Fitness Couch Potato? Why You’re Not Like You Used to Be

You’re crushing it in the gym, hitting a wall with your results, and still wondering why.

Have you considered that you may be a fitness coach potato?

If you are truly crushing it in the gym, you hit the gym somewhere between 5 to 7 days a week.

You do high-intensity cardio, you do low intensity cardio, you lift high rep and low rep weights.

If you’re doing ALL those things and still you can’t get anywhere near where you “used to be”, Consider this.

Much of your younger life isn’t spent exercising, it’s spent being active. So how exactly does the metabolism (the calorie using part of you) work? I borrowed the below graph from

Your “metabolism” is made of four parts. The BMR, TEF, NEAT and GYM EXERCISE.

Your BMR is the amount of calories you burn at rest to keep your organs and systems working. That’s about 50% of your total calorie burning power. The TEF is how many calories your body uses to digest food and is roughly 10% of your calorie burn power. Your GYM EXERCISE is about 15% of your calorie burn power.

Now here’s the shocker. Your NEAT is your non-exercising activity. That’s how many calories you burn by moving, walking to class or work, fidgeting or moving your arms and legs and it makes up about 25% of your total calorie burning power….

TWENTY FIVE PERCENT……..2…5….PERCENT……. Let that sink in for a minute.

Now stop and think about you every day life. I don’t want you to think about how many times you go to the gym, or how many times you go for a run or jog. NEAT is none of those. I want you to think about your daily lifestyle. How many days were spent getting up, driving in a car for 45 minutes to work, sitting in a desk all day long, sitting in the car on the way home, then sitting down to eat and sitting on the couch to watch TV followed by laying down back in bed? Now contrast that daily lifestyle with the daily lifestyle of your fittest period of your life….

Fitness couch potato?

College would have been my period of lowest body fat. During that time I would walk an average of 10 miles a day, workout with weights, play a sport like basketball for an hour and then go out with my friends where we would walk, laugh and joke until the wee hours of the morning.

NEAT is so important because it allows your body to expend calories without tearing it down. “Exercise” is the process of applying enough tension to your muscles to cause damage…you get stronger when your body repairs from that damage. Endurance sports are great but done chronically, they tear your body down and send it in to a cycle of survival. They also increase stress hormones that some feel force fat cells to hold on to their fat. The number of clients I get who come over for help after having been competitive in endurance races like triathlons, marathons and ultra runs is astounding.

So do a quick evaluation, how much NEAT are you getting? Have you tried wearing a pedometer? Are you a fitness couch potato?

In the next article, “Recovery, the other side of fitness”, we will dive into recovery and how a lack of it could be stunting your results. The portion of your high intensity program that may be missing!


Dieting Makes You Fatter Over Time



“I dropped 4% of my body fat last month!”

Ever since switching our nutritional approach to a simple, more effective system, testimonials like this have become the norm. It seems fat is just falling off of people…part of me wants to discredit what I’m writing but it’s true. Years of being a trainer and I’ve never seen this quick of fat loss with such simplicity. Now we need to find out more about the good and the bad of our understanding on nutrition as it pertains to fat loss.

Calorie counting doesn’t work long term. I have never seen anyone besides super motivated trainers stick to a calorie based program and even they frequently move off of it. But what if calorie counting and calorie deficit is actually making you fatter?

A recently released abstract from the “Perspectives on Psychology and Science” brings up a few good points.

First, your body is in constant flux and it regulates your metabolism based on how many calories you have in a given day. So if you eat more, your metabolism goes up. If you eat less, your metabolism goes down.

Second, your body regulates hunger chemically and those pesky chemicals that make you feel food cravings can actually be increased for UP TO A YEAR after you’re done with your diet.

So what’s the solution? Currently we think hunger is your best calorie counter and most people are nutrient deficient while being calorie plentiful. Basically, your quality of food sucks and you’re not paying attention to being full vs hungry.

Stop dieting, eat 6-9 cups of non-starchy veggies a day, has some protein and fat and listen to your body.

Well Fit Life

Sorry Ladies, Red Wine Doesn’t Decrease Fat

Drink red wine because the polyphenols will reduce body fat!

…or at least they increase insulin sensitivity?

These phrases have been bouncing around for some time and have gotten wine lovers crazy over reds. Unfortunately, a new study released in the journal of Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism shows that polyphenols from red wine don’t do anything to decrease fat…or increase insulin sensitivity. Insulin sensitivity is important because it’s linked to excessive body fat. Theoretically, if our bodies are more sensitive to insulin, they will be able to use sugar as fuel instead of storing them in rolls under the skin.

You can find the study here but the summary goes like this.

29 people were randomly assigned to take 600 mg of polyphenols a day for 8 weeks and the other group did not. Insulin sensitivity was measured before and after and there was no significant difference between the two groups.

So as now…unfortunately, no, red wine doesn’t help you lose fat.

Well Fit Life pexels-photo-66636

Don’t Want Surgery? Try This.

If you have chronic pain but don’t want surgery, you have to try this amazing form of therapy. It’s called Egoscue, and we’re the only people certified in Michigan to do it.

This form of therapy has a 94% success rate at getting rid chronic pain without medication or surgery. If you have to have surgery, it will help you recover faster. If you’re post-surgery, it will help you recover faster. Schedule a free assessment to see what it’s all about!

Your Stretch Routine Sucks. Do This Instead.

My parachute collapsed while I was skydiving and I hit the ground in a free-fall. After that incident, I went through about two years of excruciating pain down the backs of both legs. I tried lots of different types of exercise and ended up doing a low back stretch where I played on the ground and rotated both legs to the side. Most of the time I would get a loud CRACK in my back and I’d be quite satisfied knowing I’d done something good for my body.

Now that stretch is considered ineffective and even dangerous to perform.

What changed? Our understanding of the human body.

Dump your old stretch routine and update it with this quick 10-15 minute routine. You can do this daily or as a follow-up to exercise while focusing on breath control.

What do I mean? 
Western movement science is starting to catch up with eastern ancient movement science and most movement experts now recommend a focus on smooth, complete breathing during stretches. You know you’ve gone too far if you have to grunt or hold your breath. Try it and feel how different your body stretches when you’re not fighting against increased length.

Remember, the key is gentle consistency rather than infrequent and intense.


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Working Out Doesn’t Equal Fat Loss

You don’t lose body fat from working out, you lose fat from recovering from your workout.

If I get an email from someone who says they eat three small meals a day, exercise twice a day, 5-6 days a week with lots of intense cardio, I automatically know they’re going to look out of shape. They will have a considerable amount of fat overlaying slender, under-developed muscles and generally look “soft”. I’m not saying that to make fun or put anyone down, it’s just part of my reality and it’s the fault of a buy-in to America’s current fitness culture.

Here’s the thing, we have become obsessed with the idea that the harder we beat up our bodies, the fitter we will become. If you puke, you get a pat on the back for having “really worked hard today”. If you eat very little, you get praised for having “great diet control” but the reality is that we’re beating and starving ourselves to death.

Here’s the routine.

Step 1: Start working out moderately and see a small change in body fat or firmness

Step 2: Plateau

Step 3: “I have to cut my calories to lose more” so you cut your calories down and see a little more progress

Step 4: Plateau

Step 5: “I have to workout harder” so you do more cardio and see a little more progress…followed by a little reversal of progress

Step 6: “I have to cut more calories” So you see a little progress then go back even further.

And the cycle continues until you’re becoming frustratingly chubby despite beating your body in to the ground 5-12 hours a week and eating like an anorexic pigeon.

You know someone like this…heck, maybe you do this…God knows I’ve been guilty of it in the past, and it’s because I didn’t understand that your body doesn’t lose fat and gain muscle from working out, it loses fat and gains muscle from recovering from exercise.

Let that sink in…

“You don’t lose fat from working out, you lose fat by recovering from your workout”
Let me explain.

Most of us think that exercise burns calories, which means we lose fat. In actuality, our workouts damage our bodies and cause a host of chemical/hormonal responses like the release of growth hormone, IGF-1, testosterone, etc. to repair the damage we’ve done. Essentially we’re telling our bodies, “you’re not strong enough to do what I want you to do” and your body says, “ok…well I guess I’d better get stronger”

It’s like if someone built a dam (your body) and a storm (your workout) came along that weakened the wall. Everyone would say, “that dam isn’t strong enough, we have to rebuild it, and make it stronger than before”

Now here comes the problem. Americans, as a whole are undernourished, don’t have enough sleep, and haven’t had enough water to repair.

IN FACT, this massive trend in obesity is probably more from a lack of recovery than it is a lack of movement. If the dam I mentioned above as an allusion to our bodies, imagine trying to rebuild the dam with no cement and workers who haven’t slept in 72 hours. The repair job is shotty at best, then another storm comes to weaken the dam even more and eventually, it breaks.

So what am I suggesting?

  1. Eat your freaking calories – Eat 20-25 grams of protein 6 times a day. Have some fat each time and eat a handful of healthy carbohydrates like veggies each time. Most people don’t eat enough calories to support their workouts.
  2. Sleep 7-8 hours each night and go to bed at the same time
  3. Don’t watch TV before bed, it messes with your sleep cycle
  4. Take a mult-vitamin or mult-mineral
  5. Take a pro-biotic
  6. drink at least 1/2 your body weight in ounces of water every day
  7. don’t exercise more than 6 hours each week and if you’re under a lot of stress, stop doing long, moderate-intensity cardio. Swap your schedule out for 3 hours of weight training where you lift heavy (3-12 reps)  and 2-3 cardio sessions of 20-30 minutes each, using HIIT training.
  8. Replace the modern “body abuse” mentality with “body care” yes you can and should work out hard, but treat your body well.
  9. ENJOY YOUR LIFE…excessive mental stress will kill your ability to be healthy. Enjoy every moment 🙂

In good health,