time job to help them?
These are all real struggles that many people are facing right now but here is what I want you to do: Stop. Relax. Take a breath.
Realize that nothing gets solved by taking out your frustrations on other people. Know that even though negativity is contagious, positivity is even moreso. By supporting each other and showing each other love, you’re helping other people and you’re also helping yourself stay positive.
Things will get better. Your luck has not run dry. We all will get through this. We just need to keep working hard and supporting each other. Also, we need to figure out what we can’t control versus what we can control.
The feeling of fulfillment comes from improving areas of your life that you know need some work, a.k.a. you know you’re moving forward. Whether it is in your career, your relationships, your knowledge, or your health, making improvements in your life (even if it is just a 1% change every day) is what you should focus on if you want to be happy.
There are 1 million ways to go about this. Start small. For instance, here are a few:
Just evaluate where you are falling short and make little changes. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “Small hinges swing large doors,” and it’s true.
There is much more light in this world than darkness. Invest in yourself so that you can live your best life and support others who could use some positive vibes.
So please, quit fighting and worrying and start enjoying everything life has to offer. One step at a time.
Thank you for reading. If you enjoyed this post, please comment below and/or share it on to others. We could all use positivity in these times, even if this just speaks to one person and helps them, I am grateful to be able to do that.
You can also subscribe to my blog by going to the Contact Page and providing your email. It is completely free and you will get my free guide to nutrition and fitness along with it! I intend to make a similar guide in the near future related to inspiration.
Note: I've removed this guide. My new freebie for signing up is my Top 5 resources from each expert I've studied. My book, Inspiring Leaders in Health & Fitness and this Top 5's resource is far more valuable than my guides. If would like this free guide, I can send it to you directly if you email me requesting it at email@example.com.
If you are a subscriber, I would greatly appreciate any feedback you have on this guide. Did you find it helpful? Are there more questions you wish would be included? The good, the bad, the ugly, I want to hear it all. I plan to update this document periodically as I learn new information and gather feedback.
You can either email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment on this post!
Media (Books, Podcasts, etc.)
I decided to take more time than the usual Book Review post for Atomic Habits specifically because of how powerful this book is and also just the amount of useful content within it. To give you an idea of the impact of this book, it was published almost two years ago and it is currently #50 on the list of all books sold on Amazon.
If you are already involved in the self-development space, there is very little chance you have not heard the name ‘James Clear’ before. James Clear has dedicated his life to researching the best ways people can reach their full potential and shares his findings on his website, JamesClear.com. You won’t only find articles on habits but also motivation, productivity, creativity, focus, health and fitness, and more.
Many business leaders and experts in all of these fields look to James Clear for quality information on these topics. I found and looked into him after hearing positive things from both Mike Matthews and Greg Nuckols and I’m glad I did. As you’ll see in this book review, James has quality advice for anyone, no matter what your aspirations are.
Atomic Habits focuses on ways you can start building good habits and getting rid of bad ones. In the introduction he explains, “the quality of our lives often depends on the quality of our habits"1 and calls habits “the compound interest of self-improvement."2 In other words, if you have good habits and you are constantly improving by 1%, those improvements compound and you end up in a much better place than if you have bad habits and are doing nothing to change them.
In this review, I will break down three key concepts and three of the tips I find most helpful from this book…
Concept #1: Priming Your Environment
In various areas throughout the book, Clear describes how crucial our environment is and ways our environment can either be our benefit or our detriment to our daily habits. Here is a prime example (pun intended):
“Whenever you organize a space for its intended purpose, you are priming it to make the next action easy… There are many ways to prime your environment so it’s ready for immediate use. If you want to cook a healthy breakfast, place the skillet on the stove, set the cooking spray on the counter, and lay out any plates and utensils you’ll need the night before. When you wake up, making breakfast will be easy...
You can also invert this principle and prime the environment to make bad habits difficult. If you find yourself watching too much television, for example, then unplug it after each use. Only plug it back in if you can say out loud the name of the show you want to watch. This setup creates just enough friction to prevent mindless viewing.”3
One of the things Clear does well throughout this book is provide numerous examples based on how he and his clients apply this information so that you can find which tips you should apply in your own life.
Here are some other examples Clear gives on how you can prime your environment:
Concept #2: The Goldilocks Rule
“The Goldilocks Rule states that humans experience peak motivation when working on tasks that are right on the edge of their current abilities. Not too hard. Not too easy. Just right.”7
This is an interesting concept and easy to understand. When you start a new habit, you are not going to execute it perfectly. The challenge at first is actually making it into a habit – something you eventually don’t have to think twice about, you just do it. Therefore, Clear states you should make new habits as easy as possible so that you stick with them. Then once they've stuck, challenge yourself by making minor changes. Eventually, you will turn from an amateur to a professional. He states that by the time you turn professional, you will undoubtedly get bored by how easy the process becomes…
“But stepping up when it’s annoying or painful or draining to do so, that’s what makes the difference between a professional and an amateur. Professionals stick to the schedule; amateurs let life get in the way. Professionals know what is important to them and work toward it with purpose; amateurs get pulled off course by the urgencies of life.”8
When choosing habits, Clear helps you find what habits suit your personality best as well as what you are best at naturally. He states that at the beginning of a new habit, you should explore as many possibilities as you can. Even when you are a professional, he suggests that you should still be exploring 10-20% of the time when you are not doing what you are currently best at during the other 80-90%.9
Concept #3: Reflection and Review
“A lack of self-awareness is poison. Reflection and review is the antidote.”10
Clear shares how he uses an Annual Review at the end of each year, tallying up how many articles he’s published, workouts he’s put in, places he’s visited, etc. and evaluating his efforts using the following questions:
You can view an example of one of his Annual Reviews here.
This report makes sure that he isn’t just planning but doing.
“When preparation becomes a form of procrastination, you need to change something. You don’t merely want to be planning. You want to be practicing.”11
He also does what he calls and “Integrity Report” at the start of summer. This report is to ensure that he is working towards who he wants to become by answering the following:
You can view an example of one of his Integrity Reports here.
Clear states that it is crucial to build identity-based habits because, “True behavior change is identity change. You might start a habit because of motivation, but the only reason you’ll stick with one is that it becomes part of your identity.”12
He goes further by explaining how this mindset can make a world of difference. If you are a smoker who is trying to quit, rather than saying “No thanks. I’m trying to quit,” when offered, he suggests saying, “No thanks. I’m not a smoker,” instead. This is a minor tweak that forces you to think twice about how habits cast votes for the type of person you are or want to become.13
Tip #1: Immediate Pleasure vs. Ultimate Success
“With our bad habits, the immediate outcome usually feels good, but the ultimate outcome feels bad. With good habits, it is the reverse; the immediate outcome is unenjoyable, but the ultimate outcome feels good… As a general rule, the more immediate pleasure you get from an action, the more strongly you should question whether it aligns with your long-term goals.”14
Tip #2: The Habit Tracker
Clear states that, “The mere act of tracking a behavior can spark the urge to change it.”15 By simply keeping track of when you complete the habits you want to build and improve on, this gives you enough satisfaction to keep going.
“I try to remind myself of a simple rule: never miss twice… Lost days hurt you more than successful days help you… This is why ‘bad’ workouts are often the most important ones. Sluggish days and bad workouts maintain the compound gains you accrued from previous good days. Simply doing something – ten squats, five sprints, a push-up, anything really – is huge. Don’t put up a zero. Don’t let losses eat into your compounding.”16
Another important thing is to make sure you are measuring the right thing:
“Measurement is only useful when it guides you and adds context to a larger picture, not when it consumes you… If you’re not feeling motivated by the number on the scale, perhaps it’s time to focus on a different measurement – one that gives you more signals of progress.”17
Tip #3: Pointing-and-Calling
Pointing-and-Calling, as you may get from the name, is pointing at something and calling it out before proceeding. These are basic things that are likely not to be forgotten but we get complacent about.
“This process, known as Pointing-and-Calling, is a safety system designed to reduce mistakes. It seems silly, but it works incredibly well. Pointing-and-Calling reduces errors by up to 85 percent and cuts accidents by 30 percent… Pointing-and-Calling is so effective because it raises the level of awareness from a nonconscious habit to a more conscious level… when we’ve done something a thousand times before, we begin to overlook things.”18
There were several other concepts and tips in Atomic Habits that I wanted to share but the post would never get read because it would be too long. Plus, I strongly recommend getting the book for yourself if you want to reap all the benefits from James’s knowledge bombs that he drops in this book.
Here is a link to purchase the book on Amazon.
“Success is not a goal to reach or a finish line to cross. It is a system to improve, an endless process to refine.”19
Thank you for reading! If you enjoyed this post, you can subscribe to my blog here to be notified of new posts and important news. I also have free content related to my new book coming soon.
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Lastly, if you've also read Atomic Habits and have other things you want to share, comment below!
About, Other, Personal
As you may know, I recently announced my upcoming book which should be complete by the start of next year. The purpose of this post is to give you an idea of what exactly the book is about and how it will be formatted. This book is a series of biographies that includes all of the experts that I've researched as well as all of the tips and tricks that I discovered while doing my research. The list of experts involved, a quick description of their backgrounds, and the amount of research done on each of them can be seen in my About Twelve Paths Page. All are involved in health and fitness in some fashion, whether they are nutritionists, physical therapists, or strength and conditioning coaches. Each biography is between 10-15 pages long, describing the following:
The purpose of the book is to take everything I've learned from these individuals over the past couple years of deep research and spell it all out to help you learn how you can improve your health and fitness and possibly find experts that you would like to follow as well.
Below, I will share with you the current version of the "From the Author" introduction of the book...
If you have any comments or questions, please comment below. I'd really appreciate any input you might have. I have all of the biographies written and am currently working on the final editing, formatting, etc.
If you have not already, please help me in deciding a title of my book by clicking this link.
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Thank you for reading!
How many times have you heard or said to yourself something along the lines of, “I don’t have the money to eat healthy.” This is such a common excuse and, to be honest, I’ve said it myself in the past. We assume that “eating healthy” means buying tons of fresh fruit and vegetables and needing to go to the grocery store multiple times per week in order to keep our salads fresh. The only time that this might be the case is if you are deciding to be 100% vegetarian, and even then, it is probably better to ease yourself into it until it is practical and simple to make the switch.
I've learned it's much better to focus on the smaller habits you can do that add up. If you do that, you’ll find it truly is not any more costly and it can also be an easy and enjoyable change to make. In this post, I will share tips given by nutrition experts as well as small habit changes to make it easy for you to follow their advice.
Tip #1 - Water
Shawn Stevenson, nutritionist and general health expert, suggests drinking half your bodyweight each day in water, switching pounds for ounces. For example, if you weight 150lbs, he states that you should drink 75oz (about 9 glasses) of water each day. He says that there is no reason to exceed 100oz unless you have a heavy workout that day. This is similar to other respected health experts’ recommendations like Dr. Cate Shanahan and Ben Greenfield.
Habits Involving Water
Shawn suggests starting your day off with 20-30oz of water to both get a head start on this goal and to wash your body of toxins first thing in the morning. He then suggests keeping a water bottle with you throughout the day. These two habits paired together make drinking a healthy amount of water each day easily attainable.1
Tip #2 - Fruits & Vegetables
Another tip by Shawn Stevenson is to eat at least two servings of green leafy vegetables and one cup of berries each day. He warns not to overdo the berries because they are loaded with sugars and states that avocados are also a great option to add in at breakfast time. Dr. Steven Gundry, nutrition expert and former cardiologist, also suggests the same amount of daily green leafy vegetables.
Habits Involving Fruits & Vegetables
Shawn suggests starting your day with a green smoothie or a shake with vegetables and/or berries that you don’t think you’ll get throughout the day. Personally, I try to get these amounts of fruits and vegetables each day but if I am unable to reach them, I use pre-made smoothies from the grocery store and/or supergreen supplement powders at the end of the day to make up for what I’ve missed.
Another simple habit to help this is by, rather than keeping your fruit hidden in your fridge, leave it in a bowl on the counter so you walk by and see it every day. This is a tip I’ve heard from multiple experts, including James Clear, an expert on motivation and success through improving your habits.2-4
Tip #3 - Soda Kick
Dr. Cate Shanahan, physician and nutrition expert, states that one soda each day can increase your risk of heart attack by 30% and increase calcium buildup in your arteries by 70%. She also states, “I don’t recommend diet soda unless you are using it as a bridge to kick the regular soda habit.”
Habits to Help Kick the Soda
In order to kick this habit, you need to find an alternative you enjoy. Dr. Cate suggests the following alternatives: ice-cold sparkling water with a lemon wedge, herbal tea, or 6-10oz of kombucha with the lowest amount of sugar you can find.
Although Dr. Cate does not advocate for any sweeteners, Shawn Stevenson and Ben Greenfield both believe Stevia is a good and safe alternative to sugar. Personally, the alternatives I use are iced tea, lemonade (made with water and lemon juice), or an iced tea/lemonade mixture sweetened with stevia.5
I’m sure these habits sound like a lot but they have been very helpful for me and if you fall short some days, don’t stress – it’s better to make some effort than not try at all. Dr. Cate recommends trying to make one new change each time you go to the market rather than making a whole list of changes at once. You can also start small and work your way up by limiting soda rather than going cold turkey or trying to work in just 1 serving of vegetables each day and don’t worry about the type of vegetable, just pick something you enjoy eating.6
Next time you go to the market, try one of these habit changes. Small changes each day turn into enormous improvements over time. Thank you for reading and I hope this helps you. If you find one habit is successful and you enjoy it, try the next one. Let me know how it goes in the comments below! Also, if you have any questions, feel free to comment below or ask me via email @ email@example.com.
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For today's post, I decided to do something different and create a graphic. The purpose of this graphic is to show the exercises that are good for anyone looking to be proficient with a barbell, dumbbell, and/or kettlebell. In my opinion, this is a great starting point for someone who is just starting to work with a certain type of equipment, and ideally, I think it is important to be comfortable using all three. One thing that is not included in this graphic is bodyweight exercises - those are just as important to be comfortable with. If you know how to perform all of these exercises, I think you'll find that your workouts have enough variety that you'll be excited to enter the gym and you should exit feeling exhausted from a great workout if you have a good mixture of compound lifts (squat, deadlift, or press for example) and isolation lifts (curl, row, or lateral side raise for example).
Here are some quality resources you can use to find out how to perform these lifts correctly:
Scott Herman Fitness - YouTube Channel
Mind Pump TV - YouTube Channel
Becoming a Supple Leopard by Dr. Kelly Starrett
Bigger Leaner Stronger by Mike Matthews
StrongerbyScience.com - Greg Nuckols' Definitive Guide for the Squat, Deadlift, and Bench Press
There are several other great resources, these are just a few that I like to reference.
Feel free to save and share this graphic, just please share this post along with it. Simply copy & paste the link.
If you enjoyed this post and would like to subscribe to this blog, go to my Contact Page. I'll simply notify you of new posts or important news related to the blog. If you have any questions or comments, please comment below.
Thank you for reading and share on!
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.