7 Days - New Body, New Life

Written and contributed by Phil Kaplan, this is the first page of a lengthy piece sharing seven principles for physical betterment.  You can read the article here, at the site, or download the entire piece as a pdf file.


The Wild Ride and The Seven Gettits - Finding Optimal Health


OK, you’ve been on a wild ride.  If you’ve attempted fitness and despite partial commitments, some results, and achievement milestones, you’re presently in a body you aren’t particularly thrilled with, you had a seat on the WILD RIIDE roller coaster.  You didn’t board the roller coaster by choice, but once you unwittingly strapped on the harness, you were whisked along for the chaotic ride.

What am I talking about?  I’m talking about the twists and turns and loops and pitfalls that Americans seeking weight loss, health, and fitness have collectively been exposed to. 

There was a time we were told to reduce our fat intake.  We were also told to get into our Target Heart Zones and stay there for awhile to burn fat. 

The ride didn’t stop there.  Some people stuck to their programs, some people were more erratic, but the next turn flipped things upside down.

“Hold on people, fat isn’t the culprit!  Its those darn carbohydrates!  Eat your steak, eat your bacon, eat your eggs, and drown yourself in butter.  It's all just fine.  The experts were wrong.  You know the pasta you’ve been eating because the experts told you it gave you energy?  Well, turns out it gave you love handles.  If you want fat loss, stop eating those carbohydrates . . . oh, and as far as the exercise thing . . . weights are the key to metabolism.  Yes, for the girls too!”

Suddenly, a loop throws everything upside down.  Phen-fen hits the mainstream as the new miraculous weight loss drug, and the bodybuilding underground brings forth a gray market of some drugs on the borderline of legality, clenbuterol and ephedrine.

Amazingly, as the ride continues, as a population we grow fatter and move farther away from health.  Phen-fen is pulled from the market after it brings some people primary pulmonary hypertension, a fatal heart and lung ailment, but the drug companies have tasted blood.  They pour out new drugs, Redux, Meridia, and Xenical hit the market, and to kick things up to a new level, the drug companies start buying advertising time on television!

While the drug sellers party, the supplement industry sees an opportunity.  They see the wild ride is taking a turn toward relying upon a pill, and if they move quickly, they don’t have to worry about research and FDA approval.  After all, they don’t sell “drugs,” they sell “supplements!”  Ephedrine comes from an herb and so does caffeine.  The ephedrine / caffeine “fat burners” hit the market.  Are they fat burners?  Not really, but they are stimulants and they are addictive, so lots of people started buying lots of bottles of lots of pills.

Predictably, ephedrine gets some bad press and over time gets pulled from the world of fat burning, but by now there’s a never-ending party going on.  The drug companies are raking it in, and the supplement sellers find other stimulant compounds they can sell as “new fat burners.”  There’s a feeding frenzy as the ride takes our well-intentioned fitness wanters through the land of “magic pills.”

Now the professional end of the fitness field is getting worked up.   Fitness professionals understand kinesiology and they fully grasp the importance of exercise in any health program, so they attend workshops and seminars and they find out . . . those exercise machines people were using in the gyms . . . they suck!  They ignore the core muscles, they force the body into unnatural linear movement patterns, and they may put excessive strain on joints and connective tissue.  The “new” turn is functional training! 

Suddenly, the fitness world erupts with medicine balls, stability balls, bands, and contraptions, and trainers have people standing on wobbly devices helping clients train for better balance and stability.  At this point, you’d think the ride ends.  You’d think the population has been properly led . . . but you’d be thinking incorrectly.  It’s only yet another turn.

Some clever pseudo-scientists are watching from a distance, noting the emergence of new infomercial devices, watching the growth of old-school Pilates presented as “new,” and realizing there’s a hole.  Yes, there’s an opening.  Nobody seems to be focusing on a culprit.  At one time people knew the villain was fat, then they came to know the villain was carbs, and now . . . they were going to introduce a new villain.  Cortisol!

Corti-slim was released with an incredible marketing campaign using computer graphics to shrink a waistline in seconds.  The “TV-scientist” showed a graphic or a cortisol molecule and explained, “regardless of what you do with your exercise and eating, if you have too much fat around your midsection, you have a cortisol problem.”  Few people outside of the worlds of medicine, endocrinology, and biochemistry had heard of this monster before, but the infomercial took the ride to a new high.  Cortisol is “the stress hormone that makes you fat.”  True?  Nope.  At best it’s hype built on partial truth, but wow did that work . . . I mean . . . from a “let’s make money at the expense of people” perspective of “work.”

Next came hoodia, the great weight loss cactus pill touted as the weight loss secret of the Kalahari, and as the pill parade continued, the gyms became even more confusing.  Functional training replaces selectorized resistance machines . . . but what about the cardio idea?  What about the 15-20 minute minimum requirement three days per week in your Target Heart Zone to burn fat?  There was evidence those theories were simply a turn on the ride.  The new lines of treadmills, elliptical, and stationary bikes had charts that indicated a lower intensity range referred to as your “fat loss zone.”

Some rebels said “enuff’s enuff” and the Bootcamp explosion led to a massive scream as the ride ran amuck.  Bootcamps for men, bootcamps for moms, bootcamps on the beach, and bootcamps for athletes seemed to emerge in every neighborhood and suddenly the idea of “the gym” seemed archaic.  The functional training movement teamed up with the bootcamp concept and the “kick your ass hard doing lots of exhaustive movements” idea took hold, and “Cross Fit” became an explosive phenom.

I can keep going, but I’m personally exhausted just from sketching the boundaries of the wild ride.  If you tried to take all of that wisdom that was sent our way over all of those years, the conclusion would be don’t eat fat, and eat carbs, and don’t eat carbs, and eat fat, and commit to lengthy aerobic exercise sessions, which isn’t really all that important after all, since the key lies in “weights,” and drugs, and supplements, and use the gym machines, but don’t, and run fast, but run slow, but exercise as hard as you can.

Now, is it any wonder our population is fat, tired, dis-eased, and confused?  I’d have to say no.  It isn’t any wonder at all!  After a wild ride like that, it’s amazing so many people are still trying.


I’ve spent the last 30 years challenging the wild ride, trying to keep people on a sound course of what was evidenced and proven.   I relentlessly examined the research and the claims, and realized misinformation was more of a culprit than fats, carbs, or cortisol.  Everything I shared with clients 30 years ago holds true today, and I now meet former clients who thank me for changing their lives decades ago.  They understood, they stayed the course, and they found lifelong fitness.

Here we are, after a decade of the 21st century has gone by, and the ride is in full motion, but I say it’s time to get off.  I’m about to share seven “gettits.” 

What’s a gettit?  Urban slang defines it as a sexual position or sexual demeanor, but that’s not what I’m referring to here.  I’m referring to the theory that “some people “get it” and some people don’t.”

If you fail to understand the realities of the human machine and its care, fitness will elude you forever.  On the other hand, if you’re willing to get off of the ride, realize that many of your beliefs have shifted erratically as the public message changed, and accept that the foundation of “what works to help human beings find fitness” will work for you, you open up your mind to new information.  Every thought that knocks a false belief out of your brain and replaces it with a “yeah, that makes sense” is, at least in my language, a gettit.

So, in hopes of you “getting it,” I’m about to share Seven Hard-Hitting Gettits that I hope will release you from the wild ride and lead you to a new you, a body that you love!

SECTION 3: THE SEVEN GETTITS (Click here for Gettit #1 - insulin or download the entire piece as a pdf)