With all those mocha lattes,
Please don’t do pilates,
You gotta get this lift in,
Let’s go start deadliftin’…
-Kanye West (probably)
Happy Friday, Coach J here from Anyman Fitness – and welcome to the latest edition of The N.W.A. Newsletter.
Each Friday’s N.W.A. Newsletter will have 3 parts:
- A Nutritional Tip to help make your diet healthier and easier to stick to.
- A Workout Tip to help make your training sessions more effective and fun.
- An Attitude/Mindset tip to help you strengthen your greatest asset – your mental toughness.
I will also give you my single favorite piece of social media content from AF over the past week and link to it on either Instagram or Twitter.
Without any further ado… let’s get started, shall we?
N.W.A. Nutrition Tip Of The Week:
When you’re attempting to lose body fat, I always recommend going for the “lowest hanging fruit” first.
Meaning, there’s no need to start trying needlessly complex and crazy diets when there are simple, straightforward things you should be focusing on first.
There is no “lower” hanging fruit than eliminating liquid calories from your diet.
It’s wild to me how many people I’ve come across who swear up and down that full-sugar sodas, juices, and energy drinks are “healthier” than zero calorie, diet versions because they claim “sugar is better than all those chemicals” or “diet drinks make you more likely to consume other sweet treats”.
I’m not sure where these silly myths started, but they’re everywhere, and people get confused by them.
The definition of a calorie is “the amount of energy required to raise 1 gram of water 1 degree Centigrade”.
Calories are a means with which we track the energy content in our food.
Our bodies require a certain amount of energy to exist, and calories are a big part of that equation.
The debate about aspartame has raged on for years.
And yet, every time aspartame is studied closely in controlled environments, it hasn’t shown any negative side effects to humans.
The infamous study from 2005 which kicked off the aspartame fear had some big flaws in its design.
First, it was a study done on rats.
Humans have different physiology than rats do.
While we may have a few similarities (we’re both mammals perhaps?), the way we process foods is drastically different, making rat studys precursors to a human studies, not something we should blindly take at face value.
Second, the amount of aspartame they were giving the rats was absurdly high.
They were giving the rats the equivalent of 10 cans of Diet Coke per day.
And remember… these are rats!
They don’t even weigh a pound!
They’re itty, bitty creatures!
That amount of Diet Coke would be like making a human drink a swimming pool full of soda per day.
When you do the math, a human would need to drink over 2,000 cans of Diet Coke to equal the same amount, pound for pound, that the rats were ingesting.
I’ll go out on a limb and say you don’t drink 2,000 cans of anything in a day’s time…
Third, it was one study.
Yes, this *one study* rats who ingested the (insanely high amount of) aspartame did grow more tumors than those who didn’t ingest the aspartame.
But there’s always another side.
There have been over 700 various studies performed searching high and low for links between aspartame and cancers.
And so far, none have been found.
Drinking your calories is never a good idea.
Eating your calories always fills you up better and reduces your hunger.
When you’re dieting, you want to be strategic about food volume.
8 ounces of chicken breast and a 20 ounce bottle of Mountain Dew have roughly the same number of calories.
Which one do you think will fill you up more, and which one do you think will cause a blood sugar crash a few hours later?
If you’re nervous about the chemicals in aspartame, find a non-calorie drink with Stevia in it.
Zevia brand is pretty decent – I particularly like their black cherry soda.
And of course, if you’re still nervous about zero calorie sweeteners, just drink water.
But no matter how you slice and dice it, drinking calories is one of the biggest nutritional no-no’s there is.
Be sure to avoid liquid calories if getting healthy and staying healthy is a priority for you.
For more on aspartame and why it’s safe for you to consume, read this article from my good friend Aadam Ali, fitness coach and owner of Physiqonomics.
N.W.A. Training Tip Of The Week:
The goal of training is *never* to be “tired”.
We often equate how we feel physically after our workout with its effectiveness.
We think “tired = good workout”, so we strive to be as “tired” as we possibly can by the end of our sessions.
While being tired does often correlate to a solid workout, being “tired” shouldn’t be our main goal of our training sessions.
If all you’re doing is trying to make yourself “tired”, your results will suffer as a result.
Training is all about performance.
Which person do you think will be stronger, fitter, and have a better physique?
The person who does wild and crazy workouts, trying to be as tired as they can?
Or the person who tries to improve their performance every single time they step into the gym?
I’ve tried both of these approaches, and it’s not a surprise the person who strives for the best performance possible *always* has the superior results.
How do you improve your performance in the gym?
Well… there’s lots of ways, but I can promise you, if you’re not tracking your workouts, you are utterly blind to how you’re doing with your sessions.
Every time you go into the gym, you should know exactly what you’ll be doing that day.
And when I say exact, I really mean exact!
You should know you’re doing bench press first, you’re aiming for 8-10 reps of 200 pounds, and last week you did 195 pounds and achieved 10 reps on Set 1, and 8 reps on both Sets 2 and 3.
THAT’S the kind of detail you want to have – right in front of you – if you’re serious about getting the best results you possibly can.
Sessions need to be recorded.
And then, next session, you try to do better and increase your performance.
There’s no “muscle confusion”, no doing whatever you feel like doing, and no picking random exercises and training until you think you’re going to barf.
Just tracking what you’re doing and straight up playing “beat the training log”.
For years, I went to the gym and just tried to make myself tired and sweaty.
And I never got the results I was after.
Once I got serious, started tracking my workouts, and trying to improve my performance, everything changed.
Instead of dreading the sweat and borderline vomit, I was excited for each session.
I had a little challenge right in front of me – a small “test”, if you will.
It gamified fitness for me, making it fun and exciting.
Start tracking your workouts today if you’re not already, and watch your results explode quickly.
N.W.A. Attitude/Mindset Tip Of The Week:
The ability to focus for long periods of time is going to be a superpower before too long.
Those who can do this daily are going to have a massive advantage over those who can’t.
This is something we’re working on with our daughters, and making them very aware of as they move into middle school.
Our kids both have iPads. We held out fairly long, but ultimately gave in when they were in 4th and 6th grade.
We monitor their social media usage and have frequent discussions about appropriate content and what they’re allowed (and not allowed) to do.
But that being said, they’re kids, and they’re using the internet, so we try to pay close attention to how they’re behaving and use that as a guiding path to their social media usage.
And I’m not really talking about “behaving” in the context of “they’re not getting in trouble at school”, I’m talking more about their ability to put their tablets down, their ability to hold conversations with adults, and their ability to listen to something, focus on it properly, and execute whatever instructions they’ve been given.
When kids use popular social media apps like TikTok and YouTube, they get bombarded with instantaneous entertainment.
Gone are the days when you turned on a television show, and you had to watch as the story unfolded over the course of 30 – 120 minutes.
It’s funny how what we used to consider mindless entertainment (movies/TV/etc) isn’t half as mindless as what’s out there today.
TikTok videos are all under a minute in duration, normally.
They’re small clips that are meant to be entertaining.
Even longer videos on YouTube have “quick cuts” and constant stimulation in them.
These apps train your mind to become bored after just a few minutes without direct entertainment.
Some of us don’t even realize it’s happening to them.
Ever find yourself in a situation where you have to wait for a modest amount of time – perhaps 5 minutes?
How long do you last before you grab your phone and playing with it?
Not very long, right? Often times, you don’t even think about it, you just reach into your pocket, and boom, you have something to eliminate the boredom of needing to wait in line.
But think about this logically.
What is this doing to our ability to focus intently?
What is this doing to our ability to be still, sit in silence, and simply “be”?
Why do we need to watch a video or pick up our phone just so we don’t have to be unstimulated for a couple minutes?
I think about this often.
I won’t always be the “internet fitness guy”.
I’ll eventually be retired, and hopefully “Grandpa Jason”!
I sure as heck don’t want to be reliant on technology just so I don’t have to feel bored.
Be sure you’re mindful with your internet usage.
We’re seeing first hand what the virtual worlds are doing to our self-esteem, our sense of self-worth, and our sense of well being as a country.
If you don’t control your social media and internet usage, it can easily control you – if you’re not careful.
One Favorite Social Media Post Of The Week:
A complete and total mental shift happened in my head when I started seriously tracking my workouts.
Instead of playing “drown myself with sweat”, I started playing “beat last week’s numbers”.
Within mere weeks, I was less sore, less tired, and stronger than ever before.
I hope you enjoyed this edition of the Anyman Fitness N.W.A. Newsletter.
I’ll be back next week.
Hope you have a wonderful weekend.
Love the song “Easy” from Kanye West and The Game. It’ll be on Ye’s next album, Donda 2, which is scheduled to be released on 2/22.
Any track that has a hook from Eazy-E’s classic gangster rap album Eazy-Duz-It is just fine by me.