Saturday, August 2, 2008

Mr. Low Body Fat's Blog Has Moved!!!

Well, after exactly one year of blogging, I've decided that I needed a new look and address for my site. Please head over to my new and improved blog by clicking on the my blog's new header below.

This will be the last post that I will make at this address, so make a note of the change, and I'll see you guys over at our new home!

Monday, July 28, 2008

"12 Reasons to Fire Your Personal Trainer" by Steve Maxwell

It appears that Coach Maxwell is causing a stir on his blog again, and his most recent post could not have come at a better time. Last week, I was at my favorite park enjoying the sunshine, green grass, trees, abusing my sandbag, and trying to break my pushup board when I see a woman being trained (Boot Camp style) by this trainer who looked to be in his mid-20s.

Every now and then I would see the trainer and the woman glance my way while I was training. This really didn't bother me since I'm use to folks staring at me when I train because nobody else is out there bare-footed in the grass, with shades on, and an mp3 player attached to his ears. I'm not even going to tell you how the parents, who are taking their kiddies to the community pool, look at me when I'm doing my hip mobility exercises. Man, I think I need to get a t-shirt that says, "I'm not a pedophile, I'm a physical culturist!" ...

So, this young buck had this poor woman, who was obviously de-conditioned, doing the following circuit:

  • pushups
  • 30 yard bear crawls to a tree
  • jog around the tree
  • all out sprint for about 40 yards to the Fitness Cluster (the wooden workout stations in parks) near where I was training
  • 15 reps of bodyweight squats
  • 15 reps of step ups on a pretty elevated platform
  • run back to the starting place
  • repeat ...
I was floored when I saw this because she was clearly about to pass out after the first time through! Oh, and when she was complaining about how difficult this was, he had the nerve to tell her, "I told you that I was going to take things up to another level." This upset me, but what really pissed me off was that he worked out with her and was barking at her to keep up with him. Yeah, this de-conditioned, 40 something year-old woman, who probably needs to reduce her body fat by 10 percent, is going to keep up with a guy who was clearly an athlete in school judging by his build.

My blood was boiling a bit because it brought back very ugly memories I have of these type of personal trainers or personal abusers, as I like to call them. But, I didn't say anything because I go to the park to train and not socialize or get in other folk's business; however, when I could hear this woman panting so loudly that it was drowning out Bulls on Parade, I had to look back to see what was up. Well, as can be expected, she was on her second round of step-ups, and this poor woman had reached her limit. And, guess what her trainer was doing?
Checking his phone's text messages!!!!
When he noticed that I was watching, I guess he felt compelled to put away his damn phone and start doing step-ups with her, as if he was showing her how easy they were. He started to bark at her again about how she had to keep pushing herself. I was doing hindu pushups at the time, but I just stopped, shouldered my sandbag, and went for a walk across the field (a great leg and core exercise by the way) to get away from them before I couldn't hold my tongue any longer.

As I walked back across the field, they passed by me, and I could see the pain and frustration in the woman's face. Fortunately, her personal abuser chose not to make her do another round, as if she really could have. I watched as she limped, exhausted and sweaty, to her car. I really wonder whether or not she'll be back this week.

So, you can imagine how happy I was to read Steve's post on "Twelve Reasons to Fire Your Personal Trainer." I'm not going to post all of the pictures here, so I really encourage you to visit his blog to see them. Simply click on the article's title to read his original post complete with some pretty hilarious photos of Steve playing the part of the trainer who needs to be canned!

I hope you enjoy his post, and please leave comments about some horror stories you've had or have seen from these personal abusers.

* * *
"12 Reasons to Fire Your Personal Trainer" by Steve Maxwell
1. Your trainer is a poor match.
Training is a personality-driven business. More important than credentials, or even knowledge, the trainer's personality must be a good match with yours. The trainer's job is to be upbeat, positive and always in a good mood. Mood management is a hallmark of the true professional. If the two of you fight like a married couple, it's a poor match.

2. You're getting injured.
Even with the best personal trainers, an occasional injury is unavoidable, but when you have constant, nagging, recurrent injuries, your trainer isn't paying attention to proper form and technique.

3. No results or poor results.
Some clients have unrealistic expectations about what they can or cannot do; however, if you feel like you're on that treadmill-to-nowhere, never making progress with your weight loss or strength goals, then it's a good bet your trainer is incompetent. Which leads us to number 4...

4. No record-keeping.
For fat loss in particular, it's very important to document progress with anthropometric measurements and before/after photos. Skin folds and other measures of body composition are generally inaccurate but can sometimes be useful in gauging the general trend of fat loss progress. If your trainer isn't keeping precise records, including recording each workout, then he's simply lazy.

5. Not paying attention to your stated goals and needs.
Goals should be hammered out during the first meeting and everything should be made clear. If the trainer doesn't keep his agreement and starts to veer from the agreed-upon path, then it's time to say adios.

6. You're in a constant state of fatigue from your workouts.
Included here is frequent colds and other illness, constantly aching joints, especially a "heaviness" of the limbs. This means your trainer is driving you into the dreaded overtraining. Working out is meant to enhance your quality of life and make you feel better, not worse. This doesn't mean your goals don't require hard work--they do--but a good trainer knows the difference between under and over training and should be able to figure out the proper dose of exercise for you, if he's any good at all.

7. Using negative reinforcement.
Most people feel bad enough about themselves already and don't need anybody else to make them feel worse. Personal training is to help you feel good about yourself and enforce positive habits and positive self-image. Some clients may seem to respond well to being berating and insulting in a boot camp/drill instructor style, but in my experience, people who like this kind of training have a masochistic disorder, enjoying emotional beat downs. Words are powerful tools and affect the subconscious mind. Using negative techniques does nothing to promote health and healing. As a young trainer, I used to fall into this pattern because I thought it was cool and macho but later I realized it created more harm than good...for them and me.

8. Your trainer complains about his own personal issues on your time.
Your trainer is paid to be there for you. Part of that entails paying all of his attention to the details of your workout and supporting you in your optimal performance. There's no room for sharing personal gossip. If he's a constant complainer, run for the nearest exit! I've also heard trainers engage with their clients in a gab-fest and end up talking more than doing.

9. Your trainer is always late.
This is an indication he has no respect for you or your time. Subconsciously, he's not looking forward to seeing you and doing his job. When people are late for appointments, they're avoiding and procrastinating the meeting because they don't want to be there--this includes taking cell phone calls and texting during the workout. There are times these things are unavoidable, but anymore than very occasional is a waste of your money. Find someone who's in the moment with you.

10. Your trainer is a Don Juan.
There's an old saying, "you don't sh*t where you eat". These relationships rarely work out. There's undeniably sexual attraction when two people meet and it happens in every professional setting. Casual flirtation is harmless. Letting people know you find them attractive can be a great ego boost. But when your trainer is a known player around the gym, you may do better with someone with a better handle on who they really are. Maturity on this level is a good indicator of professional commitment. The energy should be going into your workout, not titillations.

11. He's letting you get away with murder--and you know it.
Sometimes trainers put clients through ridiculously easy workouts (they don't push you, permit sloppy form, stick you on aerobic equipment while they just talk to you) just to make some easy money. They don't progress you or design new programs. Or they switch up your program so frequently there are no meaningful gains made. They don't admonish you for diet infractions or missed workouts or touch on any seemingly unpleasant topics because they're interested only in your money, not you and your progress. A true fitness professional will call you on your bullsh!t because he's about earning the money he's paid.

12. Poor personal health and workout habits.
If your trainer shows up for your appointment looking like he slept in his clothes, sloppy and disheveled, it means he has no personal pride in his profession or appearance. The same goes for fat trainers. If your goal is weight loss, how can you expect someone else's help if they can't discipline their own eating? Another old saying in the coaching business: you can't take someone else where you haven't been.

Fatties in the weight-loss business are something to be avoided like the plague.

Before the flames arrive, let me clarify: I'm not talking about a power lifting coach or someone training strongmen. Being heavy and carrying extra body fat can be an advantage in these types of events. I'm talking about people who work with the general public where weight control and increased health are the primary goals. In my opinion, there's no place for fat trainers. If you're a fat trainer reading this, have some pride in your appearance, follow your own advice and get the weight off, otherwise you're in the wrong profession.

Further, I'd like to state that in over 36 years of working in the personal training business, I have violated many of these rules at one time or another...and I later regretted it. I've lost both clients and income and--worse--people's trust in me. Luckily, I'm a fast learner and corrected these mistakes and became a better trainer for it.

Friday, July 25, 2008

MLBF's Blog Recognized by!

I just received an email from Neenz and the good folks at They informed me that my blog was added to the fitness section of their site. I'm excited about this because I'll be in the company of other great fitness/nutrition related blogs out there such as Steve Maxwell's Blog, my buddy Israel over at Fat Man Unleashed, Diet Detective, and Strong Lifts to name a few.

The timing couldn't be better since I'll be launching the new look and location of my blog on the 2nd of August! I have been working day and night to get it ready, so stay tuned for more information about my new blog next week.

Have a great weekend and thanks for your continued support fellas ...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Fat Loss Stories of Inspiration: Mike Boyd (440lbs - 187lbs)

I've decided to change the name of not only this series, but to my blog's tag-line too. I think there has been too much of an emphasis on weight loss fellas and it really needs to stop. When you say that you need to lose weight, what you are really wanting to lose is not simply weight but stored body fat! I know that this may sound like I'm splitting hairs, but I'm not.

Focusing primarily on the weight loss on a scale opens you up for a host of problems. First, you can be easily suckered into programs or weight loss aids that promise fast weight loss, but they never tell you whether you will be losing more fat than lean tissue. Second, when you focus on losing weight, instead of fat, you're more than likely going to look saggy and soft as you slim down, which is something that I'm sure you and your significant other don't want!

So, from here on out, this series will no longer be "Weight"Loss Stories of Inspiration, but will be now known as Fat Loss Stories of Inspiration because losing fat is the real goal. Also, I am now encouraging you guys to "Feed your brain to lose the fat!" OK, now let's move on to our next story. Oh, before I forget, I'm going to highlight at least one inspirational story a month; however, some months, like this one, I may spotlight more.

* * *

It had to be around 2006 when I first came across Mike Boyd's website. I was absolutely blown away by his transformation. Mike started his journey at a staggering 440lbs in 2005, and by 7/2007 he was weighing in at @187lbs!! Oh, and he did this through changing his eating habit and weight training only!

On his website, Mike explains that one of the main reasons he started his journey was because his doctor told him that either he lost the weight, or they would have to amputate his leg, which had horrible water retention problem that would have him visiting the hospital every 2-3 weeks. Mike remembers exactly what his doctor told him on one of his visits to the hospital to have, yet another, infection in his leg treated:

My doctor was blunt and to the point. He said "Your [sic] going to lose your leg"... and in the next breath he said "IF you don't do something NOW and I mean right NOW to change your life". Knock knock... reality check...
Well, this was more than enough to cause Mike to re-think his current situation and to, eventually, plan out how he was going to tackle his weight problem. However, the very first steps were the most difficult for him because of his size. He jokes on his site that he was only able to do 1 minute of cardio his first day. Hey, this clearly shows us that we all have to start somewhere, right?

Below, Mike explains the ordeal he went through just to get the mail at his job:

I could not walk to the mailbox and when it came time to clock out at work every night I would go through this unreal routine, which was extremely stressful, and challenging to me both mentally and physically. I would leave my desk and walk 27 paces to the waiting room then sit down, because I was extremely out of breath and scared that I was going to pass out. I had extreme anxiety over the fact that I could not breath or catch my breath so I had to make sure that I did not do anything over the absolute minimum to stress myself. Next after a few minutes rest I made my way to my vehicle and started it up then drove around the back of the building. I rested another few minutes in the car then I walked 20 steps into the waiting room where the Time clock was and parked my butt on a chair for 3-4 mins until I felt I was rested up enough for the journey back out to my vehicle.

Shortness of breath, pain in the legs, fear of passing out, all did not deter Mike from his goal of finally losing the weight and being the father he always wanted to be to his family. So he endured, and with the help of Tom Venuto's Burn the Fat Feed the Muscle program, Mike added weight resistance to his cardio routine and started to clean up his diet.

Well, as they say, a picture (or two) is worth a thousand words, so I'll let you guys see how Mike transformed his body from this guy:
To this guy:

OK, you can close your mouth and pick your jaw up off the floor now .... LOL!

Mike and I traded a couple of emails back in 2007, but I haven't heard from him this year. So, I'm not sure how he is doing in his new body. But, the determination and desire that he has shown in losing so much fat (over 200lbs to be exact!) leads me to believe that Mike is doing just fine. Also, he has a note at the top of his website to his visitors:

Mike has waged a personal WAR against Body fat and reclaimed his Life! Its all about Burning the Fat and feeding the Muscle as Tom Venuto can attest to! Over 200 Lbs of Fat put to rest. New goals continue to re-kindle my spirit as 2008 moves on. Stay tuned, my story is still unfolding!

I think it's safe to say that Mike is still on point with his fat loss and overall transformation. Guys, feel free to go to his website to see more pictures and to read more about his story.

Hands down, Mike's transformation inspired me more than any other one I've come across on the internet!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

"Are You an Exerciser or an Athlete? Part II" by Charles Staley

OK Fellas, here's part II of this great article by strength coach and the developer of the EDT System for building muscle and strength, Charles Staley. There are so many nuggets of gold, to borrow a term from my buddies over at bodyweight culture, in this article that I hope you guys print this one out and really study and think about these five brief, yet packed, habits that athletes possess.

"Are You an Exerciser of an Athlete? Part II"
By Charles Staley, B.Sc, MSS
Director, Staley Training Systems

Last week I differentiated between the "exerciser" mindset and the athletic paradigm. I equated exercisers with an amateur approach, and athletes with a professional attitude toward fitness. Most importantly, I demonstrated how the fundamental distinction between these two divergent perspectives is one of attitude: exercisers hate what they do, they do it begrudgingly, and they wouldn't do it at all except for their certainty that they have to do it.

Athletes, on the other hand love to train. In fact, they tend to overtrain, because their work ethic has become so ingrained that they live and die by a productivity-based ethos.

Becoming an athlete doesn't require advanced pedigree, a nasty steroid habit, bulging biceps, or even jaw-dropping talent. What it does require is a commitment to a set of practices that define the athletic lifestyle. People who consistently practice these habits can call themselves athletes, while those who do not continue to reside in the exerciser caste.

As you continue to read, take a self-assessment to see how many of these five habits you already practice, and which ones are missing from your dossier.

1) Process Orientation:

The athlete pursues goals, but the bulk of his day-to-day attention is focused on processes. A premise is first developed which states "If I do this process, it should lead me to this end." Once the premise is established, the athlete trusts the premise (much like a pro golfer must trust his stroke under competitive conditions).

The athlete shifts his sights away from the long-term goal and devoted his entire energy toward the day-to-day practices and habits that will give him the best chance for success. These practices encompass everything from training tactics, to nutritional and recuperative strategies.

2) Delayed Gratification:

The desire for instant results is the hallmark of an exerciser. Athletes know that the big payoff is worth the wait. One telltale sign of maturity can be found in sound nutritional practices: many people can commit to an exercise program, because there are immediate benefits- endorphin production, muscle pumps, greater energy, etc. However, there are little to no short-term benefits to be gained from a sound nutritional program - the payoff takes time to accrue.

3) Systemization:

Athletes record, document, and analyze their training, and often, their food intake. In other words, they keep records. When you don't have systems, you need to reinvent the wheel every time a unique situation presents itself. Athletes tend to know their maximum capacities in various exercises, they know how they react to various nutritional practices, and they're also familiar with the psychological states that produce superior performances. All of this knowledge is gleaned through the process of record keeping. After all, the best way to predict future performance is to study the past.

4) Professionalism:

The previous three practices are all components of professionalism, but here, I'd like to discuss a "root" habit that gives birth to all of them: distancing. This practice is perhaps best personified in the old weightlifter's credo "There is no joy in victory, no agony in defeat." Athletes maintain a certain impassionate distance from their craft. They know that if they identify too closely with their role, they'll be less likely to put themselves on the line, in the competitive arena.

Instead, they simply put in the work, do the right things, and resign themselves to whatever outcome might occur. Athletes know that commitment to the effort means more than the outcome produced by the effort. Exercisers on the other hand, are typically unwilling to put in the time, and instead resort to pills, powders, plastic surgery, and various other shortcuts that inevitably lead to failure.

5) Functionalism:

Exercisers are concerned exclusively with "form:" an improved appearance. Athletes are concerned exclusively with "function," which results in better form than what exercisers typically achieve. Put simply: form follows function. When you train like an athlete, you'll look like an athlete


I hope you'll notice the consistent parallels between these 5 practices. They all stress means over ends, practices over outcomes, long-term growth over immediate gratification. All of which are expressions of maturity. If you're currently living an exerciser lifestyle, you're ahead of the curve, but why not set your sights higher and join the athletic community? All it takes is making a decision- taking action, right now. Not sure how to start? Click the "comments" link below and let me know how I can help!

Monday, July 14, 2008

"Are You an Exerciser or an Athlete? Part I" by Charles Staley

When I tell people that I don't workout or exercise but that I train, they usually think that I'm trying to be some macho-type guy, but that's not the case at all. Nothing could be farther from the truth. It's just a matter of perspective and how you approach being fit and healthy.

Well, once I came across this two-part article written by Charles Staley, the developer of the EDT (Escalating Density Training) System, which is something that I first heard of from strength coach Mike Mahler, I felt that I finally found someone to sum up exactly what I've been trying to explain.

Basically, EDT allows you to do a large volume of work over a specified time. The key to this system is that you try and beat the number of reps you did for a particular lift the very next workout. Now, this increase the next workout can be as little as one extra rep, which is fine because they name of the game is gradual and progressive resistance.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Weight Loss Stories of Inspiration: Series Introduction

When I started blogging close to a year ago, I wanted to create an image for not only me to aspire to, but for other obese and overweight guys to aspire to also. Let's be upfront and honest about something. Having low body fat makes your body work and operate much more efficiently.

Sure, most guys want washboard abs and that's their man motivation. However, there's just no getting around the fact that once you're carrying around less
stored fuel, your body can do many more things effectively. You become more flexible and feeling light on your feet beats the hell out of having pains in your knee joints and hips.

So, when I receive emails from guys all over the world telling me their weight loss success story, I can't help but to feel as if we are all connected in this battle against the bulge and journey to re-capture our health.

In honor of this connected feeling fat guys all over the world are experiencing, I've decided to start a new series that will highlight many of these stories of
Average Joes who got tired of being fat and decided to do something about it! Let's start with our first Story of Inspiration, shall we?

“Kung gusto, maraming paraan; kung ayaw, maraming dahilan.” Translated roughly, it means: “If you really want to, you’ll find lots of ways; if you really don’t, you’ll find lots of ways not to.
- Filipino Proverb
For this series introduction, I wanted to highlight a guy that emailed me all the way from Quezon City, Philippines after seeing my interview on CNN. In 2007, Erik Dayrit, a 28 year-old graduate student, weighed 293 and @ 40% of that was fat! Once he saw that he was getting close to the dreaded 300lb mark, he decided that he needed to do something to lose the weight because at a height of 5'9, Erik knew that he was classified as morbidly obese.

It was at this moment that he knew he could not blame anyone but himself for being obese. In his email, Erik explains:
I was looking for someone or something to blame but I eventually realized that the way out of this mess was all up to me. Nobody told me to have an extra serving of rice every meal or to have a midday “snack” of Big Mac, large fries and caramel sundae. I did this to myself and I can undo it if I really wanted to. That was my epiphany. I’ve tried to slimming down before but all were half-hearted attempts to please someone – my parents, my relatives or my friends – but it was different this time. I’m doing this for myself.
No matter how you slice if guys, it comes down to personal accountability and doing it for yourself this time!

So, Erik had an epiphany that he needed to lose weight, but, as I've mentioned before, having an epiphany isn't enough. You need a plan of action, and that's exactly what he did:
Before, I always reasoned out that I had no time to go to the gym since I was both working and studying. But since my epiphany, I’ve managed to allot at least 8 hours of gym time per week. My regimen usually involved a lot of cardio combined with some heavy lifting. As for my diet plan, I settled for the Chrono Diet since it was the most convenient plan for me. Basically I ate more during breakfast, some during lunch and a little at supper. After a visit to a nutritionist, I also learned how to monitor what I ate. I introduced myself to foods that I’ve never touched for a long time – oat meal, wheat bread, fish, veggies and fruits. In the past, I used to say, “Life is short so eat, drink and be merry!” before having a huge slice or two (or three) of cheesy, all-meat pizza and mug of ice cream float. But now, you’d have to move heaven and earth for me to even get near that stuff again. I’ve modified my eating mantra to: “Life is short so don’t gorge food that will shorten it even more.”
Erik's modified eating mantra is definitely words to live by.

One thing that I'm going to enjoy about this series is that you are going to hear stories from men from all walks of life, who use different approaches to lose the weight, but one consistent theme is the following equation:

An epiphany + an intelligently designed plan + desire & determination = sustainable results

So, what about Erik's weight loss? Well, let's just say that at the time of his email to me, which was less than a month ago, Erik is down to 174lbs with 21% body fat, and he has maintained this weight for the last two months. He also participated in his first 5K this past May, which is incredible considering that one year earlier he could barely climb a flight of stairs without huffing and puffing!

Now, Erik has cut back considerably on his cardio and has incorporated heavy weight training into his routine, which is something he said that he should have implemented sooner. Erik and I share a common goal of getting a ripped physique, complete with visible six pack!

Nevertheless, Erik's transformation is nothing short of amazing. I think his before and after pictures speak for themselves ...

Congratulations Erik on your outstanding transformation and inspiration to Average Joes all over who want to lose the weight.

Fellas, if you have a weight loss story of an Average Joe that you'd like for me to showcase, please email your story and send before and after pictures to