My Top Secret Fitness...Secrets

When you're a physical therapist and trainer and appear to be "in shape," the question of "what you do" comes up quite frequently. Many people assume that I spend a lot of time in a gym or kitchen or Whole Foods. I don't.


I don't measure portions or time nutrients or count calories or macros or the number of times I eat per day. I don't tally steps, miles, or caloric expenditure. I don't use supplements before, during, or after my workouts (unless you count coffee). I don't eat gluten free or organic.
flipping out on the beach

I do try to eat minimally processed and altogether avoid fried foods. My diet is a cheeseburger and a grilled chicken sandwich without the fries. Many times after work I eat from the plate of food that's a conglomerate of kid leftovers one step removed from the dog dish. No, really. I have some ice cream when I feel like it.

I'm certain this diet depends on who I'm with. By fitness culture standards it's shameful and sloppy. By general American standards it's Puritanical borishness.

You will not be healthy and look fit if you're into heavy drinking, if you must have desert after every meal, or you frequently eat out at chain restaurants. You just won't - unless you make some MAJOR sacrifices in other areas. And your time and body cannot afford that for long.

When you make an honest effort at simply eating a balanced and healthy diet but don't make a huge deal of it, you will tend to lose the taste for dieting gimmicks, indulgent foods, and obsessive eating behaviors. Or, at least that's my hope.

For further detail, I'm the author and strict adherent of The Perspective Diet.


I don't train 5 days per week. I don't do many Olympic lifts or yoga. I don't perform a series of dynamic warm-up drills before training and cool down with static stretches after training. I often don't warm up at all. I don't do (traditional) cardio except in the rare instance that I have some kind of endurance based competitive event.

I do visualize whatever it is that I'm working towards. I see what it's like to pull off an easy side flip. I mentally stick the balance point on a mountain bike trick. I mentally feel the position of my legs and trunk under the weight of a big pull (dead lift).

I do stay active with my family and friends, and with various domestic tasks around the house and yard. I play formal and informal pick up sports and have fun.  

But alas, HERE IS THE REAL SECRET to feeling and looking good without life revolving around diet and exercise:

1. Be super consistent.
2. Do (relatively) heavy total-body resistance training.

Here is exactly what I do in terms of structured exercise:

Tuesday - (warm up sets not listed) 3 to 4 sets of a horizontal press - think bench press/variation
                 3 to 4 sets of dead lifts
                 3 sets of split squats (single leg variation)
                 2 to 3 sets of some kind of core/conditioning circuit

car push!
Friday - PlyoFriday is usually a series of various jumps, leaps, short sprints, and pushing an old Subaru down Bonny Lane.

Saturday - 4 sets Weighted Chin-ups
                  4 sets of overhead press variation
                  3 sets of dumbbell "lawn mower" rows
                  20 reps squats!!!
                  2 to 3 sets of some kind of core/conditioning circuit

At a little over 6'1", I carry around 200 lbs of mostly muscle because I regularly lift heavy, total body movements. I can lift heavy, total body movements because my flexibility, stability, and movement patterns are good (thus I don't often get injured). My movement patterns are good because I've been at it for a while, it's part of my day job, and most importantly, I enjoy it.
This training program is not top secret or high tech or complex or quick and easy. But it keeps me heavy to the point that my body is resilient to the demands of life. Being heavy allows me to eat like a normal human and yet maintain muscle definition.

More on this at Get Heavy to Lose Weight. 

Skipping warm-ups and eating 3 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches per day is most definitely not for everyone. Hell, I don't claim that anything listed here is for everyone. My story is a work in progress with the outcome still unknown. When I'm old and lean and my knees and lower back ache, will it be from the resistance training? Or the amateur gymnastics? Or chasing my kids through the woods and over rocky creek beds? Or from mountain bike crashes? Or the 30+ years of trying to play basketball?

I guess we'll see. But hopefully you get the picture.

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