Can’t add muscle while losing body fat? Bahaha


photo (5)I guess someone forget to tell my body.

This post is not about my personal aesthetics or for any purpose other than debunking the myth that you have to “bulk” to put on substantial muscle.  I spend an insane amount of time testing my own biological hypothesis. “Bulk and then cut” is about as outdated as “fat makes you fat”, and eating small meals all day “keeps your metabolism stoked.”

Some will still refute these realities.  An outstanding year of training(naturally) is putting on 3-7 lbs of muscle. So, at 8% bf you started a period of time at 180 and now weigh 186 at 8% bf, you’ve obviously gained 6 lbs of muscle. However, if you started at 180 and are now 195 and pudgy, you obviously didn’t put on 15 lbs of muscle. Many get caught up in the scale going up, only to see it drop back down the to the same place that someone who stays lean year round would be at.

As I’ve stated in earlier posts, use of the applicable knowledge of our natural insulin production to start muscle repair/growth and limiting of that same hormone at other parts of the day, leads to big fat loss gains and aids in both burning fat and building muscle.

The keys to losing fat while building muscle FOR ME has been:

  1. Consistency-I will eat a pint of ice cream at least once every two weeks. The rest of the time I stick to at least 16 hours of fasting a day. In the remaining 8 hours, I eat one meal containing carbs(first meal of the day after training) and a high fat, moderate protein, low carb diet.
  2. Fasting-I just touched on this subject but the increased insulin sensitivity, the clinically proven benefits of increased HGH and testosterone production make this approach paramount in my humble opinion. On top of these benefits, your hunger hormones such as leptin and ghrelin get regulated properly and you can better interpret your own caloric requirements. If you feel hungry, it’s because you robably need calories. No more out of whack signals from the body.
  3. Patience and the power of momentum-To change your body, mind, and psychology one must adopt a new norm. Once you make that first step to eat whole foods, limit sugar, and get stronger for example, the gains just keep coming. An object in motion tends to stay in motion. Let this wellness mindset works itself into your own identity.

Think, Sweat, Grow-Joe

Bulletproof coffee review: Eating/drinking fat to dominate my day?


Eating a diet higher in fat makes you less fat.

This may be the most obvious statement to some. Others may find it as hard to believe as the US Government having it’s citizens best interest in mind.

This statement sounds contrary to conventional wisdom because the word “fat” has been misused for so long. When someone refers to an individual’s  “fat,” we’re actually talking about their level of adipose tissue.

One of the quickest ways to build up our fat digesting enzyme profiles, is to consume more fat. This basically teaches the body to use fat as fuel, instead of running off of carbs (sugar) constantly.  Many people have consumed carbs so often, for so long, their bodies almost forget how to produce fuel from stored adipose tissue.

I have been hearing about “Bulletproof Coffee” for some time due to the Bulletproof Executive and Fat Burning Man podcasts. Many preach about the laser-like focus that ensues.  While I believe high quality fats are like high octane fuel for the brain, I was skeptical that this concoction could be as advantageous as some say.

Boy, was I wrong. 

Recipe link here.

I decided to try the 16oz of high quality, low toxin coffee, 2tp of cocunut oil, paired with 3 tbsp of grass-fed unsalted butter.  It tasted way better than expected. I almost felt guilty after my first few sips.

While I do not have any MCT oil, which is recommended by Dave Aprey, the benefits have not been diminished. Within two minutes, a clarity of thought came over my mind. I felt as if music was more clear, my thoughts were entering and exiting my consciousness more recognizably, and I was able to focus completely on the task at hand.  Who couldn’t use better focus, a smooth stream of energy, that is healthy and sustainable to help dominate whatever you’re day looks like?

Some may find themselves heading to bathroom immediately after trying this coffee blend. I did not have this reaction. I typically eat high fat and little to no carbs.  As Dave Asprey says, “If you’re like most of my friends who try this, your body is so starved for healthy fats that you feel like you can’t get enough. It will take your body a week or two to fully turn on its fat digestion systems when you switch to a high healthy fat breakfast of Bulletproof coffee. ”

Not only is this recipe delicious, it further cements my thoughts on the amazing power of consuming a high-fat, low carbohydrate diet. Take the time to try out the Bulletproof Coffee and you’re likely to embrace high fat diets and view the way it makes you feel as proof that much carbs just aren’t needed, as many fallaciously think.


Think, Sweat, Grow-Joe


I am not affiliated supported, or endorsed in any way, by Dave Asprey. I’m just trying to achieve my own optimal function, as well as spreading solid, tested experiences.

My2cents: Adding an extra hour of sleep is worth more than some may think.

Lets face it, we all know we should sleep more.

I have been working an insane amount of hours this last week (first weekend in  bit)and haven’t been getting my posts up as I’d like to. I am also preparing for an upcoming move, career change, and still dealing with the rigors of all our day to day lives. I have not slept near as much as I’d like and my mental acuity is definitely affected. The link to a recent BBC sleep study has made me realize that my priorities need to shift from utilizing every second of the day, to getting even just one more hour of sleep.

How much can an extra hour’s sleep change you?

What the heck is intermittent fasting!?

The eating style that changed my life. What could it do for you?

The Fit Life

Conklin Fasting - NewYorkTimes

That’s not all folks.

“What the heck is intermittent fasting?”
“Why should I care about it?”

Welcome to the one of the most interesting and opinionated discussions in fitness today.  Intermittent fasting, if you haven’t heard the term yet, is nothing more than WHEN to eat, and WHEN not to eat.  O boy, what a difference it makes. If this immediately plucks your skeptic cord, PLEASE keep reading. You are no different than I was. You are the reason I started this blog . It is truly making even the most fitness and health oriented experts reevaluate what they understood as healthy.

The best introduction I’ve got is what IF is not:

  • IF it is NOT a diet. There is no specification of what food you should eat.
  • IF is NOT a new concept. Intermittent fasting has been in prevalence since humans have been in existence.
  • IF is NOT a cash cow. No nutrition company, supplement…

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Hit a power stance; hack your hormones.

Taking a “whole body” approach is the most efficient way to change your life; more specifically, interactions with other people, training your body to perform like a Ferrari, or being happy, productive, and positive as much of a 24 hr/day span as possible.

I’m always interested in studies or research that shows that our physiology often change our minds, our mentality dictates physical prowess and all that which falls in between.

This presentation blew my mind a little.  Cool stuff.

This TEDTalks with social psychologist Amy Cuddy, explores how attempting to FEEL powerful applies to our interpersonal interactions, hormones, and daily lives. She excellently presents hard evidence and practical application of her research. If you don’t believe, try it out. I do it daily!

If you’re not eating eggs, you’re not even trying.



Eggs aid in thyroid health, protein synthesis, and proper regulation of blood sugar levels.


Eggs are pretty well known for their high nutritional content. They have protein, healthy fats, and are generally viewed as delicious, yet somehow are considered controversial. They have high levels of fat and cholesterol. This makes them controversial? Eating fat doesn’t make you fat and eating cholesterol doesn’t raise your cholesterol. End of story. Don’t believe me?  Eat a ton of eggs, and check your cholersterol levels  in a few weeks. This is not theory, it is a proven fact.


A brief list of prevalent nutrients found in eggs:

Choline-used in the synthesis of the constructional components in the body’s cell membranes.

Tryptophan-a biochemical precursor to serotinin. An essential amino acid that must be acquired from diet.

Seleniuma mineral that is needed in small amounts by the body to help regulate the thyroid hormones and support a healthy immune system. One of selenium’s most important roles is as anantioxidant helping to prevent cell damage due to free radicals.

IodineHumans need iodine for normal thyroid function, and for the production of thyroid hormones.

Vitamin b2-needed for proper cell energy production. Also shown to guard against  harmful aspects of oxidation in our bodies.

Molybdenuminvolved in many important biological processes, possibly including development of the nervous system, waste processing in the kidneys, and energy production in cells.

Phosphorus-essential for strong bones and teeth.

Vitmin b5-like other b vitamins, it aids in turning what you eat into the energy you need. Also aids in proper hormone health.

Vitamin d-this vitamin is tied to skeletal health, greater longevity, and lower rates of cancer.

Protein-Eggs have every amino acid needed for muscle growth and preservation. More specifically eggs are high in leucine, the amino acid most closely related with heightened protein synthesis. Each egg provide about 6-9g of protein and their amino acid profile makes them a more complete protein source than many other foods typically thought to be high protein.


Eggs should be valued more for their combination of these nutrients. The nutrients are all great in their own right, but the way these nutrients interact and compliment the others in a small perfectly balanced powerhouse form, is the real secret to an egg’s awesomeness.

Eggs are also relatively low in calories and contain no useless fillers or preservatives. They’re an excellent staple for any fat loss or muscle building diet plan.


Think, Sweat, Grow-Joe


Insulin Resistance vs. Insulin Sensitivity: The knowledge you need to bust fat loss goals and muscle building plateaus.

I have been hearing about insulin sensitivity and insulin resistance in the news, magazine covers and fitness forums. For the longest time I wasn’t sure whether insulin sensitivity was an advantageous trait or not. If you have followed theFITLIFE for long, you’ve probably discovered my serious curiosity with insulin and the endocrine system as a whole. I continue to believe hormonal health is the least appreciated and discussed topic in total body fitness.

I feel many plateaus people experience in fat loss and muscle gain, can often be attributed to lack of insulin sensitivity (insulin resistance).

A few explanations that we may or may not know.

• Insulin-an anabolic (muscle building/growth) hormone. Responsible for “turning on” glucose absorption into cells thereby reducing circulation blood sugar levels.

• Glucose-sugar produced mostly by the consumption of carbohydrates. Glucose is used as fuel for our bodies.

• Insulin sensitivity-the description of how much insulin is required to use or process a quantity of glucose.

• Insulin Resistance-muscle, liver, and fat cells develop a resistance to the effects of insulin due to a couple of reasons, including chronically high levels of blood glucose levels.

Being insulin sensitive is actually the nominal state in humans but because of mass consumption of carbohydrates, lack of exercise, and massive dumps of insulin responsible for regulation blood sugar, insulin resistance has become the norm for many. Prolonged insulin resistance can lead to more serious conditions such as type-2 diabetes. This happens because the pancreas has been overworked, cells are less responsive to insulin so the pancreas has to constantly increase insulin production to furnish the same blood sugar leveling catalyst. (Sustained high blood sugar levels are toxic to the body)


How might I know if I’m Insulin Resistant?

Well, if you’re overweight and hold weight around the abdomen you’re almost surely insulin resistant. It’s a dirty cycle that is aggravated by the fact that insulin resistance escalates as weight does. Also, some people are born insulin resistant. If you respond favorably (in terms of fat loss) you’re probably insulin resistant. There are also tests that your doctor can perform if you’d like to know a definite answer, although its importance will probably be downplayed.


Practical tips to Increase insulin sensitivity

Strength train– I know I’m a broken record about the effects of strength training, but when it comes to increasing your insulin sensitivity and properly utilizing insulin, not much beats it.

  • Why? There are countless research articles citing strength training as the best exercise for the purpose but I think of it like this; if you’re lifting weights, you’re using the glucose stored in the muscles to produce ATP and power your muscles. Cells are going to be much more receptive to insulin-induced glucose absorption from the blood stream if their storages have been depleted. Sensitivity is immediately increased during exercise and stays for an hour or two afterwards.
  • You may have heard the meal after working out is one of the most important; this is why. Your body’s cells are incredibly receptive to nutrient uptake at this time.

Note: If you’ve been on a typical bodybuilder “bulk” phase(eating everything you can all day long), the tips laid out here will regain some of the insulin sensitivity you’ve lost from digesting food all day long. Why does it matter? Well if you’re becoming insulin resistant because of the constant presence of insulin, you’re muscle cells aren’t taking in the glucose and nutrients like before(remember insulin as the key that unlocks the cell membrane), rather turning the glucose  into fat. Regaining insulin sensitivity will dramatically increase the flooding of nutrients into the cell for optimal protein synthesis.


Fast-I recommend at least one 20-hour fast per week. I fast 16+ hrs/day. See previous posts for advice and how-to.

  • When you’re not consuming any calories, the body reverts to the use  of stored fat as fuel. This is preceded by the use of stored glycogen and glucose (sugars) as fuel. This leaves the muscle and liver cells depleted of sugars and creates a state of “rest” for the insulin producing function of the pancreas. Anytime the body has not had massive blood sugar spikes in a time, you can expect insulin sensitivity to rise.  I feel switching to a daily fast is the most natural way to eat, and the most effective at normalizing the way insulin operates in the body.


Eat a low carb/low glycemic index diet-The human body is not designed to be bombarded by 80g of carbs or sugars all at once.

  • Some bodies handle carbohydrates better than others although none are conditioned for large amounts of processed carbs/sugar. This causes the pancreas to kick in and produce insulin immediately, but the muscle cells and liver can only take so much. The rest becomes adipose tissue (fat).
  • Eating lower carbs doesn’t directly lower your sensitivity. It eliminates the large spikes in Insulin which lowers the “symptoms” you feel when you’re insulin resistant and your body is struggling to get rid of the blood sugar. So, insulin resistance is all but negated when you eat a very low carb diet. By losing weight, which most do with this eating approach, you increase insulin sensitivity and combat resistance, as well.

If you’re having a hard time breaking a fat loss plateau, or are just starting out on your path, incorporate the knowledge above to tailor your eating habits. Fat loss plateaus often come about because of the fact that as you lose weight, your body naturally becomes less resistant and more sensitive. (Think about our body’s propensity for survival) Our bodies are designed to store fat, so the less you weigh the more your body wants to store fat. Systematically lowering carbohydrates as your overall mass lowers, is one way to ensure your gains keep coming and the plateaus are blown through.

Think, Sweat, Grow- Joe


If anyone has any questions or comments please leave them below or in an e-mail to I really would love some interaction or discussion about the topics I write about. My goal here is to help someone, even if it’s just one sentence that resonates with you. I am learning about these topics each day and would love to learn more from you all. Take care!

Deadlift: King of lifts?

The deadlift is one of the greatest muscle building exercises for size, strength, and coordination. The lack of required equipment make it ideal in the gym, at home, or anywhere you can find something to pick up!

Whether you’re 85 years old or a professional athlete, this lift needs to be in your routine. It is a whole body lift that gets plenty of bang for the buck.

The lift is by definition, pretty simple: grab something heavy and stand up with it. It is quite a technical lift though, so I suggest watching a few videos by credible lifters on youtube, or by asking a personal trainer or well-versed friend before putting much weight on the bar. One great instructional video is by Stronglifts:



This is the second to last set on my “heavy” deadlift day. 3 reps @ 385lbs. I currently weigh 164 lbs. Disregard all the pre-lift belt fixing, hand readjustment shenanigans, if you can.

Note: I did this workout after 16 hours of fasting (8pm last night to 1pm today). No carbs needed.

Rhabdomyolysis- What is it, why we’re now hearing about it, and what I think.

Upon searching Google for “Rhabdomyolysis”, you’ll quickly see the latest onslaught of over reaction and explanation of 1% of a complex story.

Can Crossfit kill you?

CrossFit: Can the Popular Extreme Workout Be Dangerous?

CrossFit Linked to Potentially Fatal Condition Rhabdomyolysis

We humans are more motivated by scare tactics and what negative scenarios could happen than by the countless stories of people regaining control of their will power, self-confidence and life by adopting hard work and a sense of community.

NOTE: I do not participate in a CrossFit gym, or workout.  I have competed in CrossFit-like competitions that incorporate strength, explosiveness, and endurance. I have no vested interest, just an interest in human development and a joy of being fit.

Rhabdomyolysis is defined by PubMed Health as the breakdown of muscle fibers that leads to the release of muscle fiber contents (myoglobin) into the bloodstream. Myoglobin is harmful to the kidney and often causes kidney damage.

The logical conclusion is that there are many aspects to our lives that pose a far greater danger than pushing your physical limits. I do not doubt however that CrossFit programs are far more likely to encourage over exertion to the point one’s body is nowhere ready to undergo the amount of stress that the human mind can initialize; especially at first. When a workout is designed with no immediate goal, just a generalized “as hard and fast as you can go” mentality, extreme stressors become present. I would theorize 95% of the population could not imagine this amount of stress and strain, though.  It is not a point that you feel fatigued or that “burning” feeling in your muscles. It is repeatedly ignoring signals from the body that is in dire need of rest, or reprieve.

The much greater danger is someone living a life using every media outlet story about dangers in the world to aid their inaction or idleness.

An approach that is as safe is one that incorporates a medical examination before starting a physical training program. From there step 2 is listening to your body and not getting caught up in what “Becky” or “Harry” is doing. If you’ve been working out consistently for just 2 months, I don’t think you should be straining so hard that you may not be able to move for a week. It takes time to learn one’s limits. It takes time to develop a mind and body relationship where results are not traded for health and well-being.


My take-aways from the recent story lines are as follows:

1. The media is always looking for the new big thing. What better way to captivate an audience than by scaring people, and referencing the newest, biggest, trendiest workout style. I believe this condition does iindeed exist, just believe this should be one of the last things on your mind when considering a workout routine or fitness lifestyle.

2. Over-exertion is real. The scientific explanation of this condition is misleading in a way. It could as easily be described as over-exertion, in my opinion. The best way to combat this it is to eat well and sleep plenty. Our bodies are made to adapt. Give it proper fuel and rest and it will operate optimally.

3. Listen to your body. Do not listen to the guy or gal next to you’s body. Fitness, as many things are, is about balance. Push yourself, but be cognizant enough to know when enough is enough.


Think, Sweat, Grow -Joe


P.S. I am not a Medical Doctor. I am a fitness professional with an insatiable curiosity and will to simply help others.


My2Cents: Brainwash Yourself

“Optimism can be relearnt.”-Marian Keyes

Reality is pretty subjective. One person may view an obstacle as an opportunity to succeed, learn about themselves, or advance their knowledge. That same person may see this same thing as bad luck, a roadblock, or another personal failure. The only difference is one perspective sees themselves as a static figure. A person that is what they are, and what they’ve always been.

I’ve always called myself “prepared,” but in reality I was a negative thinker; a pessimist. I knew that being an optimist was the goal, but I just imagined that was who I was. How do I change how I talk to myself? Also, how I feel about the present moment or situation.

By doing just that. Literally, talk to yourself how you want that inner voice to talk automatically. No matter if it at first seems corny, or disingenuous, or forced. The fact is, that we can alter our subconscious minds by constantly “brain washing” ourselves into thinking were positive, optimistic thinkers!  Repeat what you wish you were thinking. Force it. Repeat the thoughts that the most supportive friend/spouse/family would say at that time. After implementing this very basic strategy I’m often blind sided by facing a situation with a completely peaceful, hopeful feeling. I know a year or two ago I would have responded with pity and/or self loathing or excuses of bad luck and lack of opportunity. It is not impossible and actually doesn’t take as long as you might imagine!