Episode 115. A Journey Into Food Freedom

Episode 115. A Journey Into Food Freedom

★★★★★
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Show Notes

This episode explores how our perceptions shape reality. Scott illustrates how personal and cultural expectations shape the standard of perfection and influence our own body images.

 

We nurture what we love and we love what we nurture

  • People perceive what they see based on their perspectives. Scott illustrates this by using audience participation, showing a series of pictures and asking the viewers what they see.
  • Personal perceptions apply to how we view food and diet.
    We see what we want to see.
  • If a person is disgusted by their own body, they will often sabotage best efforts at weight loss.
    We disrespect what we find disrespectful.
  • Scott asks: Are you working from a place of self-acceptance or self-rejection?
  • The “thin cage” is as much a prison as the “fat cage.” If a person’s lost a lot of weight but still worries about calorie counting, macros, etc., they’ve traded life in one cage for another.
  • Physique transformation success Ange Golding achieved permanent weight loss by setting a realistic, achievable goal: to look feminine and be able to wear pretty clothes. She achieved her goal and now lives in food freedom.
  • Cultural imprints are powerful and may not reflect realistic body image expectations.
  • Ideals of beauty change. Beauty contest winners from the mid-60s were curvier and fuller-figured than ideals who followed.
  • Twiggy—with her “streamlined androgynous appeal”—replaced Marilyn Monroe as an ideal body shape. The ideal then went further. The new term became “anorexic heroin chic.”
  • Are these ideals realistic and achievable, or unrealistic and unhealthy?
  • Women today often want a six-pack, where that would have been unheard of years ago.
  • The beauty industry markets products by establishing impossible standards and making consumers feel inadequate. Food and eating issues are often the result.
  • Body image and food issues go together.
  • Change is a process, not an event. Scott’s new Food Freedom course provides helpful guidance for dealing with body image.

 

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Episode 114. The Hardgainer Solution 2.0

Episode 114. The Hardgainer Solution 2.0

★★★★★
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Show Notes

Coach Scott Abel introduces subtle tweaks to his bestselling workout program, the Hardgainer Solution. Fitness model Andy Sinclair—himself a hardgainer—joins Scott to discuss the program’s evolution and applications.

The Hardgainer Solution (HGS) became a bestseller and later produced as a video program.

 

HGS 2.0! BOOM!

  • Scott kicks off the show by sharing Seth Godin’s blog about shortcuts and its relevance to the diet and fitness industry.
  • HGS was designed specifically for trainees who work hard but have difficult time developing their physiques, related to anatomy, genetics or age.
  • People over 50 are automatically hardgainers.
  • Several genetic and age-related factors define a person as a hardgainer:
    – Narrow collarbones
    – Tall and lanky
    – Long limbs
    – Long trunk
    – Tendon length and attachment location
  • HGS works well for people who travel a lot.

The Tweaks!

+ Two days on, one day off.
+ All biplexes. No triplexes in this revision.
+ Five sets for large muscle groups, four for biceps and triceps.
+ 10 reps or greater for all other exercises.
+ Active recovery days (tweak prompted by feedback from clients.)
+ Rotate of the first muscle group each day.
Example: Day 1 would begin with chest, Day 2 back, Day 3 shoulders, and Day 4 legs.
+ Low reps, heavy weight has moved up to six reps from five.

 

  • Apply these tweaks to the existing HGS program.
  • Hardgainer Solution 2.0 is as versatile as the original. Scott recently developed an HGS variant for a military client on deployment that used his duffel bag as resistance.
  • Scott experimented with performing two exercises for the first body part in each workout, but quickly learned it wasn’t sustainable.
  • Active recovery allows trainees who find three or four straight HGS days are too much, but don’t exactly want an off day.
    Here are a few options for active recovery days:
    Andy’s Awesome Abs
    Great Glutes
    Busy Woman’s Train at Home
    – Long walks. Scott takes his long walks on the hilly terrain around his home on his off days.
    – Yoga
  • There are many ways to use HGS and stay true to its operating principles, using good program design.
  • Other forms of training can be integrated. This is an example of what Scott calls “tweakology.”
  • HGS 2.0 stays true to the original principles:
    – Whole Body, Peripheral Heart Action protocol
    – Uses inter– and intra-workout recovery
    – Reps-based, not exercise-based program
    No training to failure

 

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Episode 113. Breaking Vegan: Client Edition

Episode 113. Breaking Vegan: Client Edition

★★★★★
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Show Notes

Straight from the Inbox, Scott shares emails from clients around the world, received during only a two-day period, raving about their own “breaking vegan” experiences and success stories.

 

Even Better for Us Than We Thought

  • It can be tricky to switch to a healthier diet without unintended consequences, underscoring the value of coaching.
  • “Food is very personal. People have memories tied to food,”…”heavily restrictive diets can lead to disordered eating that can lead to eating disorders.”1
  • Scott made his decision to “break vegan” only after considering the mountains of research suggesting it’s the healthiest diet strategy.
  • When Scott uses the term “vegan”, he refers to whole food-plant based. Not processed foods [that don’t use animal products].
  • Clients report being able to eat more on a vegan version of the Cycle Diet. They say they’re feeling better and stronger and leaning out.
  • The amount of food that can be consumed surprises people who don’t understand how the Cycle Diet works, particularly the plant-based version. What appears like bulking is what revs metabolism and maintains leanness.
  • Scott’s vegan version of the Cycle Diet prevents deprivation.
  • Not all Scott’s clients are vegan. Some of them aren’t ready for a vegan diet because they struggle maintaining an omnivorous diet.
  • None of the clients count calories or keep track of macros. They report the diet is easy to follow.
Highlights from client emails

 

“I feel leaner.”

“…now I don’t have the cravings to eat anything and everything.”

“I never binge anymore!!  I could follow this easily forever.”

“I tell everyone what I am doing!! I see so many people who have rebounded badly from deprivation diets.”

“…my muscles and body just feel “better” since I started this vegan thing.”

“I just had my 4th meal today and I think I will have some oatmeal before bed as my system is in overdrive again.”

“…it’s so easy to eat very very healthy food.”

“…the fat seems to have dropped off me this last two weeks.”

“Feeling amazing – it keeps getting better!”

“Really starting to see and feel fat loss, especially around my waist.”

“The amazing thing is it’s so easy and simple …. If you are too hungry or starving just up portions.”

 

  • Scott’s personal results combined with those of his clients are giving him even more reasons to be passionate about the completely plant-based approach to eating.

[Reference]

  1. Melissa Halas-Liang, a dietitian and spokeswoman for the California Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, as quoted in healthline.com.

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Episode 112. Let’s Talk About SEX

Episode 112. Let’s Talk About SEX

★★★★★
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Show Notes

Research shows that diet affects reproductive health. Scott references more than a dozen published clinical studies whose results support plant-based solutions to sexual health issues faced by both men and women.

 

“There are foods that can harm and foods that can heal”

  • Studies looked at diet and its effect on male and female sex hormones, PMS, endometriosis, erectile dysfunction.
  • Vegans have higher testosterone levels than vegetarians or meat-eaters, according to a paper published in the British Journal of Cancer.
  • One of Scott’s vegan clients writes to report recent lab tests he’d received, showing his base testosterone went from low 700s to the low 900s and free testosterone being in optimal range without any change in hormone replacement dosage.
  • A study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine demonstrated that women with hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol) had lower sexual function indexes than similar aged women with lower cholesterol.
  • Another study showed a low-fat vegetarian diet was associated with reductions in body weight, dysmenorrhea duration and PMS symptom duration.
  • Some vegan women lose their periods from simply eating too little, not from the vegan diet itself. Scott often saw this when he was coaching female physique competitors.
  • Diet may contribute to endometriosis. A 2004 study in the journal Human Reproduction showed women who consumed more green vegetables and fruit were at reduced risk. Red meat increases the risk.
  • Milk consumption, researchers found, increased blood levels of the harmful type of estrogens in both sexes: a 25% spike in estrogen and reduced testosterone levels in men.
  • ED (erectile dysfunction) can be a predictor for cardiovascular risk. Men with serious ED, according to the Mayo Proceedings, should be considered cardiac patients until proven otherwise.
  • In one study, pistachios were shown to improve erectile dysfunction while improving lipid parameters.
  • High cholesterol (hyperlipidemia, female’s version of ED) also affects women’s sexual experience.
  • Small amounts of ginger helped relieve PMS as well as ibuprofen in a 2009 study published in Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.
  • Food can harm and food can heal. Foods that help or heal tend to come from plants.

[References & Links]

Allen NE, et al. “Hormones and diet: low insulin-like growth factor-I but normal bioavailable androgens in vegan men.” Br J Cancer. 2000 Jul; 83(1): 95–97

Key TJ, et al. “Testosterone, sex hormone-binding globulin, calculated free testosterone, and oestradiol in male vegans and omnivores.” Br J Nutrition. 1990 Jul. Vol 64: 1110119

Barnard ND, et al. “Diet and sex hormone-binding globulin, dysmenorrhea and premenstrual symptoms.” Obstet Gynecol. 2000 Feb;95(2):245-50

Parazzini F, et al. “Selected food intake and risk of endometriosis.” Hum Reprod 2004 Aug;19(8):1755-9. Epub 2004 Jul 14.

Maruyama K, Oshima T, Ohyama K. “Exposure to exogenous estrogen through intake of commercial milk produced from pregnant cows.” Pediatric Int. 2010 Feb;52(1):33-8.

Inman BA, et al. “A population-based, longitudinal study of erectile dysfunction and future coronary artery disease.” Mayo Clinic Proceedings. 2009 Feb;84(2),108-113.

Aldemir M, et al. “Pistachio diet improves erectile function parameters and serum lipid profiles in patients with erectile dysfunction.” Int J Impot Res. Jan-Feb;23(1):32-8. doi: 10.1038/ijir.2010.33. Epub 2011 Jan 13.

Esposito K, et al. “Hyperlipidemia and sexual dysfunction in premenopausal women.” J Sex Med. 2009 Jun;6(6):1696-1703. doi: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2009.01284.x. Epub 2009 Apr 23.

Ozgoli G, Goli M, Moattar F. “Comparison of effects of ginger, mefenamic acid, and ibuprofen on pain in women with primary dysmenorrhea.” J Altern Complement Med. 2009 Feb;15(2):129-32.

Kashefi F, “Effect of ginger (Zingiber officinale) on heavy menstrual bleeding: a placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial.” Phytother Res. 2015 Jan;29(1):114-9.

Rahnama P, et al. “Effect of Zingiber officinale R. rhizomes (ginger) on pain relief in primary dysmenorrhea: a placebo randomized trial.” BMC Complement Altern Med. 2012 Jul 10;12:92.

Khayat S, et al. “Effect of treatment with ginger on the severity of premenstrual syndrome symptoms.” ISRN Obstet Gynecol. 2014 May 4;2014:792708.

Kashefi F, et al. “Comparison of the effect of ginger and zinc sulfate on primary dysmenorrhea: a placebo-controlled randomized trial.” Pain Manag Nurs. 2014 Dec;15(4):826-33.

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Episode 111. Cravings are a Head Game

Episode 111. Cravings are a Head Game

★★★★★
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Show Notes

A client writes Scott, asking for advice to deal with food cravings. Are they physiological or psychological, or something else? How to successfully overcome them? Scott and Andy discuss the letter and offer practical, everyday ways to beat cravings.

 

Self-discipline over self-indulgence

  • Defensive dieting creates strain, thus, the “head game” comes into place.
  • Cravings that create stress result from the wrong mindset. Accept that cravings will come and go, and focus instead on the goal.
  • As the Anti-Diet Approach book explains: Cravings come and go. There’s a difference between hunger and craving.
  • Don’t devote energy toward thinking about a craving. Don’t fear a craving that may occur later.
    “Stop ‘shoulding’ on yourself.” – Albert Ellis
  • Hunger is general, while cravings are specific. –i.e. wanting a particular food, not just any food.–
  • What you resist, persist; what you focus on, expands. Practice self-discipline over self-indulgence.
  • Sound diet strategies take decision-making out of the picture. Having too many decisions to make creates decision fatigue.
    Einstein dressed the same each day to decrease the number of decisions made during his day. Other famously successful people have done (or do) the same.
  • Eliminating choice is empowering and liberating, another reason the Cycle Diet works so well.
  • Proactive is better than reactive. Preparing meals ahead of time, maintaining a set routine. These keep the mind focused on what to do instead of what not to do.
  • Progress does not require perfection. You don’t need to be perfect to be magnificent.
  • With the right focus, you can be around food and appreciate it without indulging. As with sexual fidelity, there’s a big difference between just observing, and taking it further to “I want.”
  • When you choose a goal or lifestyle, you need to be all-in. You must accept and make peace with sacrifices, because being at war with them often results in never attaining, or maintaining, the rewards.

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