3 Big Rocks of Health

It is easy to get confused when embarking on a fitness journey. Easy to get lost in the hype surrounding certain supplements, lifting styles, fitness gadgets, and diets. We often lose sight of what really matters. I call them the 3 Big Rocks. We are going to go over what these rocks are but first, let’s go over what they aren’t.

Log onto instagram and you will be flooded with fitness “influencers” ; or more often than not wannabe influencers. Each and every one of them will be competing for your attention to promote their supplements or fitness gear. So why don’t we start there? Supplements, with the exception of Creatine Monohydrate and perhaps Caffeine they are not effective or important for the average gym-goer. Think about where you are in your fitness journey. Say you are at roughly 60% of your potential. Will the 1% increase in performance from that highly expensive supplement even be noticeable? No it will not. However, if you are at the 98 percentile of your potential, it just might. Take a look in the mirror and make an objective decision based on where you truly are.

Effective programming is crucial to the success of any exercise plan. On the same token however, you aren’t going to get your programming from what the latest fitness celebrity is doing. It is imperative you find out what works for you and your physiology.

The 3 Rocks

  • Consistency
  • Effort
  • Adaptability

BIG ROCK #1 Consistency

Applying consistency should be an obvious prerequisite for establishing change in any pursuit. Whatever your goals in fitness are they will take consistency to bring them to life. Our bodies respond and adapt to what we do frequently which, in modern society is often to our detriment. Too often I have clients come to me, in their 30’s or 40’s, wanting to get in shape for the first time. As a trainer it is always difficult to explain to them that the change they want will take time. Consistently being inactive, and generally unhealthy resulted in your body adapting to and manifesting your current physiology. Therefore, changing your body from this state will also take consistency.

Be patient. Trust the process. Enjoy the process. Apply fundamental exercises consistently. It will take time but doing things the right way will result in lasting, sustainable changes. Remember, even a terrible workout program done consistently will beat an excellent program done inconsistently.

BIG ROCK #2 Effort

In order for your body to change, you must apply a stimulus that overloads the bodies current capacities enough for it to recognize the need for adaptation. That overload can potentially be in the form of work required by a muscle to stimulate hypertrophy or strength adaptations, as well as overall metabolic demands when in a hypocaloric state causing adipose tissue to be catabolized for energy requirements. Burning fat or building muscle requires effort. Too often I see individuals in the gym putting in their repetitions without reaching the threshold stimulus for change. If you are not pushing yourself just a little harder each time you come to the gym, changes will be few and far between.

It is important to keep in mind however, pushing yourself harder is not the only requirement in terms of effort. Your effort must be applied appropriately and as mentioned already, consistently. Do not expect that if you just apply extraordinary amounts of work your body will change. Be objective. Push yourself when reaching for goals. Apply yourself and your work strategically. Once you are done, recover.

BIG ROCK #3 Adaptability

While consistency and effort are often forgotten because human beings tend to be adverse to discomfort; adaptability is typically missed out on due to lack of understanding. Maintaining an adaptable state is crucial to the success of any fitness regimen. You can be perfectly consistent with the plan, be working hard in the gym, but if you are not ensuring you are in an adaptable state then most, if not all of your work will be in vain.

Every stress you encounter in life; financial, relationship, lack of proper nutrition, environmental toxins, lack of adequate sleep and many more affect your ability to adapt and recover from your workouts. This is especially important to consider if you are just beginning any type of fitness journey. Your body is not prepared to handle and adapt from the stress of working out 7 days a week like your favorite Instagram celebrity or action movie hero. Apply stress in moderation so you can increase it at a later date. Do the least amount of work now to change your body so that you can always add more. Mitigate all stress you possibly can to ensure that you still have the ability to make positive adaptations to exercise. I would argue that this aspect should be the first thing you consider when choosing a workout plan. If you have an incredibly stressful job, kids that don’t let you sleep, and who knows what other issues causing stress, then you probably shouldn’t be adding another aspect of degradation to your body. Exercise should make you stronger, healthier, and happier. Without reducing as much stress as possible however, it will likely be just another literal and metaphorical weight on your shoulders.

At Ikon, we want you to help you workout for a better life. Too often we see people dreading to exercise. That is why we are working hard to bring health and fitness back together again!

Post Exercise Protein Consumption

Human nutrition can seem like trying to hit a moving target. Recommendations change seemingly daily and it is difficult to know the latest diet trends will still be considered efficacious next week. Some of this fluidity is due to emerging science and the shattering of dogmatic ideologies through diligent research. However, in the case of what should be consumed post-workout, this uncertainty is primarily due to pseudoscience, marketing and greed. Research is suggesting that consuming food, or the suddenly ubiquitous protein supplement, immediately after exercise is at best unnecessary and may actually be hindering most people’s progress rather than facilitating it.

Marketing deception and greed emerge in every profit based industry and workout supplements exhibit some of the worst. Because nutritional supplements are not regulated by the FDA, they are not held to the same standards of efficacy as most other food products. In fact, studies have shown that many protein supplements, commonly used as post-workout nutrition, due partly to convenience and clever marketing, rarely have the amount of protein they advertise. Alex Morrell, writing for Forbes Magazine, states that third-party lab tests of many popular protein supplement brands revealed, “some companies fill the tubs with far cheaper free form amino acids like glycine, taurine or leucine as well as other substances like creatine monohydrate, and then portray them as grams of protein on the products’ labels” (Morrell). This in itself leads to questions about the integrity of the supplement industry and the effect that it’s marketing and profit seeking has had on the information being passed on the the active individual.

Further than that however, another recent study found that nearly every commercial protein powder that was tested may in fact being doing far more harm than just undercutting the consumer on actual protein content. The Clean Label Project is an organization that examines labeling safety issues, did an independent study on protein powders and their levels of heavy metal contamination. The results were released in a 2018 Consumer Reports article written by Jesse Hirsch. It was found that “…virtually all of the 134 products tested contained detectable levels of at least one heavy metal and 55 percent tested positive for BPA” (Hirsch). Being marketed as a “health” food is certainly an issue if these levels of toxicity exist, especially considering most active people consume protein supplements regularly. There are other sources of post-workout nutrition besides protein supplements although they are by far the most common. Unfortunately, even eating whole, natural foods after a workout may be doing little to no good and perhaps may even be detrimental depending upon the individuals specific goals.

In order to test the body’s adaptation response to stimuli including resistance exercise or nutrition, biomarkers of what is called Muscle Protein Synthesis are tested for. Muscle Protein Synthesis, or MPS, is an adaptive response to these stimuli and results in the physiological adaptation of muscle tissues. Traditionally, it has been advised to consume protein immediately following exercise to take advantage of a “anabolic window.” This suggestion is clearly heeded as it is commonplace to see gym-goers leaving after their workout with protein shake in hand. However, the science suggests that this eagerness is unfounded. A study done by McMaster University’s Kinesiology Department found that MPS was only elevated by 50 percent 4 hours post-resistance training (MacDougall). This signal continued to increase until it peaked at 109 percent at the 24 hour mark post-training. What this suggests is that provided individuals consume adequate protein in the 24 hours following a resistance training session, drinking a protein shake immediately following a workout may be irrelevant.

There is another important distinction to make regarding the efficacy or necessity of post-workout protein consumption and that is the specific goal of the individual. According to Reed Tucker of the New York Post, 36.5 percent of American adults were considered obese in 2016 (This is why…). Taking this information into consideration it is safe to assume weight loss, specifically from adipose tissue is likely the main goal for the average American. Amy M. Knab, and her colleagues working at the Human Performance Laboratory tested the effects that 45 minutes of vigorous exercise had on their subject’s metabolism. What they found was the 45 minute bout of cycling resulted in an increased metabolic rate for 14 hours (Knab). This means that for 14 hours following the subject’s exercise, their calorie expenditure was markedly increased. This is important in the context of fat loss because consuming calories during this time would negate some of this beneficial effect to varying degrees. Extrapolating from these findings, it seems that postponing nutrient consumption of any kind for a reasonable amount of time following exercise would aid in the progression of body recompositioning.

Overall there are many factors to take into consideration when designing an optimal nutrition and exercise program. However, it is important to take nothing for granted and questioning what is thought of as secure science may lead to a further understanding of what works best for specific individuals. While a clean, toxin free protein supplement may benefit some people, it is likely not necessary for the average gym-goer.


  • Morell, Alex. “Lawsuits Say Protein Powders Lack Protein, Ripping Off Athletes.” Forbes. 12 Mar 2015.
  • MacDougall, J.D. et. al. “The time course for elevated muscle protein synthesis following heavy resistance exercise.” Canadian Journal of Applied Physiology. Vol 20. 480-6. Dec 1995.
  • Reed, Tucker. “This is why you’re fat, America.” The New York Post. NYP Holdings. https://nypost.com/2016/09/20/this-is-why-youre-fat-america/. 20 Sep 2016.
  • Knab, Amy M. et. al. “A 45-Minute Vigorous Exercise Bout Increases Metabolic Rate for 14 Hours.” Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. Vol 43 Issue 9. pg. 1643-1648. Sep. 2011.
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