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I’ve always been a caffeine junkie– even as a kid, I had an unhealthy love of Dr. Pepper. You’ve probably seen my article on how to quit caffeine, which I’ve done about a dozen times now (not a joke– it’s worth doing even temporarily, to reset your tolerance).

That said, I’ve never been much of a coffee guy. …

Hedonic pleasure, emotional well-being, and life satisfaction: what’s worth pursuing, and how to get it

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Photo by Halfpoint.

Many people are of the opinion that the ultimate goal of life is to be happy. Whether you agree with that or not, happiness is undoubtedly a crucial part of a good life. Most people aren’t in the habit of asking “how important is happiness to me?”, but if pressed, almost all of us would list it as one of our top priorities.

But what does it actually take to be consistently happy with your life? Most of us have a few specific things that we’d like to change about our lives in order to become happy; some of those ideas might be good, others not so much. …

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Sometimes life gets really boring for a while. Right now, it’s really boring and repetitive for a lot of people, including me.

I live in Los Angeles, which means most places around me won’t be opening up for a long, long time. I’m pretty much stuck in my apartment other than taking a short walk once or twice a day.

My days have become utterly predictable: get up and surf the net for a bit, work, relax for a bit, work some more, eat, take a walk, work, relax a bit, work some more, work out, cook dinner, watch TV…day in and day out. …

Interview with Jennifer Ludington, women’s fitness and wellness coach

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Photo courtesy of Jennifer Ludington.

I first met Jennifer Ludington when she contacted me to be a part of The Freedom Body Summit, a web-based women’s fitness seminar that she organized. After speaking to her, I came away impressed by the depth of her knowledge and experience — she clearly understood that how personal training works in real life isn’t quite how the textbooks say it works.

Jennifer is a premier weight-loss, fitness, and wellness coach with over 13 years of experience coaching over 1,000 clients, including high performers, high-achieving professionals, and CEOs. She is committed to supporting her clients in staying and living on their business and leadership edge by utilizing physical strength, fitness, and nutrition as the tools to create lifelong sustainable wellness. …

An introduction to using supplements for productivity, learning, and stress reduction

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Photo by Deagreez

In the movie Limitless, Bradley Cooper attains superhuman intelligence and productivity after he begins taking a cutting-edge “smart drug.” In real life, nothing nearly that powerful exists.

However, a wide variety of smart drugs do exist. They’re called nootropics, and while none of them are magic pills, many of them can be quite effective for specific purposes, ranging from improving working memory, providing stimulation while reducing stress, and enhancing motivation.

The whole subject can be bewildering if you’re unfamiliar with it. There are literally hundreds of nootropics, many of which are either dangerous, ineffective, prescription-only, or just not well-tested.

I’ve been cautious about using nootropics myself, and in recommending them for clients. It’s important to balance promising results with an understanding of potential side effects, including whether a substance can become addictive. I’m not a doctor, and it’s a good idea to discuss nootropic use with your own physician if you decide to try them. In this article, I’ll introduce a few of the best nootropics for beginners to start with, and explain how to optimize the use of them for productivity, learning, relaxation, and socialization. …


How celebrity trainer Phil Catudal customizes training programs for clients

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Photo courtesy of Phil Catudal

Stop me if this sounds familiar. A friend loses a bunch of weight — or puts on some muscle — following a hot new program. They insist that you just have to try it. And you do, eagerly. And after a few months of hard work, you’ve got…nothing to show for it.

What works for one person won’t necessarily work for another. That seems like it should be obvious, and yet we forget it all too easily. Plus, how do you individualize your training, anyway?

One method is to go off of your body type. People who are naturally skinny shouldn’t eat or train the same way as those who easily become overweight, or the same as someone who easily puts on muscle. …

10 principles to help you evaluate which moves are best for you

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Photo by Vasyl Dolmatov

Weight training can seem overwhelming at first. There are hundreds of exercises you can do, but which ones should you do?

You’ve probably heard that free weights are better than machines, and that the squat and bench press are key components of a good weight training program — but do you know why?

In this article, I’ll explain exactly what makes some exercises better than others. I’ll explain the criteria which define an optimal exercise. And finally, I’ll show you how to use those criteria to evaluate exercises, and improve upon some of the most popular resistance training movements.

10 Principles of Exercise Selection

Here are the 10 principles for evaluating exercises. …

Why You Need the “Intensity Dial” Mental Model

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I’ll get back into exercise once things settle down a bit.

I’m going to take a short break from my diet, but I’ll get back into it once I’m not traveling as much.

I’m putting this on pause, but I’ll pick it back up in a month.

People say this kind of thing all the time…and they almost never “come back” the way they say they will, when they say they will.

Usually their one-month break turns into a one-year break, and when they do finally take another crack at it, they’re starting from zero…or worse.

I’ve had quite a few people announce to me that thy were taking “breaks” like this over the years. Funny thing, thanks to the coronavirus, most of them are now getting the break they were waiting for. How many of them do you think are actually getting back on the wagon? …

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I thought The Biggest Loser was finally, mercifully dead. Oh how naive I was.

My blissful ignorance was shattered last week when a family member casually mentioned that the show had been revived this year, and the new season had just ended. Just wonderful.

For the past fifteen years, the entire fitness industry has been trying to explain the problem with this show: namely, that it seems expressly designed to discourage weight loss, and appears to have been designed by the junk food industry in consultation with the pharma lobby and Satan himself.

That of course raises an interesting question: what would the show look like if it was seriously trying to help people? …

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Originally published on

Men these days are quite literally not what they used to be. The average testosterone level of American men has declined by roughly 1% per year since at least the mid-1980’s, if not longer- that’s more than a 25% decline in thirty years. Nor is this strictly an American phenomenon; similar results have been reported in the UK and Denmark.

You might think that declining testosterone levels are not a natural and inevitable part of the aging process– not so. One Australian study found that men who took care of their health typically did not experience a significant annual decline in testosterone levels, while men who really let themselves go actually saw their testosterone levels decline even faster. …


John Fawkes

Los Angeles-based personal trainer, online fitness & nutrition coach, and health & fitness writer.

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