The Effects of Intermittent Fasting On Your Hormones and Body

There’s been a lot of buzz happening around my first article on intermittent fasting and I wanted to do a follow up, but with a twist.

I asked Nick Sigma, a Wellness Coach and new recent friend, his take on IF and if he would tweak a few things.

Here’s his take on it in his own words. Enter Nick Sigma.


I.F. or Intermittent Fasting is on the rise again. The concept behind I.F. is simple: go without any nutrition for long periods of time. Only water is allowed during this period and yes, you will get hungry!

I.F. has a plethora of health benefits for the human body, including the obvious convenience of not having to think about cooking or meal planning which frees up your time and of course fat loss.

That being said, not everything works for everyone and because of that, some people tend to dismiss I.F. as another fad.

So does I.F. work?

Yes, it does BUT there are a few things to consider for optimal results, in order to keep your body healthy, your mind sharp and maintain muscle mass without a drop in energy levels.

As a Wellness Coach who does I.F. on a weekly basis and engages in strength training (mainly deadlifts), high energy levels, focus and muscle mass retention rank high on my list of priorities. I will explain that in a future article.

For those of you who are interested in the benefits of I.F. (see Mario’s complete article linked above) and its correlation to Hormone Optimization, the following section will focus on the effects of I.F. on your hormones.

We will also examine cases where I.F. can aggravate existing issues in people with hormonal imbalances. (In other words, you will learn who needs to avoid I.F.)

Positive effects of I.F. on your hormones and body

I.F. has a lot of positive benefits for the master hormones, more specifically:

1) Effect on Ghrelin levels

I.F. can increase Ghrelin, the hunger hormone which is produced in the stomach.

When we are hungry, Ghrelin levels go up and when we eat, they go down. So why do we want to increase Ghrelin since we will be hungry all the time?

  • High Ghrelin levels can increase learning, memory and subsequently our focus (study).
  • It also has a protective effect against anxiety and depression symptoms from high stress (study).
  • And three, see the next point below.

2) Effect on Growth Hormone levels

Higher Ghrelin levels tend to increase IGF-1 levels in the body which means better Growth Hormone levels (study).

Growth hormone is the hormone of anti-aging and is responsible for rebuilding tissues, joints, muscles and organs in your body. It is also responsible for a great deal of fat loss.

And let’s not forget that optimized Growth Hormone levels also mean better sleep!

3) Effect on leptin and insulin levels

I.F. can play a big role in leptin sensitivity (study). Leptin is the hormone that controls hunger signals and is produced by fat cells in the body.

By increasing leptin sensitivity you subsequently increase insulin sensitivity and your body is able to produce insulin more efficiently and thus make better use of sugar in the body and also burn redundant fat.

4) Effect on estrogen levels

By lowering body fat, I.F. can help with estrogen dominance.

Excess fat on your body is a mini-factory of estrogen since each fat molecule actually secretes its own estrogen for its maintenance.

In addition, high estrogen levels also tip the scale in the estrogen/testosterone ratio (to the favor of estrogen in men, and in the favor of testosterone in women) which leads to estrogen dominance.

Estrogen dominance is the reason men look more like women as they age (fat in the hip area) while testosterone dominance in women makes them look like men as they age (more facial hair, fat in the upper body etc.).

Not only that but high estrogen levels in men are linked with a variety of problems such as Low-T, Erectile Dysfunction (indirectly), prostate enlargement (indirectly) and of course cancer.

5) Effect on testosterone and estrogen levels

It is also good to mention that lower body fat means higher testosterone levels in men (study) and a balanced estrogen production in women.

Negative effects of I.F. on hormones and who needs to avoid I.F.

Let us now take a look at how I.F. can negatively impact your hormones and why it is not recommended for people with the following hormonal conditions:

a) Effect on Thyroid hormones

I.F. can potentially affect people negatively with a hyperactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism).

People with this condition produce an unnaturally high amount of hormones T3 or T4 or both and have a high metabolism by default which means that they have trouble putting on weight and keeping it on.

Having someone with hyperthyroidism without a doctor’s supervision take up I.F. is a recipe for disaster since these people are at high risk for osteoporosis, have low energy, and further weight loss.

On top of that, these people need adequate intake of calcium and Vitamin D (which is a hormone, not a vitamin as I have explained in a previous article).

If you have any kind of thyroid condition, speak to your doctor before taking up I.F. or undertaking any weird diets.

b) Effect on Cortisol hormone

I.F. can increase cortisol production.

Your body produces cortisol under stressful conditions to protect your joints and help with your survival.

Closely connected to the fight or flight syndrome, (which also involves secretion of other hormones from the adrenals) cortisol has the tasks of melting muscle and storing fat.

For example, if you are all of a sudden trapped under a rock, your body will melt your muscles and store fat to keep you alive for as long as possible.

Of course, we don’t all have the same cortisol production. Some produce more, others less and it depends on internal factors (genetics and your hormonal makeup) and external (nutrition and stress levels to name but a few).

I.F. can become a stressful condition for your body since your body is used to being fed and using that food for a variety of purposes in the body (glucose and fat for proper brain function and energy production, protein and fat for muscle building among others).

So if you are doing I.F. and find yourself in a stressful situation such as stuck in traffic, working too hard on a project or working out intensely, your body will eventually start producing more and more cortisol.

And as mentioned earlier, higher cortisol levels for long periods of time leads to muscle wasting and storing excess fat. Not exactly the look you were going for when you signed up for I.F., right?

Stressed people and people with anxiety have ‘naturally’ high cortisol levels and need to be very careful with I.F. as it can aggravate their anxiety. This is something I have personally experienced and a lot of my clients had a similar experience.

c) Effect on blood sugar levels

Adding to the previous point, high cortisol levels can impact blood sugar levels.

This can have a negative effect on people with blood sugar regulation issues as they may have a hypoglycemia episode.

So people with blood sugar imbalances need to stay away from I.F. or at least do it under medical supervision.

d) Effect on sleep quality

Speaking of blood sugar levels, let’s see how I.F. can negatively impact your sleep.

While I.F. can have a positive effect on G.H. and can help optimize Melatonin levels (the sleep hormone which I have covered in another article), it can also cause a drop of blood sugar levels in the middle of the night which will wake you up.

As someone who has battled with insomnia after 2 years in the Special Forces, I can tell you that keeping blood sugar levels from dropping has been essential in managing and optimizing the quality of my sleep.

If you are one of those people who tend to wake up easily in the middle of the night and need to eat a small meal before bed to keep yourself asleep, you might want to be careful with I.F.

Closing notes:

Intermittent Fasting is an amazing nutritional technique that can improve the quality of your life by positively regulating your hormones, shedding unwanted fat, keeping your mind sharp and saving a lot of precious time! You can find a very comprehensive article on Intermittent Fasting by Mario on this very blog.

I personally use I.F. on a weekly basis and most of my clients have benefited from it.

That being said, it may not be for everyone.

Since it can have a negative effect on certain hormones, people with any hormonal condition need to consult with their doctor before trying I.F. to keep them safe.

Don’t forget that your health is primarily in your hands. Do take it seriously and adapt a healthy way of eating and you will be on your way to live your life, strong, healthy and free!

About the Author:

Nick Sigma CWC is a Certified Wellness Coach, Eclectic Herbalist and Health writer.

Through his website StrongHealthyAndFree.com Nick teaches stressed people how to get stronger, healthier and free by optimizing their nutrition, sleep, exercise and hormones with basic herbs, supplements and lifestyle changes.

© Copyright Nick Sigma. – StrongHealthyAndFree.com 2016. All rights reserved and re-printed on InformalInsights.com with explicit permission.

Resources and Studies:

http://www.healthline.com/health/hyperthyroidism#Treatment5

Ghrelin:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2765052/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16491079

Growth Hormone :

http://www.eje-online.org/content/168/4/509.full.pdf

Leptin sensitivity:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9024254

Best Books For Entrepreneurs 2017

Are you scouring the internet looking for the best entrepreneurial books of 2017? Below I’ve outlined what I feel are the top entrepreneur books that are must reads right now.

These aren’t books that are here to waste your time either. I’ve included books that have had a personal impact on myself as well as my business.

Persuasion

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion – Robert Cialdini

My favorite quote from the book:

The idea of potential loss plays a large role in human decision making. In fact, people seem to be more motivated by the thought of losing something than by the thought of gaining something of equal value. – Robert Cialdini

Pre-Susasion: Channeling Attention for Change – Robert Cialdini

My favorite quote from the book:

There’s a critical insight in all this for those of us who want to learn to be more influential. The best persuaders become the best through pre-suasion – the process of arranging for recipients to be receptive to a message before they encounter it. To persuade optimally, then, it’s necessary to pre-suade optimally. But how?

In part, the answer involves an essential but poorly appreciated tenet of all communication: what we present first changes the way people experience what we present to them next. – Robert Cialdini

You can’t try to learn persuasion without coming across Robert Cialdini. His two books on influence and persuasion have taken me to the next level without a doubt which is why they’re at the top of my list.

These two are without a doubt some of the two best books you can read. The author has taken a science based approach on the science of social psychology to amazing heights.

Not only does he give you the facts you need to know, but he presents his ideas in a way that you’ll remember and be able to implement immediately in your communication.

You can think of both of these books together like a masterclass of persuasion brilliance. He distills down why we as humans are influenced by the same things over and over.

You’ll start to notice these persuasion tactics everywhere once you’ve read these books.

Without spoiling any more, be sure to pick up these books on Amazon. You won’t regret it.

Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions – Dan Ariely

My favorite quote from the book:

Tom had discovered a great law of human action, namely, that in order to make a man covet a thing, it is only necessary to make the thing difficult to attain. – Dan Ariely

In this book you’re going to discover how we as people are wired to make decisions that don’t always make sense or benefit us.

Not only is this book enjoyable to get through, but the experiments the author presents go into perfect detail without getting stale after a while.

Just like Cialdini’s books above, this is perfect to add to the collection as you’ll see how people make decisions, especially buying decisions, and how you can use that to your advantage.

Decision Making

Poor Charlie’s Almanack: The Wit and Wisdom of Charles T. Munger, Expanded Third Edition – Charlie Munger

My favorite quote from the book:

I never allow myself to hold an opinion on anything that I don’t know the other side’s argument better than they do. – Charlie Munger

Put simply, you can’t afford not to read this book. This book will influence the way you think for the better.

Not sure who Charlie Munger is? He’s Warren Buffett’s business partner and he’s one of the most brilliant people who’ve walked the planet.

This book will teach you how to look at problems differently and will give you the tools to work towards solutions.

No matter what field of work you’re in, you will benefit from one of the most influential and original thinkers of our time.

There is a speech at the University of South Carolina that you won’t want to miss. It’s been said that this speech alone has put Munger into the realm of a legend.

Be sure to grab this book now.

Productivity

The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich – Tim Ferriss

My favorite quote from the book:

It isn’t enough to think outside the box. Thinking is passive. Get used to acting outside the box. – Tim Ferriss

The book sounds like a pipe dream and the likelihood of you being able to get to a 4 hour workweek is slim, but this book is a game changer.

The beauty of this book is that it opens your mind to many possibilities. It gives you ways of making your life easier and ultimately, happier.

This book will challenge you to re-evaluate how you’re spending your weekly hours and what systems and processes you can put into place to reduce your workload.

Not only is this a fast read, and even entertaining, it has actionable advice to reduce the clutter in your life giving you back more time.

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business – Charles Duhigg

My favorite quote from the book:

As people strengthened their willpower muscles in one part of their lives—in the gym, or a money management program—that strength spilled over into what they ate or how hard they worked. Once willpower became stronger, it touched everything. – Charles Duhigg

If you’ve ever wondered how to get habits to stick for your life, then you need to read this book.

Want to know what drives our habits? You’ll find it here. You’ll also learn what drives your old habits and how not to reverse your progress by going back to them.

Usually people are trying to change too many things at once in their life causing them to get overwhelmed and inevitably returning to the poor habits they once had to begin with.

Small changes are the keys to keeping your progress and how you’re going to transform your life by implement the habits you know you need.

You’ll need to work hard at it, but this book is without a doubt the best one on habits and getting them to stick.

Networking and People

How to Win Friends & Influence People – Dale Carnegie

My favorite quote from the book:

Be more concerned with your character than with your reputation, for your character is what you are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are. – Dale Carnegie

This is one that you’re going to be reading with a highlighter for sure. If you haven’t heard of this book or haven’t gotten a chance to read it yet, then you’re in for a real treat.

Your outlook on life and how you interact with people will be changed for the better.

The simple advice offered in this book will cause you to think at a much deeper level about how people you’ve admired could always attract and keep friends.

The biggest idea you’ll come across in this book is that people are creatures of emotion and not logic. You’ll learn how to tend to these traits making you a more likeable person.

There’s a reason why this book has been a best seller year after year after year. It’s because you can instantly apply the knowledge in the book making you magnetic.

Who doesn’t want that?

These books will give you a great jump start and really take you on a journey inside some of the most brilliant minds of our time.

If you have some you’d like to recommend, be sure to comment below!

Triple Your Performance By Reducing These Simple Things

I was listening to one of my favorite books again, the 4 Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss that made me ponder a specific quote I’d like to share with you.

It’s a quote that you should ponder yourself. Not because I’m telling you to, but because it can have a profound effect on how you live your life from this point forward.

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it’s time to pause and reflect.” – Mark Twain

Looking at successful people, a lot of them have very specific characteristics about them.

They don’t add. They subtract.

Let me explain.

Instead of taking on another business, a successful business owner has one thing on their mind. They think long and hard about how can they be more effective in their current business while working less.

In other words, they look to simplify rather than make something more complex. They don’t look to add, they look to subtract.

They know that addition in most cases leads to the subtraction of two things:

  1. Their energy. Usually in the form of mental energy.
  2. Their time. There’s only so many hours in the day to devote to things while still having a balanced life.

They don’t want to give more time, they want to take their time back.

Successful people reduce the number of decisions they have to make because they know that they only have a certain amount of willpower each day to get important tasks done.

I’ve decided that I’d like to take this approach for myself and see how it works.

I started taking more and more things away from my life and was able to 3x my productivity in no time at all.

First, let’s think through some real world examples:

  • To get healthier, eat more healthier food. No. you want to eat less than your maintenance calories a day. As long as you stay under maintenance calories, you’ll lose weight.
  • To get stronger, lift for 3 hours a day. Nope, less is more in the weight room. Currently I do heavy weight training 3 times a week on alternate days and I’ve never been leaner and stronger in my life.
  • To get more done, wake up at 5am. No way. Besides the fact that I love my sleep, anything less than 8 hours a night and you run the risk of being a mindless zombie the next day.

Even though I do recommend waking up earlier, you still need the right amount of hours of sleep.

There was a study done on a test group where they were asked to only sleep 6 hours a night compared to the other group who slept 8.

The 6 hour a night group was less productive to the point that after 2 full weeks of sleeping that way, their productivity was as if they were sleep deprived for 48 hours.

Countless mistakes were made and cognitive functions dropped dramatically. Don’t let this happen to you.

In these cases you want to take what works for you and omit the rest. Here’s what I did that really put my productivity on fire.

What Did I Get Rid Of

1. I’m standing up more.

Thanks to my standing desk, I’m getting more done in record time.

Did you know that sitting all day is considered the new smoking? Each hour you’re sitting on your butt you’re reducing life by 22 mins.

I don’t have to add up all those hours for you, do I?

Not to mention, I’m burning a ton of extra calories in combination with my intermittent fasting and I sleep so much better at night now. The one thing that affected me in the beginning was that it hurt my hips to stand all day.

I know, I know, even though I’m only 30, I’m still getting older. If this happens to you, just know it does go away within a week or so. It’s just your body getting used to being up.

You can alternate sitting and standing so that you’re constantly moving your body and getting your blood flowing if you don’t want to stand the entire working day.

The standing desk I use is the Veridesk and I can’t recommend it more.

Stand up to Get Shit Done.

2. I got rid of all the crap in my closets.

Steve Jobs was known for wearing the same pieces of clothing over and over. They weren’t actually the same articles of clothing, it was just the same style of jeans and shirts.

The reason he did this was to reduce his decisions.

Now, I didn’t go that far, but getting rid of all the stuff in my closets that I knew I wasn’t going to wear anymore was not just cleaning out my closets. I felt my mind get lighter as well.

It’s almost like it’s one less thing that’s been nagging me and it’s a great feeling.

I didn’t just chuck these clothes either. I gave them away to people that needed them way more than me. Not to mention, they were more likely to actually use them too.

Selling them on ebay or other auction sites can be an option for you too for some extra quick cash. Like they say, another man’s junk is another man’s treasure, right?

3. I reduced the amount of sugar I consume.

Starting with my coffee, (which I now drink black) I decided to get healthier, I really needed to reduce the amount of sugar that I was putting in my body.

I never considered myself overweight in my life, but you can really notice the difference really quickly just by cutting out sugar.

Plus you get the added benefit of not having to worry about all the deadly diseases that are linked to sugar.

You’ll also be surprised at how your body will react to this if you try it. You might start to think clearer and that’s always a nice bonus.

4. I reduced time sucking people.

Who are you spending your time with?

Another thing I’ve learned through reading is that you are the average of the people you spend time with most.

I’ve made some of my closest friends audiobooks and authors recently. I don’t know many of them personally, but I make sure that I’m always listening or reading something that will propel me forward rather than hold me back.

You’ll find a lot of the time that our family and friends, even though they say they have our best interests at heart, are counterproductive when trying to hit our goals.

They do things like:

  • Give their unwanted opinion.
  • Always tell you how what you want to do wont work.
  • Tell you how they would do it.

It’s not their fault though.

Did you know that when you throw a bunch of crabs in a bucket and one tries to get out the others pull it back inside with them?

People are uncomfortable with the unknown, but to reach your full potential you need to get comfortable being outside of your comfort zone.

Don’t be afraid to limit your interactions with the people who are going to hold you back in life. It’s too short.

5. Consolidate your notes, to-do lists, reminders, etc.

I’m late to the party, but my new favorite app is EverNote. I can keep all the things that used to clutter my desk with paper all on one app.

  1. Appointments? No problem. It can sinc with your calendar.
  2. To-Do lists? Keep them all on your phone and have it sync with your computer.
  3. Ideas? Write them down to your hearts desire.
  4. Need to remember something important? Log it and be done with it.

Oh, and all of it is searchable. Even pictures!

If you haven’t heard of EverNote or given it a try, then I suggest you check it out. You’ll be a lover of it soon enough.

Here we have it. Simplicity at it’s finest. Check out these hacks for yourself and see if it doesn’t give you more productive hours than ever before.

If you have your own, be sure to comment below!

Intermittent Fasting: The Definitive Guide

Yes, it’s true, I fast. No, I’m not crazy.

I fast anywhere from 16 to 24 hours a day and it’s changed my life for the better.

I’ve never been more focused, I’m sharp as a tack and I’ve been able to get into the best shape of my life.

My hope is to spread the good word about why traditional information on dieting doesn’t work and the science behind why fasting works 100x better.

If you’re asking yourself, “What is intermittent fasting?” don’t worry, we’ll get into that too.

In this post I’d like to get to the nitty gritty on why exactly an intermittent fasting diet (and low carb diets in general really work) and why other forms of dieting don’t even come close.

Then I’ll get into the exact protocols you can use that fits you best if you want to try a fasting diet plan out for yourself.

Grab a coffee. Let’s get right into it!

Intermittent Fasting Has Been Around For Centuries

Icon-religion.png

According to studies that have been conducted in religious practices and ethnology, fasting has been found to be an essential undertaking.

We’ve seen people of all walks of life intermittently fasting, but why?

Recent studies have shown that fasting has taken on a new dimension whereby it has been recommended as a practice that has numerous benefits towards dieting.

Within the health and fitness practice, intermittent fasting has been found to be an important weight loss undertaking.

While this could be a trending subject, the proponents of intermittent fasting have been of the view that if this practice is well executed, it has numerous health benefits because it allows one a limited eating opportunity.

In instances where one has had dinner, supporters of intermittent fasting have been of the opinion that the following day an individual can thereafter miss breakfast, snacks and even lunch.

It’s interesting that people were using fasting as a tool for health a long time ago, yet we’re just getting to more studies on this in recent times.

Intermittent fasting is a practice that involves restraint from both food and drinking and has been found to not only hold religious significance but also dietary importance. It’s been practiced over the ages around the world for centuries.

Even the ancient Greeks were big advocates of fasting. Not just for the health benefits because they were pretty fit back then, but for the mental clarity it gave them.

The Canadian Medical Association was of the observation that given the increasing cases of obesity around the world, limiting the amounts of energy intake could help in managing the health problem.

On the other hand, although most of the intermittent fasting practice has been carried out on animals, available research has shown encouraging outcomes as this has positive effects on both the brain and general health.

Moreover, Collier was of the view that intermittent fasting improved immunity, managed oxidative stress and improved memory and individual learning.

He noted that intermittent fasting enabled people to easily cope with stress since the body cells became adaptive.

Mosley and Spencer, two doctors from California were of the observation that limiting the intake of energy within the week had health benefits.

They noted that an intermittent fasting of about two days in a week was essential in improving an individual’s health.

Today’s Dieting Information Is Outdated

Obesity soap.jpg

The biggest problem with calorie counting is it’s such a flawed and outdated way of thinking.

A lot of people don’t really understand obesity or what causes it and that’s why so many people have such a hard time losing weight. I hope to clear that up for you today.

These days we have so many problems that are taking lives and they’re almost always attributed to obesity. The foods we eat have a huge effect on how our bodies perform throughout our lives.

Heart attacks, strokes, kidney disease, cancer, and diabetes are all problems today because of the foods we eat.

These are all dietary diseases so they should be treated with a strategy revolving diet.

The “Biggest Loser”

I’m sure a lot of you have seen or have heard of the show the “Biggest Loser”. It’s huge and in a lot of other countries – not just the United States.

If you haven’t heard of it, it’s about a bunch of contestants who compete against each other to see who can lose the most amount of weight in a specific time period.

These people are really obese so it’s a diet where you are restricting calories and doing a lot of exercise to drop the pounds. People are mesmerised by this because they see their fat loss journey.

Now, this show has been running for quite some time and even some of the contestants have openly come out and said that they’ve regained the weight and that the program isn’t sustainable.

I would think that this probably happened to a lot of them, but they may be binded by contract to not say anything about their experiences at this point.

This isn’t just this occasion where people were able to lose weight, but not keep it off. It happens everywhere.

Calorie Reduced Diets

When you focus on a calorie reduced diet, your weight eventually plateaus and then comes creeping back up.

I’m sure you’ve done a diet similar to this and had similar results from it. Right?

The funny thing is, even though despite these diets not working, they’re all ranked really highly.

They all come down to the same premise as well which is, if you can reduce the calories that go in your body and increase the calories that go out through exercise, then you’re golden. Not so much, though.

But why? All the doctors approve of it. So why does it not work?

Are Doctors Preaching The Wrong Information?

To the naked eye, it makes sense. If you’re eating a lot less and moving a lot more then that is what is causing the body’s weight to go down at such a rapid pace. Especially for these people that weigh 300+ pounds that are on the show.

When the time period is over, the contestants look great! You see the before and after pictures and they’ve lost 100+ pounds and the transformation is incredible. The vast majority of that weight is fat.

You can see that body fat goes anywhere from around 50% down to the mid to high 20’s and everything is all fine and dandy. Why doesn’t this continue though after the show?

Is it because the contestants jump right back into their old habits? Since no one is watching, they’re back to sneaking in twinkies and doughnuts, right? Not so.

The Real Problem – Your Metabolism

We’ve known this for a while, but when attempting to lose weight this way, your metabolism slows down dramatically.

This is exactly what happens to all the contestants that were on the “Biggest Loser” and people who have attempted this form of weight loss all around the world.

In every case, the contestants are cutting the amount of calories their body is taking in by a significant amount.

Lets say that you start burning 3,000 calories a day and then over the course of your weight loss journey you end off at burning about 1,500 calories a day.

When your metabolism slows that much and you’re burning 1,500 calories a day and take in 1,700 through food, it’s no wonder why you don’t lose weight. How can you?

But You’re Eating Less, What’s The Problem?

Remember 1,700 calories is a LOT less than what they were putting in their bodies before attempting to lose weight. However, when you burn 1,500 calories a day and take in 1,700 you’re still in a surplus!

Your body starts to feel cold, you get really hungry all the time and guess what, you’re exhausted. These are all symptoms of a metabolism shut down. All while this is happening, your weight is creeping back up.

You see that this is happening and you try to combat it with more exercise, but it’s not going to help unless you work out for 5 hours a day. Who has time or the desire for that? Not me, that’s for sure.

The contestant’s basal metabolic rate is falling as the show is going on and when the show is finally over, they’re not burning as much energy because of this metabolic slow down.

It’s not just them though, it’s anyone who’s ever tried this way of losing weight.

Eat Less, Move More Has Been Preached Since The 1900’s

This isn’t new information. For over 100 years we’ve known the effectiveness of eat less and move more, yet this terrible advice has been fed to us over and over again through doctors and fitness “experts”.

When people have inevitably failed on this diet, the experts say, “Oh, you shouldn’t have had all those carbs” or, “You’re not following the advice I gave you correctly.”

Science is proving that’s not the case at all. We’ve followed the advice… it’s just bad information.

The advice in the first place was wrong and a big portion of our population is suffering from all these lies and misinformation with diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease and more because they can’t get their weight under control.

It’s sad, really. But there’s methods that work. Let’s look at one that’s incredibly effective.

Why Stomach Stapling Surgery Is Effective

Roux-en-Y gastric bypass.jpg

Some people just don’t want to be bothered with the amount of hours and dedication it takes and feel it takes too long to reach their goals. So they do something drastic in hopes of getting their dream body.

In a nutshell the stomach stapling surgery, called bariatric surgery, basically makes your stomach really really small so that you can’t overeat like you used to. Your stomach is reduced to a size of a golf ball and just can’t take in the amount of food it would have been able to before.

Of course, just like we talked about earlier, if you don’t eat as much, (calorie restriction) you’re going to lose weight. That’s not a surprise, so it’s no wonder the people who have this surgery lose incredible amounts of weight.

The BIG surprise is this surgery actually works to keep weight off in the long term.

Here’s what’s interesting though. Can you guess what happens to the metabolic rate of the patients who undergo bariatric surgery?

It actually goes up. But why?

Your Resting Metabolic Rate Explained

Well, unlike the contestants on “Biggest Loser” and people with the “eat less, move more” mentality, the resting metabolic rate and the total amount of energy expenditure (the energy that’s burning off) hasn’t really gone down.

In most cases, the energy that’s expended hasn’t changed at all.

Think about it. You’re not running marathons or working out for an ungodly amount of hours each day. It’s just business as usual for your body.

In the first example of restricting calories and exercising more, the metabolic rate of these people continues to fall until they eventually fail.

In the second example, patients who’ve undergone the stomach stapling surgery are eating less, but the energy they’re burning hasn’t changed and therein lies the answer as to how we can all use this to our advantage.

What Actually Happens When You Eat

When we eat food, our insulin levels go up. It’s that simple. It’s the hormone that stops your body from burning fat and it tells your body to store that fat that you’re not burning off.

If you’ve been in the fitness industry for long enough, you’ve heard of the term “macros”. People track their macros with what they eat to make sure they fall within a certain range.

Macros are just short for macronutrients and it’s just the mixture of fat, carbohydrates and protein in the foods you eat.

Depending on what you’re putting into your body, your insulin levels will go up according to that. What carbs do when they enter your body is turn into glycogen. These are just chains of glucose in the liver and it’s the storage of sugar.

When there is too much stored sugar, your liver produces something called lipids and then stores your fat.

2504 Glycosis Overview.jpg

How Our Bodies Store Food

When you don’t eat for long periods of time, your insulin levels start to drop and that is a signal to your body that it should start burning something for energy.

You start to get energy from the glycogen stores. It’s the stored sugar in your body and the energy you get is from the stored fat that’s in your body.

A good analogy that I’ve heard is if you think of your glycogen like a cabinet or drawer. You store glycogen and it’s easily available and you can store a lot of it.

Fat, however, is more like a safe with a lock, key and fingerprint scanner. You can store as much of it as you want, (to a degree) but it’s a little harder to get out.

You basically have two forms of how you store energy in your body. Since the glycogen is easy to access, your body prefers that first.

You can only fill up your glycogen stores so much, though. You can’t fit your whole kitchen in one cabinet.

Once your glycogen is completely filled up, your body has no other choice but to start storing fat in that safe of yours. Make sense?

All Calories Are Not The Same

Are all calories treated the same in our bodies? We’ve been led to believe that all the calories we consume on a daily basis are treated equally and go into this one big place in your body together, but when we need those calories for energy, it comes out of the same place it went into.

We now know that’s not the case.

The body does not have this big giant area where we store calories. You can either do one of two things; store sugar, or store fat. It’s one or the other.

So we have our cabinet and we have our safe. The calories we get from food can go into our cabinet and come out of our cabinet because that’s the easiest place it can go for your body.

There’s one more thing that we have to consider though and that is how much food can actually go back and forth between the cabinet and the safe. That’s what we really need to know because we need to know how to get the fat to leave the harder to access safe.

Insulin Is What’s Making You Fat

Insulin, which we talked a little bit about earlier, is the big player here. It’s whole job is to stop you from getting the fat out of your body.

If you are eating a big meal, you’ll likely have a lot of insulin and that is what’s going to dictate where your food gets stored in your body. The cabinet or the safe.

When your insulin levels get really high though, you can develop insulin resistance. When that happens picture your safe dropping to the bottom of the ocean. Losing weight at this point is like a pig learning to fly.

Think of it like a drug. The more of it you take over time, the more you’ll need later on to get the same effects.

It’s the same idea with insulin resistance. Your body produces more of it because it HAS to.

This is why people who are obese for long periods of their life, it’s hard for them to lose weight. Their insulin resistance has been high for so long. Their safe is at the bottom of the ocean.

So now, your doctor starts to take notice of how unhealthy you are and puts you on the flawed model of reducing your calorie intake, but what happens at this point in your body?

When you’re at this stage and you’re reducing the calories IN, your body is going to reduce your calories OUT.

Think about it. If your body doesn’t have enough calories coming in now, it will just hoard what it already has for your survival. It’s not going to let you keep losing weight until you wither away and die.

If you’re not considering influencing your insulin levels, then you’re not going to get the fat out of your body. Plain and simple.

What Happens During An Intermittent Fast?

So is there a way of getting to your fat stores without having to go through painful surgery? You bet.

When you fast, your carbohydrate oxidation skyrockets. Initially, you’re not burning a whole lot of fat. You’re burning off those sugar reserves that are easily available. The stuff you have in your body cabinet.

Once your glycogen stores are all burned up, your carbohydrate oxidation goes up. It’s this point here that you start burning your body fat for energy and that’s exactly what we want it to do.

A lot of people tend to think that during this phase you’re burning off your muscles. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Scientifically speaking, protein isn’t a storage form of energy.

So why would it utilize your muscle  mass for energy during a short (16-24 hour) fasting period? It doesn’t.

Why Intermittent Fasting Doesn’t Burn Muscle

Genga 19

You can’t burn protein to provide glucose. We excrete a certain amount of nitrogen each day as well as taking in a certain amount of nitrogen. This is completely normal.

Urea is made in your body when protein is broken down. It’s made in your liver and actually passes through your urine. This, of course, was studied heavily during fasts to see the effects of fasting and the loss of muscle mass in people.

There was a study that patients underwent 24 hour fasts every other day for 70 days. The scientists have found that your urea levels don’t go anywhere during these kinds of fasts.

If muscle breakdown was happening, urea levels would go through the roof, but they don’t. They stay the same.

Intermittent Fasting Conserves Muscle Mass

What’s happening is that your body is smart. It’s conserving our muscle mass during our fasts not burning it because it knows we need it.

In the study they measured fat-mass and fat-free mass and I’m sure you can guess what happened.

The fat mass went down because the body had nothing to do but burn off fat for energy in the patients. The fat-free mass didn’t budge an inch.

The studies and tests are clear and I’ve found this to be the case for myself as well. I’ve never been leaner or stronger in my life and it’s all thanks to intermittent fasting.

Don’t worry, I’ll share with you the exact protocol I use below.

Putting This Altogether

Now you’re starting to see why fasting and low carb diets are extremely effective protocols in losing weight. Simply for the reason that it empties out your “cabinet”, so to speak, which leads to fat burning by pulling it out of your “safe”.

The important thing you want to do is get rid of the insulin factor too because you wont have that telling your body to keep the fat stored.

By fasting you get rid of all that stored glycogen, your insulin is down and now you can get to your stored body fat and burn it off.

Our Bodies Were Built For This

People are scared of the whole fasting idea, but the reality is that we, as humans, are built this way. Animals in the wild are built this way. We were built to handle long periods of time where there is no food.

There were no fast food restaurants you could run to during the caveman days. You had no refrigerator storage.

The reason why people throughout the world are as fat as they’ve ever been in history is because of our access to so much food!

People argue, “I can’t do fasting. Fasting is just going to put my body into starvation mode.” I just shake my head when I hear this.

This makes no sense because when your body is starving, your metabolism slows down to the point where you’re going to regain weight. That’s exactly what happens when you try to reduce your calories, though.

Like in the examples above, by reducing calories your body goes into starvation mode.

The OPPOSITE happens when we fast.

Resting Energy Expenditure And Basal Metabolic Rates

There was another study where there was 4 days of fasting with all normal people. In the study, the weight of the people goes down and that was expected, but there was an additional discovery that was quite surprising.

There’s something we have called our Resting Energy Expenditure (REE) and it’s closely related to our basal metabolic rate. It’s basically the amount of energy that’s required by the body during a rest period of 24 hours.

What the doctors found was that in the REE of the patients went up. They were burning more energy into the fast than before without any food.

This makes all the sense in the world. Think about back in the caveman days when food was scarce. Did our ancestor’s bodies just shut down? No way. They had to find something to eat so their body gave them energy to do so.

When you’re tired you can’t take down a woolly mammoth can you? No, you would need sleep and rest if your body didn’t have any energy.

Your body looks within to what it has and it sees that it has plenty of energy to burn from your fat stores. It is taking from the safe! You have more energy to move around and even exercise if you wanted.

Another amazing thing that happens is your adrenaline goes up as well. It goes up because your body thinks it’s in survival mode and that’s what you need to find your next meal.

That’s how we were able to evolve and not become extinct as a species. It’s pretty amazing if you think about it, but this is how we’re all built. Now it’s time to embrace it.

Intermittent Fasting Protocols To Use

Finally! Enough with the science mumbo jumbo… now it’s time for the good stuff.

Some people have a more conservative approach, where I tend to take things more towards the extreme to see where I can push them and also see how my body will react to different protocols.

Most days of the week I’ll be fasting for 20-24 hours and have one big meal for dinner. And yes, I work out and have tracked to see if I would be losing muscle. I haven’t – the research above proves that.

In fact, I’ve gotten stronger the longer I’ve done this and have never been leaner.

To this end, this post will outline all the intermittent fasting benefits and why it’s the best form of weight loss and healthy living lifestyle out there today.

Daily Intermittent Fasting

What’s popular in the fitness world is the 16-8 protocol which is where you fast for 16 hours and eat during an 8 hour window.

Personally I started out with this and thought it was extremely easy as all I did was skip breakfast each day.

Normally I finish dinner around 7:30-8pm so I would eat around 12-1pm each day. This allows me to eat dinner with my family so it’s perfect.

Your sleep kickstarts the fast because you’ll get anywhere from 6+ hours of sleep each night.

Skipping breakfast isn’t a big deal for me because I used to eat it by myself anyway so it’s not socially awkward to skip it.

If you just can’t give up breakfast food, (like me) just eat that for lunch. No one said you had to give it up!

It’s very easy to adapt to this schedule. I found it incredibly easy since day one because I used black coffee to curb my appetite until lunchtime.

Weekly Intermittent Fasting

If you want to ease into this to see how it feels you can do a fast once a week. You’re still getting the benefits of fasting, but weight loss will be at a slower pace.

You’re essentially skipping one meal each week, but that still adds up. That would be the minimum I’d recommend doing a fast.

If you practice intermittent fasting once a month you’ll likely see no results at all. It’s healthy, but what’s the point. It would be like eating one healthy food all month and being proud of that. You can do it, I promise you.

Alternate Day Intermittent Fasting

This is a better protocol in my opinion, but only after you’ve got the feel for some of the other protocols.

In this protocol you would essentially fast for 24 hours, eat normal the next day and then repeat. So you would have dinner on a Sunday night and not eat again until dinner Monday night. Then you would eat normally on Tuesday and fast on Wednesday the same way you did on Monday.

You’ll see a lot of these kinds of alternate day fasting in studies and is a popular protocol to use giving a ton of health benefits along the way.

If you’re looking to gain weight for training though I would not recommend this protocol. I’ve used this to lean bulk though with amazing results. My strength went up while my fat went down dramatically.

How I’m Currently Intermittent Fasting

These days I’m fasting anywhere from 20-24 hours a day and I love it. I’ll eat my last meal by 8pm and I’ll break my fast anywhere between 4 and 8pm the next day.

I’m working out 3 days a week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday and have been progressing in my workouts each and every week. I work out in the fasted state and I’m never short of energy. I get better and better with each workout.

Some people supplement with Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAA’s) but I don’t. I don’t feel it’s necessary as I didn’t notice any edge because of it when I tried it and I feel the benefits of staying in the fast is better for me anyway.

Like I said earlier, I like to push the boundaries on what my body can do.

I decided to try this protocol by watching a Vegan strongman named Dr. Amen-Ra. You can find his videos on YouTube if you’d like to see what he does, but essentially he fasts for 23 hours every single day.

Conclusion

Thanks for sticking with me during this journey! I know it was a lot of information to take in, but I hope I gave you enough of it to make a decision for yourself if you’re going to try out any of the protocols listed above.

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me or leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you.

Sources:

  1. Brongers, H. (1997). Instruction and Interpretation: Studies in Hebrew Language, Palestinian Archaeology and Biblical Exegesis. Brussels, Belgium: Brill Academic Publications
  2. Canadian Medical Association (2013, March 25). Intermittent Fasting: The Next Big Weight Loss Fad. Canadian Medical Association. DOI: 10.1503/cmaj.109-4437
  3. Collier, R. (2013). Intermittent Fasting: The Science of Going Without. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 185(9)
  4. Mosley, M., & Spencer, M. (2013).The Fast Diet: Lose Weight, Stay Healthy and Live Longer with the Simple Secret of Intermittent Fasting. La Jolla, CA: Atria Books
  5. Patterson, R., Laughlin, G., Sears, D. & Villaseñor, A. (2015, April). Intermittent Fasting and Human Metabolic Health. Journal of the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 115(8). DOI: 10.1016/j.jand.2015.02.018
  6. Canadian Medical Association – http://cma.ca/en/Pages/cma_default.aspx
  7. American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery – https://asmbs.org/patients/bariatric-surgery-procedures
  8. Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_macronutrients
  9. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases – https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/what-is-diabetes/prediabetes-insulin-resistance
  10. American Chemical Society – http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/cr60023a001
  11. Vacumed – http://www.vacumed.com/293.html

How To Get Up Early And Win – (My Routine)

“Win the morning and win the day.”

I know there will be a lot of you night owls who will be reading this, so if you’re one of those people that really get your best work done at night, (definitely not me) then keep doing what you’re doing. It’s clearly working.

If you think about it, the main idea behind this principle is that you can get time working while the rest of the world is quiet. Whether that’s in the morning, (how I like it) or late at night, it doesn’t matter. What matters is progress and increasing productivity.

The reason why I like waking up early and getting work done rather than staying up late is because when I would stay up past a certain time my mornings would be really rough. I couldn’t get my mind going no matter how many cups of coffee I had.

Sleep is important and science has proven that you need to get at least 7 hours of rest a night, but that’s a topic for another post.

When I can’t get going in the morning because of staying up late working, I really don’t get much work done at all the next day. I’ve found that the early mornings for me are my sweet spot and that’s what I’ve stuck with for ultimate success.

Develop A Morning Routine

When I developed a rock solid morning routine, it was a game changer for me. The greatest thing about developing your own morning routine is that it’s yours and you can adapt and change it how you see fit.

Do you want to get your workout in? Great! Write that blog post you’ve been meaning to do? Awesome! Scare the crap out of your kids when it’s time to wake them up for school? Not cool, man.

Here’s some of the things I like to get done in the morning.

  • Drink 8oz of water immediately upon waking
  • Meditate – (The headspace app is great for this. Just 10 minutes!)
  • Getting my most important tasks done if the time permits
  • Listen to my favorite podcasts – Tim Ferris’s podcast is currently on pause on my iPhone
  • Read or listen to audiobooks
  • Use my inversion table – it’s great to loosen you up before the day begins

The morning is your time to do whatever you want. This is just some of the things I do to give my day a fresh start.

Here are some things that you should keep in mind when putting together your own early morning routine:

1) Making drastic changes too soon isn’t good for the long term

We want to make sure that these positive habits stick so don’t go hard core right off the bat. Ease into your routine.

Start by just waking up fifteen to thirty minutes earlier than you normally would. See how that feels and get used to it. Then push it another fifteen minutes when your body tells you it’s ready. Keep this up gradually until you get to the time you want to wake up at.

2) Get to bed earlier

Most people are used to staying up a little later and winding down from a long day. I get it, but it will make you miserable if you keep it up.

I guarantee if you don’t get to sleep earlier, you won’t be doing this routine for very long. Your body and mind need sleep. Make sure you give it what it needs.

If you’re one of those people who can’t shut off your mind before going to bed, try reading something that wont stimulate your mind. That usually does the trick for me.

3) Make it so that you have to get up to shut off your alarm

If your alarm on your phone or whatever you’re using to wake up is right next to you, then you’re far more likely to hit that snooze button. I know you, come on!

If you have your alarm far enough where you have to get out of bed to shut it off, you’re now up and you can stay up. Caution, this one might annoy the significant other so be forewarned.

4) Get out of your bedroom fast

Your brain can play some crazy tricks on you at this point. Don’t let it try and rationalize why you need to go back to sleep.

That’s it. You’ve shut off your alarm, now go out of your bedroom before you talk yourself back into that comfy, amazing, oh-so-soft pillow.

Go into the bathroom, do your business, flush, wash your hands and use that water to wash your face a little bit. It helps big time.

Do not make going back to bed an option for you.

Now that you’re out of bed and up at an early time, you deserve a treat. Reward yourself.

If you make doing this pleasurable for you, you’ll continue this good habit for the rest of your life. The benefits far outweigh the initial annoyance of doing this each day.

Eventually, like anything, your body just gets used to it and your internal clock starts to get you up at this time naturally.

It’s really easy to go down a rabbit hole with reading blogs and watching YouTube videos, but don’t let that happen to you. Make use of all this new time you have access to and get things done.

Taking Your Mornings To The Next Level

Here’s a few extra tips for you over achievers. These next few have really helped bring me an extra boost of productivity each day, and not to mention peace and well being. These next few tips are small, but are incredibly powerful.

1. Make your bed

There’s a reason the military makes their soldiers make their bed when they wake up.

The reason you should make your bed is that it’s such an easy task to complete in the morning and it takes no time at all. Just don’t make the bed with your significant other still in it!

If you start off the day with an easy task and finish it, not only will you have a small sense of pride, BUT you’ll also get the desire to accomplish more tasks in the day. The little things in life matter and build on one another until the snowball gets really big.

It also gives you the ability to control what you can control. Not only is it something that you get done in the morning, but it’s something you come back to once the day is through.

You can visually see something you’ve accomplished and it’s a great way to end the day.

Small, but powerful. Try it.

2. Meditate

I know I mentioned this earlier, but the benefits are incredible and this topic definitely deserves it’s own post.

For some quick tips, I just focus on my breath for the most of the exercise. Each breath in and out gets counted from 1 to 10 then I start over. I do this for 10 minutes and it quiets the mind.

During this time I also check in with my body. I take notice if anything is tight or bothering me and make a mental note to address it.

If you take the 10 or 20 minutes to do this each day your productivity will go up 10x with less stress.

3. Write or Journal

In the morning I like to either write or jot down thoughts in my journal. It’s pretty rare that I don’t do both at some point in the day, though.

When I’m writing, it’s usually for this blog. When I’m journaling, I’m either writing down ideas I’m learning/pondering or I’m writing down things I’m grateful for. Man is this a game changer.

Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the FEW things that go wrong during the day, but when you have a gratitude journal, you have the ability to see (and be thankful for) the HUNDREDS of things that go right in the day which you wouldn’t normally notice otherwise.

It’s helpful medicine.

I hope you enjoyed this post and put some of these steps and habits into your morning routine. I’d love to hear if any of these tips have helped you in any way so drop me a comment!

10 Productivity Hacks That Will Help You GSD

There are always deadlines and things we need to do where we can certainly use a boost of productivity.

Whether it’s for personal reasons or just a project that really needs to get done at work, if we can get things done efficiently AND at a quicker pace, we’ll simply have more time to do other tasks.

I’ve come across a lot of productivity hacks over the years and this list is boiled down to what I feel really will get you the most bang for your buck.

1) Get out of bed earlier

If you have a set lists of tasks to do each day, when you wake up earlier it will give you more time to get to that list.

By getting up a little earlier each day, you tend to not have a lot of noise around you. It’s peaceful and a great way to knock out things on your to-do list.

It’s been proven scientifically that we have a limited amount of willpower that we can use each day. If you can get up earlier, you’ll be able to use that willpower to get done whatever the day calls for.

That brings me to my next point.

2) Get the biggest tasks or the most important things done first thing

You have tasks each day that take precedence over everything else. You know exactly what you need to accomplish. Whether it’s in your head or listed out, you definitely have a list of things to do.

By getting up early and taking care of the most important things first, you’ll not only have a greater sense of accomplishment, but your days tend to go much easier.

We all know how hectic it can be when the rest of the world wakes up. We get interrupted a million times a day and everything is urgent.

Chances are, if you procrastinate to get these important tasks done, your stress levels will be higher and your willpower may be depleted by that point. When that happens, you’re probably pushing those tasks to the next day.

Just get started. Get your highest priority projects done first thing. Your future self will thank you.

3) Declutter EVERYTHING

When my workspace is cluttered with papers and just junk that’s accumulated over time it stresses me out. It’s incredibly distracting and it takes up space in your mind, trust me.

If you have a clean space where you can get work done, your mind has the ability to focus on just one thing until it’s completed without the crap around you taking up mental space unconsciously.

I’m sure a lot of that stuff you can throw away too, trust me. Go through it once, store it somewhere else or chuck it in the trash. You wont miss it.

4) Start getting control over the information streams you consume daily

There are a lot of things that we consume daily that just take a lot of time to get through. Go through them and see if it’s things you really need to read. Do you REALLY need to check out that block? How about that newspaper? What about that magazine?

By reducing the time you spend reading unnecessary items daily, you open up times of productivity where you can accomplish so much more.

I have drastically reduced what my mind consumes on a daily basis to scheduled times of reading and catching up in industry news.

Notice I said industry news and not the news in general. I don’t even watch the news. Some people call it crazy, but I don’t like filling my mind with negativity. Plus, I get to hear what’s going on in the world from everyone around me. I like it better that way.

5) Get to your job earlier than the rest

Some of the best and most productive days are when I get into work during the quiet hours of the morning. Before you hear all the phones ringing and people chatting, there’s nothing around you that can break your focus.

It’s extremely peaceful and you’ll be surprised with how much you can get done in such a short amount of time.

Not to mention, not dealing with morning traffic is great. You might be able to work out a schedule with your boss to so you can leave earlier. Win/win. More productive and less stressful.

6) Make meetings highly productive or find a way to get out of them completely

While we would all love to just say “no” to most meetings, that’s probably not practical. You can give excuses though if you feel the meeting will be unproductive.

The right excuse can go a long way especially if you’re wrapped up in other projects and busy being productive. 🙂

In almost all circumstances, meetings aren’t necessary and can be completed much quicker than they usually are. There are ways of making meetings effective, though.

7) Stop giving yourself work that you don’t need to do

Do you find yourself cranking out tasks, but not getting anywhere in the process? If you’re not getting closer to a goal, then you’re just doing busy work.

It’s very possible that you get work and tasks from people that are non essential for you to do. If that’s the case, and you notice it, don’t be afraid to speak up and ask why it needs to be done.

If it is, can you pawn it off? If you can’t give it to someone else, make sure that it’s known you’re already overloaded with projects that have a higher urgency to get completed.

Don’t take on those tasks that are unnecessary and bog you down. Your productivity will thank you for it.

8) Make a to-do list

Do you know what the important tasks are each day? Write them down. It’s easy to forget things that you need to do.

Believe it or not, it gives your brain a rest. Instead of making lists in your sleep at night, write down what you need to accomplish the next day and get it all out.

It’ll give your brain a much needed break and I guarantee you’ll sleep better because of it.

9) Schedule time off from the internet

Tim Ferris popularised this in his book the 4 Hour Workweek and he says that you should have set times where you’re checking your email. Some of the wealthiest people in the world have adopted this way before Ferris made it popular and swear by it.

They’re not attached to their emails and aren’t easily available. They make sure of that and it’s something to ponder.

You don’t need to be attached to your email. The world will not come to an end and people will just have to wait until their turn comes and you get back to them. You’ll see how non urgent 99% of the emails you get really are.

10) Work on things you care about

This one might seem like a stretch at first glance, but if you think about it, it’ll make all of the sense in the world.

If you care about something or really want to achieve a goal, you will do whatever it takes to get it done.

You’ll work extra time, you’ll cancel other engagements and your excuses suddenly disappear.

Find something you truly care about. If you can’t get behind the vision of your company, the work you’re doing on a daily basis, or the team you surround yourself with, find a new one. You’ll be a much happier and more productive person because of it.

I hope you enjoyed these tips. I struggle with these at times, but when I put them into practice they make a world of difference.

11 – Bonus Tip) Work in scheduled chunks.

A friend of mine introduced me to the Pomodoro Technique where you work in 25 minute laser-focused blocks of time and then take 5 minutes of rest before starting another.

It’s seriously a game changer and I urge you to try it out for yourself. Previously tasks that took me 2-4 hours to complete can now only take 1-2 Pomodoros to get done.

I’m incredibly more productive because of it and it feels absolutely amazing to knock out important tasks each day with ease.

Try it and let me know how it works out for you!

How To Start Your Journey To Success When You May Not Be Ready

After a fight with one of his teachers, in 1966 a young 16 year old decided that school wasn’t for him. He was dyslexic and felt that school was holding him back instead of propelling him forward in life.

With a great idea he began to work and started selling advertising on a magazine he created with one of his close friends. He was selling these advertisements to local businesses in the area with just a tiny budget. He had to work out of a church nearby to get everything set up and launched.

As this business began to take off, 4 years had passed and he was looking for ways he could get to the next level. With another stroke of genius, he started to sell records by mail to the people who bought the magazine. They were such a big hit that he was able to build a record store with the profits in one years time.

With another 2 years of success under his belt, he decided that he wanted to own a recording studio and start up a record label. So that’s just what he did.

He found artists in his local area and began to rent out his studio. There was one man, Mike Oldfield, who recorded a song that later became a hit called, Tubular Bells and eventually sold over 5 MILLION copies!

Not bad for the first release of a brand new record label.

The next 10 years of this kids life was quite exciting. He was able to add bands like the Sex Pistols and the Rolling Stones. He was able to take his business knowledge to start many other successful businesses in airline, trains, phones and many others – eventually overseeing 400 different companies!

That young 16 year old boy that decided school wasn’t for him decided to start on his dreams despite the fact that he had no experience to do what he did. He went and did it anyway and is now a billionaire because of it. That young boy is Richard Branson.

The Secret To Richard Branson’s Billionaire Status

Anywhere you go online, people are in awe of what this man was able to accomplish in his lifetime. His interviews were always off the cuff and the answers he gave always made sense to me.

The story of how he started Virgin Airlines is quite remarkable and it really speaks to how he not only approaches business, but his own life as well.

Here’s his story summarized:

“No one knew who I was at the time I had my business in the early days. Later in my twenties I was off to the Virgin Islands where I had a very special person waiting for me. You can imagine that I was in a hurry to get there.

While I was sitting at the airport, they said over the loud speaker that my flight was cancelled due to mechanical issues. There weren’t any other flights that night so I had a crazy idea. I was going to get to the Virgin Islands one way or another, so I charterd a private plane to take me there even though I didn’t have the money for it.

I found a small cardboard where I wrote “Virgine Airlines. $29.” and took it over to the other people who were on my flight. I was able to get the private plane sold using their money to pay for it. Needless to say, we all made it to the Virgin Islands that night.

– Richard Branson

Many people would love to learn from this business icon. His passion and knowledge resonates with business owners all around the world – and people listen.

Why Successful People Reach The Top

There’s a speach where Branson was speaking to a group of young business entrepreneurs and he was on a panel of other experts to talk about what the future of business looked like.

Everyone around him was talking about the latest trends and technology. They each had their own ideas on what the future of business was going to be like making it more complex than it needed to be.

“Screw it, just get on with it and do it.”

The person who was taking the complex and breaking it down so simply was worth the most amount of money on that panel of experts. He was the only billionaire.

It makes you stop and think, “What is the biggest difference between these experts and Richard Branson. What is the outlier?”

In my opinion, this was the biggest factor and what made all the difference in the world:

You can easily see by his actions that when Branson says, “Screw it, just get on with it and do it.”, he actually lives his life this way. It’s in every cell in his body and he believes it.

He dropped out of school just to start a business worth persuing because he wanted to. He signed controversial bands to his record label. When he didn’t have the money, he found a way to charter a plane.

Branson isn’t the kind of person that sits around and makes excuses about how now isn’t the perfect time. It’s NEVER the perfect time, but Branson is the first to get started and get the ball moving.

He’s willing to take the first step even when it might seem crazy to most people. I’ll admit, it sounded crazy to me at first, but after I analyzed what was going on, it made perfect sense.

Do What You’ve Been Putting Off Now

Now, I get that this story is an extreme example, but we can all see how Richard Branson was able to reach extraordinary levels in his life.

If I had to boil down a habit that all successful people do whether it’s conscious or unconscious, it would be that they start. They don’t wait until they’re ready. They just start and the rest falls into place.

Branson’s business name even tells a story of his habits. “Virgin.” In all of his 400 companies, he was a virgin at every one of them before he started and now he’s one of the richest men on the planet. He eat, sleeps and breathes, “Screw it, just get on with it and do it.”

It’s not possible to start that many companies and feel ready to begin each one of them. He wasn’t prepared or qualified to launch any of the businesses he did. He chose himself.

You are never going to feel ready. I am never going to feel ready. We have to know that if we’re going to do anything meaningful in our lives or business that it’s never going to be the “right time.”

It’s natural to not feel certain and prepared. It’s even natural to feel unqualified! One thing is for sure though, you have everything you need right now to do what you’ve been putting off. It doesn’t matter if you want to launch a company, lose 50 lbs, become an author or achieve anything worthy.

Just get moving.

The winners will chose to start despite not being prepared, certain, or qualified. It’s my goal with this blog post that you will start whatever is in that head of yours now. Before you’re ready.

Check out this documentary on Richard Branson: