How healthy are we, actually?

How healthy are we, actually?

Almost 3 years now since the Covid Pandemic started and you may be wondering – How healthy are we, actually?  

Well, I’m here today to provide you with some facts, figures and numbers and try to explain how we got here in the first place.

This is the first time in modern history that we have seen a decrease in life expectancy, it has decreased by 1.5 years.  In addition there are the statistics below:

  • 6 out of every 10 Americans are diagnosed with a chronic disease
  • 4 out of every 10 Americans are diagnosed with 2 or more chronic diseases

It gets even worse.  A new study looking at metabolic health (blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, weight, heart attack, stroke, etc.) has also stated these scary facts:

Only 6.8% of Americans have not had some sort of Metabolic Disease.

Which means 93% of Americans are “sick” to one degree or another.

Now I am not here saying that I have all the answers, but I do know that having a fast food restaurant on every street corner, with the largest food suppliers and food scientists creating the best tasting, fully processed foods out there, is not helping us. 

I also know that we DO have a choice in this matter. 

Here is the most miraculous thing about the human body.  The body WANTS to heal itself.  If you are eating a mostly processed food diet, your body is constantly working to heal itself from the inside out. 

For all the drugs out there that will manage symptoms for the 93% of Americans who are “sick” what we fail to realize is that FOOD is actually the most powerful drug.  So let’s start there.  

If we are going to start with food, we have to start with the first release of the US Dietary Guidelines in 1980 by the Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services.  I am not going to dive into super great detail except to say there was a direct correlation in 1980 being the start of the “Obesity Epidemic” with the new release of these dietary guidelines.  

(Want to check out the ORIGINAL pamphlet from 1980?!  Here it is!! )  Some of the guidelines are good – like “avoid sugar.”  But what got us into this huge mess in the first place was the recommendation to avoid ALL fats like the plague, and instead REPLACE fat intake with carbohydrates (Section 4 of the pamphlet). 

And then the guidelines go on to say “If you limit your fat intake, you should increase your calories from carbohydrates to supply your body’s energy needs.”  This was taken quite literally in the 1980’s, and all fat was demonized, so we loaded up on carbs instead, and look what happened: 

From 1980 to 1990, obesity climbed by almost 15%!  And now in 2023, most of the US population (almost 7 out of every 10 American) is overweight or obese.  

Here are a few more facts:

  • 60% of our daily calories currently come from ultra-processed foods (Corn, Wheat, Soy) 
  • For kids, that number jumps up to 67% of foods being ultra-processed
  • For every 10% of your diet that is ultra-processed, your mortality and risk of mortality (death) goes up by 14%

So let me repeat that last one…for every 10% of your diet that is ultra processed, your risk of dying goes up by 14%.  

Let’s use the 60% example:

If 60% of our diet is ultra-processed, then our risk of death goes up by 84%!  

If that doesn’t get you motivated to make a change, I’m not sure what will.  

As someone who was diagnosed at a young age (35) with a very rare form of Leukemia, I have always wanted to lower my risk of death with the things I could control. 

That is why in part 2 of this blog post, we will talk about all of the positive ways YOU can make small habit changes, starting with your nutrition and health. 

Looking for a kickstart to get your healthy habits started right? Check out our 14 Day Kickstart program below:


6 Things to focus on in 2023

6 Things to Focus on in 2023

By: Ben Fogel

I am confident that if you take ONE of these pieces of advice into action in 2023, you will see some pretty amazing success in your life.  I am going to take the contrarian view here and say DON’T create New Years resolutions.

Instead, think of it this way – You are the SUM of your habits.  What you are doing today will help you build into who you are becoming tomorrow.  Here are 6 things that will help you gain and keep momentum in 2023:

1. The little things add up to the bigger things.  The little things ARE the big things.  Everything in life is cumulative

When I realized that everything in my life was cumulative, things changed dramatically.  I used to think in more “all or nothing” terms, but soon realized that did not serve me very well.  

As a former competitive athlete, I thought every training session had to be performed at 110% effort and if I didn’t “bring it” every session then it would be detrimental to my success.  What I have learned over the past 20 years is that even when you make a small but habitual effort towards ANY goal, it will add up and stack in your favor.  

Here I am, Looking in the camera, Winterberg, Germany in 2003!

This is true in fitness, in finance, in nutrition and in everything.  Every small effort you make is multiplied over time.  I tend to remind myself more often than not that “A 30 minute workout is still better than a zero minute workout.”  

2.  Look back on what’s worked in your life and do more of it

Success leaves clues.  If you haven’t gone back and reviewed your last year, or even your last quarter of the year this can be a very powerful exercise.  Many times in the past, I have done something in work or in life that brought about a very powerful change.  Then I stopped doing that thing that gave me success.  

Crazy, I know.  Why would I stop?  Usually it is because of novelty.  As humans, we are pre-wired to want change and I am talking about change just for change’s sake.  Many people around you that are having success with nutrition and/or fat loss are successful merely because they give themselves less choice, and they eat pretty much the same thing every day.  

This sounds BORING, right?  Funny thing is, usually when we can give our brains less options, that is when we can have the most success.  I recently bought 10 of the same exact shirt.  When a co-worker asked me why I wear the same shirt everyday, I said “One less decision to make.”  

3. Look back at what is not working in your life and do less of it

This is literally the opposite of above.  So many times though, we never really hit the pause button in our lives and reflect on the things that might be spiraling your health, wellness, or lifestyle out of control.  

A good start here would be to just write down the top 1-3 things that are not working in your life, then offer yourself an alternative.  For example, if my nutrition is not working in my life, and I have identified that I eat out for lunch every day, then I can make a goal to bring a lunch from home that I know will be healthier and more nutritious than the on-the-go alternative.  

I heard a great quote the other day:

“The reality that you are facing today is based on every action and decision that has come before.”  

The cool thing is, we have the power to change our own reality!  

4. Think of your strongest positive belief, story or thought from the past or current  that when you think about it, you feel invincible  

This can be one of the most powerful things you can do on a daily basis.  I thought back about 7 years on this one for me.  What I realized was my strongest belief came from when I was diagnosed with a rare form of Leukemia back in 2015. 

(Here I am with my amazing wife, Amy after my second bone marrow biopsy)

I had a 3 and 1 year old, and I KNEW I wanted to live, I wanted to survive, I wanted to thrive.  So, every morning when I woke up, my mantra was:

 “I will survive and I will thrive”

This small, but powerful statement made me truly feel invincible during that time, but I stopped saying it and using it after being in remission the last 5 years.  But here’s the thing – with my type of Leukemia, I will ALWAYS be in remission.  It could come back at any point.  So, I have started to make this my morning mantra every morning now.  

5. What are the thoughts, beliefs or stories that pull you down? Don’t believe them.  Call it out when you hear them

This may be one of the hardest ones.  You are your thoughts.  Read that one again:

Your ARE your thoughts

Your mind is such a powerful thing.  You have the power to control your positive emotions, and your negative emotions.  When the negative emotions take over the positive ones, that is when we can really get into a downward spiral with depression, anxiety, and so much more.  

The goal here is whenever you hear your inner voice think about that thought, belief or story, call it out!  When you look in the mirror, and say “I’m Fat!” call yourself out.  Stop that inner voice.  

A good friend once told me: 

“Think of all the things you say to yourself when you look in the mirror, then ask yourself – would I talk to my best friend this way?”  

The answer will always be no.  

6. Replace the “how” with “who” 

This reframe has been a true gamechanger for me.  Instead of asking the question “How am I going to figure out ________” ask the question “Who do I know that can help me figure out __________.”  

There has always been someone before you that has had the same problem as you, and spent countless hours working on that problem to figure it out.  

Tony Robbins likes the thought of having a mentor and utilizing someone that has “Been there and done that” as the cheat code in life.  I love that he says it is our ability to condense decades into days.  

So, next time you ask yourself the “How”, replace it with “Who” and if you are not sure “Who” can help you, you are usually only 1 or 2 degrees of separation away from that person. 

Looking for a perfect kickstart for the New Year?! We have such a great program that you can check out below.  And if you take action now, you can still save over $200 (BUT HURRY, the discount ENDS on Friday, 12/23!)




Things I know at 42 I wish I knew at 22

20 Things I know now at 42 that I wish I knew at 22!

By: Ben Fogel

Over the last 20 years being in the health and fitness industry I feel pretty good about sharing these 20 health, wellness and life principles I have learned.  This is by no means an exhaustive list, but more of a snapshot of what I feel are some of the “biggest bang for your buck” principles you can start with TODAY to make amazing improvements in your life and overall health.  

(There I am, at the ripe young age of 20 – Back when I thought I knew EVERYTHING!!)

In no particular order, here are the 20 things I know now that I wish I knew 20 years ago:

  1. Use strength workouts to increase and gain muscle mass, diet to burn fat and cardio to improve overall health and longevity. 

  2. Eat a high protein diet (between .75 – 1g/lb BW) along with whole foods (think veggies with a side of protein) for body composition and overall better health. 

  3. Drink at least one glass of water before coffee upon waking. 

  4. Delay drinking coffee 1-2 hours upon waking.  This can lead to more sustained energy in the afternoon.  

  5. Sleep at the same time every day. 

  6. Use the 3-2-1 method for better sleep.  No eating 3 hours before bed, stop all work related activities 2 hours before bed, No screens for 1 hour before bed.  

  7. Memory is fallible. When you have a great idea, write it down.  Your mind is meant for thinking, not remembering. 

  8. Your best ideas usually come when taking a walk, working out, or in the shower.  Have a notepad ready! 

  9. Take complete ownership for every result in your life. The only constant in every result is you.  

  10. Who you choose as a partner will determine your level of peace, wealth and happiness.  Choose wisely. 

  11. You will never be as young as you are now.  Do what you feel you are meant to do, and stop waiting for the perfect time to start.  START NOW!

  12. Some of your best decisions come from stillness. Stillness is amplified in nature and meditation.  

  13. You can only get stronger when you face your problems in life.  Embrace the struggle.  

  14. Show up, do the work and seek ways to grow daily.  Do this every day and see the compounding effect that occurs.  

  15. True wealth is about being physically and financially healthy while living in a household full of love. 

  16. Make exercise a part of your life. Why would you not want more energy, better mood, increased healthspan matching an increased lifespan, a healthy brain and more confidence? 

  17. The “Compounding Interest” habits that have nothing to do with money:

    1. Lifting weights is compounding interest for muscle

    2. Meditation is compounding interest for mindfulness

    3. Cardio is compounding interest for heart & brain health

    4. Nutrition and sleep is compounding interest for mood and energy

Doing all of these is compounding interest for living a higher quality of life.

  1. Eat real food. I used to like to use the line “eat like an adult” but even high functioning, intelligent adults still eat like children.  If it is in a box, bag or has an ingredient you cannot pronounce, it most likely was not meant to be digested in your body.

  2. The four horsemen of addiction are: Alcohol, sugar, caffeine, and screens.  Limit these as much as you can.  

  3. Most of the time when you think you are hungry, you are either bored or dehydrated.  Drink a glass of water and get off your phone before reaching for those sugary snacks.  

I hope you found this list useful, and maybe focus on ONE area you can really focus on to see amazing results!

If you are looking for a perfect kickstart for the New Year, we have such a great program that you can check out below.  And if you take action now, you can train for the rest of 2022 for FREE!



Overcoming Stress During the Holidays

It is already the second week of November, and I bet you can already feel the seasons  changing and winter is about to be in full swing!  With that said, we only have 7 Monday’s left in 2022 and so many holiday celebrations crammed in such a short period of time!

How do you keep your sanity during it all?  With family commitments, work parties, and overly busy schedules to get ready for it all we want to help you simplify these next 7 weeks so you can keep your sanity and stay happy (and healthy) over the holidays!

Here are 3 quick tips to own the overcome stress during the holidays.

1.)  Schedule “Me” time!

 Yes, you heard that right! What would benefit you the most during the busiest time of year is to schedule “Me” time.

The best way to do this is to pull out your calendar (I prefer one I can write on, the old fashioned way!) and mark on your calendar every commitment you already know about – every party, event, meeting, etc. that are non-negotiable and that you can’t miss. Once you have those all scheduled, now schedule your “Me” time.  Now is not the time to skip workouts or just say “I am too busy and I am going to take the week off.”

Instead, schedule this very important time just like you would a doctor’s or dentist appointment.  Place it in your calendar and make sure you hold yourself accountable to it by either letting people know that are close to you (like your family) that you have appointments with yourself on these days and times.  Or even better, stay accountable to your coaches here at Epic Fitness by scheduling your coaching appointments ahead of time and sticking to your plan.

2.)  Prioritize your day with the ONE thing that is non-negotiable to get done each day.

After diving into a ton of time-management books and the like, the biggest aha I got was after reading “The One Thing” by Gary Keller.  It was this little gem:

Time is the most valuable non-renewable resource that we all have the exact same amount of.  It is the way in which we use it that becomes the issue. 

What Keller recommends (and what I find super fascinating) is actually making a “to-do” list with just ONE thing on the list.  Yep, you heard me right – ONE THING!  This leads to what they call in the book the “focusing question”, which is:

 “What’s the ONE Thing I can do such by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?”

This reflects back another important concept known as the Pareto Principle.  20% of your effort will produce 80% of your results.  So, instead of having a never ending to-do list that will leave you even more stressed at the end of the day when you don’t even have half of the items complete, find that ONE thing and focus intently on getting it done each day.

Whether it is a project at work, some cleaning you have been putting off at home, or anything in-between, the power of the ONE thing is real!  You will feel so accomplished, and that will allow you to stack wins each day on top of each other.

3.)  Say “No” more than you say “Yes”

As I just wrote that, I know this may be wildly unpopular.  I have been a “yes” man most all of my life, until I realized that respectfully saying “no” gave me freedom that I never thought I had the ability to have.

You will be asked by many people if you can do many, many things over the holidays.  This is where you should be hyper aware of the amount of commitments you are making (schedule them ahead of time – see above!) and how it actually affects your life and your stress levels, especially during the holidays.

We have all been there – you just double booked yourself for that holiday party – and you need to go to both events!  Isn’t that one of the worst feelings?  Showing up for a half hour only to leave almost as quickly as you came.  Gracefully saying “No” can be hard, especially if you have said yes in the past to similar things.  But it also helps you avoid this awkward feeling.  It also give you that precious resource of time back so you can do the more important things.

One of the best ways to get your sanity back during the holidays is to not be afraid to say “No.”  Don’t even think that you have to give a reason why, it is ok to just say “thank you so much for the invite, but I will be unable to make it.”

One of the worst ways to respond is to say, “I will try to make it.”  The word “try” presupposes the likelihood of failure by about 110%!  Honestly, say it in any sentence and put yourself in the shoes of the receiver.  “I will TRY to make it to your party.”  Or, “I will try to pick you up from the airport.”  How would that make you feel if you were stuck at the airport and that is the line your friend pulled on you!  As Yoda famously said (make sure you recite this with the accent!):

“Do or do not.  There is no try.”

 I know this habit will be a tough one, but once you start to say “No” to the little things, you will see the amount of freedom and time it brings back into your life!

Most importantly, enjoy this holiday season with your friends, family and the people that mean the most to you and that lift you up!

Ready to own the holiday hustle and schedule more time for YOU?!  Click below to start our new 14 Day Epic Experience to help give you the kickstart you are looking for.


Magic of Public Commitment

Part 1 – The Magic of Public Commitment

I have been doing a lot of reading, thinking and learning recently, and the most common theme that comes up when the talk is about reaching a particular goal or outcome is this:

When you commit yourself to putting the work in on a particular goal, and when you make that commitment public, you are going to be much more likely to reach the outcome you are looking to reach.  

I want to give an example.  There was a study performed where they looked at two groups that used the “MyFitnessPal” calorie and food tracking app. Group one used the app and tracked their daily nutrition and had targeted calorie goals.  Group two did all the same tracking with one minor difference:

Group two shared their calorie goal and weekly data with a friend or family member and let them know about their commitment to their goal.  

The outcome? Group two had a 50% increase in reaching their goals from literally just doing that one extra part – sharing their commitment to their desired outcome to someone – having another person that they knew they were going to report back to changed their outcome dramatically.  

What can we learn from this?  Well, a lot, in fact!  

We are connected social animals.  The more connection we have with people, the better we ultimately perform.  Think of another scenario – let’s say you have a goal to lose “X” number of pounds in “Y” months.  What do you think would happen to your mindset if you shared this goal publicly on social media?  

What do you think would happen to your “commitment” muscle?  Do you think it would grow a little bit, because you just told your world that you were committing to this thing, and don’t you feel you would have a higher likelihood of achieving said goal?  

Can you think of an area of your life where committing publicly to something and how taking this small, but powerful extra step would help you reach your goals faster?  I bet you can.  

But what if you are shy, and you don’t want to share a personal goal publicly?  That’s totally ok!  This is where you find a very close friend or family member and ask for their help.  Here is an example where you can ask your spouse for help if you had a weight loss goal:

“Hi, honey. I have this goal that between Halloween and New Years I want to stay committed to maintaining my current body weight, and continue to work out 3x/week.  I know this will be hard, since the average American gains between 8-15 pounds during the last 2 months of the year. Can I share with you my weekly weigh-in numbers, and can you continue to help with the kids on those mornings that I like to go to the gym?”  

The first step is just asking.  This is a great way also to connect with your spouse in a way that keeps you both supporting each other.  You can also ask them “What would you like to commit to and have me help hold you accountable to?”  

This works best with a new goal or habit change, because you know you are staying accountable to another human – especially another human you have a close connection with.  

Key Takeaways

Public Commitment will only work when you follow through and stay consistent to do the thing you said you would do.  This is where the law of consistency comes in, and this is what we will be discussing in part 2!  

Ever wonder how to stay consistent with your plan, even when things get tough.  Well, you are in luck!  That is what we will be talking about and it will be all about how to stay consistent with your plan.  Stay tuned!  

Are you looking to stay committed publicly to a health or wellness goal?  Our team is ready to help you!  Check out this amazing 14 Day Kickstart Program that will help you to get the ball rolling:




The Power of Consistency

By: Ben Fogel

I was recently asked by a client what is the one thing I would recommend to see results over the long term.  My answer was, consistency. 

But then, here is the issue.

Most people think about fitness in terms of sprints. 

21-day fat loss challenges, 6-week body transformations, 1 week juice cleanses.  

These “sprints” involve intense periods of training that are in essence and by design unsustainable. They may  work great for those 20 something year olds out there (but not forever), but for the rest of us who have the complexities of life, not so much.  Because, well sometimes life can get in the way.  

As we all age, we should be re-framing our idea of what achieving results looks like, and in what time-frame achieving those results takes.  We should give ourselves a little solace in the fact that it may take a little longer than we expect, and that is where consistency comes in.  

Quite simply:

You should be aiming for less intensity and more consistency, and over a longer time horizon.    

Health and wellness is a marathon, not a sprint.

Just about every gym model out there is competing against the other and is looking to give you more results in less time.  The “best” 45 minute workout.  Or the “fastest” 20 minute routine.  Or the “hardest” 10 minute ab circuit.  

Sorry to break it to you.  But the more intense the workout is, the harder it will be to recover.  And if you are not recovering properly from your workouts, then you will not see results in the long run.  

Consistency isn’t simply willpower, which comes and goes. Consistency is doing it when you don’t feel like doing it.

If it truly matters to you in your life, you must work towards doing the things that matter on your best day and your worst day.  This is where having a very strong and powerful “why” comes into play.  

That “why” may be that you just want to be able to play with and pick up your kids and/or grandkids without pain.  It may be that you want to go on that hike and not slow down your friends of family.

But here is what many fail to realize –  being a successful and high-achieving human is the result of consistent effort over a very long time horizon. 

That’s why if every day is an intense day, we struggle to stay consistent.

Use this framework next time you look at doing the “next hot thing” on the internet –

Think more about what your results will look like 5 years from now, not just 6 weeks from now.

Your health, well-being and your results will thank you for it.

You are here because you are probably looking for sustainable change, and not just a quick fix.  Well, you came to the right place.  You probably also want to try out a new routine to make sure it is sustainable for you, right?  You can check out our 30 Day VIP Experience below, where you can see for yourself what truly sustainable training, recovery and nutrition looks like and that is completely customized to you and your body.

Start Your First 30 Days HERE!

My Wake Up Call

My Wake Up Call

By: Ben S. Fogel

I think at some point in all of our lives, we will have a proverbial “wake up” call. Something that made you change course in your life.  

A near fatal accident in your car while driving and texting.

A health scare either caused by your lifestyle choices, or not.

A conversation you had with someone older and wiser then you that got you to make a change in your life. 

Or maybe at some point in life you made the choice to “wake up” to the fact that maybe your current actions are not in congruence with the person that you wanted to become.  Or maybe you haven’t yet, and if that is the case keep reading… 

It doesn’t always take a life altering event to make a massive change in a better direction.  

Although, in my life – it did.  

October 13th, 2015.  Yes, this was also Friday the 13th.  Coincidence, I think not.  

This was the day I received a call from my gastrointestinal Doctor after months and months of tests – poking and prodding – and after two liver biopsies.  He finally had an answer for what was causing me super abnormally high liver enzyme levels (think like a fatty liver, or what you can get with alcoholism).  

When he called the first thing he asked me was “Are you sitting down for this?”  I am now. 

Then he went on “The good news is we finally figured out what is causing all of this inflammation in your liver.  The last biopsy showed that you have a very rare form of Leukemia, Large Granular Lymphocytic Leukemia, and it has infiltrated your liver.” 

I. Was. Speechless.  

He went on “The bad news is, well, I don’t treat cancers but I do know a great Oncology team that I feel can help you.”  

That was the call.  I remember it so vividly.  I was getting my oil changed, and right there in public I had no idea what to do next.  

All the thoughts running through my head were “Do I call Amy (my wife) first, or my Dad? What about my Mom?  Wait, she will freak out, don’t call her.”  

Honestly, I didn’t know what to think at that moment.  So I just sat and focused hard in that present moment at what I had in my life.  

Two kids under the age of 3.  An amazingly supportive wife.  A brand new business venture that was less than 2 years old.  I had a lot of “new” things in my life, and now this was another “new” thing to deal with.  

This new thing was different.  This was my “wake up” call.  

(There I am after one of my Bone Marrow Biopsies.  Not the most fun time)

It woke me up to realize how valuable every moment in my life was, especially with my family and my kids.   

It woke me up to focus on all the things I could control.

My attitude.

My mindset.

My actions. 

My time (and how I used or abused it).

I had a very good reason now to put myself first.  For the 2 years previous to this that wasn’t the case. I was working “In” my business between 80-100 hours a week.  This was not sustainable.  I knew this.  But, if it weren’t for my wake up call, I may have stayed “in it” for much, much longer.  

At one of my first visits with my Cancer specialists, they told me how bad things really were.  “50/50 chance of survival, but you do have your age and health on your side.”  

That’s when I remember I saw this quote somewhere:

A person who has their health, has a thousand dreams. But the person that’s lost their health, has only one dream.” 

The average age of someone with the type of Leukemia I had was mid 70’s.  I was diagnosed at 35.  Also, I was 6 years removed from competing at World Cup and World Championship level in the sport of Bobsled (and was actually preparing a comeback to the sport, and it was a sports physical that found the initial elevated liver enzymes).  

Looking in the camera, Winterberg, Germany

I am saying all of this because the Doctor’s were right.  I did have a lot of things on my side.  But I was starting to rely on my genetics, and was “too busy” to stay as healthy as I was in the past.  

I needed to make a change, and this diagnosis forced it on me.  

What did I change?  A lot.  Here were just a few things:

  • My focus shifted from trying to work on “everything” in my business to asking for help from my staff and delegating much more.
  • I prioritized my sleep much more – no more days of 5 hours or less of sleep – I strived for 7. 
  • I focused on antioxidant rich foods (mainly working to eat vegetables at almost every meal) because I knew I was missing this, and had the control to change my nutrition.
  • I carved out time for self care.

This was a complete mindset shift, and the shift came from staring at my mortality straight in the face and saying “Wait a minute, I have some say in this.  Maybe I can’t control whether or not the medication works, but I can control all these other inputs in my life.”  

Fast forward and I was in treatment until October, 2017 and have been in remission for almost 6 years now.  

You don’t need a huge life event to make a change in your life.  All you need is that internal switch in your mind to go off and to tell yourself “Enough is enough, I am ready to focus on me now.”  

So take a moment, sit down and focus on it at this moment.  What can you do right now to make one tiny change in your life?  That tiny change may be the tipping point to a different future for you and your family, like it was for me…

Ready to start your journey, and to focus on YOU starting now?!  We have a few spots left for our 14 Day Epic Fitness Kickstart.  Check it out before the spots are gone!


Why “Slow and Steady” always wins the race

Why “Slow and Steady” always wins the race

By: Ben S. Fogel

There are so many internet businesses out there that are spending millions and millions of dollars to buy your eyes and attention to purchase that next “quick fix” – the next “Magic Pill.”  

The more money they spend on advertising the next pill, potion, supplement, or challenge, the more money they make – AND the more people they lead down a path that is not sustainable.  

After spending over 16 years in the health and fitness industry, and working with thousands of clients, I can confidently say there is NO magic pill.  There is no quick fix that will target that “stubborn belly fat” or that will “melt away” body fat like never before.  

What all of these amazing marketers are not telling you is that the real magic pill is consistency over time and having the discipline to stay the course.  

(Are you the Tortoise, or the Hair?)

Actually, I have an equation for being able to create sustainable healthy change over the long term:


My advice is this: stop throwing money away at the “next big thing” or some crazy supplement that your co-worker started to take and is telling you about.  Start investing in daily health habits that will build consistency over time. 

If all you did was drink plenty of water, ate adequate protein (At least .75 grams/pound of BW – see link HERE for more info.), and had vegetables at most meals you would be well on your way for just about any health, wellness, performance goal.  

Now, I will admit this equation above is simple, but not easy.  How do you start to build consistency?  By building small habits (Check out my article here all about how to make an “implementation intention” and to start to build consistency).  

Small habits then start to lead to “routine” and this is really the secret sauce.  The more unconscious we can make our habits lead into a daily routine, the more success we will have.  The more habits we can “stack” upon the others, the more likely we will start to “run downhill” as I like to say (Check out the easiest way to “habit stack” here!).

Next in the equation is discipline.  Can you remember a time in your life when you had a specific goal that you were working towards, and you had to get a little uncomfortable to achieve said goal?  

Maybe you had a goal to run a marathon and getting up every other morning to run a new distance got you a little uncomfortable, but you built the “discipline muscle” and did it every day because it was going to get you closer to your goal of running a marathon.  

Or maybe you were studying for an important final exam in school, and you knew you had to hit a certain grade to make the grade you wanted in that class.  So, what did you do?  You probably scheduled out time in your day (time you thought previously you didn’t even have) to study and work on the problems you knew were going to be on the test.  And then you succeeded.  

Discipline is a valuable character, and when combined with consistency, it can help you become unstoppable in accomplishing any goal you set in front of you.  

Lastly, but definitely not least is desire.  Desire is probably the strongest part of this equation.  If you don’t have a strong “Why” as we call it in the gym – a strong reason for WHY you are actually doing what you are doing, then it will be difficult to follow through with the consistency and discipline to get you there.  

Here are some questions you can ask yourself that will help lead you to your “Why”:  

  • Why is achieving this goal so important to you?
  • Why now?
  • What would happen in your life if you made this change, and achieved your goal?
  • What would be the consequence in your life if you did nothing, and made no change?

Build up your “desire” muscle strong enough that even when you do fall off the wagon, you can quickly jump back on.  

So next time you pull out your phone and see some fancy ad for a new fat loss strategy, or a new pill that is guaranteed to melt fat off your body, think back to all of the things that you have control over.   

You have control over your consistency (your daily habits), your discipline, and your desire.  Nobody can take those characteristics away from you!

Ready to start your journey of consistency over time?  We have a few spots left for our 14 Day Experience. Check it out below!


Play in the Present

How to “Play in the Present”

Time seems to be just flying by!  Can you remember March of 2020?  Doesn’t it feel like yesterday?  The Pandemic seemed to put us in some sort of warp speed, or time travel.  Where hours moved faster and the days, weeks and months just flew on by.  

Now more than ever is a time when we should be focusing on the present.  Being in the present moment allows so much more clarity in our lives, and will ultimately lead to so much more joy. 

But, it is much harder to focus on the present and actually…be present.  So today, I wanted to offer some insights on how to work on being more present and how this practice actually lowers stress and helps you feel much better.   

First off, if we are “dragging on” about the past, or “getting anxious” about the future we will tend to lose focus on the “right now.”  One of the first things that increases stress in our lives is stressing about the past or the future.  

I love this definition of stress with this amazing quote from Eckhart Tolle:

“Stress is the desire for things to be different than they are in this present moment.”  

Read that line above one more time…let it really sink in.  

Here are a few steps for lowering stress:

  1. Acceptance – Accept that what is going on around you is outside your control.  Stress doesn’t come from events and circumstances; rather stress comes from our response or our resistance to those events and circumstances.  Remember, it is not the events in our lives that define us, it is the meaning that we attach to the event that matters.  
  2. Victim mentality – We are no longer a victim to the events going on in the world.  We get to choose our response to each situation.  Remember, you always have the “keys to the car.”  Pull yourself away from having the “victim mentality.”
  3. Applying Focus – Take a moment, in the moment to focus on the present and to take a deep breath and be grateful for the moment you are in.  This can be something as simple as counting 10 deep breaths and only being focused on your breathing, and nothing more.  

One of the best quotes I have heard for the definition of living in the present moment is this:

“To be where your feet are.”

Once you have focused on lowering your stress levels, here are 3 steps for being able to “play in the present moment” and to be where your feet are:

  1. Just focus on the next “play” in your life.  Don’t worry about the play that just happened, focus on what you are going to do next in this present moment. 
  2. Focus on what you have control over.  I love to say “Control the Controllables.”  Focusing on your own attitude and effort can be the two biggest levers you can use to play big in your present moments.  
  3. Focus on the process, not the outcome.  

I want to dive in a little bit more on why focusing on the process is so much more valuable than purely focusing on the outcome.  

First off, I want to say that focusing on outcome based goals can be a good way to focus on more short term goals.  For example, if you have a wedding you want to get ready for in 6 weeks and want to look and feel a certain way in that wedding gown, you may have specific nutritional habits you will focus on or you may also be working out more intensely until your “moment” comes.  

In sports, having short term, outcome based goals happen all the time.  

When I competed at the highest level nationally and internationally for 7 years in the sport of Bobsled.  The outcome goal every 4 years was to win a gold medal.  Even though I never won a gold medal, looking back it was actually the process of showing up day after day and training for 6-8 hours each day that made that part of my life more fulfilling.  I would even argue that by me learning to get comfortable being uncomfortable and doing hard things made me more resilient in my life right now.  

I know a lot of athletes that medaled at the Olympic Games – this was the ultimate outcome based goal – and when they reached the top of that mountain, they had no idea what to do next. In fact, they felt lost, depressed, even defeated for not knowing what next steps to take next in their life.  

This is where having process based goals are so important.

“Focus on the journey, not the destination.”  

I know this is one of the most overused quotes out there, but it is true.  Joy is not always found in finishing a goal, but actually in the processes it takes to get you there. 

If you can get one takeaway from this post, this might be it:

If you can detach from the outcome, and just love the process and the work involved to get you there, you will be well on your way.  

On the other hand, when outcomes and results in your life start to define your self-worth, that is when you will invariably start to have problems – mentally, emotionally and physically.  

The “One Brick at a time” Analogy

If I was tasked with building a brick wall, I feel I have the confidence that I can build a brick wall.  Even though I have zero training in building a brick wall; I have no masonry training, and have never done it before.  But I am still highly confident I can do it. The reason is, I have trained myself to not worry about the end result – not to worry about the finished product of the brick wall.  

Instead, I am going to put all my focus into laying each and every brick – one by one – with care and precision.  If I can take one brick, and set it exactly where it needs to go, then grab the next brick and set it exactly where it needs to go – and if I do that consistently and over time, the wall will just take care of itself.  I don’t have to be worried about the wall (the outcome), I just need to be focused on laying one brick at a time (the process).  

The brick wall analogy really hit home personally for me.  It helped me realize the piece that most people are missing in the equation when they are looking for results – and that is TIME.  Time helps compound your results, and when you keep your effort level the same, and compound it with time, you will always do better than looking at short term fixes, diets, fads, cleanses (or anything else in your life, really!).   

Here is the equation I love to use when thinking of a process based goal:

Effort x Consistency x Time = Results

Time is usually the one missing variable in goal setting, and in feeling better about enjoying the process.  

Outcome based goals in action

Our Epic Fitness Rockstars are being challenged to complete 100 workouts between July 1st and December 31st.  It is the halfway point of the year, and so much of the time we look back at the last 6 months and think, “What happened?”  Remember that New Year’s Resolution?  How did that work out for you?  That was more than likely an outcome based goal.

The 100 Workout Challenge is a processed based goal and challenge.  We want all of our members to focus on the process of consistency, and when paired with effort and time, they will be rewarded with a body that can do more for them than when they started on day 1.  

Want to learn more about the 100 workout challenge, or even do it with us?!  Check it all out below, as we would love to be in your corner during the next 6 months of your fitness and health journey.  And if you are a member, don’t forget to sign up in person at the gym!

Get My 100 Workout Card! (TOTALLY FREE!)

Fitness After 40

Fitness over 40 – How to thrive as you age with your fitness and health

By: Ben Fogel

I was recently asked by a client about this topic, and more specifically questions around these 3 categories of fitness for folks over the age of 40.  Here were the questions we are going to answer today. 

How does a body over 40:

  1. Work out as effectively and efficiently as possible while avoiding injury?
  2. Gain muscle and flexibility?
  3. Work out for the best cardiovascular health?

How does a body over 40 work out as effectively and efficiently as possible while avoiding injury? 

The secret as you age lies in the adage “little and often over the long haul.”  Being over 40 myself, I am constantly reminded of this.  When I was in my 20’s, intense workout bouts (often two-a-days) were the norm when I was competing in the sport of Bobsled.  Then, as happens more often than not, life (and life goals) change.

Looking in the camera, Winterberg, Germany – 2004

Now, at 42, I am prioritizing my recovery from workouts that are far less frequent.  My goal is to strength train 3x/week, and this is also what we recommend to all of our clients at Epic since it is the most attainable and achievable.  It is also what we find to not only be the best “minimum effective dose” and helps our clients get the best results.  

So, we recommend strength training 3x/week along with prioritizing great sleep, supportive nutrition, and even soft tissue work.  In this way, we are able to hit our workouts with great effort each time.  Trying to go all out every single day is not at all what we recommend.  Although we do support and recommend some sort of movement every day (whether it be walks, rucks, metabolic classes, etc) we don’t recommend training at an all-out intensity every day.  

In addition to this, your workouts should be structured in a way in which you are changing your volume and intensity on a weekly and monthly basis, which will help enhance your recovery and help you stay your strongest as you age.  At Epic Fitness, every member has their very own custom program that will progress in volume and intensity each month.  

Lastly, and probably one of the most important points here – Warming up is often the most highly overrated part of the workout, but is truly the most important piece.  Your body needs the extra time to “ramp up” and prepare for the strength training session.  Elevating your heart rate, and getting your joints mobilized may be the best thing you can do each and every time prior to your workouts.  

How does a body over 40 gain muscle and flexibility?  

Gaining muscle as we age can have many roadblocks, but it is not impossible to accomplish.  As our hormones change, along with many of the other factors above, it can be very hard to realize strength and muscle gains.  However, the best way to maintain (and gain) muscle is with a consistent strength training routine.  

So, to answer the question of if you can actually gain muscle over 40 – we say a resounding YES – but with these qualifiers: 

  • Your level of training volume and intensity is appropriate (3x/week strength training)
  • You are eating sufficient protein daily (at least .7 grams and up to 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight).
  • You are getting minimum 7 hours of sleep a night
  • Your calorie intake is sufficient (not in a calorie deficit of over 200 calories per day)

When it comes to flexibility, the quality of our tissue changes over time.  As we age, our muscles and joints need a little extra TLC to maintain mobility.  Training movements with a full range of motion, along with prioritizing your warm up and tissue quality all become massively important here.  

How does a body over 40 work out best for cardiovascular health?  

For cardiovascular health, one of the best things you can do is strength training.  What you sometimes don’t realize is that when you strength train, there will be large variations in your heart rate.  This is what we want for cardiovascular health, lots of peaks and valleys with your heart rate. 

During a training session, the more you can bring your heart rate up to 75-85% of your max, then recover between 15-20%, the more efficient your heart will become.  In addition, one of the most overrated exercises that you can do ANYWHERE is walking.  Especially when you add some hills, and maybe even a backpack on your back (also known as rucking!). 

As little as 15-20 minutes of walking a day can have such a positive impact not only on your cardiovascular health, but also on your sleep, your mood (catching those Vitamin D waves!) and your overall health.  

Final Thoughts…

I wanted to take a quick moment to talk about how your mindset plays a huge role in all of this.  You can truly improve both the quality and quantity of your life by adopting these lifestyle habits we touched on above.  

It also feels like the entire conversation about aging should be changing for the better.  At this moment, in 2022, there are scientists out there (Dr. David Sinclair at Harvard has written a landmark book about this called Lifespan) that has proven if you live into the next 10 years, science will have changed so much to change the human lifespan by decades!  Yes, you heard that right.  What we thought were our final years in our 70’s or 80’s will be more like our 100’s to 110’s!  Cell regeneration will be a thing – just imagine every cell in your liver being able to regenerate to the day you were born… this IS the future.  

The reason I am bringing this up is because you STILL have to take care of your body, as you only have one.  Working out, eating healthy, and recovery are all a massively huge part of living your 70’s and 80’s like it is your 40’s and 50’s.  Because, by the time we get there 30 years down the road, that is what we should be ready for.  No longer will we be calling this our “Golden” years, but our likely our gold years where we are still thriving and feeling amazing!  

At least this is the future that I am looking forward to.  I look forward to my next workout, because I know how much it will help me feel great at 85, and still move and feel my best.  

Now, the only question I have for you is this:

Are you with me?! 

Ready to learn more about how our customized approach can not only add years to your active lifespan, but also get you feeling amazing TODAY?!  Check out our VIP Experience where you get everything we have to offer!  

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