The world of fitness, nutrition, losing weight and reaching other goals is so daunting at times that it’s problematic. Countless people quit and stay fat simply because there’s too much to do and too much to think about. That’s why my reboot protocol is heavy on letting people off the hook.
“Diet and exercise” go hand in hand. If you tell someone you don’t want to be fat anymore, they’re bound to blurt it out — diet and exercise. I’ve already catalogued the reasons why diets don’t work and now I’m going to address why exercise isn’t as important as you think.
Am I telling you that you can make huge strides in changing your body composition — more real change than you’ve ever accomplished — without a bunch of traditional exercise? Yes. I’m telling you exactly that. And that should be liberating, refreshing, and give you a positive outlook. Rebooting is successful because it addresses your real needs, not pseudo-needs pushed by the gym industry, the agricultural industry or the pharmaceutical industry.
If you enjoy exercise, fine. But you have to change your paradigm about how beneficial exercise really is because thinking it’s 80% of your results when it’s only 20% is going to lead you back down the rabbit hole.
Want to lose body fat? Accept that 80% of your body composition is determined by what you eat.
This is the fact no gym in the world will tell you. I understand why — when you have the facts there’s really no need for the gym. Even people who aren’t fat anymore or who are training for athletic performance rarely need gyms when you really get down to it.
But what’s the first thing everyone does when January rolls around? They join a gym. Or a boot camp. Or Crossfit. Or a kickboxing program. Or [Insert name of exercise program here]. Exercise, exercise, exercise.
You can be sore tomorrow or you can be sorry tomorrow. ~ Bootcamp 360
And gyms love to torture you. Trainers love to torture you. The weight loss shows on tv are all about torture. For what?
If you’re lucky enough to get a trainer who talks about nutrition, you’re probably still unlucky enough to get one that feeds you the same old lies. Don’t get me wrong; their nutrition plan will work for a while and it works for them long-term because they live in a gym. But I don’t want you to live in a gym. I don’t want you to be a slave.
Here’s what I want for you: I want you to have a lifestyle that you can effortlessly maintain. I want you to be able to go on a cruise or go to the beach and not workout for a week or two weeks and not gain a pound. I want you to be able to invest the time you’d spend in a gym with your kids. I want you to invest the money you spend on the gym on some other aspect of your health that’s far more important.
The entire gym thing is one big treadmill and it’s unnecessary.
Any program that would want to have you as a lifetime member is lying to you.
Lifetime Fitness is a major player in the gym industry. Their facilities are gorgeous, multi-level monstrosities of equipment and programs that are unnecessary for 99% of their clients.
The Lifetime Fitness brand is sold as a community centered around fitness (and supposedly health) that makes you want to keep them around — as if they’re part of your family — until the day you die. They almost don’t want you to reach your goals (because then you wouldn’t need them). Or, if you do reach your goals, they want you dependent on them so you won’t lose your progress.
All gyms, bootcamps, etc. have this same goal and focus. You need us to be successful, forever.
Contrast that with my personal group coaching program — Total Body Reboot — that I designed (and that this blog is based on). The first goal of reboot is to give people all the facts and make sure they understand them. The rest of the program is teaching them deeper about their body while helping them create a lifestyle they can sustain permanently while providing the support of an involved community.
I make it clear to my clients that in 4 to 6 months they will have all of the information and tools they need to leave my program and never have to come back. When I’m done with them I want to be able to move on and change more lives, permanently. I don’t need lifetime members and my members don’t need me for their lifetime.
When you have the truth and the tools, you don’t need anyone. And it doesn’t matter where you live or where you travel to, how many vacations you take, how many parties you attend or how many holidays pass, your results never change.
Why Hazda hunter-gatherers are important to understanding why exercise isn’t all it’s cracked up to be…
The health industry keeps telling us that modern humans are fat because they’re sedentary. We sit around all day in offices and in front of the television and don’t get enough exercise. See, it’s all your fault again, you lazy SOB.
But a recent study on Hazda hunter-gatherers showed that contrary to popular belief, us fat, lazy, modern humans expend an almost identical amount of calories going about our daily lives as hunter-gatherers do. In some cases, we may even expend more.
This wouldn’t be a very important study if hunter-gatherers were known for their obesity epidemics and neolithic health problems, but they’re not. So, it must be something other than calorie expenditure that’s causing our problems. The calorie expenditure isn’t different, but the diet absolutely is. In fact, the diet of hunter-gatherers is almost completely the opposite of the SAD diet.
How’s that heaping spoonful of fitness industry chicanery taste?
Exercise is 20% or less of your body composition.
If you’re dozens or hundreds of pounds overweight, you have very little reason to exercise. You can get down to a healthy weight through nutrition and activity alone (I group walking and playing into “activity” and not “exercise”).
But I’m not implying that exercise is worthless. It does have benefits; lots of them. It just shouldn’t be your main focus.
So why is it everyone’s main focus? Because they’ve been fed the lies about the importance of thermodynamics in weight loss and “calories-in, calories-out” thinking. They believe exercise is important because you have to decrease caloric intake and increase caloric expenditure. The focus is on creating large calorie deficits. As Time Magazine writes, it’s the calories stupid.
That article, in fact, is completely useless. It’s absolutely about what you eat and not how much. And exercise plays a very small role. Like your parents, teachers, and government, Time magazine and the rest of the mainstream media have failed you again.
Doesn’t everyone want six pack abs? You already have them, they’re just covered up by a layer of fat. No amount of sit ups or other “core” exercises are going to reveal those abs until you lose the weight. And what’s most important to losing the weight? Not exercise, nutrition.
I’m not saying that core exercises are bogus, they certainly aren’t. I’m just pleading with you to address the nutrition first and foremost. When you get down to a weight where your abs are starting to show, hit those core exercises and help bring them out. But that’s not how 99% of people go about it — we’ve all seen the guy 50 pounds overweight pounding out sit ups on a yoga mat.
Can you expedite weight loss through exercise? Sure. I’m not arguing against that. But, focusing on exercise even a little more than you should leads to higher failure rates. My argument is that you can’t expedite weight loss if you quit. I don’t want you to fail, so I feel it’s my responsibility to clear up the misconceptions and let you off the hook.
If you have an aversion to exercise right now, you need to know that you can still reach your goals. If you don’t have a lot of time to invest in exercise, you need to know that you can still reach your goals.
I get people 80% of the way with the least amount of friction and then I address the exercise component to get them that last 20% of results. For people who don’t have an aversion to exercise or who enjoy it, most of this article may not be for you, unless your level of exercise is unhealthy.
So to be clear: I’m not anti-exercise, I’m pro-efficiency. It’s 20%, okay? Let’s spend most of our time on the other 80%.
Shift your “exercise” paradigm. Not all exercise is healthy, much less beneficial.
Chronic cardio is not healthy exercise. The human body is not designed to run long distances, especially in shoes. Most people have horrible running form (and running “gear”) that destroys their joints. Other chronic exercise programs degrade long-term health, cause massive amounts of inflammation, and can leave you immune compromised. Chronic exercise can lead to chronically high cortisol levels resulting in weight gain and insulin resistance. How is that helpful?
Instead of citing the law of thermodynamics, trainers and gyms should be citing the law of diminishing returns because the majority of their clients aren’t exercising too little, they’re exercising too much.
Almost any “exercise” (besides walking), can potentially become considered “chronic” if you’re not careful. I would argue that doing Crossfit five days per week is chronic exercise. Running daily or for distances greater than five miles more than a few times per week is chronic. Distance swimming, triathlete training, excessive weight lifting, or 45 minute long bootcamp classes day in and day out — all chronic.
There are smarter, healthier ways to exercise. Unless you’re training for competition, my argument is that you can get the body you’ve always dreamed of — six pack abs, toned muscles, fit and agile frame — with three or less days of exercise per week with each session lasting 25 minutes or less and none of your sessions being repetitive or featuring the same activity. That’s five minutes for warmup and 20 minutes of actual work.
For instance, you can nix running altogether and replace it with one day of sprinting. You can nix going to the gym to lift weights and use an ultimate sandbag in your backyard. You can follow a two day per week body weight training protocol in a hotel room or one bedroom apartment. You can swim, bike, or hike. You can play ultimate frisbee or flag football.
When you shift your exercise paradigm it’s no longer about slaving away, but sculpting the body you want while having fun and investing less time. Would you rather spend an hour at the gym or 15 minutes sprinting and then playing with your daughter for 45 minutes? You decide.
What happens when you travel for two weeks and can’t go to your boot camp class and you’re stuck in the mindset that 80% of your results come from the exercise you can’t participate in? You gain weight.
Start thinking about nutrition as giving you the body you always wanted and exercise as just giving you a sharper, more agile and supple version of that.
Fitness models and bodybuilders are cheaters.
All of the magazines that you pass by in the grocery store featuring men and women with washboard abs and sexy toned bodies are lying to you. If you’re fairly close to the body you want, just dehydrate yourself and oil up and you’ll look pretty close to them because that’s exactly what they do. If you want to look exactly like them, throw in a little Photoshop.
There’s a good chance that people with giant muscles are cheating with growth hormones or steroids. The human body just isn’t designed to get that big, nor does being that big help you in any way — fit and trim with healthy muscle tone is what makes you a highly skilled predator. When is the last time you saw a cheetah or lion with gigantic, bulging muscles? Watch people with gigantic muscles fight — they gas out faster than leaner, healthier fighters.
I will say that once you’ve gotten to your goal weight and you want to seriously sculpt your body or moderately increase muscle size, you’re probably going to have to invest time in lengthier and harder exercise regimens. But that doesn’t mean it’s healthy. The Rebooted Body is about permanently sustainable results, not results that constantly take lots of time and work to maintain.
Don’t use the gym rats and magazine models as your examples. They’re lying to you. I’m not talking to you bad ass athletes here, I’m talking to moms and dads, corporate executives and small business owners, teachers, bankers, and kids. If you’re an athlete and you love your exercise, more power to you. The goal here is to not overcomplicate the process or let dogma get in the way of results for the average person.
Keep Reading: Don’t miss our pillar article, 11 Reasons Why You’re Struggling to Lose Body Fat (And What to Do Differently).