Six Reasons for Hope: Part Four

You Are Far Better Made Than You Think You Are.
“Men go abroad to wonder at the heights of mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motions of the stars, and they pass by themselves without wondering”. – Saint Augustine

One of my favorite topics in elementary and high school was physical science. What particularly got my attention was anything related to the animal kingdom and the great outdoors.

The incredible variety of mammals, reptiles, birds and streams, rivers, ponds and forests, mountains and deserts enthralled me then and still do today. To this day I am at my happiest when I am out of doors exploring and being with the wild and the free creatures and creation.

After I took up strength training in my early high school years though, another fascination in the arena of physical science developed.And that was the physical design and potential of the human body.

What I found perhaps most interesting involves human physiology and what is known as the “adaptive response” of the human body. More specifically, how the body responds physically, chemically and structurally to an outside force, overload or resistance.
Fitness professionals call this response the SAID principle, which stands for Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demands. If you read much of my writing, you have likely heard about this before because I talk about it a lot.

In a nutshell, it means that if you properly and progressively impose a demand on a muscle, bone, joint or ligament, it will eventually be forced to adapt by becoming stronger, healthier, less prone to injury, more efficient, healthier and capable in regards to movement and work.

And, as a teenager who felt “physiquely challenged” at the time, I was particularly ecstatic that I had discovered the ability to create continual adaptive responses which developed positive improvements in my body.

Furthermore, even as a teenager I comprehended that physical adaptations and improvements (strength, muscle development, power, speed, health, movement skills) could be virtually limitless and ongoing until my life ended. Yep, I got that “aha” thought as a teenagerJ

Now, I have also come to understand that there are limits to what each of us can achieve in any arena of life. For example, there are some genetic limitations to what we can do physically.

No matter how hard I work for example, I can only get so strong, lean and muscular and there are limits on how fast I can run, how high I can jump or how much I can lift. As a teen one of my “crazy dreams” was to play middle linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers and be like my boyhood idol, the fierce middle linebacker Jack Lambert.

I eventually had to accept the reality that in no form or fashion do I possess the athletic ability, size, strength, speed, quickness or power to play middle linebacker for the Steelers or even most college football teams. And, no amount of work would ever give me that ability to perform at those levels.

Which of course was meant to be as I believe that God had other plans for meJ

But having said that, I have also discovered that I am far better made than I USED to think I was. In my old way of thinking, I used to think I had “reached my peak” in my 20’s.

Yet at 57 I continue to be amazed and pleased at all of the ways that are still possible for me to continue to get stronger and improve my body’s potential for performance, movement and health. And as I do my hope for all areas of my life continues to exponentially expand too, which is just as if not more inspiring.

In other words, I am beginning to see more clearly that I am far better made physically, emotionally and spiritually and much more resilient than I once thought I was. And the same thing is very likely true for you too.

You too are far better made than you think you are.

And I can state with certainty that this is true most assuredly for you physically.

Before we go further with this point though let’s review the other three reasons for you to have great hope for your health, fitness, wellness and the whole spectrum of your existence.

Reason Number One: If You Can Move, You Can Improve. If you missed that, check it out here.

Reason Number Two: You Can Choose Active Over Passive. If you missed that, check it outhere.

Reason Number Three: You Can Choose Training Over Physical Activity. If you missed that, check it out here.

If you have already read through my 50FIT program and completed it, or read my past emails or blog posts, some of what I am about to say may be a repeat for you. If so, please bear with me.

Nonetheless, my feeling is that the factors I will be mentioning need to be continually pointed out as a reminder to us of what an amazing “machine” the body we have is!

But as I strongly stressed in my last post, to get the most out of your incredible body and physical potential, you will want to take part in an ongoing, scientific, professionally designed full body functional strength and conditioning system/program.

Momentarily I will outline a few components of what such a program would consist of but before I want to reemphasize the key aspect of why I have so much hope for your improved and possibly awesome fitness, health and wellness.

And that is how miraculously well made your body is. My good friend Dan Ritchie, PHD owns and operates two gyms in Indiana (USA) called “Miracles Fitness”.

Miracles fitness is aptly named because of what would seem to be the miracle results many of their members get there. Miracles fitness specifically works with “mature” women or men who are in their golden years.

That is, primarily the baby boomers ranging from 50 to 100 or more. Dan and his business partner Cody are amongst the top fitness professionals in the world when it comes to training mature clients.

And, because they used world class training programs/systems at Miracles Fitness, they more often than not achieve miracles for their clients. And though Dan and Cody’s methods are truly excellent I think that Dana and Cody would agree that they cannot take full credit for what they help people to achieve for themselves.

Because the truth is that much of the credit for the “miracles” that we can realize in our health, fitness and wellness results are due to the incredible and miraculous design of the human body. So, in my opinion, when I am personally experiencing the joy of movement or feeling stronger or training/teaching someone else to get those benefits I give most of the credit to whoever/whatever designed our human bodies in the first place.

This topic can of course open a big can of worms and stir up passionate discourse and controversy. Nonetheless, whether you believe it is God, some other form of intelligent design, mother nature or just a cosmic accident of some sort, whoever/whatever made the human body did a miraculous job!

The bottom line is that what drives my bold confidence and my passionate belief in what is possible for you and me physically is that I know I am working with the best “raw materials” in the universe. When someone starts to tell me all of the reasons that they cannot improve physically and in their health and fitness, I often find myself reminding them that they are far better made than maybe they realize.

And in so many cases, people are far far stronger than they think they are and have not even begun to scratch the surface of their physical potential. And this includes people past 50!

For example, did you know that the world record for push-ups and pull-ups are held by two different guys who are over 50 years old? A man over 100 recently set a 100 yard dash world record but did not start running until he was in his 90’sJ

How can this be possible? It is possible due to a combination of how well our bodies are made in unity with a few unique people who comprehend what they are capable of if they train hard, train consistently and train scientifically.

So that brings us to the topic of what does a professional, science based, full body functional strength training program/system consist of?

Again, many of you may already be familiar with this. Still, I am going to just mention each factor as the factors themselves are not the focus of this post.

A great training program will:

  • Include weekly/daily strengthening and conditioning all seven movement patterns of the human body. These are; squat, lunge, push, pull, rotate/twist, bend/hinge and stride/gait (walk, jog, run).
  • Include a focus on producing measurable improvements in strength, power (amount of work versus time), mobility, balance and endurance.
  • Create improvements in physical health especially in a lower resting heart rate and blood pressure measurements.
  • Include a programmed balance of antagonistic movements. For example, a thought through amount of both pulling and pushing movements.
  • Include a programmed balance of closed chain and open chain exercises. This is a crucial yet often overlooked aspect of world class training and becomes more and more important as we physically mature. This blog post goes into more detail if you would like to learn more about this topic.

But…no training program or personal trainer can ever takes us to our best physical potential unless we first understand and believe how miraculously well made we are.

I hope that from today onward you will start seeing and believing how you can have even greater hope for a better tomorrow because of the raw materials that make up your body. And in my next post I will give you reason number five to help you use those raw materials to feel more fully alive each and every day!

Until then, Stay Strong! Fred

Fred Schafer, MS, CFT

PS – Click here to learn more about Dan Ritchie’s Fitness Program for Mature Adults

Six Reasons To Have Hope: Part Three

Six Reasons To Have Hope: Part Three
You can choose training over “physical activity”.

“If you want to be terrific, you must be specific”…Zig Ziglar

“Couch potatoes breed tator tots”…Fred Schafer

“Subjective training is emotional, objective training is effective”…Tom Fuhrman

Over the past twenty years I have been a featured speaker at hundreds of childhood obesity conferences. One thing I remember about those conferences was a consistent theme that youth in America need to be more physically active.

And that is something that certainly appears to be the case. Today’s youth do not seem to be nearly as active as when I was growing up.

For example, as a youth I remember my summers off from school being filled with non-stop physical activity from dawn to dusk and beyond. After my morning chores (usually requiring physical effort) I walked or rode my bike to the nearby baseball field where we spent hours playing baseball followed by long bike rides and then pick up basketball games after dark.

When I wasn’t at home I was at our summer cabin fishing, hiking and exploring all day and into the night. There was nearly ZERO sitting in front of a TV or video game.

And during the school year it was pretty much the same case. When my friends and I weren’t playing a varsity sport we were either playing in an intramural athletic league or participating in our own sporting games of some sort.

Many adults my age describe similar childhoods filled with robust physical activity. For many reasons though, things seem to have changed.

For one thing, there are just not as many youth around as when I was a kid. Second, and probably more important, the streets were much safer in those days.

Yea, we had bullies around, but abductions and episodes of life-threatening violence were not anything that we ever concerned ourselves with. Sadly, one of the neighborhoods I spent much of my youth in is now considered one of the most dangerous towns in the USA.

So in some ways, it is understandable why today’s youth are not outside as much playing ball, etc as they used to. But one of the things that always struck me at those childhood obesity conferences was how out of shape many of the adults at those conferences were!

I actually found it humorous to see and hear so many well intentioned adults touting the need and benefit for youth to be more physically active when it was apparent these same adults weren’t very physically active, fit and well conditioned themselves.

After speaking at these events most of the time a few individuals would hang around to ask a few questions. One of the most frequent questions was; “what can we/I do to get our youth, my child/spouse more physically active?”

My standard response was/is; “Are you currently participating in a physical training program yourself? And, have you done so consistently for at least the past year?”

Most of the time the response would be, “What do you mean by a training program? I walk a few days per week, is that what you mean?”
My response generally was, “No, that is not what I mean. We all need to be more physically active, and walking is always a good thing to do. But just having becoming more physically active or walking more as your goal will only produce minimal results for most people whether youth or adults. And, if you are serious about wanting to move other people towards a more physically active lifestyle, the BEST thing you can do is to fall in love with the beauty of effective movement yourself. And, to do that, it would really be helpful if you took up a specific and effective functional, full body, strength and conditioning training system/program as a lifestyle. Once you do that and begin to experience the enjoyment of a stronger, leaner, healthier, more mobile, energetic, powerful, fluid body you will WANT to be more physically active more of the time. Then, you will be walking the talk yourself and your own enthusiasm for fitness, physical activity, exercise and TRAINING will grow. As it does, you will become more influential and credible in helping others reach their most physically active, fit healthy and well potential!”

I have won a many converts over to this lifestyle in the past few decades with that response but have lost a few people who weren’t too excited with my response tooJ

But there is a very specific reason why that is my usual response to those seeking to influence others to better health or just themselves. As a 57 year old guy who has studied these topics for over 42 years and have been studying business success for the past 33 years there is something I have discovered.

There is a BIG difference between using good, better or best methods to get results. And while I am not saying all youth need to be involved in an actual physical training program (Though that would be my preference) I do think all adults would benefit and be wise to adopt one.

You see, there is a huge difference between the potential results a person can get from just being more physically active, exercising, “working out” (I’ve seen some peoples work-outs that make no sense results-wise and are even dangerous) and objective based scientific training systems.

And that difference matters more as we physically mature into adults and especially when we move into our 50’s. It nearly breaks my heart when I get emails from people over 50 when they tell me they are ready to “give-up” on getting more fit, healthy, lean and strong.

Because the truth is that there is still a ton of hope for them if they actually took up, committed to and stayed with an effective, scientific, professionally designed TRAINING program. Where and how can they find such a program?

Their best bet is to hire a great personal trainer to design and oversee their training program although that can get expensive. A few lower cost options are to invest in a written training program being sold by a reputable trainer or online personal training programs can also be very effective.

The lowest cost solution is to simply study effective training on your own and create your own training system. That can take considerable time and guesswork though, especially if you have never really studied in this area before.

But the point is that there are clear and distinct differences in the results a person will get from just becoming more physically active and devoting themselves to a physical training system/program.

Because the goal of a training system/program is to create a specific improvement. In other words, to change a current condition into a measurable and visible positive difference.

For example, the goal of a training program could be to:

-Lower your resting heart rate to below 72
-Lower your blood pressure 5-10 points
-Add 10 pounds of muscle
-Drop 10 pounds of excess adipose tissue (fat)
-Eliminate knee, hip, back, shoulder pain
-Be able to do 5-10-15-20 push-ups with good form
-Be able to jog/briskly walk a mile in under 8, 10, 12, etc minutes
-Comfortably be able to fit back into my size 34 jeans
-Reduce or eliminate the need for all medications

In other words, a training program has clear, specific objectives. It isn’t based on emotions and feelings. It is about getting a defined concrete result.

Getting more physical activity, while something we should all strive for, is not specific enough if you want the best way to get the best results. Physical activity simply means everything you are involved in when you aren’t sleeping or sitting.

True, it involves more movement, but no clear objective. Some examples might be doing yard work, taking the dog for a walk, parking you car farther from the office so you walk a little more or taking the steps instead of the elevator.

Getting more exercise is more specific. Exercise is defined as movement that is done purpose. It might include practicing for a particular sport, hiking, walking through your neighborhood, yoga class, swimming, mountain biking, and golfing without a cart. Again, these are all desired activities that are good for your body, brain and spirit.

Many people I know are passionate about some of the above activities and truly enjoy them and they can all be worthy investments of time and good choices to engage yourself in. But they are not the same as a training program.

“Working Out” is considered an exercise session where you intend to physically exert yourself beyond your normal daily activities. For example, if you sit at a desk all day, your goal for working out might be to challenge your cardio/respiratory/circulatory systems beyond what sitting at your desk does and possibly even to perspire.

At the same time many work-outs include the goals of burning more calories and using your muscles enough that you “feel something” or are a little sore the next day. It is always interesting when training people who feel that they did not accomplish something unless they “really feel something” or aren’t sore the day after every work-out.

Then there are the people who call walking on a treadmill while reading a magazine or texting “working-out”. Sure, walking on a treadmill while reading may be “better for you” than sitting while reading, but it certainly isn’t getting you the best results fitness, health and wellness wise.

And that is the difference between many people’s “work-outs” and a well designed training system. Work-outs are often done with little thought, based on watching what other people do, what you read about in a fitness magazine or what you randomly “feel like doing”.

And working-out, in any form or fashion is certainly far more beneficial for you than prolonged sitting and being sedentary. But, if the goal is for you to experience your possible best, then you will want to use the best methods of course.

And that would be to start, commit to and stay with a lifestyle of physical, scientific training. Now, before I scare some of you off with that, let me say that it is not as ominous and rigorous as it sounds!

Training is simply following an ongoing system of objective focused workouts created to produce specific, meaningful and measurable results in your body’s capacity to be healthy, lean, strong, mobile, pain free. And that is what makes training different and the best choice if living your best health and fitness life matters to you.

And, it can be done in as little as 10-30 minutes a day with little/zero equipment in your own home.

A great training program though has clear objectives and an upward progression to keep you getting better, and better and better. And as a result, our hope is also being trained, taught and conditioned that just as we can train and improve our bodies, we can also train our hope.

But both health and hope flourish best with an objective focused system created to complete a specific vision or destiny. And the beauty is that this is within the grasp and choice that all of us can reach and make.

So please continue to be more physically active and exercise. But for those of us over 50, getting our best results is not something we should approach with amateur style willy-nilly work-outs or doing what we “feel like”.

Instead, we can do what will take us to our physical best potential and place where we start to feel like there is little than we can’t do. To the point where we begin to catch a renewed glimmer of hope that maybe we have haven’t even begun to experience our best results yet.

So I hope this article has been helpful and hope-building and in our next article (reason #4 for hope) we will take a closer look at what an effective fitness and health improvement training system consists of.

Until then, stay strong and hopefulJ, Fred

Fred Schafer, MS, CFT
Have you tried “flexible” intermittent fasting yet?

PS – If you missed reasons One and Two On why you can have hope, you can find them here.

Six Reasons to Have Hope: Part Two

Reason Number Two: 

You Can Choose Active Solutions Over Passive Solutions…

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves”. Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

As you may recall, reason number one that you have great hope for your fitness, health and wellness future is that, “If you can still move, you can still improve”. If you missed that article you can see it here.

And while that is good news, the not so good news for a lot of people it seems is getting yourself to move may not be as easy as it sounds! And this dilemma doesn’t just affect us in fitness and exercise.

For example, have you ever known someone who is always reading self-improvement books but never taking any serious consistent action to make things better in the area that they are reading about? Many of us are likely familiar with this behavior and may even be guilty of doing it ourselves.

Entire books, sermons and psychology courses have been dedicated to this topic of having a goal, dream or desire but never actually taking any action that could possibly help you achieve it.

One of my favorite books on this topic is “Turning Pro” by Stephen Pressfield. I do not agree with some of the author’s spiritual concepts but the meat of his writing resonates with my own experience of having a goal but continually distracting myself from ever diving into the deep waters and taking bold, consistent action to make it happen!

So though we have great hope because if we can move we can improve, our hope may never grow wings if we choose a passive mindset and approach to getting it done.

I began my professional speaking career in 2002 and after two years of speaking I had heard from several dozen audience members that I should write a book. Finally I decided it may be a good idea so I spent the next 12 months reading about 20 books on how to write a book.

Without ever writing a single word. After 12 months of studying I certainly had some ideas on how to write a book, but passive solutions don’t accomplish goals, active solutions do.

Then one day I read a short paragraph that overpowered my book writing passivity. It said, “If you want to get your book done you must begin putting words on paper tomorrow morning. Then, you must continue actual writing (not getting ready to write) every single day until your book is completed.”

Eight months and 350 pages later, my first book was done. Here is the proof.

And, this also proves that active solutions put feet and wings to hope, but if we let passivity stay around too long, it may drown out the possibilities we hope for.

Because of my profession as a fitness author, trainer and wellness speaker I am particularly aware of people’s struggles with this problem in these arenas of their lives. Just this past week in fact I heard from a woman who confessed that she has bought “a ton” of work-out programs but hasn’t ever started even one of them!

Why do we do this?? As mentioned, many great minds have already thoroughly researched, written and spoken about this human quirkiness of saying we want to do something but failing to ever seriously take any notable action on it.

In other words, though we seem to be interested in improving, say we want to improve and even invest in courses to improve, we still don’t take any visible steps to do so. We are at this stage stuck in passivity.

The dictionary defines passivity as: The trait of remaining inactive; a lack of initiative, a disposition to remain inactive or inert, lacking in energy or will. The issues that cause a person to be inactive will differ from person to person of course.

Yes, there are the very well known issues of fear of failure, fear of success, self-doubt, fear of risk and discomfort, fear of pain, being out of control, fear of the unknown, low self-worth and possibly even self-hatred. I could go on, but you get the picture.

But when it comes to fitness, health and wellness there is another issue that is rarely discussed and that issue is the persuasive promotion of passive solutions to improve your body and health.

What, you ask, are “passive” fitness, health and wellness solutions?

Here is my definition. A passive fitness, health and wellness solution is when another person, instrument or program does something to or for you and requires nearly zero meaningful movement from you.

So who or what might these persons, instruments and programs be?

A few you may be familiar with include a pharmacist (just take this pill), a “weight loss” or low testosterone supplement, chiropractor (go in for your weekly adjustment), physical therapist (complete your approved appointments), massage therapist (have someone else massage you) and acupuncturist (let someone else place needles in you).

I am probably missing a few but none of these solutions require daily, lifelong, meaningful and effective moving of your body that requires much effort on your part.

Not too long ago I was contacted by a company asking me to endorse their “liposuction alternative” product. It was basically a thermal wrap that you wrapped around whichever body part you want smaller for a week or so.

They offered me a tempting amount of money to do so but they also highlighted the fact that no exercise or diet changes were needed for success. In my mind there is no way that will work and I certainly couldn’t be connected to such a passive solution in any way!

Because I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that passive solutions, by themselves, will NEVER really make things seriously better for you. And even worse, passive solutions can cause you to lose the hope that you do have because they often promise results for you but then don’t deliver.

Then, we think we are the problem and begin to think that maybe we are just a hopeless cause.

Please don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that some of the passive solutions previously mentioned cannot help you at all and that they do not have a degree of value.

What I am saying though is that they can only take you so far. I have several chiropractor friends who tell me of their frustration with their patients in that they give them this same message, yet it often falls on deaf ears.

The good chiropractor will tell their patient that they will adjust their spine, but in order for them to truly improve, there are a few exercises they should do too throughout the week. The percentage of patients that actually follow through with the exercises is of course, pretty darn low.

So the patient continues to visit the chiropractor for their weekly adjustment because the chiropractor is doing the work, not the patient. The chiropractor of course appreciates the business, but also knows these patients aren’t willing to do what it takes to feel as good as they could.

While this is a bummer, it shouldn’t stun any of us. One only need to watch an hour of the evening news to see nearly every other commercial offering the biggest passive health solution of them all, the infamous “Doctor recommended” or celebrity endorsed magic pill (with 17 side effects read off so fast there is little chance of you hearing themJ) that takes care of everything for you.

Nonetheless, some of the passive health solutions I’ve discussed have their role to play in improving your health and wellness. I have temporarily taken physician prescribed medications and many years ago went to a chiropractor when I had jacked my back up moving a desk down a steep driveway (not a smart moveL).

Likewise, I have fitness friends who get a weekly chiropractor adjustment or massage and have done so for years because they can feel a positive difference in their health and condition. But these individuals know the truth.

Passive solutions alone will NEVER take you to the “mountain top” experience of the incredible, breathtaking, remarkable fitness, health and wellness results that are possible for you.

For that to happen you and I will have to take personal responsibility for moving our bodies and find a way to use “Active Solutions” every day (preferred and recommended) to get where we are capable of going.

What is an active solution?

Active solutions mean that we manage our own movements. We find a way to move (if fitness related, this means body parts are in motionJ) ourselves closer to our goals each day.

We may have a coach or trainer, but it is WE who is doing the moving. Passive solutions can be used to assist you in getting to the top of the mountain in some cases.

As an example, more passive activities like studying a course can better prepare us when we do take action. In the last month I have bought and studied three other trainer’s AB’s courses.

I did this to learn their theories and then the precise techniques they taught for best results. Within a day or two of reading their material however, I was performing parts of their program in my daily work-outs.

In other words, I was using both passive and active solutions. But without the active solution, the passive solution will NEVER deliver its full benefit!

Follow Role Models of Active People, Not Passive

We all need inspiration and encouragement to keep us motivated in applying active solutions in our lives. My 13 year old son is a martial artist.

He was recently promoted into the adult black belt class at his dojo and found that the work-outs were far more demanding than his youth classes. His martial arts work-outs and exercises are all bodyweight movements with a focus on high volume push-up and core work.

Many of the older guys in the class have been there for years and several are ex-military. My son has found it a bit intimidating to see some of these classmates crank out 75 fist push-ups like it was nothing.

In my work-out room I have a picture of one of my boyhood idols, the actor Charles Bronson. As a teenager, when feeling lazy or self-pity, I would look at this picture of Charles Bronson for inspiration and as a reminder of his story of triumph over less than ideal circumstances.

I looked up to Charles Bronson for many reasons though. First of all, like me (Pittsburgh), Charles Bronson was from western Pennsylvania (Johnstown).

Also, like me, as a young man, Charles was somewhat skinny and weak.

But that is where our similarities ended. Charles father passed away when he was only 10 years old (mine when I was 27).

Charles father was an immigrant and at 10 years old Charles did not yet speak English. And at 10 years old he went to work in the western Pennsylvania coal mines and on the farm to help his mother support the family of 15 children.

It soon became apparent to Charles that he did not have the physical strength to keep up with the older and larger men he was working with. So, Charles signed up for a physical conditioning class and learned how to improve his strength and fitness.

He then set up his own low budget home gym and went to work. In a few short years, Charles had become a physical powerhouse.

He took this power into boxing and quickly became a skilled and respected boxer. Later on he flew 27 bombing missions in World War II and received a Purple Heart when wounded in combat.

As an actor, Charles was regarded for his lean and powerful physique throughout his acting career. That should be no surprise due to his daily “Active Solution” regimen.

At his two homes (California and Vermont) he had set up work-out areas with a heavy bag for punching, climbing rope, pull-up bar and makeshift push-up areas. He also ran and threw knives (helps in bad guy movies?) daily.

In other words, Charles Bronson, when faced with a challenge, was anything but passive. Furthermore, from what I have read, he was a man of great character with a down-to-earth humility and he fiercely loved his wife and his country.

For me, he was and still remains a good role model and an inspiration to choose active solutions over passive ones. Knowing the power of a role model for myself, I told my son the story of Charles Bronson as it relates to his dilemma in his new adult karate class and in feeling a bit daunted by the older, bigger and more experienced guys.

Shortly thereafter he made some modifications to our work-out area and began to put in extra work each day on his own with the bodyweight movements from his class and even added additional work. The results have been stunning.

He has, in fact, passed me up on a few movements, which I pretend bothers me but actually is very cool to see. What I am most excited about for him though is that he is learning that active solutions can produce results when done with diligence.

And, I hope this article has served as a reminder to you that active solutions prevail over passive solutions. I also hope it has added some hope to your spirit and outlook for your life and future.

Because the active solutions that Charles Bronson used and that my son and many others are choosing is something you and I can choose to.

And, when we do, our hope and ability to give others hope can get a little stronger each day.

So from this day forward, ask yourself, “am I choosing passive or active solutions”?

Stay Strong, Fred

Fred Schafer, MS, CFT

Six Reasons to Have Hope (Part I)

Six Reasons to Have Hope (Part I)

By Fred Schafer, MS, CFT

“Everything that is done in the world is done by hope.”
Martin Luther

“You are what you are, you are where you are because of what has gone into your mind. You change what you are, you change where you are by changing what goes into your mind”Zig Ziglar

In the past few weeks I have communicated with two people in their 40’s who are struggling with poor health and fitness issues. One, a woman who is facing excruciating hip and back pain to the point where I observed her limping and literally dragging her right foot behind her.

This woman is thin, yet deconditioned (weak, no real muscle, low power body). She does little regular real exercise that will improve her situation but instead is going to physical therapy a few times per week.

Having worked in a physical therapy clinic I understand the value it can bring to peoples lives. The reality though is that it is only a temporary fix, and unless she finds a solution she can permanently integrate (even if she gets surgery) her physical condition will very likely continue to fall way short of what it could be.

The other communication was an email from a man who has heard me speak at a wellness conference. This guy was an active athlete in his younger days but at 49 is now challenged with knee surgery and a variety of other serious health issues.

He stated that he has, “Lots of excuses to not do any physical activity” and recently attended a weight loss program meeting looking for a way that, “an aging athlete can return to good health.”

When I meet or hear from people like this, I find myself wrestling with a range of emotions from sadness, frustration, anger and excitement. The sadness, frustration and anger come from the fact that these two find individuals are suffering and settling for a substandard health, wellness and fitness existence, and it does not have to be that way!bigstock-Man-Walking-With-A-Medical-Wal-35161928.jpg

My excitement comes from the feeling that I believe I know how to “fix” both of these people. Now, it is true I could be wrong and I am certainly not a physician.

And when I say “fix” I don’t mean that I can do the work of a medical professional who specializes in knee or back surgery, etc. Rather, I teach primary movements, motivation, better nutrition and stress reduction methods that can at the very least minimize pain and eventually will maximize movement and muscle maintenance and help bring out the best in a persons body.

Nonetheless, in so many of the cases of people of ALL AGES who are suffering from pain, physical impairment, chronic disease and a de-conditioned substandard level of health and fitness, they already possess all they need to break free and run their life’s race successfully.

The reason I am so confident that these people can have so much better health and fitness is based on the truth that the solutions are in their incredibly designed, wonderfully and awesomely made body and spirit.

I have enormous respect and appreciation for most physicians, medical and health care professionals. If I am in an auto accident please rush me to a hospital with skilled and gifted physicians and a team of caring medical specialists to put me back together again!

But my experience is that most physicians and those in the medical and health care professions are not usually specialists in maximizing the fitness, health, wellness and performance of an individual. Physicians overall are specialists in diagnosing, prescribing and performing surgery.

There are, thankfully, many tremendous physicians that use their profound knowledge of the human body to offer specific and helpful guidance for healthier, better lives for their patients. Still, their specialty is generally not to teach an individual the best day-to-day hands on methods to building a healthier, stronger, leaner, more disease and injury resistant, energy infused, more mobile and youthful body.

That, however, is my specialtyJ

Yet the reality is that this dilemma of millions upon untold millions of people limping along through their lives with less than the best physical condition may be more of a spiritual, mental/emotional and intellectual issue than it is physical.

And to get even more specific, the one intangible ingredient they may be missing the most is…HOPE. While working at a psychiatric hospital I remember learning that one of the leading causes of ongoing depression is hopelessness.

Over the years I have reflected on that thought and found it to be true in my own life. On those occasions when I am feeling sad and blue and even a bit depressed it is often because I am losing hope.

In those cases when I am feeling a degree of hopelessness it is often because I am thinking I may be stuck in a less than satisfactory situation forever. I might believe that I will never get better at truly loving others or that a situation I am dealing with in my life will always be the same mediocre or below level whether it is relationally, financially, professionally, etc.

And, in my profession, I meet many people who have either lost hope concerning their physical condition or are at the very least losing hope that their physical condition and health will ever become better, good or possibly even amazing.

So the question is…how do we increase our hope in the hopes that it will help to increase our physical health and every other facet of our vitally valuable existence? I don’t want to pretend that I have all of the answers, but the best method I have found is to daily feed my mind truthful information, wisdom and knowledge that I can act on which progressively moves me from what seems hopeless to a better result.

With that in mind, I would like to give you six solid true reasons that you have tremendous hope for your health, fitness and wellness in the seasons ahead, no matter what your current condition is!

And the beauty of these truths is that they apply in all of the important arenas of our lives from our professional craft to our relationships to whatever dreams we hope to fulfill.

Reason Number One:
If You Can Still Move, You Can Still Improve…

“Nothing Happens Till Something Moves”...Albert Einstein

Have you ever watched a movie where the hero or heroine gets what looks to be mortally wounded and they are lying there apparently dead? Their friends are kneeling next to them sobbing uncontrollably when all of a sudden…the hero/heroines eyelids flicker!

One of the friends notices this sign of possible life and the atmosphere starts to shift from great sadness to one of hope as the thought to be dead person shows a sign of life. Because, any movement of the body shows that there is still some life in that body.

And the same is true for you. In the cases of both of the individuals I introduced at the start of this article, both of them have not even begun to tap into the treasure of pleasurable health and fitness that they have locked up within them.

You may think I over-embellish with such words, but wouldn’t you agree it feels pleasurable to be able to move with strength, fluidity and energy and be pain free?

And, on the other hand, un-pleasurable to deal with bodily pain on a daily basis or feel sluggish, frail, weak or over-fat? It is certainly less than desirable to not be able to do the things you desire or to look in the mirror each day and be dismayed at what you see.

One of the things that I am fascinated with and marvel at though is the resiliency and capacity of the human body (and spirit). I have been seriously injured and in great pain a number of times.

But in each circumstance, I never lost hope I could recover back to my former fit and strong self because of how well our bodies are made. And, in those times when I despaired about an injury, I would think of those who are permanently paralyzed and now operating from a wheelchair, yet still moving forward in their lives.

And while the human body is certainly resilient, what may be even more remarkable is the capacity of the human spirit to overcome incredible odds.

Earlier this year I met a 65 year old somewhat home bound man with “very poor” levels of health and fitness.

He had done “a lot” of drugs in his younger days, was in a helicopter accident in his 20’s that permanently impaired his left arm use and is now a recovering alcoholic who has not drank for six months yet still smokes a half pack of cigarettes a day.

His physical condition was far from ideal. He had a large protruding belly, flat muscle free chest, skinny arms and weak looking legs with a slow lifeless gait.

Plus, I soon discovered that his daily diet was awful and he was doing zero exercise. Everyone has their story though, and it turns out this mans beloved wife of 30 years had passed away after a brutal battle with cancer a few years ago.

Around the same time, his once thriving commercial real estate business had completely dried up and he had to sell off many of his valuable possessions. Having lost his best friend (his wife) and feeling hopeless about his business he began to lose his will to live and turned to alcohol to numb his emotional pain.

When I met this man I was answering an advertisement to buy some of the things he was hoping to sell off. We struck up a discussion and he began to lament his poor health and fitness and blamed it of course… on his age.

When I told him that I was 57 he said, “Holy S—t!” (Sorry, those were his exact words) You are only eight years younger than me.”

Then he said, “Do you think there is any hope for me at my age? Honestly, as I looked at him I thought to myself, he may be beyond repair!

But over the years I have learned to never underestimate the strength of the human spirit. So I said to him what I say to anyone who asks that question, “As long as you can still move, you can still improve”.

“Will you help me?” He asked. “But I’m dead broke, I can’t really pay you right now.” We worked out a barter deal for an hour of my time in exchange for the fishing gear I had come to buy from himJ.

I showed him six bodyweight zero equipment needed exercises he could do in his home and then we went through his food cupboards, refrigerator and freezer to see what foods were acceptable and what foods he could donate to the local mission.

Next, I wrote up a short list of foods he could get on a low budget that would still fortify his body. We have stayed in touch since then and I have to say I may have never been so touched and inspired than I was by this mans almost indomitable spirit.

With a little dose of hope, he slowly pulled himself back into the ring of life and was now becoming a beacon of hope. One of the cool things about hope is that it is contagious.

He started getting up earlier in the day to do his 15 minute work-outs and make himself a decent breakfast. He also started going into work earlier and in just a few months had closed a few sizeable real estate deals.

He bought himself a new wardrobe with his earnings and soon struck up a serious romantic interest with a lady neighbor across the street. Hope in one area of our lives can spread like wildfire.

This man had reminded me that hope, combined with some truthful information andapplied action can restore a person’s life. And for me, that is one of the most thrilling things to see on planet earth because it tells me and those I care for that we all can have hope.

But the fact of the matter is that for that hope to produce results a person must be willing to move on what hope can provide. And while this principle applies to all arenas of life, it is doubly so when it comes to our physical bodies.

Because movement is the miraculous “medicine” of great hope for your health and wellness. So whether it is knee pain, back pain or excess body fat gain, whatever you do, do not lose hope.

Because it as absolutely true that if you can still move, you can still improve.

Over the next five weeks I will give you the other five reasons for hope, finishing up just in time for a more hopeful 2016!

Until next time, STAY STRONG!

Fred Schafer, MS, CFT

3 “Happy Hour” Fat Burning Strategies


By Nate Miyaki

Drinks with friends can be the perfect way to unwind at the end of the week, bond with friends, and share great stories. However…

Did you know that even moderate alcohol consumption can stir up a swarm of chemicals in your body that cause fat storage?

And did you know that even after just a few drinks, your body’s ability to burn fat can be totally destroyed?

Did you know that one of your main fat loss hormones — growth hormone — can actually be completely suppressed by alcohol?

However don’t worry if you enjoy an occasional cocktail, a beer or a glass of wine now and then. Because…drink2

In this very short article you’ll discover my 3 simple strategies for enjoying Happy Hour without sacrificing your weight loss goals.

You see, I spent the past decade providing nutrition coaching for some of Silicon Valley’s most successful professionals. And I learned pretty quickly that telling them they had to give up the booze to build a hot body was completely unrealistic.

It’s like I was telling them to join a monastery! Drinks after work, cocktails with clients, wine with a dinner date, and the occasional party are all part of life’s simple pleasures.

In fact, I’ve built my entire system around arranging your life so that you can eat the foods you love, enjoy a few drinks, experience the camaraderie of social eating, and still have the body you deserve. It’s called the Half Day Protocol™ and I show you how it works on the next page. For now…

happyhour2Remember, me and my wife enjoy the odd drink as much as the next person, we love food — especially tasty carb foods — and we maintain beach-ready bodies all year round just like the rest of my busy coaching clients. Start with the 3 strategies below on your next drinks night and then read the next page for the full system that allows you to love life and still have the body you deserve…

Just follow these 3 simple strategies and you’ll discover which foods NEVER to eat with alcohol, what the worst drink is for weight gain, and which mixed drinks will go straight to your belly fat.

You’ll also find out exactly which foods and beverages support your weight loss goals without forcing you to become a social outcast…

These 3 “happy hour” strategies are the first step in
a new fat-burning lifestyle that delivers the body
you desire without giving up your social life
or your favourite drinks and foods

Happy Hour Fat-Burning Strategy #1

ELIMINATE These Foods on “Drinks Night”

Food and drink are a natural match. But there’s one food you must definitely avoid with drinks if your goal is to lose weight.drinksnight

You see, alcohol has the unfortunate effect of shutting down your body’s ability to oxidize fatty acids. In other words, it prevents you from using fat for fuel. So when you pound back a greasy cheeseburger with your favorite drink, your body can’t use the fat you’re eating. It gets stored in your fat cells instead!

But you can avoid piling on ugly body fat every time you have a few drinks just by sticking to lean protein and veggies. Order a steak and a side salad instead of a cheeseburger and you’ll wake up the next morning as lean as you are were when you took your first sip.

You’ll discover more about the best food and drink combinations for fat loss in a free report called the Happy Hour Handbook that I’ve made available on the next page.

Happy Hour Fat-Burning Strategy #2

AVOID These Mixed Drinks

You’ve probably heard of insulin. It’s your body’s “storage” hormone. And with the right nutrition timing, insulin can actually accelerate your fat loss by helping you maintain and build fat-burning lean muscle.

But Happy Hour is NOT the right time to spike your insulin, which is exactly what happens when you pound down a sugary Margarita or a sweet Rum Punch. In this case, your insulin spike is going to drive all those calories straight onto your love handles or your muffin top.

So skip the sugary mixed drinks and sip a glass of red wine or a Scotch on the rocks instead.drunk

One of the big reasons I recommend drinks like this is that you won’t be as likely to pound them back. These are drinks that demand to be sipped. But I also like them because of some other potential health benefits.

Research published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that both Scotch whisky and red wine help to protect against coronary heart disease by raising the body’s level of anti-oxidants.

There are more tips on limiting insulin spikes while enjoying a few drinks in my free Happy Hour Handbook on the next page.

Happy Hour Fat-Burning Strategy #3

BEWARE This Popular Beverage

Did you know an excess of the hormone estrogen is responsible for driving fat into your lower body in women, and your chest or belly fat in men.

And did you know a certain alcoholic drink actually contains something called “phytoestrogens” that mimic estrogen in your body?

High amounts of phytoestrogens are bad because they can lead to ugly and stubborn fat storage in some pretty embarrassing places…

odd-beerUnfortunately, the offender is a drink that pretty near everyone loves — beer.

Now don’t worry, I don’t expect you to give up beer. However I do recommend that you limit yourself to one or two beers on each social occasion. And stick with my previous recommendations of wine or Scotch for the rest of the time.

You might also want to try darker beers. They usually take a little longer to drink, and they’re full of beneficial anti-oxidants. For the rest of the habits I use to avoid alcohol-related weight gain, check out my free Happy Hour Handbook and my full Half Day Protocol™ on the next page.

Listen, if you want a sexy body I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to hide in a corner when everyone else is out there having fun over a couple drinks.

You don’t have to suffer through boring “diet” food while everyone else around the table enjoys a delicious meal.

And you definitely don’t have to carry around tupperware containers full of dry chicken breasts either.great-body

Life is too short for suffering like that. But just because you want a little fun in your life, it does NOT mean you have to settle for anything less than the exact body your desire.

In fact, if you can handle just half a day following some simple guidelines, you’ll thrive on the Half Day Protocol™ explained on the next page.

You can actually eat your fill, avoid being hungry, experience social eating, and enjoy all your favorite foods while still consistently losing weight, enjoying the body you always thought was impossible, and keeping it for life. However…

These Unique Meal Timing Strategies Are Not For Everyone!

If you believe that eliminating your favorite foods and all the pleasures of a social cocktail, beer or glass of wine is what it takes to lose weight, then the freedom of the Half Day Protocol™ is not for you.

If you’re convinced that you need to starve yourself to have the body you desire then you definitely won’t like my methods. […and watch out for the rebound weight gain…]

If you feel you need to punish yourself with extreme and dangerous workouts to lose weight, you’ll need a more extreme nutrition plan than the Half Day Protocol™.

Yet if you’re ready to experience a simple half-day plan that allows you to enjoy full, satisfying and yummy meals every single day and indulge occasionally in social eating and drinks, just click the Next Page button below. And…

You’ll discover a unique nutrition method you’ve never heard of before that will END your hunger, switch off your food addictions, and make it EASY to maintain a fast and efficient fat-burning metabolism for life.

Continue Reading On The Next Page >>>

Is Obesity a Disease?

In my hometown there is a Board Certified Physician who now operates 6 “weight management” offices in Northern California and he was on the radio this week talking about metabolism and obesity.

In his lengthy infomercial he was promoting that obesity it is a “multi-faceted” issue requiring a medical approach because, “obesity is a disease”. As I listened to his sales pitch I found myself getting pretty worked up for a variety of reasons.

One, he never ever ever mentions physical activity or exercise. Why? Because if he did, people would not go to him nearly as much as they do.

How do I know this? Because I personally know at least several dozen people who have been under his care and they have straight up told me that his program does not “require” exercise. And that is why they went to him. They “hate exercise”.

a Woman's fingers measuring her belly fat

And I should add, I have never seen any of these people who follow his prescription that have shed excess body fat and kept it off or who have improved their health and fitness on a permanent basis.

Instead of a balanced fitness and nutrition program this “obesity is a disease” focused program relies on buying pre-packaged meals and low carb meal supplements which the physician sells to you.

I have no problem with the pre-packaged meals or low carb supplements and him selling those to his patients as long as he is providing real long term health and fitness benefits. We all have to make a living and I sell products and services to my clients too.

I do have a problem though with him convincing his patients that obesity is a “disease” while not teaching the value a lifelong commitment to the correct type of exercise.

So, it may come as no surprise that I strongly disagree with the idea that obesity is a disease. My position is that obesity is NOT a disease. I think that idea is a bunch of hooey.

According to Webster, a disease is: a disorder of structure or function in a human, animal, or plant, especially one that produces specific signs or symptoms or that affects a specific location and is not simply a direct result of physical injury.

With that definition a savvy marketer like this physician could easily make the case that obesity is a “disorder” that produces “specific signs or symptoms” and “is not simply a direct result of physical injury”.

Several years ago, while speaking at a health care conference in the great state of Pennsylvania a distinguished looking gentleman in the audience asked me the question point blank, “do you think obesity is a disease?”

This put me in a tough spot because I knew that many in my audience would likely argue that it is. But I said what I thought anyway. “Absolutely not” was my response.

To my surprise and a bit of relief, the man nodded his head in agreement. And, no one in the audience, to my surprise, offered to challenge my statement.

Before I go further please let me make it clear that I do my best to love everybody of all shapes and sizes. I am not a “fat shamer” type guy. And for those struggling with obesity, I also realize it is indeed a struggle.

Even for those who have the right information, putting that information into practice often requires overcoming negative self-talk and getting out of their comfort zone.

But I believe that telling people that obesity is a disease is a disservice to them and turns people into victims. And yes, there are those extremely rare cases where a person is suffering with a rare glandular disorder that predisposes them to be obese.

But those cases are indeed, extremely rare.

But here is the truth. For the overwhelming majority of people struggling with obesity (significant amounts of excess body fat) it is simply a result of their ongoing lifestyle.

It is a result of their ongoing physical activity levels, whether they do the right types of exercise, the quality and quantity of food and beverage that they eat each day and how they habitually think about themselves and life.

I have yet to meet anyone who struggles with too much body fat that could not make 2-3 simple changes in their lives that would lead to becoming much leaner, healthier, more energetic and oftentimes, happier and more confident.

In my experience a few quick questions of a person struggling with obesity will reveal the true reasons they are having difficulty shedding excess body fat.

Even more revealing is to spend a day or two observing their daily fitness activities or lack thereof, food and beverage choices and mental/emotional/spiritual health habits such as who they spend time with (other unfit people?), what they read, watch or listen to.

When it comes to the issues of the people they spend time with or what thoughts they are :feeding” themselves, the question to consider is whether they are building an environment or culture for themselves that supports an active, healthy and positive lifestyle or the opposite?

For example, a few years ago I was speaking at a different State School Health/Wellness conference. While I was there I was brought in as a sort of “expert witness” in a case where a woman was threatening to file a lawsuit against a school district for making her child “obese and diseased”, supposedly due to the school lunch program.

I asked if I could meet with the concerned mother to ask her a few questions and meet her son as well. Her son, 12 years old, already had type II diabetes I was told.

We met at 10:00 AM in the morning.

Her son was a stout, strong looking young man with broad shoulders and not excessively obese in my opinion. He also seemed to be a bright, friendly and happy guy. I was a bit perplexed as to why he had type II diabetes.

But then I met his mother. She was noticeably de-conditioned with a good amount of excess belly fat.

Here were my questions for her (Asked gently and kindlyJ:

  • What kind of fitness activity do you have planned for yourself today? Answer: “None. Too much stress, don’t have time and can’t afford a gym membership”.
  • What did you eat for breakfast today ? Answer: “We haven’t had breakfast today Too much stress. Our lives are crazy.”
  • What about his father. What type of fitness activity will he be doing today? Answer: “Are you kidding me. That will never happen”.

So, it was becoming quickly apparent that this young man was living day to day in an environment that did not support an active, healthy lifestyle. Please know that I do not think the answer is to remove the child from the home! I will reveal what I think the answer is momentarily…

But it got worse.

As we were talking I noticed the mother had a pack of cigarettes sticking out of her coat packet. “Is that a pack of cigarettes?” I asked.

She said with some embarrassment, “Oh, you weren’t supposed to see those”.

As kindly as I could, I asked the mom if I could speak to her alone for a few minutes. She agreed and then we discussed that her first priority was to start learning about and living an active, healthy and more positive lifestyle for herself immediately.

As she did so, she would be in a far better position to help her son to do the same.

She still seemed to want to put the blame on the school due to the school meals. Having worked in school nutrition myself for over 20 years, I knew that school meals were not his problem!

So I asked if I could visit her home later that day to see what types of foods she had available at their house for her son to eat when he was at home.

Initially she agreed. Later that day however I was notified that she had cancelled the appointment and eventually she also dropped all efforts to file any legal action against the school district.

Obesity is not a disease. The human body, mind and spirit respond to what is done with them each day.

The human body, despite the challenges of our modern day food supply and stressed out lifestyles, is still capable of becoming a kick-butt high performance lean power packed machine.

And that includes just about ANY body, including yours. For those who have neglected themselves for a long time, there is a little more work to do that is true.

If we need further proof, we need go no further than the “Biggest Loser” television show.

Once these obese individuals start tapping into their mental toughness, self-worth, self-discipline and the hard but rewarding work of “real” exercise and better eating, the excess body fat begins to drop off.

Then, the fit, healthy, energetic them that was truly there all along is revealed.

Obesity is not a disease. Rather, it is many times a deeply entrenched mindset, often guided by not having the right information. In this short blog I am not going to go into all of the detail about what is the right information.

But if obesity is an issue, struggle and challenge for you, here is my condensed “prescription”.

Step 1: Decide that your life matters enough that it should be excellent, joy filled and adventuresome. Getting stronger, leaner and more mobile will help move you to that place. Refuse to live less than your best from this day forward.

Step 2: Tap into your mental toughness. Getting fit, strong and healthy is not easy. It is for the tough minded. Those looking for “easy” won’t make it. If you haven’t figured it out by now, life is tough. I think we actually make it tougher than it needs to be by trying to find an “easy” way. The weird thing is, once we accept the fact that the answer to excellence is hard work, the work, at least mentally…becomes easierJ

Step 3. Commit to a full body functional strength and conditioning program. As you may know, I do not think obesity is the biggest health problem people face. I believe that Sarcopenia is the biggest health problem people face. To overcome sarcopenia, you must get stronger with a strength building program. Mine (50FIT) is an excellent place to start. I also highly recommend my friend Dan Long’s Suspension Training System. His program takes up where mine leaves off. It can be found here.

Step 4. Eat better. Sorry, but this is not rocket science. I can point you to many great resources, but feedback so far is that my “No Nonsense Nutrition” found in 50FIT is a great source of what you need to know to get the basics in place. You can find it here.

Step Five: Supplement only for “insurance” after you have steps 1-4 solidly in place.  Supplementation seems to be the first place many people want to turn to “lose weight” or cure their health ailments. In many cases, this is because they are still looking for the “magic pill” and are hoping to avoid doing any long term (lifelong) commitment to fitness and more disciplined eating.

So please let me make this super duper clear! You can make it to a lean, strong, healthy body without any supplements. 

Now, when I say supplement I am not taking about meal replacements or whey protein, etc. I do use whey protein and greens powders almost daily in a smoothie.

Rather, I am taking about anything in a pill or “potion” form such as vitamins or herbs. Having said that, I currently am using both of these.

But only as insurance. Due to my increasingly busy schedule that often involves flying coast to coast across the USA, I have been supplementing more than before, especially with herbs.

I started with melatonin to help me sleep better before speaking engagements. Many times before speaking I have endured a day of missed flights and other calamities that could throw off good sleep. A bit of melatonin has helped me.

So from there, I have expanded a bit. With that in mind I will introduce you to a product I am now using that I like. But I will repeat myself. You DON”T NEED this supplement and that is triply true if you are not already working out fairly hard with full body functional strength movements and eating a well balanced healthy diet. But if you are, you might consider using this supplement as an “insurance policy”.

Please research the ingredients (Listed on the label if you enlarge it) so that you know what you are taking. Everybody reacts differently to herbs, etc so it is important you do a bit of research yourself.

Step 6. Find supportive over-comers to learn from and be encouraged by. You and I cannot make it on our own. We all need coaching and sincere motivation from someone who has faced challenges similar to ours and met and overcame them. I hope that I have been able to be one of those people for you today.

So in closing, remember, obesity is not a disease. You are not a victim. You have what it takes. Take action today and keep taking action every day for the rest of your life. It will be worth it.

Stay strong, Fred

Herbs That Can Help You



The Masterpiece Mindset

“So what do you speak about?”

This is a question I get nearly every day of my life.
From people I meet in my every day activities to those I sit next to on airplanes to emails I get from my newsletter readers, clients and customers.

For example, last week I spoke two days in Connecticut and on the flight back to California the guy next to me asked, “So what do you do for a living?”

“Well, I responded…I am an author, trainer, consultant and professional speaker”.

“You mean like a motivational speaker”? He said.

“Yea, I hope to be motivational” I jokingly responded.

“Oh that’s cool…what do you speak about?” He asked.

For many years my response has been the same. “I speak about striking back at mediocrity and moving people to mastery in the areas of high performance leadership, organizational growth and health and wellness. My web site is “” if you want to know more.”

And, for the most part, that is still how I respond and still an accurate description of what I do.

Things are beginning to shift however. I started out speaking in 2002 with my first speech titled, “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Healthiness”.

That speech was almost entirely devoted to fitness, health, wellness and nutrition. And, I still get hired frequently to speak on those topics, but with a different title these days.

But due to my background and professional achievements in leadership, business, sales and marketing and entrepreneurship I eventually began to get requests to speak on those topics and have been doing so for the past eight years or so.

Now, depending on who the audience is and what they hire me for, I usually blend and weave in leadership, health/wellness and sales/marketing because these are three of my favorite topics and in my opinion, three pillars to individual and organizational success.

But over the last year or so I have begun to place more and more emphasis on what I now call the “Masterpiece Mindset”. And, at this stage of the game, that will be the title of one of the next books I write, hopefully before the end of 2015.

But I thought I would share with you the basic outline of “my speech”. Please understand that I generally speak anywhere from 60 minutes up to seven hours in one day on these topics!

So, I am just giving you just the very basic outline of what I can talk about (enthusiastically too I might add) for seven hours. And, so far, no one has ever fallen asleep or out of their chair when I am speaking.

Not bad for 13 years!

My speech is not rocket science though and I am no one special. But what I talk about is very personal to me and in many ways is what has not only kept me alive, but actually thriving through adversity.

And, my belief and the feedback I have received over the years is that the material in my message may move you to a better place too.

Very few of you reading this knew me as I grew up and as a younger adult. And, that is probably a good thing!

A few years after I graduated from college I ran into my teacher from the third grade at a social event. “Fred Schafer?! Wow. You made it. Honestly, I’m really surprised you made it. Truthfully, I expected you to be dead by now”.

The way that she blurted this out told me that she sincerely meant what she said. I did not think to ask her for clarification as to why she would say that, because I already had a pretty good sense.

I honestly don’t remember what I was like in third grade but as a youth overall I was a weird combination of brashness and insecurity, at times very focused and at other times, completely directionless and somewhat spastic in my behavior and thinking.

And, sadly, the facts were that several of my classmates from the third grade were already deceased. In a matter of a few years after high school graduation, drugs, alcohol and suicide had already claimed the lives of guys that I used to roam the school hallways with just a few short years before.

Others were in prison. Some were already on full time disability and others were facing life threatening illness. So in hindsight, my former teacher’s comments were not that out of line.

But despite my quirkiness as a kid, I was slowly able to assemble a reasonable degree of success after high school and college until it all came crashing down around 25 years ago in 1990.

I will spare you the details, but I had gone through a divorce and basically “fell apart” and was unemployed for a little over nine months.

It was during that time that I met and was mentored by one of the most influential people in my life, a guy named Bob Cox. Bob passed away many years ago, but it was Bob who actually inspired me to take on a new “masterpiece mindset” despite my somewhat dire circumstances.

He did not call it a “masterpiece mindset”, but in essence it was his philosophy of life and thinking. And that mindset was simply to imagine in your mind that you were a masterpiece artist capable of creating something breathtakingly wonderful with your life.

And, once you got that picture in your mind, to set about actually creating it and bringing it to reality.

Up to that point in my life it had never occurred to me that I had the permission or capability to do what Bob was suggesting. However, it was Bob’s strong belief that way too many people in this world sit around feeling sorry for themselves and despairing and complaining about “the way things are” and wishing that things would get better.

And at that stage of my life, he was describing me.

Bob felt that the world would be a far better place if more people took personal responsibility for their lives and began to see that their lives were in fact a “blank canvas” in which they had the ability to create nearly anything they could imagine in their minds.

Not only did we have that ability, but Bob felt we were actually harming ourselves and those around us by not using our creative abilities to do our best to create something wonderful with our lives.

This blog post is not intended to fully cover this topic but I do want to make it clear that I don’t believe “anyone can do anything”. As a kid growing up in Pittsburgh, PA my idol was Jack Lambert, the fierce middle linebacker for the mighty Pittsburgh Steelers.

If I could have been like anyone else at that stage of my life, it would have been to be like Jack Lambert. Play middle linebacker for the Steelers!

Only one problem. No matter how hard I worked or learned, I simply do not have the physical make-up or athletic ability to play middle linebacker for even a Division III college, let alone any NFL team, especially the Steelers.

Of course, if my true passion was football, there are probably 100 ways I could have taken that passion and turned it into a career that allowed me to use that passion, serve others and earn an income.

But the point is, we can’t always “be anything we want to be”. Nor should we in many cases. Rather, we should seek to find how our own unique design can be best used to create a “Masterpiece” for the world to behold and for us to enjoy producing.

I am not saying that I have fully done this yet, but I am certainly a lot further on that path than I would have been if I had not been so blessed to meet Bob.

Because the “Masterpiece Mindset” I first learned from Bob and have furthered developed has allowed me to do some really cool stuff I could have never dreamed of.

“Stuff” such as being a nationally known professional speaker the past thirteen years and writing two books including 50FIT ( which is now being used in 39 countries around the world.

And furthermore, it is this mindset that gives me such great hope and confidence about my future, and possibly, your future too. Because this mindset can move you from what seems to be just a dream to creating a “Masterpiece” that began in your imagination.

So, please see below the actual hand-out I give to some of my audiences when I am speaking for three or more hours. If I am speaking for a shorter amount of time, I use an abbreviated and shorter hand-out!

As you can see, I structure my speech by starting with the mindset mistakes we often make and then offer a “masterpiece solution”. As stated before, this is just the outline but many people have told me they found it very helpful in at least getting a frame around the masterpiece they had in mind.

I hope you find it helpful or at least interesting. And now, for those of you who wanted to know, you have a better idea of what I usually speak about.

If you would like to learn more, again, you can also visit

The Masterpiece Mindset

Mindset Mistake # 1 – We Complain and Despair About the Way Things Are and Wish They Would Get Better.

Masterpiece Solution #1 – Boldly Declare Your Intentions in Writing & Then Fearlessly Create Them.

1) Imagine Possibilities For the Future Fearlessly, Limitlessly and Passionately.

Picture in your mind your future as a magnificent “Masterpiece” creation that you have the talent and inspiration to produce. If you are having trouble with this, start by writing down questions and then answering them. A good place to start is with the four emotions that move people. These are mad, sad, scared and glad.

• What makes you mad about the way things are?
• What makes you sad about the way things are?
• What makes you scared about the way things are?
• What would make you glad in the future?

Also, you can use this six “honest serving questions:

-What do you want to do?
-Why do you want to do it?
-Who will benefit if it got done?
-Where will you find the resources?
-How will you accomplish this?
-When will you start and finish this?

Another way to spark ideas is to create a victory list from your life. Think back through your life to your earliest memories and write down EVERY “victory” or cool thing that you did or accomplished throughout your life.

When I wrote my victory list I was pleasantly surprised at the fun memories that surfaced. These victories are important because they are clues on where you could focus on creating a more victorious future.

2) Boldly describe and “declare” that picture in writing to the best of your abilities. Make it as specific, exciting and daring as possible. No more than 1,000 words. Write down every thought that comes to mind even if it makes no sense or seems “stupid” or silly to you. Stupid is often the start of genius.

3) Commit to taking progressive, measurable action on what you just wrote immediately and consistently using the Drip-Drip-Drip method (Daily Declared Direction) and applying the 1% monthly improvement method and the “compound interest” effect.

Mindset Mistake # 2 – We Focus On Our Flaws & Discourage Ourselves.

Masterpiece Solution # 2 – Focus On Your Cause, Drill Your Skills, Enjoy More Thrills.

1) Establish Your “Cause” in 10 words or less. This can take a lot of time and thought and can change throughout the seasons of your life. If you don’t have a clue what yours is, consider using the Einstein Method to start getting some answers.

That is, write down the question, “what is my work/life cause?” on an index card and carry it with you so that as you get clues you can write them down before you lose them. For example, my cause at this stage of my life is to, “Strengthen people to strike back at mediocrity and move them to mastery””. Yea, more than 10 words if you count “to”, “at” and “and”

2) Identify the 1-3 “80/20” skills that you can drill to create the most thrilling results for yourself and your “Mighty Forces”. Your “Mighty Forces” will be those who are directly or indirectly benefitted by your cause. That is, what talent can you regularly practice to daily move yourself toward greater mastery of your skills in order to produce increasing “thrills” (benefit, value) in your life and the lives of others.

3) Determine your 80/20 “Flow Zone” time of day in which to drill your skills. This is something all who have mastered a craft do. Stephen King and Jerry Seinfeld work on their craft every single day of their lives.

Mindset Mistake # 3 – We Think There is a “Secret” and Stagnate Success.

Masterpiece Solution # 3 – Set Up Daily Systems and Take Five to Fortify.

1) In 100 words or less, describe (in writing:)) your “Masterpiece Day”. It was John Wooden, the legendary UCLA basketball coach who introduced the idea of making each day your “masterpiece”.

In other words, what would a really great awesome day in your life look like for you? You obviously may have to bullet point this. But what will you do to add value to your life and pour that value into others lives as well? Weekdays may look different than weekends, etc.

2) Read the top 10 Books you can find Related to Your Craft over the next 12 months. That is less than one book per month. Any book that will encourage you and give you greater ability to encourage others too.

3) Find a way to physically and functionally strengthen yourself daily. Life is demanding, and preparing yourself physically in advance is wise. Visit Fred’s Blog ( for ideas and resources.

Mindset Mistake # 4 – We Are Too Timid With Our Talent.

Masterpiece Solution # 4 – Unless You Smell, You Should Sell.

1) Don’t ignore clues to your uniqueness. Be curious about your uniqueness and that of others. Determine now to discover and develop your uniqueness to the maximum amount possible. (Strengthfinders 2.0 is a good start)

2) Consider establishing a “personal brand” to increase your positive influence. If you are good at what you do others suffer by not knowing about you. Personal branding helps establish credibility, bottom line results and enjoyment of work and life. The book, “Celebrity Branding You by Nick Nanton) is a good resource.

3) Determine now that this will not be easy. Success in life takes a lot of hard work over a long period of time. If what you are attempting to do is a good and worthy cause, you will face failure and set-backs and be tempted to quit. Don’t quit. Stick and stay till you see your day. It will be worth it and your “Mighty Forces” will be glad you persevered

Make your life a Masterpiece, Fred

Your FREE 10-minute workout video – Guest post

Hey! Derek Wahler here, Certified Turbulence Trainer and I wanted to give a quick shout out to Fred for letting me share my most popular fat-burning workout video with you today.

You see, I have a bit of an unusual story…

Last June, a fitness conference in San Diego turned into 10 days in the hospital, emergency ab and bowel surgery, my stomach literally being stapled together…

And the scariest part was the hours I waited on pins and needles, while the doctors tested for Crohn’s Disease, IBS, and worst of all…


Luckily, my tests came back negative, but the fun didn’t stop there :)

Just a few months later, my then 2-week old daughter was RUSHED to the emergency room – where she spent the next 5 days in quarantine…

That’s right; doctors and nurses weren’t even allowed to enter the room until they were suited up with face masks, gloves, goggles, and full body gowns.

It turns out, she has a genetic skin condition that is so rare, there are less than 1,000 cases of it reported in the entire world…EVER.

And 3 days after my daughter was discharged, I was back in the ER, with tubes up my nose, on the verge of stomach surgery once again.

This time, my scar tissue from the first surgery had wrapped around my small intestine and literally attached it to my inner stomach wall…

Which lead to multiple bowel obstructions.

Now, the ONLY reason why I’m sharing all of this personal information with you is for one reason…

No matter how bad things get, you can NEVER give up on what’s important to you. You have to keep fighting.

With exercise, it’s the same way.

Look, I know you’re busy…

With your career, a spouse, children, a social life, whatever your situation is, there never seems to be enough time in the day.

That’s why I specialize in short, fat-burning workouts that tone your entire body WITHOUT any equipment.

And by short, I mean just 10 minutes. You have time for that, right?

 Your FREE 10-Minute Fat-Burning Workout Video <= Follow Along Style

If you like this workout and want an entire 29-Day program that will flatten your stomach right at home, using my #1 secret for FAST fat loss, then you’ll want to check this out.

Make time for what matters! Derek


Derek Wahler is a Certified Turbulence Trainer, as well as a Certified Personal Trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. As a happily married man, with a 9-month old baby girl at home, he knows how quickly fitness and nutrition can be pushed to the side.

With his constant determination to make workouts shorter AND more effective, he focuses on getting advanced results in a minimal amount of time. Derek currently lives in Madison, WI, and trains clients across the country online with his easy to follow home workout programs.


Top Dangers of Long Boring Cardio – Guest Post

Guest post by: Erin Nielsen – Physical Therapist, CPI, PBCE.Erin 2

Do you still think you have to work out for hours on the treadmill to lose fat and prevent muscle loss?That’s a sad lie you’ve been fed for years.

It’s that lie that has unfortunately caused you to gain fat each year, as you end up more frustrated, and keeps you working out longer with absolute zero results.

The real truth – working out longer can actually cause you to store MORE fat, AGE your skin, and HURT your joints. I’ve seen the damage that long boring cardio does to people’s bodies during my last 17 years of being a Physical Therapist. That’s why I’m so passionate about letting people know the dangers of long boring cardio. My passion is to spare you future joint pain, injuries, fat gain, and premature aging.

Top Dangers of Long Boring Cardio:

  1. It Blocks Fat Loss

The “stress” hormone cortisol, a hormone that actually causes fat storage is created with long boring cardio.

  1. It Hurts Your Joints

When you run and your foot hits the treadmill or pavement, it experiences 3 times your bodyweight in impact stress. That means that if you weigh 150 pounds, every stride you take puts 450 pounds of pressure on your legs and back.

Your joints can’t handle that stress for long periods of time. Your cartilage will break down and cause debilitating pain in your knees, hips, ankles, feet and back.

Every single step sends a harmful force through your entire lower body which can devastate your joints. You’ve seen former runners suffer and over-trained athletes limp along, many needing knee or hip replacements at age 40 or have chronic overuse injuries that prevent them from walking without pain. I’ve seen this time and again over my last 17 years as a Physical Therapist.

  1. It Ages You Faster

Your body wasn’t made to endure long boring cardio.   A recent article in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that: Cardio causes immense oxidative damage and a flood of free radicals to the body.(Cakir-Atabek, H., Demir, S., Pinarbassili, R., Bunduz, N. Effects of Different Resistance Training Intensity on Indices of Oxidative Stress. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. September 2010. 24(9), 2491-2498.)In truth, all exercises causes some form of oxidative damage, however when done for prolonged periods like with long boring cardio – the damage produces chronic inflammation throughout your body that causes damage to your organs and your skin – the result? Your body and skin age faster. You look older. No thanks!

So you see, it’s not your fault you’re not seeing results. You simply need to ignite your hormones into a fat burning mode with the right kind of exercise instead of long boring cardio workouts.

Short Burst Workouts will help you turbocharge your fat burning hormones like Human Growth Hormone (HGH), which not only ignites fat burning, but is also known as the Youth Hormone – so your skin will look amazing. You can look up to 10 years younger with these Short Burst Workouts! How great is that?

You can actually fix your broken metabolism, and get fat burning and youth boosting results. You’ll see tighter, smoother skin as you melt away cellulite and fat without hurting your joints.   You can prevent age related muscle loss with these simple changes to your workouts that will maximize your results!

I am living proof of what short burst workouts can do for you. Many people don’t believe me when I tell them I’m 41 years old – most people assume I’m still in my twenties! A lovely problem to endure.   😉

There is finally a way to look younger and have the body you’ve always wanted – all while you work out LESS and ignite your hormones to finally burn fat at ANY AGE. After all, if I can have the skin and body of someone much younger, imagine what these workouts can do for you?

For more tips on how to look younger and sculpt a lean body at ANY AGE – take a look here: <—

Article by: Erin Nielsen, PT, CPI, PBCE

Erin has been a treating Physical Therapist for the last 18 years creating comprehensive and customized rehabilitative and fitness exercise programs for healthy and unhealthy individuals.

She is also a certified Pilates instructor and personally knows the transformational benefits it brings, like core strength, long, lean, flexible muscles, and improved posture. Additionally she is a Primal Blueprint Certified Expert. Her true passion is to help people look and feel young, healthy, happy, strong, and free of pain and injury.


How Much Protein Do I Need?

I recently received this email and questions and thought I would share the answer with all of my readers.

“Fred, I have a couple of questions for you:

1) I am a male in my 40’s and weigh 185 and am 5′ 10″. How much protein should I be eating on a daily basis?

2) Also, if I wanted to supplement with protein shakes, which protein powder (organic?) do you recommend?”

Protein consumption is an important topic when it comes to our health and wellness and especially for those of us over the age of 40. At the same time, it is a topic on which many disagree and potential controversy.

Nonetheless, if you know me or my work then you already know that I believe the number one threat to great health for people over 50 (begins as young as 30) is sarcopenia or loss of muscle/strength and mobility.

Three primary causes of sarcopenia are a lack of a full body strength routine, too much stress and poor food choices on a regular basis. To get more specific regarding food/nutrition errors, not eating enough lean, healthy complete protein and fresh vegetables is all too common.Fifty Fit & Fabulous

Here is an excerpt from an article published in the Wall Street Journal in the summer of 2014 addressing too low of protein intake:

“According to guidelines published in 2010 by the Society on Sarcopenia, Cachexia and Wasting Disorders, a nonprofit group, as many as 41% of women and 35% of men age 50-plus ingest less than the recommended daily allowance of 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight (0.36 grams per pound).”

The group recommends that total protein should be higher in that age range, or 1 to 1.5 grams per kilogram per day (0.45 to 0.68 grams per pound), spread equally through three meals.”

As you can see according to this article individuals over the age of 50 should seek to eat between .45-.68 grams of protein per pound of body weight.

For those performing full body strength work-outs my suggestion is to aim for the higher end of the scale on protein consumption. In fact, many exercise/strength nutritionists recommend consuming 1.0 grams of protein per pound of body weight to aid in ongoing muscle restoration.

Fitness Instructor Teaching Mature GroupMost men it seems are good with eating .75-1.0 grams of protein per pound of body weight.

Many women are less inclined to do so although it would be to their benefit if they are interested in dropping any excess body fat and improving their health.

So getting back to the question asked by my email friend. He mentions his age, weight and height which gives me enough information to provide good some protein consumption guidelines.

Other information that would be helpful includes his specific fitness, health and wellness goals, approximate body fat percentage, overall activity levels and strength training program, if any.

However, since I know that this gentleman follows 50FIT (A full body functional strength training work-out) and desires to be lean and healthy, I am going to suggest that he aim for .875 grams of lean, complete protein per pound of body weight.

There is no exact science here that just feels like a good middle ground to start with. Based on his results (reduced fat, added strength/muscle) he can either increase or reduce the amounts as he sees fit.

With that in mind, let’s do the math!

185 x .875 = 162 grams of lean, complete protein per day.

Depending upon how many meals he has per day will determine how many grams of protein he should shoot for at each meal.

If he had three meals per day for example, that would mean 162/3= 54 grams of protein per meal.

Protein Diet:cooked Products On The Wooden Background

To make that fit into the 35-40 percent of calories from protein range (my suggestion for those regularly performing full body strength training), we need to consider how many calories he would shoot for per day.

At 185 pounds and over 40 I would suggest he use 1850 (simple, add a 0 to 185:)) calories per day as his baseline calorie goal.

So, a bit more math.

A gram of protein has 4 calories. If our friend has 162 grams per day of protein that equals 162 x 4= 648 calories from protein.

648/1850 = 35 Percent of calories from protein!

Now he will need to determine his carbohydrate and fat intakes, but that is a topic for another time. I explain this for you in full detail in my 50FIT program.

Protein Supplements?

The next question my friend had was about protein powders and shakes. There are a wide variety of protein powders available that you can purchase these days.

I recommend whey protein as it has a higher biological value than other types such as soy protein. If you prefer soy protein due to lactose intolerance, etc, then use that option, no worries.

The truth is that most of the better known brands of whey protein will work for most people. I do not suggest that you get more than 40 grams per day of your protein from protein supplement sources however.

Real food is always the best choice. Nonetheless, I do use protein powder smoothies as a regular part of my daily diet, most often in the evening as my late night treat.

My smoothies taste great, pretty close to tasting like a chocolate shake. And part of that is cause I use high quality, great tasting protein powder.

The BEST protein powder I have found is from Biotrust. It is organic, gluten free and tastes great.biotrustlowcarb-mbg

Plus, when you order it you get a FREE protein smoothie recipe book. You can order it here.

I hope this helps!!!

Your friend and Coach, Fred

Guilt Free Desserts