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Saturday, February 08, 2014


After an old bodybuilding picture of mine resurfaced last week, I discussed the details of contest preparation to a friend and told him of all the hard work and dedication it took to get there. All the heavy workouts, and the craziest, most restrictive diet you can ever imagine. He asked me if I could do it again. I told him I could, and could do it even better than I did in those days, because I know more and have evolved a lot since then. However, I told him I wouldn't because I would have to restructure my whole training concept. Then I started to think of all the changes I have made since then, and all the mistakes I made during those days, and how I was misled into thinking I was a picture of health. Let's rewind 15 years, and list what I thought was healthy and the reasons why I was wrong.

Learning From the Past

I owned a microwave back then, and now I won't eat or consume anything that has been heated or thawed in one. Not withstanding the health issues, I think anything cooked in a microwave tastes horrible. Parts are still cold, while others are scorching hot, and everything tastes like rubber. This is due to the electromagnetic radiation used to provide heat. This also denatures and kills most live nutrients in your food, so you are eating food as nutritious as cardboard, and if you reheat in plastic this causes the Xeno estrogens from the plastic to leach into your food, so now you are eating nutrient deficient food loaded with toxic estrogens. Not a good thing! If you doubt the concerns I raise, just Google “don’t use a microwave” and read and watch experts in nutrition and holistic health talk about their concerns. Use the stovetop with stainless cookware. It takes about the same time, or just a little longer, than a microwave and will be better for you.

Two more mistakes I was making: eating cheap tuna from a can and using artificial sweeteners. The mentality was to eat high protein, and minimize extra calories. I never thought about the BPA's in the can, or the high levels of mercury in the tuna, or the toxic nature of the sweeteners. Now, I do not buy or consume any canned goods, artificial sweeteners, or tuna. Buying fresh foods is more beneficial because the food is live, or has recently been so, and so are the nutrients and enzymes that our bodies need for growth and repair, and to keep our immune systems strong. I also only eat wild caught fish, such as salmon, striper, sea bass, halibut, and cod. Larger fish such as tuna, sword, and mako shark carry a higher concentration of toxins due to their position on the food chain. A lot of proof has been accumulating about eating these fish being tied to neurological disorders and problems with cognitive function. So you want to eat the smaller fish. Sardines, mackerel, and anchovies are the healthiest, but are not to everyone's pallet as tasty. As far as the sweeteners, not too many people are unaware of the health risks, so I won't be repetitive on this topic. To ignore the information that is universally agreed upon ends up being a personal choice – and in my opinion, one which would compromise a good diet moving in the right direction.

Another big mistake I was making was buying meat and other food from big discount stores. You know, the ones that sell tires and food in the same store? When you pay discount prices, you get inferior goods. The larger the scale, the lower the quality. Think about it. Can a small organic farmer give the same care to 100 animals as it gives to 1500 animals? Absolutely not. Is the food on a cruise ship with 2500 people on board as good as a small local restaurant that seats 30? Again the answer is no. I have learned over the years that it is rare to find a discount on quality items, from food to tools. Therefore I only purchase my food from quality markets, and only eat free range and grass fed meats and poultry. It is better for you, for the small farmer, and the environment.

I also subscribed to the fat free craze, eating fruity fat free yogurt, ice cream, cookies, and baked potato chips. Now I know that anything with a label that states: fat free/ no sugar/ vitamin enriched/low calorie/high fiber, is a bunch of processed over-marketed garbage. When you eat something packaged, the less ingredients the better, and if you can't read the label - don't eat it. Fat is better than the cheap fillers and chemicals they put in its place, and fat lowers the glycemic index on foods, making them more sustainable, and available to be broken down in the body as nutrients, so when they process yogurt by removing the fat, and add fruit with high fructose corn syrup, it makes it a high glycemic food, making the consumer fatter and fatter, and more and more insulin resistant, and closer to obesity, and diabetes. Not an ideal place for you to be. Eat snacks with ingredients you can read like: peanuts/dates/salt or potatoes/salt/oil (real organic chips). Less is better, and you will see and feel the difference.

A Little Older, but Much Wiser

Back then obesity and other diseases were less than half as prevalent as it is today. I made these changes as soon as I knew the difference, and here I am 15 years later, healthier and fitter with more endurance than I have ever had, with my blood labs and hair analysis tests all being ideal, which leads me to believe that I am correct on these matters. Remember people, knowledge is power, and it took me a lot of education and research to find this stuff out. Now I am giving it to you first hand, in concentrated form. It is up to you to make the change. I changed, and I was enough of an authority then that people asked me for advice. I still knew more than most, but not enough. You now know enough to make a change. If you care about yourself you will make it. Ignorance is no longer an excuse.

My definition of insanity: when you keep doing something over and over, expecting a certain response, and the results never change in a positive way, but keep getting worse. Stop the insanity, and live!! 

Matt Espeut has worked as a personal trainer for almost 20 years with clients ranging in age from 14 to 86. His focus is on overall health, strength, and functional conditioning. Holistic health and nutrition is the cornerstone of all his programs. Matt works in private and small group training available at your home or office location or at gym facilities. Matt offers his services to everyone wanting to be more fit and healthy, overweight young people, youth/collegiate athletes, and seniors. Matt has worked and continues to train at several facilities in the Providence area including Gold's Gym and CORE Studio, and he believes continued education is a must in his field. Email Matt: [email protected], check out his website at www.fitnessprofiles.net or on Facebook at Matt Espeut or on Twitter @MattEspeut.


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