We sat around the table enjoying an incredible prepared vegetarian meal. Fourteen of us were staying in a beautiful home overlooking Secrets Beach, on the island of Kauai. We had come for a week of yoga and fun with Steve Ross and Tom Morley. It was the yoga retreat I had been waiting for. My two favorite instructors in my most favorite place.
That first night, as we savored the delicious (and nutritious) meal, we couldn’t help but notice that Steve Ross was eating his own concoction, that appeared to be just mixed lettuce and avocado. Apparently he mostly just consumes smoothies and fruit, so this was a feast for him. As we dug into the amazing zucchini lasagna (zucchini noodles, roasted tomato sauce and some ricotta cheese), one of the guests said to Steve, “You don’t know what you’re missing.”
His reply, “I’m not missing it,” got my attention.
For most of my life, I had a piece of toast with breakfast. Sometimes with an egg on it, sometimes with almond butter, sometimes just dry cinnamon raisin toast, to go with my smoothie.
Of course, it was always the “good” bread like Ezekiel sprouted grain or spelt bread.
None of that long-shelf-life, preservative laden stuff for me! No way! I was always careful to choose whole grains, or better yet, sprouted grains.
I also “believed” in breakfast within an hour of waking.
In fact, I was absolutely sure this was the best way to lose weight and be healthy.
Hundreds of my clients got in amazing shape following my principles, and this was always the first rule.
I knew this was the best way.
I no longer have toast for breakfast.
In fact, I don’t really have breakfast.
I just stopped. I really missed it for about a week.
Then one day, I didn’t.
I am no longer a person who eats toast every day. I no longer eat as soon as I get up.
I cannot begin to explain what a game changer this has been for me. I’m not starving all day anymore.
I’m not “afraid” of getting hungry. I don’t get light headed and I don’t feel like I will pass out or… die.
In fact, I feel better! This has been incredibly liberating for me.
Eliminating toast, as well as oatmeal, brown rice and quinoa (cereal was eliminated a couple of years ago) radically changed my breakfast until eventually I eliminated breakfast all together.
At least at the traditional time.
I still call my first meal “breakfast” because I still do typically choose some sort of “breakfast” type food, but I usually have it around 10:30 or 11am…
Sometimes I have eggs but most often I have my Hottie Shake.
I used to think I couldn’t live without my breakfast. And especially… MY TOAST!
It took about a week to be free. I now can honestly say, “I’m not missing it.”
From a Steve Ross/Tom Morley Yoga Retreat on Kauai. At breakfast, when questioned and told he was missing out on some yummy food, Steve said “I’m not missing it.” It has stuck with me ever since.
You’ve probably heard that carbohydrates are perhaps the WORST thing you can eat when trying to lose fat or transform your body, and for most people, that’s 100% true.
You see, due to years of consuming a diet full of processed carbs, most people have grown VERY insensitive to one of the most important hormones in our body—a hormone that can either be a huge asset to your body transformation goals, or a total fat loss and health-derailing nightmare.
Its name is insulin, and it’s function is to help your body keep blood sugar at bay, clear it quickly from your bloodstream after a carbohydrate meal, and (hopefully) shuttle those carbs to be stored in muscle tissue for energy instead of fat.
I say “hopefully” because that’s actually the exact opposite of what occurs when most people eat carbs.
Going back to insulin sensitivity and carbohydrate tolerance, due to a diet full of processed, insulin- and blood-sugar-spiking carbohydrates, most folks are suffering from some level of insulin resistance, a condition in which insulin is no longer able to efficiently remove blood sugar from the blood stream.
The result? Dramatically reduced fat burning and increased fat storage.
Even worse, insulin resistance can (and often does) lead to type II diabetes and an array of other health problems over time, and it all leads back to insulin sensitivity.
Ideally, when you consume carbohydrates, here is what you want to happen:
1. Minimum insulin release. This occurs when your body is highly sensitive to insulin. When it is, only a small amount of insulin is necessary to effectively and efficiently clear sugar from your blood to its storage sites. This is great news because your body has an incredibly difficult time burning fat in the presence of insulin. The less insulin you have floating around, the better.
2. Quick and efficient blood sugar clearance. Again, this will occur when your body is highly sensitive to insulin.
3. Maximum glycogen uptake. Glycogen is the term used for stored carbohydrate in muscle. When muscle tissue is highly sensitive to insulin, the vast majority of blood sugar will be stored in muscle (to be used as energy), not fat.
4. Minimum fat storage. When you increase insulin sensitivity, especially in skeletal muscle, your body will choose to store your carbohydrate intake as energy in muscle tissue instead of body fat.
Again, your body’s ability to tolerate carbohydrates all comes down to your insulin sensitivity and your body’s ability to quickly and efficiently shuttle carbohydrates to lean tissue and not fat.
So how can you increase insulin sensitivity?
Well, you could go completely low-carb for an extended period of time in an attempt to repair your insulin receptors and increase insulin sensitivity. But for most, that’s a rather dreadful option and even then you’d need to very slowly reintroduce carbohydrates back in to your diet to avoid massive fat gain.
Fortunately, you DON’T need to go low-carb or no-carb…at all.
In fact, many times you can enjoy even MORE carbohydrates than you currently are while losing even more fat when you utilize this one simple trick:
SUPERCHARGE your insulin sensitivity before each carbohydrate-containing meal in just a few seconds with the below 5 ingredients — each of which have been clinically proven to dramatically improve both insulin sensitivity and your body’s ability to process carbs.
Here they are:
#1. Cinnamomum Burmannii, a potent extract harvested from Indonesian cinnamon bark that has been shown to effectively assist in managing blood sugar after a carbohydrate-rich meal while increasing glucose metabolism by up to 10 fold!
#2. Berberine. This rare plant alkaloid has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine in India. Berberine works slightly different by improving the signaling between insulin and its associated receptors while also increasing carb uptake by lean muscle for energy, not fat.
#3. Pterocarpus Marsupium. Believe it or not, this powerful herb is actually used in the treatment of diabetes by Ayurvedic physicians in India. In fact, Pterocarpus Marsupium is so effective that it was shown in a recent research study to reduce blood sugar levels after a meal by a whopping 21%.
#4. 4-hydroxyisoleucine, a natural phytochemical extracted from the Fenugreek herb, has been scientifically shown to increase carbohydrate storage in muscle cells while decreasing carbohydrate fat storage through the sensitizing of insulin receptors in muscle tissue.
4-hydroxyisoleucine has also been shown to interfere with the process by which the body converts muscle protein to sugar for energy. This encourages fat loss (instead of muscle break down) and aids in the retention of calorie-burning lean muscle as you lose fat.
#5 – R-Alpha Lipoic Acid (R-ALA). Alpha Lipoic Acid is a naturally occuring fatty acid made up of two isomers, S-ALA and R-ALA, of which the R isomer has been shown to be significantly more effective and bioavailable. In fact, R-ALA is clinically proven to increase insulin sensitivity by an impressive 25% in just 4 weeks and is so powerful at managing blood sugar that it’s even used by German doctors for the treatment of diabetic neuropathies.
I wrote this as just a little mini-update in Valerie’s private Facebook group for her Red Carpet Ready girls…
So forgive if it’s a bit raw. The ladies seemed to like it so Valerie asked if I’d like to share it with her readers.
I’ve had some really great results over the past 4 weeks: almost 20 pounds of fat loss & a few pounds of muscle gained.
Thought a little kickoff bit of inspiration before the Memorial Day weekend got started was as good a time as any.
NOTE: This isn’t some veiled testimonial for Valerie’s programs or anything – though I do credit the Valslide for much of my progress because of the flexibility it creates in my workouts and schedule. And hey, what do you know, her stuff is on sale. So you should buy some things.
30 second back-story:
If you don’t know me, I’m the lucky guy who gets to work with Valerie on any internet/web project that requires extreme nerdiness. My name is Ryan Orrico. I moved to LA from Chicago a few years ago and brought a lot of my bad habits with me. Throughout these 3 years, I’ve got from extremely fat and out of shape – to mad-decent, and back. And forth. And back. And forth.
I live in extremes. I’m either full-on with my training and diet – or full-OFF.
The past 6-ish months, I’ve been full-off. Terrible food, no exercise and even smoking cigarettes! (GROSS!)
Well, knowing that summer is upon us – and I live in the land of beautiful people – this could not (and will not) stand, man!
This is what my schedule looked like about 4 weeks ago…
– Wake up at about 11am. Eat shit. Smoke.
– Go to a cafe to work. Eat more shit. Struggle all day to come up with some creative thoughts and be productive.
– Spend all day doing that. Don’t do much else except sit on my ass and grind through my projects.
– Go home at about 9pm, eat a ton more shit (including like 2 pounds of rice pudding) & watch TV.
– Work some more and go to bed at like 3am.
Fast forward to today – things are COMPLETELY DIFFERENT.
– I wake up early and feel energized.
– I consistently workout and it doesn’t feel like a chore.
– I feel 1000x more creative.
– I’m repulsed by the idea of smoking
– and I just all-around feel amazing.
My body is still a work in progress – but I’m about 15-17 pounds lighter on the scale – depending on the day. And I’ve added a few pounds of muscle to my frame…
I’m not sure that I’ll be able to pull my shirt off in the next few weeks, like my man, John Romaniello, point at my abs and say “quick! someone call the vet, ‘cuz these puppies are SICK!” – but soon, my friend.
Here’s my post:
Crazy shit. About 4 weeks ago, the idea of working out, eating anything but sandwiches and rice pudding (LOVE!), and basically doing anything except being an idiot – didn’t really even cross my mind.
Maybe a little bit – I do sort of remember starting to get the “go pick up heavy things” itch – but it certainly wasn’t important to me.
Then fast forward to 2 nights ago.
Knowing I had to be at this workshop at 9am the next morning (about 2 hours away) – I found myself straight FRANTIC about how I was going to fit my workout in before I left. (WTF!)
This required me having to be up at 4:30am and at the gym by 5.
That night, I was starting to get the same excitement I used to have about upcoming training sessions – Like visualizing how I was going to just straight crush some shit.
Then I even woke up EARLY because I was kind of excited about it.
Not to say waking up that early didn’t totally blow – but still… quite a difference from just 4 weeks ago.
From being pretty much grossed out by the idea of not eating and doing what I wanted… to being excited about waking up at 4:30am to workout.
And hoping I would be able to find some decent food while I was at the workshop.
What in the actual fuck happened to me?
I blame what Charles Duhigg calls “keystone habits” in his awesome book: The Power of Habit.
To paraphrase his awesomeness: a keystone habit is a small, easy to understand habit that when done regularly ripples out and changes your behavior in a bunch of other ways.
He talked about this massive corporation undergoing huge changes – bringing in this unknown CEO – who, instead of talking about focusing on “increasing profits” or what you’d think the investors would want to hear about…
He said he was going to work on improving worker safety. (WTF?)
One broker said on the CEOs first day – he advised all of his clients with stock in the company to sell everything.
Which ended up turning out to be the worst advice he had given his entire career.
Read the book to learn more – but the gist is that this small change in the company ended up creating global change and increased profits by like 8 billion percent or something.
So for me, my new keystone habit was “daily movement.”
Not even “working out” or “exercising.”
Like the most ridiculously abstract simple thing I could think of.
I straight went on a “morning walk” like some geriatric mofo for the first few days.
If you're ever in LA, you have to go here: Maha Yoga.
Then – somewhat painstakingly – dragged myself to yoga. (couldn’t motivate myself to workout alone yet, and the fact that the instructor is a turbo-hottie with a bangin’ booty didn’t hurt! *cough* Stephanie *cough*)
At this point, I’d already drastically cut the amount of cigarettes I was smoking — but still, I smoked after yoga. Gross, I know.
(remember, just wanted to focus on ONE thing.)
Besides, I was convinced that I looked like Jax Teller from Sons of Anarchy.
Anyways, from there – I went to yoga almost every day for about a week or so… then started throwing in a weight training workout.
But I only did that because I WANTED to – I felt weak in yoga – so I wanted to fix that. (KEYSTONE, YO!)
Without planning to eat higher quality food yet, I just started to crave it.
Feeling strong in yoga became important to me, so then I started doing the shit that would facilitate that… without feeling like I “had” to.
I WANTED to.
Then the snowball started rolling.
And now I think in the past 30 or so days, I’ve not trained maybe 2-3 days. And those were days I forced myself to take off… and I’ve gone off-plan with my food like less than 5 times.
None of this really feels like much of an effort really.
It’s just what I do.
And I’ve seen some pretty insane results so far.
I leave you with this!
Focus on one thing.
Valerie has spoken about this before.
Don’t try to get all of your ducks in a row before you start. You’re too busy and you have enough shit to worry about.
Instead of resisting getting started because there’s too much to do – workout, cardio, go shopping, cook more, take supplements, etc.
Just do one thing right and let the ripple happen.
Just go move around a little bit every day.
Do like me and go for a geriatric style walk around your local mall.
Then next thing you know, you’ll be freaking out wondering how the hell you’re going to get your workout in before you have to leave for work in the morning.
For those of you in the states, I know you are probably busy with your holiday plans (and if you’re not – this applies to you too ) but I just wanted to tell you how grateful I am for this connection. I still read all my emails and blog posts and I just love hearing about your success, slip-ups and experiences.
I’ve had the “how to stay the course on thanksgiving” conversation with my clients all week so I thought you might share with you what I told them.
1. Workout first
Train early and you may just feel a little bit virtuous the rest of the day. It doesn’t have to be long but you do need to bring some heat to it if you want it to count. I did an awesome workout this morning that took less than 20 minutes and definitely put some fitness in the bank for tomorrow.
Overhead Squat: 20
Bodyweight row on my dip station: 10
Turbo Lunge Kick: 25 each leg
Valslide Atomic Pushups: 10
Single Leg Glute Bridges: 20 each leg
Do Circuit 3 times
Or try this workout. ;-)
2. Protein First
Focus on the protein and veggies and go easy on the mashed potatoes, stuffing and pie. I’m not saying you can’t have a little of everything, just start with the protein and veggies. You will fell less bloated later.
Write out your day-after plan and post it somewhere (like on this blog). If you make a commitment ahead of time to workout, get back on your Red Carpet Ready Program® or 24/7 Fat Loss Plan you are more likely to follow through.
Also, the act of writing down what you are going to do tomorrow, means you don’t have to think about it. Just get up, put on your workout clothes and follow the plan. Then make a shake like my Unforgettable Smoothie or have a more veggie than egg scramble.
Studies show that discipline and will power are limited resources and all decision making draws from this same limited well. So, having made a bunch of decisions about what to eat or not to eat on Thanksgiving and what Black Friday sales to hit, your discipline has already been seriously depleted. Your workout should be non-negotiable. Have it written down, clothes layed out and if you’re doing intervals, have your gymboss timer set.
When you are writing your pre-commitment, be sure to include the “why.” Why are you going to workout? Why are you going to ditch the leftover mashed potatoes and get back on the plan? Is it so you can rock your skinny jeans? Is it so you can look hot on New Year’s Eve? Maybe you just want to feel healthy & strong or be a good example for your kids. The bigger your “why” the more power it has, so go to town! Tell me what you are committing to and why it’s so important that you stick to it.
Have a totally awesome Thanksgiving Day and share your pre-commitment in the comments section below.