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CARBS – Public Enemy #1

May 30, 2018 by  
Filed under Podcast

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On this episode of Strong By Design, Coach Chris sits down with nutrition and holistic health professional, Tonya Fines. They discuss everything you need to know about carbs. Also, stay tuned to hear Tonya’s top picks for best carbs to eat.

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 “All your little steps add up to huge improvements.”

-Tonya Fines

Strong By Design Podcast

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Time Stamps:

2:40 Are carbs bad for you?

3:45 Tonya’s top 5 best carbs

5:35 Why do we need carbs

9:25 What should your nutritional intake look like?

14:55 Finding team to do prep

17:18 Are you cutting your carbs but not seeing the scale move?

19:20 Complex carbs vs Simple carbs

21:40 Creating realistic weight loss goals

29:10 Do you love pasta? This is how you can still have it



Connect with Tonya

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Tonya: [00:00:00] It is about convenience and efficiency as you know as a busy mom we want to get the kids fed and keep on going. So it can become very easy to fall into that trap of picking quick highly processed, fast things because there’s no preparation involved.

Chris: [00:00:15] We Believe that you are strong by design and you are made in God’s image to have a strong body mind and spirit. Hi, my name is Chris Wilson and you’re listening to the number 1 strength and health authority podcast in the world. So let’s get ready to Unlock your potential and transform your life with today’s expert.

Chris: [00:00:47] Hey this is Coach Chris with the Strong by Design Podcast Show. And I’m really super excited about today’s topic. We are talking about carbs, public enemy number one or are they? Today I am sitting across from Tonya Fines. She is a holistic health practitioner and nutrition specialist and really what that means is she knows a lot more than most people when it comes to your health and your nutritional health. And so welcome Tonya.

Tonya: [00:01:22] Thank you! Happy to be here.

Chris: [00:01:22] Yes. It’s Great to have you here. So I want to dive right in we have obviously a list of topics we want to go over today we want to cover. Number one just a little bit of background really quickly like if you could describe yourself in like four or five sentences how would you do that?

Tonya: [00:01:43] Well I’ve been in this industry my whole life. Started, I was a high school teacher. Then started my own company in Canada and moved overseas to New Zealand for a while. Now I’m here in Florida and this is all I’ve done just work in this industry of fitness wellness. You know nutrition and you know holistic health and all that.

Chris: [00:02:02] Yeah. Yeah. Obviously, you’re the perfect person to have. So you know I would say carbs have gotten I mean there’s no shortage of information on carbs carbohydrates. And there’s still even to this day for most people or the average person a lot of confusion when it comes to healthy carbs. Should I even avoid them at all together. Simple vs complex, morning, noon, or night. What’s the story? So number one is I guess you know what would you say if someone asked you I’m sure you get this question a lot. Are carbs bad for me? Are they really should I not eat them? Like what would be your answer?

Tonya: [00:02:49] My Answer would be no. They’re not bad for you. But that doesn’t you know there’s a lot more to it. But byline is it’s not bad for you because even too much of the really good thing can be not that great for you. Just the information that we have. And you know how much are you eating what carbs are you eating. So there’s a lot that goes into answering but ultimately no, they are not bad for you. We do need them on our diet.

Chris: [00:03:12] Right. Yeah. Because what happens is people start to make carbs. It was a huge umbrella term, the bad guy. And all of a sudden you’re omitting like fruits and vegetables and certain you know fiber choices. So give us maybe a quick list. What if you just named five really good carbs. Most people you know who you know obviously they might have their own individual needs or issues there but that the average person, what would be five carbs choices.

Tonya: [00:03:48] OK So sweet potatoes. I mean they taste great they’re sweet but they are complex carbs. It’s a great carbs especially if you are a very active person. Whole grains, oats that has the fiber that also has some really good oils and that we need you know our brain needs these things. Whole grain, whole grain choices as far as wraps and bread and things like nuts and seeds. And when you look at a slice of bread and if it looks rough. That’s a great carb choice. There’s a lot of fiber. There’s a lot of stuff in there.

Chris: [00:04:20] Like how about the sprouted that becoming increasingly popular for good reason because it’s a lot more nutritional value.

Tonya: [00:04:29] There’s a lot more value and it brings a lot of other things. I mean carbs aren’t just about sugar. There’s a lot going on in carbs that our body as need.

Chris: [00:04:39] What about a few vegetables?

Tonya: [00:04:41] You’re always great to go with green. You know when something’s dark and green. It’s got a lot of fiber. It does have carbs okay. And fruits and vegetables do have sugar. You can’t avoid it. It’s a sugar but it’s not like eating white table sugar. Much different.

Chris: [00:04:52] No, much different. Yeah! Because we were a big believer in my household. I’ve a couple of young children and I know you have some children of your own. And I’m sure fruits were kind of commonplace in their diet and I always feel good. You’re making your kids a smoothie. Which is loaded with spinach and put in your banana and your strawberries, blueberries and all this stuff. And yeah sure. It’s got a lot of carbohydrates. Much rather than having that than you know fruit roll up.

Tonya: [00:05:25] Exactly.

Chris: [00:05:27] So why do we really need carbohydrates? I mean it sounds like an easy silly question.

Tonya: [00:05:37] Well the short answer is, we need them for energy. It’s actually the quickest fastest source of fuel that our body goes to when it needs the energy to do things. To be active to move. It doesn’t mean that your body can’t use other things for energy. But it’s the primary sources. The first place it’s going to go to draw energy. To get you through something. To help you go about your day. That’s the short simple answer.

Chris: [00:06:01] Obviously for super active people. You know it just becomes increasingly important that they have like those go to carbs.

Tonya: [00:06:10] They need the fuel. If you think of a marathon runner right? A marathon runner doesn’t have fuel to run. They’re not going to be able to run very far. So the whole point of anything with your nutrition is putting in what you need to do what is should gonna be doing.

Chris: [00:06:27] And it seems like the first place that people try cutting when they want to lose weight. They immediately start looking at what their carbohydrate intake is and in some cases probably a lot of cases. It’s smart. That is the first place I would recommend most people look rather than cutting fats. Well, that’s another topic for another day maybe. But really they should. And it really comes down to the types of carbohydrates. That the process or artificial carbs. The box items. The stuff that can sit on a shelf for three months or for a year without going bad. Those are the ones that should be removed.

Tonya: [00:07:09] Right! It’s not so much that carbs themselves are an evil thing. It’s which ones are you choosing. And it’s the same with I mean we can take anything. Talk about protein sources and fat sources so over time low carbs today. So carbs in of themselves are not evil or bad. But they are definitely smarter, wiser, better, healthier options to choose from. And it’s easy to consume a lot of carbs today. Because let’s face it, people are busy today. Not a lot of families have that luxury of sitting down and having a one hour meal every single evening. So it is about convenience and efficiency as well. You know as a busy mom you want to get the kids fed and then keep on going. So it can become very easy to fall into that trap of picking quick highly processed fast things. Because there’s no preparation involved. But what we can do is take a little time outside and at the end of the day on a Sunday. Just do a little bit of prep so that some healthier smarter choices there that you know. My kids are older now. They can just grab stuff and go.

Chris: [00:08:13] And that’s yes, I mean that’s usually like my number one thing when someone has asked me in the past about weight loss. What’s three quick things I can do. Number one is just prepare a little bit for yourself. Like you said on a Sunday or on a particular day of the week. Where you can do some bulk cooking or bulk snack making. Whatever it is. Have your nuts and put some stuff together in the container that are just ready to go. Because ultimately you’re healthy fats become a great replacement for some of these go to quick carbs fixes. If you’re having your almonds or your cashews or some of these other things. That fall into that category seeds and things like that. That’ll satisfy your hunger even better. And still provide energy and stuff long term. So there is one question here you have about like your daily intake and nutritional intake. What kind of advice there can you give?

Tonya: [00:09:25] Well my advice would be I mean it’s different for everybody. There isn’t a one-stop shop that fits everybody. Not one size fits all. So you have to take into account. What is your day look like? Are you largely got a sedentary jobs. Are you a very active person and you know all that has to be considered. So really you need to consume. I like to track my food. I go out and have been doing that when I was competing and it was very important. I just found a good habit to get into just to be able to monitor and see you know what I was putting it in and how much. Definitely when I was in those competing days I was able to consume more. Higher volume of carbs because I was burning it off. Now once I get out of that density obviously I backed off of that. I still eat carbs but I’m not eating you know hundreds of grams of them a day. Because it’s just, it’ll sit there. So as far as what’s recommended. It is going to depend on the person. It’s gonna depend on their lifestyle. Their activity level. And obviously some choices are going to feel better with others. If we combine you know a food or a meal that has a really great balance of carbs, proteins and fats. That person’s going to get fit. You know a healthy option. They’re going to be able to sustain like through, you know that’s satiety. It’s going to be longer throughout the days. That need to snack and grab something fast that isn’t there. Because the minute you start to get hungry, you’re body is going to want to get something quick. It knows it needs food. Right?

Chris: [00:10:59] The loading of carbs throughout the day. Are you the type of person that would say to the average person. Go a little bit more carbs heavy maybe earlier in the day. And maybe around activity before certainly after. Immediately after activity or replenish and then kind of dial back carbohydrates or take later on the day.

Tonya: [00:11:26] In the evening which can be tricky because of a lot of us in the evenings that days over. And we’re sitting in maybe taking some time out. Reading the kids stories. Watch TV and we start to snack. So what are the quick snack choices right?

Chris: [00:11:40] But if the snacks are decent. Even if they have carbs. You know when I say decent I guess I mean good for you stuff. Like maybe it’s an apple with like peanut butter. Right. That’s okay. It has fats. Because I think people run from carbs prior to going to bed. Like, oh I really shouldn’t do this right now. But, I’ve also talked with people who compete. Who are really into their physique. And they’re like you know carbs are okay prior to bed as long as they are good ones because they do help you. Help your body relax. They do help those hormones kick in while you’re digesting. I’m not saying go out and eat like it’s Thanksgiving. But how tired and lethargic kind of everybody gets after a big meal. To some extent you can go for that a little bit late in the day. If you’re hungry don’t go to bed starving. And you know because I would definitely say do not do that. Put some nutrition in your body just you know. It shouldn’t be a donuts.

Tonya: [00:12:49] Yes exactly. We’re talking a difference of like you know a bowl of a bag of chips versus you said like you know a piece of fruit with some peanut butter. Even you know some peanut butter on a whole grain multigrain then sliced bread. There’s a huge difference in the value of nutrition that’s being consumed. Yes at the end of the day but again the value of what you are consuming makes a huge difference as to how that’s going to be burned or if it’s just going to sit and get stored as body fat.

Chris: [00:13:14] Right. Yeah. Because our bodies don’t necessary always know. You know it’s really kind of like, what’s your caloric intake for the day. Really that is a good way to look at it right. And if you know how I’ve eaten a lot today. Well then maybe try to maybe have a glass of water or something and try to avoid too much overeating. Over the course of the day. But don’t go to bed. If you’ve been really good all day long. You know like I really you know I’m on a diet. I really try not to. I don’t want to gain weight. I’m trying to lose weight but I’m hungry. Well allow yourself something to eat. You know if you’re only at twelve hundred calories for the day. Nine o’clock at night. Have another two to three hundred calories. It’s okay.

Tonya: [00:14:00] Right. Because you know as long as we continue to eat. Cause eating keeps our metabolism going. It gives as fuel. It’s kind of primes that pump to that machine to keep running. So going to bed or previous to that being starving, hungry. You’ll have something. It’s not going to do anything for you. And you’re skinny grumpy you’re going to bed not feeling good.

Chris: [00:14:20] We’re like having a regular meal plan. Really helps most people as hard as it can be. But if you start to regulate when you’re body’s getting food. You stabilize things. You function better. Your energy levels more consistent.

Tonya: [00:14:39] Less of this.

Chris: [00:14:39] Less of the highs and the lows.

Tonya: [00:14:44] Once you can get into a routine just like habitually because we’re creatures of habit. So the hardest thing about starting something new or changing things up is just initiating that and keeping it going but most of us know what a day looks like. We’ve been in a career or job for a long time we have an idea of what our day is like extracurricular activities, family obligations, we have a pretty good idea. It can change. Absolutely. But looking at that looking at a week, it isn’t really difficult. This is what I always do with clients I would have them like give me one week. What is your schedule like? And then we can look at it and point out “OK here here one or two pockets of time that you can actually do some prep. Not a huge big prep, some prep so that on that Friday afternoon when you’re running between soccer and baseball and the PTA, you’re not going to the drive-through to try and keep everybody happy and fed from losing their mind. Instead you’ve got better choices on hand that you can take and go with you. That is a much better option. So its about getting into that habit. Right.

Chris: [00:15:48] And what’s nice is there have been a lot healthier food options that have opened up in recent years to compete with some of these other fast food type places. And that’s been really nice. Places that essentially, you can walk in and walk out of there with a really healthy meal, seven to ten dollar meal in you know five, six, seven minutes a heck of a lot different than a fast food restaurant.

Tonya: [00:16:14] That’s right.

Chris: [00:16:15] And you know this, even some of the fast food places are starting to come out with healthier choices too. Yeah. Yeah, a little bit lower carbohydrate and less of the unhealthy fry option which becomes kind of the go-to, when you are talking about fats. Those are the bad fats.

Tonya: [00:16:40] They taste good. You cannot argue that.

Chris: [00:16:43] It is hard not to mention fat sometimes because that’s that’s kind of the other side of where your people are. People are trying to lose weight. They don’t immediately start thinking about protein intake.

Tonya: [00:16:58] No.

Chris: [00:17:01] They think about carbohydrates and fats in their diet. But fats, for the most part, you need them. And they are not the enemy. And there are so many healthy fats out there. The more healthy fat you eat the easier it is to lose fat. So it’s worth touching on that I think. If somebody is really cutting. Somebody’s really cutting carbohydrate intake but they’re not seeing that reflected in the scale or in the mirror and they can be frustrated by that. What could be going on there?

Tonya: [00:17:32] Well a couple of things. My first question would be are you moving? Are you moving your body? Are you doing something? You can’t deny. You can have a great diet but if you’re carrying an extra weight and you want to lose it you’re not doing it. You’re not moving your body. Well, that would be my first thing. Are you moving? Lets keep you moving.

Chris: [00:17:51] Everyday?

Tonya: [00:17:52] And every day and it doesn’t have to be big. You don’t have to start doing triathlons or be just do something half an hour half an hour every day.

Chris: [00:18:01] Something to get your heart rate up. Just gets everything worked out.

Tonya: [00:18:11] Get everything moving. So that would be my first.

Chris: [00:18:07] OK.

Tonya: [00:18:08] The other question or point that I would look at especially if its a client. I would be looking at. Well you know I was being on track. Write them down. Show me what you’ve been eating because if the cutting of the carbs is so extreme. I would be inclined to say I think we need to add some. I think your body needs some food. I think you just you stalled. You hit a plateau. You need to change things up.

Chris: [00:18:31] Your body is going into survival mode.

Tonya: [00:18:34] Yes. So we need to actually give you some more food and give you some carbs. Get you moving. Take a look at how extreme that cuts and what are you not eating what do we need to include to get the metabolism right again.

Chris: [00:18:47] Right. Yeah. People sometimes just don’t see, it is really hard to do the self-evaluation.

Tonya: [00:18:54] Yeah.

Chris: [00:18:55] Sometimes. And it’s. But if you’re tracking it and you’re not seeing the issue, someone else looks at it especially an expert and you go okay I see patterns here. I see where you’re coming up short, they can make those changes for you. What carbs if you were to list. What carbs won’t make someone fat like you know I mean I want to ask you for a top 10 list? What comes to mind.

Tonya: [00:19:26] Well again it’s the simple carbs versus complex. Sweet potato is a complex carb. It has a slow release of sugar. You don’t get the spikes okay. If you eat donuts you going to get that burst of energy that spike and then you get, drunk. Right.

Chris: [00:19:48] It’s probably worth mentioning like high glycemic versus low glycemic.

Tonya: [00:21:04] Right.

Chris: [00:21:47] Define that for people. Maybe they’ve heard that before and they don’t really know what that means.

Tonya: [00:20:00] Well if something’s got a low glycemic index. It’s again it’s one of your slow release. It’s going to have a little more, I like to use the term sustainability is going to carry you through a period of time without spiking your sugar and then that drastic drop. Where you feel like just you go from having all the energy in the world to having none. The candy bar, the white bread. The white stuff. The white processed stuff. Whereas low glycemic things like your complex. Versus the other side where it’s quick, it’s short, it’s there’s no real value in terms of energy supply. Or you know. Now, have we eaten doughnut? Yes. Have we eaten pizza, yes of course. But I think what happens is we hear something like you know cutting carbs or reducing carbs is great for health. It’s great for weight loss. And everybody jumps on board. Everybody jump onboard because their intentions are good. They wanted something good for themselves. They want to lose the weight, get into shape. I think the intention is great but without the information or the education and the knowledge it’s easy to get lost in all that. Because there’s so much information out there and it can get very complicated but it actually isn’t all that complicated.

Chris: [00:21:22] They create these impossible goals.

Tonya: [00:21:26] Yes.

Chris: [00:21:26] You know. You have to have clear goals which is great you know. If you are going to get somewhere like most people. We’re talking about carbs. We’re talking about probably weight loss or diet. So goal setting is this is obviously a huge part of that but sometimes it’s to an extreme where they won’t allow themselves anything. No cheats or you know one meal a week or something. It’s just it’s a bit much. So I think, it has to be realistic. It’s like if you won’t have a slice of pizza or maybe even two if it’s not that huge one with a salad. That’s OK. That make that like your Tuesday night thing. Whatever and if you want to have like a carbs heavy breakfast on Sunday, then do it. You just kind of make it up in other in other ways. You make it up on how you’re eating the rest of the day. And don’t I think sometimes too, people go nuts with it just may have a cheat day really just you know 5000 calories. Yes. So I would avoid try to avoid that but mixing it in here and there if 80 percent of the time or 85 percent you’re eating well consistently well with your carbs. Then don’t be afraid of some of these you know these are. You want mashed potatoes or something then have some mashed potatoes and then have good portion control.

Tonya: [00:22:59] Exactly yeah exactly. I think it’s like you said, it’s easy to get lost in all of the information that’s out there but it just comes down to basic reality. Like what is it you are wanting to achieve? Are you struggling with weight loss? Are you an athlete. Because that’s a whole different thing. That’s much more structured, much more disciplined, and different mindset altogether. But for most people, if they are struggling you know 10 to 15 pounds and they’re wondering why it’s not we don’t need to necessarily cut everything out. A lot of times people can be very hard on themselves. I just “You know, oh I know it’s been five years I can’t lose this ten pounds. I joined the gym. I’ve done this. I’ve done that. I’ve cut carbs. I’ve increase just you they’ve done a lot of what are good things. But it’s kinda like jumping from here to here to here as opposed to OK stop take a breath. What does your day look like? What are you wanting to achieve? OK a lot of times its very small tweaks. Yeah because you don’t have to throw a baby on bath water. Right. It’s small simple tweaks that that person can sustain and manage. And feel really good.

Chris: [00:24:07] That’s just it to sustain and manage. And for consistency, because people throw in the towel. I mean let’s say somebody gain you know. They have 25 pounds they want to lose. I think a lot of people can identify that right now but they give themselves two weeks to serve strict parameters that are too strict. Yeah, and they’re looking for measurable and they’re not seeing it right and they start throwing in the towel.

Tonya: [00:24:37] There goes all the motivation.

Chris: [00:24:38] Right. I’ll try the next thing. First of all you went way too extreme from here to there. You know and you only gave yourself limited time. It took you years to gain this weight. Then you are giving yourself two weeks to start to see real progress. So make some small changes. Do some replacements stuff. Replace a bad carbs with a good carbs. Whether it be your snack or a certain go-to meal. And then the next week, make one more small change. And then all of a sudden a month down the road you have like four changes that you’ve made. You’re drinking more water. You’re moving more, right. Yeah. And then you’ve replaced two foods that you know we’re probably not that good for you with a healthier snack or a meal or regular. All of a sudden it’s like oh three pounds came off. Yes. That’s called a healthy weight loss in a month.

Tonya: [00:25:36] Usually its the weight loss that stays off.

Chris: [00:25:37] Yes. It’s not biggest loser weight loss when it loses 10 pounds last week. You’re not supposed to lose 10 pounds in a week. It’s a show.

Tonya: [00:38:13] You can do that. I guarantee you it’s not going to stay off that long. It’s not a sustainable way. So it’s a reality check. And people, be kind. I always tell my clients, not to be so hard on themselves. You can’t take your world and go like this and think you like. You cannot come home and go to the pantry and fridge and throw it all out or replace it with nothing but whole organic raw. No. Leave that chocolate bar that’s in there. I always ask a client “Okay where once one or two glaringly obvious things that they’re just looking at this you and I both can go this and this right here is probably a hindrance and probably what’s calling me and say OK lets pick one. Let’s do that for seven days. I want you to do that for seven days. [INAUDIBLE] All those little steps that add up to the huge improvements analyzed. This is a transition right. To just a better way of living better choices a higher quality of life healthier living. So it doesn’t happen overnight and it doesn’t happen by throwing up all the bad and putting it all the good because it’s not about bad or good necessarily. It’s about those few tweaks and being consistent and just sticking with it and let the changes happen because they will to keep up.

Chris: [00:27:10] You’ve got to think big picture three months, six months, one year.

Tonya: [00:27:13] Oh Yeah.

Chris: [00:27:14] When you’re really trying to do. If you’re looking to lose 20 or 25 pounds yeah expect that to be several months.

Tonya: [00:27:23] Exactly.

Chris: [00:27:24] That is not happening in a 30 day period. Unless when you’re on some kind of game show and you’re looking for the million dollar prize. And you have eight hours a day to exercise. People are so yeah I mean that’s it I’ll save my soapbox speech for another time. But it’s people are so lured into just a false approach or false goals based on some of this stuff that they see and they read this just so it’s so out there and it’s you know it’s all for good reason I guess it’s a motivator for people to see someone have dramatic weight loss.

Tonya: [00:28:07] It’s more for entertainment than reality. Let’s talk education versus entertainment. You know. I will give credit. They touch on things as far as you know, healthy eating. What’s better to eat than this. Absolutely but the reality of how you actually lose. Some of these people are losing massively. They are morbidly obese. We are not talking about you know that extra 10-15 pounds.

Chris: [00:28:35] You are morbidly obese if you have 100 or 200 pounds. Well yeah, ten pounds going to come off a lot faster, than the man or woman looking to just trim down a little bit.

Tonya: [00:28:46] Exactly.

Chris: [00:28:46] Where is five pounds is a huge deal for them. So you’ve already touched on bread sources a little bit. You know there are healthier options there. You mentioned like sprouted bread. Stuff that’s got lots of nuts and seeds and real texture. A little more grainy more color too. What are your thoughts when it comes to like pasta? Because of a lot of pasta eaters in the world.

Tonya: [00:29:15] Yeah a lot of pasta eaters and it definitely gets a bad rap. And if you I mean I can’t tell you how many. Probably 90 percent of the moms that I would get this class. They did not have the time or the money to be making different meals. Come mealtime. You can take the pickiest kid out there and they will eat pasta. Whether its got butter on it. They will eat the noodle. I have to hand it to like the genius that are helping out there in the food industry of the world and what’s available for option. But we got wholegrain pasta option. You know spinach. You can walk in the pasta aisle now and it’s not all that kind of pale-yellow-white. There’s the darker brown. There is the greens and the red. It got vegetables in them.

Chris: [00:30:02] So we are fooling people now. Because it still tastes good.

Tonya: [00:30:09] You can still have your pasta. You don’t need to consume six or seven bowls of that. Have some other things on the table. A really great green salad. I mean again there’s nothing wrong with fats. If you like a creamy pasta sauce. Ok fine. Just you don’t need 14 gallons on your pasta. Or if you know you like the tomato. Let’s go something tomato base. So again we don’t have to cut that stuff out. We just have to make it a better choice than the one we had maybe.

Chris: [00:30:40] Just improve it.

Tonya: [00:30:42] Improve it. Make it healthy and give it some more nutritional value.

Chris: [00:30:45] Yeah. Right. Pair it with something else that’s healthy. Add color. Color is usually more healthy.

Tonya: [00:30:56] Yeah. Colors on the plate are really good indication that you’re on the right track. You got to chew a lot. I had a roommate and she said I want to start healthy and good and I am like, “Sweetie you’re German”. You grew up, you probably had beer and bread. I thought there was a higher carbs diet. She grew up with that kind of you know a very high carbs diet. And she did love her pasta and I was like, you’re fooling yourself if you think you’re gonna be able to cut. Because you might do it for ten days and then I guarantee you gonna go by all guard in pull in. And then you’re gonna eat amount of pasta. So she had described it once when I went over made her supper. It was like a wholegrain pasta. And she’s like you know, I don’t know she described it as scratchy. But I was like well that’s fiber. That’s what you want. Get used to it.

Chris: [00:31:57] If it requires an extra 10 chews that’s probably for a good reason. Is there a list maybe like some negative impact from someone eating too few carbs maybe over a period of time. What can they expect?

Tonya: [00:32:17] Again I’m going to paint with a broad brush. But a lot of what I heard and a lot of my experiences in coaching clients is that those cravings getting very intense. And that’s to me is a really key indication that you are too low on carbs. Because you are getting those cravings. It’s an uncontrollable binge. Like you start and can’t stop. We need to look at increasing some carbs. Getting you some filling carbs and fats because you’re too low. So that get too few. Lots of cravings, bingeing and when you’re body gets to a point. This is called starving for dramatic effect. It’s going to direct you to the quickest source possible. It’s not going directly to the kitchens to cook. No! Oh potato chips right there, boom! Right? Because its need that. You also when you cut out carbs, you’re cutting a lot of fiber right? From the good carbs. And people that are actually serious about fat loss. You need to have fiber. If you’re not getting fiber it’s going to impede .

Chris: [00:33:20] We’re talking about poop everybody. Fiber equals going to the bathroom.

Tonya: [00:33:29] You got to move stuff through. If it doesn’t move it stay. And that’s not what we want. And if we don’t have that fiber it is actually going to hinder your fat loss. And a lot of people actually will describe it feeling like having the flu. Just headachy, foggy. Can’t think clearly. Just feeling.

Chris: [00:33:51] I know I probably had it before without realizing it because there’s been moments where I’m trying to be extra good. And probably I’m carbs deficient. But for the most part you know carbs are definitely my friend. Most everybody in the health work or fitness industry that talk with me who knows a thing or two about food. They eat a fair amount of carbohydrates. Mostly because of their activity probably. But then they see the value in the carbs that they are eating. They understand like you said. The sweet potatoes that certain rices, certain pastas. They do not hold back from eating those foods. They just moderate it. They are very consistent with it and they avoid the overly processed just crappy carbs. Just the ones like you said you know that spike those level and leave you like high and low in the matter of an hour. For those listening and you touch on obviously with like you know your hunger and being satisfied when you eat. We have an amazing free report called Six Ways to tame your appetite and cravings. And I want every single listener to grab one of those free reports. You can grab one at Be sure to grab that free report. You can download it instantly. And there’s lots of terrific information there that ties in perfectly with some of our discussion today. I would like to thank everyone that’s been listening because this has been a lot of fun and hope it was eye-opening for you on some level. I know I picked up a few new things talking with Tonya. And it’s been a real pleasure having you. I hope we can do it again some time because it’s not just nutrition that you know a lot about there’s other things there that you’re an expert. So thank you to all these terrific listeners for joining us on these strong by design podcast show. This is Coach Chris Wilson. We’ll look forward to giving you another show in the very near future. Thank you for listening and stay Strong by Design.

Train Like an Athlete for the Perfect Body with Erin Stern

May 25, 2018 by  
Filed under Podcast

On this episode of Strong By Design, Coach Chris sits down with two time Ms. Figure Olympia, fitness coach and author, Erin Stern. They go into depth on why training like an athlete is better for the physique. Also, stay tuned to hear about the free 5-minute glute workout.  

Want the 5-Minute Glute Workout for Free? Go here or text “Glutes” to 345345

“Look at different athletes, if you want to look that way, then you need to train like them.” 

-Erin Stern

Strong By Design Podcast

Time Stamps:  

2:05 Erin Stern’s athletic background 

4:17 Why is training like an athlete better for physique  

8:37 Erin’s suggestions for a 90 day transformation 

12:30  Glutes workouts  

15:52 Top 3 struggles beginning deal with 

17:14 The 6 foundational exercises beginners should master 

18:30 Encouragement for beginners  

19:36 IFBB Elite Pro Competition in South Africa 


Connect with Erin Stern 

Connect with Critical Bench: 


Chris: Hey there welcome. This is Coach Chris. Here at the Critical bench compound. And thank you for joining us with the Strong by Design Podcast. I’m sitting here today with two-time Miss Figure Olympia winner Erin Stern. As we’ve worked with Erin in the past. It’s a pleasure to have her here again. Nice to see you.  


Erin: [00:01:10] Thanks for having me.  


Chris: [00:01:11] So Erin is a what we are going to talk about is train like an athlete. That’s why we have her here. And that’s the first thing that kind of came to my mind when I thought about what am I going to talk about with Erin. Who is you know known for her figure competition. But what makes her, her background’s in track and field. She was a really high level track and field athlete. And you were like this close to Olympic trials back in when?  


Erin: [00:01:44] In 08. I was 3 centimeters away from the Olympic track.  


Chris: [00:01:47] So I mean that’s you were doing nothing like figure based back then. Right. You were just an athlete training like an athlete. And I how I could probably use some of this and do a couple of years after that is when you got into figure competition or?  


Erin: [00:02:03] Well actually it was the summer of 08. I miss the Olympic qualifying standard by three centimeters and I was devastated and I was like I don’t have a purpose anymore in life. And someone suggested figure competitions in September of 08. It was my first amateur contest probably in November and won the Olympia a year and a half later.  


Chris: [00:02:25] Wow. Which is like probably unheard of. Somebody’s been working for years and years and years not getting there and you just pop up on the screen of the circuit. Like whoa.  


Erin: [00:02:36] But I have been working for years and years. I was lifting probably for 10 years before I even got on the stage just not for that specific purpose.  


Chris: [00:02:44] But I had that instant stage presence and ability to like because it’s a little bit different obviously. Right. It’s like showing your body instead of like performing. Yeah like by showing your athleticism and you know.  


Erin: I t’s like a beauty pageant for muscle.  


Chris: [00:03:00] Right exactly.  


Erin: [00:03:01] It required a little bit of work. In my first show I just kind of flip my hair upside-down and spraying with hairspray and went out on stage. And I had a friend of the family, he was like “Honey you look like a linebacker.” He was like let’s fix you. So I work a lot with posing in the presentation. Like being a girly girl is a lot of being on stage.  


Chris: [00:03:22] Wow. Yeah totally. But you obviously, you got in right there quite nicely. You know you get used to it and took off. So kind of like the first official question I guess then. Have to be give some of the backstory. Why is training like an athlete in your opinion? Because I know it’s this is how I feel. Why is it the best approach for size and strength gains? Like you go into instead of like kind of a traditional bodybuilding and you know that there are a lot of people out there doing isolation, isolation. But why it is the way you train like pretty much better for physique?  


Erin: [00:04:02] Well I have to say that I train both ways. I train like an athlete and I train like a body builder. That being said I feel like whenever you train isolation so if you look at back day or a chest day. Separately the muscles might look good but they might not flow together aesthetically. Because they’re not really working together. And I think that when training like an athlete you’re using your entire body. You’re using power, you’re using speed and strength. And you’re recruiting a lot more fast twitch muscles. And fast twitch muscles are rounder and fuller and I believe a lot more beautiful on stage. Looking like an athlete is so important. So you have to train a little bit like a bodybuilder in that you do have to specialize. Because athletes don’t normally have large shoulders and they don’t really have the upper lats. And the things that are necessary for stage but you have to tie everything together with that speed and power work.  


Chris: [00:05:00] Right. With all that compound movement and stuff that you are doing. And that’s I think that’s what holds people back a lot. They don’t incorporate any of some of that more dynamic stuff that shows your athleticism. It just some of the really cool abounding stuff that you do or just some of the way your body moves it’s just looks more fluid and more graceful I guess they’re just kind of like well you know bodybuilding movements are key.  


Erin: [00:05:34] And if you’re working a lot with machines and you’re working a lot with time under tension. The muscles do get bound up and so you start moving a little bit more robotic because you’ve trained your body to move that way. But I do think a lot of people are scared to get into the athletic movements because let’s face it it’s intimidating. Yeah I couldn’t go right out and bound when I first started. So it’s a matter of just scaling things back and starting out at like 60 percent. And then move up to 80 percent of your max. And it’s not so much I guess it’s not so much performing like a high level athlete as it is going through those motions where they’re safe to where it’s close to your max effort and gauging it based on what you can do. And that’s what I would recommend for people to get into that.  


Chris: [00:06:21] Yeah that’s great. We all know it takes a lot of time for it you know for you like you said it wasn’t like you just jumped on stage and you were like winning stuff. You had like 10 years of hardcore training behind you and stuff. It just was it was for performing on the track and the field not on the stage but.  


Erin: [00:06:52] Well that’s the other thing too is that whenever I talk to people about training they’re like, well I want to look like you on stage. What’s your current routine like? Oh well I do an hour and a half of cardio, and I do circuit training. And I was like look if you watch television or you have magazine on the internet you look at specific sports. Look at basketball players and how their shoulders look. Look at track athletes, look at their posterior chain. If you want to look that way then you have to start training that way. Which means the steady state cardio is going to have you like a marathon runner. Which is skinny fat. And cortisol levels stress hormones rise and so that creates a watery look that a lot of competitors get on stage. Because they think more is better.  


Chris: [00:07:39] We’re still learning. Right. We’re all still learning you know. How much in your experience or no let me back up? How many hours per week would you say are necessary to transform your body? If someone was if someone came to you I’m sure you’d get questions like this all the time in 90 days like they go from like here to here. What would be like a hypothetical like a week of training for that person taking into consideration like cardio and strength training.  


Erin: [00:08:16] See that’s the thing. Let’s say five to seven hours’ period in a week. And that is. But you’re crushing it. So you might have four days a week were you are lifting. You do your push-pull exercises so you might have like chest and back day. Opposing muscle groups. You might have a push pull for like arms and shoulders. And then you have two leg days and then you have two hiit days. That’s it.  


Chris: [00:08:42] Because I think a lot of people they immediately think it’s like a to look a certain way. It’s two to three hours like daily and you know a thousand crunches. They make it sound like works. Wow! That sounds like a miserable experience.  


Erin: [00:08:59] For many people it is. And that’s the hard thing is that they get to stage. Still look okay and they might look pretty good on stage. Specially the first time around. But then you have this terrible rebound. Because you primed your body to either gain fat or gain muscle. And most people quit the gym afterwards. Because let’s face it, if you’re spending three or four hours a day in the gym you want to quit too.  


Chris: [00:09:23] Yeah. I can’t let you know in life I think we find that the side of experience as I’ve gotten older like less is more with a lot of things and a simpler approach. Which is in terms of how I feel like a simpler approach is just like doing moving like we did when we were younger. Just doing it you know like kids on the playground stuff. They doing all this great dynamic movement. And then we get seems to all lose it and we stop playing physically. And we just given it is like real like. I don’t know I feel like when I watch you train and the way you incorporate exercise and your training. That you have there’s a lot of play almost and it’s enjoyable. It’s fun and it’s not about busting your butt. You know like 10 hours a week doing cardio. Have like oh I burn a thousand calories on the art trainer.  


Erin: [00:10:19] Yeah I’ve been there. I’ve tried that route. And it didn’t work for me. I had the pictures to prove it.  


Chris: [00:10:25] Yeah. In my experience a lot of people I’ve talked with it’s never the only time that ever maybe done extra cardio. Before like right before a show. Just like maybe a few weeks out.  


Erin: [00:10:38] Absolutely.  


Chris: [00:10:39] Otherwise their barely doing like a lot of steady state cardio.  


Erin: [00:10:42] And you’re using that cardio as another tool. In order to get lean and that’s the goal. If you’re trying to lean down to keep your calories high. And to burn as many calories as possible in the gym to do your circuits. Your supersets that type of thing. Really keep an eye on recovery between sets. So that’s why I like the push-pull or the entire muscle training. Because while you’re training your back, your chest gets a break. While your training your chest, your back gets a break. But your heart rate is still going. And then by keeping recovery to like 45 seconds to get in between sets. You’re essentially getting the benefits of cardio and you’re getting the benefits of weight training. So it’s like you know you’re combining everything. And I think a lot of people don’t do it because it’s brutal. Like mentally and physically.  


Chris: [00:11:33] Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah you need to make those that. The intensity of the work out and the intensity is like how close together. How much work are you getting done in a short period of time. So those rest periods become really instrumental and like your success. How many hours a week you’re putting into your exercise. All right so moving on. I want to mention the glutes. Because earlier, before we started we talked about glutes earlier when we’re making videos. And we told you we have a program called Unlock your Glutes. It’s become really successful. And glutes just have become just such a popular topic in the last I don’t know. I have been around fitness for a long time. It just seems like the last year or two. Glute bridges and hip thrust and all this stuff. Anything that we make or talk about it has to do with glutes, instantly gets a lot more reaction or more interaction. Why do you think that is? I mean do you notice it at all on your end. No pun intended. Like social media platforms or anything like that. Why does the butt become so popular?  


Erin: [00:12:52] I think it’s been popular for years outside of the United States. I remember traveling to the Dominican and seeing girls wearing like the singlets. Like the one-piece. And they were just doing cable exercises and leg lifts and that’s all they were training. And I remember thinking Oh this is ridiculous and now a few years later every gym is full of people doing like leg lifts. And you know the hip thrust of this type of thing. I think it’s just. I think it’s kind of great because everyone loves nice round glutes. But I think too for stage for me I want to keep them in proportion. So you can’t be like Kim Kardashian walking on stage. Like “Oh butt.”.  


Chris: [00:13:35] Right. Yeah there’s there’s an element I guess like where people like how much development are they going for. But I think everyone can agree. You said men and women alike like a flat butt does not like the goal for anybody.  


Erin: [00:13:54] No [inaudible] are only good for breakfast.  


Chris: [00:13:56] That’s right. So that’s what we find it’s like seems like a 50/50 interest there. I mean it seems like for every guy that’s interested or if there’s a girl interested it’s like split right down the middle. So we actually if anyone listening interested in finding out more about Unlocking your Glutes. Go to and you will be blown away. And even better than that we have a free five-minute glute workout that you can grab for free. And that’s the And it’s a free five-minute glute workout that you can grab real quick and that will actually lead to the Unlock your Glutes program talking about glutes. And it’s amazing. We’ve made some of the best videos that we have are in the last year on our YouTube channel are talking about glutes. You know just that the many different ways to train them and how important they are in overall health and everything else. So let’s talk to a beginner person because you’re all about helping people and that’s what your mission is like getting people on the right path like fitness and health. Now what would you say are the top three obstacles or struggles that seem most common and maybe like what would be your suggestions for overcoming those.  


Erin: [00:15:31] I think as far as a beginner goes, setting objective goals is very important. A lot of people go to the gym and they think “Well I want to lose weight.” That’s a moving target and it’s a goal that’s based on self-judgment. So it’s not something tangible. It’s not something you can take out the measuring tape and measure. So create clear tangible goals. The second obstacle I would say is gymtimidation. So, the girls or the guys who go in and maybe just do cardio or they stick to the machines because they’re afraid of the free weights. And that is a lot of that is mindset. So tweak your brain a little bit. Think about going from exercising to training if you’re training for something then you remove a lot of these obstacles and it becomes a lot easier to go into the gym because you have a purpose. And then I think the third obstacle would be just diving into deep and finding a program that is too complex to start. Start with the 6 basic lifts, your fundamentalists because that will teach you proper form. And from those 6 foundation lists you can change your grips, change your stance, change rate distribution, change the angle, and you have thousands of variations. So that’s your squat, deadlift, your row, your military press, your bench press and your pull. That’s it. Just mastered those.  


Chris: [00:17:03] Just master those. I know. And like we said no it’s so simple or easy is where you should you should put all your effort or all your eggs in that basket of those six movements and then just do the variations. Because it is like thousands of extra. You can use a dumbbell. You can use a kettle bells. I mean there are machines. It never ends. So yeah I love that. And what’s great about those movements is there are multi joint movements.  


Erin: [00:17:38] Yes. You burn more calories. Yes, it’s more effective of a workout. Yeah. And you can see them anywhere. I hear people say “Oh I don’t have a gym membership. I can’t get in shape.” Well [inaudible] and get a couple of dumbbells, resistance bands, and like a yoga mat. Yeah. Go outside.  


Chris: [00:17:57] That’s it and be consistent. Yeah. And stop comparing yourself to every other person because.  


Erin: [00:18:06] I always say too; it is tough as a beginner because you’re aware of everything you do. So you’ve got your bloopers and someone on social media is posting their highlight reel. So you are comparing your bloopers to their highlight reel and a lot of social media is smoke and mirrors so a lot of people are using Photoshop. They’re taking pictures of crazy angles and they’re weaving this story that is just a fairy tale. And I know even get me like I feel like I shouldn’t be intimidated by much. But if I spend enough time on social media I certainly start to feel down on myself. So I can imagine just starting out looking at these perfectly sculpted physiques. No one is perfect. And you have to realize that you just get out there and you take one step at a time. And they say the master of anything was once a beginner. You just have to start and keep going.  


Chris: [00:18:58] Yeah. That’s awesome advice. You have something coming up next month which you’re pretty excited about. You are going to Africa, South Africa.  


Erin: [00:19:06] Yes.  


Chris: [00:19:07] And it’s IPB Pro Elite  


Erin: [00:19:10] Elite Pro.  


Chris: [00:19:10] I know I am going to mix that up. Which sounds really interesting and I’m looking forward to finding out more about it. As you said it’s like kind of brand new.  


Erin: [00:19:19] It is, it’s a few months old. Yeah and it’s a worldwide federation. They have different division. So they have bikini but they have a wellness division which is sort of like a mix between bikini and figure. And the girls are not as lean, they’re healthy. So they have this beautiful glowing look on stage. There is body fitness which is how figure kind of used to look a few years ago. So everything, every division has a more athletic look.  


Chris: [00:19:48] That’s awesome.  


Erin: [00:19:49] Its exciting.  


Chris: [00:19:49] Why do you think that that typical bodybuilder from you know just go back what 10 year I guess for men and women that’s becoming big time and popular, right. I mean it’s people are kind of going back to more of aesthetically pleasing physique you know for both men and women like the class of classic physique for the guys and stuff. Like the big freaky look has lost a lot of buzz you know. I mean why we why do we just get do we just get to the point where it was just getting like just got ungodly huge. Everyone was just like it’s too much too much.  


Erin: [00:20:32] Maybe and I think maybe people were have become desensitized to it because when the mask monsters came out it was like “Wow there was a 300 pound man with a 3 percent body fat.”  


Chris: [00:20:42] Right.  


Erin: [00:20:42] How is that possible?  


Chris: [00:20:43] Right.  


Erin: [00:20:44] But you look at them and they don’t have a waist. The aesthetics have disappeared and even Arnold stood up and spoke against it saying they look like the beer bottles with arms. So it used to be the ideal. And he said something to the effect of “Mr. Olympia should be someone who walks on the beach and the girls want to get to know the guys really look like.”  


Chris: [00:21:07] So and it was losing and becoming so on nitch. Right. So like. Right. Like Arnold is as big as Arnold was you know over six feet tall and competing like 240 pounds. He just you know he was obviously genetically gifted, hardworking, very strong. You know he really had it all going for him but it still had he had a body that people were wanted to see. He was very attractive something to it and then it just evolved into this like bigger is better like craziness. I think people just like really no it’s just gotten scary big like. And I’m glad it’s kind of going back this other way. You know I’m glad for you because you know you get to kind of like this thing that you’re going to do in South Africa is definitely more in line why are you like this.  


Erin: [00:22:04] And the way that I always looked at is that if you go into the gym to lift weights with the goal in mind to shape your physique you’re essentially a bodybuilder. And the last few years Bodybuilding has gotten a bad rap because you think body builder you really think like a frigid barbarously something huge right. Really. We’re all bodybuilders because we’re all trying to improve our physique with weights.  


Chris: [00:22:27] Right.  


Erin: [00:22:28] And the new divisions are amazing because it gives these people a platform. And people like you and me who want to go on stage and they want to showcase their work. But I know for me you know I wouldn’t go back to a figure competition because the girls probably have 20 30 pounds on me and it would look like who [inaudible]. So it’s nice to have different divisions for that.  


Chris: [00:22:57] That’s great. Well I thank you so much for stopping by and giving us some of your time and I’m excited for you on this because it’s been what four years  


Erin: [00:23:06] Four years.  


Chris: [00:23:07] Since you’ve had competition. Right. That will be really exciting like butterflies.  


Erin: [00:23:13] Yeah.  


Chris: [00:23:14] So it’s been a pleasure to have you here. The Strong by Design Podcast. First time having you here in the compound  


[00:23:22] T  


Erin: [00:23:23] Thanks for having me.  


Chris: [00:23:23] Yeah it’s been a real pleasure. So with that, Coach Chris talking with Ms. Erin Stern. The training like an athlete from the perfect body is no better to talk to about than Erin and we thank her for her time and thank you for listening. Thank you for listening and stay strong by design.  



Your Body’s Hidden Hunger Hormone with Ryan Faehnle Part 3

May 24, 2018 by  
Filed under Podcast

This is part 3 of “Your Body’s Hidden Hunger Hormone”. Coach Chris and Ryan Faehnle continue their conversation about fat loss. On this episode, they discuss key concepts and hacks for sustainable fat loss. Also, hear numerous testimonies about Ryan’s Fat Loss Solution Program. Tune in to hear these tips on how to make fat loss sustainable.  

Want the “Why Stretching Won’t Make You Flexible” Report for free? Go here! Or text “Stretch” to 345345

“Learn to embrace a tolerable amount of hunger.” 

-Ryan Faehnle 

Strong By Design Podcast

Time Stamps:  

00:59 Some of Ryan’s transformation stories 

04:15 1 great hack for eating less “junk food” 

05:57 If you can embrace this concept you can pretty much eat what you want 

07:06 The 3 things you need to do get sustainable fat loss 

08:00 Why you need to be consistent over the long haul 

11:30 Ryan explains his fat loss program 

14:20 Ryan’s nutrition guide on the fat loss program 

15:54 Coach Chris’s personal fat loss testimony 

Connect with Ryan Faehnle 

Connect with Critical Bench: 


Chris: [00:00:00] Your body’s hidden hunger hormone that can make fat loss nearly impossible. Coach Chris Wilson interviewed strength coach Ryan Faehnle. You already share some very cool stories from the people that you’ve worked with. Can you share a few of the other transformations that you’ve witnessed maybe just recently with some people that you’re working with.  


Ryan: [00:00:24] Yeah man I’ve had I had quite a few interesting ones. One of them a while back was a he was actually a triple medalist at the Beijing Olympics. He was a swimmer and I knew his coach and his coach contacted me for some help with some offseason training. And we worked him out and gave him a program and he actually shrugged it up pretty nicely for an already elite Olympic athletes triple medalist again in the Olympics. So that was pretty fascinating. Had another guy a football player who was he was a funny one. He weighed 350 pounds. So that’s a lot.  


Chris: [00:01:07] And he has a football player he was a defensive tackle our offensive line right.  


Ryan: [00:01:13] Yes he was a d line. He was a d lineman but the coaches needed him closer to 315 and because he was really explosive. But he could only do about two plays before he had to get a substitution. So they had they had you know they need to improve his work faster. So with him we didn’t I didn’t change any of his foods. Like I didn’t take away any foods that he ate and enjoyed. I just moderated the amounts and worked a little bit on when to include them. So for example he Loves His Country Time Lemonade which as you know is full of sugar, a sugar water, right? And so he would wake up in the morning and in his mind you know he had his background was not in health and education so he just assumed lemonade equals lemons. Lemons is a fruit. This is good for me. So he would he would get up in the morning and smash several of those Country Time Lemonade can even when he was doing nothing like before practice or before training. So he’d be sitting and then eating you know drinking 140 grams of sugar you know. And so we basically has to modulate a little bit and said “Alright keep your lemonade.” But we’re going to have it you know around workout time or around practice time instead of just while you’re sitting around. So that was one change we made. The other change we made was adjusting the amount of so he like pizza too. So we adjusted the amount of pizza he was eating and I had him incorporate some. So basically, before each meal whenever he was going to have quote unquote junk food like pizza or things that you don’t normally associate with being super healthy. I just told them start every meal with two cups of cruciferous veggies so that’s your broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, kale, all that. Because it takes up a lot of space in your stomach and it makes you feel full sooner with less calories. So start with two cups of cruciferous veggies and a protein shake. He would have 50 grams away isolate protein two cups of veggies and then eat pizza. Well what ended up happening was he got full sooner so he didn’t eat as much pizza. So that was my way of getting him to eat less without making him without telling him he couldn’t eat what he wanted. That makes sense.  


Chris: [00:03:32] And still providing all the nutrition any required you know. Yeah he actually being an athlete having to be physical.  


Ryan: [00:03:40] Exactly. So a lot of people do the opposite. They eat their high calorie foods first. Don’t pick up a lot space in their stomachs and then they remain hungry even though they’ve overeat on calories. That’s one of the kind of I hate the term quote unquote life hack. Because there’s a lot of stuff out there that’s kind of cheesy but it’s a great hack for getting in shape. Starting every meal with two cups of veggies and if it’s going to be a particularly junk food-esque meal; two cups of veggies and a protein shake. And that goes a long way in helping you to eat less. The other side of that is you have to listen to when your body’s had enough. You know once you have your veggies and your protein shake and you’re eating whatever other food you are you need to kind of stop when you’re about 80 percent satisfied. So don’t eat to the point where you’re like “Oh I’m so bloated I.” Don’t eat to the point of being full, eat to the point of being satisfied, it does make sense.  


Chris: [00:04:34] Right. Because a little bit of hunger won’t kill you. Yeah right here in 80 percent of the way there you’re like OK if I just have one more big glass of water like I’m fine and ten minutes later you aren’t even thinking about food.  


Ryan: [00:04:50] If there’s one thing, there’s one like put it all into one sentence for the best chance of success at fat loss. I would say it would be learn to embrace a tolerable level of hunger. So not so hungry where you’re like starving is going to eat everything in sight. Mildly hungry. If you can get used to that feeling it’s not an emergency. How many of us panic when we get a little bit hungry. Oh and it’s ridiculous because we live in the western society where we have access to food whenever we need it. We get a little bit hungry like oh my gosh I’m starving because we’re dramatic like that so we’re dramatic too right. Yeah. “I’m starving.” And it’s like you’re not starving you ate two hours ago. So learning just a mild level of hunger. Starting the meal eating and then finishing the meal while you still have a mild level hunger. That’s one of the best things that you can embrace that concept. You don’t need to get too picky about your food selections you can really you know kind of eat what you want. I know it sounds crazy but it’s not an empty promise. You learn to moderate your appetite, you can do it.  


Ryan: [00:06:00] As life goes on and we’re we’re both about the same age. You know married with kids. We really realized something. The wisdom starts to start to be part of your life you know because when you’re 20 you know you just think you know it all and you know you really don’t. And then the older you get you realize that you know you really start to accept the fact that you don’t know a lot of stuff but you’re open to learning and you’re open to things. But simple is what works best in life. The simpler things are the more effective they can be and the more sustainable they can be.  


Ryan: [00:06:45] Yes.  


Chris: [00:06:46] So obviously we’ve talked about not overeating. We’ve talked about muscle activation techniques or you know how to wake the body up. How to wake the muscles up and working with the existing habit. If so if I was to say those are three things for sustainable fat loss. Is it really that easy the people who are going to say is it really that easy. Those are the three things I’m supposed to do and I’m going to actually get a result?  


Ryan: [00:07:18] I tell you what, it kind of really is. But there is one other thing and that’s consistency.  


Chris: [00:07:24] OK.  


Ryan: [00:07:26] You can’t be 100 percent switched on only 50 percent of the time. I’d rather you be I’d rather be 90 percent switched on 100 percent of the time. So again it goes back to what a lot of people accidentally do meaning well but they’re perfect on their diet. No deviation. Monday through Friday afternoon and then they fall off the wagon Friday night Saturday, Sunday. You’re right back on the wagon Monday. Monday through Friday and same repeating thing. And then they come to me and say I’m eating really healthy. I just don’t understand. Like well you are for about half of the week but then the other half a week you are eating like a complete and total *****. So if you can you know if you can be consistent with that eating. So let’s do this let’s make your super perfect healthy days a little less perfect. And make your really really days a little more perfect and even that out a little bit more balancing in the favor of being healthy and then you know what you’re going to be just fine. Usually they are. So you got to do this for the long haul. It takes a lot of patience. And you know honestly it falls right into line with the action of Ghrelin. Do not chase fat fast do not chase fast fat loss. Yes you could lose fat super fast but it will always always always lead to a rebound. I don’t care about your before and after picture. I care about your two years after your after picture. The information that I’m most impressed with I don’t give up your 12 week transformation Great Transformation. Those are all great. When I was 20 I was really impressed by those I wonder how they did it the way they do it. Secret cat’s out the bag. Super super extreme unsustainable diet training drugs done. There you go. That’s how it’s done. Now I care about how how did how did you get an awesome transformation that’s sustainable that you can live your life afterward. So one of the things I tell people is limit yourself to about a half a percent to 1 percent of your body weight per week in fat loss tops. So for 200 pound individual we’re talking one to two pounds of fat per week. A 400 pound individual it would be two to four pounds of fat per week. It sounds slow but that’s the best way to make progress without creating a ghrelin surge. Its going to leave you super hungry after your diet. So you’ve got you’ve got to be patient. Otherwise you’ll be in shape for a small flash of time. And then you’ll be in worse shape if you know them than when you started if you try to do things too fast.  


Chris: [00:09:59] Yeah. Be consistent over the long oh over the long haul. And if it works for everything that works for your finances. If you tell me this it took you know a certain percentage 3 percent 4 percent whatever it is of every dollar you earns every week over a period of years and invested it you’d be everyone would have more money than they knew how to do it. You know when they hit up that they are 60 years old. But we just don’t do it you know. But most people just don’t do it. But it really is that easy. I mean.  


Ryan: [00:10:35] Yes.  


Chris: [00:10:36] There’s not. It’s not a hard thing it’s just a very hard thing to do to follow through it and follow what it is where people fail. So you take all this great information that you shared and talked about obviously you create a program, Fat Loss Activation.  


Ryan: [00:10:55] Yes.  


Chris: [00:10:56] It’s a guide. It’s a way to tame. Tame your hunger, activate your muscles. And spend very little time a day doing doing any exercise and following this kind of 80/20 rule and achieving the body that you want as long as you’re willing to commit the time to it.  


Ryan: [00:11:22] Exactly. You know I was really I was excited about this project for a couple of reasons. So first of all my background is in hardcore training. I was training high level athletes. I like to train that way myself. I primarily probably train like a hybrid between a bodybuilder, powerless and strong man. So that’s how I like to train. But when I found this friends, relatives whenever they asked me for advice they’d look at me like I had three heads when I talk about squats and farmer’s walks. And I realize it’s just not for everyone. A lot of people need something much simpler something that’s more on their level. So this program the all it requires in terms of equipment is a bench and some dumbbells. So you can do this at home program again. We talk about investing your money bench and some adjustable dumbbells. I’ll tell you what that is a mild mild investment in your physique. Truthfully, go on Craigslist or eBay or something. I bet you could get both for maybe 200 bucks tops shipped to your home.  


Chris: [00:12:21] You know that the cost of one grocery bills for the week.  


Ryan: [00:12:25] Yes exactly. Or you. If you’re if you’re really inventive make your own bench. Go get the raw supplies you know get get some stuff make it yourself. I’ve got a buddy that makes all his own gym equipment so you know small investment there. Time investment is minimal. 15 minutes is the longest workout in the thing for the base workout. I have included some cardio accelerator protocols for anyone does want to train more but the base program that is results producing is only 15 minutes a day five days a week. So anyway I’m sorry I don’t care who you are. If you want to find an extra 15 minutes delete Facebook, delete Instagram, delete SnapChat from your phone. I just gave you two extra hours a day. Linkups [Inaudible] I mean it’s just there. Yeah you got it. To make it a priority it’s like. And I prefer to tell people to try to train early in the day if you can. Some people. We all have and we all have different lives different schedules. But what I found is most people that put training off to the end of the day will oftentimes find a reason to not do it. Or maybe maybe it’s not them finding a reason but maybe your life just gets in the way. It’s important to you. Get up. Do it get it out of the way and then you have the rest of your day to let it flow as it may. So yeah I’m really excited about this program. It’s also of all the programs, nutrition plans I’ve ever done or written is probably the most simple in terms of nutrition. Its one that really try. I really try to educate the customer on how to eat intuitively and how to listen to their bodies and learn what you need as opposed to following some spreadsheet of I need to eat three ounces of tuna. I don’t even like tuna and be two ounces of sweet potato. Adding two ounces of sweet potato, blah blah blah. Our way of life yet. Exactly. So it’s none of that. It’s really it’s really in my opinion really common sense nutrition that if you stick with it you’re consistent with it. And you know I’ll tell you what, give yourself. This will sound crazy. Its completely against what everyone else is doing in the market these days everyone wants to sell you on a 12 week transformation. Do this program for a year without without faltering. No slip ups. Just one year. I promise you you are going to see a different person in the mirror a year from now. Because a lot of people get on these 30 day challenges. One week detox 12 week transformation and what happens year after year. They keep having the same body or even worse body. How about the you know the saying “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. The current system the current culture is broke. So let’s fix it. Let’s start thinking in terms of periods of 6 months to a year or year to two years for a good amount of time to see change with reasonable methods rather than overnight rapid rapid change.  


Chris: [00:15:22] Hey I speak from experience because we talked, you know obviously or even discussed this this whole program Fat Loss Activation. Months and months ago. And I implemented a lot of your strategies. I mean diving through all this great literature and all this stuff that you you have written and talked about. And I applied it to my own life and in the last 4 4 5 months I have kept off 15 to 15 to 20 pounds that kept it off. Maintained it. And just feel great. And I can’t say I would still say ideally I would like probably another three to five pounds off me and be able to maintain that. I think you know as we get closer to kind of that goal weight it can be a little bit more challenging  


Ryan: [00:16:17] No doubt.  


Chris: [00:16:18] to nip those last few pounds. But I have I feel great. I’m not keeping myself from eating stuff that I enjoy. I’ll have a protein shake before I have a meal just to help satisfy me there. Sometimes I have a protein shake before I go to you know that late night craving that hit you after dinner. Sometime around 9 o’clock. Or you kids are asleep. And you know I go, “Oh my gosh you know my dinner just didn’t cut it.” Then I have a protein shakes instead of having a sweet or having something sweet. And I’ll tell you it just feels it feels awesome and I’m not. This is not me just shoot shooting shoot off a bunch of nonsense. Its a 100 percent applicable from the front from everything that you discussed in the program. And I have maintained it and I feel great and I don’t see any reason why this is not the way it’s going to be for the rest of time. It’s not something that you can’t maintain. That’s the whole point. That’s why [inaudible] fail because it’s not sustainable you know. And and if we really look at ourselves and say “I’m unhappy with where I am then you need something that is going to make you happy for the long term not now not give you a month of happiness you know.  


Ryan: [00:17:47] Exactly. Well that’s great to hear and I’m glad you’re implementing those principles. And I always find it funny. You know I do eat a lot of healthy food. I eat a lot of high quality proteins, a ton of veggies, fruits and all that but when I’m out in the social setting you know I’ll eat whatever you know whatever I want. And it’s always funny my friends are like, “Wait you’re eating pizza? I thought you couldn’t eat pizza look like that or like a how. How are you doing that? It’s like well. It’s called getting to a point where I’m living a reasonable, sustainable lifestyle that is not overly restrictive. I still train hard but I like to eat too. So it’s it’s my lifestyle. I don’t I don’t ever. The bottom line is if you’re ever looking at your calendar going all when this is diet is going to end? You’ve failed. It shouldn’t be like that. If you’re looking for the end date you already kind of lost the battle because that means you’re battling against your willpower. The way I eat now I could do this the rest of my life. 100 Percent. No problems and be happy.  


Chris: [00:18:50] Yeah. That yoyo effect is just so so bad for you and your health to be about to be up to be down. It’s really not good and your body does not like that. It likes to maintain that particular weight. And it is so easy to do with this program well. I, thank you so much for everything. And just having this conversation today just confirms everything that I’m doing and makes you know. And I’m a strength coach and I’m a I’m a certified sports nutritionist. And yet I still picked up so much information from this. And implemented it and saw results. So I mean this can work for anybody. I promise.  


Ryan: [00:19:34] Thank you Chris I really appreciate you having me on today. I enjoyed talking with you.  


Chris: [00:19:39] Yeah it’s been wonderful. I really hope everyone can benefit from Fat Loss Activation. I know you will. You just have to dedicate yourself to it. And good things will certainly happen. Will talk to you real soon, Ryan.  



Your Body’s Hidden Hunger Hormone with Ryan Faehnle Part 2

May 23, 2018 by  
Filed under Podcast

This is part 2 of “Your Body’s Hidden Hunger Hormone”. Coach Chris and Ryan Faehnle continue their conversation about fat loss. On this episode, they discuss the issues that many people are experiencing from sitting too much. Also, Ryan details a pec injury and shares what he has learned through his physical therapy on how to activate stubborn body parts. 

Want the free Core Killers report? Go here! Or text “Core” to 345345

 “If you have trouble activating a certain muscle it is possible that you have fat stored in that area.” 

-Ryan Faehnle 

Strong By Design Podcast

Time Stamps:  

1:48 Ryan details his pec injury 

5:00 Tricks for people who sit a lot 

9:00 Dealing with back pain 

10:00 The issue with sitting a lot 

11:15 Tricks for dealing with stubborn body parts 

16:05 Weight training is the best way to lose fat 

Connect with Ryan Faehnle: 

Connect with Critical Bench: 


Chris: [00:00:00] Your body’s hidden hunger hormone that can make fat loss nearly impossible. Coach Chris Wilson interviewed strength coach Ryan Faehnle. Shifting gears a little bit. We all know that obviously diet as we’ve been talking about is critical to getting results to fat lost to looking better or feeling better but exercise obviously is a huge component as well. It’s a huge part of it. But the time required as well as a life that build any war in this modern tech and technology based world it’s fitting as I’m sitting talking to you right now and sitting on a computer for a living. So it’s hard to undo all that sitting. Even if I go out and I work hard an hour a day.  


Ryan: [00:00:49] No doubt.  


Chris: [00:00:52] Share with us some of your unique experience and background in therapy. Physical therapy to activate and wake up the muscles faster.  


Ryan: [00:01:02] OK. So first of all you have to understand I have done a lot of dumb things in my life. OK, that’s rule number one. I am a risk taker. The fastest way to get me to do something is to say “I bet you can’t…”, and then I’ll do that. So I did some stupid stuff many years ago. I ended up with a completely Ruptured Pec Major. It literally rolled up. Completely rolled up on my sternum. That was a lot of fun. And so I had surgery, basically the surgeon had drilled a cross inside of the head of the humerus or the arm bone, shoulder bone and literally put his hands in their. Weave the course of the tendon. Pulled the tendon out the back side tied the knot. And then the bone eventually grew back over it. But it was it. I saw I have a huge scar that shrunk a little bit. But it was like an eight inch scar up the front of my arm. And so, I had this Pec injury surgery went to rehab. And for a period of about six months I couldn’t pick my arm up like I couldn’t lift it up and it wasn’t. It had nothing to do with like the pec itself but it was the muscles of the shoulder like I literally just couldn’t pick it up. And they did some diagnostic testing and found that I had an inhibited serratus anterior muscle. Which you might not know unless you were in physical therapy, but it’s an important stabilizer or the shoulder. And if it’s not working, you can’t lift your arm up. So once they found that I started doing physical therapy exercise specifically for that muscle. And what’s amazing is it resolved itself really quickly but I started to learn. I was like Man, I’ve never felt this muscle contract this hard in my life. And I started to think you know what, what if we applied these drills to in a more bodybuilding context. So more muscle building context rather than therapy. You know everyone has if you look on your body and pick out what your best body part is. You think it’s the most well-developed. I’m going to bet you that you can contract it very easily without much effort. You can make it cramp and you can really feel the contraction. Would you say that’s accurate for you, Chris?  


Chris: [00:03:15] Of course, absolutely.  


Ryan: [00:03:18] OK. Now take the body part that you have. That you feel is the least developed or the most underdeveloped that you struggle to build. It’s a little harder to contract right. Like you can’t really feel it squeeze. Would you say that’s accurate to for you?  


Chris: [00:03:34] The connection that you have to it. It’s like the awareness isn’t there.  


Ryan: [00:03:39] Right. Right. And so what that is, that is your brain that is not. Has the inability to send the signal to that muscle. So you can keep pounding away, like bench press for example. A lot of people Bench Press to develop their pecs. But if your brain has trouble activating your pecs, your triceps and shoulders are just going to take over and you can bench press all you want. The pecs will not be optimally stimulated and they won’t be optimally developed. So we all have  s tubborn body part that we struggle to develop. So this is related to muscular innervation with the ability of the brain to send the signals through the nerves into the muscle. Well in physical therapy they use these activation exercises to improve when people are injured. I started using them for people like you’ve said who’ve been sitting all day. They have poor posture or maybe there’s just a muscle that’s really not developed well. We started incorporating those. It’s a simple concept in theory but you really have to know your anatomy to get it right. Pretty simple, you basically take the muscle to its most shortened position and doing isometric contraction with very very very light with no weight whatsoever. And do ten repetitions with a ten second hold asymmetrical on each repetition. Now where a lot of people screw this up as they try to go hard on it and they try to really like turn it into a workout and they end up turning on all synergistic and stabilizing muscles surrounding the muscle and trying to work. It just start off as a very gentle contraction until you learn to turn it on the target muscle on and only to target muscle and then you can further work on squeezing it harder. It can be done daily. It can be done multiple times daily which I will tend to do for people if I’m a bodybuilder. And the judges have told a man your, you know your pecs are lagging. I will have him do pec activation exercises. Two to three times daily and then again before his pec workouts in order to improve that. So basically that wakes up the brain, improves the innervation or the nerve bundle into the muscle and it may some contract. So now that you’ve turned the muscle on it was like a light switch. You turn the muscle on then you go to do your hard work out. And now the muscle is working as it is supposed to. So in the bench press example, you activate your pecs beforehand then you go to your bench press and now you are creating a stimulus to build a bigger chest. So that’s kind of where I started with this activation stuff and it’s really proved to be proven to be very effective for people not only returning from injury but also just in developing certain body parts. Yeah, that’s pretty cool.  


Chris: [00:06:22] That awesome and I can’t help but think as you’re talking about that you know. You know we’re using obviously a bodybuilder as an example. It could be for anybody. Just think this that the posing element.  


Ryan: [00:06:36] Yes.  


Ryan: [00:06:37] Where you’re trying to obviously, you’re trying to show your body to a panel of judges and to an audience and you’re trying to show them. Look, look at my body and look at my muscles. Look what they can do. And so the connection that they have and all the effort and time spent in these positions and posing and contracting the muscles. They have probably at the top of the heap when it comes to that mind muscle connection. Right. Just because no one knows that amount of hours in front of a mirror you know just tweaking and positioning themselves in these ways. But their muscles are all live. You know they have an intimate understanding of how to fire everything and if regular people had some of that. You know that it’s not that people want to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger any day soon but if they had his ability to pose in front of a mirror, that they would they would make these muscles wake up.  


Ryan: [00:07:45] Yeah. And there’s other implications too especially for the population today. A lot of it is pain. Back pain is one of the most debilitating. I say quote unquote injuries can oftentimes there’s no actual isolatable injury, a lot of times it was just “Oh man my back started killing me”. All a lot of times it’s inactive glutes. It’s inactive transverse abdominal muscle in the abdomen. Inactive internal obliques that stabilizes spine. I’ve had people, I had a guy a firefighter ironically recently. He wasn’t a client of mine just a friend and I saw him like hobbling into the gym one day like looking awful. And he had told me that is the first time he had gotten up in the past week. He’s been completely down. This guy has five kids. Five children and so he didn’t have a I mean, he was laid up in bed. Wife is taking care of all the kids and couldn’t work. And he said I did something to my back you know. Tweak my back and I said OK. Come over here and I gave him a couple breathing drills, some abdominal activation work and he stood up and he’s like oh man this is good I told him to do it a couple of times a day. And here like yesterday. So this was probably a week ago and then yesterday he was in the gym doing front squats, throwing a metal medicine ball violently against the wall, jumps all kinds of stuff. So a lot of times it’s really that simple. It’s just turning stuff up on. Like a light.  


Chris: [00:09:12] It hit something. It’s because a lot of us without even realizing it. We just elected. Even if for people that work out, that we go for a run where you know we go to the gym three times a week and then we spend so much of our time in this half fetal position. This seated position and we’re just our muscles our bodies just turned off. You know we’re not standing up on our feet moving around like people. Not that long ago if you go back a hundred years or more people just weren’t sitting so darn much. And it’s this culture that you know that’s obviously kind of a global thing where is just we all kind of been conditioned to be in this seated position. It’s really hurt our physical health. You know I obviously. So that it’s great to get that kind of insight. And I thank you for sharing some of that and obviously went through you know that pec injury. You have a really good understanding of how all of that work.  


Ryan: [00:10:21] Yes. It was hilarious. I mean it was kind of funny at that time because my co-workers. I was a strength coach at the time. The university they would mess with me. They would put something up on a shelf. Hey Ryan, can you get that, I’m like “shut up!”. Like I couldn’t even lift my arm you know. But got that sorted right away. One of thing that I want to talk about real quick Chris with the proper activation. And this is controversial. I’m going to go ahead admit it. It’s controversial and the impact is going to be small but for some people a small impact is necessary to get results. A lot of times our stubborn body parts quote unquote stubborn body parts aren’t just weak. They may maybe just covered with body fat. We all have fat deposits at different areas. We all have a quote unquote last place that body fat ones that come off of. When you contract the muscle it gives off heat. This heat causes fat deposits from around that muscle to be released into the bloodstream. This is called lipolysis. Now, if you have trouble activating certain muscle it is possible that you are going to have fat stores in that area. OK. So one of the things that I do with stubborn body parts where people are carrying excess body part is I will have them do activation drills. Then a workout for that body part. And then I have some specific cardio protocols that I’ll have them do after. So the activation and the weight training helps release the fat from the area. Then the cardio works helps to burn the fat from that area. If that makes sense. And again it’s a minor. It’s you’re not going to go from looking like an elephant to a Victoria’s Secret model overnight. Right. But I have seen it make some measurable changes in skin folds when doing this protocol. So.  


Chris: [00:12:13] Well it obviously makes sense to me. And you can’t help but think of the whole spot reducing theory you know where people you know. If I just do more crunches, more sit up. I’ll all have this great six pack over time right now. No, not quite that kind of stink anyway for your abs. But that’s a whole another conversation. We can open that out and how wide open. Yeah. But I understand obviously the theory behind it right. You know if you’re dealing with fat more back fat or something at that and say as a man but you aren’t spending maybe a good amount of time doing pull ups and doing some of the exercises that would have the greatest impact on some of the biggest muscles in your back then. But then all of a sudden you say, hey I’m going to commit to X amount of pull ups per week for over 30 60 90 days and I have a hard time believing that you wouldn’t notice a shift in how your body looks. How it developed. How it feels firmer in that area because you know you’ve dedicated a certain amount of time to you know to do that and then like you said you mentioned the science behind it, lipolysis. You know all of a sudden it’s like OK then in essence it almost does work. It’s just, it’s maybe there’s so much more that goes into it too because of it.  


Ryan: [00:13:45] Oh no doubt. It’s not a magic bullet. It’s not a magic bullet thing. It’s not going to create miracles but I definitely do with the protocols. I have some supplement protocols that assist with the lipolysis. And then the cardio portion is kind of important too. And we talked a little bit and brief about how a steady state aerobic exercise increases Ghrelin levels. I’m not completely anti-cardio but it’s just not the first thing that should be done. So a lot of people do when they lift weights. So the fat is released from that area. But then if they don’t burn it, it just gets deposited elsewhere in the body or right back where it came from. So that is why I do utilize the post workout energy systems development work for the fat loss in that area.  


Chris: [00:14:39] I just had never, had never I can’t say I’ve never but most often and I just don’t see someone with you know an ideal physique who only does cardiovascular training.  


Ryan: [00:14:52] I agree.  


Chris: [00:14:53] Only does running, only does you know biking. There needs to be another side of it. There needs to be another component.  


Ryan: [00:15:01] If you think about, weights are truly King when it comes to a better body. So if we talk about you know of a lot of people that have excess body fat will say I just have a slow metabolism. My metabolism is sluggish. Your basal metabolic rate or BMR determines 60 to 75 percent of your daily calorie burn. That’s how much calories you burn just sitting on your butt. That doesn’t account for exercise.  


Chris: [00:15:30] Your organs functioning and everything else.  


Ryan: [00:15:33] Right. That’s just keeping you alive. Exercise is a very small percentage. Believe it or not of your daily calorie burn. So what increases BMR? Weight training boost BMR. When you increase your BMR you literally burn fat when you’re sleeping. You hear you know a lot of like get rich quick scheme. Talk about earn money even while you’re sleeping well and you boost your BMR, you burn fat even while you’re sleeping. So that’s why weight training should be the top priority. So I look at it as a hierarchy. If you only have let’s say 45 minutes a week to train. I would do three 15 minute weight training sessions. If you have a little more time than that I would probably add in some high intensity interval type cardio. And then still if you have more time after that, then you can start adding in more steady state aerobic type cardio. And that’s kind of the order I start introducing these things for people because you have to go with the biggest bang for your buck which comes changing your body composition is weight training.  



Your Body’s Hidden Hunger Hormone with Ryan Faehnle Part 1

May 22, 2018 by  
Filed under Podcast

Did you know that some people actually sustain fat loss longer when we add their favorite foods into their diet? It’s true, fat loss is a mental thing as much as it is physical. Today Coach Chris is joined by strength coach Ryan Faehnle. They discuss hunger hormones and some unconventional fat loss tricks. Tune into this episode to find out. 

Want the “Why Stretching Won’t Make You Flexible” Report for free? Go here! Or text “Stretch” to 345345

 “When we remove restrictions and trickle in people’s favorite foods here and there they actually lose weight faster.” 

-Ryan Faehnle 

Strong By Design Podcast


Time Stamps:  

3:00 Ryan’s backstory: From fat kid to strength coach 

6:50 Why people gain more weight after a diet 

7:58 The 2 appetite hormones and what they do 

9:40 The issue with rapid weight loss 

12:46 Why you need to stop calling food good or bad 

15:17 Why you shouldn’t cut your favorite food out of your diet 

17:59 Don’t try and stop bad habits, alter them 

Connect with Ryan Faehnle: 

Connect with Critical Bench: 


Chris: [00:00:00] Your body’s hidden hunger hormone that can make fat loss nearly impossible. Coach Chris Wilson interviews Strength Coach Ryan Faehnle. Thank you so much for joining us today. This is Coach Chris Wilson from And I am delighted and I’m not joking. I’m delighted to have with me on the line today. Ryan please if you will. I want to get your last name right. Is it Finley.   

Ryan: [00:00:31] Very close. It’s Faehnle. So like Stanley with an F.  

Chris: [00:00:35] Yeah OK so Faehnle got you.   

Ryan: [00:00:38] It’s German. So there’s a lot of funny letters in there.  

Chris: [00:00:41] OK. All right. Hey it’s cool and it’s unique and know, I’ve never seen that name before ever. So that right away this thing was put on everyone’s. This is Ryan Faehnle on the line with me today. He’s a certified strength and conditioning specialist. But that just scratches the surface. He has trained athletes in different sports at all levels. High school, the professional for over 20 years. He’s worked with NFL Super Bowl champions. As well as just the ordinary Joe average and Susie Q. He’s worked with them all. So that’s the spectrum and he’s traveled the globe. He’s lectured to trainers and to coaches about strength and conditioning and body composition just a bit of everything. But I want him to go a little bit deeper. So first of all welcome Ryan to the call. Very happy to be talking with you today.  

Ryan: [00:01:41] Yeah thanks for having me. I’m excited to dive in. People that know me know that I am extremely passionate about all things; strength, conditioning, health, fitness, nutrition, supplementation. So I’m ready to get into it.  

Chris: [00:01:54] Yeah. And being in your, you know you read your bio and his bio is like I mean I just had like a few sentences. His bio is like two pages. I’m like, he makes me sound as if I’ve never stepped foot in gym and worked with somebody in my life when read your bio. And anyone with that kind of background experience obviously can be intimidating. Of course. But because you make it sound as if the fitness and health world is just comes easy to you. That’s natural. It’s a perfect fit. But, is that always been the case for you?  

Ryan: [00:02:34] Oh man it’s funny that because that’s not even remotely close to being the case. I grew up with a very loving mother who showed her love and demonstrated her love with junk food. So every day I had access to McDonald’s. I could drink as much pop as I wanted. Now to be fair we also had you know she also made a lot of vegetables and she did make some healthy dishes. But I really was not restricted at all. And so, I grew up kind of a chubby kid. And I was that kind. I was a fat kid plain and simple no PC about it. And I got picked on. I got teased. I was bad at sports and eventually I decided I wanted to do something about it. So I began exercising. My exercise originally came from trying to improve my sport performance for basketball. That was the love of my life was basketball. I really wanted to be good at it. I had dreams of playing in the NBA and while that didn’t work out. It started me down my career path of being a strength coach and now a consultant. And so but know that the health and fitness does not come naturally. Even as a strength coach, I still battled weight issues you know. Especially when I was in my big earlier prime of being strong. You know I listed all the power levers. Who cares what your body fat is as long as you have a massive bench press. And so I was still super fat. And so then it got to a point where I had had enough. I was 292 pounds. 2-9-2. Not lean at all. And I kind of looked like I didn’t belong in the industry of the gym. Even though I was strong. I felt like I didn’t belong. So that started me getting on to kind of crazy dieting like really hard hardcore. You know, I was tough I was in the military. So I felt mentally I could do a lot of tough things. I started doing some hard dieting. Well eventually that led to binge eating issues. And if I’m honest with you I mean this is something I still balance to this day. It’s like once an alcoholic always an alcoholic type thing. Even if you haven’t had a drink in 30 years. It’s the same thing for me. I control it and I manage it very well. But man if something goes wrong and I slip I could be you know three boxes deep in cereal looking for answers at the bottom of a cereal bowl you know. So yeah it has not always come easy to me. So I have to work my tail off for everything I’ve ever done. But that is one thing that I can tell you. No one does more than me and that’s work hard to continue my craft to learn. I read every day. I educate myself. I practice it with my clients and myself. So it’s definitely not been natural but it’s my love so I’m going to continue to do it.  

Chris: [00:05:22] Yeah. Wow that’s it. And that’s where I think most experts come out of. They come out of real experience obviously. I mean you know and that’s were that passion comes from too. You know if you’re educated about something and passionate about something you know because you’ve lived it and experienced that I mean that just drives obviously your success and your ability to reach people you know. You know who is going to help them if they’ve never struggled with something maybe themselves so. What is it about like hunger and in particular that completely sucks. Every bit of willpower from us. Like obviously it’s probably the drive one, number one driving force why most people fail at any kind of diet. It’s just the hunger. It is still. But why is that.  

Ryan: [00:06:20] Well first of all I want to give you a little background to kind of you can understand the hunger connection. So what I started noticing both in myself and in clients. Clients would have rapid fat loss so they would have a goal. They would do a diet to achieve a goal. And then after the goal, once they achieve whatever they set out to achieve maybe it was a better Beach-body or a certain percentage of body fat. It was almost like the fat just piled on faster than it came off. And what I notice I started taking notes and it occurred in all fat-fat loss diet. So whether it was Ketogenic Diet, a high carb diet, a cyclical diet, an Atkins diet, zones diet. Whatever it was, it happened in all of them. And the common thread or the common thing that I found with it was post goal hunger. So after they achieve their goal, they literally would eat their results away. They could not stop eating; they were always starving. And I knew there had to be a connection. So I started kind of researching it. And what I came upon which any scientists or physiologist did know is two hormones Leptin and Ghrelin that which are basically your hunger and appetite hormones. The peptide hormones are secreted that different parts in the body. Leptin primarily by fat cells and Ghrelin primarily by your stomach. Leptin actually decreases your appetite. So leptin is the hormone that lets you know that you’re full. Ghrelin actually increases your appetite. So leptin is contained in body fat. So if you have a high amount of body fat, you’ve got a lot of leptin. You have a lot of the chemical that tells you to stop eating. But here’s the problem, here’s the kicker over time with poor eating habits, poor lifestyle habits, stress, lack of exercise, lack of sleep. You can become resistant to leptin. So basically what happens your body begins to ignore the signal that you’ve had enough to eat. Ghrelin is secreted when your stomach is empty. What it does it get highest just before a meal to queue you to eat. And then it decreases sharply after you eat. Ok, here’s the other kicker though. It’s secreted also in stressful situations. So that’s why we stress eat right. We binge on candy bars and we binge on potato chips when we are really stressed because that hormone secreted during stressful times. Now these hormones everyone’s like man this sucks, Ghrelin I’m always hungry. Leptin blah blah blah. There’s a built in survival mechanism and you don’t want to completely get rid of their function because they’re built to keep us alive. Your body want to stay exactly as you are because it doesn’t know if you’re just trying to lose five pounds or if he’s starving on a desert island. So these things are regulatory hormones to keep you alive and healthy. So here’s the thing. Weight loss that is too rapid happens too fast causes a massive surge in Ghrelin levels. So it makes you super hungry. Well super hungry. Suppressing that requires willpower and as you mentioned willpower. I mean it’s something we have to overcome. Willpower is kind of like a battery. Right. So it only lasts for so long and then when the battery runs out you’re in a situation where your body Ghrelin as high as your body is telling you to eat everything in sight. You’ve lost your willpower and now you’re eating and the weight comes piling back on. So you know kind of this is scenario actually all too often. Somebody has high body fat levels; bad eating habits they don’t exercise. So the body is constantly telling them that they’re hungry and any possible signal that they have that indicate that they’re full is being ignored by the brain. This is a huge hurdle to get over. So a lot of people will start exercising. What is the first kind of exercise everybody wants to do when it’s time to lose body fat Chris?  

Chris: They want to start doing some cardio.  

 Ryan: [00:10:13] Cardio, aerobic exercise. You want to know what that is. Aerobics exercise increases Ghrelin. So it makes you even more hungry. So now you have this person whose brain is ignoring the fact that their full. Their stomach is secreting chemicals to the brain that is telling them that they’re starving. And now they’re doing exercise that makes them even more hungry. This is just a whirlwind. OK. So now they start doing all kinds of cardio because it’s like they have to. They go on a super low calorie crash diet and maybe they succeed in losing a bunch of weight really quickly. OK, a lot of people do. Because again they can go as long as their willpower last. Now Ghrelin levels are through the roof because of how they did it and once the willpower breaks they’re just gonna gain again crazy amounts of fat. Usually most often and I’m saying this from personal experience too. Usually becoming fatter than they were before they started and the vicious cycle repeats with fad diet after fad diet and year after year. People who are genuinely trying to change their bodies aren’t enough fatter and sicker and just unhappy, depressed. So the bad cycle after that.  

 Chris: [00:11:23] It is an awful cycle because as you mentioned that depression most often leads to more poor choices in food and none of us binge eat. I always laugh not why can’t we just binge eat cauliflower you know.  

Ryan: [00:11:39] Exactly. Yes.   

Chris: [00:11:40] It’s just not, it’s not satiating enough you know. It’s not satisfying when we binge, we crave high fat or sugary things. And you’re right. I mean we’ve all I went through when I was when you were talking earlier in the call about when you were younger it went through that phase of just being that kind of a heavy kid. I had that for a couple of years. And man it’s just such a some of us never escape it. Some of us just can never get out of that funk of you know poor food choices and having just everything is at our fingertips anymore. You know you walk in the grocery store and you’re bombarded with all the bad stuff right when you’re walking home. Fortunately, most of us succumbed to that.  

 Ryan: [00:12:32] Right. And that’s the hard part. A lot of the foods that we’re eating Chris are foods that do not signal us that we’ve had enough to eat. So I will talk about it a little bit. But Ghrelin is secreted by the lining of the stomach in response to how much food is in the stomach. So if you eat something like vegetables let’s say which are really full in terms of volume. Like a huge let’s say you take six cups of spinach, that takes up a lot of space in your stomach. But it’s not a lot of calories. Well Ghrelin will stop its secretion early because your stomach gets full. If you eat something like chocolate chips for example, they’re very very tiny. They don’t take up a lot of space but they’re high in calories. So there’s no signal that you’ve had enough to eat. And so that’s one of the hardest problems. And you know the other thing and we to talk about this too. Yes, there are foods that are more nutritious for us and offer greater benefits. But one of the most dangerous things that you can do is to start looking at food as good food versus bad food. Because once you get that mentality in your head, you will feel guilty every time you enjoy something that you like. It’s not about never having a food again. It’s about finding a way to incorporate it into your plan. That still allows you to see success and be sustainable. All right. We’re not talking about bodybuilding contest preparation here. That’s a completely different animal. We’re talking about helping a healthy, healthy, quote unquote regular person gets in better shape and to do that you do not need to completely eliminate your favorite foods.  

Chris: [00:14:14] Wow. Yeah. And it’s that label that we put on everything right. The good and the bad. And that immediately leads to our obviously the way we think about things and we either get happy you know are proud of ourselves when we eat healthy foods and we get like matter ourselves angry at ourselves. Not during but after we made a bad choice specially for were really trying to you know if we have a goal set for us.  

Ryan: [00:14:43] Right. I had a client one time and you know we started her off on a really you know pretty strict nutrition plan and she had a lot of body fat to lose. And she was checking in with me and just results kind of weren’t happening. So I asked her said hey what’s up. I was like you know why in your opinion why do you think the plan isn’t working. Sure was Ryan’s. All I can think about are jelly beans. Because I love jelly beans they are my favorite thing. And since we started our nutritional plan I haven’t had any so they’re on my mind all the time. So I may make it two days and then I’ll crave and eat a whole bag of jelly beans. Ok let’s do this. I said How about this on your hardest leg training days. You can have a cup of jellybeans right after your workout. And then on your hardest upper body training days you have a half a cup of jelly beans right after your workout. And from that moment on it was like the fat melted off of her because now there was no restriction in her diet. She could have her favorite food every single day that she trained. There wasn’t this desperate feeling of oh my gosh I’m never going to have jelly beans again. We put it at a place in her day where it was going to be most beneficial to her in terms of replenishing the fuel that she just used during her workouts so it’s not going to get converted to body fat. Not going to stop her progress in the least. And then it was amazing to watch her change and she’s made the comment to me so it’s so liberating to know that I don’t have to feel guilty about this. So it’s was like you have to take in mind the psychology of the client and the person as well. If I tell you Chris whatever you do in the next 30 seconds do not think of a pink elephant. What’s the first frickin thing you thought of.  

Chris: Pink elephant, no doubt.  

Ryan: [00:16:30] So if I tell you, so if I tell you no cookies, no ice cream, no this ever. That’s all that’s going to be on your mind even if you wouldn’t have had it in the first place. If I told them, you can’t have it dang it now you’re going to bury your face an entire half gallon of ice cream.  

Chris: [00:16:45] We all have that deep desire to rebel against when someone tells us don’t never. You can’t write off. You know when you’re a kid always say you know you cannot go it ever go in my room or in that room or in that office or whatever. What was the kids do, the first chance they get they sneak in to investigate? And the same thing goes with the food. I mean if I had a great question for you and you already handled it. You already tackled it.  

Ryan: [00:17:16] Oh sorry.  

Chris: [00:17:17] No but it’s good. I mean you got to before I could even ask is just about a bad habit. And we all have them. Whether it’s food based, whether it’s exercise based. But we don’t, we can’t ever really with your jellybean example. We can’t stop bad habits because it will eat at us. They will just eat at us. Most people cannot Cold turkey anything. But if they have a lifeline to that. If they have their little cup or half cup post workout on their heart you know and they’re able to at least still enjoy a moderate a small amount of what they crave, what they think about every day. Then they feel like OK there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, I can continue with this. And that’s the hope, that the big picture is how consistent are you. How long are you willing to commit to something? Three weeks or three years. You know.  

Ryan: [00:18:16] What’s interesting I see people all the time and they have had people like the comments me coach they say I find this really strange. Ever since you’ve allowed me to eat whatever it is. Jellybeans or pizza or chips or whatever it is. I’m actually like losing I’m getting in shape at a faster level than I was before. And if you think about what’s actually going on here what most people will do is they’ll crash diet hard for five days of the week. Monday through Friday or Monday through Friday afternoon then Friday night, Saturday and Sunday they go completely off the wagon and actually binge eat. And I’ve actually done the math on a lot of people. And a lot of people will eat so much so that they’re in this huge calorie deficit Monday through Friday and then Friday night Saturday and Sunday they eat so much that not only do they completely undo the deficit they actually create a surplus over the course of the week. So it doesn’t matter day to day what happens. What matters is what state being your body in. Week to week, month to month, year to year. And so what ends up happening when we remove those binge eating patterns and we just trickle those their favorite foods in a reasonable manner. They actually end up finally achieving a calorie deficit for the first time in their lives. And so you know it’s kind of an interesting thing. It’s very confusing them their like. So I’m eating this stuff now when I’m losing weight faster it’s like well yeah because you’re not eating like you did before when you were eating you know an entire pizza and ice cream and beer. Right. You know it all at once and until you’re six.  

Chris: [00:19:54] It’s the perfect example of all or nothing. You know. If we don’t operate well with either one of those and it’s right. We must find a happy medium. A compromise, a way to moderate our intake of whatever it is you know. And people are like oh ok so i can eat a salad. I can have a small cup of jelly beans but then I can still have like a slice of pizza every now and again too you know I can. Oh. All right. So this is how you know it just can’t eat a whole pizza.  

 Ryan: [00:20:34] I had a client who was actually, he was actually preparing for a photo shoot. So this was like. And again I’ve mentioned before photo shoot and bodybuilding contest perhaps of a different animal in its entirety. But when I was preparing for a photo-shoot and you had a family vacation like literally three weeks out. And for any of you that know what happens in a bodybuilding show those last really eight to 12 weeks. You’re eating like a monk. You know every gram of every single macronutrient that you’re eating every day. And so he was freaking out because he had a family vacation and I was like. All right. Look you take your meal plan and you’re going to take let’s say a meal for it was supposed to be 300 calories and it was supposed to be chicken and brown rice and broccoli let’s say. When you’re on vacation eat whatever your family’s eating. But just try to approximate 300 calories of that. So in essence like you go to a pizza joint 300 calories is about one slice of pizza. So he’s like man. So he did it. You know we still made sure he hit his protein targets and whatnot but he was eating pizza. He was eating burgers and whatnot but he comes back and he didn’t lose a single step in his contest preps. And he was like it’s so liberating to know that you can still achieve these results just by moderating your intake. Again.  


Why Toughness is Critical for Men with Mike Gillette?

May 21, 2018 by  
Filed under Podcast

The truth is strength starts from within. On this episode of Strong by Design, Coach Chris is joined by a certified tough guy, Mike Gillette. Mike Gillette’s is known as one of the nations top mind training experts. He has worked with several government agencies, law enforcement, and many fortune 500 companies. Coach Chris and Mike discuss the importance of small decisions, habits and some very deep thoughts on the current state of men in our society.  

Want the free 7 Worst Testosterone Killers go here! Or text “Testo” to  345345 

 “A tough person can handle the negativity that comes from the situations life throws at us.” 

-Mike Gillette        

Strong By Design Podcast

Time Stamps:  

2:40 Mike’s advice to young men (15 to 20 years old) on how to face life 

7:50 How choices (big and small) make us who we are 

10:50 Why habits are essential 

14:30 Is our society filled with mentally weak men? 

18:04 Fragmented families and other factors that have played a role in molding todays men 

19:12 Why people are so disconnected from each other 

25:50 Does mental toughness ultimately decide our physical toughness limits? 

34:52 3 Things you can do to handle your personal fears 

Connect with Mike Gillette: 

Connect with Critical Bench: 


Chris: [00:00:07] Well good morning. Good Afternoon. Good evening. This is Coach Chris with critical bench. I have with me today, Mr. MIKE Gillette the face of Strength Psychology. And Mike this is your personal story that’s with this very unique product is based on. It’s based on everything that you endured in your life and turns you into the man that you are today. And you have obviously a very interesting skill set to be able to share with the masses to help make them mentally tougher and just tougher in general in terms of how they go about living their life. And so let me just be the first one to say thank you so much for putting yourself out there like that. And we are absolutely thrilled to have you on the line with us today.  

Mike: [00:01:02] Well, I appreciate that Chris. It’s a pleasure to be speaking with you.  

Chris: [00:01:05] As you listeners probably already know. We have a relationship with Mike. We’ve done other things with him before. Never something quite like this. It was typically more on his physical ability and you know the feats of strength and all that stuff which is you know tied in a little bit to this obviously but this really comes down to somebody who has been through so much in his personal life and then turn that into something that just drove him into all these other amazing things that he did from that being in the Army as a paratrooper to a SWAT Commander, Martial Arts Master Hall of Fame, counterterrorism work with the Department of Homeland Security, bodyguard to Fortune 500 executives.  

Chris: [00:01:58] And obviously in this phase of his life doing you know record setting strongman feats of strength. And it’s so impressive obviously you know the resume but there’s no one else quite like Mike and that’s why we want him to be able to answer questions about why is being so important in your life. And there’s no one better on the planet to speak about stuff like this so I have a pretty in-depth questions. We’re going to get right to it here. MIKE, young men obviously go through a lot of tough times from age 15 to 20. They’re trying to figure out what kind of man they’re going to be. During this time, they get their first real job. They have their first meaningful relationship or relationships. They graduate high school. They select a college or potentially join the military or they decide to jump right into the working world sometimes. If you could tell a young man two key things about how to face life and deal with the outside pressures of the real world, what would you say?  

Mike: [00:03:11] I like that the there’s a lot of aspects to all that. You know it’s a challenging time to be a young man. And I think there’s a lot of challenges that young men face. With respect to just sort of navigating their way to what being a man needs. If I had two things to say to a man in that age range the first one would be simply think about the kind of man you want to become. We have a culture that sort of fosters an extended adolescence. We have a lot of men who are really more like in their thinking in their in the things that they pursue. And I think young men need to be encouraged to think like men, to think about what it means to be a man. And then number two don’t let anyone talk you out of that. Because we have a culture that doesn’t really encourage men to be men. To make strong decisions, to stand for something you know everyone sort of you know goes along to get along don’t make waves. We’re sort of a controversy averse culture in some ways. We confuse disagreements with being disagreeable. We confuse taking a stand with being judgmental. And as a result we don’t have a lot of rugged individuals. The world needs more strong men and strength starts on the inside.  

Chris: [00:04:59] No doubt. No doubt about that. Wow. That’s pretty cool because when you say it sounds so simple. Think about what kind of man you want to become. And b don’t let anyone stop you from being becoming that man. And it’s amazing in life how we sometimes do end up kind of listening too much to what others think we should. You know we should be doing with our lives and don’t pursue our dreams and pursue our manhood. You can say in the way that we want to know that it’s pretty it’s pretty great. And I think that something like you alluded to that it wasn’t that way if you go back 50 or 60, 70 years ago. I think man had to grow up faster. And today, we’ve allowed them to just kind of take their time and it’s worked against us.  

Mike: [00:06:01] Yeah. I think there’s a lot of young men who are sort of languishing in boyhood and there’s confusion to a certain degree as to what a desirable male qualities are. And you know it being the strong person is not being a bully. Being someone who is firm in their convictions is not someone who is judgmental or intolerant. But we’re not a culture that really handles disagreements well. You know we can shout at each other until one person just gets tired and shuts up. We don’t really engage in vigorous intellectual debate very well. So a lot of what was once commonplace is just not that prevalent. And as a result I think that when you do see a man who is strong and firm in his convictions they tend to attract a lot of attention. There’s something you know charismatic about that people are drawn to that people  

Chris: [00:07:10] Absolutely  

Mike: [00:07:11look for leaders to emerge and a leader is someone who is strong who knows what they think, knows what they believe and will communicate that not in a you know unpleasant or an inappropriate way but strongly.  

Chris: [00:07:30] Yeah. Wow. Terrific well said. I like it. That’s great insight. Moving on to some other very interesting questions. When I read a question I really read a paragraph. I can’t just write a simple question. It just doesn’t work that way. So not for number two here. I wrote choices define us in life, big ones and little ones. We can look the other way when we see someone else break the law. We can intervene when we see someone getting treated unfairly. We can decide to wake up early and get stuff done or sleep in and play catch up all day long but never actually get there. How closely connected are the big and little choices and their impact on us? And I guess I can kind of stop there or I can just kind of continue because. Well why don’t I continue enough. And we can kind of talk around this topic. Does a minor variable such as sleep really determine the kind of light we are to live? Does looking the other way when someone else has been mistreated make us weak or mentally tough people just better at doing what’s necessary or what’s right even when they may not like it.  

Mike: [00:08:53] Well there is a lot of good stuff in there. I am essentially unpack. I like a lot of that. I’m going to get back to the very first part of the question because I think it’s sort of the linchpin upon which everything else rests.  

Chris: [00:09:08] Yes.  

Mike: [00:09:09] Because I’m more mature fellow which is a polite way of saying I’m getting old. That simply means Chris that I have said some of the same things more than once. Anyone who’s been in a teaching role or in a training role you know has you know a number of the same types of people that they come in contact with. There are certain things that they find themselves in myself included repeating to fresh ears. [00:09:44] And one of them and this goes back to my days when I was a field training officer in my days in law enforcement I would train young law enforcement officers that were brand new fresh out of the academy. And there was a phrase I kept hearing myself repeat and it’s so appropriate in the context of your question and that is, life is choices. And it really is. Everything that we are is sort of the sum total of the choices we make. We make big choices and little choices like you alluded to and how we deal with those choices has everything to do with with who we are the kind of person that we make ourselves into. So it’s not just that the big deal choices where people are clear on what the right course of action or what the wrong course of action might be. But it’s the little things too. I was reading something recently that is on the internet having to do with just habit and why it’s important to make your bed every morning when you get up. Because it creates momentum. It creates the perception of productivity. The first thing you do is take care of some business every day. Then it’s a lot easier to continue that momentum forward and continue to take care of other business throughout the day. Now a lot of time management and self-help experts sort of allude to that that type of thinking but it makes sense. Now, I don’t really care what your bed looks like. But I think there is wisdom in that. We are what we do. That that goes back to Aristotle. Aristotle said that excellence is a habit. We are what we repeatedly do. And I think that’s absolutely the case. Now you gave a couple of examples of people that you know looked the other way or are perhaps more inwardly focused than externally focused. And those are sorts of aspects about how that type of decision making you know can manifest. But when it comes to choices that’s what defines us. You know we, with the old expression on the road to hell is paved with good intentions. I think most of us want to be a good person but being a good person requires you know active participation in life. It requires work. It requires a conscious attention to that which should be attended to. And that all gets back to decision making. So once who make strong choices is a strong person. That’s why I will say strength starts on the inside. Not everyone is physically gifted. I know some very strong people mentally who have some type of physical limitation but they are strong people.  

Chris: [00:12:52] Right. Right. Absolutely. Absolutely. Think of the strength its required to somebody who has physical limitations yet they just seem to will themselves to be able to do things. I mean they’re insanely strong that their drive and their willpower and their passion for a life is stronger than somebody else is perfectly healthy in some cases. Yeah I know. It’s very cool. And it’s that’s kind of when I was coming up with that question. I was fairly certain I knew how you would answer it but obviously again with your background there’s always like a cool story you know. And you know why that question resonates with yourself. Very cool. Moving on. I’m sure when anyone from 20 to 40 years old think back to our soldiers. American soldiers that fought in World War II. We think some pretty tough guys right. You know we see these famous statues and stuff like that of soldiers raising the American flag. There’s all kinds of cool things that resonate I think with men and a tough soldier. Guys that had no choice but to fight a real world threat on the other side of the world but yet today we’re still dealing with threats from the other side of the world. But since the life we live today is so different from our grandfathers and great grandfathers’ generation. You know this is like the world we’re in now the computer age. Is it safe to say that today’s world is filled with mentally weak wimps? And I know that sounds a bit harsh but it just feels as though the young man in the world in the world today just don’t have the mental toughness that existed a few generations back. Could you give some insight maybe on that question?  

Mike: [00:15:01] OK. The. I mean it’s it is a harsh sounding diagnosis but that doesn’t mean that it is necessarily incorrect. I think that if you know we’ve had people from the 40s you know basically anyone from like 17 year olds you know if you guys in their mid-20s that were you know being drafted or volunteered you know en masse and fighting for extended periods would be limited equipment the wrong kind of clothing you all of the things that they endured whether it was wintertime or the jungle. It was bad regardless. If they were to cast their youth towards the young men of the future the young men of today in this case. I think they’d be a bit shocked.  

Chris: [00:15:54] Yeah.  

Mike: [00:15:56] And it’s not to say you know that we’re sort of you know making one better or worse but things are different. Regardless of your perspective on our you know technology base you know highly evolved and a very sensitive society. It’s certainly different than how it was. And better or worse, it’s something I leave to social critics or theologians. But it’s different. And it’s different simply because I think that young men are more disconnected from certain parts of themselves than we used to be. And part of it is just sort of the way that society works. People are a lot more connected. You know a few decades back you know neighborhoods were neighborhoods. People know each other. There was a lot more social connectivity. Face to Face. I mean and I think it was more of a sense of collective responsibility in a given neighborhood for how things were going on. If there was a problem in the neighborhood it wasn’t just the person who was suffering from vandalism or whatever the issue was the entire neighborhood would feel compelled to take some kind of action because everyone felt connected in that way. Conversely, if I mean this is something I remember from my own childhood if a young kid in the neighborhood was acting now was doing something inappropriate. It was not inconceivable for a unrelated adult to not only yell at them but possibly you know give them a smack on the butt. And no parents were getting offended. No one was threatening to sue anyone else for touching my kid. It was just sort of an expectation. Because the parents you know would expect similar participation if their kid was the one that was that was acting inappropriate.  

Chris: [00:18:01] Absolutely.  

Mike: [00:18:02] I think that there’s that aspect. I mean we just we socialize differently. And you can look at a lot of factors you know people that work for the same company for the same extended periods that they used to. There’s a lot more vocational transition time that takes place. People move around a lot more. There’s the whole issue. You know families have been you know redefined and redefined much more fragmented. So a lot of the things, the factors that were present that made people a certain way are not present to the same extent that they used to be. And you know good or bad, that’s the reality of it and it changes how what form society sort of takes in a collective sense. Then there’s that you know the technology piece. I mean we’re ultimately very disconnected Chris from our physical selves in a way that is really unprecedented. And what’s ironic is I have read articles from the beginning of the last century 1910s 1920s from people who were bemoaning the physical condition of young people in school. And how if we didn’t get a handle on that we would not be strong enough to fight are our enemies from abroad whoever those enemies might be. Kennedy picked up that theme some you know 40 50 years later bemoaning you know a further physical decline and you know promoting the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and so forth. So back when everyone seemed to be in really good shape people were complaining about how not in shape kids were. Which is unbelievable compared to now what you actually see is a redefining of the physical shape of young people. You know the prevalence of crap that is both tasty and convenient to prepare has changed how people look. And that’s not a body shaming comment whatever that phrase means. If you’ve got a physical issue because of what you put in your body that’s reality. It’s not anyone being judgmental. It’s something that should be fix. It’s in the best interest of the person afflicted. And so we’re sort of afflicted by the convenience of certain types of food. The convenience of not having to do a whole lot. Everything we used to do with a lot more physical. I mean we’ve engaged with the outdoors. We thought it was fun. Nobody wants to go outside anymore. You know it’s hot it’s cold there’s bugs out there. There’s nothing to compete with my videogames outside there’s no place to plug them in. It’s just different. So I think that, between the sort of move maybe that’s the wrong word but we’ve definitely evolved to a more sedentary culture. We’re putting a lot more crap in our body. You know tasty though it may be. It’s not helping us. And then when you take away some of these sort of institutional war you know social framework pieces that used to sort of create this sense of I don’t know. Community cohesion, where everybody’s kind of off on their own. It just, it has fundamentally changed the landscape. And if I don’t feel connected to you then I don’t feel compelled to intervene on your behalf. So when we see people not stepping up and doing things that require a little bit of backbone. It’s not just because you know that they may be weak or frightened I just think we’re fragmented. We’re emotionally fragmented from each other in a way that’s sort of unique. And I think it’s a very recent sort of phase of how our society functions. Now is kind of a high level response and that’s what you’re looking at. Those are the types of factors. I try to be clinical about this it’s not just all these kids today.  

Chris: [00:22:48] Right.   

Mike: [00:22:48] I don’t want to sound like another crotchety old person just saying you know kids are weak and they don’t know the value of the dollar or the value of hard work. And on and on. Because I do think that things have changed and I think there’s a variety of layers to why that is the case. And it’s not a question of you know good versus bad. We all have our opinions on what good vs. bad is but there’s no question that we have a much different world and the people populating it here in our own country are different than you know our immediate ancestors.  

Chris: [00:23:25] Yeah there’s no doubt about that. Yeah, I’ve learned one thing with you Mike that I never try to anticipate the direction. The answer’s gonna go because I just you know. I’m talking with somebody with a fairly high IQ who’s also really educated. I know it’s going to be a much grander response than what I what I initially thought. So that was fantastic and I do think it all really a lot of it comes down to the men in the family. It starts with the patriarch and I think if you have that strength from dad in the family that can really create that cohesive family unit. And if you have enough of those types of dads you know in a particular neighborhood that can become a probably a pretty cool neighborhood. And I think that’s where it starts. And if we had more of that going on then we would probably be able to turn some things around you know.  

Mike: [00:24:32] Yeah and there’s there are some directions that that observation can go to. But I think you’re absolutely correct you just said.  

Chris: [00:24:40] Yeah. That’s obviously the uneducated non nonclinical response to it. Yeah but that doesn’t make it any less true. That’s right. Now all guys know the guy who is more talented than anyone else in their school growing up and I’m talking elementary junior high or high school. He could do anything he wanted physically and it seemed almost effortless compared to you know his buddies. His talent for most things physical was just superior to everyone else’s. But at a certain point hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. And you’ve probably heard that saying before it’s kind of a common phrase in some gym atmospheres. So if that’s true, is mental toughness the most important aspect for any athlete attempting to become truly great at what they do. Does being mentally strong really determine the limits of our physical ability.  

Mike: [00:25:55] Great question and the short inelegant answer is yes. The longer answer is a longer explanation of why that’s the case. I’ve seen this in a recently into sort of diverging areas. The first one you use the example of that guy we know growing up or maybe there’s a couple of those guys you know the guys that are just literally you know came out of the shoe superstars. They’re fast they’re coordinated it’s like what can’t they do. And I was almost fascinated by those people when I was a kid. Because when I was a kid you know small weak, not connected to the realm of athletics in any context. And they just seemed so sort of beyond and I could never really figure out why them why not me. You know what is it. You know is it the Wheaties for breakfast thing. I watch the commercials when I was a kid and what I noticed is over time and again I’m speaking from the perspective someone who is now 53. I run into some of these guys from a lifestyle or you know from high school years periodically. And I see some of these guys that were superstars. You some of these guys went on to be D1 athletes and I look at them now and you would have no idea that they were ever physically gifted. Because all you see is lots and lots of neglect. They are walking around being unremarkable to the point of you know being overweight you know or they’re hobbling around you know they’ve just got the infirmities that we associate with disuse. You know I haven’t exercised in so long that I’m walking like an old man now. These are guys that you know for doing 52 53. Like I am there way too young to be looking and acting the way they are. I don’t know. But my informal diagnosis is that if everything always sort of came easy to you in the physical realm then I don’t know how much value you placed on that. I don’t know that you ever understood what the gift was. And that at some point the gift needs a little care and feeding. So for people who are just complete naturals and we all know these people you know male, female we’ve been around them. If the person has never had to really push to have that it’s kind of like oh what’s I’m going to use a strange analogy. Every so often a boy band comes along. It’s been happening for generations. They’re super popular and then they’re not. And it has nothing to do with anything other than the cyclical nature of the entertainment industry you know and the demographics the ages of their core audience and how quickly that audience shifts from one thing to another saying. So there’s an intense period of success and then there’s just crickets. And if you were a member of one of those boy bands. How perplexing would that be because you did the same thing for a period of time and then suddenly you were hot. You continue to do the same thing and suddenly you weren’t hot anymore. You kept continuing to do the same thing and no one cares. You don’t really understand what it was that made you successful. I think that people who are physically gifted can be in that same sort of conundrum. You know I was always this, I was always that I was looked great and now I look like poop. What happened.  

Chris: [00:30:06] Right. And no one cares about me anymore. I’m not a big deal anymore.  

Mike: [00:30:13] Yeah that’s true to that. That another layer said layer that you might wear on top of it. But compare that to somebody who was good enough physically but mentally would just outwork everyone else. You know just go and go and go. And those are the people I think where it sticks. Where you know you look at them today, they still look as good as any 50-year-old as any 60-year-old has the right to look. Because they beat it into themselves. You know they’ve forged themselves into that athlete you know that person who could do X Y Z and the person who can forge themselves into that is mentally tough athlete. And now here’s the other sort of disparate example. I’m presently working with a gymnastics club. It’s a high level club. One of the top 10 clubs in the nation. They’ve got to watch a lots of. And these are girls which for people who look at the scary pictures on the internet it might be hard to fathom but they’re very tough and they’re not afraid of me anymore. These are kids you know 14, 15. They already have their D1 scholarships in the back. They’re really gifted but the ones that truly excel are the ones who are mentally tough. And you can look at some of these athletes and it’s an interesting set. We look at a person’s book or their DVD and you know this person super-strong and they’re super muscular and say this is what I did to get this. And OK great I’m going to try that out. What’s interesting if you look at the world of competitive athletics what you typically see are a group of people who do all the same thing. And in the world of gymnastics you have a group of athletes they all do the same thing everyday day in day out. Yet you still have a diversity of body types because there’s no getting around that. Now you have plenty that appear to be the clichéd gymnast physique. You know short, dense, solid muscles you know kind of wide. They look like they can pick up a balance beam and beat you with it. And then there are some that sort of defy that. There are some that are kind of skinny. There are some that don’t really look that strong but they can still you know go and do everything else. Those are the kids who just want it so bad that they are wringing every ounce of potential from their less than ideal physiques. That comes from mental toughness. Those are the kids that are going to just get themselves there anyway they can if the desire is tremendous. Now of course there is that perfect storm athlete. Every sport has these where you know physical giftedness is combined with a purifying work ethic. And when you add in it then you have yeah. Yeah. Then you don’t want to compete against those people and they will just be unstoppable.  

Chris: [00:33:36] Yeah it is actually that, that person that just at all levels. And I you know I’m a big follower of all kinds of sports. And you know I love college basketball. I mean that’s the person that just excel at their high school. Dominated in college. And then let’s just say they went on the NBA and they just there are you know just crushing it right from the get go. It’s just that perfect storm that you know comes. You know it’s your Michael Jordan is your Tiger Woods type of guy. You know it’s just they’re just here and there. And it’s easy to pick those two out. But you know there’s obviously a lot of others that are you know in the current world of sports. Well and moving on just because you know I don’t want the people to not hear about you talk about fear. Because fear is a huge part of mental toughness. And so my question is the topic of fear is so compelling because we all have them. We all have fears on some level. Some of us fear seemingly harmless things like performing karaoke, public speaking or interviews like this. Some of us have real powerful forms of fear like a fear of heights, fear of confrontation or snakes. Fear can be physically dangerous to us or simply emotional. But both of us both can be very real to the person feeling them. What three things and you know see if you can come up with three things quickly. Can someone tackling a fear based situation do right away to help them deal with that fear and potentially work through it and overcome it.  

Mike: [00:35:44] Great question. A challenge to sort of distilled down to something back work. Just because there’s sort of a myriad of issues that can feed into that. I think that when we’re talking about fear Chris, the first thing that’s important is to be very honest with oneself. And it’s a fears is a challenging topic particularly for males. Guys are not always honest with themselves. They particularly when it relates to things that they perceive as shortcomings. And I don’t think that there’s any guy who has a fear of something that they’re proud of. Hey did I ever mentioned of what I’m afraid of. It’s a long list and guys are not going to initiate that conversation and not get married.  

Chris: [00:36:41] That’s I hanging out at the bar having a beer with your buddy talking.  

Mike: So the first thing is to open yourself up to what is true. And it is true. Everyone has things that they are afraid of. Even the most hardened courageous men among us have something that they don’t want to lose. So when that’s the case you know I’m not afraid of anything. Well you have called, you have a spouse, do you have kids. Oh yeah, ok. It’s sometimes it’s so external to you, you don’t think about it. But there’s something there and there’s generally a few things for most people. So understand that it exists. Then identified what specifically exists. What is it that we’re afraid of? And some of them are kind of rational. You know we have members of the armed forces who are deployed overseas in harm’s way. Do you think they’re afraid? Of course. Is that still reasonable. Of course it is. If it were absent might that indicate a potential problem. Yeah. Somebody who is not afraid in combat is prone to getting themselves or someone else hurt. Because they’re not really acting in accordance with the risks involved. So we need to sort of open ourselves up to the existence of fear and we need to identify what our own fears are or if there’s a couple of them, what’s the one that really seems to be getting in the way. And then when we know what fear is getting in the way. And as you pointed out Chris, it can be things that are fairly innocuous. You know the fear of public speaking; everyone use I use that frequently as an example it’s a good one. And I think that the best saying is from that point on is to figure out well what’s the plan here. How are we going to deal with this? In some people have the goal of making fears go away. I think that’s unrealistic. I think that your mind also realizes it’s unrealistic and there’s a thing about dealing with anything mind related and that is you cannot lie to you. Your mind knows when you are BS-ing it. When people say things like these are lonely people but when people say things like well you know you just have to think positive. You just have to do this thing or that thing. If it doesn’t feel like that’s the right thing for you or that’s realistic for you. Your mind subconsciously is going to reject that notion. So you can’t lie to you. You can’t act as though everything is OK. If it’s not okay you need to at least address it. And I think that one of the sayings that more people are afraid of than they realize are negative, well let’s not even call it negative. Let’s call them difficult emotions. That’s a phrase I learned from a hypnosis trainer named Craig Siegel and I like a lot. Difficult emotions. Because all emotions have you know something potentially to offer in terms of instruction. So people don’t like to feel fat as an example. People will do any number of things to avoid feeling sad you know they drink. They distract themselves with choices that may not be you know healthy for them in the long run or they just do immersive activities to keep their minds engaged. You know there’s video games or whatever it happens to be.  

Chris: [00:40:56] Just kind of sidetracked themselves from that and whatever it is.  

Mike: [00:41:00] It’s kind of a little temporary anesthesia from you know whatever is going on because they don’t want to feel sad. I propose something kind of radical. If you’re experiencing a difficult emotion maybe you could just experience it.  

Chris: [00:41:23] Wow.  

Mike: [00:41:25] Hey there it is. If your girlfriend that left you then you feel bad. Maybe you should, because that reflects that this was important. If the first inclination is well guess, I have to go and get drunk for three days and just kind of numb myself out. Well I don’t think there’s a lot of learning there. I don’t think that whatever it was that may have led you her leaving you know I mean it may have been because she is a crappy person. It may be because you’re a crappy person. It may be that you were not well suited for each other but you’re not going to come to any sort of sense of clarity. If all you do is hide from the unpleasantness. We as a culture Chris do not in these modern times do not do difficult things well. We tend to avoid them. And then we tend to rationalize our inability to confront difficult things whether it’s emotional or physical earlier. With all sorts of you know very you know compelling well-reasoned sounding ways. But the bottom line is we don’t do difficult well and that’s not the hallmark of a tough person. A tough person can handle the negativity that comes from you know some of the situations that life will throw at us. You know the lost that one has to deal with when one of love one dies. You know sometimes you just have to experience difficult emotions. People don’t handle things like that. Because you know that separation. Those are inevitable things that that’s just a byproduct of life on this planet. And if you cannot deal with that then eventually you’re going to find yourself shrinking away from other things that cause disappointment and many things that can cause disappointment are things that are amazing if they work. You know one of the reasons that I’ve done some things which are unique is because I’m not talented, I’m not necessarily smart, I just I can take it. I can handle whatever the cost is, whatever the pain is. I can endure things. And I believe it is the capacity to endure that sometimes is the greatest talent of all. Because it allows me to hang on long enough until I get that thing.  

Chris: [00:44:14] Right. Yeah. And if anyone listening hasn’t read your personal story on the psychology of strength page then you know they should because that would give them a little bit of a blueprint for your ability to endure. Because of what you endured for so many years of your childhood and even in your early adulthood. And when you go through so many difficult situations and then it just prepares you for the next difficult situation and you just handle things better.  

Mike: [00:44:55] Everything is context. You know I had a boss about 10 years ago who used to be a squadron commander for Delta Force. Anyone doesn’t know what that is. That is the Army’s top secret anti-terrorism force. Sometimes they call it the unit when they make a TV show about it now because they made a TV show about how top secret is really not there. But anyway, when I worked for this guy after he had retired from active duty service. I found that he was not particularly tolerant of excuses or much of anything that didn’t have to do with getting the job done. And people would approach him and they would say well you know I’m dealing with this or dealing with that. And he said look, this was in Las Vegas. So generally he would look outside and the sun will be shining because that’s what it does in Las Vegas. The sun is shining and no one is shooting at you. I don’t want to hear about it. So depending on your life experience some things can seem like a big problem. For him, many things didn’t seem like a problem at all because of his own life experience. So when you’ve confronted things that are difficult, you are mentally strong. The one were talking about fear to sort of tie that up. What’s important is to acknowledge its existence. Identify what specifically you’re dealing with. Because until you do that you’re not really going to be able to formulate a plan for handling it you know. Maybe it’s something that has to do with your own personal safety. But so many times it’s just something that has to do with your comfort level. You know your ego. You know saving face is doing things that are unpleasant or difficult and if they’re merely unpleasant well that’s doable. You know we can handle that. We just have to choose too. And if it involves dealing with something that’s unpleasant then deal with it. You know take it, you can handle it. We’re just out of practice.  

Chris: [00:47:12] That’s right. That’s exactly right. We just have to practice by putting ourselves in those situations and then realizing once we come out the other side, oh wow how many times you hear somebody who did something they had a strong anxiety about a serious nervousness about and they go it really wasn’t that bad afterwards.  

Mike: [00:47:33] I can’t believe I waited this long.  

Chris: [00:47:36] Now they’ve built it up into their hand into this monster that was like something they could not accomplish and then oh that really wasn’t that bad. Why wait the whole year like stressing myself out about that and then boom. So I mean and a lot of things in life are that way. And now that’s great. I really appreciate your insight on that because I know as I stated we all face fears on some level and to be able to listen to somebody who’s dealt with his own set of fears and how he’s come out on the other side and dealt with them and overcome them and moved on. That’s fantastic. You know, thank you. Obviously we could talk for hours. We already have. And I’d love to continue the conversation. I just really appreciate your time and your ability to really dissect some of these questions. And I know I’ve gotten a lot out of it. Enjoyed it. I hope the listeners all have and spoke with Mr. Mike Gillette of strength psychology is one in a billion. There’s really no one else like him and we really hope that you’re able to check that out and really hopefully change your lives because of all the wonderful things and tools that Mike was able to give you. Thank you so much Mike for your time.  

Mike: [00:49:01] Thanks so much Chris.