Posts Tagged ‘phil stevens’

By Phil Stevens via

As the old saying goes; All work and no play makes Phil unhappy, injured, unmotivated and downright discombobulated. Make 2010 the year you make a pact to above all bring fun back into your life, back into your training and nutrition. Fun or more so the lack of effects your life as it pertains to training in more ways then you know.

For start let’s look at simple choices people make on exercising. If you have had the joy to go and see Charles speak at the Your Work Out Sucks seminar, or more recently viewed the videos of one such seminar we hosted on Youtube you’d get this message point blank. One thing I, we, preach is training above All should be enjoyed. You should love it and look forward to it. Athletes view call training practice not the more negative exercise. If what you are doing is not FUN. If you lack motivation, your training doesn’t leave you with a passion and something to strive for change. There is more than one way to skin a cat.

I would urge you first to find an activity or sport your thoroughly enjoy. Something you have a passion for. Then once you have that in turn gear your training to it. If you love Olympic curling great play that its sport it is exercise. So is tennis, ping pong, flag football, hiking rock climbing, and many, many more. Then you can gear your training. Your gym time and the way you eat to become better at what you enjoy.

The gym, training, it should enhance and better your life and sport, not detract from it. Don’t let training be an Achilles heel, find a form and activity you enjoy and make it a pact this year to train for YOU. At what YOU want for the reasons and the physique you want and get joy out of NOT at or toward something others say you should want. If you don’t have or desire to have a six pack, or to be huge and powerful and lift ginormous loads and be a mass of humanity Fine that’s great. ID that. You need to train and live for you. Until you do you aren’t living, you are existing and living for others. Find what you love, have fun at, and enjoy. Aim your training around that. Find others and find a coach open minded enough, and smart enough to help you with YOUR goals for you, not their goals for you. Once you do that you’ll be amazed at how all the other stuff falls into place. This in itself will make training more fun.

Like Dan John so eloquently explains when he speaks of his football players. Some of the hardest and best work they do is when he purposely lets them PLAY. Once a week he will have them break up into teams and they will play a game. Maybe its kick ball, or soccer or ultimate Frisbee. It’s something besides their sport, and is seen by them as play. Once in action thought you see it time and time again the players are going balls out, sprinting faster, running longer and harder then when lined up and forced to in practice, all the while they are laughing. Why because they are having fun. He broke the monotony of their practice that in time can be seen as work up, and added a new element of fun.

Training SHOULD be Fun. You can and should laugh, and have a good time while you are also busting your butt to get the results you want. Its shouldn’t be more stress and discomfort then enjoyment. Go watch some kids run around and play on a play ground. Running like chickens with their heads cut off not a care in the world, going up ladders down stairs over monkey bars up a tree, through a pipe and over a wall. They are in reality, and literally, training their butts off, but they are having fun and don’t view it as exercise. You need to find an activity that’s makes you do the same. If it’s not power lifting fine, that’s normal it’s not for everyone. Find what does and no matter what it is, I assure you some type of resistance training can be used to better it even if it’s one day a week. However, instead of dreading it you’ll enjoy that as it is part of and to better something you love.

Nutrition is the same way. I’ll save a detailed discussion but there are too many diets out there and they ALL work. If you are getting results but hate your diet, find a new one, keep looking until you find one you can live with and enjoy.

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OK, so your training hard. Your giving it your all and more, Your having FUN and love your training. You never miss a training session, never take a break not even for the holidays you LOVE this so MUCH. Yet your ran down, possibly injured a lot, even if lil nagging injuries is what ails you. Maybe your having too much fun training and not enough FUN in other aspects of your life away from training. Get some other FUN in your life. Whatever fun is for you be it hanging out with friends, going to movies, out for the night, a weekend away with NO organized training, relaxing and reading. Whatever.

FUN away from training can impact your training, nutrition, and physique in an enormous way. More than you think. It can impact recovery, both physical and mental/CNS. Just the act of laughter and joy has a huge effect on the human body and the way the rest of your day, week month goes and how the other systems in your body work. Does your life lack other FUN?? If so you better find some this year. The harder you work, even if its FUN, the harder you need to rest and play.

Now let’s go have some fun in 2010.

Get Strong! Stay Strong!


By Phil Stevens

I don’t like Cutting Fat! Who does? But it ain’t as bad as people make it out to be.

Restriction, dieting, eating less then you need to sustain yourself, your training, your strength and hard earned muscle. No, its not fun, but in reality it isn’t that darn hard.

Not as hard as many make it out to be, and really unless your looking to get to extreme leanness its pretty damn easy and anyone who has been in the game any amount of time can tell you it’s a far cry easier then putting on an above average amount of lean mass or strength.

It’s not an experience I would call enjoyable by any enjoyable stretch of the imagination but I will share a few tips that I have employed and you can to make your next phase of cutting some pudge a lot easier and hopefully as well a lot more productive and in turn shorter.

It’s Just Food…

Mind set / a back bone. The number one thing I hear, and I just HATE hearing from people when I am cutting fat is “Gawd How Do you Do that? How do you stay so committed?” How do you not have the cake at a birthday party? How do you go from cramming anything and EVERYTHING you want plus some in your pie hole one week getting ready for a meet to not even a taste the next. Oh!!!! I cant do that the cravings are just too bad, I can’t handle them I have to have a little of this or little of that. To calm my nerves and what not.

COME ON!!!!!!! How weak are you. It’s friggin food, it not like you’re a crack addict. Show some spine, some will power. Food is an inanimate object and people have some how given it more power then it deserves. Social power, and in some cases physical power. Are you really going to sit there and tell me a HO HO has more spine then you? You had a craving and Just couldn’t resist the UNRULY all-powerful snack cake or cookie.

First thing you got to do is simply want what your goal is commit to it and just accept it. You don’t have to label the food BAD, or EVIL. “Bad Bad cookie” Just label it what it is food, and if its not on your menu right now for the goals at hand you just say?? Um NO and you don’t have it. It’s that easy, try it next time. Instead of dwelling on a simple mass of calories and letting it waste minutes of your day and cause undue stress from so called craving honestly ask yourself if you’re going to let a snack cake have more power over your actions then you.

Protein your Protein and Stay Hydrated!

This is nothing ground breaking and don’t claim it to be. I won’t waste your time going into all the specifics of why one should eat protein and stay hydrated if one needs to know that there are literally thousands of documents and articles written on the importance of each by myself and those much smarter then I in the field of nutrition. Look a few up, or ask some direct questions on the forum or the next Iron Radio Broadcast ( What I will do is give a suggestion I have used that couples the two habits of getting your protein in and staying hydrated.

A 1 Gallon diluted protein shake. Plain and simple every single day when I am cutting calories below my maintenance I make a HUGE 1 gallon diluted protein shake and sip on that all day long. I know the importance of getting a steady small stream of protein to keep amino rich blood and halting undue muscle catabolism, That and hydration need is increased even more so due to the lower general carb intake it is of vital importance to keeping as much lean mass as I can. Let alone the facts that both habits keep you satiated and performance up, waste products flowing out etc..

Just take a gallon container. I use an empty milk jug and add 3-5 scoops of your favorite protein dependent on your protein needs. The drink away al day to keep both these staples of dietary habits in check. As an option I add a bit of pure sucralose and stevia for sweetness and salt to keep one of my crucial electrolytes in balance during the periods of HIGH hydration and loss of sweat from adding activity.

Start Green

Going Green is the latest craze as I’m sure you’ve heard and it should be when dieting as well. But Im talking about a different green. Im not talking about recycling your used tampons so they can be used to make a new space aged coating for the space shuttle so it moves through the sky more efficient and doesn’t burn so much precious fossil fuels I’m talking Veggies.

Once again people give food, fuel too much power and they label certain foods as breakfast foods and certain ones NOT, and in general somehow veggies are in the not category. I say a food like veggies that we know is a great food for when trying to shed fat due to its high fiber and micro nutrients content then it should not only be a breakfast choice but a breakfast staple. We should start out one step ahead and have a nice big serving at the first meal of the day. Yeah, it aint hash browns, biscuits and gravy, or captain crunch but it is serving a HUGE purpose in or current goals eat it.

How I don’t care eat it as a side item like at dinner, or get creative and put it in a shake, an omelet or other. It really doesn’t matter just start he day with a BIG serving of the green stuff and see how it helps you shed the lbs.

Get Moving

Cardio, NEPA, whet ever get your butt moving do more then you were yesterday. Plain and simple start doing more simple activity then you were prior to trying to lose fat and it will add up. It doesn’t have to be complicated. It doesn’t have to be the next greatest cardio craze that promises to rip the fat off you, just do something. Preferably something you enjoy, find fun. If you can lose time, laugh and enjoy what your doing al the better and al the more effective it will be.

I prefer to mix it up, Play a sport, go for a simple walk, a hike, a bike ride, a swim, row, throw things, drag things. Take part in anything that simply has your doing something. It all counts, doesn’t have to be complicated and again it doesn’t have to, and shouldn’t SUCK. If I have something planned and dread doing it, or really hate the thought of it, FINE, I’ll do something else. Its OK, just do something, whatever you find the least Crappy.

Now if your just being a wuss and making excuses, then sure sometimes you have to just suck it up and do it and get it over with, It wont take long and wont be the end of the world. Likely once your done it wont seem like that much and you’ll be glad you did, but Just do a little more then last week, it doesn’t have to be a ton, it all adds up.

Kiss a Fish…

Or smell like you did. Taking fish oils will be the last little tip I recommend. Again, by now this shouldn’t even be something I have to suggest, and I definitely wont go into great detail as that’s be done again and again. When cutting fat even more so then in your daily routine I suggest you really load up on the fish oils, for a good size male I say 10-15 grams a day. I personally take 12-15 that’s aside from any fish I eat.

The benefits are vast from general health on the cellular level, to really aiding aches pains and lubricating joints while your on a hypo caloric diet. They also have the effect of aiding in fat burning, cognitive function possibly helping when you would be a bit cloudy from the lowered energy intake and raised expenditure. Thinning the blood a bit getting nutrients flowing in and out of bodily tissues more readily and aiding in cholesterol.

Get a BIG tub and start them TODAY make it a habit and if you have a fat loss phase planned you might think about starting to load up a bit higher a few weeks prior to get a bit ahead of the game.

Training Choices

I am going to keep this very brief and simple. Im my experience you have 1000’s of choices in how to train when you want to shed body fat. Literally any program can be used for both training to lose fat or pack on mass the biggest difference is the diet and your NEPA / Cardio. That said in my opinion you have two choices that are best and will lead to the greatest fat loss to lean mass preservation.

#1 GO heavy, brief and frequent. Get in pick one maybe two BIG compound moves do it hard and work up to the 90% zone or higher and get OUT

#2 Go Heavy, Go Long, But very infrequent

Get in the gym Hit it HARD again big compounds lifts work up to heavy sets in the 85%+ range. Hit he whole body and hit it hard. Then rest. Two simple bare bones but hard sessions a week is Plenty with this route.

These two are by far the best. Why? #1 you need to go heavy. Nothing is going to convince your body that it is a MUST to keep the precious lean mass that you have built like lifting near maximal loads. You don’t have the energy intake for lots of long hard sets and tons of reps, let alone the fuel to recover form such sessions. Blitz the body give it a reason to hold onto mass but do minimal muscle tissue damage and get out. Use the diet and moderate cardio and NEPA to target the fat loss.


These tips are easily applied real world basic bones tools anyone can use when they are looking to shed some body fat and they want to sway the success a bit more in their direction. Most people don’t need to worry getting caught up in the minutia that they do over complicating things and breaking things down to exact calories and exact macros. If they employ simple good nutritional habits and add on a few tips and tools like these they can make great success and likely make it further and faster toward their goal then if they had went a more invasive route.

Get Strong! Stay strong!



By Phil Stevens

Something that came up in conversation today with Charles, myself, and a client…simple dietary basics. Meaning, just fundamental habits. It is easy to forget that a large part, or the majority, of the population simply doesn’t know, register, or use, simple solid habits. Its easy to lose sight of this when you’re around, and dealing with people that have been in the game a long time. Even then many of us lose sight of things and try and make diet and training more complicated then it has to be. Honestly. In a world obsessed with speed and results. Wanting them from little to no work. Its amazing we have both lost a grasp of simple basics and also developed a society that sweats the smallest of minutia and detail that is meaningless and un-needed for the VAST majority. If everyone were to stick to a few very simple rules then honestly 99% of people lives, and for 99% of the goals they have, there is NO need for such stress, confusion, and time wasted on small details. Unless your looking to get to the VERY extremes of body composition and or strength and performance, there is NO need to complicate things further then they have to be. Even when reaching for the extremes you MUST have a firm and comfortable foundation in the basics and those are still where you spend 95% of your time. So what are the basics of nutrition?? And why are they so elusive to the whole? Do a Google for search for diet basics and your inundated with 893,000 hits most of which are loaded with the next magic pill or potion. Hoodia Gordonii – The latest and greatest weight loss supplement? Whittle that down and you find several thousand that actually take the time to give some pertinent information on dietary habits, yet still loaded with minutia that many people don’t need, want, will stick to, or it is simply outdated, or blatantly ignorant claims. For efficient weight loss you must comply to the ten fold principles of balancing your macros in a very scientific pattern, along with proper micronutrient intake and……. With further investigation you then begin to uncover some solid plans and habits that continually pop up time and time again. We begin to get to some nice solid foundations. Broad habits that can be built upon. Yet some are still a bit to broad, or incomplete in my opinion and can be even further filtered to core habits of dietary intake.

Eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Reduce intake of saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol. Limit sweets and salt. Drink alcoholic beverages in moderation, if at all. Control portion sizes and the total number of calories you consume.

With that I’d like to give is 3 very simple suggestions for dietary habits that again EVERYONE should base their intake on. Habits to reach ANY goal. Core simple principles that simplify things. You can make it to a very high level without getting wrapped up in the minutia at all. Without stressing over the exact macro levels, weighing food, or even counting calories. Only after making marked progress and making core simple principles habit, and building a solid and indestructible nutritional base that you can seamlessly and stresslessly live should you even worry about getting more complicated. I don’t care what anyone claims, solid dietary habits that will produce VERY legitimate, impressive and advanced physique and performance results are not rocket science its only the past fee decades that it has been popular thought.

#1 Eat Real Food.   Above all simply base intake on real food, things that you can find in nature. Foods that grow, walk, swim, fly, or come from things that fly. Beef, fruits, eggs, veggies, milk, beans, poultry, fish, nuts, seeds, whole grains, spices, oils. Basically eat things that you could go outside in nature and find. Base your nutrition on those things, they should be the foundation to each and every meal. Your staples. The day there is a Twinkie tree, blowing pastures of spaghetti, or you can hunt a wild flock of Tofurkey, and drink from flowing streams of Pepsi is the day these should be the staples of your diet. (While on that topic why do vegetarians always process and craft their foods to taste and look like meat? They are vegetarians, accept it and eat the vegetables how they look? If not eat the damn cow instead of making some weird vegetable voodoo doll) I guarantee you will have to try DAMN hard to get fat if you simply changed to real whole foods. Foods that have not been ran through the wringer, stripped and then refortified with Junk. Foods that are hard to digest and loaded with macro and micro nutrients. These foods will have your metabolism burning like a nuclear reactor, give you energy and the building blocks of a healthy life. Again this is a BASE principle. A part of your foundation. You then adjust to your goals. Someone looking to lose weight would stick to this simple habit 90% + of all the food eaten. Someone Looking to put on, or hold a Large amount of body mass, or an athlete with a high energy expenditure will adjust to a greater % of simple foods that are easily digested and pack a caloric punch. But they still have real food as a base

#2 Eat Protein with every meal.   Plain and simple every meal should contain a complete protein source. Anytime you put something in your pie hole there should be protein to go along with it. I don’t care how much or how little your getting. If you eat it at every meal, every snack in some form you will go a long way in the right direction to having enough or even a little excess without having to stress over the macros. As well we all know protein has several very desirable properties that we can tap into by having consistent intake of it. It has a High TEF, meaning simply digesting it is hard costly and makes your burn more fuel to consume it. Numerous amino acids ( the building blocks of protein) are vital to a simply healthy life. We MUST get them through ingestion as we cannot create them (much like EFA’s). Amino rich blood is muscle sparring, or has a high potential to be the building blocks for anabolism. Meaning we WANT them in abundance no mater the goal be losing fat of gaining mass, they have great benefit. If it was my choice each meal would be of a complete protein, meaning things that walk, swim, fly, crawl, make noise and move under their own power, or things that come from them like eggs and milk. That however would complicate things. So by all means be a vegan or base your protein intake on soy, bean rice what have you, that leaves more of the good stuff for people like me. Just get your protein in.

#3 Eat as MUCH as you can to make progress to your goals.   One of the most common mistakes I see is also one of the most problematic as far as health and reaching one goals and staying there. Making healthy continual major progress for the long term. It is people eating like birds or starving themselves. Even when on so called mass gaining phases men eating like a 12 year old girl from Ethiopia. Eat as MUCH as you can to make progress to your goals be it losing, gaining or maintaining weight. Most often people decide to drop weight and go on a “diet.” What do they do? Starve and deprive themselves. They go from pig to chicken in one swoop. This massive dropping of calories give and instant reaction to scale weight but the positive benefits are short lived. Soon they begin losing energy, catabolizing expensive muscle mass that the body feels is a detriment to its survival and storing life’s fuel, body fat. The metabolism further drops, the very life processes being to slow, and a never ending cycle of having to eat less to get the same results begins. Same can be said for many people trying to gain muscle. I see it time and time again. A person wants to Get HYYYUGE!! And strong and they want it NOW. but they don’t want any body fat so they train like a demon and add a few hundred calories to their diet. They make little to no progress. 5 years later these are the same people you run into still sporting there extra small shirt touting how they made 4 lbs of 100% lean gains. Leaving out the fact it took them the whole of 5 years to do it. Eat as MUCH as you can to make progress. Only drop your calories as low as you need to see body comp change in the right direction when looking to shed fat. By keeping intake UP you will preserve as much strength as possible and as much lean mass as possible. Your health will stay up, your metabolism wont crash, you will have greater energy for training and you will assure as much of your loss as possible will be fat. For gaining, bite the damn bullet shovel some food in and train HARD. The extra intake will speed recovery and growth. Any fat gain will be negligible and easy to take off later. The amount of mass your able to gain in even months will eclipse what you would have in years trying to do it 100% clean.

There you have it. Its not an exhaustive list, its not complicated but honestly from my experience, and experience with those I’ve worked with and trained around I firmly believe it shouldn’t be. That these simple core habits will allow people to stop over thinking things, and reach a very high level goal set in a short amount of time. Half of which would be do to just simple time and stress saved from not sweating the minutia. Please by all means chime in. Get some good dialog going on. What do you feel are the basics? How simple can we get it? Must we honestly go into macros, and micro processing of daily diet on a year or life long basis to make success in your opinion? I’m all for trying new things and toying with the vast sea that is nutrition, but I’m not sold on it being a must or need for even the vast majority.

Get Strong! Stay Strong! (and Be Healthy)