Getting ripped: What not to do

Getting ripped: What not to do

If I’m out at a party and people find out what I do, they instantly go into detail about their current workout routines or nutrition plans and then look for my approval. Spoiler alert: I always approve. I give the thumbs-up to literally anything they tell me. It usually goes like this:

“I do yoga six days a week.”

“You must be super flexible! I wish I could do the splits.”


“I am running a marathon.”

“That’s awesome! I’ve never run more than 10 miles.”


“I just walk a lot.”

“Hey, that’s a great low-impact calorie burner.”

As long as what they say fits into the mantra of “move more, eat less garbage, and cause no pain,” I’m on board 100 percent, but more often than not, these conversations go a much different route.

For instance, I have a client who goes climbing five days a week and deals with chronic shoulder pain. I have suggested time off and a visit to the doctor multiple times, but he has generally ignored my concern. I am sure you’ve heard a similar narrative with marathon runners and knee pain, or golfers and lower back pain. A lot of people will play until they literally can’t anymore.

Over the past six years of working as a strength and nutrition coach, I have learned that the actions you don’t take are just as important as the ones you do. Here are some very practical things not to do:

1)   Don’t play through the pain.

Unless you are a professional athlete playing for a championship, it is never worth playing through pain. Hell, even if you are, you still might want to think about what that injury will cost you long-term.

There are plenty of ways to get in a workout, regardless of your injury. Broken arm? Go for a walk. Broken leg? Do some pull-ups. If you choose to ignore this rule, your injury-free days are numbered.

2)   Don’t buy junk food.

It is a lot harder to have a midnight snack of candy and chips if there aren’t any in your house. I have no formal research on the topic, but I would say that most of the time people’s laziness outweighs their desire for ice cream.

If everything you get from the grocery store is healthy, the worst thing that can happen is you overeat apples and peanut butter and wake up bloated.

3)   Don’t get wasted.

Now I am not saying you have to be a sober soul for the rest of your days, but maybe don’t get shitfaced on the reg if your goal is to get ripped.

Say the average adult needs 5 drinks to get drunk. A very low-calorie alcoholic beverage runs you about 120 calories. That’s 600 calories total, or roughly the equivalent of two large chicken breasts. And we’re not even taking into account the ensuing late-night snack and hangover. Getting out of bed is hard enough without adding all those extra calories and a whopping headache.

To be honest this list could go on for quite a while, but we’d start getting into personal biases over practical fitness advice.

1)   Don’t drive slowly in the left lane.

2)   If you hold the inner door for someone and they don’t say thank you, don’t hold the next door.

3)   Don’t leave expired coupons in your grocery cart. (Why is this so common?)

Remember, health and fitness are not only about taking the right actions but also about avoiding the wrong ones.

If you have any questions on what not to do, send me an email at


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