MasculON Fitness Course – Six-Pack Abs in Six Weeks

Awesome news! I’m now the Fitness Expert for MasculON.

MasculON is uniquely male self-improvement. They find out what areas men want to improve in, recruit experts in those fields, then work with those experts to develop fantastic courses for men everywhere.

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As you know, I’ve been very passionate about improving men’s lives for a long time. I believe the MasculON Fitness Course does exactly that – and does it very well. I’m incredibly excited to be partnering with the fantastic marketing minds at MasculON. They do a great job of helping me get the word out, so I can improve the lives of as many men as possible.

The MasculON Fitness Course Includes:

  • Six-Week Guide to Six-Pack Abs
    • Full Meal Plan and Exercise Program for Six Week Intro Period
  • Exercise Training Video Pack
    • Teaches you over 25 Fat-Blasting, Muscle-Building Exercises
  • MasculON Fitness eBook
    • Learn all the concepts required for lifelong health and fitness.

Go pick up your copy today!

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Why Get Fit? – Part 1 – Be Sexier

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Sexy – adj. – Sexually attractive or exciting.

Ex. “I want to sex that sexy Man.” -Sexy Woman

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I have always wanted to be fit. Except that’s not actually true at all.

In high school, I worked out to attract women (read: girls). At some point in college, I had a woman (read: girl), so I stopped working out. This led to fatness, laziness, general not-manliness. At some point I realized this, and my actual goal became to get fit just for the sake of being fit.

Most of you reading are not interested in putting in the work just for the sake of being fit.

In fact, when you wrote down your goals, I bet they looked something like this:

  1. Look good naked.
  2. Be good at sports.
  3. Feel good and live forever.

Or, put more simply:

  1. Be sexier (physically).
  2. Be sexier (socially).
  3. Be happy.

You’re in the right place if you’re interested in attracting women.

So, you’ll be more likely to find yourself in bed with a woman, and more likely to be invited back. 

Reason #1 to Get ManFit – It will make you sexier.

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Improve at Every Opportunity

Men must eat – it’s an inescapable fact.

Men have a finite number of meals per day (hopefully not too many), and a finite number of days in their lives.

Every meal presents an opportunity for one of three outcomes:

  1. Get worse.
  2. Stay the same.
  3. Improve.

Every meal you eat represents one fewer meal you have left – one fewer chance to improve.

Stairs of Success

Stairs of Success

Seek to improve with each meal. A new ManFit law:

ManFit Law#1.1: Make every meal count.

The exact same argument can be made for training. Finite reps per set, sets per session, session per life.

ManFit Law#3.1: Make every rep count.

Use every opportunity you have in the kitchen and at the gym to improve as a Man.

Do Men Count Calories?

No. And neither should women. The fact of the matter is that you can’t control your calorie balance by counting.

Eating should not feel like Math homework.

Eating does not require a calculator.

It is widely accepted among obesity researchers that the human brain (acting principally from the hypothalamus) enacts changes in hunger and metabolic expenditure to maintain or achieve a desired fat mass.

In other words, your brain decides how fat you will be (termed “set point”), and will do everything it can to make you (or keep you) that fat. You can try and fight your brain, but the results won’t be pretty. People typically fail in their fitness goals because they try to battle their brain, rather than work with it.

Let’s look at a few common approaches to weight loss and why they fail:

The Plan: “I’ll eat 1200cals/day. Since I currently burn 2400cals/day, I’ll lose weight”

Why it Fails: You didn’t convince your brain to lower your “set point”, so it works to keep the fat. Your metabolic expenditure (calories out) gets automatically reduced for you – isn’t that handy? You feel groggy, listless, cold, and tired. You’re so hungry by the end of the week that you eat two large pizzas.

The Plan: “I’ll exercise away 400 cals/day.”

Why it Fails: You didn’t convince your brain to lower your “set point”, so it works to keep the fat. Your brain makes you hungrier, so you eat more. If you refuse to eat more, your metabolic expenditure reduces just as it did above.

Resistance is futile, so make your brain stop resisting you. Luckily, this is easy to do, and happens pretty naturally if you just eat real food.

Your “set point” is determined (in large part) by the “reward value” of your diet. I’ll spare you the agonizing details explaining this convoluted concept (check the links in the appendix of this post if you’re interested). The short version is that processed food product manufacturers employ “flavor engineers,” whose sole job is to perfect the taste profile of their products so they engage the reward circuitry in your brain that keeps you coming back for more. The degree to which your reward circuitry is excited is the “reward value” of that food.

The more rewarding your food, the higher your “set point.” Eat food designed by nature (read: real food), and you can avoid the elevation of your “set point” forced by artificially rewarding hyperpalatable processed food products. Companies like Hostess and Pepsi are literally making you fat because it sells more of their product.

Your brain knows how much fat you are currently carrying by measuring your circulating leptin (a hormone) levels. Systemic inflammation, like that caused by the consumption of garbage food (especially vegetable oils), can interfere with leptin signaling such that your brain accidentally keeps you fatter than it wants to.

The easy two-step process to convincing your brain to help you be lean:

  1. Reduce the reward value of your diet: Eat Real Food.
  2. Reduce systemic inflammation: Eat Real Food.

Oh, I guess that’s only one step. Eat Real Food.

Do that, and your brain will take care of the rest. Eat when you’re hungry, until you’re not anymore. Man this stuff is easy when your brain is working with you.

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If you followed the logic in this article, you’re probably asking “If I eat more than I’m hungry for, but it’s all real food, won’t my brain increase metabolic expenditure to burn off the extra and keep me lean?”

You are very insightful. There’s one small caveat here, however. Long-term caloric excess appears to increase systemic inflammation, which can mess with your leptin signaling and general health. It appears that this negative effect can be counteracted by fasting. So I fast regularly, then go all-out when I do eat (in terms of quantity) with no fear. I often feel a little hot in the hour or two after a large meal, which I believe is a combination of the thermogenic effect of food (TEF) and a compensatory uptick in my metabolic expenditure.

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If you are some sort of control freak – or just generally hate fun – you can track your intake if you want. If you’re weight stable, you will be eating roughly 15 cals/ lb of body weight / day. You should get in about 1g of protein / lb of body weight, 1.5 if you’re trying to gain muscle. The rest is just noise.

I want to stress – again – that I think counting is a complete waste of time.

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-Appendix-

  1. Seduced by Food
  2. Why Do We Ever Stop Eating? Series: (1,2,3,4,5,6,7)
  3. Food Reward: Approaching a Scientific Consensus
  4. Assorted Food Reward Posts (39 articles and growing)
  5. FRHO vs CHO

 

ManDiet Detail

This site is all about implementation, and I have no desire to bog you down with unnecessary detail. That’s why the “Eat Like a Man” page is simple and to the point.

Unfortunately, I’m already getting questions for clarification of minute details (can I eat corn? what about dairy?), so it’s obvious I need to flesh that out a little more. So you can click below to read more about diet. If “Eat Real Food” is good enough for you, no need to read on.

Continue reading

Men are Built to Feast and Fast

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“Holy #$*&! Are you really gonna eat all that?”

-Just about every woman I eat in front of (and some Men)

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That’s often followed up with some comment asking how my abs look the way they do despite eating so much (only from the women). The irony here is that my body fat stays so low (partially) because I eat so much at meal time.

hors d'oeuvre

hors d'oeuvre (seriously)

I typically eat two meals a day, about eight hours apart. Since I’m a man with some serious lean mass (5’11”, 180lbs, 8% BF), and I’m fairly active, this means I have to get in quite a few calories in both of my daily meals. This is by design.

ManFit Law#4: Men are built to feast and fast.

I fast regularly (~16 hrs a day, 5 days a week) for a multitude of reasons:

  • Fasting increases Growth Hormone secretion (1,2,3). More GH means more muscle and less fat.
  • Fasting improves metabolic flexibility. Fat burning ability improves (it has to), and insulin sensitivity increases. (1,2,3,4,5). Basically, your body’s engine becomes more efficient.
  • Fasting makes you more energetic and mentally sharper due to higher circulating levels of adrenaline and noradrenaline (1,2).
  • Fasting retains lean mass better than standard caloric restriction (1,2).
  • Fasted training causes more muscle growth than fed training (1). I personally ingest BCAAs before fasted workouts for reasons described here.
  • Fasting improves brain health (1).
  • Fasting prevents cancer (1).
  • Fasting increases lifespan (1).

See? I told you, a multitude of reasons to fast.

Meal frequency is on a spectrum from grazing (constant snacking) to total starvation. Like many things in life, deciding where to land on that spectrum is a bit of a balancing act. We don’t want to be constant snackers, because snacking makes you fat and weak. Longer fasts have shown health benefits, but you will start losing muscle mass eventually. Sixteen hours a few times a week is a really good balance. 

It’s really easy to get going with this stuff. Don’t eat after dinner tonight, then skip breakfast and don’t eat anything until lunch. Now do that four or five days a week. That was easy.

"That was easy."

"That was easy."

And since I know you’ll ask, black coffee and water are fine while fasting.

A Word of Warning:

Fasting temporarily increases cortisol, a stress hormone. If you have issues with cortisol dysregulation (stressful job, overtraining, poor sleep schedule), fasting can exacerbate these issues. Though I view fasting as absolutely essential for becoming an optimal Man, you need to make sure you have your shit together before you start fasting multiple times a week. Get some sleep, cut back on the coffee, don’t overtrain – then get your fasting on.

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Big h/t to Mark Sisson for his wonderful five-part series on the benefits of fasting (1,2,3,4,5).

Men Squat (Deep)

You should be squatting (deep and heavy). Aside from the direct benefits to the muscles you’ll be stressing, you’ll also be sending a large stimulus to your central nervous system, resulting in a system-wide anabolic environment (increased testosterone among other things). Squatting literally makes you more of a Man.

[This video applies to all of you who weigh less than 100lbs more than you want to. If you're that big, focus and diet and long walks for now.]

And by deep, I mean hips just below knees, or “below parallel” as Rippetoe terms it.

If you’re going to squat full depth like a Man, you probably need to open some stuff up:

Repeating an important point from the video, you’ll want to say “fuck it,” throw some weight on the bar, and get after it. That would be myopic and immature – boyish. Be a Man and get your mobility in line first. Besides, most of you probably haven’t seen the inside of a gym in quite a while, so this mobility work will serve to get you warmed up (long-term) to the process of getting your sweat on regularly.

Kelly Starrett, an all-around mobility boss, has a few tips for those having trouble getting into position:

  1. Open Up Your Hips for Better Squatting
  2. Open Up Your Hips and Squat
  3. Pre-Squat Hip Opener Mob-Rx

And for the record, I hope to shoot most of these videos with someone else holding the camera.

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A Man Sets Goals

I’ve written about goals before, and that information is still valuable, but today’s discussion is more focused on goals as they specifically apply to the information that will be available on this site.

“Nothing in biology makes sense except in light of evolution”

-Dobzhansky

A ManFit motto henceforth will be:

No plan makes sense except in light of your goals.

-ManFit

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"I didn't even want a carrot"

"I didn't even want a carrot."

In other words, advice is only useful if it helps you achieve your goal. I can give you excellent advice for fixing your car, but it sure as hell isn’t going to help you lose fat.

Starting as soon as tomorrow, there will be videos up here in which I advise you in a number of areas; namely, exercise and nutrition. While watching each of these videos, pay careful attention as I explicitly state who should (and should not) follow the advice given in the video.

For example, whey protein consumption can make a lot of sense, represent an unnecessary expense, or cause harm. The difference? Context (who, what, when, where) and your goals (why).

I consume whey after workouts, but my mother does not (and should not).

As you wait yet another day for videos (thanks, everyone, for your patience), use this time to think about what you want. As I wrote at the link above:

Be open and honest with yourself about what your goals actually are. Striving for six-pack abs may not seem virtuous or valiant, but the heart wants what it wants.