Hippies VS Jocks – Which Group is Healthier?

November 19, 2009

Have you ever noticed that there are two entirely different health movements with very little crossover?

There is the group of organic whole foods consumers and the group of people who buy health and fitness supplements. I used to be much more familiar with the typical GNC type of supplements, but didn’t know squat about things like Kombucha, Cod Liver Oil, Spirulina, etc. I think both groups have some positive things to offer and I would like to explore that in this post.

Note: I was going to name this article “Whole Food Stores vs Supplement Stores”, but how boring is that? Plus, then I couldn’t put up this sweet pic! (said in the voice of Napoleon Dynamite).


[“Hey Man, check out this mean batch of Homemade Hummus!” … “Bro, how many more sets you got left on the bench?”]

I Was GNC’s Best Customer at the Age of 17

When I first started training over 22 years ago, I used to buy protein powders and amino acids from GNC. I would go to GNC so often that I knew where just about every brand and every supplement was. I bought all the popular products of 1987…Smilax, Hot Stuff, Mega Mass 2000, Met-RX, you name it and I could tell you what aisle it was on.

I was 17 working as a prep cook in a sit down Mexican Restaurant…and a lot of my earnings went towards supplements.

Is That Patchouli Oil I Smell?

…Fast forward 5 years. I am 22 years old it is the summer of 1992 and I am listening to a tape mixed with techno and alternative rock (living in Seattle in the early 90’s, was a great time for alternative rock/grunge).

I am done working out at Gold’s Gym and I stop to get some groceries at Safeway. In the strip mall is a small store called “Karen’s Natural Health Remedies” (something along those lines).

I walk in and a bell rings and a young guy with a seriously bushy beard greets me…sitting at his feet is a large German Shepherd.

I Was Lost In a Sea of Strange Bottles and Odd Smells

This place didn’t smell too bad or anything, I was just used to that typical vitamin and protein powder smell. I walked down aisle after aisle and had no idea what I was looking at.

How could a 5 year supplement store veteran get stumped in a supplement store? It was a classic case of “You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know”. Make no mistake about it…the typical “fitness health food store” and “organic whole foods” health stores are two entirely different worlds.

Speaking of Bushy Beards & Alternative Rock…

[I need to break up this lengthy post….the main singer of Band of Horses has one of the best voices in alternative rock in my opinion…amazing album by the way!]

Even the Workout Venues Differ Between These Groups

These are going to be complete generalizations, but just bear with me. The whole foods group is inclined to do things such as mountain climbing, hiking, cross country skiing, and kayaking.

The fitness group is more likely to do activities like working out in a gym, running stairs, doing sprint intervals around a track, crossfit, etc. There is some overlap obviously and this is NOT even close to 100% true, but I certainly see some trends in this direction.

Transitioning from Powders and Pills to “Real” Food

Shortly before I started this blog (about 3 years ago), I began replacing my breakfast protein drink with a real breakfast of eggs and yogurt. I continued drinking protein shakes for lunch, but phased them out a year later. I guess I like the idea of getting all my nutrition from natural organic food.

It just mentally feels right to eat a meal full of vegetables and organic protein sources than it does drinking a shake.

Note: I always ate real food at dinner, but a lot of the times it was two shakes during the day.

I Basically Went From One Extreme to the Other

while eating nothing but whole foods has felt good, I began getting sick every so often. When I was drinking Myoplex protein shakes each day, I never ever got sick. In fact, I went 10+ years without getting sick at one point and the only constant was drinking 1-2 vitamin fortified protein shakes each day. Perhaps I was too harsh on taking Supplements?

Heck, I wrote a free report called “The Supplement Conspiracy”. A lot of the message included was good, but maybe a bit too extreme. I now believe that in some cases, supplementation is great. Perhaps a multivitamin, occasional protein shake, etc.

Healthy Whole Foods Mixed With Some Supplements

The best way of training and nutrition is a hybrid of these two schools of health and fitness. I like intense focus exercise mixed with outdoor activities. I enjoy organic green vegetables, but also like the convenience of a protein shake to serve as the occasional meal replacement.

A Couple of Hybrid Fitness Enthusiasts Who I Respect

Mark Sisson of “Mark’s Daily Apple” is a guy who trains like a typical gym fitness expert, but who eats organic healthy foods. Bova of Spartan Health Regimen is also a guy who implements intense fat burning workouts, but stays lean with natural whole foods.

I actually just started taking cod liver oil mixed with molasses like Bova recommends. It is an potent natural immune system booster.

Anyway, much respect to these guys and there are many others who take a balanced approach to heath and fitness.

----> (New) Facebook Comments..."Cause all the cool kids are doin' it!"

{ 53 comments… read them below or add one }

Rafi Bar-Lev November 19, 2009 at 6:16 pm

I think moderation is key. Workout with weights, hike outside, eat healthy food and take vitamins but don’t go so crazy that it becomes an obsession, and enjoy life. Do that, and the really important things are that much easier to accomplish. 🙂

Kat November 19, 2009 at 6:25 pm

I totally agree that a mix of the two mindsets are best. It really comes down to moving and eating the way we are meant to– using our bodies in ways that keep them challenged yet with adequate rest and recovery and then nourishing them with the right foods that create optimum health.

Finding the right types of movement and foods that work for the individual both physically and mentally, what works and is at the same time enjoyable, is the key for success.

Andrew Goggans November 19, 2009 at 6:32 pm

I’ve taken a multi-vitamin, high-dose EPA fish oil, Vitamin D3 and some Vitamin C for years now. They’re all really cheap supplements, so even if they’re not well-absorbed, I figure they just “top me off.” When my wife got Swine Flu, I upped my Vitamin D3 and C dose considerably, and despite being around her for at least 15 hours per day, I didn’t get sick. Maybe it’s luck. You’ll have a hard time convincing me otherwise. I haven’t gotten sick in a long time. Every time I feel like I may be getting sick, I up the Vitamin D3 dose by quite a bit and no sickness ever manifests.

I’ve begun to move away from a reliance on protein powder, but I still use some every day. I find that a protein shake with some dextrose mixed in makes a good pre-workout energy drink for soccer games.

As for mixing gym training with outdoors, I play outdoor soccer (rain or shine, snow or unbearable heat) 4 times per week in addition to actual gym workout. Between going to the gym and playing soccer so much, I don’t find that I have time for things like kayaking or mountain climbing (both of which are difficult to do in Kansas). But I find the outdoor soccer much more effective and enjoyable forms of cardio than just running, whether it’s on a trail or a treadmill.

Matt November 19, 2009 at 6:34 pm

I’ve moved to eating mostly all natural foods and I love Mark Sisson’s site as well. I think everyone (myself included) has been fed a freakin load about what “good” nutrition is supposed to be. Especially in regards to nutrition for health/fitness. To me it makes so much more sense to follow a natural diet with tons of fruits, vegetables, and meat. I’ve eaten more vegetables in the past 2 months than I have my entire life. I feel better than ever, by body fat is continuing to drop, and I have more energy.

What I’m saying is that I’m from the “fitness” background, but I’ve learned that I can partake in a whole, natural diet and still get the same (if not better) results.

Oh, and a BIG thanks to you Rusty for this great blog. I look forward to every update.


Joethetoe2 November 19, 2009 at 6:40 pm

It’s great that you posted this, people need to see the difference here.. your articles are amazing thank you

Bova November 19, 2009 at 7:00 pm


Great post. You’re so right. You need to strike the right balance between athlete and health advocate. And to be able to sort out which part of which groups philosophies and ideas work for you.

But . . . I’ll be keeping an eye on you.

If you start growing dreadlocks and eating soy-lentil burgers I’m sending over a Spartan Special Ops Squad to kidnap and start hippie de-brainwashing!


mickieb November 19, 2009 at 7:02 pm

Hi Rusty,
NYC is not always the perfect place to just go out and do something when the feeling strikes, so I have an indoor bike and outdoor bike. I have a treadmill as well. So I get to do walking and biking as part of my exercise routine, and for fun outdoors, when I have the time and the weather is good.

I have within a short car ride, a REALLY nice walking or biking trail, called the Greenways. These are paved trails that go on for miles and miles weaving in and out of publc parks and onto city streets and goes all throughout the city. NYC maintain these for the avid or leisure walker or biker. You get the trees and nature within the urban setting. Really cool concept! The Greenways is my favorite and if I had the time, I can walk it for hours, just to enjoy the semi quiet and calm.

I also have my home gym time, which I just got back into. I had gone back to my gym, but really found that it wasnt for me. So i think I have a good balance or at least choices of activities.

As for supplements, I never got big into the GNC stuff, but do have whey protein powder, mostly bc I just cant seem to eat enough protein in a day. I also take a good vitamin/mineral pill, Omega 3, and calcium daily.

One of my biggest goals is to live to a healthy and happy 100 years! Oh and besides all the physical work we do, I also like to get as stress free as possible. Not like doing yoga, necessarily, but more of freeing the mind of stress. That means of course, taking care of business and tying up loose ends, so they dont become a source of stress. I think that stress is a bigger killer than someone eating unhealthily or not exercising.

This is what I am living by for now!

Monica November 19, 2009 at 7:04 pm

Interesting observation – I never thought about it this way before! I am definitely a mix of both. I started out being a loyal GNC customer too a long time ago LOL. Nowadays, I eat mostly organic whole foods, and I also love my daily protein shake. I take a bunch of supplements as well, vitamins , esp. C and D, minerals, esp. magnesium, antioxidants, like green tea extract or grape seed extract, as well as fish oil and chlorella powder (great to absorb and eliminate heavy metals). I prefer gym workouts – I like outdoors more for walking and relaxing. Works for me – I’m always healthy 🙂

John McGrath November 19, 2009 at 7:11 pm

I am 69 and since I started drinking whey isolate protein shakes (with phytos and enzymes) and a few pills and swinging that kettlebell 100 times a day I feel great. Usual health readings very good to great. Don’t care about beach body slimness – I like eating bread, olive oil, other healthy fatteners plus some bad ones. But my waist is shrinking anyway. Next: recumbent bike for lower body 3-4 times a week. Can’t rely on walking. Don’t get sick. Pay $3300 a year for Medicare (yes, it’s hardly free) but don’t use it.

Rick November 19, 2009 at 7:15 pm

I used to be on the extreme fitness side of this. I took all the new and cool supplements, and ate the way flex or muscle and fitness prescribed, worked out in the gym like crazy and did tons of slow cardio. My muscles got pretty big, but I got fat too (didn’t ever focus on quality food). Now I eat paleo style for the most part and aim for over all health and fitness, rather than being buff. The only supplements I take are vitamins, but I probably don’t need them that much because I eat mostly fruit and vegetables and lean meat. I work out about half as much at the gym and do a few quick workouts at home (body weight circuits or sprints). I feel way better now, have lost 30 pounds, and look a whole lot better too. A lot of my success is owed to you Rusty for your blog and the others you have turned me on to like Ballantyne, Pilon, Steer, Bova, etc.

Jeff Todd November 19, 2009 at 7:15 pm

Like most I think moderation is way to go. I have read several reports from Britain and Canada recently that debunk the myth of organic food as being anything special so regular whole foods are the way to go without draining your wallet. I do like a protein shake every other day or so as well.


Sam November 19, 2009 at 7:17 pm

Great post Rusty. I love both yours and Mark Sisson’s sites. I find however, as a vegetarian (not for health reasons, but just the way I was brought up), that it is extremely difficult to follow all of Mark’s principles. The most important thing is to get your information from many different sources and pick and choose what works for you. Overall however, whole natural foods with lots of veggies is definately the way to go. Its a life-long learning experience and when people find themselves frustrated with the conflicting sources, think like a student and appreciate the fact that the frustration will result in you finding what you actually need to know.

Roger November 19, 2009 at 7:18 pm

Good point!

Jeff Todd November 19, 2009 at 7:20 pm

I forgot to ask Rusty – how do you mix the cod liver oil and molasses together and what amount do you take?


Clementinho November 19, 2009 at 7:48 pm

i’m a big proponent of sports performance. i’ve never actually tried protein shakes and i’m mainly eating whole natural foods with some biscuits and refined grains. if i were to switch to brown rice and protein shakes instead of biscuits, what would it do with respect to my performance in sports and training? Rusty, please write a bit about athlete-style diets!

Michael - Fat Loss Tips November 19, 2009 at 10:21 pm

Solid post Rusty…
I’ve cut down on my protein shakes in the name of whole foods but you raise some very valid points. I’ll be eagerly following the comments on this one since I’m on both sides of the fence depending on situation and time of day… if that makes sense;)


Jeff November 19, 2009 at 11:39 pm

great minds think alike! Over the last two years I too have been mixing traditional supplements (whey, multi V’s etc.) and typical Whole Foods fair-sprouted grain bread, greek yogurt, raw honey, almond butter etc. Is it me or is the current science RE nutrition far more complicated than exercise? Great post on a controversial subject.


Greeno November 20, 2009 at 12:30 am

balance is the key Rusty…got to keep mixing it up…

Seth November 20, 2009 at 1:22 am

My activity level has always been high, but I didnt start to lose any fat until I got my diet right. For me, I go organic, if I have the money, or go for things that are not processed, or minimally processed. Whenever I go to a fast food joint anymore, I usually get sick for at least the rest of the day, I get really moody and sleepy from all the unnatural ingredients, so I dont go anymore, I havent been to one since the summmer. I see the benefits of real foods.
I go sprint intervals outside on a track or on my mountain I live on, but everything else is in a gym environment, but I am doing more body weight exercises, which a short time ago, I didnt think should be considered “exercise”(thanks Turbulence training) I think everyone has gone through the stage of believing everything the GNC guy says, and spending soooo much money on all that stuff. As I grow older,(early 30’s now) I come to realize that my body aches a bit more and harder workouts can keep me down for some time, so just eating right helps and those other supplements from the hippies work well too, (fish oil, flaxseed, multi, vit c, d, a, kelp, bee pollen, and the such) But I also like to take N.O. and L glutamine, and protein shakes every so often.
I think the older I get tho, I question things more and challenge what conventional wisdom says, and why they believe certain things? Thats when I found out about all the hippie supplements and alternative things that work just as well if not better. The funny thing is, is that when I come to valid answers, and apply them, and they work, I tell people about it, and they look at me like I’m a freak (like lets say fasting for a day). Its like the movie Matrix, the blue pill vs. red pill. I think most people want to not think about it and stay in their happy little world, believing what they are told.

Rahul November 20, 2009 at 2:25 am

Hey Rusty, Loved the pic and its caption…But what I really want to know is when are you going to walk the walk ie: grow some carpet cleaning brush sort of shrubbery on ur chin to reflect your new enlightened status?? 🙂 ……..

Jason G November 20, 2009 at 5:02 am

The only “weight lifting” supplement that I consume is whey protein(Specifically a shake filled with frozen wild blueberries, hemp milk, and whey protein). I do take fish oil, cod liver oil, GPC, Alive multi-vitamin, lutein, calcium & magnesium, ginko bilboa, and a couple of B vitamins. I eat organic fruits, beans and vegetables. I consume non organic meats twice a week. All dairy is organic. While some of the supplements might prove to be a waist of time the clean eating is definitely important to feeling good. I am a health food junkie. But I keep it interesting by using Indian, Morroccan, South American, and Turkish cook books. I am trying to limit grains and high glycemic food during the day to sustain a balanced blood sugar level. Hippie Fitness?

Denmark November 20, 2009 at 5:03 am

All natural foods is the only right way…
With all respect, (I know I’m young and still new compared to lots of you guys), but I have never taken a protien shake and probably never will… (even though I could probably use it:)

Fitness and health come hand in hand… It may take a bit longer to reach your goal, but at least it is being done the real and natural way!

I can honestly say, I used to take vitamins, but since my diet has become so clean and natural, I see no need…
If you eat the right foods, that your body needs, you will also be getting the right and correct amount of vitamins, protien and so on…

Anyone agree or am I nuts???

Awsome article Rusty, I really appreciate you bringing up this topic!

Denmark November 20, 2009 at 5:08 am

A quick follow up –

One thing I never understood, lots of people I know take omega-3 / fish oil pills…

Why not just make sure you eat fish a couple times a week???

Aditya November 20, 2009 at 5:17 am

I am more of an indoor person and prefer the gym BUT I got for rappling, hiking trips occasionally. And just tomorrow I will be gone hiking and probably try to scale a peak nearby. I workout 5 days a week in the gym and I eat normal. I am pretty lean and I have been at 7% bfl for quite a while now and it feels great. You have been my inspiration to reach this level from 15% a few months back and I am totally reaping the fruits of the hard work which I had put in a while back. And to say more, some of my friends, seeing me so lean and stuff has taken up gymming and I actually assist, or would say pass on the info which I get from you, to them and they are doing great, I must say. And regarding the whole food vs supplements part, I have a protein shake for lunch and nothing else and I eat really normal stuff for dinner and so to say I just have one good meal at night. I fast 3 days a week and I enjoy junk every alternate day and I am still doing great. Apart from the protein shake, I have a multivitamin, spirulina and cod liver capsules. I have abs now and I am proud to say I eat everything, of course in moderate quantities and still maintain them.

The simple concept of ‘a calorie is a calorie no matter what form it is’ is a wonder in fat loss and maintenance science.

Bill November 20, 2009 at 6:50 am

Hey Rusty,

Was I lot like you many moons ago. Over that time grew wiser, started reading Mark Sisson of “Mark’s Daily Apple” and here with your awesome straight from the hip truth Rusty.

During that journey became a yoga instructer, martial arts teacher,
but the most enjoyable, learning to live simply while finding the right balance between being a hippie bodybuilder or is that a bodybuilder hippie. Anyway, feel balance is the key. Just like enjoy BOVA.

So here’s to enjoying finding that balance, while Living it too!

Been doing just that recently with some awesome bodyweight exercises that challenge your flexibility, strength, and how you look at exercise at http://www.bodyweightcoach.com/

Always feel Live, Explore, and Grow from it is part of the fun of living Natural and Healthy!!!

Keep Going ~ Keep Growing


Greg November 20, 2009 at 7:47 am

I started off my journey similarly, with morning fruit smoothie/protein shakes. I’ve also moderated to mainly “real food.” I feel much better about it and its definitely more sustainable over the remainder of my life.

Mick Shaw November 20, 2009 at 8:27 am

Gday Rusty
I have just found your sight and thanks for the insight, something I have always knows but beeen to stuborn to realise ( realize for all you yanks) anyway hooha for all the you got so rights because you did variety is the spice of life and the methodoligy you are using ( nice word that methodoligy spelt right or wrong) stricks a good chord in this fat old bastard. You have put new wind beneath these winds thankyou. To all you youngens or fit oldens remember theres still truth and bite in some of the old ways

Bruno Salvati November 20, 2009 at 2:58 pm

When I started out I bought into all the “Muscle&Fitness” hype – prolly tried every single new latest/greatest supplement – you name it (anyone remember Dibencozide?) And those horrible Weider protein powders that were basically cake mix in a can – you know 9000 calories/serving – lol! Ah yes, where are they now? However, I also shopped at health food stores and had “awareness” about eating healthy, etc – but the biggest mistake I made was to buy into the “eat, eat and eat some more if you want to get big” which was prevalent in every single “bodybuilding” article of the day – yep, I got big alright – all the way to 240# – sure I was big and got lots of attention/remarks but I was slow and physically lethargic and followed the advice of the “experts” to never expend any energy unless it was lifting heavy heavy weights at every workout – I kept this up for years and years, – even when job/life demands cut into my training frequency – as a consequence I have suffered many health issues which I attribute to overtraining and over-eating – I never really had a clue. These days I do IF and train much differently – more “coaxing” than “forcing” – cycling intensity, adding HIIT to my regimen etc. Lost 9 inches off my waist by buckling down and finally eating “right” – Its a whole new “training world” out there from when I started in the late 70’s and all so much for the better! I have gone long periods w/o any supplements at all and felt as good (or better) when on them – I have a theory that they can create imbalances that the body then has to expend energy to overcome – but I am no scientist. I also now know that force feeding the body is prolly the absolute worst thing one can do for long term health – will lead to diabetes and possibly other health issues and yet I still see this “advice” being given by so many of the training “experts”, i.e. eat 6 meals/day – it ought to be a crime to dispense this type of advice. Thank goodness we have people like Rusty and Brad to finally put to rest so many of the bogus “training truths” that have led so many of us astray from the original intent of developing a nice muscular, yet “healthy” body.

Bruno Salvati November 20, 2009 at 3:03 pm

Yes Denmark – there is evidence that fish oils may not really be all that good for you – read the works of Brian Peskin (search on the i-net) – he has done tons of research into the parent essential oils (PEO’s). Some of you (us) may consider getting rid of fish oils altogether.

FitJerks Fitness Blog November 20, 2009 at 3:40 pm

This is the first time I’m EVER going to comment without reading the post — JOCKS!!!

ahh… alright time to read what I responded to. Gota keep things interesting right?

CR November 20, 2009 at 6:17 pm


I believe that supplements are just that. They were developed originally to provide the vitamins and minerals that were missing from the diet depending on where you live and provide the nutrients that are missing from processed foods.

For example, a carrot grown in Florida does not contain the same nutrients as a carrot grown in California and vice versa.

Supplements and raw foods are not so much a school of thought as they they are complementary to one another.

A clear example of this was the addition of iodine to table salt in 1924 to compensate for the lack of iodine in the soil discovered when the nation had a goiter epidemic.

Just as all supplements are not absorbed by the digestive system, the nutrients locked in the fiber of fruits and vegetables are not all absorbed by the digestive system as well.

So this means that given the genetic variation of each individual, supplementation of nutritional components and the quality of its source is invaluable in maintaining optimal health.

As you are probably aware, I have written about this at length. Another clear example is we are facing a bone density crisis in this country. The source of calcium is important for supplementation. Most calcium supplements come from limestone, even that which is added to orange juice and milk. Yet the best source of calcium comes from coral or algae, which is recognized by the body as food and sold as a supplement.

Now the problem is these quality source are in off the shores of parts of South American and Japan. People who live there don’t need this supplementation because it is part of their soils eco system, but most of America must get it in supplementation because of the way we process our food supply.

So to answer your question Hippe v. Jock?

Neither group is healthier then the other because their mindset if it comes from a school of thought limits their choices to feed the need of their body based on genetic variation and the locale from which they obtain sustenance.

Baz November 20, 2009 at 10:46 pm

Rusty we don’t use the term jock where I’m from but I see what you’re talking about. I wanted to ask you about the picture if that guy up there. This guy is ripped and muscular so he had little body fat on him, but his pecks still look like they droop down a bit. It seems that his lower chest is bigger than his upper and even though he has a developed chest I wouldn’t like my pecks to droop down that way. It sort or give off a man boob look even though body fat seems to be low. What could be the reason for this? Too many decline presses?

I would love to hear what you other guys have to say as well?

mickieb November 20, 2009 at 10:56 pm

Some people cant eat or dont like fish. I like fish, but I find that I cant eat alot of any proteins, I just stop eating after a few bites. I think I may have been born with vegetarian tendencies! But also, some people may be afraid of the possible mercury and other toxins that may be in the fishes. Calorie wise, some people cant afford to eat all the calories theyd like, so having a supplement to get what they need is easier. And last is cost. Fish costs alot if you eat the good stuff!

FITGORDO November 21, 2009 at 9:38 am

you mentioned you got sick while eating “hippie” style. what kinda sick did you get. i seemed to get sick while taking soy protein powder shakes. i usually get the flu every 5 years and i got it 2 years in a row and had a lot of fatigue during that time. i too have trimmed down my supplements because it is better and cheaper to eat whole foods.

Studio Element Personal Training November 21, 2009 at 6:27 pm

I believe that there are extremes in both directions. Myself and my staff at Studio Element try to push our clientele to obtain their nutrition through whole food choices, limit preservatives, and avoid supplements unless absolutely necessary.

slim jim November 23, 2009 at 8:20 am

Hi Rusty, i have got an urelated question, but might be of interest to many readers. I have been combining strenght training with circuits, by doing my lifting in this manner: very heavy bench press 6 reps, then immediately very heavy inverted rows, 6 reps, then very heavy squats, very heavy military press, and a little rest, then do the sequence again, making sure to maintain good form and not to lift to failure. I noticed that i feel very worked out and good after this, breathing heavily and sweating for up to an hour. Is there anything i need to note with this type of workout? thanks for all yur help

Josh W. November 23, 2009 at 11:33 am

Just wanted to pop in and say thanks for your website, Rusty. There are a lot of websites out there promoting various plans that promise to help you lose weight and gain muscle, etc., but yours cuts through a lot of the bullshit, provides both scientific explanations (and data) and anecdotes, is willing to consider methods that other websites disparage without adequate testing, and–perhaps most importantly–presents ideas that actually work. I’ve lost about 25 pounds in two months and am pretty close to my ideal weight mostly thanks to the information on this site (and the Internet’s calorie calculators). So once again, thanks a ton, and hopefully your website will gain the recognition that it deserves.

deb November 23, 2009 at 11:45 am

Put me in the hybrid group, too. I shop for organic fruits and veggies, was thrilled to find a butcher who carries grass-fed beef and pasture raised poultry. Yet I have 2 protein drinks, vitamins, and additional supplements every day.

When I hold to this regimen I am not sick. When things get thrown off -when I’m travelling for instance- I always come home sick.

This mix also makes me clear headed, energetic and looking years younger than my true age.

Jason G November 23, 2009 at 11:20 pm

Slim Jim,

My workout is similar. I believe this type of weight training will one day be as popular as HIIT is becoming for cardio. This type of training will increase human growth hormone more so than others. Its also more time efficient. I don’t really do circuits. Instead I do many exercises with one set each. I am always moving. I will hit all of my major muscles at least twice. I like this better than circuits because I don’t have to worry about people taking my equipment. Instead I always have alternative options. Ultimately my muscles are being worked out like circuits because I will alternate from one muscle group to another.

Sandeep November 24, 2009 at 2:41 am

Hey Rusty.

I have a question about compound exercises. You said muscle definition is about the mind-muscle link. If you’re doing compound exercises like bicep curls with the olympic bar, clean and jerks, what muscle do i focus on?

shane November 24, 2009 at 2:37 pm

yep.i’m a recovering vegetarian myself.i lost like 35 pounds while not eating meat.but i had that skinny fat look.then i went back to the whole gym rat lifting 425 stage.looked bloated and my joints hurt.now i’m back on meat,which to be honest i love:).theres nothing more natural l l then a great steak on the grill.i do try to eat paleo when i can.to be honest organic meat is to expensive for me right now.so i go with natural which i know is not nearly as good for you,but its a heck of alot better then tofu.i learned that while being a vegie eating all the soy made my testosterone drop way low.

Alex Sotelo November 24, 2009 at 11:19 pm

I notice you and a lot of others have commented about eating “organic” foods. Please show me scientific research that proves that eating organically grown fruits and vegetables is healthier, more rich in nutrients or any of the other claims that most people make. It’s not bad for you so if you want to pay more to eat “organic” then go right ahead. But just a like a lot of the supplement misinformation garbage that floats around on the Net, the same goes for the whole organic foods market.

chica November 25, 2009 at 2:07 pm

hey rusty,

I agree with you about the best path probably lying between these two extremes. I take a fish oil supplement regularly, and sometimes something else depending on my goals/lifestyle. I’ll drink a protein shake if I’m trying to lose weight, creatine if I’m trying to build muscle, and antioxidants to give my poor liver a break if I’m drinking heavily 🙂 The rest of my nutrition I get from whole foods (organic when i can afford it)

It’s off topic, but I was reading your vacation body blueprint, and was wondering what speed of weight loss you thought it was safe to aim for. I’m 24 now, 5 foot ten, about 165 pounds 13-14% bodyfat, and I want to slim down for new year – just found out the party I’m going to is gonna have a hottub 🙂

I know (from past experience) that I can easily lose 1-2 pounds per week by eating around 2000 calories and working out 5-6 times a week (weights twice every 4 days and hiit once every 4 days) while preserving pretty much all of my muscle.

Given my tight deadline, do you think I should try to accelerate my weight loss by some combination of reducing my calories further, using eat stop eat, fasted workouts and your stubborn fat loss protocol? Or is it unhealthy for me to lose more than 2 pounds a week when I’m nearish to my ideal weight, and will it make me lose muscle (I’ve worked hard to build this muscle. I don’t wanna throw it away)?



Doug November 25, 2009 at 5:36 pm

Hot Stuff…wow, that really takes me back.

I remember way back to when I was 16-17 and I bough a tub of Hot Stuff – I grew like a weed. After a couple of tubs, it stopped working..and I stopped buying.

And then a few years later, I start hearing that the reason it worked so well was that it was laced with steroids. The roids were cheaper to buy than all of the stuff that was supposed to be in Hot Stuff

And now they’re selling it again – http://www.hotstuffnutritionals.com/magento/read_more_hotstuff

Personally, I am halfway between a hippie and a jock. I eat mostly real food, with some peri-workout supplements

Jeff Todd November 27, 2009 at 5:17 pm

Hi Rusty – can I get your thoughts on creatine? I’ve used it in cycles for the last several years and wonder how you feel it either benefits or detracts from getting/maintaining that toned look we all work towards.
The people here that respond to your blog are great.

Autumn November 30, 2009 at 1:32 am

I enjoyed this post. I come from an exercise physiology background, so I’ve often thought of this division; it’s interesting. I definitely think both schools of training are valid, however, the more I think about how I was raised (in the summers, fresh foods from our garden; in the winters, home-canned, preservative-free and frozen foods; my parents would buy a cow from a local ranch and pay to have it butchered and stored frozen so we had preservative-free, free-range meat as well…long before this was en vogue or anyone would even think there was any other way) versus all of the boxed food that requires “fortification,” I think the way to go is the way my parents did things. If you are eating properly for your body and amount/type of exercise, you don’t need all of those supplements…from any type of store.
I highly recommend reading “In Defense of Food” by Michael Pollan. It talks about how we have broken our food down to the minutiae and yet aren’t any healthier for it…hence, he makes a case for eating ‘food’ instead…aka whole foods.
Another example of this division is yoga versus conventional gym workouts for strength. I love yoga, I take 2-3 classes per week. It can be a wonderful calorie-burner, stress reliever, and muscle strengthener all at the same time. However, I’ve found that for me, I need to supplement it with gym time. I was a personal trainer for 8 years so I also enjoy sweating it out at the gym. For all of the battle cries for “balance,” I’ve found that even yoga lacks balance if that’s all you’re doing. There is no way to concentrically work your lats and other back muscles, so I make sure I do assisted pull-ups at the gym. Calves and hamstrings get a bit neglected as well. Also, if you are super flexible like I am, it doesn’t mean the opposing muscles are necessarily strong enough to support certain poses. Great yoga instructors can tell you this and how to get the strength you need for balance, but most classes are way too big for most instructors to tell their students…a lot of people get injured from yoga and don’t even realize how.
I definitely think you need to strike a balance between being a hippy and a jock. 🙂

Nick @ MMA Explosion November 30, 2009 at 11:18 pm

Combination of fresh real food and the right supplements I believe is the way to go. There are good protein powders available such as rice protein, which are pretty effective.

Aaron Curl December 21, 2009 at 12:31 am

Really good article. I am a hybrid also. Like you, I spent loads of money and a lot of time in GNC years ago. One girl knew me by name. I was like Norm from cheers….lol. Now I get most of my nurtients from my paleo diet but I supplement also. I used to spend hours in the gym bulking up years ago, now I primarily do bodweight exercises, run and bike. At 35 I can honestly say I am in better shape now than when I was 20. I would say for the most part it’s the diet. I never knew eating good foods would make you feel so alive and full of energy! Any ways…another awesome post!

Michael H. December 30, 2009 at 1:49 pm

I was wondering if anyone has ever heard of EODD (Every Other Day Diet) and know whether this is a healthy approach to staying healthy.

John February 16, 2010 at 9:11 pm

Chalk up another one for the “hybrids”. My diet could definitely be improved, but I go between shakes and organic produce. I also go back and forth between the normal gym and the rock climbing gym, so I have some of both worlds working for me. Hoping to improve my diet more by reading this site, as of now it’s all kind of guess work, and I just make a shake when I want one for breakfast on random days.

Tovah February 27, 2010 at 10:34 am

Hi Rusty! I’ve been subscribing to your blog for a month or two now, and in the past week I have been obsessively reading it since I have committed myself to getting very trim and toned by memorial day (my ten year reunion). This post really spoke to me because I’m have a lot of “hippie” roots (vegetarian at one point, liberal, love hiking) and yet I have spent some time at the gym doing weight training or intervals. My problem, of course, is sticking to these routines–3 months is the longest I’ve ever managed.

My question is this: My body type is shorter, pear-shaped, and I build muscle easily. I have been enjoying yoga as a form of exercise, and I’m thinking of using an aggressive yoga routine as my main muscle-building exercise so I can combat some of my natural “stockiness”. I will also be doing HIIT cardio followed by steady state to burn fat. (I have about 10-15 pounds to lose). I am also planning on doing ESE with general calorie cutting. I have a weakness for fast food and beer though! Do you think this will be an effective routine to lose about 10-15 pounds and look my best within 3 months?

Thank you for site! I have learned so much here and I finally feel like I have the tools and determination to finally hit my goal size.

Tovah February 27, 2010 at 10:39 am

Autumn, you might be exactly who I need to talk to. What kind of strength exercises would you recommend to supplement a 3x per week yoga routine?

Janalyne April 4, 2010 at 1:44 am

I agree also, that a mix is the best. Eating whole organic foods is great, but most people (myself included) don’t usually eat perfectly all the time and need some help with vitamin, etc. supplements to fill the gaps in the diet. With workouts, variety is the spice of life and the more options you have and the more you switch it up…the more you stick with it. It’s also helpful to do more outdoorsy type activities that are weather dependent and then on rainy or snowy days (except skiing and winter sports!) to stay inside and do more gym type workouts.

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