Episode 67. Buddha’s Eight Steps to… Weight Loss?

Episode 67. Buddha’s Eight Steps to… Weight Loss?

Episode 67. Buddha’s Eight Steps to… Weight Loss?

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Show Notes

We adapt Buddha’s eight steps to end suffering and suggest specific journaling prompts as a way to deal with food issues and weight loss.

Buddha’s 4 Noble Truths

First Noble Truth
Life contains suffering.
(This is sometimes better translated as “Life is stressful, or unsatisfying, or unreliable.”)

Second Noble Truth
Suffering has a cause and the cause can be known.
(The desire and want for “more” is a common one.)

Third Noble Truth
Suffering can be brought to an end.

Fourth Noble Truth
The path to end suffering has eight parts.

The 8 Steps for Weight Loss

How do you look at your weight as a reflection of your lifestyle and the sum total of the choices you have made up to now?

What is your “why” behind what you’re doing? Are you losing weight for solid, self-nurturing reasons, or is it driven by self-punishment?

This is not just what you say to others, but also the words you use to talk to yourself. How do you *frame* your questions or ideas?

These are more often the direct result of the thinking and feelings that precede them. See above.

Are you living in a way that supports your goals to lose weight with self-nurturing?

Are your efforts the result of positive, self- directed thought and intention, or the result of self-rejection, self-judgment, self-measurement, and unstable emotional wants and desires?

Are you examining your thoughts with calm and patient energy, or are you letting them run wild? Are you thinking about what you are thinking about?

What is your focus, and what kind of energy is influencing that focus?




Using Mike’s mini-sprint framework (free how-to here), create a 4-day mini sprint in which you address two of the eight steps each day. First prompt yourself with what areas of your life have WRONG view, intention, or whatever, and then address how you might turn that into RIGHT view, intention, and so on.


• (From Marcus Aurelius) Identify one change that you want to make in your life:
• All the that this change will benefit me…
• All the negative consequences of *not* making this change…
• What if I don’t make the change? Where will I be in one year?
• Anything stopping me from making this change:
• How true are these things? Are there things I can do?

» Now go back and re-read and add to all the above.

More Exercises & Resources


The Journal Writing Superpower Secret

Mike’s book about using journaling to accomplish specific goals, with prompts and frameworks to get you started.


Permanent Weight Loss

The Self-Nurturing Mindset, the Habits, and the Diet Strategy for Genuine, Lasting Change.



Episode 66. Fat Loss and the Weight Scale

Episode 66. Fat Loss and the Weight Scale

Episode 66. Fat Loss and the Weight Scale

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If you’re trying to lose fat (or gain muscle) when should you pay attention to the number on the weight scale?

The Weight Scale

  • Scott wanted to begin by emphasizing again how absurd some marketing has gotten.
  • Scott also wanted to think of the weight scale as a bank account. With a bank account, you don’t check it every day, and you don’t freak out about every withdrawal or think you screwed up because of a withdrawal. You accept that there are withdrawals and deposits, and what matters is whether or not you’re headed in the right direction in the long-term.
  • Sometimes no weight loss at all is a good sign. Things are going on under the surface.
  • Mike actually doesn’t like the advice to “only weigh in once a week,” because weighing in every day is “too much.” This is because, paradoxically, when you weigh in every day, it very quickly becomes clear how all-over-the-place these numbers are, so you learn it doesn’t really matter. By contrast, if you weigh in once a week, every week, you end up focusing way too much on that number and thinking it means something.
  • In Scott’s own business accounts, he sees a big huge ~scary~ withdrawal every quarter, for taxes, but he knows that he needs to look at the whole picture. To Mike, this is equivalent to just figuring out what certain ups and downs on the scale mean. You can still pay attention to it, but you need to not over-think what you’re seeing.
  • Things that can seem to add pounds to the scale: the later in the day, the heavier you weigh! Also, eating, stress hormones, lack of sleep, eating extra salt, slight changes in diet.
  • Mike also points out that in the National Weight Loss Registry, there *are* big, big correlations between self-monitoring and long-term weight loss. People who lose a significant amount of weight and keep it off *do* tend to keep an eye on it.
  • One danger are low-carb diets that promise quick weight loss. If you don’t realize it’s just water weight, you’re setting yourself up for rebound and disappointment.
  • Almost always, if you’re on a decent weight loss diet or fat loss diet, if you plateau, you need to be patient and wait things out. Also, some people need to be real: there is no magic formula to get past this plateau that’s sustainable. Yes, there are things that *will* help you lose weight, but these things won’t actually make you look that much better, and/or they won’t be sustainable.
  • Another option is cheat days or refeeds. The answer to this is “it depends.” A good coach has to read the context. Is the client hypersensitive to cravings, or are they genuinely experiencing never-ending “intolerable” hunger?
  • When it comes to gaining weight, it’s the reverse side of the same idea. If you start eating at a surplus right after a fat loss diet, you’re not putting on “10 lbs. of muscle in two weeks.” You’re storing glycogen and water.

Fancy Tricks to Lose (Water) Weight

How to add pounds and inches to your legs!

Diet for a bodybuilding show, then measure your leg when you’re at your most strung out, before doing any final fat loading or carb loading or whatever. After the show, eat a pizza and two liters of Coke. Boom, your legs have an extra inch or more!

How add inches to your arms!

Go on a low-carb diet for two weeks and don’t train at all. Measure your arms and take photos. Now go out for 3-4 days fat-loading and sugar-loading, and do 5 supersets of barbell curls and tricep curls. Immediately measure your arms. Voila!

How to lose inches from your waist!

Cut carbs and water. Also, use sun beds a bit for a week before the wedding. Then put preparation H all around your stomach and your waist when you’re in the sunbed. This only works in the short-term and is just shrinking skin. (Also, to be clear, we’re not recommending anyone do this. If you do use a sunbed follow whatever instructions they have, first and foremost.)


Episode 65. How to Stick to Your Diet When Traveling or Attending Social Events

Episode 65. How to Stick to Your Diet When Traveling or Attending Social Events

Episode 65. How to Stick to Your Diet When Traveling or Attending Social Events

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Show Notes

Traveling and social events can be tricky situations to navigate for dieters. We discuss how to do it sanely, and how to tell the difference between dedication and obsession, or between being flexible and just “making excuses.”

Sticking to Your Diet While Travelling

  • The episode began because while Andy was travelling in Vegas for a photoshoot, he stuck to his diet the entire time. So even though Andy regularly practices huge refeeds and cheat days with The Cycle Diet, in this case he chose not to partake in some of the huge buffets and smorgasbords of foods that Vegas had to offer. Why?
  • Similarly, Mike, while traveling to Kingston with his fiancé, chose to pretty much stick to his diet without going out to any fancy restaurants. He brought some food along, then stopped at a Loblaws grocery store to get the remainder of what he’d need for the rest of the trip.
  • In both cases, there was a decision based on practicality, desire, and goals. Mike had his dog with him the entire time, so eating options were already limited, and it was just easier for him to stick to the diet than to try to make decisions about how to “make it work.”
  • In Andy’s case, first, he was at a photoshoot, so until that section was over, of course he needed to stay pretty strict. And beyond that, he too found some of his options limited by time and responsibilities, so he just kept off until he returned home, and had a real cheat day the Sunday he was back.
  • Key Concept: Mike likes the idea of “satisficing,” especially when traveling. That is, you don’t need to be perfect… you just need to get things good enough. The challenge is that our brains really like being perfect, and just being good enough makes us question ourselves. The solution, for Mike, is to use personal weirdo rules. These are personal rules that will keep you satisficing your diet over the long term. They work by balancing real life with psychological bright lines; they give your brain something to latch onto, something that says, “Yes, I followed the rule. This is definitely a win!” (As opposed to: “Uh… that was probably good enough… but oh geez… what if… what if… what if…” etc.)


Recurring Themes:

“Choose the behavior, choose the consequences.”

  • Don’t be a diet martyr. You don’t “have” to diet. It might be a bummer that you need to diet “more” or “harder” than that other person over there with a six-pack, but focusing on this doesn’t help. All there is, at the end of the day, are your decisions, and the consequences of those decisions for you. That’s it.

“Mindset determines behavior.”

  • Two people engaging in the “same” behavior (e.g. eating a lot of food for a “cheat” day vs. an uncontrollable binge) can be engaging in what looks like the same thing, but the mindset behind the behavior is totally different. There’s a difference between being a diet martyr who “has” to stick to their diet, and who makes everyone around them miserable, versus being someone who simply, politely and firmly says, “No, thank you. Not this time, but thank you for the offer.”

Find out more about our guest today,
Andy Sinclair:


Andy’s website and blog with links to his products, services, coaching and more.

Episode 64. Lou Schuler on Better Communication, Empathy and Fitness

Episode 64. Lou Schuler on Better Communication, Empathy and Fitness

Episode 64. Lou Schuler on Better Communication, Empathy and Fitness

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Show Notes

Lou Schuler shared his wisdom with respect to communicating, being real, and aging healthily while also developing empathy, humility, and seeing things from your client’s eyes.


Also, Mike’s new book is available now.

Be a cool dude and read it:

Writing & Communication

  • Writing is communication, and the key there is the other person.
  • If you’re trying to engage someone, tell a story. People remember stories. They’ll stick more.
  • A story that emotionally engages the reader (or the person you’re talking to) is far more useful than just chest-pounding.
  • People talking themselves up are a dime a dozen. It’s hard to separate yourself out from the crowd if you’re just another one of them.
  • Lou really likes focusing on humility and using a bit of self-deprecating humor; in the long-term, if you have a lot of good information to give, couched in good stories, these will work much better incessant chest pounding.
  • Mike pointed out a quote from Jay Abraham: “If you can articulate your audience’s pains better than they can, they will assume you have the solution.”
  • This is difficult, however. Getting outside your own head, and into the heads of your market, or your clients, or your readers — or whoever it may be — is really hard and takes focused effort. You can’t assume you already know what they’re thinking.
  • Scott pointed out the tension, or difficulty, in trying to communicate important ideas that are couched in “entertaining” stories.
  • For Lou, part of the answer is just that sometimes a bit of entertainment is okay. That’s a service too.

Active Aging

  • One of the tough things about aging is that there are elements to it you only learn through experience. And the moment you turn 40 you don’t suddenly understand all aspects of “training over 40.” You just got there! You’re barely over 40!
  • For Scott, this is even harder because although the industry likes to lump together everyone over 40, the changes that take place after 50 are often more drastic, so a 45-year-old trainer assuming that he or she is in the same camp as a 55 or 60-year old can often be very mistaken.
  • Lou also points out that people age very differently, and this is true emotionally as well as physically. Yes, that grandmother over there just deadlifted 900 lbs. That might be inspiring to you, but what you’re looking at is a freak of genetics. For many people, things like this are just not within the realm of the possible.
  • This ties into the earlier discussion about getting outside your own head. Just because X, Y, and Z worked for you doesn’t mean it’ll work for everyone.
  • Part of empathy (somewhat paradoxically) involves realizing no, you don’t know what’s going on with that guy, and finally accepting that there are experiences that exist outside your own.
  • Another takeaway here is that you can’t just say EVERYONE NOW MUST STOP DOING X AFTER AGE Y. Trainees are different. The guy who’s been in the gym hanging and banging for 30 years is not the same trainee as the one who’s 80 lbs. overweight and finally wants to do something about it because their doctor has told them if they don’t do something they’ll be dead in 3 years.
  • As Scott points out, one of the difficulties there is not just the recovery abilities of these trainees, but the work capacity changes. The experienced trainee can hammer himself into the ground in ways the other one can’t, even if it would take far less to drive the overweight untrained person into the ground.

Find out more about our guest today,
Lou Schuler:


Lou’s homepage. Find links to his books, social media.

Amazon Author Page

Get any or all of Lou’s books.

Men’s Health Page

Lou notes that there are actually a lot of his better articles here, available for free.

Episode 63. Lessons on Expertise with JC Santana

Episode 63. Lessons on Expertise with JC Santana

Episode 63. Lessons on Expertise with JC Santana

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Show Notes

We had JC Santana on again to talk functional training, as well as what he’s learned over the decades in industry. JC’s an expert on program design, functional training, and coaching, and Scott was excited to have JC on to share more of his wisdom, expertise and knowledge.

JC’s Travel Lessons

  • Scott began by asking what JC noticed or learned on his recent travels, pretty much around the world (Middle East, China, South America).
  • JC noticed the similarities between our culture and others.  Parents loved their children and wanted them to grow up safe in a better world. Families expressed affection.
  • JC emphasized the importance of not just playing well with others, but coming from a spirit of giving. Scott likes to say “having something to offer.” (Mike thinks it needs to stay from a frame of giving.)
  • JC holding up a jiu jitsu medal from his travels.

    Both JC and Scott talked about the importance of always growing. Mike thought this is true, and that often the economic side of things (read: how much you earn) matches how much you serve/give and/or grow so that you can serve/give even more…. yet this is also — obviously — not always true.

  • Scott also pointed out that you don’t necessarily have to begin or start from a healthy, positive mindset. You should, but you can also start something for the “wrong” reasons, but then learn and grow and transition and keep doing that same thing, but for better reasons.
  • In China JC also noticed the huge surge of economic growth going on, leading to an increase in disposable income, and a demand for trainers who know what they’re doing.



  • The difference between stability versus balance? Stability is a pyramid, wide at the bottom, small at the top. Balance is a pyramid turned upside down, resting on its tip but still remaining stable.
  • When you don’t have stability, you don’t have a fixed point, and it’s hard to generate power. For example: try running across a tight rope. You can’d do it, and you can’t generate power. Now try it on a flat track. Suddenly you can.
  • There are some rare times to use more balance training. In particular, when there’s a need for a lot of proprioception work without concern for the quality of the proprioception.

    A diagram illustrating the difference between A-frame and 7-frame positions. (This is taken from JC’s Functional Training book, p. 18.)

  • JC likes 7-frame training (single-leg stuff) for people who need to be fast, since it’s involved so heavily in loco-motion.
  • One of the over-arching themes in what JC talked about was knowing why you were doing what you were doing: what does my trainee need to do, and what is the easiest, fastest way to train for this need/demand? This is very different from “well balance stuff is always good, right?” It’s about using tools for specific reasons.

Find out more about our guest today,
JC Santana:


JC’s site or homepage for everything. Predator bands, DVDs, certifications, and more.

Get it from:  JC’s website | Amazon

JC’s new book on functional training. From the sales page: “Take your performance to the next level with Functional Training. Author Juan Carlos Santana brings you his revolutionary approach to training and conditioning methods sure to improve your function in any sport or activity. Functional Training covers the recent breakthroughs, the most exercises, and proven programs that you can follow or incorporate into your existing training plan.”