Minimum Accepted Dose

My absolute best post of the week is written by Nik from SmootFitness – this is so important to read for anyone attempting to achieve any sort of goal.
We all get overly-excited and giddy when we start something new, however it really is so important to set goals that you actually CAN achieve.
Enjoy the read and do check out Nik’s website for more great articles.


Here’s what happens when 99% of people start a fitness routine:

  • They choose a goal.
  • They start to formulate ideas for how they’re going to achieve their goal.
  • They create an overambitious plan for achieving their goal.
  • They quickly realize their overambitious plan isn’t sustainable (because of physical and/or mental limitations, schedule conflicts, or both).
  • They get frustrated at their lack of ability to stick to their overambitious plan.
  • They give up.

Here’s how that would look in a real-life setting:

  • Nick, who has never exercised before, decides he wants to lose body fat.
  • Nick decides that in order to lose body fat, he’s going to have to eat less food and increase his activity level (via strength training and/or cardio).
  • Nick, who has a busy work schedule and two kids at home, commits to performing six days of strength training each week along with four days of cardio (some of the cardio is done on the strength training days), and cuts out all carbohydrates.
  • Nick tries this for two weeks, and realizes that all of his free time is being spent at the gym (as opposed to being spent with his kids). He’s constantly tired, irritable, and his work performance tanks because what’s left of his mental energy (not much) is being split between his craving for carbohydrates, and all the reasons he’s coming up with for why he should quit this asinine routine.
  • Nick sticks it out for two more weeks.
  • Nick gets burned out, starts despising the gym, and decides getting lean isn’t worth the sacrifice he currently has to make.
  • Nick gives up.

Everyone’s situation is different, but some iteration of this happens to most people who embark on a fitness journey, for one reason:

Most of us have an “all or nothing” mindset.

Instead of training three days per week, we shoot for six.

Instead of dropping our calories by 500, we drop them by 1000.

We’re constantly pushing the envelope of what we’re capable of, and although this isn’t inherently a bad thing, believing that success is dependent upon maintaining this “all or nothing” mindset IS bad because – unless your life revolves around fitness (most peoples’ don’t) – most of us can’t maintain that level of intensity for very long.


Because, LIFE.

Life is unpredictable.

And this unpredictability forces us to have periods where we can go “balls out” with superhuman levels of effort, and periods where we have to “slow down” and display average levels of effort.

Because of this, I’ve started implementing what I like to call the MINIMUM ACCEPTED DOSE.

This concept isn’t new.

In fact, it’s not even mine (I stole it from coaches much smarter than me).

Here’s how it works:

  • You sit down and come up with goals just like you normally would.
  • Once you have your goals, you come up with an “ideal” plan, or the plan you’re going to follow when life’s running smooth.  This is the maximum “dosage” of work you can handle, and it will allow you to progress toward your goals as quickly as possible.
  • Then, you create an “acceptable” plan, or the plan you’re going to follow when life throws a curveball.  This plan is the minimum “dosage” of work you’ll accept, and – although it won’t progress you towards your goals as quickly as possible – it will still allow you to continue making progress until you’re able to return to your normal routine.

Here’s a real life example:

  • My current goal is to lose 10-15 pounds of body fat.
  • My current “ideal” plan is to:
    • Strength train 3-4 days per week
    • Perform cardio and/or movement training 2-3 days per week.
    • Eat in a 500-750 calorie deficit, allowing me to lose 1-1.5 pounds per week
  • My current “acceptable” plan is to:
    • Strength training 2 days per week.
    • Perform cardio and/or movement training 1 day per week.
    • Eat at maintenance, where I don’t lose any weight, but I also don’t gain any.

Why is having that second plan so important?

Because it makes you adaptable.

And the more adaptable you are, the easier it will be for you to stay consistent.

Remember, at the end of the day, consistency is king when it comes to reaching your goals, fitness related or not.

Effort without consistency means nothing.



No one can resist a good bolognese. I love using spaghetti squash for meals where I want to keep the carbs a bit lower (so i can have pudding) and this bolognese is absolutely heavenly, as most of Diane Sanfilippo meals are!

Easy Recipe: Spaghetti Squash Bolognese from Practical Paleo (And more ideas for replacing pasta!)

This recipe is from my New York Times Bestselling book, Practical Paleo.

spaghetti squash bolognese

A traditional meat sauce, Bolognese is usually made with heavy cream and a variety of meats. To keep this one dairy-free, I use coconut milk instead of cream.

grain-free • gluten-free • dairy-free • nut-free • seed-free • sugar-free • 21DSD 

Spaghetti Squash Bolognese from Practical Paleo | Diane SanfilippoPREP TIME: 15 minutes
COOKING TIME: 60 minutes
YIELD: 4 servings
NUTRITION INFO: click here


  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • Sea salt & black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons bacon fat or grass-fed butter
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • 1 stalk of celery, finely diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, grated or finely diced
  • 1/2 lb ground veal or beef
  • 1/2 lb ground pork
  • 4 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 3 ounces (1/2 small can) tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (optional, omit for 21DSD – you may replace with beef broth if you feel you need to add some liquid)
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste


  • Preheat oven to 375F.
  • Slice the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise so that two shallow halves remain. Scoop out the seeds and inner portion of the squash, and then sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper. Place both halves face down on a baking sheet. Roast for 35-45 minutes—until the flesh of the squash becomes translucent in color and the skin begins to soften and easily separate from the “noodles” that make up the inside.
  • Allow the squash to cool enough so that you can handle it, and then scoop the flesh out from the inside of the skin into a large serving bowl. Set aside until the sauce is finished.
  • While the squash bakes: In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt the bacon fat or butter, and sautée the onions, carrots, and celery until they become translucent. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute.
  • Add the ground veal, pork, and bacon, and cook until browned through. Once the meat is done, add the coconut milk, tomato paste, and white wine (optional), and simmer over medium-low heat for 20-30 minutes or until the sauce is well combined and any alcohol is cooked out (if you added it).
  • Add sea salt and black pepper to taste before removing the sauce from the heat.
  • Serve over the roasted spaghetti squash.

Yes, you can enjoy this recipe while on the 21-Day Sugar Detox! Simply omit the wine from the recipe. 

Better-Than-Sex Glute Pump

If you’re a female interested in fitness the odds are that you enjoy working on your glutes.
Sohee Fit created this great glute-finisher OR stand alone glute session that will give you a great pump!

This is a 10-minute mini-band glute circuit that you can do from anywhere.

Here’s what it looks like:

A1. RKC plank 10-20s hold
A2. Banded bodyweight squat 10ea
A3. Wide-stance banded bodyweight squat to reverse lunge 10ea
A4. Monster walk (band around feet)
A5. Seated band hip abduction 10,10,10 (3 ways)
A6. Feet-elevated bodyweight glute bridge

Rest for 30-60 seconds and then repeat the circuit one more time.

Thanks Sohee!

Easy Mashed Cauliflower with Garlic

I’ve yet to meet someone that doesn’t like mashed potato, it has to be one of the most comforting side dishes.
As a lighter alternative try using cauliflower instead of potato: you will be surprised at how satisfying this is.
Any recipe serving 2 that includes a whole head of garlic has me sold!
Thank you Rebecca for this beautiful recipe – this is just one of MANY amazing paleo recipes on PaleoGrubs.

I have told you before how much I love the versatility of cauliflower. This recipe is the start of that love story. The day that I discovered how similar mashed cauliflower tastes to mashed potatoes, was the day I started loving cauliflower. It was my gateway recipe to the world of transforming vegetables into meals you love. This recipe is one of the easiest to prepare. There are essentially three ingredients: cauliflower, almond milk, and garlic.

Mashed Cauliflower with Garlic- this is so good! You need to try this healthier alternative to mashed potatoes.

At our last get-together, I even tricked my family into eating mashed cauliflower instead of potatoes. They loved it. This is not just a dish for people eating Paleo, it is for everyone. Serve it in lieu of potatoes to lighten up your next meal.

To start this recipe, you heat up the oven and prepare the garlic. Then while the garlic is roasting, prepare the cauliflower. It doesn’t really matter how particular you are when chopping up the cauliflower into florets, because it will all be blended later anyways. The cauliflower is steamed for 12-14 minutes (which is much faster than boiling potatoes, if I may say so). Then it is blended with the rest of the ingredients.

raw cauliflower

For the measurements of almond milk and ghee, remember that you can always add more. You definitely don’t want to end up with soupy cauliflower, so add them in slow increments when blending.

blending the cauliflower

I believe that the addition of roasted garlic really elevates this simple dish. Once the garlic is roasted and you let it cool or a few minutes, you can squeeze the garlic right out of the clove. I may or may not have added an entire head of roasted garlic to my mashed cauliflower. Feel free to use less of course. Though it’s a little extra time, roasting brings out so much more flavor than raw garlic would. Definitely worth it.

Once again, I love to use my immersion blender for recipes such as this, or for soups. Mainly because there is no need to transfer hot ingredients to and from a food processor or blender. Instead you can blend the cauliflower right in the pot.

mashed cauliflower recipe

One head of cauliflower will only serve about two people, which is perfect for my boyfriend and I. But if you are going to make this for a crowd I recommend doubling the recipe. It is a surprisingly delicious alternative to traditional mashed potatoes. Mashed cauliflower is an easy way to lighten up any meal, and it is plate-licking good.

Easy Mashed Cauliflower with Garlic
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  1. 1 large head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  2. 1/4 cup almond milk
  3. 1 tbsp ghee
  4. Head of garlic
  5. Fresh chives, chopped
  6. Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Peel away the outer layers of the garlic bulb, then cut off the very top of the head of garlic to expose the individual garlic cloves. Place in aluminum foil and drizzle with olive oil, then seal the foil around the garlic. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the cloves are soft. Allow garlic to cool, then squeeze the roasted garlic cloves out of the skin.
  2. Meanwhile, place a couple inches of water in a large pot. Once water is boiling, place steamer insert and then cauliflower florets into the pot and cover. Steam for 12-14 minutes, until completely tender. Drain and return cauliflower to pot.
  3. Add roasted garlic, milk, ghee, and salt to the cauliflower. Using an immersion blender or food processor, combine ingredients until smooth. Top with chives and freshly ground pepper.
By Rebecca Bohl (

Easy Mashed Cauliflower with Garlic

Pregnancy doesn’t have to mean you have to quit all workouts – Breaking Muscle’s Nicole Crawford wrote a great article on how to adjust your workout during this special time!

Women who have trained prior to pregnancy probably won’t be thrilled about some of the exercise rules and regulations you find in books and online. No muscle ups, crunches, knees to elbows, or jumping? No more snatches or pull ups? While it’s true that you should avoid certain exercises during pregnancy, just because you have to modify some exercises doesn’t mean you have to lose your workout altogether. Here are four exercises that I’ve had to modify during my current pregnancy, and some tips for making them more manageable.



During my first two pregnancies I gave up on running pretty early on. Now during my third, I’m twenty weeks along and don’t plan on stopping anytime soon. Although my times aren’t anywhere near what they used to be, it’s enjoyable and has kept me conditioned. However, I’m not going to say it’s always comfortable. Here are a few things you can do to minimize discomfort:


  • Purchase a good sports bra for some extra support. Toward the end of the first trimester you’ll probably notice things are expanding a bit in the chest department, which is great until you try to run a several miles.
  • Get a support belt. When I hit nineteen weeks I started to get lower back pain the day after a run. I’m pretty sure it’s because my belly is hanging out. I’ve heard a support belt can help with this issue.
  • Don’t be afraid of the run/walk. If all-out running is too tiring or uncomfortable, try throwing in some walking intervals. It will help keep your heart rate down and might even improve your time! If running intervals are too much, you can substitute another cardio exercise like rowing or swimming.


Pull Ups and Chin Ups

Some women can continue to do pull ups and chin ups throughout their entire pregnancy. I’ve started to find them pretty uncomfortable since I started second trimester, so I’ve discontinued the strict versions of both. You might notice a tugging feeling in your abdomen, especially once your belly starts expanding and the abdominal muscles start to weaken. Since I’ve had serious issues with diastasis recti before, I like to err on the side of caution to avoid aggravating the problem.


Here are some tips for modifying these exercises:


  • Kipping pull ups: If you also find strict pull ups and chin ups uncomfortable, you can get a similar effect with kipping pull ups but only if you’ve already done them prior to pregnancy with good form. The momentum will take some of the pressure off of the core muscles. If you’re a pregnant CrossFitter you might appreciate this video:



  • Australian pull ups: These are a good substitute because you can adjust the intensity by changing the height of the bar. For a nice upper body workout, I like to alternate Australian pull ups, push ups, and side planks.


If both of these are uncomfortable, find a set of monkey bars and forget the “up” part altogether. Just hanging and swinging from the bars will go a long way in keeping your upper body conditioned.


Overhead Lifts

A lot of the pregnancy resources out there will tell you not to do any overhead lifts during pregnancy. While it’s true that overhead lifts can put a lot of stress on your lower back and may challenge your balance, personally I’ve continued to do them throughout my pregnancies and have also done them with pregnant clients who are used to strength training.


Before you stop them altogether, try these modifications to see if they help:


  • Instead of a barbell, use a kettlebell or dumbbells for your overhead lifts and alternate sides. This will allow you to use the non-working side to help maintain balance. You will probably have to do a little bit of navigation around your belly as pregnancy progresses.
  • Lower the weight. Generally speaking, I personally never work above 70% of my normal max during pregnancy. Usually I keep it around 50% with overhead lifts to minimize stress on the lower back.
  • Substitute long, slow movements with higher-intensity movements that don’t require you to keep the weight overhead. The one-arm kettlebell snatch or clean and press are great modifications for overhead lifts.



If you experience ligament pain during pregnancy you might have a hard time with squats, weighted or unweighted. You might also experience knee pain during squats. Here are a few modifications to keep squatting in your routine:


  • Once again, lower the weight. Instead of squatting with a barbell use a kettlebell for goblet squats. These are one of my favorite exercises for pregnant women.
  • Use blocks or a rolled up towel to elevate your feet. This is great if you have a hard time keeping your heels flat during a squat. I’m actually not a huge fan of using a lot of props to modify exercises, but squats are one of those essential movements that are worth it.
  • If weighted squats become too uncomfortable, do bodyweight squats instead.Remember your body is already hauling around a lot of extra weight. I like to do dynamic exercises that incorporate squatting, like walking side squats with a resistance band or wall balls.


The most important modification you can make during pregnancy is to increase your awareness of what’s going on with your body. Pay attention to breath patterns, pain, straining, and other things you might normally ignore if you’re used to training hard. Pressure is normal but pain is not. I also recommend incorporating yoga, stretching, or other low-impact exercise into your routine to relieve stress and aid in recovery.


I hope these modifications help you keep up with your workouts. What helped you keep up with your training throughout your pregnancy?


If you are on our website the odds are that you have been watching the Olympics. You will then have spotted the marks on Michael Phelps’s shoulders and the discussion that started on the topic.
Cupping: explained by Dr John Rusin


  • cupping therapy

After the polarizing red circles on Michael Phelps shoulders surfaced last week at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, many questions arose pertaining to the science, application and efficacy of the myofascial decompression technique also known as cupping.

As claims and debate started to rip through the world of sports performance and physical therapy, and now even into mainstream worldwide media over the past two weeks on this therapeutic topic, many questions were left unanswered. But now, it’s time to take an unbiased, scientific look at the research and application of the technique known as cupping.

Here is the science behind why Gold Medalist Olympic athletes are choosing to be treated with cupping, and a complete review of the current scientific literature behind this technique from Dr. Mario Novo.

The Emergence of Cupping In Elite Sports Performance

cupping michael phelps

At the top of the sport performance food chain, are the Olympians. These almost god like beings have chiseled away at their human form, with countless hours of practice to become the very best at their sport. In the pursuit of greatness, one is required to take risks with pushing their bodies to the limit. When it is down to the hundredth of a second between winning the gold, or silver for your country, you learn to become comfortable with stress. Although these Olympians break themselves in the training room day in and day out to adapt to stress, the secret is truly in their ability to recovery.

Let’s take a dive into cupping as a form of recovery and how best we can apply the body of known studies to create a frame work worth looking into.

Cupping therapy is defined as a complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) within the world of holistic medicine, and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Cupping like many other CAM based treatments are provided as a conservative and alternative method towards improving human health through the reduction of pain when present, and tissue healing.

With nearly 80% of all general doctor’s visits involving pain, as well the rise in American based chronic or recurrent pain costing an estimated $200 billion annually and the rise of prescription based addiction and accidental death; implementing pain science, and holistic approaches towards pain management is as we should view it, a fundamental right towards health and independence of drugs. Here is where cupping plays a role alongside other CAM’s, and advanced medical provider forms of therapy can make the largest difference in how individuals consume healthcare, towards improving quality of life.

The Various Methods of Cupping

cupping fire

Depending on where you look, there can be nearly 7 to 10 different methods for applying cupping. All methods involve the application of a cup or dome to promote localized negative pressure to an area of the body for alleviating pain, and improving tissue recovery.

Dry cupping is by far the most commonly applied methods, which uses either a heat element or pneumatic device, to create the suction required to raise the soft tissue into the cup or dome. Either method produces a gentle and painless, bruise on the skin, which has now become the hallmark of our 2016 Summer Olympic games.

Cupping is applied to various regions of the body, which are individually unique to the athlete/clients/patient needs. The most common areas of application are the back, chest, abdomen, and buttock. The cups are typically left in place 5–10 minutes with the after effects of erythema, edema, and ecchymosis subsiding within a few weeks.

An interesting way of viewing cupping when compared to massage is that massage or external applied force into soft tissue, is noted by a positive pressure change in the surrounding soft tissue structures. The novel stimulus of negative pressure is also used like massage to alter sensory and or pain perception but it also influences the microcirculation of specific body area, which has been demonstrated to change local tissue circulation.

The Mechanism of Effect of Cupping


Specific mechanisms of acute metabolic tissue change and pressure pain thresholds have been studied with dry cupping. Such studies have demonstrated that while participants received dry cupping, observed increases in blood flow (hyperemia) occurred. This increased blood flow or vasodilatation does appear to also influence tissue temperature but more importantly, appears to increase capillary endothelial cell repair, accelerated tissue granulation, and angiogenesis (formation of new blood vessels) within the regional treated tissue.

Emerich et al found that following cupping participants demonstrated a rise in the lactate/pyruvate ratios which indicated an increase in the anaerobic metabolism of the surrounding tissue.

What this can mean to a patient or athlete, is the potential for a rise of key ischemic (low oxygen) chemical mediators that are involved with promoting cellular/metabolic adaptation, and tissue recovery.

When cupping was compared to wait-list groups, heat modalities, and certain conventional pain medications, cupping showed better effectiveness for pain reduction. It’s no guess that when compared to exercise cupping demonstrated no change, but for many individuals that are unable to train secondary to pain, or over-reaching; cupping appears to be another powerful tool such as dry needling, IASTM, taping, and neuromuscular/musculoskeletal manual therapy based modalities, which all uniquely play a role in the modulation of pain perception, improved muscle recruitment and tissue recovery.

Because, we should all be able to agree that pain plays an inverse role with the ability for an individual to recruit muscle and process useful sensory feedback (proprioception, kinesthetic awareness) via inhibitory feedback systems; the promotion of improved musculoskeletal function should be promoted through the restoration of sensory input via various methods of pain modulation.

Cupping within the context of sport performance can be viewed as a practical method to pre/post activity sensory modulation, which also plays a role with soft tissue health. For Olympic athletes, who have gone the distance, one can imagine they will set no limits to their performance while at the games. Hence, administering cupping can be viewed as a quick treatment session (5-10 min) where they can restore sensory awareness, and already begin increasing the local chemical signaling pathways that influence tissue recovery. For our non-Olympians in the room, I included; pain should be a respected symptom, which often plays a role in teaching us about harm. Hence, we should not be applying cupping at such high frequencies as these athletes, due to the potential for adverse effects as well the potential for increased tissue injury secondary to altering our pain perception.

Because pain plays a role with learning, we can also learn to be in pain. This is apparent with individuals who express chronic pain that lack acute tissue damage. Hence, there is more to pain than chemical irritants and trauma. In regards to chronic pain, cupping may play a role for some individuals seeking a novel approach towards improved function as a complimentary program leading towards the progressions of an exercise prescription.

Relative Safety and Precautions

cupping bleeding

While cupping therapy offer benefits, it goes without mentioning that adverse effects do exist. As with any modality, there are inherent risks that a skilled therapist should be aware of. With cupping, there appears to be an associated risk with the types of application, and frequency that can lead to injury.

Cupping is not advised to be used over excoriated, oozing, or infected areas, as this may promote enhanced D-dimmer (a fibrin protein found in tissue inflammation). As mentioned earlier, cupping will result in the reddening of skin with a the presence of a bruise (ecchymosis) which is regarded as a normal reaction after cupping that should resolve in a manner of 2-5 days. There are adverse effects of swelling, and or burns in some cases, with rare occurrences of an increased pain at the site of supping, and very rare occurrences of reported muscle soreness or tingling in the original site of treatment.

About The Author

Screen Shot 2015-09-09 at 8.15.30 AM

Dr. Mario Novo is a results driven sports orthopedic physical therapist who specializes in strength and conditioning. Known well by his clients/patients as a mentor and educator, Mario’s passion is to unify the highest levels of rehab science with successful mind and body strength coaching. With Mario’s research having focused on new advancements in muscle hypertrophy periodization and joint health, his goals are to share his knowledge and improve on the human condition through personalized cutting edge program design. Mario currently resides in middle Tennessee where he plans on integrating his skills and knowledge in resistance exercise and rehab to empower and inspire those individuals ready to make a change in their lives through health and fitness. He is also the owner of, an integrated platform of strength training and physical therapy.


  1. Christopoulou-Aletra, N. Papavramidou Cupping: an alternative surgical procedure used by hippocratic physicians J Altern Complement Med, 14 (2008), pp. 899–902
  2. Huber, M. Emerich, M. Braeunig Cupping – is it reproducible? Experiments about factors determining the vacuum Complement Ther Med, 19 (2011), pp. 78–83
  3. Farhadi, D. Schwebel, M. Saeb, M. Choubsaz, R. Mohammadi, A. Ahmadi The effectiveness of wet-cupping for nonspecific low back pain in Iran: a randomized controlled trial Complement Ther Med, 17 (2009), pp. 9–15
  4. Michalsen, S. Bock, R. Ludtke, et al. Effects of traditional cupping therapy in patients with carpal tunnel syndrome: a randomized controlled trial J Pain, 10 (2009), pp. 601–608
  5. Moetaz El-Domyati, F. Saleh, M. Barakat, N. Mohamed Evaluation of cupping therapy in some dermatoses Egyptian Dermatol Online J, 9 (2013), pp. 1–15
  6. Anjum, S. Jamil, A. Hannan, J. Akhtar, B. Ahmad Clinical efficacy of Hijamat (Cupping) in Waja-ul-Mafasil (Arthritis) Indian J Tradit Knowl, 4 (2005), pp. 412–415
  7. Chirali Cupping Therapy: Traditional Chinese Medicine (1st ed.)Elsevier Health Sciences, London (1999)
  8. Teut, S. Kaiser, M. Ortiz, et al. Pulsatile dry cupping in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee–a randomized controlled exploratory trial BMC Complement Altern Med, 12 (2012), pp. 1–9
  9. Ullah, A. Younis, M. Wali An investigation into the effect of cupping therapy as a treatment for anterior knee pain and its potential role in health promotion Internet J Altern Med, 4 (2007), p. 1
  10. Lauche, S. Materdey, H. Cramer, et al. Effectiveness of home-based cupping massage compared to progressive muscle relaxation in patients with chronic neck pain- A randomized controlled trial PLOS ONE, 8 (2013), pp. 1–9
  11. Cui, J. Cui Progress of researches on the mechanism of cupping therapy Zhen Ci Yan Jiu, 37 (2012), pp. 506–510
  12. Iqbal, A. Ansari Al-Hijamah (Cupping): the natural holistic healing art–a review Int J Adv Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha, Homeopathy, 2 (2013), pp. 23–30
  13. Emerich, M. Braeunig, H. Clement, R. Ludtke, R. Huber Mode of action of cupping-local metabolism and pain thresholds in neck pain patients and healthy subjects Complement Ther Med, 22 (2014), pp. 148–158
  14. Hanan, S. Eman Cupping Therapy (Al-Hijama): it’s impact on persistent non-specific lower back pain and client disability Life Sci J, 10 (2013), pp. 631–642
  15. McCabe Complementary therapies in nursing and midwifery, from vision to practice (1st ed.)Ausmed Publications, Australia (2001)
  16. S.S. Yoo, F. Tausk Cupping: east meets west Int J Dermatol, 42 (2004), pp. 664–665
  17. Shekarforoush, M. Foadoddini, A. Noroozzadeh, H. Akbarinia, A. Khoshbaten Cardiac effects of cupping: myocardial infarction, arrhythmias, heart rate and mean arterial blood pressure in the rat heart Chin J Physiol, 55 (2012), pp. 253–258
  18. Schumann, R. Lauche, C. Hohmann, T. Zirbes, G. Dobos, F. Saha Development of lipoma following a single cupping massage-a case report Forsch Komplementmed, 19 (2012), pp. 202–205
  19. Ma, J. Cui, M. Huang, K. Meng, Y. Zhao Effects of Duhuojisheng Tang and combined therapies on prolapse of lumbar intervertebral disc: a systematic review of randomized control trails J Tradit Chin Med, 33 (2013), pp. 145–155
  20. Samadi, M. Kave, S. Mirghanizadeh Study of cupping and its role on the immune system J Relig Health, 1 (2013), pp. 59–65
  21. Jiang, L. Liang Samples for therapeutic errors in cupping therapy Zhongguo Zhen Jiu, 25 (2005), pp. 671–672
  22. Hon, D. Luk, K. Leong, A. Leung Cupping therapy may be harmful for eczema: a Pub Med Search Case Rep Pediatr, 2013 (2013), pp. 1–3
  23. Wei-hua, W. Jia-hong, Y. Bing-xiang Clinical practice Cupping therapy-induced elevated D-dimer Chinese Med J-Peking, 125 (2012), pp. 3593–3594
  24. Lee, S. Ahn, S. Lee Factitial panniculitis induced by cupping and acupuncture Cutis, 55 (1995), pp. 217–218

The Cover Model Myth (why being shredded sucks for you and I)

A topic that is luckily getting more and more exposure: it’s so important to raise awareness about what it actually take to be ‘shredded’ – for most of us, it’s really not worth it!

Thanks for this brilliant article Joey Percia!


I got shredded. I looked the guys you see on the cover of Men’s Health. For the first time, I had veins popping out of my stomach.

It felt good on the outside but I felt like shit on the inside.

DSC_0172 copy

People say they want to get shredded. They envy men with a 6-pack so defined, they look like a statue of a greek god. They’re excited about a body that’s shredded, but few are willing to do what it takes to get to that point.

I want to pull back the curtain on what is takes to look like a cover model(ish).

People often confuse shredded with lean. Being lean it an attainable goal for pretty much everyone, being shredded is a painful, shitty, long drawn out process.

Lean can be attained by maintaining a social life and do normal people things. Shredded will make you an outcast.

It sucks more than trying to eat a bowl of cinnamon toast crunch with a big spoon. It sucks more than getting to the gym and realizing you forget your headphones (every day of your entire life.) You get it, it sucks.

To get lean, consistently eat healthy, nail your training and diet. Make sure you are in a calorie deficit, train hard, eat enough protein to preserve muscle, learn tricks to manage hunger and make smart choices.

Being shredded is another beast and takes things to another level. You will:

  • Feel levels of hunger you never knew existed
  • Learn what it’s like to feel existed day.
  • Go to sleep earlier because you ate your last meal of the day and realize then next time you eat will have to be breakfast.
  • Find yourself dragging through the day and through workouts
  • Develop a weird relationship with food (usually not good)

A shredded physique for long periods of time is an unattainable goal for normal folk. Especially for those who want to have a social life, but being lean is not. That can be done with hard work and time.

My Journey to Hell and Back

I think every fitness coach and trainer should get shredded at least once in their life. By shredded, I am talking about 4-6% body fat for men.

Even if you have no desire to step on stage. Even if you don’t want to stay that way or have clients that want to get shredded. It is a huge learning experience.

A lot of your clients (or patients) are going to want to look better by losing fat. You want to know exactly what that process feels like, even if you’ve read everything about it for years.

You know a tattoo hurts because everyone tells you. But you don’t know what it feels like to have someone jab needle into your skin for  6 hours straight until you do it. It fucking hurts, believe me. But you should still get it done if you really want to know what it feels like.

January of 2015 I was having knee pain and decided to bail on a powerlifting competition I was training for. I wanted to get shredded instead.

I entered a 12-week transformation challenge because it ended up lining up exactly the same time. Plus I wanted the extra accountability and a chance at 100k. All good things.

My starting point was roughly 14% body fat in January. This was a little higher than normal (I’m usually 12-13 most of the year.) I ended the fat loss phase the first week of April at ~6%.

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I got pretty damn lean. While I was still about 1 month or 2 away from being able to step on stage at a bodybuilding show and hold my own, this was leanest I’ve ever been.

I also got sick and learned that when my body gets run down and put under too much stress I develop a style. I don’t mean mental stress either. My body was so run down, tired and weak that the physical stress took a toll on me and my body fought back.

The last 3-4 weeks of the diet I only lost ~1lb because I felt so shitty and did want to risk my health for cutting calories even lower.

So, it wasn’t worth it?

Hey, I never said that! It sucked (a lot), but it was a process that I am glad I went through.

Some have great genetics and walk around shredded year round.  I’m not one of those people and I assume you aren’t either.

Here’s where I went wrong:

  • I created an unhealthy relationship with food
  • I ran myself into the ground from going 110% in the gym and into my business
  • I secluded myself from having fun in social situations
  • I went balls deep and paid for it later

I was doing it for the wrong person and for the wrong reason. I wasn’t doing it for me and I wasn’t happy doing it.

My body is happy around 11-13% body fat so that is where I keep it now. There are some times while I will cut some bodyfat and others where I let it go up a little bit.

I can be a normal person and juggle my business, health, and social life in a comfortable way. I can have a few beers and ice cream cake to celebrate my engagement with my family.

Will I ever get that lean again? You bet your ass I will, but right now I have a life to live so I will stick to being lean.

Joey’s Habits to Stay Lean Year Round

  1. Wake-up and drink lots of water (like even more than what you’re thinking.)
  2. Take my vitamins:
  3. 1st meal is a protein, veggie and moderate fat meal (little to no carbohydrates)
  4. Protein at every meal (veggies at most) — the only veggie exception is when I am having a shake, pre or post workout meals, sometimes I omit the veggies.
  5. Keep carbohydrates to the first 1-2 meals after a workout 
  6. Eat until satisfied, not full (70-80% full)
  7. Only have protein shakes when I can’t get to real food. They don’t keep me full enough, sometimes just make me hungrier.
  8. Don’t multitask while eating, and put down my fork/spoon in between bites.

There’s a large difference between the dieting to get shredded vs. dieting to get lean that will take some time learn. You will figure out what foods to stay away from because they cause cravings, while other foods to eat more of because they keep you more full.

There’s obviously a big difference between the two physqiues as well as the two diets…

Fed with Fish acos and Tequila -- Healthy and Sustainable Year Round

Navigating Road Blocks Around Events to Stay Lean

  1. Skip breakfast and fast. In that case, drink black coffee and sparkling water to suppress appetite and function like a normal human being
  2. Keep protein high throughout the day but cut extra carbs and fat throughout the day to save calories for a bigger meal
  3. Keep things moderate man. Don’t be a dick about this. If you want to have a few beers do it, but don’t say “fuck it”, try to drink a keg and eat 12 burgers.
  4. If they have fish tacos, get them. Always. And Tequila, get the Tequila too.

If you have ANY questions at all, please email and I will get back to you ASAP.

I will teach you how to lose fat eating foods you love

Look and Feel Better Than Ever: Escape Fad Diets and Burn Through Fat Loss Plateaus Eating Foods You Love.