The ancient mealtime custom that boosts metabolism

In my family, we have a tradition.

That tradition is to say Grace before a meal.

Grace is a form of prayer.  Typically, the person saying it will thank God for good fortune, send wishes to distant or deceased relatives, and ask for a blessing.

This ritual can be traced back through the centuries, and in fact, you find similar customs in various cultures and faiths all over the world.

Not sure how we humans first adopted it (in the Catholic faith, Jesus would have taught it to his disciples), but apart from demonstrating piety, saying Grace does another important job…

It prepares our bodies to receive nourishment.

The act of pausing, and conjuring feelings of gratitude enhances absorption of nutrients.

Too often in today’s world we eat on the run.  It’s a constant battle against time of how many forkfuls you can inhale before your next meeting or appointment.  Sometimes, we’re revved up about an earlier conversation or anxiously checking emails while we’re at it.

Lookey here…

Eating too fast, or eating while stressed can HARM your digestion.

Go old school.  Take a time-out to STOP and appreciate your food before you eat it.  It doesn’t have to be religious in any way if that’s not your bag.  Just count your blessings.  Remember how lucky you are to have clean, safe food to eat.

Then, every few bites put your fork down for a minute.

It’ll remind you to slow down and stay in the present moment.

Chew slowly.

Savour.

This one habit of being mindful while eating can transform your relationship to food.

It’ll boost your metabolism.

You’ll eat less.

And you’ll benefit more from the life-giving and energy-sustaining properties of your meal.

What more can I say?  Oh yeah…

Amen.

Happy Gratitude,

Conor Kelly
conorkelly.com

4 reasons sugar is like crack to some people

If you’re strung out on the corner, jonesing for your next nanaimo bar…

You’re not a freak.

The *white death*, as hippies and combative nutritionists call her, is a sadistic overlord.

Even if you wanted to escape her clutches, she knows how to keep you coming back for more…

Here are just a few of her wicked ways:

1. Your brain consumes more sugar than any other organ.  In a recent study on rats, they found that the brain doesn’t sit idly and wait for glucose, but glial cells forming the blood-brain barrier greedily extend their tentacles and seek it from the bloodstream.

These cellular Sirens lure sugar molecules to them by turning up the volume on your cravings.

Foul creatures.

2. Excessive sugar intake can lead to leptin resistance.  Leptin is the hormone that regulates feelings of hunger and satiety.  Regular consumption of sugar can mean your receptors fail to *hear* leptin knocking at the door, leaving the hunger switch stuck in the *on* position.

Translation?

You keep scarfing down the sugary munchables long after you’ve had enough.

3. Our bodies evolved a *reward* response to sweets.  In the old days, when sweet treats were rare, our organism developed a feel-good reaction to drive us toward this easy fuel source.  The feelings of comfort that washed over early Homo Sapiens when tasting sweetness taught him, “Og like this.  Og want more.”

You and I are almost identical to Og.

Genetically speaking, anyway.

(Og doesn’t ‘manscape’.)

4. Consuming sugar reduces stress-induced cortisol, which can explain why, in times of stress, one might seek the warm, serotonin-infused embrace of chocolate, or ice cream.

See?

You really never stood a chance.

That’s unless you learned my craving-busting methods, and got clean once and for all.

Reply to this email for your personal training consultation, and find out how I can help.

Until then, tread carefully my friend…

Sugar is an insatiable mistress.

Happy Detoxing,

Conor Kelly
conorkelly.com

Why no news is good news

If there was one piece of advice I could give you that would immediately make you lighter, it’s this…

Go on a news diet.

Stop watching, reading, or listening to the news.

I was reminded of this recently with the fallout of the US presidential election.  If the campaign itself wasn’t enough of giant turd with flies buzzing all around, the so-called backlash to the result also has many of us reaching for a handkerchief or shirt collar to cover our noses.  It’s impossible to suck in all this venom, the way a lot of peeps do – I mean, they take it quiiite personally – and still feel ok, happy, and secure.

Yet you need to feel happy and secure to function at your best.

Remember two things:

1.  No thought lives in your head rent-free. There’s a cost to entertaining all the negative BS…and it’s usually to your general well-being and success.

2.  Fear sells.  There are biological reasons for this.  The primitive structures of our brains evolved in a chaotic world of predators, scarce resources, and many more of Mother Nature’s cruelest survival tests.  Ergo, much of the *downstairs* brain’s role in mediating emotions has to do with perceiving threats – real or otherwise.

We live with these echoes today.

Some are useful, like knowing not to touch a hot stove.

Others aren’t, but still sometimes hand the sentry the illegitimate power to captain the ship.

That’s why so much of what you read, see, or hear is fear-based.

So here it is…

Go cold turkey on the newsfeed crack for a while.  You won’t miss anything important, believe me.

Watch a comedy.

Read a book.

I can’t make you do it.

(As Weird Al Yankovic once said, “you can lead a horse to water…but you can’t keep your eyes open when you’re sneezing.”  Such wisdom…)

Few things will do more for your state of mind.

Anyway, that’s my bit for today.

Call (416) 826-4844 to request your personal training consultation, and let’s chat about POSITIVE solutions to any body problems you might have.

Happy News Avoiding,

Conor Kelly
conorkelly.com

Naked baby doll’s gastronomic adventure

At the time of the great Northeast blackout in ’03, I was renting a basement apartment from a Russian family in Richmond Hill.

They were sweet, red-cheeked little dumplings with much love for The Conz.

Even had a pet name for me…Pupsik, a Russian toy shaped like a naked baby.  Don’t ask.

Many stores were closed due to the power outage, so they insisted I come upstairs for a bite.   The family’s Babushka brought forth a large crystal plate.  From what I could tell, it contained a gelatin substance with random floating chunks of mystery meat (which I later discovered is traditionally pig’s feet, cow’s feet, or chicken feet).

[Akwardly] Ah ha ha!  Yummy…

Being the Canadian paragon of consideration that I was, I powered through.  I took spoon to splotch, and went at it like a champ.  And with my eyes watering from suppressing the gag reflex, I politely asked for more bread, hoping to relieve some of the violent siege on my senses.

During this gustatory power struggle, I noticed the oldest son downing the meat-flavored jell-o like it was chocolate cake.

“What the…?  Is he enjoying this??”  I thought, as I nodded, forced a smile with high eyebrows, and flashed a thumbs up.

That experience drove home for me how varied taste can be.

Same basic DNA shared between us…but our amigos in other cultures will gladly shovel into their mouths forkfuls of fat which we’d normally discard AND vaporize with dish cleaners powerful enough to thin paint.

The reason it’s hard to change how you eat is the same reason we CAN do it…

Your palate is highly adaptable.

So much so that it tends to over-adapt, and leaves you craving things you shouldn’t.

The key to success is to do DIFFERENT long enough for it to take hold.  This only takes discipline when coming off the start line.  Your taste buds will gradually catch up.

Take salt for instance.  You CAN get used to not adding salt to your food.  It feels like something’s missing at first, but after a while, you’ll start to appreciate other flavors more.  Quit sugar, and you might think the world’s ending.  Even then, your cravings eventually subside.

You think the Naked Baby Doll eats merely for function?

Y’all must be trippin’.

I enjoy clean meals.

The problem is making one form of eating *exciting* and the other *boring*, when in reality they’re just different, and you can adapt to either.

Acknowledging you can learn to like so-called healthy foods is a BIG first step.

When you’re ready to make the switch (to eating healthy, not choking down animal parts in lard soufflé) it helps to have someone walk you through it, to avoid common pitfalls. Call (416) 826-4844 to request your personal training consultation, and find out how I can help.

And if you’re ever confronted with intestinal Russian roulette like I was, remember: loads of bread and water, minimal chewing, and SMILE…you can do this!

Happy Clean Eating,

Conor Kelly
conorkelly.com

P.S. Here are a few other terms for *the special* that day…

Hoof hummus
Holodeath (the dish is called Holodets in Russian)
Meat marmalade
Foot flawn
Mousse au animal foot fetish

What’s your favorite?  Leave a comment…

What a Trump win can teach us about fitness

My 4-year old stated yesterday she wants to be President.

When I asked her what she would do as Commander-In-Chief, she said, “I’d look after the kids…if something breaks, I’d fix it…and if there’s a mess, I’d tidy up.”

Not bad.  I’d vote for her on that basis.

Admittedly, I’m biased.

However, it struck me that her platform is about as detailed as the current President-Elect’s.

And this speaks to the power of his messaging.

Let me be clear: this is not a Trump endorsement in any way, shape, or form, nor am I condoning any of his more prickly comments.  I’m referring to the attractiveness of the FORMAT he uses in his rhetoric.

It’s not a coincidence that my kid’s campaign promises mirror in tone those of a – now successful – presidential candidate.

Experts say Trump’s speeches register at a fourth grade reading level.

One reason his words resonate is because, in their simplicity, they bypass the critical analysis of the forebrain, and go straight to the lower, emotionalized structures of the lizard brain.  Even if his supporters can’t say why, they just know what he says feels good…

“We’re gonna make America great again.”

[Lizard brain]: Num num num num…

From his victory speech:

“I’ll put America first but I’ll be fair to everyone…You are gonna be so proud of your president…I’m gonna do a great job, I promise you…”

All statements that (a) might stumble out of the mouth of my kindergartner, and (b) can soothe disenfranchised voters like a blanket and a hot cup of cocoa.

Where am I going with this?

Transformation requires strong self-messaging.

Without it, you don’t build enough velocity to escape the gravitational clutches of your current thoughts and habits.

You can use a similar dumbed down approach when training your mind to make better decisions.

SIMPLE, SHORT, and IMPACTFUL principles are the building blocks of my 16-week program.  That’s why it produces results for such a wide variety of people.   For example, you’ll know what workout is designed to boost metabolism, when it’s time to build your fat-burning engine, and how to amplify fat release by means of a protein day.

Clarity breeds compliance.

Put that on a baseball cap.

But don’t take my word for it, find out for yourself by calling (416) 826-4844 to request your personal training consultation.

We’re gonna make your body great again.

Or, to paraphrase a little politician: “If something’s broken, we’ll fix it.  If it’s a mess, we’ll tidy it up.”

I’m a believer…

Happy Messaging,

Conor Kelly
conorkelly.com

Don’t make me go back to the OLD me

“I’ve done some things in my life…things I’m not proud of.  A long time ago, I promised someone I love that I’d never go back to being that person.  But for you, I’m gonna make an exception.”  – Denzel Washington as Robert McCall, The Equalizer

Once upon a weekend, I worked security for an all-ages event at The Kool Haus.

Essentially a warehouse converted to a concert venue, the main room held elaborate scaffolding with wires and fixtures that powered the light show, scant furniture (shrink-wrapped in plastic, against spills and other projectiles), and a long bar that served only water and soft drinks.

Several DJ’s took the stage to entertain a crowd of 16-year-old’s.

Apart from the usual thoughts of “was I ever like them?”…not much was happening.

That’s until I noticed one kid in full mount on top of another, flailing away at him with punches.  The bottom one lay prone on a couch with his arms raised in defense, trying to prevent his face from getting jack-hammered.

I immediately jumped to the rescue.

I pulled the first guy off, tossing him aside, and checked with the other to see if he was ok.  Then I felt a sudden stinging sensation.  The aggressor, whom I’d casually dispatched, came back with a wild punch that landed on my ear!  I pivoted, a bit stunned.  As soon as I realized he’d hit me, I was, shall we say…a tad peeved.

I grabbed him, picked him up, and not-so-gently redirected his azz toward the exit.

To hear my security buddies tell it, I dangled junior in front me, feet off the ground, and shook him like a rag doll – for three hundred feet, until we reached the parking lot.

I don’t quite remember it that way, but this was at the height of my strength career.  And he weighed a buck fifty, if that. With my adrenaline going, I’m sure I could’ve made a relatively small human dance like a marionette on a string.

(Legal note: no teenagers were harmed in the making of this email.)

For the purpose of lifting heavy objects – and dealing with troublesome club patrons – I’ve found it useful to have an alter ego.

Mine’s The Giant Killer…my nickname when I did strongman.

The Giant Killer’s got the right sort of slightly-pissed-off determination to move things along when needed.  Even today, when faced with a difficult task (e.g. a training session I’d rather not do), I find I’m able to summon The Giant Killer to my aid in getting s**t done.

Look, some things are hard.

Ain’t no but’s about it.

Leaning on an alter ego is one way to beat the resistance you feel, by making yourself EQUAL to the job.

(The other is to chunk it down into smaller, more manageable bits.  That’s why my 16-week program works: it provides you a step-by-step process to achieving your fittest body.  Hit *reply* to request your personal training consultation, and find out if it’s for you.)

Think back to a time when you channeled some hutzpah, stood up for yourself, and felt powerful.

Who were you then?

Who’s the HULK to your Bruce Banner?

Give your superhero identity a name.

And next time you’re confronted with a challenge, don’t be afraid to let *the other guy* (or gal) take over.

You’re a nice person.

I get it.

But for this…you’ll make an exception…

Happy Alter-Egoing,

Conor Kelly

 

Why my carbon isotopes are so dope

Here’s a dandy…

Researchers at the University of British Columbia have developed a new way to study how we absorb protein.  Basically, they *tag* amino acids with a carbon isotope that allows them to be traced on their journey through the various stages of our body’s metabolic process.

What does this mean for the average health and beauty seeker like moi and toi?

Let’s rewind.

First, we know that protein is an essential building block of muscle tissue.  And our proteins are in a constant state of turnover (you get new muscles every 2-3 months).  To keep reinforcing metabolism-boosting, and appearance-enhancing lean muscle, we need adequate protein intake.

But the average person is not meeting these requirements.

Our amino-branding experts at UBC conclude that most peeps are either under-eating protein, or not distributing their rations wisely.

You see, your body can only utilize so much protein at one time, and the rest is wasted.

With that in mind, Canadians tend to over-consume protein at dinner, but under-consume it at breakfast and lunch.  A better approach is to aim for 20-30 grams at each meal, and top this up with high-protein snacks in the AM and PM.   Dropping 4 ounces of chicken breast into your salad at lunch can give you a shot of 30 grams worth.

That’s easy enough.

Where I get a lot of resistance – and maybe it’s just me – is at BREAKFAST.  For a bunch of reasons, lack of time, no appetite, a cultural attachment to eating more in the second half of the day, people tend not to want to beef up their breakfasts (and I don’t mean by eating beef, although – good protein source).

The 30-BEFORE-30 rule has long been a key principle of my programs.

Aim for 30 grams of protein within 30 minutes of waking up (the need for protein is intensified by the 6-8 hour overnight fast).

What does that look like?

6 egg whites with one whole egg, and a half-cup of whole oats will give you around 25 grams of protein, which is pretty damn close, and also a very reasonable quantity of food, I might add.

Where do you go from here?

Up to you.  Do with my advice what you will.

But I can tell you this…the hunger for protein is a habit hardwired into my brain since I was a scrawny 16 year old desperate to impress girls.  It wasn’t on my radar before that, and it took some very deliberate intention and focus (and learning to cook for myself) to embed it into my DNA.

Once I did, I almost always put enough protein in my system to recover from my workouts, get stronger, feel healthier, build muscle, and burn fat.

So there’s hope.

Having simple rules like *30-before-30* will help you ingrain the pattern.

For more simple yet powerful transformation tactics, there’s my 16-week program.  Call (416) 826-4844 to request your personal training consultation, and find out if it’s a fit.

And if you get really good, maybe one day you too can use blog titles to boast nonsensically about how new methods of scientific investigation validate your eating habits…

Happy Protein-Eating,

Conor Kelly