Recurring Themes – Fanmail

I’m honoured that so many of you have been contacting me for assistance towards a healthier lifestyle. My heart goes out to each and every one of you. Every situation is unique. Every challenge is different. Your battle will ultimately be yours alone. That can sound intimidating and even scary, but consider this – your victory will also be yours alone. You won’t need to share the credit or the glory with anyone. It will be your hard work, your dedication, your consistency, and your sheer force of will that drives you from where you are to where you want to be. Your future self will look back and thank you.

Having said all that, we’re all of the same basic physical makeup. There are commonalities that can apply to all of us.

Today, I’m going to address some of the email requests I’ve received recently. I will use aliases when posting your original asks, but I wanted to do it here on my blog so that others in similar situations, or with similar questions, can also benefit.

Before reading the answers below, let me share some tips that will help me help you when contacting me for advice:

  • Please have your height, weight, fat percentage, and muscle percentage and lean body mass ready for me. You can get this done for free at any gym. Just tell them you’re thinking of joining and they’ll be all over you.
  • As much detail pertaining to any medical conditions or injuries you may have. Don’t be afraid of getting technical with me. The more I know, the better I can offer assistance.
  • Never be concerned with your weight. Pounds don’t matter. Your body composition is what is important. I rarely look at the scale anymore for weight.
  • Most every health concern can be solved by proper nutrition. This is a fact. Nutrition is the single hardest thing for any of us to master. Believe me when I tell you that I struggle with it each and every day.
  • Body sculpting is a long-term process. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t see results right away. You didn’t get out of shape overnight; you’re not going to get back in shape overnight.
  • Always consult with your physician about my recommendations before you attempt anything. Take it with a grain of salt from me, from them, and research for yourself. There will always be many opinions on any topic. Never blindly accept any of them.

Dear Colonel

I have been a keen follower of your military career for a few years now. You were one of the first famous capsuleers I came across after I myself became one.

I am seeking some advice from you in the area of fitness, as you are well known for your physique throughout the cluster.

I am 40 years old and I have been diabetic for about 15 years, I have recently been diagnosed as having high cholesterol and my doctor has advised me that exercise would improve both my cholesterol and my diabetes. I am a little over weight, but a long way from being obese. I am 6’4″ and 270lb and my doctor would like me to get down to about 250lb. I have cut down on my calorie intake which I suppose will take care of the weight eventually, but I would like to speed it up a little by increasing my exercise, which would also take care of my doctor’s orders to take more physical activity. I have joined a gym near my home, but I would appreciate a few suggestions for exercises to try.

Thank you so much,

Hey man,

Thanks for reaching out. Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. Going from 270 lbs to 250 lbs really doesn’t sound helpful to me, if I’m being honest. Perhaps it’s just a first stage of motivation in a bigger plan your doctor has for you. I can appreciate that.

Your ideal body weight, in my opinion, should be 205 – 225 lbs. That’s a nice mix of muscle, low fat percentage and overall good body composition.

While I want to be excited with you about your desire to exercise, I’m also concerned about setting you up to fail.

Here are the two stages I would recommend for you.

  1. Eat for your ideal weight. For men, it’s roughly 10 calories per pound, so if you decide to go with 225 lbs as your ideal weight, that’s roughly 2,250 calories per day. To obtain an ideal body composition, I’m going to have you try Intermittent Fasting (IF). It will be very challenging for you at first, but will help your body quickly adjust to healthy eating. Here’s how it works:
    • You’re going to fast for 16 hours, starting at 6 PM, leaving only an 8-hour feeding window.
    • You will eat 5 solid meals per day, plus your post workout recovery shake after a workout on workout days. That means each meal will be 375 calories. Get a scale to help you measure this. It’s incredibly important.
    • Eat every 3 – 4 hours without fail. Your meals should be: P+C, P+F, P+F, P+F. P = protein, C = carbs, F = healthy fats (MUFA). That means your first meal is composed of primarily protein and carbs with very little fat, whereas the rest of your meals will consist of mostly protein and healthy fat, with very little carbs. Carbs are good in the morning. They suck the rest of the day. Look up a good meal planner online to help you with this, as learning about what to eat is a tough challenge. Proper eating will quickly reduce your cholesterol.
    • Because you are diabetic, I recommend carrying emergency food with you. Make it a healthy sugar choice, like my homemade energy bars, or anything else that will get your index back in line quickly. IF is hard on the system at first, and when you crash, you will crash hard, which can be dangerous in your condition.
    • Finally, drink 1 L of water per every 50 lbs of body weight. So for you, you’re starting with 5.5 L of water per day. Hope you’re near a washroom at all times my friend.
    • On your workout days, I actually want you to consume more calories. This will actually give your muscles what they need for recovery and development, as well as aiding your metabolism to become a fat burning furnace. Kick it up to 2700 calories per day, or 450 calories per meal. Remember to make healthy food choices or these will all backfire on you, and no, you don’t get any cheat meals from ol’ Roc. I know you can do better.
  2. As far as exercise is concerned, you need to shed some weight first. Your body is under a lot of strain already, and honestly isn’t enjoying it. Buy some CoQ10 and start taking that daily, following instructions. It will help your joints and heart repair and recover from what you’ve put yourself through. Focus on the nutrition and lose some of the pounds. For exercise, I’m going to recommend High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), but you must have a heart monitor before attempting this, and get your physician to recommend a max heart rate for you. They know you far better than I do. Once you’re ready, here’s a simple workout for you to do:
    • Burpees – as many reps as you can in 20 seconds.
    • Rest 10 seconds.
    • Do this for a total of 8 sets.
    • Power squats – as many reps as you can in 20 seconds. (get lower than the girl in the video please)
    • Rest 10 seconds.
    • Do this for a total of 8 sets.
    • Pushup Jacks – as many reps as you can in 20 seconds.
    • Rest 10 seconds.
    • Do this for a total of 8 sets.
    • High Plank/Low Plank – as many reps as you can in 20 seconds.
    • Rest 10 seconds.
    • Do this for a total of 8 sets.

All of this will seem incredibly challenging at first, but a healthy lifestyle is more about the mind than the body. Remember who is in charge – you.

Do this workout 3x per week to start, with a rest day in between. Your post-workout shake should contain whey isolate protein and glutamine, as well as any fruits or carbs you want in it if you’re doing morning workouts. Evening workouts equals fats, so things like avocado, dark chocolate (at least 75%), etc. for your shake.

Once you start seeing results from this and feel comfortable that you can kick it up a notch without jeopardizing your health, give me a holler.

Please keep me posted on your progress. I always like hearing success stories. Good luck to you, pilot.


Hey man,

I just wanted to ask about good cardio workouts to do in confined spaces. I work on a boat with limited running area. Majority of the time I usually just jump rope, jumping jacks, mountain climbers, and workout bike (wish we had a treadmill). The exercises should suffice, but I kind of want to throw some other exercises in the mix to change it up. Thanks for taking the time with me on this.

Cheers mate,

Sounds like you already have a good handle on things. Variety will most definitely help you out. Here’s some moves for you to add to what you’re already doing:

I’m sure you can Google plenty more. The most important thing is your intensity. Try some of the HIIT stuff I recommended above – it’s killer. You can also build from there, changing timing. For example, try 30 seconds on, 10 seconds off, or 45 seconds on, 15 seconds off. The idea is to always push yourself, beating your number of reps with each progressive set. Never settle for less than your best. Push yourself harder. Break yourself, educating your mind that you accomplish anything.

Keep me posted,

Ok this is going to sound like such a daft request. I am working through issues one by one and the I am working on next is the work out situation I want to get started.

Its kind of like I have the time to get started but I want to start off a little slow so I don’t get too tired and everything else to start off with. I am like currently 210 pounds and I need to get down to 112 I know its wise to do it in small steps so this is where your help comes in, I do have means at my disposal aka places to walk and I have a kinect system with your shape fitness evolved for it (if those will help I don’t know) how would you go about getting started as it were?

Cheers love,

Hey darlin,

I’ve been waiting to hear from you for a long while about this topic, but I also firmly believe you can’t help anyone until they’ve decided for themselves they want help. We all have a breaking point we must reach before we’re prepared to do whatever it takes to improve ourselves, once and for all. I truly and deeply hope this is the first of many defining moments for you.

Have a scan of the nutritional recommendations I made to Broth up top before continuing. Nutrition is the single most important thing. I want you to follow the IF method I defined for him. 16 hours of fasting, 8 hours feeding window, drinking lots of water. For you, you should be consuming roughly 920 calories per day, meaning only 153 calories per meal. Sadly, that is completely unhealthy given the difference between where you are and where you want to be, and since you didn’t give me your height, it’s hard for me to give you an exact plan that is better. So, we’ll do this in two stages:

  • Stage 1 – 1400 calories per day, or 230 calories per meal. This will be a good balance between keeping you alive and healthy, and helping you lose weight. Drink 1 L for every 50 lbs of weight, meaning you’re starting at just over 4 L of water per day, but will end this stage at 3 L of water per day.
  • Stage 2 – Once you hit the 150 lbs mark, you can drop to the 920 calories, or 153 calories per meal plan. I want you to send me your height and body type before you start Stage 2 please.

As for exercise, I completely recommend Your Shape Fitness for Kinect. That title is loads of fun, has great variety, and is very challenging. If you want to spice it up, feel free to set a “HIIT” day for yourself once per week, using any of the exercises I’ve described in the above replies.

You got this. You are the master of your body, not the other way around. Stay in touch. Let me know when you need me, for motivation, to cry on, to yell at, or whatever. I’m here to help you reach your goals.


Hi Roc,

I’m looking to start a fairly gentle exercise regime involving swimming and cycling and was wondering if you could offer any advice (my being a complete fitness n00b). I’m not looking to be doing anything as intense as you do, but was wondering if you had any pointers 😀

Thanks for your time,

Hey brother, good to hear from you.

There is a part of me that appreciates the noob aspect you mentioned. The bigger part of me wants to tell you to man up and jump in. It’s like starting with the kiddie pool because you’ve never been in deep water – it’s just not the same.

Good health is an all or nothing deal. See the above posts to get an idea of what I’m referring to.

Having said that, I’ll cater to your wish… slightly. Your nutrition cannot be compromised. Tell me your goals, your height, your bodyweight, your body composition, your health issues. If I remember correctly, you’re about 6’1”, maybe 175 lbs? As an introduction to fitness I still need to know what you want goalwise – are you trying to get big, lean, run a marathon, give me a hint here bud.

In the meantime, I’m just going to point you to my First 30 Days posts, starting HERE

This is my “Introduction to Fitness” program. It’s designed to break you, both physically and mentally, and then help you get through it. You’ll develop discipline, good form, and a basic understanding of what it takes to master your own body.

Please contact me with the specifics I asked for and after you’ve done the First 30, I’ll have the next steps ready for you.


Hey bud,

Yeah, I’m getting skinny fat. Since you’ve been getting less fat, I figured who better to ask for advice, so here I am asking for your help. I’ll worry about nutrition. I just need a workout program I can do home, no more than three times per week, no more than twenty minutes at a time. I just don’t have time, what with the new daughter and all.

Let me know,


You lazy sod. It’s more than likely your nutrition that got you to where you are. Simply put, your caloric intake and quality of food simply outweighs your caloric output. Skinny fat indeed.

Look at the programs above. HIIT will definitely fit the bill for your workouts, but you need to get me your height, weight, fat percentage, muscle percentage, overall body composition. Then I am going to help you with your nutrition, like it or not, as that is 80% responsible for your effort. You can’t out-exercise a bad diet. Plain and simple.


6 responses to “Recurring Themes – Fanmail

  1. Thanks for replying back to email and posting cardio workouts. I’ve been doing variety of workouts you suggested. They were killer. You weren’t joking about the, I feel totally destroyed and rebuilt after doing those for almost a month. I haven’t had body aches like that for awhile. So everything you suggested has been working for me. Thanks again Roc and keep up the good work with your blog. Cheers mate.

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