Juan Morel's Daughter is Missing in New York City


Juan “Diesel” Morel’s daughter has been missing for close to two days, the superstar bodybuilder said on his Instagram.

The former IFBB New York Pro champion said his 16-year-old daughter Destiny, who has not been seen since July 10, is either in Hollis, Queens or East New York, Brooklyn. He’s asked anyone with information to contact him, or a police detective called Detective Denis, whose phone number he put in the social media post.

A number of fellow bodybuilders—from Kai Greene to Sadik Hadzovic—have reposted Morel’s plea for help. Destiny was last seen in Deer Park, Suffolk County, Morel said.


An App for Tapping Into Your Sensual Side


Sex positivity (meaning that sex, as long as it’s healthy and truly consensual, is a good thing) is something I think about a lot. Maybe not as much as body positivity, or busting diet culture, or, you know, tacos — but, well, I’m in the midst of writing a romance novel, and as I’ve delved further and further into that world, I’ve become far more aware of how sex and self-confidence and feminism intersect. I’ve also realized how often love scenes either a) use humor as a vehicle to show a character making safe sex a priority, b) make the…

The post An App for Tapping Into Your Sensual Side appeared first on Fit Bottomed Girls.

"It's Time to Come Together": Megan Rapinoe's Inspiring Victory Speech


The US Women’s National Team is unapologetically living their best lives after their record-breaking World Cup win, and Megan Rapinoe is leading the charge. She won awards as the tournament’s top player and top goal-scorer. She’s yelling “I deserve this” while holding the World Cup trophy and popping a bottle of Champagne, the complete embodiment of a capital-M Mood. And she fired up huge crowds in New York City and across the world with a poignant, empowering speech imploring unity and love.

The speech followed a ticker-tape parade through New York City in which the team and the crowds were showered with Champagne and pounds of confetti under the bright New York sunshine. (The pictures are amazing.) The celebration concluded at City Hall, where Megan’s fellow cocaptains, Carli Lloyd and Alex Morgan, as well as coach Jill Ellis, recognized the team and thanked fans for their support. Megan was last up, delivering a speech that channeled the team’s ebullient energy and humor even as they pressed for something more serious. Not just equal pay, for which the USWNT’s fight has been well-documented, but for togetherness, courage, and the belief that every single person can do more and be more, speaking to both those who supported the team and those who didn’t.

“This is my charge to everyone,” she told the crowd. “We have to be better. We have to love more, hate less. We’ve got to listen more and talk less. This is everybody’s responsibility, every single person here. Every single person who’s not here, every single person who doesn’t want to be here. Every single person who agrees and doesn’t agree. It’s our responsibility to make this world a better place.”

Megan went on to ask, “How do you make your community better? How do you make the people around you better? Your family? Your closest friends?” She and her teammates are athletes, Megan said, “but we’re so much more than that. You’re so much more than that.”

She even addressed, if somewhat obliquely, the recent controversies surrounding the team before and during the World Cup. “There’s been so much contention these last few years,” she said. “I’ve been a victim of that. I’ve been a perpetrator of that.” Referencing the team’s lawsuit against US Soccer, Megan apologized for some of the things she’d said. “Not all of the things,” she added with a smile. But she seemed to suggest that the time for being at odds was over. “It’s time to come together,” she said. “This conversation is at the next step. We have to collaborate. It takes everybody.”

Megan closed by entreating listeners to “be more. Be better. Be bigger than you’ve ever been before.” Watch the video below to hear her full speech, by turns hilarious and tear-jerking.

Episode 434 – Q&A with Robb and Nicki #27



It’s time for another podcast!  Episode 434, Q&A #27

Submit your own questions for the podcast at: https://robbwolf.com/contact/submit-a-question-for-the-podcast/

If you want to see the video for this podcast, be sure to check out our YouTube channel.


Show Notes:


1. Thoughts on Baby Led Weaning? [1:38]

Rory says:

We follow Chris Kresser’s Healthy Baby Code when introducing foods to our children, starting with purees, and graduating to solid foods overtime.

She’s recently learned of “baby-led weaning” (completely unscientific aside: anything that starts with “baby-led” CAN’T be a good idea. Like “baby-led” bedtime, or “baby-led” TV-watching).

The theory, as I understand it, is that you present your kid with chunks of various foods, and let them choose what to eat based on their tastes, rather than forcing a puree of some kind that they may not prefer if they weren’t being fed by you.

Your thoughts?

I know your kids are obviously Paleo, and we’re curious how you navigated the introduction of foods and respect for their preferences as their tastes developed.


2. Post-Lunch Coma On Keto [10:15]

Laura says:

Hi Robb and Nicki,

I have a question regarding an incessant post lunch coma regardless of diet.

I have experienced a mean bout of fatigue and extreme cold every day following lunch for much of my adult life. I’ve been on the paleo bandwagon for almost 10 years with marginal improvement in that area, and recently doing keto I’ve experienced only a little bit of relief. I still get almost debilitatingly fatigued and cold after eating lunch. If I have a sweet potato or a piece of fruit with lunch it’s definitely a lot worse, but even with my typical lunch of leftover protein and veggies or a version of Mark Sisson’s “big ass salad,” I experience a couple hours of wanting to get in bed after lunch. I follow the ketogains recommendations on electrolyte tracking and consumption of electrolytes. For breakfast I usually have some variation of 3-4 eggs.

I’m a 33 year old female, healthy weight, CrossFit 2-3 times/week. My recent lab work was excellent, low inflammatory markers, lipids and blood sugar markers all good. T3 was on the low end of normal, but all other thyroid measures WNL. I am mindful of circadian rhythms and do all I can to optimize sleep, however it isn’t ideal as I have a toddler and baby. I don’t think they can totally be blamed for the issue, though, as I have experienced this for many years. Thanks for your time and for the profound impact you’ve had on my life and the lives of many others.


3. Help! Balding! [16:33]

Mehdi says:


I have messaged before.

What is your advice for a 28 year old male having male pattern baldness?

Is it really Genetic destiny or is there any way of living eating exercising sleeping etc that can keep my hair.

Please help…

I don’t know where to turn.

Do you guys recommend my good sources for male pattern baldness info?

I read the Mark Sisson article and I don’t think I suffer from any of the conditions he mentions.




4. Portion Sizes like Eddie the Strongman [19:09]

Kevin says:

Hi! Can you give a little help in the way of portion sizes. I have been eating Paleo/low carb (grain/dairy/legume free) for about a year and I feel like I have just recently stopped craving sugar (feels liberating). I am extremely active due to my work 5’9”, 145 lean male. In order to feel full my meals (3 or 4 a day) are absolutely giant. Usually I have focused on about 8-10oz of protein per meal and fill the rest with giant vegetable portions. Recently due to all that veg bloating the heck out of my belly I have switched to more like 16-20oz of protein and a bit less veg to cut down on the bloating. This feels better but It seems like a ton and I was wondering how this compares to others. Basically for every meal recently I throw 16-20oz’s of protein in a 10.5 inch or 12inch cast iron skillet, cook the protein with a fat and fill the pan to the top with veg. I thoroughly enjoy this but when I explain to some folks I put Down 16ish oz’s of beef/pork/fish/chicken they look at me like I will have colon cancer within the calendar year. I admit I am too darn active but I have no choice due to work then play. (light details but I work in the mountains above 8000ft and am self powered everywhere I go with a large pack). Sleep is descent, as I work emergency services and sometimes will be up all night working, but not the norm, tons of sun, weight is good I think,  blood work appears good. Any suggestions on these portion sizes? I feel like I am going to eat myself into bankruptcy but need to feed the beast to keep my energy up. I tinker on/off with safe starches but I feel like these make me more hungry and I am more satisfied with higher protein. I have also played with carb night like refeeds per John kiefer when I am running a touch light weight/low energy which gives me a bit of a recharge (still avoiding grains/dairy/legumes during the re feed). I generally use fat for flavor per your suggestion as if I go big on fat it makes me kind of nauseous and get less than ideal bowel movements. Although it has been a year on paleo (coming off of 15years of vegetarianism) I feel like I have yet to find the optimal balance and am constantly tinkering. My body comp has changed drastically, as I have noticed I now have muscles and carry about 3-5 extra lbs I believe is muscle. Help me please, I Very much enjoy your work, you are a good person.


5. Creatine & Cold Sores?! [25:58]

Chris says:

Hey, Robb and Nicki!

I’m a long time listener and a fan of both formats, but super glad that you guys decided to bring back the Q&A’s!  Each week, I look forward to listening to your Jedi-like paleo wisdom. But enough about you, let’s talk about me. The vein of my existence since my late teens has been the occasional cold sore.  I’ve been paleo/ckd for about 4 years now, which has decreased the occurrence from about 4-5 times a year to only once or twice a year. Still, I absolutely dread the day that one of those little suckers shows up, and I do everything in my power to prevent that from happening.  Since arginine seems to be an antagonist to the virus, I do my best to avoid it all costs, and supplement with L-lysine as well. This brings me to my question, which pertains to creatine. I have been thinking about starting to supplement with creatine, but when doing research I realized that it is actually made up of the three specific amino acids: methionine, glycine, and — yep, ariginine.  Now I am worried that supplementing with creatine will cause a dreaded outbreak. Is this accurate or am overanalyzing? Would supplementing with lysine at the same time help prevent arginine dominance in the cells or is that nonsense? Any other tips on prevention? I’ve scoured the interwebs for an answer to no avail and would truly appreciate your input, Paleo-Wan-Kenobi. Thank you for what you do and keep up the good work!



Where you can find us:


Submit questions for the podcast: https://robbwolf.com/contact/submit-a-question-for-the-podcast/



Download a copy of the transcript here (PDF)

Robb: Oh, hey. Don’t let me stop you from doing what you’re doing.

Nicki: You have hot coffee.

Robb: Oh, hot is relative. It’s warmer than what I would like to expose my mucus membranes to, but, yeah. Yeah.

Nicki: Okay. Anything new you want to share?

Robb: Probably doing some jiu-jitsu today with Nelson Puentes, the founder of Inverted Gears.

Nicki: Cool.

Robb: So I’m hoping that that happens later today.

Nicki: Is he in Reno?

Robb: He’s in Reno.

Nicki: Didn’t tell me that.

Robb: He just pinged me yesterday, so we’ll see how that goes.

Nicki: That’s exciting.

Robb: Yeah. So I get some Puentes smashitude today, hopefully.

Nicki: All right, should we jump into our questions?

Robb: Well, let’s wade into him. Let’s take our time and go safely.

Nicki: Slowly.

Robb: Yeah.

Nicki: Okay. Well this the first one is on baby-led weaning from Rory. And he says, “We follow Chris Kresser’s Healthy Baby Code when introducing foods to our children, starting with purees and graduating to solid foods over time.” She’s recently learned of baby-led weaning. Completely unscientific aside, anything that starts with baby-led, it can’t be a good idea, like baby-led bedtime or baby-led TV watching. Baby-led bedtime is definitely not a good. Toddler-led bedtime and seven-year-old-led bedtime is also not a good idea.

Nicki: “The theory, as I understand it, is that you present your kid with chunks of various foods and let them choose what to eat based on their tastes rather than forcing a puree of some kind that they may not prefer if they weren’t being fed by you. Your thoughts? I know your kids are obviously Paleo and we’re curious how you navigated the introduction of foods and respect for their preferences as their tastes develop.”

Robb: We have no respect for them. We just force food on them and told them, “This is a hard life, kids. The sooner you learn that better.” Or not really. So I did two blog posts on feeding kids Paleo, so we should definitely link to those. They’re old now, but I mean everybody else’s kids go through the same-

Nicki: Our kids are old now.

Robb: …Yeah. They go through these cycles and…

Nicki: I guess the tough, I mean, some of the baby-led stuff. I mean, Zoe loved liver. We’d cook a piece of beef liver or chicken liver and she would just hold it and suck on it. Bacon, apples… For me, and I don’t know if this is just like a paranoid mom thing, but the choking thing was, and Zoe in particular, we did the finger sweep of her throat probably-

Robb: Well, even when she was three, maybe four, we were traveling, we were in a whole foods doing like the food bar and I had to get up and do the back strike. Yeah.

Nicki: Yeah. She was our one that was prone to gagging and choking on food.

Robb: Because she has a tendency of only chewing her food like twice. Might be a genetic predilection there. And then she tries to swallow it whole.

Nicki: She does take after me.

Robb: Readers of The Paleo Solution might recall…

Nicki: Right. Recognize the reference.

Robb: Yeah. Yeah. So, I mean, we did that stuff, but we also… So this is one of the things, so for the little little ones, when they’re just transitioning, what was really interesting, and we had a fair amount of pushback around this, even from our good friend Eva T., but I think she was kind of misguided on that. We would puree a food and the kids were totally ho-hum about it, but if we just chewed it a little bit and then like took it and slapped it in their mouth, they ate it. Like they, it was-

Nicki: Because they’re fixated on what you’re eating and if you give them, you know, it was mainly meat that we did that with.

Robb: Yeah. Yeah. So that was interesting. And if you think about the whole gut microbiome thing and all that stuff, it’s kind of an intriguing story. When you look at the way that traditional cultures deal with a lot of the processes that we see as being unsanitary, and maybe this is why a lot of people die young, due to infectious disease, but I think that there’s some upsides too, so… Are we actually answering this question? I mean we’re kind of bouncing around.

Nicki: Okay. So how did we navigate the introduction of foods and respect for their preferences?

Robb: Some of it was chewing food.

Nicki: Yeah, we offered them things and like avocado, sweet potato, they both really liked sweet potato early on. Both the orange yam ones, the purple kind of Hawaiian-

Robb: Yeah, yeah, the purple sweet, and that was a funny thing too. Both of them loved all that stuff earlier and I don’t know if we burned them out or what, but now they don’t really eat it that well. Yeah.

Nicki: And if they didn’t like it, we would…

Robb: Put it back in the rotation maybe six months later.

Nicki: Yeah, we’d wait a little while and then offer it to them again.

Robb: What was that deal, like, we entered… Neither one of our kids did the projectile vomiting of eggs. The egg yolk was the thing to introduce to the kids, but we actually punted that because everything we read, seemed like 50% of the kids projectile vomited. But we didn’t have a problem with that. One problem we’ve had is fruit, even to this day where particularly summertime rolls around and-

Nicki: Zoe would get a rash from pineapple. She loved pineapple. She’d eat a ton of it. This was just like 11 months old, 12 months old. And then she had a rash all over her legs, so we had to cut back the pineapple.

Robb: Well, and they will get the trots too. Like they’ll eat fruit until they’re shitting like geese. And it’s tough because it gets hot and you want something simple-

Nicki: And they like it.

Robb: …And you don’t want to arm wrestle with them over everything and they like it. So it’s like, “Oh man.” You just keep on chopping off logs of watermelon or apples. Both. We’ve noticed apples are kind of rough on both kids.

Nicki: If they eat too many apples, they’ll both complain that their stomach hurts.

Robb: Yeah. But again, I feel like we’re kind of bouncing around this thing.

Nicki: Yeah. We didn’t do the baby, like the baby led weaning, at least as I understand it, it’s like you’re putting whole pieces of stuff out there and then they’re tasting it and just going to what they gravitate towards. We sort of, whatever we cooked, we gave them some version of that. Whether it was sweet potato, pieces of cooked broccoli, fruit, meat, like you said, chewed it first. And there are things that they clearly spit out and didn’t like and we just waited and tried it again.

Robb: Yeah. It is interesting though, when you look at the detox pathways in children. Kids seem to have a more attuned sense for bitter tastes, which mainly comes from plants. So even to the degree that they ate greens, it was just like the very greeniest tip top of the broccoli.

Nicki: Yeah. Broccoli, just the tip. Like the leafy part.

Robb: The very end of the floret. Yeah. Yeah. So when you think about a nutrient density kind of story, like they smashed meat, they really went after liver. Sagan liked butter a lot, Zoe not so much, which was interesting. I mean, Sagan would ask for just a slice of butter to eat. It makes a ton of sense to me that the kids are gravitating towards these more nutrient dense foods we figured out with like salads, we don’t do a ton of salads, we do some salad, but we figured out like three different dressings. You do a apple cider vinegar, olive oil-

Nicki: Olive oil, one clove of garlic and a lot of salt

Robb: And then puree that and put it on the salad.

Nicki: Well, that’s now, and they’re almost five and seven.

Robb: Right. But they wouldn’t eat that stuff at all without that. But even to the degree they eat that, you put that dressing on ahead of time and it almost kind of breaks stuff down because of the acid load. So it’s interesting. I think that there’s some pretty, I think people get overly concerned about getting greens into their kids. It’ll happen when it’s supposed to happen. If you get sufficient animal products in them, they’re not going to be nutrient deficient.

Nicki: And we made a lot of soups.

Robb: We did make a lot of soups.

Nicki: We always do a lot of soups, especially in the winter. So we would just puree that and they would eat that.

Robb: One side note, I remember reading about this stuff, like if you want your kids to eat things better and it’s kind of a pain in the ass, but if you cut things smaller, the kids will tend to eat more. And not surprisingly, this is also one of the things that we see-

Nicki: Makes things more hyperpalatable.

Robb: Makes it more hyperpalatable. So when when people tend to overeat, it’s when things are super cut up and well processed and everything. But again, I think that there’s some interesting kind of evolutionary biology on just observing how kids eat, like they tend to gravitate towards nutrient dense foods, they seem to have a real aversion towards things that could potentially be toxic, mainly like bitter type substances and stuff like that. What else? What else? You definitely see the dangers of hyperpalatable foods real quickly with kids, so yeah. Yeah. And man, that was all over the place, for an otherwise simple question. But I mean, there’s a lot going on.

Nicki: It’s because we had our first kid seven years ago and so the sleep deprivation that has ensued since then-

Robb: And we’re old.

Nicki: Like, we can sleep.

Robb: We should be having grandkids now instead of kids.

Nicki: All right. Thanks Rory. Let’s see, our next question is from Laura on a post-lunch coma on keto.

Nicki: “Hi Robb and Nicki. I have a question regarding an incessant post-lunch coma regardless of diet. I’ve experienced a mean bout of fatigue and extreme cold everyday following lunch for much of my adult life. I’ve been on the Paleo bandwagon for almost 10 years with marginal improvement in that area, and recently doing keto, I’ve experienced only a little bit of relief. I still get almost debilitatingly fatigued and cold after eating lunch. If I have a sweet potato or a piece of fruit with lunch, it’s definitely a lot worse. But even with my typical lunch of leftover protein and veggies or a version of Mark Sisson’s Big-Ass Salad, I experience a couple of hours of wanting to get in bed after lunch. I follow the KetoGains recommendations on electrolyte tracking and consumption of electrolytes. For breakfast I usually have some variation of three to four eggs. I’m 33 years old, female, healthy weight, CrossFit two to three times a week. My recent lab work was excellent, low inflammatory markers, lipids and blood sugar markers all good. T3 was on the low end of normal, but all other thyroid measures within normal…” Is that within normal limits?

Robb: Limits. Yep.

Nicki: “I am mindful of Circadian Rhythms and do all I can to optimize sleep, however it isn’t ideal as I have a toddler and a baby. I don’t think they can totally be blamed for the issue though, as I have experienced this for many years. Thanks for your time and for the profound impact you’ve had on my life and the lives of many others.”

Robb: So I guess one question… So, when I was first reading through this, I was like electrolyte elect, oh, okay. She’s doing the electrolyte. So that was one thing that I was thinking about. The other thing that I’m curious, does Laura experience this with breakfast or dinner or is this purely a lunch phenomena, and-

Nicki: I think she would say it, if it was after every meal. She specifically says-

Robb: Lunch.

Nicki: Lunch.

Robb: Yeah, but you know how people are. I’m sure Laura is super crackerjack, but if she’s like “Oh yeah, it does happen with breakfast and dinner.” So a couple of thoughts are maybe a low stomach acid kind of scenario. This thing is sounding almost more like a gut permeability, like, histamine response. It’s sounding like something other than just blood sugar specifically.

Robb: If folks read Wired to Eat, you should recall that we have the blood sugar piece as a stand alone of just dietary carbohydrate, but we also have the immunogenic potential of food, and the bugger is that if we have, I think it was last week, we talked about digestive enzymes and all that stuff potentially helping with food reactivity, because if the food is super well-digested and broken down because of adequate acid load in the stomach and then digestive enzymes, then we have the appropriate things hitting the gut lining instead of intact proteins that can cause a response.

Robb: So that would be some stuff I would tinker with, like betaine hydrochloride capsules, apple cider vinegar capsules, maybe some sort of pancreatin enzyme that you throw down with the meal. Also, doing a 15 minute, 10 minute meditation post-meal I think could be huge. Any way that we can get into that parasympathetic state and kind of activate the vagal nerve so that we’re getting blood flow and enervation to the GI tract and so that we’re in that digest and rest mode could actually be helpful. It’s interesting when you’re used to stimulants and coffee and all that stuff. That’s one type of energy. But being restful and not stressed is interestingly, and it’s energetic too, but it’s very different than like, you know.

Nicki: Right.

Robb: Yeah. Yeah. So I guess the thoughts that I would have, try doing some sort of a meditation practice, post-lunch if you can, if you can fit that in, even doing five minutes of-

Nicki: Well, not even post-lunch, but if you got into a routine where you did it in the morning and in the afternoon, the morning sit might help with the post-lunch fatigue.

Robb: Later. Yeah.

Nicki: Because if she’s already tired, I could see her starting to sit and just like nodding off.

Robb: Nodding off. Could be, could be. But I would definitely noodle on some sort of a meditation practice, getting plugged into that, and then additionally the digestive support. And then beyond that. I got nothing beyond that. Yeah, yeah.

Nicki: Let us know, Laura, though. Like if you try the digestive support and it works, then let us know. If it doesn’t work then let us know, and maybe Robb will, something else will joggle in his mind.

Robb: Do some additional noodling, yeah. And you know, she mentioned the T3 was on the low end of normal. This is kind of looking at cholesterol to some degree, but the way that thyroid is generally assessed, they should be looking at T3, T4, reverse T3, thyroid uptake, TSH, and you really need the whole picture that you’re looking at with that. Plus we still need to then just ask the question, “Okay, do we see any clinical signs of problems?” And definitely thyroid is really important for basic metabolic rate. The fact that she mentioned cold multiple times, and she actually gets cold after a meal?

Nicki: Normally you get hot after a meal, yeah.

Robb: If anything, you should get warm after a meal. So that thyroid piece is something that it would be worth nosing around a little bit if you-

Nicki: If they didn’t do the full thyroid.

Robb: Yeah, and virtually nobody does. If you little bit of googling on functional medicine thyroid panel, then you’ll see the full suite that you should get on that. Chris Kresser has talked about it. Chris Masterjohn has talked about it. I think that we’ve posted on that previously. But that’s the only other thing that’s kind of rattling back there is potential low, legitimate low thyroid for you, even if you’re within normal ranges. Yeah.

Nicki: Okay. Let’s see. Our next question is from Medi. He says, it’s on balding, and he says, “Hello. What is your advice for a 28-year-old male having male pattern baldness? Is it really genetic destiny, or is there any way of living, eating, exercising, sleeping, et cetera that can help me keep my hair? Please help. I don’t know where to turn. Do you guys recommend any good sources for male pattern baldness information? I read Mark Sisson’s article and I don’t think I suffer from any of the conditions he mentions.”

Robb: Yeah, it’s interesting. So this is one of the things that we really don’t see in pre-agricultural societies. I think that there’s a genetic predisposition here and it relates to the conversion of testosterone and DHT, dihydrotestosterone, and this can kind of overwhelm the receptors and the hair follicles, particularly in this area, and that plus a kind of overly elevated insulin environment seems to be kind of the synergy that produces it. So a lower insulin load could be certainly helpful. And then there have been some products, I’m blanking… Like the basic Rogaine-type stuff where people will apply something to the scalp. Those things really work. They work remarkably well for most people. Tend to have pretty minimal side effects because you’re not taking these substances internally. You do get some internal activity, but because it’s topical you don’t get as much. But the two thoughts are to look into something like these Rogaine-type products and then also making sure the insulin load is properly addressed. And then sleep and exercise and all the other things that help you deal with that.

Nicki: I have a friend who swears also by scalp massage and handstands to increase the blood flow. I don’t know if there’s any science behind it.

Robb: What friend is this? You don’t have to name the name, but…

Nicki: Somebody that I see when I go to my Austin stuff.

Robb: Okay. Okay.

Nicki: So I don’t know if there is something to that but it’s worth a shot.

Robb: I’ll put that one on very much the anecdotal, not a lot of…

Nicki: But hey, doing handstands are good for you.

Robb: Handstands are good for you. Yeah.

Nicki: And scalp massages feels good.

Robb: There you go. Reduce cortisol and maybe everything works out. So yeah.

Nicki: Anything else on that one?

Robb: Nope. Nope. I don’t want to beat that one any more. Nope.

Nicki: Okay. All right. Our next question is from Kevin, portion sizes like Eddie the strongman.

Nicki: “Hi. Can you give a little help in the way of portion sizes? I have been eating Paleo, low carb, grain-dairy-legume free for about a year and I feel like I’ve just recently stopped craving sugar and it feels liberating. I’m extremely active due to my work. I’m 5’9”, 145 pounds, lean male. In order to feel full, my meals, three or four a day, are absolutely giant. Usually I have focused on about eight to 10 ounces of protein per meal and fill the rest with giant vegetable portions.

Nicki: “Recently, due to all that vegetable bloating the heck out of my belly, I’ve switched to more like 16 to 20 ounces of protein and a bit less veggies to cut down on the bloating. This feels better but it seems like a ton and I was wondering how this compares to others. Basically for every meal recently I throw 16 to 20 ounces of protein in a 10 and a half inch or 12 inch cast iron skillet, cook the protein with a fat and then fill the pan to the top with veggies. I thoroughly enjoy this, but when I explained to some folks I put down 16 or so ounces of beef, pork, fish, chicken, they look at me like I will have colon cancer within the calendar year.

Nicki: “I admit I am too darn active, but I have no choice due to work then play. Light details, but I work in the mountains above 8,000 feet and I’m self powered everywhere I go with a large pack. Sleep is decent, as I work emergency services and sometimes we’ll be up all night working, but not the norm. We get tons of sun, weight is good I think, blood work appears good. Any suggestions on these portion sizes? I feel like I’m going to eat myself into bankruptcy, but need to feed the beast to keep my energy up. I tinker on-off with safe starches, but I feel like these make me more hungry and I’m more satisfied with the higher protein. I’ve also played with Carb Nite-like refeeds per John Key for when I’m running a touch lightweight or low on energy, which gives me a bit of a recharge, but I’m still avoiding grains, dairy, and legumes during the refeed.

Nicki: I generally use fat for flavor per your suggestion, as if I go big on fat, it makes me kind of nauseous and I get less than ideal bowel movements. Although it has been a year on Paleo coming off of 15 years of vegetarianism, I feel like I’ve yet to find the optimal balance and I’m constantly tinkering. My body comp has changed drastically as I’ve noticed I now have muscles and carry about three to five extra pounds that I believe is muscle. Help me please. I very much enjoy your work. You are a good person.”

Robb: So, I mean the main question here is, is he eating too much protein and is he going to get the cancers from it and all that stuff. I did a talk on will low carb diets shorten your life, and as part of that I dig into this thing called the mid-Victorian diet and it’s really interesting because it looks at people living in the UK, the mid-Victorian era, early 1800s. Food quality was pretty low, health was poor. As food distribution networks get better established and some improvements in animal husbandry and farming practices occur, people eat more fish, people eat a lot more protein from ruminants in particular and then more fruit. And not surprisingly, there’s about an 80 year period there that this occurs, and people get taller, they get healthier, their average lifespan is as good as what it is today, or I do believe, even better. And this is pre-antibiotics, pre-surgery, all this stuff.

Robb: And then they start industrializing their food system and everybody gets, like there’s six inches of height loss, the lifespan plummets until 1940, 1950 do we start seeing a food system that’s able to feed people adequately to start outdoing some of that stuff. So these folks were very, very active. The males on average ate about 4,500 to 5,000 calories a day. They had an activity level that supported that. The women were very, very active, too. Similar caloric intake to a smaller body frame. And these people were not succumbing to the diseases of, you know, western degenerative disease, because they ate a largely whole unprocessed diet. They got adequate protein, which was quite a lot of protein, at least a gram of protein per pound of body weight was kind of the norm for these folks, and good nutrient density. So on the one hand, there’s nothing compelling about this that has me worried about the cancer and you know, what is it from Deadpool, El Cancer? How do you say cancer in Spanish? El cancer?

Robb: So I’m just not, you know… And then part of the question too is like, okay, what else are you going to do? You’ve tinkered with eating more starchy type things and you don’t feel as good and you actually get more hungry, which is kind of the thing that I’ve experienced and is this kind of roller coaster I’m always on, and it was kind of the magic of the first time I went low carb. I wasn’t always hungry. And I know that for some people, like if you get real geeked out on the endocrinology, insulin should be anorexigenic. It should make you full. And I think in normal people, like normal human physiology, that should be true. But not that many of us are normal. There’s different elements of gut dysbiosis, different elements of kind of broken at. And so it sounds like what Kevin is doing is working. I appreciate that it’s probably not the cheapest way to eat, but you’re also investing in your health and your longterm physicality.

Nicki: And he is so incredibly active, like if his activity level dropped… But it sounds like it can’t because that’s his work. He probably would drop that.

Robb: Right. And again, I’ve experienced the same thing where if I add too much outside fat, I get the trots, also. That you have some support helps that, for sure. Betaine hydrochloride, the apple cider vinegar caps. It sounds like just fat absorption may be a real issue. So doing something like ox bile, which helps you to emulsify and absorb those fats. And then tinkering with, like I noticed that starches I don’t do… Not well with, like I, so-so, but real small amounts, but like berries and melons, to the degree I can tolerate things, berries, melons, mangoes, papaya. Oddly enough, the high-glycemic load tropical fruits actually do comparatively okay on, it tends to not give me massive GI problems and I tend to not have as much of the blood sugar highs and lows, to the degree that I’d stick those in the rotation.

Nicki: Okay. Let’s see. Our last question is on creatine and cold sores. This question is from Chris. “Hey Robb and Nicki. I’m a longtime listener and a fan of both formats, but super glad that you guys decided to bring back the Q and A’s. Each week I look forward to listening to your Jedi-like Paleo wisdom. But enough about you. Let’s talk about me. The vane of my existence since my late teens.” The vein of… The bane of my existence.

Robb: Should be bane. Yeah.

Nicki: Yeah. “Since my late teens has been the occasional cold sore. I’ve been Paleo cyclic ketogenic for about four years now, which has decreased the occurrence from about four to five times a year to only once or twice a year. Still, I absolutely dread the day that one of those little suckers shows up, and I do everything in my power to prevent that from happening. Since arginine seems to be an antagonist to the virus, I do my best to avoid it at all costs and supplement with L glycine as well.

Nicki: “This brings me to my question, which pertains to creatine. I have been thinking about starting to supplement with creatine, but when doing research, I realized that is actually made up of the three specific amino acids methionine, glycine, and yep, arginine. Now I’m worried that supplementing with creatine will cause a dreaded outbreak. Is this accurate or am I over-analyzing? Would supplementing with lysine at the same time prevent arginine dominance in the cells or is that nonsense? Any other tips on prevention? I’ve scoured the interwebs for an answer to no avail and would appreciate your input, Paleo Wan Kenobi. Thank you for what you do and keep up the good work.”

Robb: I’m perplexed by this. Do you want to do a little Google searching in here, wife?

Nicki: What do you want me to Google? Yeah.

Robb: Creatine structure. It doesn’t make sense to me that creatine is made up of those…

Nicki: Want me to click on-

Robb: Yeah, creatine structure. Because it’s a fairly simple, it’s all the phosphate backbone. Where’s the backbone to attach phosphates? I don’t get where the notion that creatine is containing arginine and this other, well, arginine in particular. So I don’t think that that’s an issue at all. One, he’s doing great management using the lysine. You can use lysine, both topical creams that I’m blanking on the name of the outfit, but they have a lysine cream that you can use, and then just taking lysine prophylactically with meals is a great idea. I don’t think that the arginine is going to be remotely an issue in the case with creatine, because… Maybe he’s looked at some formulas that have these other amino acids in the mix, but that is not the backbone of creatine. So, yeah.

Nicki: Do cold sores happen when you’re more rundown?

Robb: Absolutely do. Yeah.

Nicki: Isn’t that when you’re kind of like-

Robb: Yeah. They absolutely do.

Nicki: So maybe it’s like trying to manage, clearly, sleep and all these other lifestyle factors to keep you more…

Robb: Yeah. Yeah, for sure. I mean the more immunocompromised you are, the more likely you are… And it’s one of those signs of things kind of going sideways. Arginine can definitely be a growth promoter, whereas lysine tends to be a growth inhibitor on the cold sore viruses. This is not, but to your point, it’s similar to folks that, they get shingles occasionally. Like somebody will get super rundown, they get mono and then on the tail end of mono they end up with shingles because they’re very immune-compromised and these viruses can sense when the immune system is somewhat compromised and they will ramp up viral replication cause they’ve got a little window of opportunity.

Nicki: Might be interesting, Chris, if you kind of pay attention, the next time you get one, what would the two weeks leading up to that looking like? Were you super stressed and have tons of, kind of, stuff going on in your life? And then at least you have that baseline.

Robb: That baseline. Yeah.

Nicki: And then if you feel yourself kind of going into a mode like that, you can kind of try to take a step back if it’s possible.

Robb: For sure. And yeah.

Nicki: Do some self care.

Robb: Yeah. But as far as the baseline, like I don’t see, unless I’m totally failing my, if I need my biochemist card revoked, I don’t see how arginine is a player in the structure of creatine.

Nicki: Okay. I think that was our last question for the-

Robb: Cool. Okay. Anything else?

Nicki: I don’t think so. We’re trying to…

Robb: Trying to bank some of these.

Nicki: Stock some of these up just because summer is coming, believe it or not, and our kids are going to be out of school, so it’s good-

Robb: Yeah, like Game of Thrones, winter is coming and chaos ensues.

Nicki: For us it’s summer is coming. So we want to try to make sure we don’t leave you guys high and dry over the summer. So we’re going to… And it definitely will be a little more challenging with the kids home.

Robb: Yeah. And we’re going to be moving.

Nicki: We’re going to be moving.

Robb: So we will be attempting to bank these, but keep sending in questions. We will get to those.

Nicki: Yeah. You can submit those at the contact page on robbwolf.com.

Robb: And most of the activity I’m doing online currently is @dasrobbwolf on Instagram. We have some interesting stuff cooking now. We’ll let you guys know about that more as that rolls out. So yeah.

Nicki: Yeah. And as always, our show sponsor this week is drink Elements. All of your electrolyte needs with none of the dodgy stuff.

Robb: Oh, and to that point, just saw it this morning, literally haven’t even read the paper yet, but the, I guess the headline with the actual scientific paper is, “How much sodium are you consuming… Probably not enough.” And just in the very quick glance that I looked at on that, it said that folks should be getting at least three to five grams of sodium per day. There’s probably some outliers, some exceptions around there, but this scores up very nicely with what we saw from the Type 2 diabetic heart patients and the U curve in that population with the low ebb of morbidity, mortality being at five grams of intake per day. So, we’re not crazy, apparently, recommending supplemental sodium. And from the results that people have been getting, it seems like it’s working pretty well for people.

Nicki: Cool.

Robb: Cool.

Nicki: All right guys. See you next time.



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Experts Agree – This May Be the Number 1 Strength-Training Move For Weight Loss


Whatever your goals are, whether it’s weight loss, becoming a faster runner or biker, or purely to look good in your jeans, the deadlift is one exercise you need in your workout routine. CSCS-certified trainer Audra Wilson, who also happens to be a registered dietitian, said, “I would recommend strength-training exercises that use major muscle groups for weight loss.” She added that deadlifts not only target the legs and butt, but they’re actually a compound move that also calls upon the back, abs, and upper body for support.

“All compound exercises are excellent for fat loss. You will build muscle on your entire body, and your metabolism will increase in the long run,” added ACE-certified trainer Rachel MacPherson. Eventually as you get stronger, you’re able to lift very heavy weights when deadlifting, and Rachel said “the effort required to do this will increase your heart rate and metabolism and burn fat.”

The basic deadlift is also a functional movement because there will be plenty of instances in life where lifting something off the ground safely is necessary, like rearranging your living room furniture for the umpteenth time, picking up a baby or a pet, or hoisting that case of Pellegrino wine off the palate and into your Costco cart. There are many variations of this functional exercise; check out these deadlift variations to see how the popular Romanian deadlift differs from the basic deadlift described below.

If you’re new to strength training, or you don’t have access to a barbell, you can do deadlifts with dumbbells or holding a kettlebell. Whatever weight you use, focus on form first with light weights, then gradually increase the weight as you’re ready.


  • Stand with your feet hip-distance apart.
  • Push your butt back as you bend your knees, grasping the barbell with your hands just outside the hips, with the shoulders slightly in front of the bar. Have both palms facing you, or if it feels more comfortable (or you’re lifting very heavy), turn one palm facing out. Keep your back straight, not curved or arched. Your chest should be parallel with the floor.

  • Stand up, raising the hips and shoulders at the same time, lifting the barbell off the floor so the bar moves over the middle of both feet.
  • Keep the heels down and make sure to fully extend the hips and knees to straighten the legs. This completes one rep.

The 3-Move Workout for a Huge, Thick Back


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A great many lifters, when training back, spend a lot of their set equity on developing wide lats—everyone wants that great set of wings. But what often gets lost in this equation is the quest for back thickness—that deep, grainy, dense back that is the hallmark of so many great physiques. While vertical pulls are ideal for developing width, depth is achieved through the use of horizontal pulls and, yes, deadlifts.

Training hard and heavy with these kinds of moves can help you pack on the kind of mass that leaves your upper back looking like a den of coiled snakes. Or, you can go on training the way that you are and keep looking like a paper cutout. The choice is yours.


Three Moves to Rule Them All

Yeah, we just went all Tolkien on you. But the fact remains that a simplistic approach—with the right intensity, of course—can help you construct the kind of back aesthetic that you’re looking for. If you have a width-focused back workout, you can simply do the workout provided on a second day later in the week, which will greatly accelerate your gains. Or, if you’re a high-volume guy, you can go ahead and try adding these moves to your existing back workout on one, all-out back-a-palooza.

1. Deadlifts

It’s no coincidence heavy deadlifts are synonymous with great back development. The deadlift focuses on your erectors as you extend your torso to full vertical. This helps develop that bottom-to-top, Silverback-like thickness. But the better news is that the full-body load of deadlifts causes a surge in favorable hormones like testosterone and growth hormone that fill that area out while helping you add muscle and burn fat everywhere else.

After you are warmed up, you have 12 minutes to complete all deadlifts. Start with a weight you are capable of doing 8-10 reps with. For set one, do five reps. Rest 60 seconds and attempt five reps again. If you are unable to complete five reps do four, if you cannot do four reps do three, if you cannot do three reps do two, and if two reps is too much, do one. Always stop one shy of failure but do not exceed five repetitions.  Repeat this process for 12 minutes.  The clock starts once you have completed your first set. On the last set, if you still have something left, go for an all-out rep max.


2. Meadows Rows

Named for bodybuilder, John Meadows, this exercise is like a one-armed dumbbell row, but it is done with a T-bar instead. You’ll grab the bar outside of the weight on the thick end of the barbell—feel free to use straps if the wider grip makes it tough to focus on your lats—then assume a bent-over rowing position and pull.

Traditionally, rowing exercises have long been known for building thick backs and this move is no exception. The heavy pull blasts the lats as well as the other depth-building muscles of your middle back including your teres major and minor. Meadows recommends slightly kicking your hips away from the bar and emphasizing the stretch, you will feel this in the lower lats.

Instead of counting reps, pick a weight you could do 15 reps with. Start with your weakest arm by performing as many reps as possible in one minute, emphasizing stretch and technique; rest one minute and match this number of reps on the stronger arms. Rest one minute, then do the same thing for 45 seconds on the original arm; rest 45 seconds and follow suit on the weaker arm. Rest 45 seconds and the final set on the strong arm go for 30 seconds, rest 30 seconds and finish for 30 seconds on the weaker arm.


3. Straight-Arm Pulldowns

In some pulling movements, the limiting factor is the biceps. Because they are involved and they fatigue before the back, straight-arm pulldowns are an isolation movement that work great for building back width and circumventing the biceps.

We are going to do this movement for two minutes straight! Pick a weight you can do 15-20 reps with. You are going to do three reps, slow and controlled and after the three reps are complete hold the weight in the top position emphasizing the stretch for five seconds. Repeat the process and do this for two minutes.

This move may be more width-first in your mind but after the heavy work early in the workout, these pulldowns will help to finish off your lats and flush them full of blood. To get a little extra depth-building “kick,” focus on trying to pull your elbows back and up at the bottom. Envision pulling the bar “through” your body for a little extra engagement of the middle back.


The Routine


Rest Interval






60 seconds




12 min.

Meadows Row

60, 45, 30 Seconds




Straight-Arm Pulldown





Making Waves


Hi from the beach!

We are here in Duck in the Outer Banks in North Carolina. We come every summer for a week with Matt’s family and some friends, and it’s always one of my favorite weeks of the year!

It’s especially fun this year because Riese is big enough to really enjoy the beach! She’s LOVING it – she’s super into the waves and loves playing in the sand with the other kids that are here in our (massive) group. We brought a baby pool to use on the beach and she’s been having fun in that, too!

We’ve spent a lot of time in the big pool as well!

We’ve had great weather so far this trip – fingers crossed it lasts. 

Besides playing on the beach and in the pool with Riese (and relaxing at the pool at our house while she takes her nap…), we’ve also had some fun fitness adventures.

Matt and I took Riese out for a jog on our second morning here which was fun but HARD – I do a ton of walking with the stroller but not much running and man it’s tough. Mad props to those of you who run with strollers – you are hardcore!

running in duck nc

We traded off pushing the stroller and probably covered about 2 miles which felt like plenty. 😉

duck nc running

Yesterday morning a bunch of the ladies and I took advantage of a free outdoor yoga class – the town of Duck hosts one every Tuesday morning at 7:30 during summer! 

It’s a super low key class but the stretching felt nice and it was a beautiful morning for it. 

We’ve also had some great food so far this week, including two visits to Treehouse Coffee for breakfast and lattes.

The first round was with our friends Jack and Megan and their son, and I had the bacon, egg, and avocado biscuit – delicious – plus some fruit, which Riese ate most of. 🙂

For round 2 I had their breakfast bowl, which had roasted potatoes, micro greens, crispy brussels sprouts, black beans, and a fried egg. It was really delicious!

Home cooked dinners so far have included a yummy peanut pasta + grilled chicken (for a similar recipe, check out my Peanut Noodles with Tilapia) with some salad:


And last night we had fish tacos – always a hit:

homemade fish tacos duck nc

Plus some unpictured corn on the cob, and some super juicy watermelon!

For lunches, we’ve been keeping it easy with sandwiches and such. Today we got smart and packed lunch for the beach so we could stay until nap time vs. rushing back to the house for lunch!

And now it’s time to head to bed so I can do more of this tomorrow… (New favorite photo, even though Riese has half of her snack still on her chin – whoops)

Oh and more of this, too.

Beach happy hours are the BEST happy hours. 

I wish this week would last forever! After a stressful few months, I’m feeling especially grateful to have this time to relax, disconnect, and spend time with friends and family.

Have a great day guys – I’ll plan to check back in on Friday with another vacay update!

Beach or mountains? I love both but I have to go beach – it’s the best! I could play in the waves all day. 

How to Squat Properly: The Ultimate Guide


One of the best exercises for you, whether you’re trying to build muscle or lose weight (or both) HAS to be the squat.

However, it’s also an exercise I see nearly EVERYBODY do incorrectly.

Have no fear, after reading this big ass squat guide (pun intended, I suppose?) – part of our Strength 101 series – you can start performing this compound exercise safely and effectively.

Click any link below or scroll down to read the whole guide:

We work with tons of 1-on-1 coaching clients to teach them how to squat, but we’ve also created this epic guide and even turned it into a free PDF you can download and read at your leisure (bonus points if you read it while sitting in a squat!).

Get it when you join The Rebellion by signing up in the box below 🙂

What Are the Benefits of Squats?

As this sign shows, the squat is a super effective exercise.

Squats are one of the most foundational functional movements in our lives. Let’s talk about the benefits and why you should be squatting all the time.

#1) We’re designed to squat: We’ve been squatting since we were babies, but as we get older and sit in unnatural positions all day, our squat form goes from perfect to terrible.


In many countries, people often sit in a full squat for hours at a time. 

In many parts of the world, a squat is a normal position to sit in for hours.

From an evolutionary standpoint – it makes sense that we are genetically designed to, and can be really good at – squatting.

Before modern day furniture and technology you didn’t stop sitting in a full squat once you got older like we do today…you continued squatting your entire life.

#2) Squats are a compound movement that recruit most of our muscles – this means it’s a movement that uses multiple muscle groups and joins (your hip and knee joints) to complete.

The squat movement as shown here.

A simple bodyweight squat – which I’m demonstrating above – uses almost every muscle in the core and lower body.

If you add a dumbbell or barbell into the equation, I would even argue that they use every single major muscle group to complete.

In addition to every muscle in your “legs,” you need your hips, your back and core, your shoulders and arms. Nothing is left out with this monster movement.

Because of the utilization of a large amount of muscle groups, squats cause your body to increase our anabolic hormone production, helping us lose fat and build muscle.[1]

#3) Squats will help strengthen your bones and your muscles (and your knees!), and can also increase flexibility.

Increasing the strength in your knees and hips (and entire body) reduces your chance of injury while doing both athletic movements and everyday life things (such as shoveling the driveway or standing up and sitting down).

And by learning to squat deeply, safely, you’re improving your range of motion and helping make you antifragile and protecting yourself against future injury.


Sheldon knows how amazing squats are for you, as demonstrated by this clever smile.

If your goals are to:

  • Build muscle and get stronger, squats will get you there faster.
  • Lose weight and get ‘toned,’ squats will get you there faster.
  • Look better naked, squats will get you there faster.
  • Get healthier and happier, squats will get you there faster.
  • Feel like an absolute badass in the gym, squats will get you there faster.

In short, squats are amazing.

(see what I did there?)

My name is Staci Ardison, I’m the lead female trainer at Nerd Fitness, and my life has been absolutely transformed by barbell training, which is why I’m so excited to share this guide with you. 

Back in 2011, I could barely pick up a pink dumbbell, and now I regularly compete in powerlifting competitions.

Here I am squatting 253lbs for 3 sets of 5 at a bodyweight of 150 pounds:


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Staci Ardison (@staciardison) on Jun 25, 2019 at 1:47pm PDT

I am so excited to teach you how to squat today, as I’ve taught tons of coaching clients how to get started too. 

Let’s start off by taking a look at the bodyweight squat – the first move you should master before you add weight.

How to Do a Bodyweight Squat With Proper Form

This series of photos shows you how to do a proper squat.

The setup for the squat exercise is incredibly simple.

  • Stand with your feet slightly wider than your hips.
  • Your toes should be pointed slightly outward – about 5 to 20 degrees outward (the wider your stance, the more you’ll want to rotate your feet outward).

Your heels should be slightly wider than hip width apart, with your toes pointed outward

  • Look straight ahead and pick a spot on the wall in front of you.
  • Look at this spot the entire time you squat, not looking down at the floor or up at the ceiling.

I go over the setup and the full movement in this video:

1) Put your arms straight out in front of you, parallel to the ground. Keep your chest up and proud, and your spine in a neutral position.

2) Your weight is on your feet – it should be on the heels and the balls of your feet, as if they were pasted to the ground. You should be able to wiggle your toes the entire movement (though that’s not a part of squatting!).

3) Keep your entire body tight the entire time, your core flexed like you’re bracing to be punched in the gut!

4) Breathe deeply into your stomach, break at your hip and push your butt back. Keep sending your hips backwards as your knees begin to bend.

It’s important to start with your hips back, and not by bending your knees.

5) As you squat down, focus on keeping your knees in line with your feet.

Many new lifters need to focus on pushing their knees out so they track with their feet.

When your knees start to come inside the toes, push them out (but not wider than your feet).[2]

Make sure your knees aren’t moving inward toward each other through the movement – this is very common. 

Make sure you go deep enough with your squats!

6) Squat down until your hip joint is lower than your knees (what we call “parallel” in the squat game). Note: if you THINK you might not be squatting deep enough, you probably aren’t!

Keep going when doing your squat.

Your squat should go about this low.

Once at the bottom, it’s time to stand back up from your squat:

7) Keeping everything tight, breathe out and drive through your heels (keep the balls of your feet on the ground as well).

8) Drive your knees outward (away from each other) the same way you did on the way down, and squeeze your butt at the top to make sure you’re using your glutes.

Here is a video from us nerds at Team Nerd Fitness (with instructions from Jim, lead trainer at our 1-on-1 Online Coaching Program) that will teach you good form on a bodyweight squat, including all the mistakes NOT to make:

Once you can do multiple sets of 15+ deep bodyweight squats with proper form, it’s time to move onto barbell squats!

If you are are confident in doing bodyweight squats and want to work up to a barbell squat, follow our Gym Workout Level 4 Program, which includes dumbbell goblet squats, a good stepping stone to barbell squats:

The majority of the population has some sort of mobility issue (including myself!) that they are working on fixing.

We have LOTS of 1-on-1 coaching clients who are new to squatting, and it often comes down to ankle flexibility and hip mobility.

If you spend all day every day sitting in a desk chair, this might be you.

If you want us to help you fix your squat depth and start getting stronger, that’s what we’re here for! 

How to Set Up Properly For The Barbell Back Squat

The barbell squat as shown here is a great way to get strong.

#1) Find your squat rack! It’ll look something like this, with an unattached barbell:

A. Squat Stand:If you find a squat stand like this in your gym you are good to squat!

B. Power Cage/Squat Rack

C. Half Rack (Least favorite*):

*I don’t like Half-racks without adjustable safety bars – if you want to squat deep the barbell might hit the immovable bars! Not cool. Aim for the A or B options if you have the option!

Note: a squat rack is NOT the same thing as a Smith Machine, where the barbell is attached to the machine, and slides up and down two bars:

Don't use the Smith Machine, unless it's for inverted rows at the gym.

You do NOT want a Smith Machine.

You need a completely unattached barbell in order to do a barbell squat properly and safely. Don’t squat in a Smith Machine.

#2) Set the height of the bar to be about the same height as your collarbone.

Not sure how to set the height of the bar? I got you:

If your options are either too high or too low, it’s always best to set the pins slightly lower than you need them. 

You don’t want to have to get up on your toes to rack/unrack the bar, especially as the weight gets heavier.

#3) Decide if you are going to do a high bar squat, or a low bar squat. Either is fine, but there IS a difference:

These two photos show the high vs low bar grip for squat

The “Low Bar Back Squat” is the most common form done by beginners, general lifters, and powerlifters.

It’s also the form taught in Starting Strength, one of the best books for beginners on the market.

So we’ll be focusing on that version for the rest of this section:

#4) Always squat with just the bar to startas we discuss in “How much weight should I be lifting,” even if you’re planning on squatting 500 lbs, always start with just the bar!

How to Do a Proper Barbell Back Squat, Step By Step

Here's how to properly do a barbell squat

1) Facing the bar, step under it, and put your hands around it on either side of you. 

For this type of squat in our example, we are going to want a thumbless grip, so that our wrists are properly aligned with our forearms.

This photo shows the squat grip we will start with.

The width of your grip will be dependent on flexibility, but generally a narrower (hands closer to your shoulers) grip will help create a meaty shelf for you to place the bar on the muscles in your upper back.

If you lack the flexibility for the narrower grip (which is super common), start out wider, then slowly bring it in as you get more flexible.

See the difference here between a “high bar, wrapped grip” (Left) and “low bar, thumbless grip” (right):

Here are the two common grips for your barbell squat.

And now time to DO A BARBELL BACK SQUAT!

Definitely watch the video above and listen to the instructions, and then read this description when you need to restart:

  1. With the weight on your shoulders, step back from the supports.
  2. Your feet should be slightly wider than hip-width apart.
  3.  Your toes should be slightly pointing outward.
  4. Flex your stomach, squeeze your glutes, inhale deeply into your stomach.
  5. Move your butt back, squat down slowly.
  6. Continue to drop until the tops of your legs are parallel or lower (the crease of your hip is below your waist).
  7. Explode back up to the starting position.
  8. After your set is complete, walk carefully forward to return the weight to the rack, and lower it down safely onto the supports.
  9. High five yourself, you just did a barbell squat!

Not sure if you squatted deep enough?

Record yourself! 95% of the people I see doing squats in a gym don’t go deep enough!

Nervous about squatting correctly? Yes, I am a mind reader, and yes we can help you!

If you want an expert to check your squat form check out our 1-on-1 Coaching program. Our coaching app lets you record and send a video of your movement directly to your coach, who will provide specific feedback and build a custom program just for you.

Interested? Click below to jump on a free call with our team to see how our online coaching program will get you the results you’re after:

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How to Do a Proper Front Squat

These two photos show a proper front squat.

The last version of the squat that we are going to cover in this guide is the front squat.

Due to the placement on the front of the shoulders instead of on the back, the front squat is more quad dominant (the front of your upper legs), but also requires you to be able to keep your torso much more upright than with the back squat (both versions).

How to set up for a Front Squat:

  1. Make sure the bar is set at the proper height (see the previous section on squat set-up!)
  2. Facing the bar, place the bar on the front of your shoulders.
  3. Grab the bar with your hands. This is the most difficult part with the front squat – it requires a lot of wrist mobility and flexibility.

Here’s a video demonstrating the barbell front squat from the Nerd Fitness Academy:

How to front squat:

  1. Keep your elbows high and the weight firmly in place on your shoulders.
  2. Flexing your stomach and squeezing your glutes, inhale deeply into your stomach. 
  3. Move your butt backwards and begin your movement downward.
  4. Drop until your hip crease is below your knees (below parallel).
  5. Explode back upwards to your starting position.

Most people can not front squat with a full grip around the bar, and instead will let the bar roll onto their fingertips (a three finger grip is okay here).

If you can’t even get your fingers around the bar, there are a few variations you can start with until your shoulder and wrist mobility improve.

The Genie Front Squat:

The Genie Squat is a great way to start Front Squatting!

Keep your hands holding on to the bar to keep it stable, and keep your elbows up so that your upper arms are as parallel to the floor as possible.

The Dumbbell Front Squat:

Another great way to front squat is will a couple dumbbells.

Stand slightly wider than shoulder-width apart with your toes pointed slightly outward.

Raise the dumbbells to your shoulders and hold them there. Keeping your core tight and butt flexed, sit down and backward with your butt.

Go down until the tops of your thighs are lower than parallel.

Once you get good at these movements, you can think about rocking the front squat:


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A post shared by Staci Ardison (@staciardison) on Feb 26, 2014 at 7:22pm PST


#1) Keeping your elbows as high as possible the entire time. As soon as you let them drop, the weight will likely pull you forward out of correct positioning, and you will either drop the weight or potentially get injured.

#2) The barbell should be on the meaty parts of your shoulders, with your hands there to keep the weight in place.

If you let the weight roll towards you too much, you’ll feel the barbell across your throat and might have trouble breathing. As you can guess, we want to avoid this!

Not sure if you’re front-squatting correctly?

It’s a fairly technical movement that requires flexibility and mobility in all of the right places.

If want an expert to not only check your form, but also help you get flexible and stronger, you’ve come to the right place!

How Do I Bail Out of a Squat Safely?

If you are going to squat, you have to know how to “fail” at squatting safely! After all, there’s nothing more scary than being stuck in the bottom of a squat movement and not knowing how to get out of there!

A squat is very different from a barbell deadlift in that aspect: if you fail on a deadlift, you just don’t pick up the weight.

If you fail on a squat, you’re trapped under a bar with potentially a lot of weight on it. 

This can lead to SERIOUS injury. So please, learn how to bail out of a squat safely before you start attempting to do heavy barbell squats. 

This will help give you the confidence to push yourself and get stronger!

6 Common Mistakes When Doing Squats

As these two photos shows, keep your feet planted while you are doing your squat.

The squat is a basic movement, but those new to lifting often fall victim to a handful of common mistakes.

Let’s take a look at some of the big problems and how to fix it!

#1) Coming up on your toes with your knees forward during your squat

It’s important to keep your heels on the ground the entire time you’re squatting.

You should be driving down through your heels, and in order to do that, they need to be on the ground!

While some of your weight will be on the balls of your feet, you never want all of your weight to be on the balls of your feet or your toes.

You should be able to lift your toes up off the ground and wiggle them at any point and it shouldn’t change anything about your squat.

#2) Not going deep enough on your squats

Make sure you go deep enough with your squats!

Your squat should hit at least parallel (middle image above) – where your hip joint goes below the knee.

Depending on what you’re training for, you can go lower, but in order to maximize the muscles worked in the squat, it needs to be done to at least parallel or lower (you can see lower in the upper right image).

If you squat above parallel (a partial squat) you’re leaving the hamstrings out of the movement. This puts more pressure on the knee – the force put on your knee is actually reduced as you drop below parallel.

Unfortunately, there’s a lot of misunderstanding about squats and knee issues.

The deeper the squat, the more glutes that are activated as well. Deeper is typically harder, both strength and flexibility wise.

However, depending on your goals, squatting to parallel may make more sense.

If you’re struggling hitting depth there could be many causes – you could have poor ankle mobility, tight hip flexors and/or hamstrings, weak glutes, or poor pelvic alignment (among many other things).

This is something we work closely with our coaching clients on, and often prescribe ankle and hip mobility drills to help clients reach proper depth on squats!

#3) Knee Positioning 

Don't let your knees cave in like this during your squat.

When you squat, you want your knees to track along with your toes.

This means if you are looking down at your knees and feet, your knees should be aligned at the same angle as your feet throughout the movement.

Everyone’s exact positioning is going to be slightly different, but they should not be on the outside or the inside of the foot.

#4) Back Positioning 

Don't let your back cave in like so when doing squats.

Your chest should be up and shoulders should be back, like you’re King Kong about to pound your chest proudly.

Your body should stay in this position the entire time.

You don’t want your shoulders to round forward, but you also don’t want to hyperextend your back either.

Keeping your spine in a neutral position will help your spine safe and build a strong foundation throughout the heavy squat movement.

#5) Head Positioning 

Don't let your head come up like so during your squat movement.

Many coaches will tell their lifters to look up, as that is the direction in which you want to be moving, but this is actually the last thing you want to do.

Take a second quick and look at the ceiling (I’ll wait! 🙂 ).

Now, see that position your neck vertebrae are in?  That is a very unsafe position for your spine to be in, especially when weight starts getting included in the equation.

You also don’t want to be looking directly at the floor.

Look straight out in front of you the entire time, with your head in a “neutral” position. Your chin should be in a position where you could hold a tennis ball between your chest and your chin.

#6) Too much weight on the heels/on the outside or inside of feet during your squat

When trying to fix coming up on your toes, or your knee positioning, it is common for people to focus so much on keeping their weight on their heels that they forget to keep the balls of their feet on the ground!

Some of your weight will still be on the ball of your foot – if you are truly only having weight on your heels, it’s pretty hard to balance.

To the same effect, if the inside of your foot or the outside of your foot comes up off the floor, this is also not a good thing! 

How do you know if you’re making these mistakes? Simple!

Record yourself doing squats.

I do.

And so does anybody else who is serious about improving their squats. 

Often we look VERY different than we think we look when doing an exercise, so having a video of the movement is often the only way we can improve.

If you can’t self-diagnose your squat challenges, let us help!

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Squat Variations for Beginners: The Box Squat

Squatting on a box like so is a great way to start squatting.

In this section, we’re going to go over some squat variations to help you improve your form and build confidence before hitting the free weights section of the gym.

If you’re struggling to do a squat correctly, don’t fret!  

I’m going to teach you about…


Squatting to a box will help teach you to sit back and keep your weight on your entire foot, instead of squatting with your knees forward and up on your toes.

Squatting back to a box is also great for people who have bad knees and can’t do bodyweight squats anymore.

You can do box squats with a barbell as well, but for this explanation, we’re just going to keep it simple with bodyweight box squats.

In order to do this, find a box or a chair that is the right height so when you sit on it, you are at parallel with your squat.

Your options include things like step stools, milk crates, or the smallest box at the gym (there’s usually a set of plyo boxes, and the shortest is around 10″.)

Using a box to squat like so is a great way to start bodyweight squatting.

The lower the box, the more it will help you develop stronger hips and low back – the box at exactly parallel will help you more with quad strength.

Set up exactly as if you were going to do a regular bodyweight squat, only standing about a foot in front of the box.

  1. Breathe in deeply, brace your core, move butt back, and keep your knees in line tracking in the same direction as your toes and squat back until you sit completely on the box.  Don’t plop back on the box, make it slow and deliberate while keeping your entire body tight.
  2. Now, don’t move! Think about your positioning. Are your back and core still super tight? Is your weight on your heels and your mid foot? Is your head in a neutral position? Great, now stand up by driving your hips upward, don’t let your weight shift forward and onto your toes (drive through your heels!), shoulders and chest up, knees out keeping them lined up with your toes.

For your first few, feel free to sit on the box while you evaluate your positioning, but as you get better at them, sit back and then quickly stand up again.

You know you’re doing a good squat when you can stand back up from the bottom of a squat position without having to lean forward and use momentum to get up.

You can squat, touch your butt to the box, and then stand back up without having to shift your weight around!  KEEP THAT BUTT BACK!

I know all of this can be overwhelming, so the important thing is that you START! I realize I sound like a broken record at this point, but I really want you to begin strength training today.

We created our free guide, Strength Training 101: Everything You Need to Know, just for that purpose. I’d love to send it to you, because I know it’ll help you overcome any fears and confusion and have you getting stronger TODAY

Get it when you sign up in this box below – I’m excited to hear what you think of it!

How to Start Squatting Like A Pro

The squat is a natural position for humans, as this child shows.

Squats are awesome.

How awesome? This kid dropped into a perfect squat just to impress his bunny friend.

And if you want to learn more about squats, or you’re looking to build more confidence before you get started, we have a few options for you:

1) If you are somebody that wants to follow a tailor-made program that designed around their life and goals, check out our popular 1-on-1 Online Coaching Program.

You’ll work with our certified NF instructors who will get to know you better than you know yourself, check your form, and program your workouts and nutrition for you.

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2) Good at following instructions and want a blueprint to follow? Check out our self-paced online course, the Nerd Fitness Academy.

20+ workouts for both bodyweight or weight training, a benchmark test to determine your starting workout, HD demonstrations of every movement, boss battles, nutritional leveling system, a questing system, and supportive community.

3) Download our free Strength 101 Guide, which you can get when you sign up in the box below:

And I’d love to hear from you! PLEASE leave your questions, squat or fitness or otherwise below so we can answer them and become best friends:

What struggles do you have when trying to squat?

What questions do you have?  

If you haven’t squatted before, what else do you need us to tell you to give you the confidence to start squatting TODAY!?


PS: Be sure to check out the rest of the Strength Training 101 series:

PPS: I typed this whole article while sitting in a squat. Okay, no I didn’t, but that would have been cool.


photo source: Barbell SquatJordan Colley Visuals: bunny squat,  power rack, squat stand, squat rack

Footnotes    ( returns to text)

  1. Check out this study on squats and anabolic hormone production.
  2. Think about it like this: if you were to attach a laser to the end of each of your knees, the laser would track between your second and fourth toes.

Cardio Sprint Workout


This is a cardio sprint workout you can do on any cardio equipment: treadmill, spin bike, Stairclimber, elliptical. I hope you love it! For the full Summer Shape Up calendar and meal plans click here! 

Hi friends! I’m loving all of the SSU enthusiasm so far! So many of you tried the workouts and I loved seeing your sweaty pics. Here’s what the cardio sprint workout looks like. 

Even if you’re not completing the full challenge, pin this workout for the next time you need some cardio inspiration.

Cardio sprint workout

Let me know if you give it a try and tag us in your sweaty workout pics! @fitnessista @emilyfieldRD #summershapeup

If you’re looking for a playlist, try this summer workout playlist.



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