My Blog Has Moved!

With the latest update to my website, I can now blog from there! WordPress has been good to me, but I’m excited to blog from my own platform.

If you want to keep seeing my content you have two options.

  1. You can friend me on Facebook, where I share all my new articles.
  2. You can sign up for my newsletter

Either way, I hope you’ve enjoyed my articles and I hope I haven’t lost you as a reader!

Cheers!

P.S. I have an instagram now! Follow me @mortonfitness

Advertisements

Weekly Fitness Reads: 5/16/16

https://authoritynutrition.com/13-tips-to-stop-mindless-eating/

We eat most of our extra calories without realizing it. Being mindful might be the most important skill in eating for fat loss. It’s not easy though. Here are 13 science backed ways to limit mindless eating.

http://tonygentilcore.com/2016/05/why-train-the-posterior-chain/?utm_source=tony&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=whytrainposteriorchain050916

The posterior chain consists of the low back, glutes, hamstrings and calves. It’s basically everything you can’t see in the mirror. While a nice backside can be easy on the eyes, there are also some very important reasons other than appearance that we should focus on this area more than the mirror muscles. This piece does a great job of explaining why and how to train the posterior chain.

http://www.cnn.com/2016/05/05/health/afternoon-hunger-munchies/index.html

The picture is often bigger than we perceive. Lots of mindless snacking happens in the afternoon. But why?

Did you like this post? Do you hate my guts and want to tell me personally? Either way, you should opt in at http://mortontrainingsystems.com/ and get my free ebook “Insanity Free Loss” 🙂

 

How To Gauge Fat Loss Progress Accurately

First off, we ought to be focusing on the process based goals rather than results based goals.

Why?

  1. It keeps us sane
  2. It keeps us honest
  3. It keeps us moving forward consistently, and consistency trumps everything.

We have zero control over how fast results happen. This means focusing solely on outcomes is inherently problematic and inaccurate.

That said, some folks work really well with periodic result analysis. Furthermore, it’s not an either/or situation. You can focus on the process, while still using measurements to analyze the efficacy your fat loss strategy.

The point of measurements is to find the gaps in your game–to discover the way forward. The goal is to get information, not validation.

We should only take measurements, and I’m more or less quoting Coach Stevo here, “if we can look at them with the same objectivity as if we were counting the white cars in the parking lot”.

There needs to be zero emotional investment in the outcomes of the measurements for them to be an effective tool.

Now in my last post, I discussed the infamous fat loss plateau. I even gave some general tips on how to break through a plateau.

Today is about figuring out what to change specifically to conquer a plateau. Keep in mind, there isn’t one single way to take good measurements. This is just the way that makes sense for me and the awesome people I work with in my Online Fat Loss Groups.

Here we go

Pick 3 types of measurements. Every measurement method has a degree of uncertainty to it. We can lessen this degree of uncertainty by taking multiple measurements.

Here are my recommendations. These are based on the information they can yield but also convenience and accessibility.

Measuring Tape

Why: When my clients ask how to gauge results I often recommend paying attention to how their clothes fit. That’s what we want anyways, right? For our clothes to fit better? To be able to fit into the jeans we wore in college? This method is working on that same principal, except with numbers.

How: Wrap the tape around the belly button, belt-line, upper arm, and mid thigh. Or even just pick one of them. Record your measurements.

The grain of salt: The tricky part here is taking the measurement in the exact same spot. Do your best to measure the same point every time.

The Scale

I’ve talked a lot of shit on the scale in the past. I still do. However, it’s a tool that can be useful. A hammer is great if I don’t drop it on my foot.

Just to be clear, don’t take these measurements if they make you feel crazy.

Why/The grain of salt: The scale tells us whether or not we’re eating for weight gain, weight loss, or maintenance. That’s it.

Regardless of our body composition, consuming more calories than we burn causes weight gain. Note that I didn’t say FAT gain. The scale tells us nothing about body composition–whether the weight is fat or muscle.

The scale tells us if we’re eating too many calories or not enough.

Weight fluctuates for an insane amount of different reasons. Try to be mindful of this. For example, weighing yourself on your period will yield zero useful information for your fat loss goals.

How: First thing in the morning before you have consumed ANYTHING. For more accurate readings, weigh yourself 3 days in a row and take the average.

Calipers/Skin-Fold Measurements:

Why: Here we’re dealing with the muscle to fat ratio. This is what fat loss really boils down to. I’ve had many clients confess they don’t care what the scale says if they looked and felt leaner. So that’s what happens.

How: Make a C with your thumb and index finger. Pinch a piece of skin and pull it out a little. Clamp the calipers onto the fold of skin. Record your measurements.

My recommendations for locations to test are on the stomach (one inch to the right of the belly button), the front of the mid-thigh, and the bicep.

The grain of salt: You’re not going to be pinching the EXACT same spot each time you take these measurements. Just do the best you can.

When to take measurements and what to do with your findings

Take measurements every 3 weeks. 3 weeks is enough time for stuff to happen. It’s enough time to know if what we’re doing is working.

If at least 2 out of 3 tests say we’re getting results, we’re good. Stay the course. If we get 1 out of 3 or less we need to reassess.

Next week, in Part 2, I’ll show you what to do if our measurements tell us we need to reassess our fat loss strategy.

The first time you take measurements serves a unique purpose. The first test only serves as something to compare your other measurements with.

But remember, no emotion. None. Be a robot.

1a 

Did you like this post? Do you hate my guts and want to tell me personally? Either way, you should opt in at http://mortontrainingsystems.com/ and get my free ebook “Insanity Free Loss” 🙂

P.S. For further reading on this topic, check out Josh Hillis and Dan John’s book Fat Loss Happens on Monday. Full disclosure, I don’t get a cent from this. It’s just really good information.

I borrowed, and by “borrowed” I mean shamelessly stole, a lot from this book for this post. Gotta give credit where credit is due.

Weekly Fitness Reads: 5/2/16

http://breakingmuscle.com/family-kids/quit-dieting-your-kids-are-watching

Children are little sponges. They are paying attention to EVERYTHING you do. I don’t see any reason why setting a good example shouldn’t extend to our relationship with food.

https://www.t-nation.com/training/tip-make-the-pull-through-even-better

The Pull Through Exercise is probably my favorite way to teach the hip hinge in preparation for deadlifting. Full disclosure, I haven’t tried this tip yet but it seems to make sense. I’m looking forward to experimenting with it.

http://spotmegirl.com/body-love-really-means/

If we can escape from this idea of exercise as punishment, we will go far. We will be healthier, live longer, and love our bodies more. My addition to this piece would be that if somebody simply isn’t ready to start making moves towards getting healthier, that’s a different discussion. And I agree with her that we shouldn’t judge or shame regardless of what somebody is doing or not doing in regards to their health.

“It’s not about fitting into a smaller dress size or molding your body into a different shape. It’s about taking the stairs over the elevator without feeling like you’re about to die of a heart attack. It’s about not having to get hip and knee replacements because of being too overweight for your joints to function.”

 

Did you like this post? Do you hate my guts and want to tell me personally? Either way, you should opt in at http://mortontrainingsystems.com/ and get my free ebook “Insanity Free Fat Loss” 🙂

Do I Need To Be Hungry To Lose Weight?

What exactly do we mean by hunger?

Let’s lay down a few terms.

Level 1: Sort of hungry: I could eat a little something, but I’m not ravenous.

Level 2: Hungry: If I don’t eat something in an hour I’m going to be really hungry.

Level 3: Really Hungry: Thanksgiving sounds perfect.

Level 4: Hangry: When did you turn into a hot dog? Also, why do I HATE EVERYONE ALL OF THE SUDDEN!?!

Level 5: Hangry Like the Wolf: My stomach is about to implode in on itself. I’m too famished to be pissy. I’m in physical pain. Carry me up the mountain Sam!

samwise

You don’t need to be Level 3 hungry all the time to lose weight. Maybe if you’re cutting weight for a fight or a photoshoot or something like that, maybe. I just don’t know. That’s not my field of expertise. That’s not who I speak to when I write.

Phew! Glad that’s out of the way!

Who am I speaking to?

People who want a reasonable level of leanness. They want some muscular definition. They want to feel hot when they’re nekkid. They’re not trying to get to -3% body fat or whatever. They just don’t want to feel flabby.

You don’t need to starve yourself and be miserable to make your thighs and stomach feel tighter.

However, it is necessary to deal with hunger in it’s many forms. For instance, we shouldn’t panic when hunger hits. That’s a signal that it’s time to eat.

So in this sense yes, we do need to feel hungry…sometimes. However, we don’t need to be hungry.

Depending on how lean you’re trying to get and how lean you are presently, the relationship with hunger is going to be slightly different.

And in some cases it will be required that we feel Level 1 hunger often. However, being perpetually Level 2 hungry or higher, isn’t necessary or productive in any case. 

Let’s take two scenarios and discuss how hunger relates to fat loss with each.

I feel like I have a lot of weight to lose

If you do your nutrition right you don’t need to feel chronic hunger.

We can balance satiety with a caloric deficit by getting most (80-90%) of our calories from things like lean proteins and colorful plants. If you’re eating like this, even if you go a little overboard on portions, you’ll still probably end up dropping weight.

You can technically lose weight eating hamburgers and french fries all the time, but then we have to worry about portion control and shit. And honestly, that’s just more effort than I’m willing to put in. But if that works for you, if that’s an easier habit to change, awesome 🙂

At this point in the fat loss journey, we have a bit of wiggle room. We can maintain a large caloric deficit without adverse health effects. As you lean out, you won’t be able to cut calories this drastically. This is because you won’t have as many calories to cut out!

The less you weigh, the less calories are required to maintain that weight. The heavier you are, the more calories your body needs to sustain itself.

Cutting 1,000 calories means very different things to a 100 lbs individual vs. a 200 lbs individual.

I’m on the last leg of my fat loss journey. Do I need to be Level 2 hungry all the time?

No.

Level 1? Maybe?

Level 2? Probably not.

People often hit a plateau at this point. The game changes a little bit.

Because you have less calories to spare there’s a greater chance that losing additional weight will require being Level 1 hungry often.

This also depends on how fast you’re trying to lose weight. If you’re willing to be patient, we don’t need to feel hungry as often. This is what I recommend in my Online Fat Loss Groups. However, my clients goals are their own, so I help them with whatever they want help with.

I recommend using portion control as a last resort because it’s hard and often unnecessary. Improving food quality and listening to hunger cues is usually enough.

Only after a client has their food quality dialed in (lean proteins and veggies=90% of diet) will we look at portion sizes.

Smaller portions may result in feeling Level 1 hunger more often, at least until you reach your goal weight.

Sometimes we’re not actually as hungry as we think. It takes time to adjust to smaller portions, physically and mentally.

And we still want to limit feelings of deprivation. This will take some experimentation to find a happy medium between enjoyment, sustainability, and results

We still want fat loss to be as easy as we can make it. That said, pushing through a plateau is challenging. That’s why it’s a plateau.

If you’ve hit this plateau and don’t know what to do, measurements can be helpful. That said, if taking measurements can make you feel crazy and/or upset, it’s not a good idea for the time being.

Measurements are a tool to assess gaps in your strategy. Only take measurements if you can analyze them objectively, with zero emotion. This means don’t look at the scale unless it gives you no feelz whatsoever. Not one single feel.

In any case, feeling really hungry occasionally isn’t the end of the world.

Hanger makes choosing healthy foods more difficult psychologically. However, it’s just an unpleasant feeling, not unlike being exhausted or having to pee really bad (totally stole this comparison from an interview with Georgie Fear btw).

We have to deal with unpleasant feelings from time to time because life.

The big takeaway here is that learning to listen to our hunger cues is important and takes time to master.

Listening to hunger cues entails 3 main tenets

  1. Eating when we’re hungry.
  2. Stopping when we’re satisfied.
  3. Not deliberately making ourselves ravenous in an effort to cut calories.

We want to moderate hanger so that making healthier choices is easier. However, we also want to be OK with the feeling of hunger as that’s our body telling us it’s time to eat.

On that note, I’m getting pretty hungry. Bagel time!

 

Did you like this post? Do you hate my guts and want to tell me personally? Either way, you should opt in at http://mortontrainingsystems.com/ and get my free ebook “Insanity Free Fat Loss” 🙂

 

How To Minimize Gym Time And Make Room For The Rest Of Life

Lifting is one of my favorite activities.

That said, I don’t want to spend all my time in the damn gym. As much as I love picking up heavy things and putting them down, I need balance. Gym-ing all the time doesn’t make me feel happy, balanced, or grounded

More isn’t always better. Sometimes it is though.

If someone only does the elliptical, more lifting is a plus. Now, if hypothetically someone hypothetically was training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai twice a day, 6 days a week, in addition lifting 3 times a week, this hypothetical person probably doesn’t need more exercise.

In case you didn’t pick up what I was putting down, I was the “hypothetical” person bt-dubs.

We don’t need to spend all of our life-force on our fat loss pursuits to get that line of definition on the back of our arms that makes wearing a tank top feel more awesome.

Now, creating lasting healthy nutrition habits with minimal mental energy and time is a different discussion. And I would be more than happy to write about it in the near future.

If you’re interested in this topic email me at jeff@mortontrainingsystems.com with the subject line: Write the damn thing already!

Today, for clarity’s sake I want to focus on cutting down gym time. For now, I’ll give you some tactics you can start implementing today to minimize your gym time and still get as sexy as you wanna be.

You don’t need to lift everyday

In fact, I wrote an entire other blog post on why 3 or 4 days of lifting is usually optimal. Check it out here: How Many Times A Week Should I Workout?

Focus on the Big Rocks

Devote the majority of your gym time to practicing bang-for-your-buck exercises. This means you’ll only be doing 5 or 6 exercises per session.

bigrocks

Compound, Multi-joint exercises are where the money’s at. Our gym sessions should revolve around the 5 fundamental movements (Push, Pull, Squat, Hinge, Carry) which all happen to be compound exercises.

We can explain the term Compound (multi-joint) by comparing it to Isolation (Single Joint) movements.

An example of this comparison would be Squats (Compound) vs. Machine Leg Extensions (Isolation). Squats involve movement at the ankles, knees, and hips in addition to a shitload of spinal stability. Leg Extensions involve movement solely at the knee.

More examples of compound lifts include: Bench Press (Push), Bent Over Row (Pull), Lunge (Squat), Sumo Deadlift (Hinge), and Farmer Walk (Carry).

Compound movements win because they’re efficient. You can work more muscle groups in less time. Furthermore, because many muscles are working together in compound lifts, you can hit each muscle involved harder than you could with an isolation move. A boat with many rowers is more powerful than a boat with one rower.

Let’s look at the deadlift. We can break it down into the muscles involved, and we will, but it doesn’t really do the lift justice in describing its benefits.

bobpeoples

The deadlift works the entire back, thighs, butt, deep abs, forearms, shoulders, calves, some arms i.e. everything.

Using every muscle in your body at once means you can lift a lot of weight. Each of those muscles is being loaded with much more weight than it could handle on it’s own. Go team!

It’s an instance of the whole being greater than the sum of the parts. Like you! 🙂

The result is a greater training effect in less time with less exercises. Yeah Buddy!

If you absolutely need to throw in some curls or whatever, set a timer for 15 minutes at the end of your session. This is your cut off time. After that timer goes off, you’re done! Get out of the gym and go have a few laughs with some friends.

Last Point

Stop doing cardio if it makes you associate the gym with masochism. Cardio can be great. Some people love it. It makes them feel as good as hitting the devil’s lettuce. That said, if it ain’t doing anything for you, scrap it.

Use that time and energy for something that’s important to you–something you feel like you never have enough time for.

 

Did you like this post? Do you hate my guts and want to tell me personally? Either way, you should opt in at http://mortontrainingsystems.com/ and get my free ebook 🙂

 

How I Feel About White Chocolate

My relationship with white chocolate is similar to my relationship to my white skin: complicated and riddled with guilt.

Just kidding.

I don’t feel guilty when I eat white chocolate. I freaking love the stuff.

white chocolate

Now, you may say, “Jeff, white chocolate isn’t chocolate you simpleton.”

And these are the fucks I give.

aardvark

You could call the stuff fermented echidna droppings and white chocolate would still taste the same.

It would still taste amazing.

I don’t care about formalities or technicalities when the purpose is still crystal clear. I eat white chocolate because I want to eat white chocolate, not because I want to pay homage to the gods of chocolate zealotry.

It’s important to be mindful of why we’re eating a food. The only “right” reason for eating something is the accurate one. This means if we’re going to eat a shit-ton of bacon, let’s not convince ourselves it’s healthy because it’s paleo. Or let’s not say chocolate is healthy because it has antioxidants.

It’s fucking candy. And it’s amazing.

There’s nothing morally wrong with eating candy. Yes, too much candy is detrimental to our health. That doesn’t mean candy is completely forbidden for those of us looking to feel more confident in a tank top.

Eat whatever you want. Just be honest about it. Stop rationalizing it. You don’t need to. You’re better than that. If you feel the need to justify your decision with phrases like :

“I earned this because I went to the gym”

“Or it’s not that bad because it has dark chocolate and almonds in it. It’s also non-GMO and made from the blood of adolescent centaurs. Organic, of course.”,

then I encourage you to take a minute to look inward. To figure out WHY you feel the need to justify a dietary decision.

The rationale for eating ice cream is that you’re human and ice cream is objectively delicious. That’s as good a reason as any. There aren’t acceptable and unacceptable reasons to eat junk food.

Just own up to whatever the actual reason is. Regardless of how we perceive a decision, the repercussions are the same. Again, there is nothing morally wrong with eating one way or another. This is simply a discussion of being honest with yourself.

White chocolate has the same nutritional value regardless of what you call it.

 

Did you like this post? Do you hate my guts and want to tell me personally? Get in touch at http://mortontrainingsystems.com/