Beat colds with this unlikely nutrient

I’ve come to think of my parents’ house as a place where ambitions go to die.

A sort of black hole, nestled imposingly in Southwestern Ontario, it blots out any attempt at a willful act.

Maybe it’s the plush leather couches, with cushions that contour your body like shallow bay waters receiving an ocean liner for its maiden voyage.  Or the exceedingly supportive recliner that catches you quickly, but releases you slowly.  Maybe it’s the big-screen TV.  Or Mom’s home cooking – the main ingredient of which is love.

Whatever the reason, I find it hard to get anything done (other than hardcore relaxing) when I’m home for the holidays.

All that’s to say you’re lucky to hear from me today.

Especially since the tip’s a timely one.

And here it is…

To beat the best of what cold season has to offer, try glutamine.

Glutamine’s an amino acid (the most abundant in the human body, and easily tapped in times of stress, like e.g. a good workout).  Bodybuilders eat it by the spoonful to improve recovery and as a natural GH booster.

Hospitals include it in IV drips for burn victims.

It’s beloved by naturalists for its ability to heal the gut (and it’s vegan-approved, for the more militant among them).

As an added benefit, it’s a potent immune system enhancer.

Things like Vitamin C and Echinacea are commonly recommended for colds.  I also like oregano oil (a great anti-viral).  But I’ve found glutamine does the job better than anything else.  I take five grams per day (at bedtime) for all the above reasons, and if I feel a tickle in my throat (which is rare) I move up to fifteen grams.

I’ll either not get sick at all, or if I do, it’s short-lived and the symptoms are mild.

And I have a four-year-old.

My home breeds more bugs than a virology lab.

Anyway, there you have it: an immunity booster that also builds muscle and burns fat.

I’d say my work here is done.

The recliner is calling.

Can’t…hold on…much…longer…

Happy Cold-Beating,

Conor Kelly

The bloodsport of writing

One of the best examples I know of suffering for your art is Virgil’s famous poem, the Aeneid.

He started writing it in 29 B.C., and continued until 19 B.C. – and still wasn’t finished.

That’s an average of a line per day over eleven years.

Some days were good.  Words flowed, and well-formed ideas leapt onto the page.  Other days he sat and stared as doubt and self-condemnation welled up inside him.  He was never happy with the end result, and agonized over every line until his death, upon which he left instructions for the manuscript to be burned.

Bit dramatic for my tastes.

But I am tempted to hurl my laptop from the balcony on occasion.

I emerge from some writing sessions like Jean Claude Van Damme in Bloodsport, with the emotional equivalent of broken ribs and a giant cut that swells my eye shut.  Or like the guy whose face is the slow-motion close-up of a foot entering and permanently disfiguring it.

I’m deliberate about every comma, every break in the text.  Even then, when I finally push ‘send’, my finger hovers reluctantly above the button.  It’s as though my child is leaving the safety of the nest for the first time, “She’s too young!  She’s not ready!!”

Maybe some people feel 100% confident about their writing.

I guess that’s not me.

Anyway, the point is getting fit’s like that too.

It’s non-linear.  I’ve never met anyone who lost exactly two pounds per week for 26 weeks.  Instead, there are fits and starts.  For some people, the engine of transformation comes roaring to life in the first month, only to sputter and fall silent in the next.  For others, nothing visible happens until one day – months later – the fat falls from their flesh as though it were well-cooked steak.

Most folks land somewhere in the middle.

It’s an awkward (and often messy) beginner’s dance between progress and plateau.

All of this offends our aesthetic sense.

But thinking you need to be perfect is a trap.

If I needed to draft elegant prose every time I sat at my desk, you’d never hear from me.  But I write every day.  How?  I embrace ENTROPY.  It’s the principle that everything in the universe tends toward chaos.  Or, in my layman’s interpretation, the energy you put into something becomes a lower, less-organized form, but is never wasted…

Perfect is the enemy of good.

It’s action that counts.

If you’re not having the occasional meltdown, you’re not trying hard enough.

For all his hysterics, Virgil created works that endure two millennia later.

So borrow a page from his parchment, give yourself permission to fail, and be bold enough to take your best shot.

Happy Mess-Making,

Conor Kelly

Where there’s a will there’s no whey

My last post on dairy caused quite a kerfuffle.

(Well, not really.  I just like that word… “kerfuffle”.  Heh.)

Building on the theme, I shall now turn my deadly gaze to a darling of the health world:

Whey protein.

It’s been a staple of my diet for the last two decades.   Tons of reliable research shows it’s the best protein for losing weight and building muscle.  But that’s not why I’ve turned my back on my former sidekick.

No my friend.

It’s something far more sinister.

See, whey’s derived from dairy [hissssssss].

As per my earlier comments, dairy products are among the most reactive foods.  And even though I don’t experience any immediate symptoms when ingesting whey, a light bulb went on recently that prodded the gerbil in my head to run a bit faster than usual on his little gerbil wheel.

(Translation: it made me think.)


I decided to perform a whey-ectomy on my eating habits.

And I gotta tell ya, it’s been a revelation.

Not only do I feel clearer, but I digest better…and I may even be a tad leaner without meaning to be.

What am I saying?

If you have any type of sensitivity to dairy whatsoever, I suggest you forego whey for a while (2-3 weeks), to see how it doth feel.   Even if you don’t, try it for “sheets and geegles”, as my Israeli friend likes to say.  The difference might surprise you.

The challenge then becomes what to put in its place.

Soy’s a definite no-no.   Rice, pea, and hemp, while decent, tend to be granular and not tasty.

I’ve long since given up worrying about it.

I was mostly using whey for snacks, and have replaced it with snacktacular trail mixes of nuts, seeds, and coconut flakes.  These don’t tip the 20 grams or so that a bar or shake would, but unless I miss my guess, the improved digestion from eliminating the whey translates to better absorption of proteins in general, so my net intake is higher.

Make sense?

Such is the “411” for today.

For more insights, call (416) 826-4844 to request your personal training consultation.

I’ll see if I can put my little gerbil to work for you.

Happy Whey-Replacing,

Conor Kelly

Barnyard noises that make you 30% stronger

When I was at Western, some buddies and me founded a varsity powerlifting team.

We were an unruly bunch.

Officially UWO Varsity Powerlifting, we went around calling ourselves the “Beefalo Stampede”.

Our many hijinks included:

*Drawing a chalk circle on the floor where we were doing deadlifts, and writing in it the words CIRCLE OF RAGE – a fact we took great care in pointing out to everyone who walked by… “Careful, bro…circle of rage here.”

*Composing rap lyrics about how strong we were (including an epic one called Rage of the Colossi…rage was a theme back then…)

*Slapping each other on the back when psyching up for a big lift, as well as inhaling smelling salts (perfectly legal and commonplace in competitions, but intense-looking to the casual observer)

*My co-founder created comic strips featuring our super hero alter egos The Giant Killer and The Beast (in which we were great conquerors whose mission it was to bring glory to a blood-thirsty Goddess known as The Iron Lady)


Sure is something, ain’t it?

One time, someone wrote a ‘letter to the editor’ of the school newspaper, which didn’t use our names, but was clearly about us.  It was a complaint list about the varsity gym, and the sender made mention of a group of lifters he called “the grunters”.  He identified our “barnyard noises” as one of the reasons a novice could feel intimidated.

He had us pegged for dumb brutes.

Boy was he disappointed.

We published a thoughtful, and painstakingly researched retort citing the use of grunting in professional sports (think Tennis), how Karate black belts call this controlled use of breath kihap (think ‘hiiiiiya!’), and how studies show grunting or shouting while lifting can increase your strength by an average of 30%.

All true, by the way.

What do such musings contribute to your life?

Well, for starters, if you want to be fit, you can’t be too worried about what other people think.

A lot of people shy away from lifting weights, even though it’s the best way to burn fat, build strength, and protect yourself from injury – for that reason.

The real problem is lack of knowledge.

I’ve found that clients overcome their fear when they gain a bit more confidence in the how-to’s of working out.

That’s where Yours Grunty can help.

Call (416) 826-4844 for your personal training consultation to learn more.

No moos, oinks, or baaas will be required in the making of your new body.


Happy Lifting,

Conor Kelly

How to get what you want

Thus was my email to family members recently:

Dear Family, you’ve been preoccupied lately with thinking of what to get me for Christmas. 🙂  It is my sincere wish to relieve you of this terrible burden.  I crave above all else, one thing…Knowledge.  It is with that in mind that I hereby humbly request the following books from Santa…”

You’re thinking two things, (1) I wonder what books he asked for, and (2) wow, he puts a lot of thought into writing even basic communication.

Re: (2) thank you, yes I do.

And (1) sorry, me no tell…

This leads me to today’s venerable truth.

The way to get what you want is to ASK for it.

Before you go DUH, let me clarify…

If you watch kids, they have zero problems with asking.  My four year old basically wakes up in the morning asking, and doesn’t stop asking until it’s lights out and time for bed (and even then she’ll keep going if we let her…)

As we *grow up* [frown], most of us are conditioned by others to think it’s selfish to ask for things, or impolite, and that you shouldn’t *bother* people.

This learned inhibition affects all aspects of our health, happiness, and success.

Our natural state is to be abundant.

My daughter’s *askiness* is proof of that.

Yet sometimes we unconsciously (or consciously) hold ourselves back because of our fear of saying what we want – and moreover, our inability to accept it coming our way.  This arrested communication with other beings and the world at large keeps away lots of goodies we deserve (a lean body, success and money, strong relationships).

This holiday season, I propose a different type of exercise.

Train your asking muscles.

(As I once heard Jack Canfield say, become an *ask-hole*.)

Ask every chance you get.

You’ll discover people love to help and they might even thank you for your forthrightness.

Forget the notion that giving is somehow better than receiving.  It’s a two-player dance.  You need both for it to work.  By being a poor receiver, you’re depriving someone else of the pleasure of giving.

Childlike excitement for your desires still exists in you, somewhere.

Set it free.

Too much modesty never did anyone any good.

By the way, I invite you to use the above message-to-family for your own purposes.

Who knows, you may even get what you ask for.

For your body-related goals (losing fat, reducing pain, boosting energy), call (416) 826-4844 to request (there it is again) your personal training consultation.

Happy Asking,

Conor Kelly

Why dairy’s like mother’s milk to us

Wait…it is mother’s milk.

That’s one reason folks are so defensive about dairy without realizing it.

(Another is the prevailing belief that it’s a health food.)

See, most people know sugar is bad for them.  That’s why, when I recommend avoiding it, it’s not such a shock to the system.

But God forbid I go against the dairy…

Now it’s personal.

Milk and other dairy products contain a protein called casein that’s known to have a morphine-like effect on the brain.  Indeed casomorphins, which your body derives from casein, are thought to reinforce the mother-infant bond when nursing.

No small wonder we feel such a connection with our three-cheese pizzas.

Here’s the deal-e-o…

The earliest instance of consumption of dairy by humans is about 6,000 years ago.

That might seem like a long time, but it’s not – at least not by evolutionary standards.  Our bodies haven’t adapted.  If you want proof, consider that about 25% of the population is lactose intolerant, including me.  The rest of us are likely sensitive to it, even if we don’t have obvious symptoms with the first sip of a latte.  That’s because dairy is so reactive, regular consumption puts your immune system on alert.  The resulting inflammation makes you gain weight.

Still attached?

Let’s use logic to cut the cord instead…

What’s mother milk’s for?

To help little Bessie Jr. grow into a 1-ton animal.  What’s it doing to you, then?  Its growth factors are running around, turning on biochemical switches.  I’ll give you a hint, fat loss is not one of them.

But it’s good for bones, right?

Guess again.  Milk and yoghurt are low pH, which creates an acid environment in your body that leeches minerals from your bones.  Net result = less calcium, not more.  Cultures that are big consumers of milk have higher osteoporosis rates.

Of course, I’ve never told anyone flat out to stop eating dairy.  I’m slicker than that.  I always say, “if it were me, and I had your goals, I wouldn’t eat it,” which is moot since I can’t eat it, as per my comment above.

Anyway, that’ll do for today.

The beatings will continue until morale improves.

For more of my own special brand of tough love, call (416) 826-4844 to request your personal training consultation.

Cue angry replies…now.

Happy Weening,

Conor Kelly

4 books that changed my life

Confession time…

I’m really a nerd trapped in a strongman’s body.

I read voraciously, and when I do, I use a pen to underline important passages (no pocket protector for that pen…YET).  I read many things twice, even three times.  Howevs, once in a blue sunrise, I come across something that inspires me to read it over and over again.

These 4 books are like that.  I’ve read each of them at least five times.

In January, I shalt devour them once more.

To make a short story long, here they are…

1. Think and Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill.  First published in 1937, it’s the best-selling personal development book of all time, AND tops the reading list for most of the world’s wealthiest entrepreneurs.

But don’t be mistaken, this is not simply a book about how to get rich.  Andrew Carnegie hired Napoleon Hill to interview and stalk crazy successful humans like Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, and Theodore Roosevelt, to discover their methods, and deliver the ultimate success philosophy.

What’d I tell ya?  That’s all kinds of cool.

2. The Magic of Believing by Claude M. Bristol.  Arnold Schwarzenegger, among others, has credited this book with changing his life.  And behold, the little Austrian boy has done okay for himself.

It’s sort of vomited onto the page with little direction in terms of chapter subheadings, but it’s filled from cover to cover with amazing stories that illustrate its core principles.

Truly an eye-opening read.

3. Psycho Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz.  Dr. Maltz was actually a plastic surgeon.  He found that for most people, if you give them a facelift, a nose job, or remove a prominent scar, it would transform their entire personality.  But in some cases, even when the surgery had been successful, the patient would fail to notice ANY improvement in their appearance.

This led him to posit the existence of a self-image as separate from what we see in the mirror…and that the key to change lies in altering this self-image.

4. The Complete Works of Florence Scovel Shinn.  A contemporary of Napoleon Hill’s, she’s remarkable for being a woman in a field that – especially in the first half the 20th century – would have been uniquely male.

This one’s got a definite Christian bent (a lot of interpretation of the Bible), which might not be your cup of tea, but I still think it’s worth a mention.  I’ve given it to non-Christians who loved it so much it became their Bible.

She writes with a joyful tone, and makes you feel playful about life.  It’s hard NOT to be charmed by her.  Also, her poetic affirmations are great in dealing with fears and anxieties, and have guided me through some tough, valley-of-the-shadow-of-death type places.

By the way, you’ll notice not one of these was published any later than 1960.

There’s a method to my madness…

I like principles that have stood the test of time.

Anywhoo, put these on the reading list for 2017, or don’t.

Whatever minces your mackerel.

Just know that each of the above has helped me bigtime.

For further inspiration – and perspiration – call (416) 826-4844 to request your personal training consultation.

Happy Reading,

Conor Kelly