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Soda Tax Traction

At first glance, I thought the August 2nd soda tax, on both sweetened and diet soda, was a bit lame and just another attempt to fix our almost bankrupt city, Chicago.

The tax is simple – One cent per ounce so a 32-ounce bottle of soda would cost an additional $0.32.

Then, tons of advertisement have been running our market talking about the fact that one, just one, 12-ounce, sweetened soda could result in almost 14 pounds of weight – GAIN – a year.

That’s a pretty staggering amount.

And who is paying for the ads? Michael “The Bomb” Bloomberg. I’m a huge fan of former Mayor Bloomberg as he was in office when he mandated that ALL chain restaurants had to have the calories listed right on each item offered in New York city and now, other cities have followed suit.

The research was interesting. At first, people didn’t stop ordering a venti, Caramel Frappuccino, which clocked in to the tune of 510 calories (I know, staggering!)

But, over time, the information, right before their eyes, caused consumers to start making lower calorie, smarter choices.

Will the soda tax motivate soda drinkers to think about what they are going to drink? I say probably yes as there is so much attention and press being placed on this law.

And I want to be clear about diet soda – It’s lethal.

Not only are all the artificial sweeteners potentially damaging to your health, but this research is clear. Artificial sweeteners trick the brain to light up, just as it does when you consume sweet food or drink. Then, it wants MORE, which is the classic growth of a serious addiction.

NOTE: Sugar lights up your brain like heroin and cocaine. Consuming artificial sweetener will most likely cause you to crave more real sugar, so I call artificial sweeteners a “gateway” drug, which is what many call marijuana use as it is often the gateway to abuse of more serious drugs later on.

I did an Instagram/Facebook post on reading labels and the staggering differences in mayonnaise depending on the brand and the label.

The same applies to both sugar sweetened AND artificially sweetened drinks. Don’t consume them. Don’t start the addiction. Don’t give your kids soda, even as a “treat” as their little, “pure” brains will learn to light up at an early age.

Trust me, soda down = weight down.


Healthcare Costs Projected to Skyrocket in 2017. What’s Driving Those Increases?

Clearly there are some serious problems with ObamaCare and there are a number of explanations as to why. Here are a couple:

  1. Millennials aren’t signing up. Look, the whole way actuaries determine premiums is to look at who is healthy, and unlikely to use their insurance (like almost all of my uber healthy staff) versus those, like the elderly, who use it like crazy. And the elderly get Medicare, so the country really gets slammed.
  2. Americans just keep getting bigger and bigger, sooner and sooner, and with that comes astronomical use of everything healthcare, doctor visits, tests, medication, hospital stays, surgery, more doctor visits, more medication, etc., etc., etc.

Who are two PRIME examples of overweight, aging Americans?

Our two presidential candidates.

When they flash pictures of the Clinton’s back in the 1990s, Hillary is relatively small. I don’t believe she has ever been petite, but she’s easily up 35-40 pounds, and she’s short. Bad! Her husband I have to compliment as he took the weight off when he had his heart issues and has kept it off. I met him at a fundraiser during Hillary’s first run in 2008 and actually patted him on the stomach and complimented him on keeping it off. Yes, Secret Service did lunge forward but all ended well and he and I had a good five minute chat.

The Donald. Oh boy. He said on “The Dr. Oz Show,” when he showed his medical records, that he thought he had 15 pounds to lose. Okay, I say 15, and then lets add another 25. And similar to Hillary, check out the picture from 20 years ago. The guy was much leaner.

And these are very wealthy, intelligent, educated people with every opportunity to use a private chef, private trainer, private email server (sorry, I called him “The Donald” so felt I had to give her a little jab to bi-partisan), staff to bring them water, tea, lean protein and vegetables, you name it. I guess they don’t do it. Or don’t want to do it.

But nope, they have followed what most research shows – the average American gains between 1-2 pounds a year right around 25. That’s a lot of weight when you are closing in on seventy, as Trump is with Hillary right behind.

We are going to bankrupt our country faster than ever if we continue to embrace a laissez faire attitude when it comes to weight gain. No, no, no, get it in check.

More examples:

  1. Al Gore – SHOCKING when I saw him stump for Hillary. This was a lean, in shape man twenty years ago. I’d say he’s up 50-60, but I have heard that when he lost in 2000, he stayed in the house and ate pizza. I get it, but unfortunately that comes with dire consequences as pizza is one of the most caloric foods. I remember reading in “Men’s Health” that one piece of spinach stuffed, deep dish pizza contains more than 2,200 calories.
  2. Debbie Allen – I was a “Fame” fan and also learn everything about medicine from “Gray’s Anatomy.” OMG, she has packed on an overwhelming amount of weight and if you recall, she had a rocking body back in the day.
  3. Our Celebrity Chefs – How ironic that we are glued to cooking shows, watching Mario Batali, Emeril, Cake Boss, BIG. And a recent UK study showed that 87% of 904 recipes by celebrity chef contained “undesirable nutrients, especially saturated fatty acids, sugar and salt.

Why are we, as Americans, losing the battle of the bulge? That’s easy, we keep getting the wrong advice.

Here’s my advice for Hillary, Donald, Al, Debbie and the other almost 75% of Americans who are overweight or obese:

  1. Stop ALL snacking. It’s the enemy. You mindlessly eat, you throw your body into hormonal chaos and your weight goes up, up, up.
  2. Sleep 7-9 hours a night. Enough with embracing sleep deprivation as it, once again like snacking, SMACKS your hormones and makes you hungry and you eat even MORE.
  3. Strength training. Please stop believing the 10,000 steps a day is for weight loss as it’s not. It’s about reducing your risk of certain diseases but your obesity more likely cancels out any of those benefits as most people who use walking or other cardio for weight loss actually end up eating more.
  4. Weigh in EVERYDAY . Yep, that’s the research – same scale, same time, everyday. Once it goes up, nip it.

Americans are so frustrated with this election as they feel powerless. Take your personal power back and start a revolution.

Oh, and yes, my most recent book was called “The Ultimate Diet REVolution.” Trust me, though you really don’t have to, just look at my track record with clients like Diane Sawyer and Hugh Jackman, and you be the judge.

– Jim

After Dinner Snacking

Many of you know I’m deeply opposed to snacking at all. The research is all over my latest book.

BUT, hands down, the worst snacking damage occurs after dinner and here is why:

After dinner snacking disrupts the natural production of human growth hormone (HGH). HGH helps:

  1. Build muscles
  2. Keep our bodies leaner by boosting metabolism
  3. Enhances energy levels
  4. Increases libido and
  5. Boost brain power, to name a few.


I recommend NO snacking to our weight loss clients as all food ultimately becomes glucose, or sugar in our blood.

That sugar needs to then be STORED (remember that word) in either the liver, muscles or cells, to name a few.

The hormone, insulin, is what is called upon to enable this STORAGE to occur. Anytime you eat, either a meal or snack, that hormone comes into play.

What do you want to have happen when you diet, or create a caloric deficit? You want to open up the fat cells and burn the fat for fuel. But, if you have the STORAGE hormone, insulin, in your blood stream, you are sending mixed messages to your body. Your desire to lose weight is thwarted by your behavior, snacking, which produces this hormone. I call it the Snack Smack, as snacking smacks your desire and ability to lose weight.

PLUS, with regard to HGH, the presence of insulin in the bloodstream zaps the body’s ability to pump out HGH about an hour and a half after you fall asleep. Therefore, no snacking for at least 2-3 hours before going to bed or you lose all the needed benefits of this hormone, especially as we age.

Happy Holidays!


The Whole Foods Horror

About an hour ago, I did exactly what I tell all of you NOT to do. Here is the good, the bad and the really ugly.
  1. Drinking a big shake at 6:00 AM. Good.
  2. Working out from 1:00 – 2:00. Back and shoulder. Felt great. Good.
  3.  Didn’t drink another shake and instead, ran to Whole Foods as I have nothing in my home (looks a bit like The Grinches refrigerator) and was S T A R V I N G. Bad.
  4.  I usually plan 6 hours between meals and, with the exception of a post-workout meal (usually a shake), NEVER snack. Check out the section in “The Ultimate Diet REVolution” if you need a refresher. Good.
  5. As my blood sugar plummeted, I found myself in front of the prepared sandwich section and looked at a Tuna, Cranberry Wrap. Threw it in my cart and headed to the check out line with my other groceries. Bad.
  6. Since the line was a little long, I was looking at my purchases, organic grapes and apples, asparagus, cauliflower, wild salmon and yes, wine (It’s 30% off, come on….) and saw that the label on the wrap had more info on the bottom. Good.
  7. To my Whole Foods HORROR, guess what the calorie count was – 760. YIKES. Ran back and looked at the chicken burrito and this was a small burrito. 800 calories. Ugly.
  8. This is why Michael Bloomberg gave a love letter to New Yorkers when he mandated that all calorie counts need to be on every chain restaurant, coffee house, etc. Good.
  9. The research on what transpired was interesting. New Yorkers DIDN’T immediately stop eating 480 slivers of lemon pound cake. Instead, with repetition and education, they finally made lower calorie choices. Good.
The lesson to be learned:
  1. DON’T assume everything in a health food store is low calorie as it’s clearly not.
  2. Educate, educate, educate and read, read, read. Go online and download the menus that have the calorie counts. You will see some themes such as VERY high calorie counts for Caesar Salad and others with all the dressing, croutons, cheese, etc.
  3. Don’t eat mystery food.
  4. Don’t go more than six hours in between meals and once again, NO snacking with the exception of post-strength training recovery meal (not a snack).
  5. Beware of sleep deprivation as it creates a hormonal environment where weight loss is all but impossible.
Good luck!

NO Cardio Before Strength Training, and you KNOW my Position is NEVER Cardio (But This is for Those Who Still Wish To Perform It)

Acute Resistance Exercise Performance is Negatively Impacted by Prior Aerobic Endurance Exercise.

Ratamess, Nicholas A.; Kang, Jie; Porfido, Tara M.; Ismaili, Craig; Selamie, Soraya; Williams, Briana; Kuper, Jeremy D.; Bush, Jill A.; Faigenbaum, Avery D.


The purpose of the present study was to examine acute resistance exercise (RE) performance following four different aerobic endurance (AE) protocols. Eleven healthy, resistance-trained men (21.0 +/- 1.2 yrs) performed a control RE protocol and four RE protocols 10 min following different AE protocols in random sequence. The RE protocol consisted of 5 exercises (high pull, squat, bench press, deadlift, and push press) performed for 3 sets of 6-10 repetitions with 70-80% of one repetition-maximum (1RM) with 3-min rest intervals in between sets. The AE protocols consisted of treadmill running at velocities corresponding to: 1) 60% of their VO2 reserve (VO2R) for 45 min (P1); 2) 75% of their VO2R for 20 min (P2); 3) 90-100% of VO2R in 3-min intervals (1:1 ratio) for 5 sets (P3); and 4) 75% of VO2R (4.5 mph) uphill (6-9% grade) for 20 min (P4). Completed repetitions, average power and velocity, heart rate (HR), and ratings of perceived exertion (RPE) were assessed each set. Protocols P1 to P4 resulted in 9.1 to 18.6% fewer total repetitions performed compared to the control RE protocol with the squat experiencing the greatest reduction. Average power and velocity were significantly reduced for the high pull, squat, and bench press following most AE protocols. RPE values for the high pull and squat were significantly higher in P1 to P4 compared to control. HR was significantly higher during RE following P1-P4 compared to control by 4.3 to 5.5%. These results indicate acute RE performance is significantly compromised in healthy men following AE exercise of different type, intensity, and duration with largest reductions observed following high-intensity interval exercise.

Copyright (C) 2016 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.