You’re Waisting Your Time

* puts on bullet proof vest, jumps into armored vehicle, uses the megaphone to tell you all…


* speeds off at 100 mph as a hostile group of women chase my motorcade on foot *  

finds irony in this fact because they don’t like to workout and that waist training has them breathing high and shallow anyway 

 As the number of people giving into the waist training craze rapidly increases and everyone’s favorite Instagram model promotes it wildly, you’d would think #WaistTrainingSuccess would be a trending topic. Except, after you invest $49.99  and 3 months, most folks realize that  they are exactly who they were before they started…minus $49.99, of course. So they go ahead and add that torture devise to  their collection of home workout DVDs .  Because while it appears to be a brilliant idea that has a great marketing scheme it’s actually just that; a scheme.

So,  let’s not “waist” any more time; jump into this craze with me.

“Waist training; a gradual process of waist reduction using a latex waist cincher or corset. Also known as waist cinching, this practice came to prominence during Victorian times”

 pink waist trainer

 Ladies, use your heads; you want to modify your body? You want to look ‘snatched?’ You have to know there is no short cut to real success. Although these products promise you a hip-to-waist ratio that brings all boys to the yard, this “quick fix”  can never change who you really are genetically and physiologically. In this cultural moment, we seem perfectly content to look healthy as opposed to actually being healthy. Companies know that folks are far happier to pay in dollars for ‘the look’ than they’d be to pay in sweat for the actual body, so they joyfully take advantage.

Here’s their big theory:

” Don’t want to workout hard!? Great! Eat fruits and veggies, put this waist trainer on, go to the gym and show it off while on the treadmill , take it off and BOOM; you’ve lost 2 inches!’

before after trainer

Well thank you, Captain Breakthroughs in Modern Science.

Now, for some logic: Using a waist trainer will naturally  apply pressure and elevate the temperature in that specific area (the stomach). This will force that area’s sweat glands  to produce at a higher rate, thus allowing it to quickly impact the area by decreasing its size.  The body stores most of its water weight in the mid-section so if using a waist training, as one starts to lose weight they initially lose water weight first. So…my compliments to Captain Breakthroughs; you will indeed lose weight if you wear a waist trainer. Except it’s water weight and has absolutely no relationship to body fat. Actually, all that water you sweated off will come right back the minute you down a glass of water. So yes! Some form of change will happen but ‘change’ isn’t really the right word. You’re sort of temporarily evaporating…like water in a boiling pot.

If I paid someone 50 of my hard-earned dollars and then strapped myself into a latex vice everyday for 8 hours, I might start to wonder, ” if this really worked and got rid of body fat , why do I have to keep wearing it over and over? Shouldn’t one month be enough ?”

“Waist training[sic].  All our shapers are for redefining the body by wearing the shaper 8-10 hrs a day, everyday.  Waist training your [sic] waist daily results in:  reduced waistline, weight loss, losing at least 4 inches off your waist, firmed, & flattened your stomach, better posture, reduced back pain & strengthened core, great for post-partum pregnancy[sic].  Waist training is great to add to your daily activity.  The more you waist train the more results you will see.”


Appealing , I must admit. The only hitch is that waist trainers allege that one can lose weight from a specific area.

Otherwise known as a spot reduction. Otherwise known as not physiologically possible.

The body must work as a complete unit to maximize caloric expenditure and help lose unwanted body fat. However, it’s always beneficial to strengthen the muscles underneath the fat, so indulge me; try to do a crunch with a waist trainer on.

I’ll wait.

*Sips on protein shake and turns up the new Wiz Khalifa joint while waiting in armored car*

Welcome back.

I think you found that you couldn’t complete one because waist trainers restrict movement. So, you can’t contract your abdominal muscles, which is how you will strengthen your core and create the desired aesthetic.

Ok, so let’s say I just want to put waist training companies out of business; that I prefer women to invest in personal training and slave away at the gym.  Let’s say all the “testimonials” are legit and money back guarantees are sound.  But, where is their visual proof?  Where is a 3-month, 6-month, or 12-month transformation that justifies these claims?

There aren’t any. At least not any that aren’t using the most effective waist trainer of all: Photoshop.

“There’s misinformation that body shape and body weight can be easily changeable to society’s standards,” says Leslie Heinberg, MD, Director of Behavioral Sciences for the Bariatric and Metabolic Institute at Cleveland Clinic. “But we come in all different shapes and sizes and some of us aren’t meant to have a tiny waist.”

So we talked about what it doesn’t do, let’s talk about what it does do.

Waist trainers compress the stomach and push the fat around instead of eliminating it. While this sounds like a good idea, your organs, now shoved into a new area in your body, disagree. Excuse me while I practice my Ph. D skills; The point of a waist trainer is to force the torso into a reduced size. It also reduces the space within it. Many waist trainers force the torso to taper towards the waist, which pushes the lower ribs inwards. As a consequence, internal organs are moved closer together and out of their original positions in a way similar to the way a pregnant woman’s expanding uterus causes the organs to be displaced. As this happens, lungs’ volume diminishes and so you tend to breathe ‘high’ in the upper portion of the lungs (it feels like simply lifting your chest), rather than ‘low and deep’ with the whole lung apparatus (a professionally-trained singer friend of mine refers to this as ‘breathing into your back’ ) . Since you’re using the lower portion of your lungs less, fluid begins to build-up, and your body will react by  by developing a persistent cough to clear up the problem.

waist trained shape

 I was once taught that “everybody has a price.” But ladies, my question is, how much are you worth to yourself? Certainly more than a quick fix and lung full of fluid.

You want to do little waist training on Friday night to accentuate your perfect outfit? Great.  You think beauty is pain and you may be right. But be a glutton for the right kind of punishment; take that torture device off. Go get your butt kicked at your local gym instead.

*Waves white flag out of armored car. Hopes you notice there’s an awesome core-focused workout plan on it.*

Teal, Whitney 2013

Darby, Robby 2014 2014

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Get Lifted Fitness Takes Over: Prospect Park

Recipe for a Bootcamp Sunday

Sunny day ( check)

Scenic park locale ( check)

People of all walks of life dedicated to fitness (check)

Get a trainer to be ” the host with the most” for  the event ( check)

That combination breeds success! As co-founder of GET LIFTED Fitness I am fully aware  of how explosive that dynamic can be. A few weeks ago Selector Sean came to me and asked me to lead his new campaign  “Why Be Ordinary?”  by designing a  2-week boot camp experience for 10 hand-picked winner of Sean’s contest.  I created 10 workout stations requiring a 100% commitment and gave the group one rule; everyone has to finish; one team, one dream.   Our first Sunday was a success! People came, saw and conquered an intense, hour long workout that not only challenged them physically but also mentally.



“Ask yourself honestly, what would you have to sacrifice to have what you really want? Your social life? Relationships? Credit cards? Free time? Sleep? Now answer this question: What are you willing to sacrifice? If those two lists don’t match up, you don’t want it badly enough.” Excerpt From: Tim S Grover & Shari Wenk. “Relentless.” Scribner. iBooks.

ball drop

water and break

I’m excited to announce that Week Two of #GET LIFTED Fitness  (in partnership with “Why Be Ordinary “)  is sold out! To all coming I’m excited to see you all there; we’re going to be uncomfortable for 60 minutes to be comfortable for a lifetime!

So, expect a lot of fun, passion and intensity and sweat…Thank me later.


Interested in designing a bootcamp experience for your team, friends or group? Let’s talk about it! Reach out to me at bodybyzeustraining (at) gmail (dot) com


Photos by Manny Fresco 


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The Devil is a (piece of) Rye


Here’s the truth, guys…

A group of scientists joined forces with the FDA to form the super group,  ” Leaders of the Carbohydrate Inquisition,” a group dedicated to proselytizing about a diabolical molecule that will drive us towards morbid obesity, depress our metabolisms, lead us to develop diabetes and other diseases, and generally turn us into hungry, horrible zombie people.

I’m kind of kidding, but not completely. Lately it seems like scientists and medical talking heads have done their best to malign carbs.  Generally their efforts are working; ask around and most people will say, ‘I don’t know much, but I know bread is evil and carbs are bad!’

bread monster

The carbohydrate is probably the most misunderstood, and feared macro-nutrient. Thanks to bogus diet plans and suggestions out there, many people equate eating carbs with gaining weight. Although eating too many carbs can, indeed, lead to weight gain (just like eating too much protein or fat can), carbs are hardly the enemy.

Worshiping at the No-Carb Altar?

So, you heard that going carb-less will help you lose weight, and you’re correct; you’re going to lose a TON of weight very fast; sometimes as much as 20lb in 4weeks.

Sound great? Now for the disadvantages;

 Impossible to Maintain

Restricting carbs always sets you up for cravings which results in diet failure. Let me reiterate; Swearing off carbs is not a long term solution and trying to make it one will always lead to  regression of weight/fat gain.

You Look Like You’re Melting and You Probably Need a Nap

Carbs are the body’s ideal energy source. Without them, energy levels, mood physical and mental performance will drop dramatically.

While it’s possible to lose 5 pounds a week on a low/no carbs regimen, 20 percent of what’s lost will be fat while 80 percent will be muscle and water weight. Since your energy will be on the decline, you’ll move less and will, as a result, lose muscle mass. Lost muscle mass and quickly declining weight will lead to you weighing less but looking…deflated.

At this point, it’s true; most folks are smaller. But they are also  crankier, sleepier,  lethargic, and are starting to realize that the price of this quick fix is entirely too high. They revert to old ways and thus the weight returns.

To Know a Carb is to Love a Carb; (Choose your Own Adventure)

 Yes; you should eat a carb. No, it should not be a cronut. All carbs are not the same.

Let me explain; you wake up one morning and are running late for work but you’re ravenous. You run past the kitchen and find two options; a banana and a cinnamon roll. You figure you don’t want to have to carry the banana peel on the train so the cinnamon roll makes the most sense. You grab it and run, scarfing it down as you catch the train. You arrive to work feeling full of energy (maybe even too much of it) and ready to go. Except…around 10-ish you feel tired and hungry, suddenly and urgently. Frantic for more energy and food, you wander into the break room to forage for something quick. You luck into some donuts.

You eat one and feel great for about an hour.  But suddenly you’re ravenous and sleepy again and the cycle continues; sudden low energy and hunger, quick fixes, frantic poor choices and ultimately, weight gain.

Let’s rewind back to your early morning breakfast choice; this time, you remembered there’s a trash can in the train station and so, chose the banana. Though not as flashy as the cinnamon roll, that banana keeps you satisfied. In 2-3 hours, you start to notice that you’re beginning to feel a little hungry, but it’s not urgent. Your body is not demanding food in ALL CAPS  RIGHT NOW and you have both time and energy to make a good food choice.

So, the banana and the cinnamon roll are both carbs; why does the body respond to them so differently? You’ve probably heard the terms “simple” and “complex” carbs before and wondered what they meant. You might have also heard of the glycemic index and wondered what it was all about too.

It’s  actually pretty simple. The glycemic index (GI) is a numeric system that ranks how quickly carbohydrates are converted into glucose in the body. Carbs are ranked on a scale of 0 to 100 depending how they affect blood sugar levels once eaten. A GI rating of 55 and under is considered low GI, 56 to 69 is medium, and 70 and above is high on the index. A simple carb is high on the GI and converts very quickly, such as table sugar, honey, and watermelon (or cinnamon rolls), while a complex carb is low on the GI and converts slowly, for example broccoli, apple, and whole-grain bread, or you guessed it, your trusty banana.

Essentially, simple carbs are a quick and dirty fix; they feed the body lots of energy super quickly and leave it depleted just as fast. Complex carbs are in for the long haul; they ration energy and deliver it to the body in measured dosages.

So, basically, carbs are great…except when they are not. Confused? Don’t be—here are a few tips to help you make great carb choices.


Be Carb Smart


sim vs com


  • Losing weight and gaining lean muscle requires carbs.  When you finish a workout, enjoy a “the post-workout meal.” Your body is in a highly anabolic state, and it will absorb glucose, glycogen, and amino acids at a higher rate than normal. So, eat immediately after training (within 30 – 60 minutes of finishing) and eat a substantial amount of well-balanced carbs.
  • Create a mixture between simple carbs and complex carbs in each meal.


  • Remove refined sugar, white bread, white pasta and all processed foods from food choices.


  • Calculate carbs to be 58% of total caloric intake


  • When you deem your body ready for it, alternate between high carb intake days (more than 58 percent of total caloric intake) and low carb intake days (below 58 percent).


  • Be mindful of portion sizing; remember, size matters! Generally rice and pasta should be about the size of half a tennis ball, cereal and starchy veggies, the equivalent of your cupped hands.


Now, grab that spoon of (brown) rice, put it on your plate and think “It’s okay; I can eat this. ”


* walks out of the bread aisle towards the gym *


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Need a Coaster? Try a Fitness DVD!

Want to make lots of money preying on a nation with a fitness gimmick that doesn’t really work? Cool, here’s the blueprint:

  1. Cast an army of muscular trainers and fitness professionals  (who have been working out for more 10 years and will make it look easy) to star in your video;
  2. Show digitally edited ‘Before and After’ pictures;
  3. Promise millions of people suffering with weight and self- image issues that ‘THEY TOO’ can look like the trainers (from day one) in 60 to 90 days;
  4. Using steps 1-3, release a DVD onto the interwebs featuring super intense, increasingly difficult  workouts that challenge the bounds of gravity and safety;
  5. Watch your dollars stack;
  6. Repeat Step 5 Six. Million. Times.

Wait..isn’t that what Shaun T did with Insanity and T25 ? And isn’t that what Tony Horton did with P90x and the entire “BEACHBODY” brand !?!

Beachbody banner

OF COURSE IT IS…but y’all knew that already, right? Herein lies the problem in the quest to have washboard abs and amazing biceps just in time for summer;  These products misrepresents fitness, put you at risk and make fitness promises that they can’t keep.

As wise philosopher once said, ‘Don’t hate the player, hate the game’ so I have to give credit where it’s due—the proprietors of these videos  found a way to capitalize on a nationwide epidemic;  they figured out the trick to your pockets.

Why didn’t I think of that?!

Oh wait—I didn’t think of that because I’m busy thinking of this:  if you go from a straight- up sedentary lifestyle to even moderate activity, some form of change will happen. But that doesn’t mean that the program you’re using implicitly works—it just means that basic physiological reactions are happening. Now I know we all have that friend that has a full set of these DVDs holding up the coffee table so let’s put this into perspective :

According to studies, 25 percent of persons who buy P90X actually complete the 90-day program. Only 50 percent of the 25 percent that completed the entire program, do so following the nutrition plan.

So, allow me to balance this calculator on top of my barbell for a second:

  • 6,000,000 copies of P90x were sold
  • ¼ of those folks completed the full P90X program: (1, 500,000)
  • ½ of 1,500,000 completed P90X AND followed the nutrition plan: (750,000)
  • 750,000 or 12.5 % is of the total number of successful P90x clients.

Lets say it another way–P90X does not work for 87.5% of the people who bought it 

Failing Upwards


P90x’ abject failure doesn’t seem to be stopping its bottom line but let’s take a look at why the program sets folks up for failure.

  1. Just Do it (Incorrectly)

As a science, exercise will not work as intended without proper technique.  But since these DVDs  focus on getting in as many reps as possible and pay little attention to targeting specific muscle groups properly,  this point is understated.

Moreover, one’s inability to squat ,do pull-ups , or lunges effectively  fresh off of being on his/her couch for 12 months is naturally going to stunt growth in this workout. So you pop in that DVD of Shaun T and can’t replicate 1/3 of what he’s doing is the fastest way to no results, thus no motivation, a shortcut  back to  the couch with a new DVD coaster for your fruit punch.

  1. ObamaCare Doesn’t Care about Unfit People – *Kanye voice*

Injuries are bound to happen when relatively sedentary people jump into a strenuous routine. You have to learn to walk before you can run, but with most of these DVDs, you have to go in sprinting. So in week 2, although you haven’t mastered a regular squat, your DVD is going to ask you to do a back flip off your nightstand into a jump squat and land into a lunge position…

insanity cover

Are you back from the ER yet? Good. Now, run that DVD again like you were told and be sure to pick up the pace because it’s already on Week 3 and now you’re behind.

Your  actual real-life trainer would advise against continuing your workout after a trip to the ER, except in this case, your trainer lives in your TV, so…

  1. Your Trainer is an Inanimate Object that Lives in a Box.

The idea that the person on TV is motivating you but doesn’t know you, is the reddest of  flags.The DVDs ask participants to perform at skill levels exponentially beyond their existing ones. Some guy is screaming ” go faster — push harder!”  Yet, your kid is crying, your left knee feels funny, the donuts on the kitchen table look great right about now and you have 0% accountability.  Why would you?  Your trainer lives in a box and your decision to stop mid-workout comes with no pressure at all.  The reason people successfully complete these DVD programs is simple: A DVD is asking you to embark  on a mentally and physically demanding 60 minute, 6 day a week,12 week long exercise program with no real coaching, help, or affirmation of your success…it’s pretty simple to see why this isn’t going to last.

 4. “YOU TOO can look like this…..”

before and after blue shorts before and after white shorts

 You got your DVD, you’re looking at the before and after pictures and feeling excited!  First is the guy who” started at 300lb and is now 185lb with 8% body fat  and abs of steel and a deeper appreciation for music because ” HIP HOP ABS” ALL IN 60 days!”  Second,  the girl who is genetically top heavy, and overweight  but  has dropped over 25% of her body fat and gained the firm, “lifted ” glutes that the Brazilian Butt Lift workout promised her!

While it all looks great, these trainers who have worked on the body you dream of achieving before lunch time have actually been  working on it for more than a decade. Now I understand the need for motivation but at what cost? Digitally enhanced pictures have reached a point of being unethical. Logically these “results” are not possible in the time allotted.

So be amazed, but do so with caution.

Health and fitness is big business. Companies producing millions of workout DVDs are just a small part of the problem. I think we as a society have become complacent; We’d rather spend money trying to cheat the system rather  than invest in understanding it. Such ‘Get Fit Quick’ schemes are a shrewd business move, but the integrity, the craft and science of  fitness is constantly compromised by this influx of opportunistic ignorance.

So what’s the answer ? Get a trainer!  Like, a real one that doesn’t live in a box or have a mute button. But in the event that you opt not to, do research and be ready to apply the science.


Todd, coach nov 2011

Macrane, “The Columbus Dispatch”

local/2012/03/25/health/intense-dvd-workouts-can-lead-to-injuries.html may



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 (Un)Wanted Body Fat; In the Thick of It


All women are beautiful.

All sizes are beautiful.

Be happy within your skin.

Be happy with your weight.

Love yourself, ladies; I will never tell you to do otherwise because the definition of ‘being beautiful’ is broad.  However,  in communities of color, does it also include “being healthy?”

In our culture, we appreciate (dare I say, fetishize?)  “thick” women.   As a trainer, most of my conversations with women at the gym start with good banter about health and fitness and end with the following refrain; ” I know I’m overweight but I only want to lose weight in my stomach. ”  And so, while some women busy themselves with getting their waists’ ‘snatched,’ the fact remains that statistically, 4 out of 5 women of color (WOC) are considered overweight or obese. So it seems many of our women have chosen curves over cardio for fear that the pursuit of health may increase their lifespan but leave their jeans unfilled.

pic 2

It’s funny; when I was just a baby Zeus in the 90s, I remember that ‘thick’ women didn’t get their due and now they’re  the center of attention. I, for one, am not at all mad. But given the media’s infatuation with the curvaceous form and the fact that the thicker woman has finally gotten her moment in the sun, are women simply comfortable being fat?

In 2001, Mo’Nique Imes-Jackson (that’s right, full government names only)  and fellow comediennes put out a comedy show called “The Queens of Comedy.’ And in it, she told y’all ” skinny women are confused and need to be destroyed.” At that moment,  the scale tipped (don’t see what I did there);  a beautiful, confident, plus-sized woman demanded and invited that you love yourself. She told you that succumbing to the media’s idea of beauty is both false and fatalistic and she was living, unapologetic proof.

This resonated with you;  suddenly you began to shirk America’s  fat-shaming,  fad diets, BMI charts and even the gym. But that last opt-out is where things went left. Since this moment in culture created a space for women to be accepted—whatever their form—for many, staying healthy, reducing body fat and the potential for health complications became secondary, at best.

When a Man Loves a Woman, Can’t Keep His Mind on Nothing Else

Gentlemen, we actually play a pretty pivotal role in our women’s devolution towards obesity,  increased potential for health complications and decreased interest in the gym. The ‘Bonita Applebum’ body has become the prototype shape.  Let’s look at the man in the mirror and acknowledge that many of us  thirst for that pear shape, and good ole 10-inch separation from bust to waist to hip. Our ladies aren’t dumb; they know this is what we tend to find attractive and I think it has a subconscious effect on how women define ‘sexy’ for themselves and how they prioritize exercise.  I often hear guys say you can go to gym but ” don’t lose all that sugar” or ” you can do side-bends or sit ups, but please don’t lose that butt.”

That Cutie with a Booty is undeniably gorgeous and carries her weight well but the thing is, her body fat is at 42 percent and that may set her up for some obesity-related illnesses in her future.

So, do we men love you as you are? Yes. But do we also have a responsibility to love you enough to support you in making choices that will help you to be the healthiest and sexiest version of who are? Also, yes.

pic 4

Is Home is Where the Heart(Attack) Is?

Walk down the block, look for food and what do you see? The corner store, fast food, chain restaurants and ‘home cooked meals.’ You’d think your own pots and pans would be a safe haven from the onslaught of unhealthy food choices. Except, many of the meals we cook at home are simultaneously undeniably tasty and wildly unhealthy. Unfortunately, many of us grew up with this kind of food on our tables so we didn’t know about the ramifications of such indulgences until it was too late.

Now wait!  Put the pitch forks down;  I’m not home so don’t try to break down my door. Ultimately being a ” thick” women does not have to have any implications on health and fitness. As a trainer, I’ve worked with women across the spectrum of body shapes and sizes and can assure you that whether they are 120 or 220 pounds, they all have the same ability to be healthy. Let me repeat—everyday, exceptional WOCs  are BOTH thick and healthy; they do not have to be separate descriptors!

It’s not taboo to be a plus-sized woman and amazing. In our community, it’s the norm. Now step away from your scale and stop being consumed by numbers and statistics; Healthy comes in all sizes and it’s important to incorporate fitness and nutritional structure into any life.

We have an obligation to push to culture forward and leave a legacy for the ones coming up behind us. My hope is that legacy will be a family full of healthy, happy and full-hipped moms, aunts and grandmothers who can show our little girls that they can be voluptuous AND deeply committed to their health.

pic 1

* steps off soap box and heads to gym *

Randall,Alice May 5th 2012

Stewart, Alicia ” Is being fat really what black women want ?” May 14 2012


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