Author Archives: natemiyaki
Ladies, you are looking lovely this evening. Your Certified Gentleman is back to escort you through the fitness filth.
Guys, hows it hanging? Small, with significant shrinkage? Well, the weather is starting to get colder. That’s the excuse I use.
I know I’ve been away for a while, not posting, not answering questions, etc. Part of that, as most of you already know, is that both my mom and dad passed away in the last 6 months. Yes its true, the Japanese Ron Burgundy and the Irish Mad Woman had enough of their 7 kids, and decided it was time to move on. I do not blame them, and I will be writing a post in their honor in the near future.
But for now, the more positive news of why I’ve been away. During that time, I was obviously reminded of just how short life is. And I thought hard about what I am truly passionate about. It certainly wasn’t trying to learn everything about digital publishing, online marketing, and sales. It was writing, creating content, and being Da People’s Nutrition Educator…
So instead of continuing to try to do everything myself, I teamed up with a publishing company called Shapeshifter Media. They can do what they love to do, I can do what I love to do, and we can both be happy. Man, I’m glad I did. Over the last couple of months, their awesome team has truly helped me focus, and brought out the best in me as a writer and coach. I’m proud to announce our co-produced product is now available:
They’ve given me permission here to post up the section both Kalai and I wrote about our own fitness journeys, and how this book was ultimately born. It’s really more than just a book man. Its close to 15 years of research, experience, trial and error, successes and mistakes, etc. You can read about where we screwed up in the past, and hopefully avoid some of the same mistakes. As you’ll notice, they kept my foul language and 6th-grade humor style, hahahaha. I wouldn’t have it any other way my friend. Hope you enjoy
*Warning. This is a long post, so get your popcorn ready.
*The following is an excerpt from the book Feast Your Fat Away: The New Rules for Fast, Permanent Weight Loss
*The actual layout in the book is way nicer and more pro. This is just my own copy and paste, add a few photos, shitty do-it-yourself version.
ABOUT NATE MIYAKI
Sometimes the best way to help those around you is just by being an open book and authentically sharing your own personal journey and experiences – the good and the bad, the triumphs and the setbacks, the answers and the questions, the valuable lessons and the mistakes.
I promise I’m not one of the fitness celebrities who loves to listen to myself talk, or I guess, read myself write. I grow tired of myself often. And I don’t think you really give a damn about Tweets and Facebook posts about my bathroom routine.
I only hope that sharing my story with you accomplishes 3 things:
1. It shortens your learning curve.
If I can help you avoid some of the frustration I’ve experienced, I’m all for it man. Parts of my journey just completely sucked, and I hope I can help you avoid some of the same mistakes I’ve made – as an athlete, physique enthusiast, and coach.
2. It gives you confidence that regardless of failed attempts in the past, you can reach all of your health and fitness goals.
I can only laugh when people suggest that I was born to be in great shape. If only they knew how many times I failed and doubted whether it was even possible for me to succeed. Trust me, I’m nothing special. If I can find a way to do it, you can too.
3. It shows the authenticity of this book, why I take a no bullshit approach, and my sincere desire in wanting to help you reach your goals.
As you’ll see, Feast Your Fat Away is more than just a book. It’s the culmination of over 15 years of researching, testing, assessing, and constantly refining in order to find what works in the real world – not just for the genetically elite, but also for an average dude like me.
I’d love to tell you that creating this approach was purely out of the goodness of my heart and for the benefit of the world. But I’d be lying. A lot of the motivation to get it right came from my own personal obsession and selfish goals.
But that’s the best type of teacher to learn from – the one who has something personally at stake in the matter and is fighting right alongside you to achieve the same goals. This world is full of too many people who talk one way but live another.
No one – other than maybe Ron Burgundy – is more passionate about building glorious physiques than I am. It’s not only my career; it’s been my sport, my hobby, and my life.
I may be the one or two people in your life that truly understands how important health, fitness, and building a beach-ready physique can become. I know how it can turn into a top priority… a borderline obsession (*warning – please don’t fall off the cliff and become a crazy fitness person – they’re annoying as hell).
I consider myself a lifelong student, which means I’m a consumer just like you. I know how good it feels when sincere educators and good advice bring you closer to your goals. Unfortunately, I also know how terrible it feels when scams and bad advice disappoint, wasting your time and money.
You’ll not get any bullshit from me, my friends. You’re going to get what I honestly believe is the most efficient route to health enhancement and physique development. It’s what I’ve used to achieve results with my family, my friends, my clients, and myself. It’s what I truly believe can help you.
Shall I tell you more about my journey and how Feast Your Fat Away was born?
THE EARLY YEARS
I grew up with 5 older brothers and an older sister. They were all skinny, and I came out of the womb looking like a big, dimply potato. My brothers were ruthless. Hey fat boy, get over here. Are you ticklish? They joked that our mom must have had a fling with the mailman who kind of looked like Santa Clause. She’s Irish and drinks a lot, so you never know…
The nickname they gave me, Baby Sumo, dominated my childhood.
What do you think that does to a young kid in his formative years? I’ll tell you what it does. It scars him for life. It forces him to seek answers and make fitness his whole damn career. Thanks bros. I’m a semi-smart dude and good at math. I could have been an investment banker…
My fitness journey started in a variety of performance-based sports. I trained and competed in football, track, and martial arts. Later I added in acrobatics, stunts, and pro wrestling. I achieved good levels of success in each sport, but I didn’t look the part like I wanted to.
My less than impressive physique developed into what would be my natural, adult genetic predisposition – a skinny-fat guy.
Basically, when I was wearing clothes my coaches told me I needed to gain some weight. When I took my shirt off, they told me I needed to lose some flab. That was a frustrating time. Here I was doing all of this intense, consistent training, but I looked like I’d never stepped foot inside a gym.
And thus I learned a hard, but valuable lesson right off the bat – training and eating to improve sport performance is much different than training and eating to change body composition and physical appearance.
The results of my early training clients mirrored my own personal experience. My formal education included Kinesiology, Exercise Physiology, and Biomechanics. I came out of college a cocky kid, knowing I had more knowledge than most gym trainers and could design some of the best training programs on the planet.
Although my clients got stronger, became more athletic, improved times, and got better at performing exercises and drills, etc., their physique results were mediocre at best. It’s only when I started focusing on their nutrition plans that results took off.
If you retain only one piece of information from my experiences, I hope it’s this: your nutritional habits will have a far greater impact on your body composition, physique goals, and overall health than any other fitness component.
Since those early failures, I’ve been in the fitness industry for 15 years now, have personally trained hundreds of people, and have advised thousands more. I’ve worked with pro athletes, natural bodybuilders, bikini girls, fitness models, busy professionals, entrepreneurs, lawyers, doctors, moms, strippers, and crazy people alike…
…and there has been only one universal theme:
The clients who used diet as their primary weapon to improve their body composition and overall health profile were the ones who obtained the best results. They won – swiftly and quickly.
In fact, for some of the busy professionals I’ve worked with as a consultant to corporate health and wellness programs, diet was all they used to make dramatic changes. Here’s the truth many trainers don’t want to hear – most people could reach a healthy bodyweight and good biomarkers of health with diet alone…no formal exercise sessions needed.
Conversely, the clients who tried to use exercise to offset a poor diet or who thought they could eat whatever they wanted because they were exercising, obtained mediocre results at best. They tried to out-train a poor diet and they’re still fighting a battle they will never win.
In other words: behind every great body composition transformation, there is a good diet plan.
That’s why all of my subsequent continuing education (various nutrition courses and certifications) and self-education (reading books and research) over the past decade has been focused on nutrition.
THE NATURAL BODYBUILDING YEARS
As injuries ended my formal athletic career, I decided I was going to shift gears, lose flab, and finally build the body of my dreams.
I was never really into the cartoonish, juiced up, steroid bodybuilding look. But as a fat boy chasing that elusive 6-pack, I remember watching action movies with Bruce and Brandon Lee, Jean Claude Van Damme, Stallone, etc., and wanting to look like that so bad – a lean machine, Baby!
I read whatever fitness magazines and books I could get my hands on (which is why I popped a boner when I was first published in Men’s Fitness – pathetic, I know). I also studied the diet protocols of successful fitness competitors and athletes across the globe.
As I’ve become a professional in the field, I’ve learned that some of the more highly credentialed scientists frown upon learning from successful athletes. That makes no sense to me. I believe in learning from any resource you can. Why wouldn’t you try and learn a thing or two from people who get results in the real world and have achieved what you want to achieve?
You shouldn’t learn everything from them, because genetics and drugs sometimes play a part, but real world success always leaves a few useful strategies you can pick up and apply.
Besides, I wasn’t just interested in discussing theory in a classroom or lab or sounding smart to clients or in fitness forums. I was desperate to learn what actually worked in the real world. Natural bodybuilding had become my new sport, and I had to put up or shut up. I needed to put concepts to the test and gain practical experience in the real world.
Over the next few years I successfully competed in several natural bodybuilding shows. At different events, I also got to pick the brains of fellow competitors and coaches – people who were, or worked with, the most ripped people on the planet.
Here’s the most valuable lesson I learned while studying and applying natural bodybuilding and fitness nutrition principles – targeted numbers (the right amounts and ratios of calories, protein, carbs, and fats) can be used to achieve any higherlevel physique goal you desire – building muscle, burning fat, and looking awesome.
But it wasn’t all flowers and sunshine for me. I also experienced some of the negative drawbacks of traditional fitness and bodybuilding nutrition approaches.
1. Food sensitivities.
Some common foods recommended in traditional fitness diets – sugar-based workout drinks, gluten-based carbs, whole grains, dairy, artificial sweeteners, and chemical-loaded protein bars, etc., – can be problematic for overall health. At least, they were for me.
Over time, these dietary staples led to chronic inflammation, nagging joint pain, low energy, fatigue (maybe that’s why bodybuilders always tell you to take multiple naps a day – ain’t nobody with a real life got time for that, Man), and severe gastrointestinal distress.
The bowl became my best friend, and I could clear out a room with a backside shotgun blast. Who’s cooking eggs? That’s all fun and games when you’re with your buddies. It’s not so fun when you’re holding it in at the office in front of your boss or out on a date with your soul mate.
And all kidding aside, it’s a sign you’re not eating the right foods or that your body isn’t digesting certain foods properly.
2. Extreme bulking/cutting phases, weight fluctuations, and health implications.
I didn’t like the months of “garbage disposal-ing” food and bulking up, followed by the months of extreme calorie deficits, overtraining, and cutting down – all just to look good a few days out of the year. I almost felt like the ripped version of Nate Miyaki was just a Halloween costume.
“Hey Nate, you compete right? Take off your shirt and let me see.”
“Dude let me do a 4-month pre-competition diet first, then I’ll show you. I’m in offseason mode right now.”
I learned quickly that I’d rather find a less extreme, more reasonable approach where I could look good and be healthy year-round.
I remember one bulking phase I convinced myself I was getting huge, but I was really just getting fat and – more importantly – unhealthy. I could barely walk up a flight of stairs without sucking wind, my knees ached constantly, my blood pressure and cholesterol levels skyrocketed, and my doctor threatened to put me on several medications.
No physique is worth compromising your overall health. If you’re in your teens or 20’s, just trust me on that one. If you’re in your 30’s or above, you probably know exactly what I’m talking about.
Then there were the pre-competition cutting phases where I had to put my life on hold for months. Cutting calories and carbs to the extreme, never being able to go out and eat or socialize, walking around like a zombie wanting to gnaw off people’s arms, and going to bed starving at night and thinking of food yet suffering from insomnia and not being able to sleep. “Quick,what is 2+2?” “Uh, give me a minute. I think I know this one…”
That’s all fine and good if your life revolves around the gym, but I was getting older and trying to build a career of writing, speaking, educating, etc. You can’t do that if you have the brain function of a gnat.
I had proven to myself I could get in really good shape if I wanted. But given some of the drawbacks, I knew it was time to continue my educational journey if I was to reach my ultimate goal — finding a diet plan that allowed me to be in good shape year-round without compromising my health or career goals.
The above was just my personal, relatively mild negative experience with some of the potential drawbacks of competition diets.
I have had numerous former competitors, fitness models, and internet fitness celebrities contact me for coaching with straight-up horror stories. You see their great physiques in the magazines and online, but you rarely hear some of the heartbreaking stories behind the pictures.
Due to a lack of an informed approach, many competitors will use extreme drug, diet, and training protocols to get in competition shape, unknowingly (or sometimes knowingly) damaging their metabolism, natural hormone production, and long-term physical and psychological health.
They will yo-yo from extreme competition shape to clinically obese in just a few months. It’s madness, Man. You can only push your body so far before it fights back. Many end up with lifelong health, body weight, and body image struggles.
I have, and I hope you have, no interest in pursuing that route. Learn from the mistakes of these competitors – don’t ever compromise your health or happiness for a 6-pack. Find a better, more informed way.
THE PALEO YEARS
In looking to solve some of my own health issues, I dove into Paleo Diet theory and research. The basic summary is to cut out modern processed foods, including ADA proclaimed “health” foods, and eat how our ancestors ate – real, natural, whole foods.
In many ways, this was both the best and worst part of my fitness journey. Let’s start with the good.
Paleo cleared up a lot of the confusion and misconceptions I had about optimal food choices for overall health. It pointed out the political and financial biases of mainstream nutrition standards. By breaking out of myths engrained in me since I was a kid, I experienced several benefits.
My inflammatory issues and gastrointestinal stress went away, acne cleared up, blood pressure normalized, and other biomarkers of health improved.
In the initial phases, everything was great. Then, disaster struck. My mistake was trying to combine this dietary approach with consistent, high-intensity, anaerobic exercise.
You see, most versions of the Paleo Diet are considered low carbohydrate diets. While I believe this is the best approach for sedentary populations (you don’t burn many carbs sitting in a chair all day), I learned the hard way that it’s not a great match for athletes, regular exercisers, or more active demographics.
What was my own personal experience with this mismatch?
You read more of the technical aspects in the book, but combining low-carb eating with frequent, high-intensity training sessions can have severe negative physiological, metabolic, and hormonal consequences. It is like trying to drive a car around on an empty gas tank. Here’s what that looked like for me:
- I lost a lot of lean muscle mass because my body was in a constant broken down state and I wasn’t properly fueling and supporting my exercise routine.
- Because of this muscle loss, I was back to being flabby and skinny-fat despite all of the exercise I was doing.
- I caught every cold and virus that came around and was getting sick all of the time (carbs support the immune system in response to training).
- My metabolism slowed down and I wasn’t losing fat despite eating in a calorie deficit (carbs support thyroid levels and metabolic rate).
- My energy levels sucked and my mood was even worse – I was easily irritated and depressed when I’m normally a laid-back, happy beach dude.
- The worst of the worst – I suffered the dreaded non-functioning wiener. That’s right, I had no sex drive and my natural testosterone levels were shot. Sure enough I had them checked, and in my late 20’s I had the testosterone levels of a 70 year old. No diet or 6-pack is worth having a lifeless noodle hanging between your legs.
Things were so bad that honestly, I contemplated giving up – both as an athlete and coach – and changing careers. Seriously, I applied and was accepted into business school.
But the funny thing about passion is that once you truly find yours, it constantly pulls on your heartstrings and never lets you leave it behind.
And I hate failing. I wasn’t going to move on until I accomplished what I had set out to do. So it was back to the drawing board.
The Paleo approach was nothing short of a miracle for the majority of my predominantly sedentary clients. Most who adopted this approach lost weight, improved biomarkers of health, got off prescription medications, and had better energy, mood, and cognitive function.
However, as I opened up about my own struggles combining the diet with anaerobic training, emails poured in from athletes around the world sharing stories of similar experiences – poor performance, muscle loss, slow metabolism, low sex drive, and impaired thyroid and testosterone production.
In short, the Paleo approach seemed to work great for sedentary demographics but seemed to have severe drawbacks for athletes and regular anaerobic exercisers. This distinction was just too consistent to be a coincidence.
What was the main lesson I learned from the Paleo Years? It’s probably the most important lesson that has allowed me to succeed as a coach – there is no one, Universal diet that works for everyone everywhere. Your diet must be matched to your activity levels and physique goals.
THE SPORTS NUTRITION YEARS
Knowing I needed to better match my diet to my training protocol, I returned to my formal education roots to find the answers. I had studied Kinesiology and Exercise Physiology in college, but I had lost some of this basic scientific foundation while getting wrapped up in Paleo/low-carb dogma.
So I pulled out some of my old textbook and added in a new obsession – Sports Nutrition textbooks and research. I don’t want to bore you with the nerd stuff, but the basic summary is this:
There are unique physiological, metabolic, hormonal, and immune system responses to intense exercise, and these change the way your body processes nutrients for up to 48 hours following a hard training session. This means the nutritional needs of athletes and regular exercisers are completely different than that of sedentary populations.
I knew I needed to re-integrate some carbohydrates back into my diet to properly fuel and recover from my intense training sessions, but I didn’t want to go back to the traditional fitness nutrition food choices that were causing me so much digestive stress – sugar, whole grain, and gluten-based carbs.
I wanted to keep some of the main benefits of Paleo nutrition while integrating a few sports nutrition principles to better support my athletic lifestyle. So I re-introduced a few low sugar, gluten-free, starchy carbs into my diet.
What I ended up with is a diet template similar to a traditional Japanese diet – fish, meats, eggs, vegetables, whole fruit, and starchy carbs coming from sweet potatoes, regular potatoes, and white rice.
When I finally came to this Paleo meets Sports Nutrition Hybrid, or Fitness Nutrition diet with better food choices, I knew I was on to something special. My results took off. I put on muscle and dropped fat at the same time, testosterone levels increased back to normal, my wiener came out of hibernation and didn’t see its (small) shadow, my energy levels were through the roof, and I was back to being a laid-back, happy beach dude.
I even got back onto the competition stage and won my weight class at the Musclemania Natural Bodybuilding World Championships. But this time standing on stage, I was a lot healthier and happier.
Since I started writing about this hybrid approach in my magazine columns and blogs, I can’t even tell you how many athletes and regular exercisers I’ve helped get on a more targeted, effective, and properly matched eating plan.
Many physique enthusiasts have switched to better food choices, and as a result, have removed food allergens, gastrointestinal distress, joint pain, gotten rid of bloating and water retention, reached their lowest body fat percentage, and achieved their best physical condition ever.
Many MMA fighters, Cross-fitters and cross-trainers, and other performance athletes (like professional bar-hoppers) that were Carbophobic and stuck in the Low Carb Era started reintegrating a select few starchy carbs back into their diets and getting amazing benefits – increased energy and performance, better body composition, reversal of metabolic and hormonal damage, etc.
As an athlete and a coach, I was rocking and rolling man. I was so close to hitting a home run with my nutrition approach. Just one minor issue lingered…
Being a perfectionist, my journey had one final hurdle to overcome – the long-term practicality and sustainability of my nutrition plan.
THE INTERMITTENT FASTING & FEASTING YEARS
As my career started to progress with writing opportunities, speaking engagements, consulting gigs, and continuing to run my private training business, I wanted to find a more flexible and practical diet plan that could still yield good physique results.
The food choice and diet number riddles had been solved. But at that point in time, I was still stuck in the fitness myths of the need to eat 6 small meals, pack containers of food all of the time, never eat out, cut calories and starve at night, etc., to get in great shape.
I was definitely borderline obsessive compulsive, always watching the clock and panicking if I had gone more than 2.5 hours without food.
That’s fine when you’re in your 20’s and your only responsibilities in life are looking good and getting laid, but it’s not the most efficient approach when you’re trying to build a career, maybe start a family, travel, and have a social life.
I knew this approach worked as a short-term competition plan. I had successfully used it. But I also knew that it was very hard to sustain as a year-round lifestyle plan. Following a competition, as other goals in life took priority, my weight would always rebound and I would get somewhat soft and out of shape.
This would no longer do, because as part of my career, I started getting more opportunities to represent different fitness products and companies. I needed to be in shape year round for any photo shoots, as opposed to going through months of offseason and preparation phases for single day competitions.
I needed a plan that made it possible, and relatively easy, to stay in good shape year-round. Traditional fitness and bodybuilding nutrition was not it, at least for me.
As I was studying different cultural diets to finalize my food choice templates, I also began to notice something about the diet structures of some of the healthiest and fittest cultures in the world – Okinawan, Kitavan, Mediterranean. None of them were slaves to the 6 small meals a day fitness approach.
Most ate 2-3 meals a day, with the biggest one at night. Maybe I had been brainwashed and misled by the fitness industry all along. If I was going to eat more natural foods, why not eat in a more natural way?
My curiosity continued as I came across the diet plans of two bodybuilders from the Golden Era of the 60’s and 70’s – before performance enhancing drugs took over the sport and ran rampant – Vince Gironda and Serge Nubret. To this day, I still believe they had the greatest physiques of all time. Both shunned traditional fitness nutrition and ate 2 meals a day. Aha, real world proof.
But being a science guy, anthropological and anecdotal evidence was not enough. I needed some hard scientific data to be confident enough to give this approach a try. Since I had come so far in my journey and education, I wasn’t about to get caught up in some kind of diet fad.
Sure enough, more and more research studies started popping up supporting the intermittent fasting and feasting approach to nutrition. Most showed that as long as you ate the same foods and calories, you could get equally good fat loss and physique results eating 6, 3, or even 2 main meals a day.
In fact, some studies even showed that reducing meal frequency to 2-3 meals a day, going longer periods without food, and eating a big, satiating meal at night was not only a viable alternative, it was actually the optimal way to lose fat and shape up. Earlier in this book, you saw the same studies that convinced me to give it a try.
If the fasting feasting data was true, I could make my diet fit my life and career demands, as opposed to the other way around.
Again, because of the progression of my career and the need to be in shape year-round (which I couldn’t pull off with traditional fitness nutrition approaches), I had no other choice but to give it a shot.
And it worked like a charm, Man! I couldn’t believe how convenient this plan was to follow, and how easy it made it to get into and stay in great shape. What was once a constant struggle was now a breeze.
I mean, c’mon, eat a light lunch based on whole foods and then come home (or go out) and eat a nice, big, complete dinner which ended the day feeling satiated and satisfied? How awesome is that? I can tell you one thing: I’ll never go back to any other way of eating again. This is just too easy.
The Feast Your Fat Away diet structure was the final piece to the puzzle. I got to live like Baby Sumo when it was time to feast but didn’t have to look like him walking the streets.
My clients always loved the idea of traditional fitness diets, and they sounded great in theory while reading about them in the magazines. However, the majority that had careers outside of fitness could maybe follow it for a few weeks but then gave it up as impossible.
“Well, it’s your job, Nate.”
“I can’t give up my career to be a fitness model.”
“It’s too impractical.”
“I have a life.”
“Maybe I’ll get in shape when I retire.”
And so it was, back to the crap. Nothing is more useless than writing a plan for someone that you know they can’t follow.
But when I started teaching people about the Feast Your Fat Away approach, their eyes lit up with hope. For the first time, they were hearing about a plan that deep down they knew they had a real shot at following as a sustainable lifestyle plan.
“Wait, you’re telling me all I have to do is worry about eating a solid lunch and a big dinner, and I can get in good shape? The fitness freaks are full of shit?”
Well, they’re not full of shit. That approach works well, too. It’s just that this one is a whole lot easier, and more enjoyable to follow, especially for a busy professional.
As soon as I switched clients over to this approach, adherence rates and results took off. Clients who could never get in shape before, or were constantly yo-yo’ing, were finally getting fantastic, permanent results.
FEAST YOUR FAT AWAY
I had finally accomplished my personal and career goal of creating a diet approach that satisfied four main requirements, simultaneously:
1. Optimize overall health: It allowed me to achieve and maintain good biomarkers of health, energy levels and mood, cognitive function, and self-confidence.
2. Look awesome: It helped me lose fat, build muscle, and look good with my shirt off, pants off, or walking around naked (hey now!).
3. Lifestyle plan: It worked as a long-term, sustainable lifestyle plan – not just as a short-term, quick fix, or competition diet.
4. Success as a coach: It was something I could share with others in order to help them achieve similar goals.
As you can see, I’ve been in the game for a long time and have seen it all. I hope that by sharing my story, I can help you avoid some of the same mistakes my wife, my friends, my colleagues, my clients, fellow competitors, and I have made.
Fifteen years of studying, researching, applying, testing, failing, refining, and trial and error as an athlete and coach went into reaching an approach that works ideally for me. And I am 100% confident in recommending and teaching it to you.
It’s not just a plan that looks good on a paper; it’s a plan that works in the real world. I hope it helps you reach all of your health and fitness goals.
ABOUT KALAI DIAMOND
Don’t judge a book by its cover…
Q: Are you a fitness professional?
Some see photos of me online and presume that I make my living as a fitness professional, competitor, or personal trainer.
I married a fitness professional, but I am not one. I have a Master’s degree in psychology, a career in higher education, and have a regular, 9-5 (or more often 7-7) job.
In other words, like many of you reading this, I sit at a desk for most of the day. I truly understand how difficult it can be to eat well at the office surrounded by the corporate culture of fast food, vending machine snacks, and cupcakes and candy bowls sitting outside of your office door every day.
I also know how hard it can be to make it to the gym consistently when you have a busy career and family life, with never-ending deadlines and demands.
I have competed in fitness competitions as a personal challenge and for fun. Every once in a while I get asked to do fitness photo shoots, but it’s not part of what I do for a living. Nor is it something I’m willing to give up my career for, or become obsessive and compulsive over.
I enjoyed the process of dieting and training for competitions, but I know that for most of the year I need a diet and exercise plan that allows for more freedom and flexibility.
So although I’m not a fitness professional, I do enjoy sharing what has helped me survive in the modern work environment that is willing to sacrifice health, wellness, balance, longevity, and maybe even sanity, for productivity and profits.
My family and friends are busy, non-fitness career professionals as well. I enjoy trying to motivate, educate, and help them make a positive difference in their lives.
I’m happy to give you my perspective on taking care of yourself as best you can while living a crazy-busy life.
And trust me, you’re going to need an informed AND flexible plan to have any shot at success.
Q: Are you genetically gifted?
Some may think that I’m genetically gifted, can do whatever I want, eat whatever I want, and stay in shape.
Nothing could be further from the truth. I suffered the Freshmen 15 just like everyone else and there have been various points in my life where I battled weight and body image issues.
My father was always a stocky lad whose mother and grandmother encouraged him to eat. Little did he know that all that eating would lead to obesity and disease. He spent most of his adult life near 400 lbs. Others in my family have suffered from diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol – all as a result of a poor diet and lack of exercise.
Today I know that these diseases are somewhat preventable, and maybe even reversible.
I want to do all I can to take care of the body I have and help it thrive; I want to live life and feel good! While more convenient, I’m not interested in taking medications to control unhealthy conditions and diseases. It’s my body and to the extent that I can, I’m willing to put forth an honest effort to care for it by eating well and getting moderate exercise.
Q: But you’re in your 20’s right? Any chic can do what she wants in her 20’s and be in shape.
Wow, lighting, make-up, and smaller digital screens can do wonders I guess, but thanks for making me feel good about myself.
I’m now 6 weeks away from my 41st birthday. So I know how it feels to watch your metabolism slow…and the road get harder with each successive month, let alone year.
But I’m in better shape than I was in high school, I weigh less than when I was a college NCAA athlete, and have better health biomarkers to boot! Last summer I was asked to represent a fitness app company demonstrating home bodyweight workouts.
How is this possible? Habits. It’s your lifestyle habits, not your age, that have the biggest impact.
Q: But you’ve always probably been fit and healthy? You don’t know how hard it is to make these lifestyle changes.
Actually this whole health, fitness, and taking care of myself business is a relatively new thing in my life.
I grew up in a culture that regards food as a gift, as the provider of life. Food is given as a token of thanks and shared during times of celebration and mourning, as well as a gesture of compassion or appreciation.
And of course, there is just the influence of growing up in the highly refined, typical American lifestyle.
My dietary habits have had various stages of mediocrity:
Age 13: McDonald’s for breakfast, Doritos and Pepsi for lunch, (volleyball after school), typical American dinner
Age 18: Cereal for breakfast, college dining hall buffet for lunch and dinner (with the periodic Chicago deep-dish pizza or cup-o-noodles for mid-evening snack), Rice Krispy treats or a pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream for dessert.
Age 24: Bagel for breakfast, Tootsie Rolls midday, pizza for lunch, late dinner of huge bowl of pasta (or soda crackers dipped in marinara sauce).
Age 30: White chocolate mocha for breakfast, parmesan Goldfish and Mt. Dew for lunch, Snickers and Snapple for a snack, pasta or cereal for dinner.
My exercise habits over the years were either those of a performance athlete (competitive volleyball) or trying to out-train a bad diet with excessive cardio (AIDS ride, marathon, 2-hour gym workouts, etc.).
Let’s just say I didn’t look – or feel – the way I do now. Like I said, I’m in better shape now than when I was a competitive college athlete or chronic over-trainer.
Only after I learned the following two lessons did my body and life truly transform:
1. The majority of fat loss and improvements in health come through dietary change.
2. You can’t out-train a bad diet.
I learned about eating real food and exercising effectively and efficiently. Instead of spending 2 hours at the gym 6 days a week, I spend 45 minutes there, just 3 days a week. Instead of trying to out-exercise bad habits, I use diet as my primary means to lose fat.
It hasn’t been easy. In fact, I failed the first couple of times I tried (on some of the more impractical and less flexible fitness nutrition plans). But it has been educational, enlightening, and life changing.
My point is not to bore you with my story. It’s to let you know that for the majority of my life, I had some of the worst health and fitness habits you can follow.
If I can change, you can change!
Q: But you’re probably just starving yourself and not eating like other fitness models.
Last night I ate a 1/2lb steak with mixed greens, carrots, and onions, and a cup of white rice. It was delicious.
My dietary habits today are pretty much what Nate calls a Japanese-Village style diet…
Morning post-workout snack: a variety of fresh fruit or a homemade smoothie using whole fruit and greens, black coffee or tea.
Lunch: Meat or fish, fruit or small serving of sweet potatoes or rice, a variety of veggies. Dinner: Larger serving of meat or fish, rice or potatoes, veggies. I use a lot of Asian-style recipes like stir-fries, rice bowls, and soups to keep it interesting.
As Nate showed me more of his anthropological research on historical diets (Japanese, Okinawan, Kitavan), I was excited to learn that this is very similar to the Native Hawaiian Diet of fish, pork, poultry, tropical fruits, coconut, vegetables, and starches like taro and poi.
How ironic. As I write this, a familiar song plays, reminding me of my home.
I like my fish and poi, I’m a big boy
Lomi salmon, pipikaula, extra large lilikoi
Squid or chicken lu’au, don’t forget the laulau
Beef or tripe stew, just to name a few
Growing up in Hawaii I know that the Hawaiian diet can either be one of the healthiest or unhealthiest diets on the planet. You can get fresh fish from the sea, a variety of tropical fruits, poi, rice, and island-grown Kona coffee.
You can also get a ton of fast food, gravy smothered plate lunches, Spam, malasadas (doughnuts), aisles of refined snack foods, and Starbucks triple mochas.
Ultimately, like no matter where you live in the world, it comes down to choice.
I get that it’s not always easy. It hasn’t always been easy for me. I’ve tried many variations of meal timing and structure, in search of what is reasonable and sustainable for me.
What I’ve learned in the process is that the only constant is change. Meaning that I have a baseline template, and depending on the day, I know what can change (and how) to stay within my optimal meal plan.
Work out or hungry in the morning? Have some fruit. Hungrier at lunch or dinner? Have some extra protein or veggies. If it was a training day, maybe have a little extra starch.
But I’m no robot, I’m human, and I won’t be perfect all the time. I’m not a professional athlete or competitor, so my requirements are modest; I just have to stick to them. And the more I do, the easier it becomes. The temptation to stray is always there, but if you create a system to allow for indulgences or treats, it’s all quite reasonable.
Since I wasn’t blessed with “skinny genes,” and I’m getting older, if I want to look fit and stay healthy, I can no longer shove piles of crap food in my face whenever I feel like it. Natural foods, a practical diet structure (Feast Your Fat Away), and periodic, planned “cheat meals” are now the foundation of my diet regimen.
I believe it can work well for you too.
HOLY SHIT, YOU’RE STILL HERE?
Damn! You either really like us (right back at ya), or Da Book may actually have something to offer you. You can check out the sales page here:
I’ve been “social media-ing” about a few recent nutrition talks I’ve given, and “Da People” have voiced their passionate desire to taste a few samplings of these epic events. As the humble Westley once said to Buttercup in the Princess Bride, “As you wish”.
DESIGNING DIETS FOR BUSY PROFESSIONALS
I take a slightly different approach when designing diets plans for busy professionals then for athletes. We need to prioritize, and focus on the highest level steps first in order to produce the fastest, most effective, and most efficient results. I believe that path is different based on different demographics. In this first video clip, I talk about the strategy I take with busy professionals:
- Improve Crappy Food Choices
- Find a Diet Structure That Works as a Lifestyle Plan
- Integrate Targeted Dietary Numbers for Higher-Level Physique Goals, Over Time
DESIGNING DIETS FOR ATHLETES
The game is different for athletes, and fitness freaks and geeks. Although the broad topics remain the same, the order of strategic importance changes. In this second video clip, I talk about the approach I take with athletes:
- Focus on Detailed & Targeted Numbers First
- Emphasize Good Food Choices
- Find a Practical & Sustainable Diet Structure
POST-TALK Q AND A
I debated putting up a third clip of the bourbon-fueled post talk Q and A’s, socializing, mingling and tingling, etc. But:
1. I’d need to get a bunch of release forms signed by the participants. Ain’t nobody got no damn time for that.
2. I’d like to keep this site rated R. I’m not ready to annoy you with all of the pop-ups that “pop up” on XXX-rated sites.
Totally just kidding by the way. I’m a big talker, but not as cool as I pretend. However, one thing can’t be denied — the people have always loved “The Miyak(i)”, and “The Miyak(i)” the people. Maybe my trustee white board will visit your town soon.
I apologize for leaving you hanging after my last post. We were all set to release The Way of the Cancer Warrior book that I had been working on through my dad’s fight. But unfortunately, we realized there may be some copyright issues with the motivational quotes we used to start each section. We’re working hard behind the scenes to resolve the issue, and hopefully we can get the book out soon without too much further delay.
Of course we could just remove the quotes and roll with the strategies alone. But I believe the book would then lose a lot of its luster because:
- Who the hell am I to be giving you advice about fighting cancer, or life advice in general? I’m a 34 year old kid with a 16 year old’s mind that can’t help himself when an opportunity for a sex or poop joke arises. Trust me, you will soon forget what a nobody like Nate Miyaki says. But the words of real legends hold way more weight. Long after the book is shut and the pages are frayed, the Way of true warriors will remain with you forever. You will have solid strategies to face any and all obstacles.
- Its the only way to properly honor the legends from which the strategies were born. With the internet era, there are enough scumbags out there stealing other people’s work and passing it off as their own. I do not wish to pretend I’m some kind of a guru, created anything new, or am more wise than any of you. I only hope to share what has helped me, and some of those around me.
- On that note, these warrior strategies and wise words have helped me so much in my life man. I truly believe they will help others with the fight against cancer, and with the challenges of life in general. With my studies of them, along with my writing/coaching experience, I only sought out to interpret them, and help you practically apply them to your individual situation. Nothing I write could ever replace the original words and teachers.
- I hope that by including the quotes, it may inspire you to read the works from which they came. You may gain even more insight and useful strategies from your own interpretation of them.
With such an important topic being addressed, I only want to give you the best possible resource I can. So if that means delaying the release, fighting a little harder, slowing things down and doing them better, etc., that’s what must be done. I hope you’re cool with that.
Instead of writing any more about it, let me just show you what I mean. One of the strategies is to “Use All of Your Weapons”.
Now I can tell you how you must use your diet, exercise routine, daily habits, motivational strategies, the support of friends and family, educational resources, consistent effort, discipline, determination, confidence etc. to conquer your enemy (whether it be cancer or some other enemy you are currently battling, or even some fitness goal you are trying to accomplish).
But how can you replace the following legendary words? It just wouldn’t be the same. It wouldn’t be as powerful. It wouldn’t be as profound. It would lose much of its depth.
It does not look at combat from a certain angle but from all possible angles, and although JKD utilizes all ways and means to serve its end (after all, efficiency is anything that scores), it is bound by none and is, therefore, free from all ways and means. – Bruce Lee
When you put your life on the line, you want all your weapons to be of use. Your real intent should not be to die with weapons uselessly worn at your waist…The Way of this style is the mind that obtains the victory with anything at all. – Miyamoto Musashi
This is because they do not appreciate the principle of cutting the enemy by any means. – Miyamoto Musashi
In his lessons to his disciples, Musashi used the analogy of a carpenter. He said the samurai should think like a carpenter — in the sense of the tools a carpenter uses, how he maintains the tools, how he trains with the tools, how he plans each project, how he accounts for location and environment and all the other factors that may influence the finished product. He noted that a master carpenter must thoroughly understand the nature of the tools he uses, the materials that are the best suited for the purpose, the size and the shape of the things he builds, how they are to be used, and so on. Musashi’s point was that learning how to fight and win was not a simple task with only a few elements, but incorporated a whole world of factors and possibilities that took years to master. — Samurai Strategies.
So like I said, hopefully its any easy issue to resolve, we can get the proper permission, and then we can get this thing rolling. I’ll keep you updated. In the meantime, I hope the above words somehow help you…
I don’t consider myself a professional writer. I’m just a guy who is passionate about sharing strategies that have personally helped me as an athlete, in my training career, and in my life in general. That’s really all you can do to try and help others with the tools you have at your disposal.
It just so happens that one of the primary ways I share my experiences and knowledge is through writing.
So with the burden of trying to keep a “professional writer” image gone, I’ve kind of always envisioned writing as putting down on paper the types of conversations I’d have with you if we were just hanging out at a bar as friends. It’s way more fun, and I believe, more effective that way. We can lose the pretentiousness and just get down to sharing some strategies that we’ve learned through our experiences, and think will help each other out moving forward.
Sorry, that’s why you have to put up with da locker room language and teenage humor. Just ignore it/skip over it. I can’t help myself.
This approach is good and bad for you. It’s good because you won’t get the normal bullshit from me that you sometimes see in our industry. It’s bad because sometimes I stray off topic, and go beyond the world of sports bras and jock straps. But I hope you have some kind of a life outside of the gym, man. And if I think something can help you outside of the glamorous world of Ken & Barb & Carbs, I’m going to share it. Why not?
This is one of those posts. So if you hate da philosophical stuff, log out and check back another day. I’m sure I’ll have another “how to get your 6-pack” article up soon.
THE LIFE & FIGHT OF A LEGEND
August 6th is my dad’s birthday. He would have been 76.
For four years, my dad faced some kind of challenge every single day in his battle against cancer. Yet he kept putting one foot in front of the other, marching on, and fighting with a warrior’s spirit. He was the most honorable, courageous man I’ve ever known.
But unfortunately, not all tales have a Hollywood ending. About a month ago, my dad passed on. Sometimes the real life ending is hard – its really frickin’ hard to be 100% honest — but it’s also what ultimately teaches us the most valuable lessons in life.
When he started his treatment, I originally set out to inspire my dad with a few words of encouragement. Over the last few years, he has inspired me, and everyone else around him, infinitely more.
I’ve had time to sit back and reflect on what kind of man he was, and the many lessons his life and his fight taught me along the way. They helped me put things in proper perspective. They helped me break some bad habits I’ve formed living in Y2K – stressing about relatively meaningless shit, feeling entitled, looking for quick fixes and the easy way, whining, etc. – character traits those of even a generation ago would see as shameful, and a warrior would see as despicable.
Most importantly, they helped me face my own challenges and struggles in life, head on. I hope they somehow help you too.
You don’t have to be battling cancer to benefit from these strategies by the way. You can take these lessons and apply them to whatever challenges you are facing in life – in fitness, health, your career, your relationships, getting laid, etc. Your personal battles are the most important battles in the entire world to you. I get that man. You don’t really give a shit about me or my dad.
But I feel that these strategies can give you good weapons to attack whatever struggles you are dealing with at the moment. And if life is rolling for you right now, awesome. Holster them for another day.
Lesson #1 Don’t Complain About Your Circumstances. Embrace the Challenge.
What IS is more important than WHAT SHOULD BE. Too many people are looking at “what is” from a position of thinking “what should be”…no matter what some people will say, barriers are not the experience of any one person, or any one group of persons. They are the universal experience. – Bruce Lee
You have every right to be scared, angry, jealous, bitter, frustrated, or resentful when things in life aren’t quite going your way. You have every right to feel sorry for yourself, and to curse the world when your situation sucks. But at some point, you will have to just drop it all and play (and win) this game of life with the hand you’ve been given.
Whether our circumstances are God’s plan, an act of the gods, fate, pure coincidence, good or bad luck, or whatever else you believe in is of no real significance.
Because one thing is for certain man – you can’t change the reality of the situations and challenges you face no matter how much you wish things were different. But you can change your reactions to them, your actions to improve or overcome them, and your every day state of mind to better deal with them.
Sure my dad had a few bellyaches and grumblings from time to time. But given the situations he faced and the side effects he experienced, I would say the ratio of complaining to taking action was very small. I think he knew that complaining about your circumstances is just wasted energy.
I like to think I’m like a ronin, a wave man – being flexible, adapting, rolling with whatever comes, being like water, etc. But my dad truly was The Wave Man. He just dealt with what came when it came. And unfortunately, the shit just kept coming. It made no difference. He embraced every challenge in the warrior’s Way.
Actually, it was amazing to me how the dude never really lost his trademark smile through it all. With IV’s sticking out of him and having to talk through a trachea tube, he still managed to crack a joke and a smile from time to time. As death came for him, he laughed in its face.
What the hell is so bad that you can’t do the same?
You know how your story started and where it’s at right now. Go out and write yourself a happy ending. Happy ending? Yes please…hahahahhahaha!!!!
2. The Only Real Secret Formula is Accountability + Action = Results
There is nothing outside of yourself that can ever enable you to get better, stronger, richer, quicker, or smarter. Everything is within. Everything exists. Seek nothing outside of yourself. – Miyamoto Musashi
Remember, there is no fate but what we make (Sarah Conner, Terminator 2).
This is a continuation of the first lesson. What’s the antidote to letting life push you around and complaining about your circumstances? Taking both personal accountability and action. Every time you are about to complain about your circumstances, just take an action to change them. It shifts the focus away from the things you can’t change onto the things that you can.
Listen man, I don’t know how your personal story, or even my own, is going to play out in the end. But I can guarantee you one thing – doing nothing is the worst possible option of all. Nothing ever changes. No situation ever improves by sitting on the sidelines of life complaining about how everyone has it better or easier than you.
That’s true for both the short-term and long-term goals that you may have.
The Old Timer and I never really had the sit down, father-to-son, do this or that type of lectures. And I never needed them, because he taught me more about life and what it means to be a good, honorable, and courageous man then I could have ever asked for – not through meaningless words, but through infinitely more meaningful action.
He was one of those leaders and teachers by example, which I think is the best kind. Anyone can tell you what to do. Few can actually show you.
And dammit, he was a true cancer warrior. Tests, treatments, dietary intervention, exercise, occupational therapy, etc., he didn’t just say he was going to fight. He took action and fought.
As is the case with anything in life — including his cancer battle and your own personal struggles — it is not what you read, think, analyze, plan, calculate, or talk about in this world that brings results. It is all about what you DO.
When in doubt, when your world seems like its caving in on you, when you seem just as about as far away from your goals as you can possibly be, just put one foot in front of the other, and as Bruce Lee said, keep walking on.
Make one definitive move towards your goals daily. Constant improvement. The road to any destination in life starts with a single step, and is finished by continually putting one foot in front of the other.
If you just sit around whining, you won’t get anything except probably a boil on your ass the size of a grapefruit.
3. Focus on the Task at Hand
If a retainer will just think about what he is to do for the day at hand, he will be able to do anything. If it is a single day’s work, one should be able to put up with it. Tomorrow, too, is but a single day. — Hagakure.
I’ll never forget sitting alone with my dad after a family party talking about his treatment plan. He said, “Well, it’s either going to work or I’ll be out of here. So I might as well give it a chance to work. What’s there to be worried about?”
I remember I had been stressed out about something that day. Once his words hit my ears, I immediately felt like a schmuck.
We live in a modern world where we are all over-stressed, anxious, and flat-out scatter brained. Distraction is all around us. It is the norm. It’s easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle of this modern shuffle. I’m guilty of this often. I don’t know about you, but I sometimes feel like I got a cartoon going on up in my head.
What ends up happening is we do a bunch of things with mediocrity, yet accomplish nothing of great value. Or we burn out and look for escapes, distractions from the chaos that has become our life. Sometimes it takes a slap in the face to calm down and concentrate.
We need to narrow our focus, especially if it is something as important as, I don’t know, literally fighting for your life. And isn’t trying to improve your life somehow (fitness, finances, business, relationships) also a figurative way of fighting for your life.
So you have this major goal you want to achieve. Take a brief look up at the mountaintop, the end goal. Give yourself a day to completely freak out, panic, and stress. But then regroup, because the truth is, if you want to maintain some semblance of sanity, you just can’t worry too much about whether or not you can actually make it up that mountain.
Don’t overanalyze so much that you become so paralyzed with fear that you never take a single step. And don’t wait around for some magic pill-like carpet ride to transport you there with no effort or sacrifice. Prey like that get eaten by sharks. Put your head down, and start walking up the path. Do something man.
You’re either going to make it up or you aren’t. Don’t let lack of effort be the determining factor.
That’s what my dad did anyways. He focused on each task he had to do, for a single day, then the next, then the next, and so forth. I think that’s the main reason why he lasted way longer than any of his doctors originally predicted.
One of those tasks was even a sponge bath from an attractive nurse. See, you never know what fun may come if you just start off along a certain path.
4. Do Your Duty
By thinking you must complete the job you will run out of time. By considering things like how many men the enemy has, time piles up; in the end you will give up. No matter if the enemy has thousands of men, there is fulfillment in simply standing them off and being determined to cut them all down, starting from one end. You will finish the greater part of it. – Hagakure
I don’t believe anyone should be forced to do anything they don’t want to do in life. That’s one of the freedoms that most of us take for granted here in America. We have the right and the privilege to choose whatever path we desire. Some have a much harder road than others, for sure. But ultimately, for most of us, what we decide to pursue in life comes down to choice.
If an athlete doesn’t think he can endure grueling training sessions, if he can’t stand a little pain, if he doesn’t want to sacrifice some of the luxuries of the average, and if he doesn’t want to challenge himself against great competition, he shouldn’t choose to try and be a champion.
But if he does make that choice, he owes it to himself to dive in, put forth his greatest effort, and leave his heart and soul on the battlefield. That way, when he walks away, he will have no regrets regardless of the outcome.
If you are just going to “half-ass” it, or just go through the motions because theoretically that is what you are supposed to do, you might as well not even start. Find something else you are more passionate about.
My dad knew that fighting cancer was an even more daunting task than trying to become a champion in sports. He knew he would have to sacrifice, persevere, endure, and face insurmountable obstacles and odds (stage 4, terminal cancer). So it certainly would have been understandable if he had decided to walk away and not fight, right from the outset.
But once he decided to pick up that sword and fight, he owed it to himself and everyone else around him to give it his best effort. And that’s exactly what he did. He did his duty, he did what he promised to do, and he went out like a hero, fighting until the end.
5. Treat Everyone Like Family
If every man would help his neighbor, no man would be without help. – Bruce Lee
I guess that’s why he got along with my wife and da other Hawaiians in our extended family.
My dad welcomed everyone into his home with open arms. He made everyone feel loved, accepted, and as part of the family right away. He even had a way of making pieces of shit feel like they were something special. And if he could help you out, he wouldn’t even think twice about it.
My dad had friends from a variety of ethnicities and walks of life – engineers, entrepreneurs, housewives, construction workers, cooks, gamblers, fishermen, etc. I think one of his buddies was in a biker gang?
He would go out fishing with the old timers one day, and the next day (when me and my brother were playing around town in a rock band) he’d show up at a ruckus nightclub and hang out with all of our friends at the bar like the Most Interesting Japanese Man Alive.
That’s why the credo on this site is and always will be: we don’t care who you are, where you’re from, who you pray to (or if you pray at all), where in the world you’re hanging, who you’re banging (as long as legal and consensual), etc. If you’re down with fitness, physique, warrior strategy, or Da Beach mentality, then we’re down with you.
I don’t know man. I think most prejudices stem from archaic traditions, lack of knowledge, lack of good sex, jealousy, and most often, lack of self-confidence. If you are truly comfortable with who you are, where you come from, and what you’re doing, and you’re getting laid regularly, why would you give a shit about someone else’s origins or path (as long as they aren’t taking advantage of or hurting anyone)?
Do your thing, let others do theirs, and if there is some overlap, embrace the connection.
THE WAY OF THE CANCER WARRIOR
I think the saddest part of losing my dad is I won’t have someone like him around to show me the Warrior’s Way in life. Yeah, I can read books and watch movies and whatnot. But he was one of the few that lived it. Oh well, I guess I’ll just have to carry out the lessons he’s already shown me. It’s probably enough for a mere mortal to last a few lifetimes.
You know, I was going somewhere with this damn blog post. Sorry it became so personal. Oh yeah:
1. Moving forward, this blog will forever be dedicated to my old man. I’ll miss you my friend.
2. One of the last things he said to me was, “keep writing. I like it.” Fucking guy. Like I didn’t have enough on my plate already trying to live up to his legacy. He had to throw that one at me at the end?
Well, I didn’t want my first official project after his passing to be something as meaningless as “How to Get a 6-Pack”. There are people out there facing real challenges in life.
So next week (hopefully), I’m going to be releasing a book I’ve been working on for the last few years during my dad’s treatment.
What’s the elevator pitch? It basically takes warrior philosophy, martial arts strategies, and sports psychology principles and applies them to the battle against cancer. But really, they can be applied to any challenges you are facing in life.
Here’s the cover:
The goal is to give people some motivation and good strategies. We will also be trying to raise some money for cancer research and foundations. I will admit that selfishly, maybe it is a way for me to somehow stay connected with my dad, and ensure that his energy, lessons, and legacy live on.
We don’t really know what the hell we’re doing, and don’t really have a formal plan, but if you want to join us on what could be a very fun and rewarding ride, stay tuned.
You know him as Will Smith, but I’ll always remember him as The Fresh Prince. And he wisely once said, “Summer, summer, summer-time. Lets just sit back and unwind.”
I wish that were the case man, but I’ve been busy touring around the Fitness Scene talking about poolside peaking and intermittent feasting. Turns out having a 6-pack to make up for inadequacies in other areas actually works, at least during the summer. Here’s Men’s Fitness giving a little bit of love to intermittent fasting protocols in general, and me and the Intermittent Feast approach in specific.
CLICK HERE to watch the video below
I’m still working on my strategy for the winter. Maybe I’ll work on building some cannonball shoulders.
OCS: THE RISE OF THE OVER-COMPLICATION SYNDROME
But seriously, a lot of questions have been pouring into my extremely neglected inbox. I’m hoping this post answers a lot of them at once. Its clear to me in the Internet Era, some very bad habits are starting to form, especially amongst more intermediate and advanced athletes. People seem to think the more complex their program is — the more details and ornaments they can jam into it — the more effective it is. Or they’ll read 5 different books and 50 different articles, and try to follow them all at the same time. Any of this sound familiar:
“I do daily intermittent fasting, then I do a 24 hour fast twice a week, then once a month I fast for a week, then once a year I fast for a month, and once a decade I shall not eat for the entire year. What do you think about fasting for a decade every century?”
“3 days a week I do strength work in the morning, then I go back in the evening and do some metabolic conditioning or HIIT, then 4 days a week I cross-train at lunch, I also do some strongman in the mid-mornings on my days off, I hit P90x right before I go to bed. Oh yeah, 3 times a week I wake up in the middle of the night to do some isolated ball-ass connector work (or equivalent female pelvic floor work). Why am I not ripped?”
Sounds like I’m being a dick and trying to gain pleasure off of other people’s ADD and Type-A insanity, but I’m not. The thing is, I get it. When you are passionate about something, you want to know you are doing everything possible to excel. But there comes a point of diminishing returns.
Extreme “live in a van down by the gym” competition, or Zombie-style “life extensionism” diets aside, I think we’re all over-complicating a relatively simple process. Or, as Robb Wolf said in our recent podcast conversation, if you want to merge “health, performance, and longevity”, there’s not much too it. The extreme approaches and overly technical stuff falls off like clothes at an Austin Powers’ party.
What you are left with are a few, simple, actionable strategies, from which you can formulate a sustainable lifestyle plan to improve both body composition and overall health.
The thing is beginners and entitled people alike don’t want to put work into the basics (its simple, not easy), or they want to rush a process that unfortunately takes some consistent effort and time. So they look for short cuts and magic pills. And magic pills always look better with convincing “scientific” explanations and complicated mysticism.
Advanced athletes want to think they are so much more sophisticated, cutting edge, hardcore, and cooler than beginners. So they feel the need to integrate the pythagorean theorem into their programs, and just make up a bunch of cool-sounding shit along the way.
As a result, we end up with the ludicrousness that has become fitness, or more accurately, just a pure cluster f*ck.
THE 10-STEP SIMPLE INTERMITTENT FEAST SUMMARY
Its ironic, but the more I’ve exchanged ideas with other successful and experienced coaches, the more interviews and talks I’ve been lucky enough to do about my nutritional philosophy, the more I’ve been able to naturally hack away the unessential, streamline the advice, and narrow it down to a few simple strategies. I could impress the nerds with a more formal dissertation, but it probably wouldn’t actually help most of you reach your goals (unless they are to sound smart in a forum debate).
If true genius seeks simplicity, than Serge Nubret may be the smartest guy to have ever walked Planet Fitness. When talking about his nutrition plan to build one of the greatest physiques of all-time, he basically told it like it was. He lifted weights in the hypertrophy zone and ate meat and rice for lunch and dinner. That’s it. No magic foods, no miracle supplements, no cyclical plans. He said if you wanted something more complicated and scientific, go read magazine ads. Love it.
In his honor, here’s the long and short of my summer World Fitness Tour Extravaganza (meaning a few Skype calls and emails). I will continue to try and refine and simplify, but here’s what I got right now.
1. Eat less refined crap. Eat more natural stuff. Giddy-up.
2. Make animal proteins and non-starchy vegetables the foundation of your diet plan.
3. Eat a decent amount of protein with each meal for essential nutrients and effects on satiety and blood sugar control.
4. For diseased populations, including sedentary-itis, a lower carb approach is probably the best starting point. I like a Pale0-style template of animal proteins, non-starchy vegetables, 1-2 pieces of whole fruit, and some whole food fats (coconut, nuts, avocado) as the primary energy nutrient. But you can’t go too crazy with the fats because despite optimal food choices, you still need to be in a calorie deficit to lose weight.
5. As someone becomes more active, which they should, I recommend re-introducing a select few starch foods. For this I recommend more of a traditional Japanese Village-style template: animal proteins, non-starchy vegetables, 1-2 pieces of whole fruit, and some gluten free, “anti-nutrient” free, “safe starches” as the primary energy nutrient = root vegetables (sweet potatoes, regular potatoes, yams, pumpkin, squash) and white rice. If you’ve never heard the terms in quotes, that means you’re not an ancestral/evolutionary nutrition geek like me and a few other losers. There may still be hope for you. Just remember rice and roots as your main starch foods.
6. For higher-level physique goals, you need to know and consistently hit your numbers yo. A good starting point. 1g pro/lb, 20-25% calories from fat, and the remaining calories from carbohydrates which can be adjusted up or down based on feedback and progress.
7. When you control for the numbers and the food choices, meal frequency and food distribution is irrelevant for the most part when it comes to body composition change. This means you should break up your food intake in any way that best helps YOU most consistently stick to your plan. From one to six, stick with what clicks. Damn, that last rhyme just came to me right now. I am awesome (which actually means I’m a total nerd for thinking that is even remotely cool). I know some cool people if that helps.
8. I believe in the Intermittent Feast structure — skip breakfast, eat a Paleo/caveman style lunch (meat, veggies, and maybe some whole food fats), and a Japanese Village-style dinner (meat, veggies, and a starch source). Depending on when you workout, have some whole fruit pre and/or post-workout for anti-catabolic effects. Can’t get any simpler than that. Do I believe there are some additional physiological, metabolic, and hormonal advantages to this structure? Yes. But to be quite honest, I think where it really shines through is in terms of its practicality and sustainability. Instead of Tupperwares and clock watching, all you have to do is worry about a solid lunch, and you get to eat a big, satiating, satisfying dinner. Ah yes, a reasonable fat loss plan, even for a busy professional.
9. If you have purely cosmetic/physique-based goals (lose fat, build muscle, LOOK awesome), than I believe all you need is 3-4 BASIC strength training sessions a week, with maybe some additional, non-formal, low intensity activity = walking more. I also might do some targeted stretching to offset the seated computer posture, and perhaps prepare for more adventurous bedroom sessions. You can get in awesome shape AND have some kind of a career and social life. Yay!
10. If you have performance goals, that is a completely different story. Each program will need to be tailored to the specific sport. This may entail more cardio/running, cross-training, flipping around, things that look good on a Nike commercial, and whatnot. I’ve trained for both, I just think a lot of people confuse training for performance vs. training for appearance. Its easier to look good than most people think (you just need an efficient approach), and its a lot harder to become an elite performance athlete than most people think. Don’t run or cross-train to get ripped. Improve your diet to get ripped. Train to build muscle or improve performance.
Beyond that, everything is just icing on the cake that may make a 5% difference. For those who want to obsess over it, may I first suggest that you spend more time in the bedroom getting laid and less time on the laptop over-analyzing. And then, just remember:
- Statistical significance is much different than real world significance.
- Yes scientific research has come a long way. But that doesn’t mean more complicated is better. Most of the time it really just means we can better explain the details of why the simple actually works.
- Hard work should be put into actually doing a program, not just designing it.
In my best Van Wilder impression, let me just now say, “You might want to write that down”. For tomorrow, information overload will attack like The Immortals in 300.
THE ROBB WOLF PODCAST APPEARANCE
And now, what I really wanted to write this post for before I got completely sidetracked with my rambling. It was a huge honor to get to be a guest on the Robb Wolf Podcast. Robb is someone I’ve looked up to in our industry for a while, and he has had a huge influence on my educational journey.
He’s a biochemist, and a much smarter dude than I am, so maybe you’ll listen to him when he says its not as complicated as people make it. He’s also a laid back guy that doesn’t take himself too seriously, so it was a fun show. We got to kick back and talk about the dietary topics I mentioned above, particularly the adjustment of carbohydrate intake to metabolic condition, athletic activity, performance/physique goals, and individual progress.
We also talked about angry internet people, strip club sponsorships, the importance of fitness/sports psychology, and boobs — a well-rounded show indeed.
To Listen to the Podcast CLICK HERE