Category Archives: Media
LIVE WITH AN ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE…
That’s the title of Chapter #3 in my new book Rise Above: 7 Strategies to Crush Adversity. Here are a few snippets from that section:
We expect everything for nothing, and we wanted it yesterday. We take things for granted. We’ve lost the ability to appreciate what we have. Instead, we focus on what we do not have. If nothing is ever good enough, you will never have enough.
Quit whining and pining. If you’re reading this on a Kindle, found it through Facebook or Twitter, and are sipping on a gourmet coffee drink, etc., you are not doing that bad.
There are people in this world who wake up to bombs, don’t have clean water, and go to bed starving. Be grateful for what you have while you are trying to get more. Most of us are living in luxury, yet think we are lacking.
– Nate Miyaki, Rise Above: 7 Strategies to Crush Adversity.
Yes, I did just quote myself. Isn’t that frickin’ awesome!
You have my full permission to do the same. For most it will probably just annoy them (with the hippie bullshit and whatnot), but it might just help a few. Who knows? I certainly hope so.
And damn man, although I do grow tired of myself often, I gotta listen to myself more often. That’s what I want to do right now. There is nothing worse than a writer or coach that talks one way, but lives another. It’s an out of control plague that may eventually lead to the downfall of modern Internet society.
MY MANY THANKS TO YOU
So man/girl, I just wanted to say thank you so much for supporting this book, and over the years, for supporting my writing career.
We did it my friends. Because of you, Rise Above has risen to #1 on a few of the Amazon charts. Even if just for a day, I can now say that I was once an Amazon #1 Best-Selling Author.
Now that’s total egotistical bullshit, image-projection nonsense, and PR-spinned marketing material to use for later on. But that’s not the point. The end goal of any good writer, artist, craftsman, or coach seeking personal fulfillment should be to help people get the results they are looking for regardless of rankings or social status/praise. I hope that’s what my content, writings, work, and ramblings are somehow doing for you.
HOWEVER, there are a lot of people who have made sacrifices along the way to allow me to do what I do – my wife Kalai; my Fab 5 brothers and one bad-ass sister, my late and great parents, my super cool step-family; and all of you, spending your hard earned dollar to hear what I got to holler.
I am forever grateful. But the truth is that my bro hugs, or real hugs with my patented “accidental” cheek squeeze, are just not enough of a thank you this time around. You need to know that your support is really paying off.
RISE ABOVE RIDES ALONGSIDE SOME GREATS
RISE ABOVE: 7 STRATEGIES TO CRUSH ADVERSITY
Sometimes life can throw you some curveballs. Every once in a while, it lands a freakin’ haymaker right on your chin. If you don’t believe that, you haven’t been alive long enough.
Adversity. We all face it my friend.
In our sports, or our health and fitness endeavors. How can you overcome the odds and succeed against great challenges or competition? How can you stay on track in a world full of temptations and distractions? How can you come back from failed game plans, devastating losses, or unexpected injuries and setbacks?
In our business or career pursuits. How can you merge passion and personal fulfillment with professional and financial success? How can you keep fighting on if your first attempts fail? How can reach your goals while sticking to your core values, and without burning out, breaking, or giving up?
In our personal life and relationships. How can you best support those that are suffering and struggling around you? How can you deal with your own baggage and bullshit? How do you find some peace of mind and clarity amongst the modern chaos?
Life can be full of challenges. Instead of running from them when they do arise, staying in bed to hide, burying your head in the sand to procrastinate, or drowning your sorrow in drugs to escape; you are better off developing the right mindset to roll with it all, whatever may come.
Because one thing is for certain: you can’t change the reality of the challenges you face no matter how much you wish things were different. You can’t let every surprise or setback make you snap. Otherwise, you just might end up giving yourself a heart attack. Then what use will you be?
But what you can change is your reactions to your challenges; your actions to overcome them, and your everyday state of mind in order to better deal with them.
The most profound lesson I’ve learned in over 15 years as an athlete, coach, consultant, and fitness author is this – The human body is strong. The human spirit is stronger. Both can persevere through almost anything. It is our weak minds that ultimately bury us.
The 4th quarter, the 9th inning, the final period, the championship rounds, the last 100 meters, the last set, the last rep, etc., it is mental strength that separates the champions from the rest of the pack.
And it may be the most important thing you need to get through the greatest game you will ever play in – the game of life.
That’s what Rise Above: 7 Strategies to Crush Adversity is all about. It takes principles from sports psychology, “street” psychology (from 15 years of working with people from all ages, abilities, and walks of life), some samurai philosophy, and a little bit of surfer dude mentality; and narrows it down into some actionable strategies that can help you tackle any obstacle that may come your way.
I am honored that Rise Above was selected to be a part of The Best Life Book Event. This event includes some big dogs and best-selling authors. Since Rise Above was written by little old me (A.K.A Little Shiitake), I am assuming that means the content itself stood out on its own.
The overall goal of this event is to get different perspectives on the tools you need to overcome your challenges and succeed, in whatever your pursuits are in life.
All books are on sale for $0.99 for today only – Wednesday August 13th, 2014. I honestly have no idea what they will cost after today. That’s in the hands of the gods (the publishers).
You can check out the event here: The Best Life Book Event
I hope my new book — or any of the other books – can help you out in some way. Regardless, I wish you the best in whatever battles you are facing in life. My thoughts are with you my friend.
What’s up my beach physique clique? We’ve interrupted our regularly scheduled blog post programming and e-course teachings for some impromptu feasting. Go ahead and just let that take your imagination wherever it wants to go for a gluttonous or perverted moment. No judgements here.
I just wanted to share this podcast episode with my friends over at First Callout. They are some cool dudes and have had some epic guests on their show (at least if you are a bodybuilding, physique, or bikini nerd), so to get to be a part of it was an honor for sure. Its a show primarily geared towards physique peeps, but don’t let that scare you off. We covered a broad range of topics that I think will help anyone interested in a practical and sustainable approach to fat loss and physique enhancement.
Here’s the promo for it. They did a cool job. And you’ll notice clips scrolling through this very website that you are on right now. Its like frickin’ Inception — a dream within a dream…
After listening to it (I’m like every other egotistical fitness dude on the planet = I love to hear myself talk), I was actually surprised how much we covered in just over 20 minutes. Hey man, when I’m excited I ramble, swear, and talk fast. If you’ve been following this blog for a while, have read any of my books, or are currently taking our Beach Physique course, this podcast provides a nice, precise review of my overall nutrition approach. Some FitnessCenter highlights:
1. Why targeted calories, macros, and food choices matter more than diet structure, and you should use whatever meal frequency and food distribution pattern makes your plan as practical as possible to follow. That includes, but is not limited, to my intermittent fasting and feasting approach (and of course when I say my, I mean evolution’s).
2.We talked about the Belle Curve distribution of meal frequency patterns that I’ve seen work best in my experience. *The reverse of a warning — our conversation was not as boring or geeky as that sounds.
3. Why I don’t believe in either the extreme OCD bodybuilding approach, nor the extreme calorie counting/IIFYM (if it fits your macronutrient)/eat whatever you want as long as it fits your diet numbers approach. Most would best be served following the middle ground approach (well, leaning more towards clean eating) for flexibility, functionality, and overall health (including psychological health).
4. The difference between working with elite athletes vs. the general, busy professional demographic.
5. A step-by-step (oooh baby) guide of how I might transition someone from no nutrition knowledge and out of control Y2K eating into a more targeted fat loss plan, and all the way to intermittent feasting fat away for good, if that is what they so desire.
The goal of this post was to give you a break from having to read my bullshit, and just let you kick back and listen to it. So I’ll go ahead and remove my pudgy fingers from the keyboard now, and get this podcast party started. Click on da link below to listen.
We had a little early publicity and announcement last week, but today is the “official release” of The Way of the Cancer Warrior book. The Kindle Edition is now available on Amazon here.
Honestly, I don’t really have a huge marketing and PR campaign for it. A few of my friends are doing a write-up, an interview, or are allowing me to do a guest post, in order to help spread the word (thanks my brothers and sisters, I owe you big time). I’ll let you know when those hit the Internet Airwaves.
And me? I figured the best way to help you decide whether this book is for you or not is to let you read some of it. I don’t want you buying the book because of some slick sales copy that hooked you. No gimmicks or tricks with this one. The content is just too personal to me, and the stakes are too high for those it is intended to help. I want you to grab the book only if you think it can be of some use to you, your family, or your friends.
So today I’m posting up the Intro Section. I called it The Battlefield. Next week I’ll put up some of the strategies. Sound good to you?
1. THE ATTACK
Cancer has launched an all out attack on my family. It has taken lives, caused suffering and sorrow, and dragged some of the people I love the most into the pits of hell. We’ve experienced the pain and hardship it can cause. We understand the fear, frustration, and despair that can take over your life. We know just how much this ruthless disease can take from you.
And you? The diagnosis has been made. The plan has been set. No matter how much you’d like to, you can’t change the reality of the situation. You have no choice but to dig down deep, face your challenge, and fight back. This is the only way you will reclaim what is rightfully yours, something that we all too often take for granted – a normal life. Maybe, with a newfound warrior spirit, it will become extraordinary.
You are not alone in this battle. We have a common enemy, one that transcends all cultural and social barriers. For this is a worldwide attack. If we don’t stand side-by-side in this fight, we are all doomed. We must show cancer it messed with the wrong family, with the wrong group of friends. If they dare attack us and the one’s we love, we are attacking back with ruthless aggression, with no mercy.
The battle has now entered your home. The only question is this — will you fight or will you flee?
2. HEROES FIGHT BACK
My wife’s dad battled brain cancer for years. He fought hard, inspired many, and became a legend. My sister is battling kidney and stomach cancer. Her life has been turned completely upside down. Yet she faces every challenge with a smile. Two friends crushed the initial attack of leukemia at a very young age. They’ve gone on to do great things in their lives.
In 2009, my dad was diagnosed with stage-4 throat cancer. His life was changed in an instant. He went from one day planning his upcoming fishing trip to the next day fighting for his life.
The doctors prescribed an intensive treatment protocol — daily radiation sessions combined with chemotherapy infusions. He had a feeding tube inserted into his stomach because he could no longer eat solid food.
I don’t know if hell exists, and if it does what it’s like, but watching my dad go through his treatment sure gives me a good idea. He experienced most of the general side effects associated with cancer treatment: hair loss, muscle loss, fatigue, depression, gastrointestinal distress, rashes, aches, pains, etc. He also had symptoms specific to throat cancer: painful throat sores that made it difficult to eat or swallow, loss of all sense of taste. I might as well stop there and tell you what he didn’t experience – any semblance of a normal life.
I visited my dad every weekend during his treatment. As time progressed I could see his symptoms getting worse and his body deteriorating, but nevertheless he persevered.
One weekend I showed up and I could tell something was different. As I sat across from my dad and looked into his eyes, I knew immediately that the worst thing possible was happening — his spirit was breaking. The human body can take almost anything, but if your spirit collapses, all is lost. My Dad’s words that day confirmed what my gut instinct was telling me. He told me things were so bad that he was going to quit.
My immediate responses were probably very typical of someone in that situation. I said things like, “You can’t quit. You’re halfway through. Don’t give up. I love you too much to lose you.”
I went home that night and knew I had to do something more. He wasn’t going to change his mind just because I wanted him to. Somehow, some way, he was going to have to find some personal motivation from within to persevere, and continue struggling on through this epic battle. As much as I wanted to, I couldn’t step in and do it for him. As Bruce Lee once said, “there is no help but self-help”. I knew I had to find a way to help my dad make it through these tough times, to find his fight. I also knew superficial, cliché statements weren’t going to cut it.
I went home that day, stayed up all night, and wrote him the following letter straight from the heart. I apologize in advance for the frequent use of the word shit in this letter. It was an emotionally charged, shitty time:
*NOTE – Since this is a blog post, and not a book, I eliminated the letter for the sake of space.
To make a long story short, my dad didn’t quit, he persevered, he struggled, he sacrificed, he fought through it all, and he finished his treatment. Somewhere along the way, he found his reason to fight. Patients with his specific condition last on average 6 months. As I write this, it is nearly 4 years later.
What have been some of his rewards for beating the odds? He got to stand by his son’s side as the best man at his wedding. He got to help two of his other sons overcome some personal struggles, get back on their feet, see them kick butt in their careers, and know that they were going to be OK moving forward. He got to watch his favorite baseball team win the World Series. He got to spend valuable time with his grandchildren, watch them grow up, and develop their own personalities. He got to celebrate his 75th birthday with friends and family that flew in from around the world. He got to take one last trip with his wife. He got to motivate everyone else around him to face his or her own struggles in life. And in this son’s eyes, he grew from a great man into a legend that will inspire forever. None of this would have been possible if he had given up.
Unfortunately, my dad is down to clinical trial studies that have some pretty nasty side effects. He recently had emergency surgery to remove cancerous blood trapped inside his heart and lungs, and a trachea tube inserted to help him breathe. Yet he keeps putting one foot in front of the other and marching on. He wants a few more memories to take with him when he goes.
I hope you do too.
3. A NEW HERO RISES
When man comes to a conscious vital realization of those great spiritual forces within himself, and begins to use those forces in science, in business, and in life, his progress in the future will be unparalleled. – Striking Thoughts.
Most of us don’t know how strong we can be, how much we can accomplish, and how we can rise to the occasion when the stakes truly matter. Sometimes it takes life backing you into a corner to force you to look inside, find the warrior within, and let him or her out.
If you’re dealing with cancer, I don’t have to tell you about the gut-wrenching physical and emotional challenges you are currently facing: symptoms and side effects outside of your own control; the feeling that your own body is rebelling against you; the frustrating see-saw of good and bad days; wishing things were back to normal and your fate had fallen upon someone else; alternating optimism and hope with doubt and despair; the constant battle between wanting to live and feeling so sick that giving up sounds like your only true option; the fear of dying and what’s next; the fear of living but no longer being anything like you were before your diagnosis or treatment; worrying about what will happen to your family when you are gone.
All of that building up inside can either cripple you, or can be used to crush your enemy. Somehow, you must find a way to take all of that fear, doubt, and frustration; convert it into positive energy and action; and unleash it against your opponent. It is clear that cancer has underestimated the power of the human spirit in general, and yours in particular. You should not make the same mistake.
Champions, heroes, and legends are made, not born. In most superhero stories, the hero starts out as just an ordinary man or woman. He or she is thrust into battle — most of the time against his or her will — and only becomes the hero by dealing with the circumstances, overcoming extraordinary challenges, and conquering the villain.
You have the opportunity now to conquer the greatest villain this life has to offer. Are you ready to rise to the occasion and win?
4. HOW TO USE THIS BOOK IN YOUR WAR
Each strategy starts with a few quotes. As you fight, I want you to have the most powerful weapons possible at your side. I believe these are just that — simple words of wisdom that will remain with you long after this book is gone. You will be able to call upon them for motivation when you need it most. Following the quotes, we focus on the practical steps to take in order to apply them in battle.
*Quotes courtesy of Tuttle Publishing
1. Find and apply the strategies that resonate with you.
Some strategies will be relevant to your personal situation and style. Some will not. Focus only on those that connect with you personally, and help motivate you to take action, fight your fight, and win your war. Ignore the rest.
2. Write down and use your own strategies as well.
I encourage you to write down your own motivational quotes, sayings, and strategies as well. Use the resources and experiences you’ve been exposed to in your own life. There is no greater education than self-education. There is no greater help than self-help. There are no weapons more powerful than the ones that come from within.
This book is dedicated to Jerry Miyaki – the best friend, mentor, role model, warrior, hero, and dad a guy could have ever asked for.
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.
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