All you had to say was “No”

Its close to 10:30 on a Sunday morning and I’m still laying in bed. Totally comfy buried under the covers. House is quiet and just the perfect temperature where it’s slightly chilly but not freezing. I finally persuade myself to get out of bed and I make myself a bath. (Insert deep long sigh)… Totally relaxed. Its at this point it hit’s me…

“Why has it taken me this long in life to say NO and leave the weekends for me?!”

Can you relate?

I was in the habit of filling my schedule up with work, meetings, lunches and coffee dates with friends, which meant wasting time in traffic. Spending way too much time on social media, Netflix, driving my daughter to and from her Dad’s house, and then focusing on whatever hobby I chose to learn for that week. Not only did I create this vortex of chaos during the week, I let it trickle into my weekend as well. I was never content with just sitting at home and giving my brain and body the much needed rest it deserved. I would start Monday feeling just as tired as I did on Friday. I never took the time to organize my time, establish what my priorities were, I was hardly moving with purpose or focus. I was stressed, frustrated, and impatient most of the time. I felt stagnant in my work, missed deadlines, and didn’t have clarity in what I wanted for me and my daughter’s future. Not to mention my health was taking a beating in the process.  Can you relate?

“Just say NO.”

Unfortunately, I’m someone that needs to learn the hard way. I had to get to the point what I view as unhealthy and unhappy to finally be ok with changing my lifestyle. Excepting change is what I needed and more importantly, its what my daughter needed. Change has never come easy for me, I used to be an “all or nothing” type person. I felt I had to change the way I thought, felt, and believed all at once to be successful.


I finally got wise and reached out for help. I got myself a mentor and really listened to what he said. What I mean by listened is that I heard what he said and then acted on it. My mentor helped me by putting a mirror in my face and helped me see reality. He showed me why I would start something and quit, why I was living in chaos and why my lifestyle was keeping me from being the example and leader I want to be for myself, my daughter, and for my clients. He gave me tools that I could use for when I would catch myself back in the same pattern. Most importantly, he taught me how to say NO.

You’re probably assuming that what I’m talking about is saying no to others. What I’m talking about is telling myself no.  I’m a very extraverted and social person. I love being around my friends, engaging in good conversation with plates of good food in front of me. I’m typically someone who doesn’t prefer to stay at home. I like to be out meeting friends, hiking, playing with my horse, and being active. Let me be clear in saying there is nothing wrong with this type of lifestyle, but what I lacked was balance. I tried to mix work, pleasure, responsibilities, all in one day. I was not living realistically, what would happen is I would just focus on the pleasure part. I was having a hard time getting my responsibilities done, I lacked the experience of knowing what staying focused and accomplishing good quality work felt like.

When I would get the urge to start filling up my day with just fun, i’d have to stop and ask myself a few questions.

  • Should the activity I want to do take priority over the things I need to get done at work or home?
  • Will this decision help me be the best version of myself?   

Creating the habit of stopping and asking questions and thinking of the good and bad consequences of my decisions led me to start saying no to things I should.  I started saying no to going out as much, putting the phone down, I got rid of cable, I got better at not getting distracted.

In time my house became more organized, work and my clients were becoming more productive, I had more time for prepping my meals for the week. My health started to improve as well as my daughter’s. I was getting more and more clarity in who I wanted to be and where that would take me. Most importantly, I was less stressed and happier.

How about you?

  • Is saying NO difficult for you?
  • Are you always stressed?
  • Do you feel like you go to one stinking event to the other?
  • How is your relationship with your family?
  • Are you proud of your home? Is it clean and organized?
  • How is your sleep?
  • Is your health where you want it?
  • Do you have clearly set boundaries for you and others?
  • Are you happy?

Growth and happiness.

Its takes strength and maturity to say no and actually make the changes needed. It’s not easy at first, so surround yourself with supportive people. Find people that have or live the life you want, reach out to them. It’s worth it!

As a result of my growth, I can enjoy peaceful Sunday’s in bed and a bath. I’m happier now and enjoy the journey of becoming healthier. Instead of focusing on who I will be hanging out with next and filling my schedule up with activities, I’m reading more, being productive with my time, and I live more in the moment.

I encourage you reader to ask yourself the questions above and not feel bad about telling you or others no, maybe give your child a new experience by getting rid of cable and for him or her to learn how to play puzzles, read, use their imagination. To set up days where the family cleans the house together and then afterward goes on a hike.

Get out of the vortex of chaos and enjoy lazy Sunday’s again!


The 4 Tendencies

“Ok Google…”

How to make new habits…

How to make good habits…

How to break bad habits…

How to make habits stick…

How long to make habits stick…

When people are trying to figure out how to actually make goals happen they know they have to make and break habits.  I mean, you know that… right?  Of course, you do!  Yet, each year people choose to make new habits around this time and fail repeatedly.  We may not truly grasp how bad, old habits are broken, but just about everyone can grasp the concept of how new habits are formed:  We make a decision to make a new habit, get repetitions of said habit in daily, and over ‘x’ amount of time it will become something we do automatically without putting as much time, energy, and thought into it.  Simple!  Or maybe not so simple.

I’ve recently become a podcast guy.  I love listening to podcasts that discuss productivity, human nature, psychology, relationships, and business.  Just the other day I was listening to The Tim Ferris Show and he was interviewing an author by the name of Gretchen Rubin (I’ll include links to Tim’s podcast and the interview at the end).   Amidst all the talk about Gretchen’s upbringing, books, and publishing, Tim’s questions her ideas around making and breaking habits to which Gretchen dives into what she calls the “4 Tendencies.” 

Now, before I list and discuss Gretchen’s 4 Tendencies I just want to say that I’m not really in favor of putting people and their ‘personality types’ into boxes.  I will also say that these 4 tendencies make a lot of sense and identifying with one of them may give you some insight into the ways you typically respond to goal setting.  With this info and a fresh perspective, my hopes are that you might be able to come up with a few alternative methods proving more effective than the ones you currently use when setting and working toward achieving goals.

So, let’s get into it, shall we?

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Gretchen Rubin’s 4 Tendencies as noted from her book, The 4 Tendencies.

Gretchen Rubin’s 4 Tendencies

When discussing goal setting and achievement there are two kinds of goals a person can have which she refers to as inner and outer expectations.  An example of an inner expectation would be one you’d set for yourself like, ‘I’m going to start a new diet,’ or ‘I’m going to go to the gym 3 times per week.’  An outer expectation would be one that is given or assigned to you by others, like your boss for instance.  How we execute these goals depend on our tendencies as Gretchen would claim.  So what are these tendencies? 

Tendency #1.  The Upholder

The upholder is one who readily takes on internal and external goals and can focus their effort on accomplishing them until they are done and move onto the next set of goals.  In fact, the Upholder needs to have goals readily available to work on because achieving things is essentially what they do.  

The downside to being an Upholder is they can tend to be cold to others around them.  They can become super strict in maintaining course on they objectives and brush people off.  For example, if a woman came home to her husband one day and told him that old friends were coming to town tonight for a surprise visit, and upholder would say, “Oh well I guess you’ll be alone with them because I have to run 10 miles in preparation for my marathon in a few months.”

Tendency #2.  The Questioner

This person questions all expectations.  It has to make sense in order for them to even take the first step.  In a way, they turn everything into an inner expectation.  As they are presented with outer expectations they question whether the tasks at hand meet their standards.  If it meets their standards, they’re game to take on new goals.  If it doesn’t meet their standards or if it seems irrational or illogical they will resist.  

You guys are kind of a pain in the ass for us trainers to work with… no offense.  You like to take all expectations and make them internal.  We as trainers give you options, you seem to resist every one of them, and show up in the gym the next day with a “brilliant new idea” that kinda sounds similar to yesterday’s option #2.  See what I’m getting at?   But we still got love for ya.

 Tendency #3.  The Rebel

You’re the small crowd of the four tendencies and you guys just resist everything.  You don’t like to be told what to do.  You can meet internal expectation, but you’ll even sabotage your internal expectations if you feel others expect them from you.  And, of course, external expectations… well they’re not happenin’.

Tendency #4.  The Obliger  

This final tendency tends to be the most common and commonly the type of person I find at my doorstep.  The Obliger is the person who’s great at meeting other’s expectations, but because they put others first all the time, they fall short of meeting their own expectations.  This is the kind of person who over-delivers at work, putting in countless hours to exceed other’s standards, and never get’s a chance to put themselves first.  

I’m going to bet that the majority of people who will read this will relate to being an Obliger.  I also believe we as a country produce Obligers in the way we are brought up in school and sports.  We’re so eager to please and seek approval.  Of course, this can make you a very dependable person, too…

…until your health finally suffers too greatly to do anything anymore because you always put your well-being last while taking caring of everyone else’s needs on every beck and call.

So forget about your new year’s resolution.  Stop trying to set goals for yourself, because let’s face it.  You’re never going to get them done anyway, right?  This is you.  You kick ass at doing things for others and flat out suck at achieving your own goals, so give it up.  

Or maybe it’s not time to give up…

If you’re an Obliger you may say things to yourself things like,

“When I was in college and played sports, I showed up to practice and exercised every day.  Why can’t I get myself to workout just a couple times a week and stick to it?”  

If you think about it, playing sports when you were in school meant you were on a team and your teammates depended on you to do your part as a member of the team. Your coaches were on your ass the moment you were late to practice.  There was accountability and that meant as an Obliger you worked diligently to meet those outer expectations.  

So when relating your actions the time you were on a team to the times you just set goals for yourself, in essence, your relating apples to oranges.  You’re asking yourself why you were so good at doing one thing and terrible at another when now you can clearly see the difference between the two environments.  

In one scenario you had a boatload of accountability and you worked your butt off to meet other’s expectations and therefore performed well in your sport.  In the other scenario your only accountability is you, and looking back now with this new perspective you may notice that historically this hasn’t worked for you.  The goals you set for yourself just get bogged down by all the things you end up having to do for everyone else.  

The good news is, with this understanding you can put yourself in environments which foster your success by taking those inner expectations and making them outer expectations and here’s how.  Just like the days when you were part of a team or a club and you successfully maintained healthy productive habits, you can find people with common goals and a coach to team up with and find the accountability you need to keep you on track.

I know it sounds simple, but for many, asking for help is hard and maybe at times embarrassing.  Many would think of being an Obliger as a weakness, but it’s not!  Don’t identify with the idea that you’re not as motivated as an Upholder is, 0r view the fact that you benefit from using a community of people to help you stay on track as a disability.  Use what works!  

At FitLife Fusion we have a private facebook group.  If you’re a member of FitLife Fusion and your reading this you know what I’m about to say.  If you’re not one of our members, then I’m about to give you the key to taking your internal expectations and transforming them into external expectations which will now line you up for success in achieving goals that you originally set for yourself.  

The Key to success as an Obliger

Don’t just join a gym and try to hold yourself accountable for daily exercise and dieting.  Even if you enlist the help of a friend with similar goals you’ll most likely end up quitting together (and you can read about why friends don’t help friends in a recent blog post, “The Friend Effect” Why friends don’t really help friends).    

Instead, join a group.  Work with a professional who knows the route you must take and doesn’t hold back when you need to be checked back onto the path.  When you join an accountability group whether it be a private group on Facebook like ours or a group of friends or colleagues, be sure to use the group!  participate.  Tell people your goals and put it all out there.  Ask questions.  Join in on the conversation.  Get uncomfortable and maybe allow yourself be a bit vulnerable.  This is how you can leverage a group and transform inner expectations into outer expectations.

And as I said, if you are a member here at FiLife Fusion, USE THE GROUP!  Participate.  Post an update of things that may not even seem important.  It helps to stay present in the group.  It provides accountability.     I promise, if you find yourself to be an obliger, which many of us are, this is the answer to getting yourself focused on crushing your goals in 2018!


The Four Tendencies Quiz:

More on Gretchen Rubin:

The Tim Ferriss Show (podcast & blog):

Why am I still in pain?!

Why am I still in Pain???

Are you still in pain even after taking medications and have gone the surgery route? Why does this happen to so many people?
Even though our understanding of pain and how the brain processes pain has improved drastically, certain treatments are still based on old, and outdated information or models. For example, the Cartesian pain model, and the belief that our brain is hardwired.

Usually therapists have an understanding of “pain fibers”. A person sprains his or her ankle, and the “pain fibers” send “pain messages” to the brain, then pain is perceived by the brain and the person will do something to help the ankle. But how does this explain the reason for pain when there is no injury? How does this explain phantom limb pain? Or explain how Kerri Strug in the 1996 Olympics was able to pull off a faultless vault performance? Her ankle injury was so severe her coach had to carry her to the platform. Truth is, it doesn’t explain, hence why the medical profession needs to update their information about pain.


The Old School Train of Thought: The Cartesian Model

The Cartesian Model could be the reason for the misunderstanding about pain and where it starts. This model comes from Renè Descartes. (1596-1650) Even though this model is extremely outdated, its theory of pain is the backbone of the way doctors approach pain issues today. This model basically says if you were to put your foot either in or near fire, that a message is sent to the brain via pathway or wire. When the message hit the brain it would result in a ringing of a bell producing pain. Not only is this idea extremely simple it’s incorrect. Therefore, if the teaching is overly simple and incorrect, the treatment will be as well.

(Little known fact: Descartes believed that nerves were hollow tubes and that spirits flowed up and down them).

When looking at the Cartesian model you’ll see that to treat a person in pain, several options show up.

1. Remove foot from the fire.

First, the person can take his foot out of the fire, but what about the persistent pain that exists afterward? This also doesn’t account for the instance of pain triggered by emotion. For example, fear of being burned while standing by the fire can cause pain or evoke the sympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system is our flight/fight/freeze mechanism.

2. Dousing the fire.

Second, you can douse the the fire with a bucket of water. Looking at the modern approach, “dousing the fire” would be pain medicine or injections. However, Medicare in the U.S. has had a 629% increase in expenditures for lower back pain over the last five years (Deyo, Mirza et al.,2009), yet pain rates are increasing, not decreasing. So logically, you can say “dousing the fire” doesn’t work.

3. Cutting the wire.

Third, and more severe approach to the Cartesian model of getting rid of pain would be to cut the wire. This would severe the message even getting to the brain, so if the brain can’t receive the message, pain will not exist. This modern approach would be surgery. If the Cartesian model was correct than surgery would be 100% successful. However, “20% of lumber discectomy patients have the same if not worse pain after surgery. (Ostelo, Costa et al., 2004); Lumbar fusions, in general, only have a 50% success rate in decreasing pain (Deyo, Nachemson et al.,2004; Deyo Gray et al., 2005).

More than 360 years after Renè Descartes death, this model continues to have influence on the way doctors and therapists think of pain.

Incorrect assumptions.

As a result of the outdated information, when you go to a therapist or doctor you might be introduced to some inaccurate assumptions. For example:

There is a direct link between the amount of tissue damage and the level of pain that you feel.

  • All pain is caused by an injury and if there is a increase of pain it must mean more tissue damage.
  • If you are dealing with chronic pain, under the Cartesian model, this means that the tissue isn’t healing and the damage is still going on.
  • Pain is an input driven system.
  • The nervous system is simply built for conduction (a wire).
  • However pain is just way more complex.

Pain fundamentals.

As mentioned above, its been a belief that our brain plays a role when we experience pain. The idea was that there was a specific area in the brain, like a “pain center.” However, science today has proven that there is not a specific spot in the brain that deals with pain. In fact, their is many areas of the brain that are involved when we are in pain. So when looking for answers on how to treat your pain, understand that there are more than a few ways to fix it.

Pain is actually an action signal. The brain makes a decision based on its perception of threat. For example: someone hurts their ankle, and is crossing the street. They see a bus approaching them very fast. The person now runs across the street with no pain in their ankle. As soon as the person calms down their ankle pain comes back. Why did the pain go away? The brain perceived that the bus was a greater threat to your survival, so no pain was produced to protect the ankle, allowing the person to get out of harms way.

Pain is part of the survival system. This means that if your brain views something as a threat, it will create pain.

Pain is also individual. This means that two people can be hurt in the same way, and have two different pain experiences.

Pain is a multi-system output event. This means again, since survival is of upmost importance to the brain, pain will influence body-wide changes in order to help us handle the threat that has presented itself.

What all these fundamentals of pain boil down to is the most current view of pain. Science is now calling it the neuromatrix. The neuromatrix highlights the fact that its not one thing that causes pain, you need to take a persons background, emotional state, physical state, etc into consideration.


If you are someone who is still in pain after medication and surgery, I encourage you to look at your life, and see where there may be something your brain is viewing as threatening. This can come in ways of eating inflammatory foods or not enough food, poor sleep, lack of movement, and a stressful job.

What Exactly IS Self Control?

Today, I did the unthinkable… I ate a blueberry muffin.  

I gave into weakness.  I knew that muffin was no good, but I just couldn’t handle the urge to buy and consume it.  All my progress is lost.  I’ve failed.  Why do I even try, sometimes?

What a sec!  Is eating a muffin really so frickin’ terrible?  I’m an adult.  I can do what I want!  If eating one muffin leads to my demise, well I’ve lived my life the way I chose to live it and I’ll die happily knowing that.  I’m in control, and if I want a fricken muffin, I’ll eat one, damn it!  

I am in control… right? 

create self control

Are you in control?

Let’s rewind and allow me to set the scene.

It’s a windy spring day in Vegas and to tell you the truth I’d been stressed with the many things on my plate.  A few days prior I had a great meeting with a business coach and marketing consultant which lead to some really positive outcomes, but as you know, positive outcomes in a strategy meeting usually leads down a road to a whole lot of work that needs to be done.  For me that meant a whole lot of writing.  It’s both exciting and nerve wracking because I love creating new content and making videos.  The thought of helping more people by providing them with new blogs, videos and coaching programs is what I live on.  But I know it takes time to create and I always feel crunched for time.  

I’m wondering if maybe you could relate to the stress of wanting to get a lot done, and yet there never seems to be enough time to get it all done.  Can you relate?  Well, I was having one of those days, and so I decided to head to a nearby coffee shop to begin typing.

Desert Wind Coffee Shop

I typically enjoy camping out and getting work done in a neutral setting like a coffee shop, so I headed for my new favorite spot called Desert Wind Coffee Roasters.  It’s a cool looking café with a Breaking Bad Theme to it inside.  I walked in and ordered my usual café au lait.  Then I spotted it.  To the right of the register, a blueberry muffin staring me in the face.  

Immediately I felt the craving for something sweet to have with my coffee.  I knew I shouldn’t have one because it would interfere with my training goals to win the world hand ball championships 5 months from now.  Muffins aren’t going to help me drop any weight or make me more athletic.
Now as you may know, I’m not the kind of guy who likes to feel out of control in any situation.  My desire to be in control kicked in and I wanted to eat the muffin not simply because I felt a craving.  Now I wanted to eat it because I felt like it.  And so the controversy amongst the voices in my head ignited…

Voice 1:  “Man!  I really want one.”

Voice 2:  “I shouldn’t.”

Voice 1:  “I need something sweet to go with my coffee.”

Voice 2:  “Stop it.  Don’t give in to the craving.”

Voice 1:  “I deserve it.  It won’t make that bid a of a difference.  And I worked out earlier today, so…”

So I bought it.

I sat down and quickly unwrapped the muffin.  The sweet smell hit me in the face and the slight oily feeling of the muffin in my hands was a sure sign that this muffin is going to be moist.  This could be the king of all blueberry muffins.  I tore a chunk off with a massive blueberry in it and popped it in my mouth.  F@$kin’ delicious!  It was exactly what a blueberry muffin should taste like.  Moist, sweet, and the blueberries weren’t sour or bitter.  Needless to say, it fed the craving.  

Five minutes after finishing the ‘King Muffin’ I felt like shit.  I felt my blood sugar dropping.  My eyes became heavy.   My breathing shallow.  I even began feeling a bit of guilt, depression, and regret.  And so began the internal pep talk in my mind…

Voice 1: “Don’t worry about it.  It’s not big deal.”

Voice 2:  “I shouldn’t have eaten that.”

Voice 1:  “Don’t turn this into something bigger than it is.  We’ve got work to do so just focus.”

Voice 2:  “I have a goal, damnit!  Be the example!  LEAD!  Quit being weak!”

Was I being weak?  

Was I being weak or was this a show of strength?  Was I really in control or did I succumb to an inner weakness and as a result, fail myself?  Along with all of this confusion, I felt paralyzed.  All the motivation and energy I  had walking into the coffee shop was gone.  I just couldn’t collect my thoughts in order to start on my work.

That’s when it hit me.  The answer lies within my goals.  What are my current goals?  My goal is to increase my level of athleticism as much as possible in the next five months and win the world championship of handball in September.  That’s the goal, and what a goal requires to be accomplished is focus.

So back to the original question at hand.  Was I displaying weakness or strength in my decision to eat the blueberry muffin?  Weakness.  The answer is weakness.  In fact I took the path of least resistance.  I chose to eat the muffin which made me feel good and in control for about 5 minutes, but sabotaged me temporarily from my longer term goal.  I say all the time, and I mean all the time, that we are built for survival and not for performance, and we must argue for change because we are pre-set to gravitate toward the path of least resistance. The  path of least resistance is not change, does not require focus, and also, doesn’t not keep us on a progressive path to greater success.  

It was not clear what the driving force was behind my decision to sabotage myself.  And yes, it was “only a fuckin’ muffin,” but in the grand scheme of things the muffin stands as a symbol of self sabotage which compounds itself with every decision to take the path of least resistance steering me further and further away from my current athletic goal. 

Now that I’ve identified this pattern I can interrupt it when I’m craving something that off-sets my journey.  And I’m not just talking about ignoring cravings that may be alerting me to some sort of nutritional deficiency.  I’m talking about maintaining a laser focus on my goals in order to assess the steps I take on a daily basis which lead to my outcomes.

I think of the people I work with and I reflect on their behavior in our coaching sessions.  It brings to mind when they don’t want to carry on lifting because it burns, when they tell me they just don’ have time to journal their food, or when they tell me they can’t find the time to work out often enough, or perform their daily mobility drills…  I know it provides them with a sense of control by feeling able to set their own limits.  Setting limitations on themselves is a way of feeling like they’re putting their foot down and taking control of the situation, but it’s a false sense of control.  It’s momentary comfort, not control.  

If you really want to take control…

human takes control

I have the POWER!

If you really want to take control of your life you must ask yourself, “What is my goal?  Why is it important to me?”  and remind yourself every time you find yourself in a questionable situation.   Ask yourself if the decision you’re about to make supports your goal or if it sabotages it.  If it supports, do it.  If it sabotages, don’t do it.  That’s true control over the one thing you can control which are your own actions which provide you the results you deserve to get.

“But I have to have something sweet after a meal!”

“But I need to have a cigarette first thing in the morning.”

“But I don’t have time to cook for myself.” 

“…to journal my food.”

“…to exercise 3 times per week.”

“…to eat that often.”

STOP FEEDING YOURSELF BULLSHIT, LIMITING BELIEFS.  They’re bullshit and you know it.  You can do anything if you decided to prioritize it over the temporary comforts that take you absolutely fuckin’ nowhere.

Set your standards high.  Set goals, and base even the smallest of daily decisions off of them.  That’s self-control.  Control over one’s situation is what people believe they lack and that’s one of the most common reasons why people feel helpless to make positive change.  You want to get out of pain, lose weight, make money, have a worth while relationship?  Then do so, decision by decision until you’re there.  

January Member of the Month

Brandon wallace bench pressThis month’s Member of the Month is… Brandon Wallace!

There’s never a dull moment in a class with Brandon.  He’s always smiling, always got something witty to say and completely determined to make fitness and health a high priority in life.

He’s one of the hardest working members at FitLife and there’s no question Brandon gives it everything he’s got.  He leaves it all on the floor and leaves nothing in reserves.  Brandon has been with us over a year, has lost well over 15 pounds of fat and has gained some serious muscle.    It’s also been said that you can tell his level of intensity by the color of his headband on any given day. 😉

Brandon Wallace Tire flipOne of the things we love about Brandon is he competitive nature.  There is no challenge put in front of him at the gym that he doesn’t meet head on with every thing he’s got and the trainers watch as it inspires the rest of group to kick it up a notch.

Brandon, you’re a true leader!  And that’s why YOU are this month’s Member of the Month!

Call Me a Liar #2: Is Fat Really The Enemy?

Today there seems to be confusion with forced exercise for those who are obese or extremely overweight. People who are really overweight believe or are told they just “don’t exercise enough“. Bah!  That’s not the problem.
Eat less, exercise more and you’ll lose weight.  Boom!  I should stop writing this article right now because I just fixed all your problems.  Excuse me?  You’ve tried this method and it didn’t work?  Hmpf!?  Well then, allow me to tell you why I’M NOT SURPRISED WHAT SO EVER.
In this article we’re going to talk about the confusion created around exercise, food, weight-loss and health in general.  The confusion stems from the messages delivered to us in commercials and advertisements. Fitness, supplements, and health products are a portion of the health industry worth billions upon billions of dollars.  There’s just so much to be sold; so many marketable pieces to this puzzle!  The problem is if someone wants to sell a product or a service it must be unique.  It has to address a common problem in a special way never previously thought of.  This has resulted in the Fitness and Health Industry dividing into hundreds, if not thousands, of different specialty services and products.
Below I’ve listed responses commonly spoken by so-called fitness pros, gurus, and whatever the hell else they’re calling themselves today.
If you tried eating less and exercising more and you still didn’t get results then:
you're doing it wrong“…You must be doing it wrong or not working hard enough.”  (Translation – You need a coach to show you how to exercise and push you harder because you’re obviously not capable of educating yourself in addition to being too lazy to put your maximal effort into exercise without someone in your ear for the entire hour. Hire me.)
“…You probably weren’t strict enough with your diet.”  (Translation – Again you lack discipline and need someone to supervise you.  Hire me.  Also, here’s a diet plan I sell to everyone regardless of their individual body type which includes all of the powdered food and supplement a person needs. It’s called the “Pyramid Scheme Nutrition Pack” and it only costs $500/month, but it totally works for everyone.)
“…You’re not exercising in a way to get your body to respond.”  (Translation – I do this special thing called CrossFit which is modeled after 16th century slavery conditions where we work you close to death and totally cut simple carbs out of the diet.  Join our gym.  If it doesn’t work for you, you need to either come in more often which will cost extra.  If that doesn’t work you just have to eat less and cut all carbohydrates our of your diet.  You’ll definitely lose at least some weight at this point, be a irritable, miserable prick and most likely result you getting injured… but that’ll be your fault for not maintaining good form.  No worries, though!  After you regain all your weight recovering from your injury, we’ll help you lose it all over again!)
Ok, maybe I went a little overboard on the last one, but you know what I’m talking about.  In fact, I know you know what I’m talking about because there aren’t many people out there anymore who aren’t frustrated with their current level of health, and that frustration level is directly proportionate to the number of jack assess who have tried to sell you products of which the ingredients are top secret due to the formula being proprietary information.
This leads us to the obvious conclusion – No style of training is right, every thing you eat gives you cancer, and all supplements are snake oil.
…Ok, big breath.
Now let’s get serious a moment.  The problem we’re dealing with as an entire country is much of our “science” is and has been funded by companies attempting to sell products.  The more money a company has the more scientific studies they can conduct.  Since the 1950s we’ve been fed nutritional guidance based on scientific studies conducted by the winners of product wars held at the industry level.
For instance in the 1957 a study was conducted by the American Heart Association which sought out to prove that a diet high in saturated fat, eggs and red meat causes high cholesterol which then leads to heart attack. The study was called the “Anti-Coronary Club”.  It consisted of two groups of men between the ages of 40 to 59 years old who were observed over a 10 year span.  The Control Group ate the average American diet of the time which consisted of eggs for breakfast, red meat 3x/day, and cooked foods in butter.  The other group was put on what was called at the time the “Prudent Diet” (the first ever fad diet) which substituted vegetable oils for butter, cold cereal for eggs, and fish and chicken for red meats.
By 1966 the control group on average had a higher blood cholesterol level (an average of 250) than the Prudent Diet group (an average of 220), BUT during the study 8 DEATHS BY HEART ATTACK WERE RECORDED IN THE PRUDENT DIET GROUP.  Even though the study had essentially proven that the substitution of vegetable oils for animal fats caused higher mortality rates the study was still published as a success for lowering cholesterol numbers.  Why, you ask?  Because the institution responsible for conducting the study was founded by and funded by members of the Edible Oil industry; the very people who were selling the products the study was supposed to prove to be healthier for you.  This also opened the door for statin drugs by categorizing nearly 40% of the country as “at risk” for heart disease due to high cholesterol.
Another seemingly convincing study was held in 1953 by Dr. Ancel Keys called the “Six-Country Study”.  The graph below shows the correlation between dietary fat consumption and death from heart disease.  It seems like an open an closed case.  The more fat in the diet the more death from heart disease.  But in the second graph you’re able to see all the information available to Dr. Keys at the time.  So as you can see the good Doc drew a nice swooping line along the path he chose and then just removed the data points that didn’t fit.
Science Investigation - Low Cholestrol is.011
Science Investigation - Low Cholestrol is.010
And lastly without even getting specific there are studies proving cardiovascular exercises are the most effective ways to lose fat and also studies stating that weight training is the most effective way to burn fat.  Or we could break it down to the dozens of styles which all claim to be the best method for weight loss:  High Intensity Interval Training, body building, endurance training, Tabatas, circuit training, german volume training, blah blah blah blah.
The point is this is the world we live in today.  No matter where you turn you’re confronted with more science supporting a product or service and sitting right beside it on the shelf is its competition which has its own scientific studies disproving the science of the neighboring product.  And so the one thing most people seem to agree upon is “eat less, exercise more” because that at least seems like simple math.  It’s a simple subtraction problem.  Wrong!  It’s not simple math.  I’m sorry to be a downer, but honestly this thought process is a huge part of the problem.  If you’ve read my last blog called “Rapid Fat Loss (Warning!)” then you already understand why.  Click here to read it.
So let’s talk about fat for a moment, the war on obesity if you will.  Being fat or having a lot of fat on your body is not the root of your problem.  Excessive fat storage is a symptom.  It’s a sign of a dysfunctional metabolism.  Just getting rid of the fat by adding exercise and basically starving yourself isn’t the answer to the question of how you become healthy so that you avoid illness later in life.  Maybe because the fat is what we can see in the mirror, as opposed to a slow acting thyroid or overburdened liver, answers why it’s become the target of our health obsessions.  I mean, it’s even become the Presidential First Lady’s pet project to cure obesity in America and yet we as a country struggle more with it even though we spend more money on health care than any other country in the world.
What if fat wasn’t the enemy?  Sure it’s not healthy to have a lot of fat on your frame, or maybe you’re least happy about how it looks, but what if we just viewed it as a symptom of a bigger problem? it could make it easier to grasp the real reason as to why we might store too much of it.  At FitLife Fusion this is the perspective we take.  So whether you want to look good, be as healthy as possible, or compete at a high level of athletics our team is looking at the big picture.  We’re asking, “What’s causing your body to store and retain the fat?”  If you look at it that way instead of …”I’m fat.  I need to burn it off” …you might see your situation in a new light.
So here are the basics in regard to what needs to be done in order to get to the root of the problem and really lose weight without the long term ramifications.
How often and how you exercise is completely dependent upon your individual goals.  Are you training for an athletic event or are you just concerned about being healthy, avoiding pain, and moving well?  Daily movement should be a thing, but not every day must you go to the gym for a one hour sweat-athon consisting of circuit training and cardio.  Movement should be your primary concern.
At FitLife Fusion we focus on a lot of joint mobility drills, visual (eye) exercises, and balance and coordination drills. We then relate those things to major exercises like squats, deadlifts, bench press, rows, over-hear presses.
If your main objective is to lose fat your training program should be set up similar to a body builders; high repetition ranges with relatively low weight and short rest periods.  Here’s and example:
  • Barbell Back Squat 4×12-15, 60-90 second rest
  • Incline Chest Press 4×12-15, 60-90 second rest
  • Petersen Step-Up 4×12-15, 45 second rest
  • Bent Over Dumbbell Row 4×12-15 45 second rest
This kind of training rep/set scheme should provide you with a pretty good burning feeling.  If there’s no burn, there’s no fat loss.  The burning feeling is the production of lactic acid which is a sign that your body has to dip into fat reserves for energy production.  This is where the “No pain, no gain” phrase comes from.  It just refers to the burn, not the pain of injury or of the mental anguish you must go through to accomplish anything.  Perform an exercise.  Do it until it burns.  Walk away for a moment and relax.  Do it again.  Switch things up every 3-6 weeks and you’ll see results pretty quick.
This is the most difficult part for most.  I’m sorry, but it really is.  I wish I could say that dieting is easy like everyone else does, but the unfortunate truth is that nutrition is such an individual process there’s just no set diet or way to eat that can be packaged, sold to everyone, and actually be effective.  The effectiveness of one’s diet isn’t just in its ability to make you lose weight, it’s also measured by its ability to actually make you or keep you healthy.  Even though there are many individual aspects of a person’s diet there are a few things we can say for sure.
  1.  Fats – Saturated fats like animal fats are the preferred type of fat in the diet.  Unsaturated fats from nuts, seeds, fish oils, EFA/Omega 3 oils, and vegetable oils reek havoc in your body, increase free radical production, and damage your immune system.  Stay away from them.  This is explained in more depth in another blog.
  2. Proteins – A daily, adequate amount of protein in your diet is necessary for proper liver metabolism which is really important for your metabolism as a whole.  When it comes to which proteins are better for you stick to meats from ruminant animals.  Animals like cows, lamb, bison, deer, elk, etc., have extra long intestinal tracts designed to break down vegetation, detoxify it, and store the nutrients into the tissue of the animal.  Other animals like pig and fowl don’t have this capability, nor are they fed their natural diets, and on top of that they aren’t usually handled well by the companies raising and selling their meat.  This results in their meats being more toxic than the meats of ruminants.  And finally choose shell fish over fish for similar reasons.  Fish store more metal and toxins in their meat.  The larger the fish the greater it’s metal/toxin content.  Go for the shrimp, oysters, crab, lobster, mussels, etc.  They’re lean, packed with nutritious stuff, and there’s far less risk.
  3. Carbohydrates (sugars) – Sugars should not be avoided.  There’s a whole lot of confusion around sugar, but allow me to plant this seed.  Sugar is your body’s primary and preferred source of fuel.  In fact, in the world of cellular physiology the previous statement is common knowledge.  When a cell can not utilize sugar properly it can eventually “suffocate” and become damaged.  Stay tuned for more info on sugars as there will be an entire blog on sugar in the near future.
And finally, make sure your are eating all three of these things (protein, fat, sugar) in any given meal.  This helps you absorb nutrients more efficiently and keep your blood-glucose levels steady.
Additionally  there are other things to take into consideration like vitamins, minerals, light, and environmental stressors, but these are at least  some of the basics you could take into consideration and install into your lifestyle.
If you have any questions request a free consult.  We work with people people in our facility in Las Vegas and all over the world via Skype.
Keep moving!

Call Me a Liar #1: Lose Weight Fast (Warning!)

“Call Me A Liar” #1:  Rapid Fat Loss (Warning!)
Understanding Metabolism.  It’s not exactly what you think it is. 

If you want to lose weight fast, and I mean really fast then you NEED to read this!

Let this serve as a friendly warning to those seeking rapid weight loss.  Please before you decide which path you’ll travel to get health, lose weight, speed up your metabolism or reach any other health and fitness goal take this information I’m about to present to you into consideration before moving forward. 

Everyone refers to weight loss as a means of getting healthy.  IT IS NOT!  Look, I’m not telling you you have to be happy with the fat that you’ve accrued over the years, I’m just saying you’re placing blame in the wrong spot.  It’s confusing because we have been told for decades that in order to be healthy we must maintain a certain body fat percentage or BMI (body mass index).  Even as a country we have declared war on obesity.  We listen to the evening news anchor reporting the new highs the our country is hitting as the sickest, fattest country in the world while displaying clips of crowds of fat Americans from the neck down walking down the sidewalks.  
You know the one’s I’m talking about…
obesity on the street

image source

Now here’s an interesting statistic.  The based on consumer reviews the US is on of the most health conscious countries in the world.  In 2009 over 75% of americans were more concerned about their health when purchasing foods compared to poles in 2007 and it’s only been growing since.  We’ve also been battling Mexico for the #1 spot for the fattest country in the world.  So how does one of the most health conscious countries in the world maintain a status as one of the sickest, fattest countries in the world?  That answer, in my opinion, is pretty simple… WE’RE DOING IT WRONG! Guys, really… we’re doing it wrong.  We’ve being targeting fat as the enemy for years and it’s not.  Fat is a symptom of metabolic disfunction, like low energy, hair and skin problems, and constipation.  If we just focus on the fat, if we only focus on losing weight as the end-all way of measuring how healthy a person is we degrade the quality of our lives far more than you could ever expect.  Fat is the result of when your day to day bodily functions are being fueled improperly and therefore your metabolism has to literally rescue you from malnourishment and low blood-sugar levels.

What is metabolism?
Your body is a giant ball of energy.  How efficiently your body creates energy on a daily basis is what determines whether you’re benefiting from a fast metabolism or suffering from a slow one.  When most people think of metabolism they think of calories in, calories out or displacement of water, etc.  And when these so-called “fitness professionals” discuss metabolism they do so by describing short and easy ways to boost your metabolism.  For example…

“Drink 20oz of ice cold water first thing in the morning and you’ll boost your metabolism by blah-blah percentage for the next 24 hours!”

“Fasted exercise before eating breakfast can speed up your metabolism by over 30% each day”

“Drink green tea and lemon juice by the bucket!”

These methods can be effective in your efforts to lose weight, but here’s the thing… they are also very effective methods of stressing your body out,  driving your metabolism into the ground, forcing you into the dreaded “yo-yo” pattern, and causing long term health problems.  That’s not how your metabolism works!
In the graphic below (fig 1) you’ll see the two means in which your body makes energy.
The 1st and most efficient way your body makes energy is through what’s called oxidative metabolism. Your body uses glucose (sugar) within the cell, combines it with oxygen and so begins the process of glucose oxidation.  The result of this is energy production and carbon dioxide.  It is this process that allows us organisms to co-exist so well on this planet.  We inhale and utilize oxygen to create energy and exhale carbon dioxide which then plant life consumes and through the process of photosynthesis results in oxygen production.  It’s a nice planetary balance we’re able to maintain.Metabolism graphic
When your body experiences stress (which is described in greater detail in another article in this series) the requirement for energy production increases.  Your body will rapidly burn through glucose in your blood stream causing low blood sugar which the medical community refers to as hypoglycemia.  If your blood sugar gets too low you can pass out, go into shock, and possibly die.  Luckily for us we have a back-up system for this.  Your body can actually break down pieces of itself to create more of the nutrients our cells need to replenish sugars in your blood stream and continue making energy.  Most of us know this, yet we take for granted the reality of this degenerative process if we rely on it for long periods of time.
Let’s talk about this degenerative, yet life saving process.  We call it “gluconeogenesis”.  GLUCO = sugar,  NEO = new, GENESIS = creation.  There is a sea-saw like balancing act your body is able to maintain going back and forth between oxidative metabolism and gluconeogenisis.  The problem lies in how much stress we present to our body on a daily basis by eating the wrong types of foods, not eating enough food, eating foods in the wrong macronutrient (protein, fat, carb) ratio, or just not eating frequently enough throughout the day.  Instead of maintaining a happy balance in your energy production your body has to hormonally regulate your blood-sugar. Here’s the process:
Your blood sugar begins to run low and you begin to make the following hormones:
1. Adrenaline – this hormone references your liver for glycogen (back-up sugars).
2. Cortisol – breaks down tissue in your body like muscle and fat to bring them to the liver which acts like a magic machine turning them into sugar.
  • The following hormones, just to mention a few, are designed to inflame and steal nutrients like vitamins and minerals to keep the energy process going:
    • Estrogen
    • Aldosterone
    • Serotonin
    • Prolactin
3.  Parathyroid Hormone – breaks down bone in order to get calcium out of them.  Calcium is also an important piece in cellular metabolism.
Now call me a liar, BUT… if you look up “effects of prolonged, excess (fill in the blank here with any of the above mentioned hormones)” you won’t find many positive symptoms.  
So here’s the moral of the story. 
The rapid fat loss tips people are being fed by these self proclaimed fitness gurus are forcing you into hypoglycemia resulting in the secretion of a boat load of hormones which break your body down.  You’ll lose weight alright, but at what cost?
Think about it.  Just about any method a person uses to lose weight fast is just a series of different ways to make you drop in blood sugar so their body has to compensate by eating itself.  Drinking ice cold water first thing in the morning before you eat breakfast for instance adds stress on your body by making it work hard to warm up the water in your stomach before you can utilize it.  Then take into consideration that you haven’t eaten anything for the last 6 to 8 hours and you have a situation where you have an increased need for energy production (draw blood to your stomach to warm the water) and a decrease intake of fuel (sugar from foods).  Fasted exercise in the morning achieves the same thing.  Eating low carb achieves the same thing.  Eating a diet high in polyunsaturated fat achieves the same thing.  And people do practice such habits to months and even years in belief that they support a healthy lifestyle.  Over time it stresses your metabolism out so greatly that your body’s response to all the stress is to slow down the speed at which is operates.  This is what we call hypothyroidism, or low metabolism. 
How do you know if this has happened to you?  Well here are a few of the symptoms of a low metabolism:
  • Low body temperature (lower than 97.9 F in the morning and below 98.6 mid-day)
  • Low pulse rate (below 75)
  • Feel cold often.  Cold hands, fee, or nose.
  • Low or dragging energy.  Energy highs and lows.  Mid-day energy crash. Tired, but wired at night.
  • Chronic thirst
  • Urinating often (if you’re peeing more that 4 or 5 times per day, it’s a problem, especially if you’re waking up to pee in the middle of the night)
  • Constipation, bloating, gas, diarrhea (1-3 bowel movements per day is healthy)
  • Sleep is restless, interrupted, feel exhausted when you wake up
  • Low libido, lack sex drive
  • Overwhelming PMS symptoms
  • Infertility
  • Get sick often (suppressed immune system)
  • Never get sick (overactive immune system)
  • Skin problems like eczema, psoriasis, rashes,Hair thinning, falling out, brittle nails, slow growing
  • Anxiety, depression, irritable, sad
  • Gain weight easily
  • Edema, swelling, inflammation issues
  • Difficulty losing weight even with diet and exercise
I don’t know about you, but knowing this makes me mad.  I mean really MAD!  To think that you may have paid someone to teach you how to slowly murder your metabolism… it’s infuriating!  
You’ll only be able to keep this stuff up for so long.  We all know that when we are young our youthful metabolism is very resilient.  What we don’t realize is that our resiliency begins to crap out on us around 25 years old or so; especially if we’re stressing our bodies out from an early age with bad foods, overtraining, lack of sleep, and so on.  
The signs of a healthy and high metabolic rate are:
  • Feel warm all day (not hot)
  • Pulse rate between 75-90 bpm
  • Good energy consistently throughout your day
  • Restful, interrupted Seep
  • Healthy skin, strong nails, shiny hair
  • Healthy sex drive, no PMS, fertile
  • Regular bowel movements
  • Urinating 4 or 5 times per day, not at night
  • Maintain weight with exercising and dieting like crazy
  • Feel calm, happy, relaxed, focused
“So what do I have to know about my IMG_1519metabolism???”
The healthiest way of thinking about metabolism is by asking yourself, “Am I giving my body the right amount of materials, specific to me, that it needs to go through the many processes of metabolism?”  If you’re not, you’re likely on a path of illness, a laundry list medications, and pain problems for the majority of the second half of your life.
Keep this stuff in mind in the following articles.  This is the platform from which we’ll be discussing everything nutritionally.  Whenever we talk about food types, ratios of macronutrients (protein,fat,sugar) or frequency of meals look at it from a perspective of whether or not you’re giving your body the materials it needs to function optimally.  Optimal function may not mean rapid fat loss in the beginning for most people due to the years of damage done to their metabolism so don’t look at it from a weight loss perspective at first.  Depending on the state of your metabolism you may need to do some repair work, but think about it for a second.  What if your were able to have and maintain a youthful, protective metabolism through most of your life?  In a sense just by using food, sleep, and the right amount of exercise you become more effective than your physician at keeping yourself healthy, happy and mobile.    
Main points to take away:
  • 2 Methods of Energy Production:
    • Oxidative Metabolism = efficient/regenerative
    • Glycolysis & Gluconeogenesis = very inefficient/degenerative
  • In the efficient means of making energy your body maintains level blood sugar throughout the day avoiding the overproduction of degenerative (but lifesaving) hormones.
  • Rapid fat loss methods used by trainers far and wide are really just ways of forcing your body into hypoglycemia resulting in loss of tissue to include fat, muscle and even bone density.  THIS IS NOT HEALTHY WEIGHT LOSS!
  • Figure out whether or not you need to repair your metabolism before setting out to lose weight.

Training Your Eyes to Reduce Pain and more

Eye Drill Semi private classAt FitLife Fusion we do a lot of things that most would consider… well, um… weird, I guess.  Some of the movement exercises we choose for our members are definitely out of the ordinary, but they have their purpose and they’re usually just the thing a person needs to reduce pain, move better, get stronger, and feel better.   In this blog we’re going to discuss the visual system, your eyes.  Training your eyes could be the missing link to all of your fitness goals.  We’ve seen people who are stuck in plateaus break those pesky plateaus with visual training.  So let’s discuss the visual system, its role in your fitness goals, and a few ways you can train your eyes to break through your plateau.

First off, you have to have basic understanding of what pain is and how it comes to be in your body.  Pain is manifested in the brain.  It is not a physical things.  Although pain can occur in response to physical damage in your body, there doesn’t need to be an injury for pain to exist and nag at you from time to time.  Pain is described as an “action signal” in the world of functional neurology.  It’s your brain trying to get you to change your behavior because it doesn’t feel safe about what your doing (or about to do).  If your brain doesn’t feel safe with a specific movement it will do one of 3 things:

  1.  It will shut strength off in attempt to keep you from moving in a “threatening” range of motion
  2. It will create tension in attempt to limit degrees of freedom in any given joint.
  3. And finally it will send pain signals to prevent you from moving in a way your brain thinks is dangerous.

The amount of neurological threat your body experiences at any given time depends on how well informed your brain is of where you are in the world around you.  You see, within your brain there is a 3D map of your body. It’s being fed information from all of the sensory systems within your body, i.e. movement information, touch/feel, what your eyes see, etc. The more information your brain gets from all of the sensory systems within your body, the safer your brain feels about movement and the less pain, tension, and weakness you experience.

So what are these sensory systems?

You have 3 main sensory systems within your nervous system.  They’re listed below in order of priorityNeurological Hierarchy pyramid to the brain.

  1.  The Visual System – Your eyes
  2. The Vestibular System – AKA “The Inner Ear”
  3. The Proprioceptive Map – All the other information fed to your brain from the nerves that stretch throughout your body.

Your visual system is made up of a bit more than you’d normally think.  Your brain isn’t just getting information from what your eyes see.  Your brain is also getting info based on eye position and eye muscle contractions.  Your eyes work in concert with the other sensory systems to keep you balance and to aid in movement.  For example, eye-muscle contractions are wired neurologically to prime specific muscles for movement.  When our eyes lock on a target our body reflexively begins to follow our eyes.  So, when you look up with your eyes your brain turns on extensor muscles to bring your head up and erect your spine.  When you look down your brain turns on flexor muscles to bend you forward.  While this is happening your vestibular system (inner ear) is telling your brain which way UP is and which way your going in order to adjust muscle tone so you don’t fall over.  It’s a pretty intricate process, but when communications are running smoothly so are your movement and balance.   When communication between systems isn’t running smooth you deal with what we call “sensory mismatch”.  This is no good.

When your eyes tell your brain your in one place, your vestibular says another and your peripheral nerves everywhere else in your body disagree with both of them this is what we call Sensory Mismatch.  If your experiencing this you will always incur some degree of weakness, tension, or pain… in fact usually all of them!  Sensory Mismatch can occur as a result of trauma, concussion, too much computer time, and times of extra stress, amongst other things.

What am I supposed to do if I’m dealing with Sensory Mismatch???

Great question.  We almost always start with the eyes after evaluating people who come to our facility.  The eyes are at the very top of the Neurological Hierarchy.  About 70+ percent of everything is affected by your eyes hence why the information your brain receives from them is so important.

Here are 3 exercises you can do to exercise your eyes.  Before performing any of them it would be a good idea and test a few different ranges of motion to use as measuring points for the drills your about to perform.  Check things like forward bend, shoulder flexion, neck rotation or flexion, and trunk rotation.  While trying out the drills listed below check in periodically and see if you are gaining or losing range of motion.  If your gaining some flexibility that’s a good sign!  If you become stiffer, then that may not be a drill or position your body is ready for.  The eyes drills below are listed from easiest to hardest.

Exercise #1.  Gaze Stabilization

Gaze stabilization is exactly what it sounds like: the ability to keep the eyes still or fixed on a target.  Holding a target in your hand, like the tip or cap of a of marker or pen, hold the target for 10 seconds in each in the 8 directions of the compass.

Eye Positions

Exercise #2:  Smooth Pursuit

Visual Drill gazeSmooth pursuit refers to your eye ability to smoothly track a target in motion without moving your head.  Again you’ll start with a target in your hand centered in front of you.  Then move the target slowly in a straight line in each of the 8 directions of the compass.  Your objective is to smoothly pursue the target with both eyes keeping it in focus.  If you tend to lose focus or in a certain direction or if your eyes begin to tear up, take note of that direction as you’ll probably need more practice with it.

Exercise #3:  Full Eye Circles

Move the target in a circle along the outer limit of your visual field.  Follow the target without moving your head.  Try doing about 5-10 circles in each direction, clockwise and counter clockwise.  This is the most difficult of the 3 drills.

***A couple things to be aware of…

Tearing up or getting slightly dizzy are up signs of fatigue.  Don’t push yourself too hard with these eye drills.  If either of these occur while doing the drills, stop and rest a bit.  Start slow and just perform a few reps here and there.  Work to increase you stamina over time.  If you over do it you could end up nauseous or with a pretty bad head ache, so overtraining doesn’t pay off in this instance.

So try it out and let me know how it goes!  People are blown away by how BIG of an impact eye exercises can have on their strength, flexibility, and pain levels.  And, of course, if you have any questions just reach out to me at

If you’re in pain or dealing with nerve issues or neuropathy and you’d rather have a FitLife Professional evaluate you to don’t hesitate to schedule a free consultation.  We’d be happy to help.  Learn more about our evaluation process here.

Keep moving!

FitLife Fusion’s Member of the Month for MAY


The FitLife Fusion member of the month Jason Manning has diligently chosen to experience a transformation with his body and health. This person has awoken his inner leader and has taken charge of his health and inspiring others to do likewise. Embodying our core values and focused on true health this individual is a beacon of light in a world that has dimmed the need for self responsibility.

Have a healthy day!

Best regards,

Team FitLife

(702) 220-8222

How to Avoid Additives That Wreak Havoc on Your Body

This past week I was paid a visit by a young lady whose 5th grade science experiment was based on preservatives and additives in foods and what they do to our bodies.  She came in very prepared for her interview with me.   Confidently, she asked me question after question writing my responses word for word in her notebook.  In fact, she had very good questions.  Her interview inspired me to write a bit on this topic because her reaction (and her mother’s reaction) was of genuine shock when they heard what I had to say about preservatives.
Question 1:  What are preservatives and what do they do to the foods they’re in?
To understand how preservatives preserve food, we must first have a basic understanding of what mold, a preservative’s mortal enemy, actually is.
Mold is a fungus.  It’s a micro-organism which travels in the form of spores through our atmosphere.  Mold decomposes dead organic plant material like wood, leaves, and plants. Mold needs a few things to grow.  A food source, oxygen, water, and a temperature somewhere between 40 and 100 degrees.
Preservatives like polysorbates, nitrites, and sulfites are used to combat mold by making the enzymes mold uses to break down food ineffective. Others come in contact with the mold and have an antimicrobial effect entering the cells of the fungus and wreaking havoc essentially killing it.
Question #2:  What do preservatives to our bodies?
Remember, our gut has a variety of bacteria and enzymes in it to break down our food sources.  Foods with a whole lot of preservatives cause stress on our digestive track.  If the food is more difficult to break down and go through enzymatic processes, then our absorption of the nutrients in the food is negatively affected.  This can also cause an imbalance in our gut flora resulting in the overgrowth of some bacteria in our gut which then can lead to many other illnesses over time.
Preservatives aren’t the only enemies lurking around in our foods.  Other additives like carrageenan and gums are used as thickening agents to make foods and drinks have a creamer texture making them more palatable. These additives can have highly allergenic reactions in our guts causing all kinds of stress and the stress hormone cascades that go along with it.
Our gut is referred to as the “second brain” quite often in the world of physiology.  It has the largest amount of neurons than any other system in our body, second only to the brain.  Our digestive track has a big job to do in breaking down foods and utilizing the nutrients from them. So think twice when putting something in it that may stress it out!
Question 3:  Then what are some good “on the go” options?
This was a tough question.  At first my answers were, “fresh fruit, quality cheese, milk and coffee…”  but these were not the answers she was looking for.  What she really wanted to know was where could she go to pick up healthy food on the go.  Unfortunately there aren’t a whole lot of places you can grab quick meals on the go because you don’t really know what they have in their foods or what oils they’re using to cook the food with.  If you are planning on looking for a healthy restaurant of any kind to grab food on the go there’s something you have to keep in mind.  Depending on the restaurant, their objective is to serve thousands of customers per month, and therefor the have to stock a lot of food.  Business varies week to week, month to month, so in order to save money they use foods with the longest shelf life possible.  It only makes sense from a business standpoint, or at least a numbers standpoint, for restaurants to use foods with preservatives in them.  Keeping that in mind it’s hard to trust that you’re going to be able to buy truly healthy food on the go.  In my opinion, you can count on the fact that any restaurant is going to sacrifice health for profit margin.
Question 4:  So what CAN you do?
1.  Keep it simple.
Fresh fruit, cheese, milk, orange juice, carrots, hard boiled or deviled eggs, maybe a little beef jerky from time to time.  These are the things you can grab on the go that are healthy.  The key is to make sure each time you eat you have sugar (carb), protein, and fat (primarily saturated). Having all of these nutrients in the meal help to keep your metabolism running properly and your blood-sugar level stays level.
2.  Prepare your meals.
Learning to cook a few basic things that you really like can help tremendously.  I feel like society has brain-washed us to believe we don’t have enough time in the week to take care of ourselves. Cooking for ourselves is seemingly becoming a thing of the past.  Start by trying to few recipes that are quick, easy, and something you’d be willing to pack.  You’ll be amazed at how much time you’ll save and work you’ll be able to get done the next day having all your food prepared!
3.  If you are out at a restaurant there are a few things you can do in order to try to get the healthiest meal preparation as possible.
     –  Ask them to cook your food with butter or coconut oil.  Butter is usually the easier request to fulfill.  If they are using vegetable oil or a spray oil ask them to wipe the grip before cooking your meat on it.  These kinds of oils wreak havoc in our body by damaging our immune system and coating our cells, making it difficult for them to respire.
     – Meat, fruit, veggies, starches like potatoes are ok.
     – Keep away from bread and pastas
     – Make sure the meal has all 3 kinds of nutrients in it; sugar, protein, fat.
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