October 28, 2016

Beware of Fitness Cults

Beware of Fitness Cults 

What are fitness cults, you ask? Fitness cults are fitness systems, trainers, or coaches that take advantage of weak and otherwise unfit people and convince them that their system is the only thing that has changed their lives in a positive direction, that theirs is superior to everything else.

To a weak and powerless person, this can cause the fitness cult to take on a disproportionate part of their lives and creates an unhealthy relationship with the cult or personalities associated with it.

Here’s an example:

Average Jane (or John):

Jane is 35. She never learned to to tax herself physically in any way, and hasn’t done any form of structured exercise since high school. Now, at 35 she works a desk job, is a mother of two, eats a Standard American Diet (SAD) and carries an extra 30lbs of fat around the midsection. She has very little positive reinforcement in her life, hates her job, and has no hope for anything better. In her eyes she is old, fat, and has little control over anything.

One day a friend of Jane’s invites her to a local Cultfit gym. She gets started and sees rapid progress since she also changed her eating habits, and despite the sedentary lifestyle, actually had some good genetic raw material under the surface.

A year later she has made some big changes and begins to coach others (after paying $1000 for a  weekend certification). Now, after a year she knows very little, but in the newbie’s eyes she is an expert. Since she has little perspective on what it means to be strong and athletic beyond Cultfit, and had very poor self-esteem to start with, she believes that Cultfit is the best thing in the world.

Truth be told, if you take a totally de-conditioned person eating a horrible diet and get them to do literally any type of exercise and structured eating plan you will see massive improvements initially. There was nothing special about Cultfit.

Since Cultfit gives her a little positive reinforcement and some sense of accomplishment in her life, it takes on a disproportionate level of importance. She even gets a tattoo of Cultfit’s logo on her back.

This level of blind allegiance is not lost on the head coach of Cultfit (who also has poor self-esteem) and he knows he can take advantage of this level of dedication to get her to do anything and sell anything.

Jane will drink whatever flavor of Kool-aid Cultfit serves up without question. She has no alternative, because to do otherwise is to revert to her powerless life before Cultfit. She has no way of progressing past Cultfit.

This situation is amplified, since Jane’s life has revolved around Cultfit for the past year. Cultift is all she talks about and most of her pre-Cultfit friends have become distant and alienated. Even her husband and kids are sick and tired of Cultfit.

To question Cultfit’s methodology or business practices is unthinkable. Cultift now takes more from Jane than it ever gave her.

Sound familiar? Change the names or the sex of the people involved and we could easily transfer this to many different fitness systems (actually Cult-like martial art schools are the masters of this business model).

The worst examples of this are some of the multi-level marketing companies that prey on this mentality for financial gain. The diet and supplement industry are infested with these practices.

Contrast this with what a great strength coach or teacher does: 

He or she empowers the trainee to learn for themselves. It is the coach’s ultimate goal. My Taekwon-Do master once told me as soon as you begin to think that you know something your instructor doesn’t, it is time to thank your instructor because this means he was very good at what he did. This is because your instructor inspired you to learn and had your best interests at heart.

The ultimate compliment to an instructor is to have the student surpass them. This can only happen when the instructor is unselfish and cares more about the student’s training than they do their own or the brand. This, of course, doesn’t mean the instructor doesn’t train or skips training. Quite the opposite, the instructor now has the awesome burden of students watching his every move and seeing his level of training diligence as an example. This is completely non-dogmatic, in that it is only through the student’s trust and loyalty that this model works. In a healthy teacher-student relationship this is a two-way street.

This is precisely the opposite of Cultfit. This is empowerment. This is what enhances someone’s quality of life and sense of self-worth beyond the gym and should last well after that gym closes its doors.

October 18, 2016

Eating Fat to Burn Fat: Metabolic Flexibility

Eating Fat to Burn Fat: Metabolic Flexibility


Jim Beaumont -Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach (CSC); Sport Nutrition Specialist; Primal Blueprint Certified Expert; WKC Kettlebell Strength and Conditioning Coach. (208) 412-6079.

Class Goal

Introduce advantages of utilizing fat instead of sugar as your body’s primary energy source (ketosis).

Nutritional Ketosis

Nutritional ketosis begins when your body switches from burning glucose (sugar) to burning fat as its primary fuel source. This is not to be confused with a dangerous medical condition called ketoacidosis. Diabetic ketoacidosis occurs when the pancreas cannot secrete enough insulin to keep excessive ketone production within healthy ranges. This only occurs in Type 1 diabetics and very brittle Type 2 diabetics with pancreatic burnout, or extreme longterm alcoholics.

Your body will make enough glucose to run via gluconeogensis to run your brain. You don’t necessarily have to eat carbs to function effectively. While in ketosis, your body’s primary energy source is beta-hydroxybutyrate (B-OHB).

Fat burning (we’ll just call ketosis that from now). Is the body’s preferred state. Throughout over 90% of our evolution this is how we operated. We did not have a consistent and reliable source of carbohydrate until fairly recently.

Different Ketogenic Strategies

1) Standard Ketogenic Diet: Very low-carb, high-fat, and moderate protein. 75-80% of calories come from fats, 5-10% from carbs, and around 20% from protein.

2) Cyclical Ketogenic Diet: Carbs are strategically timed to remain in ketosis for the vast majority of the time. Usually, this entails only consuming carbs right after exercise, and it might entail introducing high-carb meals on select days.

3) High-Protein Ketogenic Diet: This method works well in conjunction with strength training. Protein is generally in the 30% range, carbs around 5-10% and the rest fats (this is basically where I am 90% of the time). This does very well to keep body fat in check and is very satisfying.

Benefits of Being a Fat Burner

1. Proven weight loss without deliberate calorie restriction…”Carbs drive insulin; Insulin drives fat.”

2. Healthy blood sugars though increased insulin sensitivity.

3. Low levels of inflammation and lowered blood pressure.

4. Better skin.

5. Effortless appetite control.

6. Potential resistance to cancer, Alzheimer’s, dementia, premature aging.

7. Ketogenic diets are currently being researched to help epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, and assist in recovery from brain injuries (look these up if you don’t believe me).

8. Increased endurance performance. Endless energy supply for athletic purposes. Dual fuel sources.

Foods to Avoid to become a Fat-Burning Beast

* Added sugars of all kinds.

* All grains and starches (pasta, bread, rice, corn).

* Fruit. One small piece per day is about it.

* Diet products or low-fat foods.

* Legumes (beans, lentils, peas, peanuts, etc.)

* Most root vegetables like potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, etc.

* Man-made fats like soy and canola oil, trans-fats, and seed oils.

* Most alcoholic beverages.

Preferred Beast Foods

* Meat, eggs, and fatty wild fish.

* Small amounts of full-fat cheese.

* Cream and grass-fed butter.

* Nuts and seeds such as almonds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, Brazil nuts, and hazelnuts.

* Avocados.

* Low-carb veggies like broccoli, spinach, kale, red cabbage, onions, peppers, etc.

* Healthy oils like coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil.

* Spices


* MCT oil. Helps increase ketone production. Instant energy.

* Caffeine. Why not? Helps to mobilize fatty acid stores.

* Magnesium. Preferred types are magnesium glycinate, aspartate, and citrate.

Side Effects

Ketogenic diets are very safe.The main downside is what is called the “low-carb flu.” It is generally over in about 4-5 days. This can include brain fog, low-energy, nausea, some sleep or anxiety issues. Plenty of water, extra salt (up to 5000mg per day), potassium, and magnesium are the best ways to combat this.

Additional Information

Here are some easy additional resources.


Peter Attia, M.D. – “An Advantaged Metabolic State: Human Performance, Resilience & Health” 

Dr. Stephen Phinney – “The Art and Science of Nutritional Ketosis” 


The Art and Science of Low-Carbohydrate Living: Jeff Volek, PhD, R.D. and Stephen Phinney, M.D., PhD.


March 18, 2015

Full-Body Conditioning Simplified: Run, Swing, Repeat.

Simple, full-body conditioning. ASAP!

One of the primary reasons people get sidetracked or discouraged in any exercise program is the massive number of exercise variations and the tidal wave of information available online.

Ideally, you should have your week or day’s training already planned out, because random “workout of the day” formats only get you so far. But, sometimes a break is in order, or maybe time or equipment is short for that day. You still have to train, though.

Here is one of my simple workouts for a little extra conditioning and some strength work. I have found that a good mix of basic kettlebell exercises and bodyweight movements are absolute gold for body-composition, mobility, and conditioning.

You will need a single kettlebell, a stopwatch or timer, and an open space.

2-Arm kettlebell swings, jog, burpees, jog, repeat.

Take a single kettlebell to an open field, park, or parking lot.

Pace out about 100 strides, or just eyeball an object in the distance approximately 100 yards away.

Set the bell down, set the timer for 10,15 or 20 minutes. Do a hard set of swings with the bell, in few enough reps that the last rep of your set is just as explosive and fast as your first rep.

Slow jog to the pre-determined spot in the distance. Drop down and do 5-10 burpees. Try to do them as fast and powerfully as possible. I know there are 100s of burpee variations out there. Don’t overthink this. Just pick one and do it.

Jog back to the kettlebell. Repeat for the allotted time. Count rounds if you want, but I usually don’t. I just work for the allotted time and don’t worry about the numbers.

Remember that the run is supposed to be an easy, recovery jog. Take it easy, so that you can put as much speed into your swings and burpees as possible. The idea is not to let those movements get slow. Remember, they are both power movements, which means speed is important.

What kind of swing?
For me, I generally just do the low-tech 2-arm swing for this and drag out either a 40kg or 48kg bell. 8-10 swings per set seems to be the sweet spot for sustained power production in this exercise for me with these weights. Any more and they start to slow and power production starts to drop. I would choose a weight you can manage 15-20 perfect reps with at a maximum, and then only do 8-10 reps per set to make sure every rep is perfect.

Just because you might do competitive kettlebell sport, you don’t have to ignore the 2-Arm “Hardstyle” Swing as an exercise. It’s OK. Relax. The kettlebell gods won’t strike you down.

It is a different exercise than the 1-arm GS Swing designed to improve your snatch or long-cycle numbers, but it is still a great conditioning movement. I see it on the same level as the burpee, and probably has as much to do with your sport numbers as the burpee does (which is little). This is about getting in a few minutes of good conditioning with a little strength built in. No skill involved, just work. This might be a good addition to add after high-skill movements like the jerk or snatch.

The heavy 2-Arm Swing will build conditioning unlike nearly any other exercise. The swing works the entire posterior chain, but special emphasis is placed on the glutes, hamstrings and mid-line stabilization muscles (core).

The 2-Arm Swing is a perfectly symmetrical exercise. You can’t favor one side. If you do, you will know about it real fast.
Since the swing is primarily focused on mid-line stabilization – in synchronization with explosive hip and knee extension – its carryover into sports activities and other functional movement is incredible.

In plain English, this means that it will help you lift heavier, jump higher and run faster. Or, simply do these things easier and with less risk of injury.

In theory, you could take a group with some kind of body-composition goal and have them finish out 20-30 minutes of strength training with 10-15 minutes of this a few days a week.

Low-skill. Easy on the hands.
One of the benefits of this type of training for a martial artist or kettlebell sport competitor is these low-skill movements are easy on the hands. If you’ve been drilling the snatch or long-cycle for timed sets, your concentration can be a little fried and the hands might need rest. Short, heavy sets of 2-arm swings don’t put a ton of wear on the hands and are safe enough and low-skill enough that they shouldn’t interfere with recovery or risk injury.

Listen to your body, and don’t be afraid to scale back.
This basic workout is simple, but not easy. It is designed to be low-skill, and not interfere with recovery time. It should also challenge anyone if you use the right bell and move fast enough. The simplest way to up the ante, if needed, is to simply reduce the length of your recovery jog. Reducing it to 50 yards instead of 100 yards is actually a huge increase in difficulty.

There is no reason to risk injury if you are new to training, either. If burpees are not possible, then just do pushups, or maybe even a plank hold instead. If swings aren’t on the table yet, then kettlebell deadlifts or goblet squats are a good substitute.

I have used this exact training for senior citizens and extremely de-conditioned individuals, using plank holds, a one-minute brisk walk, and kettlebell deadlifts in place of swings. Whatever you choose, just make sure your first rep looks as good as your last.

Get off the computer and get moving!
Quit looking for a magical workout or exercise. Just get moving with a few simple movements. Enough thinking and reading. Work!

-Jim Beaumont
Idaho Kettlebell Strength and Conditioning

February 24, 2015

“Graduate” to Building Strength and Health

“Graduate” to Building Strength and Health.

Conversation with a long-time member of IKSC yesterday about goals:  It really brought me to one of the things of which I am most proud.

I feel safe to say that not many are here at IKSC because they are trying to “lose” anything, and there has never been a short-term weight loss challenge or contest.  We do lots of monthly challenges, of course, but they are always centered on building some physical skill or healthy eating pattern.

We are here to build positive things, not focus on a negative. I think you’ll find that in doing so, the negatives kind of go away on their own. Things like weight loss challenges are about focusing on some element of dissatisfaction that is to be reduced, not building a positive. Think about that for a minute.

Some fat or weight loss may occur as a result of training appropriately and following a healthy eating pattern, but most are truly here in order to build rather than reduce.

  • Strength – Because it makes everything in life better. Without this, nothing else is important or possible.
  • Proper Movement Patterns –Because this enables strength to be utilized. Without it, it is like a car with a great engine, but no wheels to travel with.  
  • Low-Risk/High-Yield training  Living pain-free should be your default setting. If you are becoming injured as a result of your training system, you’d better take a long look at it.
  • Health -Through the best nutrition education available, I am happy to say that those that follow our nutrition education guidelines are just as likely to report better skin, hair, energy levels, less inflammation, higher strength levels, and  improved clinical blood test results as they are pounds lost on a scale.
  • Long-term Focus and Lifestyle Change –The goal is never about a few weeks out. It is about what is continuing to happen in 5, 10, or 20 years.

These things are not an accident.

The fitness industry preys on people’s insecurities and self-hatred. This simply does not happen here.

You truly have to enjoy making yourself stronger and healthier to train here. When a new member makes the decision to train, I think of them as a “student” that is here to learn and build something permanent.

This is quite a paradigm shift for many. In a way, I feel that they “graduate” to advanced study at Idaho Kettlebell Strength and Conditioning .


Idaho Kettlebell Strength and Conditioning

February 15, 2015

Strategies for Success on Any Nutrition Program.

Strategies for Success on Any Nutrition Program.

1) You must log everything you eat and drink. No exceptions.  If you don’t have an accurate account of what you are taking in, the quantities, and the times you are eating them, failure is very likely.

2) You can’t be afraid of meat, fish, and/or eggs. Protein coming from real food is your 1# priority. This is one thing that pretty much all legitimate nutrition plans agree on.

3) You will have to drink lots of water.

4) Don’t drink calories if you have a weight or fat loss goal. The digestive process begins – and satiety signals are sent -the instant nutrients hit your salivary glands. Drinking calories “short circuits” this process. Your body expects to have to chew to get nutrients. Don’t confuse it.

5) Your logs are tools for your learning process, and they need to include more than carbs, fats, and protein. It is helpful to make notes about sleep, mood, life stressors , energy levels, etc.

6) Develop the mindset that whatever plan you decide to follow is an education program not a diet or short-term weight loss program. This is a process to figure out what makes your body run best.

-Jim Beaumont

Idaho Kettlebell Strength and Conditioning

May 25, 2014

“Can’t I have bread?” Separating Truth from Fiction About Wheat and Gluten.

“Can’t I have bread?” Separating Truth from Fiction About Wheat and Gluten.

Today’s topic: Wheat elimination and why gluten-free is not the issue or the solution.

If you do one thing to improve your health and fitness, eliminate wheat. That’s it. Here’s why:

Wheat. It’s not the “staff of life.” Our wheat is not the wheat of biblical times.

In ancient times wheat might have enabled early populations to survive, but it does nothing to make us thrive. Take 500 calories worth of any wheat product or any grain and compare the nutrient and fiber content to almost any vegetable or fruit. No comparison. Empty calories, period.

The wheat that was grown in biblical times – or even 100 years ago – is not the same thing we are eating now. It hasn’t been genetically modified, per se, but it has been hybridized to the point it is not recognizable. It elevates blood sugar faster and has less nutrients.

Wheat in biblical times had 28 chromosomes. Today it has 42. Genetically this is a huge difference. As an example, this is way different than the difference between humans, that have 46 chromosomes, and an orangutan that has 48. No one will argue that we are different than orangutans, so no one should argue that we should eat wheat because our ancestors did. It’s just not the same plant at all.

Wheat is addictive and stimulates appetite.

Wheat stimulates opiate receptors, which give you a “high” which makes you eat more. About 1/3rd of people who remove wheat from their diet report withdrawl symptoms, and even physical illness, which is sometimes called the “low-carb flu” or “Atkins Flu.” This can last 4-5 days for some.

In clinical obesisty trials, groups that were given opiate blocking drugs ate an average of 400 calories per day LESS after being given doses of naloxone, versus a placebo.

Wheat is now in almost EVERY processed food and pretty much all cereals. It stimulates appetite in 90-120minute cycles. You eat more and more all day.

“Wheat Bellies and Muffin-Tops”

Eating wheat elevates blood sugar…fast. Faster than a Snickers bar.

High blood sugar means elevated insulin levels, which means fat storage. This equals fat gain, hyperinsulinemia, pre-diabetes, disrupted hormones, and metabolic syndrome.

Lectins in wheat (and all grains) are thought to block the hormone leptin, which is an appetite regulation hormone. Think of it as your body’s “gas gauge.” Your brain thinks the tank is empty, but it really isn’t, so you eat more.

Leaky Gut

Your gut and intestinal tract is not supposed to be permeable. What is in your gut is supposed to be in there, and not in your bloodstream.

The wheat protein gliadin causes the release of zonulin, which in turn causes intestinal permeability, and release of bacteria and undigested food particles into your bloodstream. This is the root of many autoimmune disease like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis.

For those of us that don’t have it as bad, it causes inflammation and elevated cortisol secretion.

Misc. other ailments: Look these up, paired with “wheat.” You will be surprised.

Acid reflux.
Various rashes.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

Why gluten-free substitutes are not the answer.

Almost everything that is made gluten-free is made that way by substituting wheat with things like rice flour, tapioca starch, potato starch. These are some of the only things that will raise blood sugar faster than wheat. They might serve as a little “cheat meal” once in a great while, but they are definitely not something to make a staple.

What matters is your body.
Eliminate wheat 100% for 30 days. That’s it. Nothing to buy. Nothing to lose. See what happens. Reintroduce if you want to after 30 days and see what happens. If nothing, you’ve lost nothing. If you have a negative reaction, then you know you are on to something.

Further study.

Wheat Belly, by Dr. William Davis. This book will change your life.
There are other texts popping up these days. Keep reading!

April 15, 2014

Men Should Not Have Breasts.

Men Should Not Have Breasts.

Breasticles, Man-boobs, The Man-Rack, Moobs, Bitch Tits, Gynecomastia…

Whatever you choose to call them, they suck. No man wants these. No man should have to live like this. These are self-esteem and confidence killers.

For a small percentage, genetics play a big part and in these cases they need to talk to a physician or endocrinologist in order to mitigate this situation. For the majority, it is a matter of dietary and lifestyle activities that cause hormonal imbalances.

What is happening?
Essentially, what is going on is the body has too much aromatase. Aromatase is an enzyme in the body that converts testosterone into estrogen. When men’s estrogen levels get high, they start growing breasts and gain excess bodyfat. This is also linked to certain cancers.

Here are a quick list of main offenders of aromatase:
Environmental things like pollution, and BPAs.
Chronically elevated insulin levels.
Excessive alcohol consumption (especially beer).
Zinc and magnesium deficiency.
Hormones from feedlot-raised animals.
Certain medications or dietary supplement abuse.
Plastics, when exposed to heat (never heat plastic containers in a microwave).

The diet is the first thing to address. YOU CAN DO THIS TODAY.
1. If you are a drinker, ditch the beer and hard alcohol right now. A little red wine is OK. In fact, dry, red wines contain resveratrol, which actually acts as an aromatase inhibitor. It might actually help reduce problem. Just don’t use this a license to drink a bottle a night.
2. Eat lots of cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli, kale, cauliflower, cabbage, and raddishes.
3. Cut the wheat, corn and soy from your diet.
4. Cut all sugars.
5. Eat organic raw nuts, seafood, pastured meats or wild game.
6. Drink green tea. It helps detoxify estrogens.
7. Get at least 30 grams of fiber per day. This should not be a problem if you are getting lots of vegetables. For lack of a more lengthy explanation, fiber helps to pull excess estrogen from your body.

Train like a predator, not prey.
Hit the weights several times per week, using heavy loads and full-body exercises like squats, deadlifts, clean and presses, burpees, kettlebell swings, pullups, and hill sprints. Take up a martial art.

Don’t waste time on exercises like crunches, bicep curls, or chest flyes.

Avoid more than 30 minutes of steady-state cardiovascular training on a regular basis. Do sprints and hard intervals, rather than jogging. Don’t even think about spending time on a “cardio” machine at your local gym in front of a TV.

It goes beyond cosmetics.
Man boobs are a health problem and any man that says he doesn’t care about having them is lying.
Lots of men are suffering from this and are afraid to admit it, and have no idea where to start. These are things to do RIGHT NOW that can help.

Let your breast reduction start now!


April 11, 2014

You can’t “OUT-SUPPLEMENT” a crappy diet.

We’ve all heard/used, in some form, the phrase: “You can’t out-train the dinner table.” True. You can’t.

You know what else you can’t do? You can’t “OUT-SUPPLEMENT” a crappy diet.

One thing I’ve noticed is that lots of the health and performance supplements out there are really nothing more than things marketed to counteract a terrible diet.

No supplement has a chance against a diet that derives a significant amount of its calories from wheat, corn, soy, low-quality dairy, and sugar.

Eliminate all these things and everything seems to go much better.

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