When it comes to nutrition, there’s a never-ending flow of information — most of which is incorrect. And everyone is highly opinionated.
“Carbs are good.” “Carbs are evil.”
“Intermittent fasting is the only way to lose weight.”
“Try the keto diet.”
“Detoxes are the best way to clean your body and lose your belly.”
Instagram influencers, Youtube gurus, and popular websites promise fast results and the end to your dieting woes. The truth is nowhere near as sexy as magic supplements or celebrity diets.
In this episode, Ted Ryce and renowned fitness and nutrition coach Jason Helmes. will debunk nutrition myths and explain why these antiquated beliefs need to be put to rest.
If you’re confused about nutrition, tune in to clear up the confusion and finally achieve your dream body in record time.
Jason Helmes is a fitness coach with over 18 years of experience and more than 7k+ clients. He is a former middle school teacher turned into a fitness coach.
He used to weigh 300 lbs. After trying different “miraculous” diets and “perfect exercise plans” we read about on the Internet, he realized that none of these solutions actually worked for him.
So, he started to study real scientific research on weight loss, he got into fitness, developed his own weight loss strategies and lost all the weight. After that he became a coach and founded his own business, Anyman Fitness, to help other people with his proven methods.
Follow Jason on Twitter @anymanfitness
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/AnymanFitness
- Jason’s story
- Why you should stop believing in specific food group demonization
- How Jason became fat
- The moment Jason realized he had to do something about his extra weight
- The two forbidden foods in Jason’s food list
- Why Keto and Low carb does not work for everyone
- Intermittent Fasting: Does it work?
- Why meal plans don’t work
- Weight loss shortcuts that actually works
- The most effective and healthy way to lose weight and not gain it back
- The importance of tracking the macros
- And much more…
Podcast Transcription: Nutrition Myths Debunked with Jason Helmes
Ted Ryce: What's up my friend. Welcome back to the Legendary Life podcast. I'm health expert Ted Ryce, coach to entrepreneurs, executives, and other high performing professionals.
Now what we do here at the Legendary Life podcast is we break down science-based information on how to lose fat, prevent disease and live a longer healthier, legendary life.
Today on the show I have Jason Helmes. Now Jason is a fitness coach with over 18 years of experience and more than 7,000 coaching clients, and here's a cool story, he used to be a middle school teacher, but turned into a fitness coach and he also has a really cool story of his own personal transformation.
He used to weigh 300 pounds at six foot eight, he's a huge dude, even at his leanest right now, and after trying different miraculous diets and perfect exercise plans that he read about on the internet, like so many of us, he realized that none of these solutions actually worked for him.
So he started to study the scientific research, kind of like how I did. In fact, there's so many parallels between Jason's story and mine, and he ended up developing his own strategies, lost all the weight, got into great shape and started helping others with his methods.
Now, what I love about Jason is that he likes to debunk the nutrition myths on the Internet, kind of like I do, he's the real deal. And he sees fitness not only as a way to look and feel better, but as a portal for self-improvement on all levels.
In other words, if we're able to change our health, take control of our health, it means that we can improve our relationships with our family, our friends, our children, we can improve our careers or our businesses, and I'm with him a hundred percent on that as you know, if you've been listening to the show.
So without further ado, let's step into this conversation with Jason Helmes. Jason Helmes what is up, and welcome to the podcast.
So excited to have you on today, and we are both coaches, so I know it's going to be, well it's already been an interesting conversation with you because we had to stop our conversation just so we can press record, but just to get the formalities out of the way, really, really excited to have you on and share your expertise, share your experience with the legendary life podcast listeners.
Jason Helmes: Awesome Ted. I appreciate you having me on, I've had this date circled on the calendar for a while brother
Ted Ryce: All right, and I think we should just start out like this. So, we met on Twitter, we communicated, from what I read, from your information and what you read for me, the tweets that I put out there, we gravitated toward each other's approaches.
That said, and we're both coaches, we both help in the same ways, where we help people transform their bodies and get them out of the nutrition craziness. That said, put up a tweet about seed oils, I forget exactly what I said, but it was the type of tweet, where I have that thing in my personality where I don't mind triggering people, and I get it back.
So if you're listening right now, I have to pay for those choices because I have to deal with the aftermath, but you retweeted it and then you ended up deleting it, let's talk about that, why that happened, and what it means for someone listening right now, who is following people like you and me, or some of the people who you and I maybe don't see eye to eye with. Go ahead and take it away.
Jason Helmes: Yeah. Yeah, no, absolutely, and this was right before you just hit record there. We were having a great conversation and he said wait, wait, wait, stop, we have to get this thing recorded right now.
But yeah, you tweeted. It was something like, everyone worries so much about seed oils and getting seed oils in their diets, but nobody worries about, and I forgot what the second thing was, it was the seed oil.
Ted Ryce: It was air pollution.
Jason Helmes: Oh, that was it. Air pollution, and how dangerous air pollution is to our society. So I retweeted it, and really one of the first reasons I deleted it is because, really the emphasis of the tweet was air pollution, right?
It wasn't really about seed oils, you're trying to bring awareness to air pollution, but the reason I deleted, and I want to make sure to bring the listeners here through my full thought process, as to why I would retweet something like that and then end up deleting something like that.
This corner of Twitter is amazing, it really is. The self-improvement space of Twitter, of all the different social media that's out there, I think that this has become just a great place, where people are positive, people are welcoming, and we’re all trying to get better at everything.
Relationships, health and wealth, those are your three main components, maybe add in spirituality there.
So, but anyways, so when it comes to specific food group demonization, I despise it. I really, really despise specific food group demonization, and what I mean by that is, someone's blaming the entire obesity epidemic and the fact that we're all in terrible shape on one specific thing.
It's sugar, it's seed oils, it’s PUFA’s, free radicals, whatever, the one thing is, and there's a million different things that have been demonized over the course of nutritional history, but the reason is, because I've worked with enough people to see that those little itty-bitty minute details really don't matter, they don’t matter.
And I'm sure we'll get into it in a little bit, back when I was trying to lose all the weight, and when I was 300 pounds of myself, I would do those little like, okay, I'm not going to eat any sugar, that was one of the first things that I did. I was really into low carb dogma.
And honestly, I was keto before that word keto was even out into the mainstream, it was like 2010, 2011, and I remember walking around the store and picking up things, being like, well this has two grams of sugar in it, so I will put that back now and think about how just absolutely messed up that is, like what a disordered relationship with food, but I firmly believed that.
I believed that any amount of sugar, this is going to make me fat, which makes zero sense at all, but we get caught in these echo chambers, and the same is true with like a lot of different things.
Seed oils, there is a correlation between eating a lot of seed oils and obesity and having health issues, that correlation is there, but that's not causal.
Anytime calories are controlled, it gets taken off of things that are even harmful for you, it's not harmful for you in the least. Now does that mean that I think, there's always nuance so I need to make sure to explain the nuance.
Ted Ryce: Sure.
Jason Helmes: Does that mean that if you have the option between an awesome coconut oil or a high-quality olive oil, we should choose vegetable oil? No, it doesn't mean that, obviously that other stuff is higher quality, but scaring people into thinking, I need to avoid these things at all costs.
There's a cost part too, vegetable oil might be 3 or $4 for a big jug and high-quality olive oil is 30, people might not be able to afford that.
So these are all the different things that are running through my mind off of one little stinking retweet, and then the real reason is I know I've got a whole lot of followers that follow me because they either, I got retweeted from somebody else in the Twitter self-improvement space, it might be someone who always talks about things like seed oils, or talks about sugar in a negative light.
And again, I'm not saying that if you reduce your consumption of those things it wouldn't be an overall net positive benefit, maybe it would, but at the exact same time, we need to focus on those big rocks, and I don't want that follower that's in that echo chamber, that is running around telling everybody seed oils are giving you bitch tits and lowering your testosterone and making you fat.
I don't want that person that's in that echo chamber to see that retweet and unfollow me, now I don't care about an unfollow, I don't want them to unfollow me because I have had dozens and dozens of dozens and dozens of times people have become clients, where they used to be in an echo chamber.
They used to have this crazy dogma about low carbs or about sugar or about seed oils or about soy or whatever. They had these crazy dogmas in their mind, so that first time I say hey, I had this client they did X. Hey, I had this client, they did Y and Y is a little different than X.
I had this client they did Z. I had this client and I show them all these different before and after pictures, and I tell them carbs are good. This is good, all these different things, they're totally fine for you.
I've had a lot of people make those realizations simply because I tweet in a positive manner and try to show them the good, beneficial stuff.
So, anyhow, I don't want that person to unfollow me and then possibly not have that experience to break out of that insular thinking, because I think that is a real issue that people face when it comes to nutrition.
There is not one thing that is causing obesity, making us unhealthy, it's not sugar, it's not seed oils. It's not soy, it's none of these things, it's a myriad of factors and combinations and we shouldn't be blaming one specific food group for it.
There's only two foods on this planet I won't eat.
Ted Ryce: What’s that?
Jason Helmes: Well, I shouldn't say two foods, one food and one thing I really try to avoid. The one food that I would never, ever, ever consume ever is an energy drink, wouldn't do it. No, just wouldn’t do it.
I would drink a full calorie high-fructose corn syrup pop before I drank an energy drink. Nope. I was a teacher for years and I've seen a lot of, and heard a lot of stories about silly middle school kids that think they're going to get in a competition with their friends and lineups six red bulls and drink them as fast as they can and end up in the hospital or worse.
I've heard a lot of stories about that, I wouldn't touch that stuff. If drinking five or six of those will kill you and drinking five or six beers won't, that just shows you how toxic and poisonous those things are.
And the other thing I do try to avoid as much as possible is trans-fat, and as long as you're eating whole foods, you really don't have to worry about trans fats too often. Stay away from the fried stuff, stay away from processed nonsense and you're pretty much not eating trans fats, but those are the only two things that I try to make sure not in the diet at all.
Sugar. I work out all the time, I don't care if I have some sugars, that's not a big deal at all. I eat dessert pretty regularly and frequently, but anywho, so there you go.
Ted Ryce: No. I learned something from that, because I can be a little bit more, kind of shaking the beehive a little bit, I don't mind, but at the end of the day, we all have to ask ourselves, what are we here for? What are we trying to do?
And certainly, I really care about people and I don't mind kind of dialing back my straight talk if it means that it's going to help more people, because I feel like this whole thing that we're going through where everybody's so crazy, certainly people could benefit from being more healthy, physically.
So, any time we have the opportunity to do that, instead of say it the way we want to say it. So yeah, that was interesting, I learned something from that. Thanks!
And, this is your first time on the show, I already know we have to have you back on, I'm already having a good time.
We've heard a little bit about your journey. You were 300 pounds, out of shape, teacher, and now your super lean, great photos recently that you shared with your progress. Your recent progress
Jason Helmes: They’re mostly angles. They're angles and lighting is pretty much all that is.
Ted Ryce: All the angles, hard flexing. The smile is hard to keep with those abs this time, so true right?
It’s always good to see those people who show you before the pose and after the pose, like what you have to do. But let's talk a little bit about your journey and how you went down this road, where you ended up keto before keto was in the popular mainstream, and what got you out?
Jason Helmes: Sure. Sure.
Ted Ryce: They’re a lot of people there.
Jason Helmes: I'll give you a relatively brief backstory. I've always been an athletic person, I was growing up. I played basketball and baseball. I'm six foot eight too, for the listeners too, so I'm a big tall dude, so athletics kind of went hand in hand.
And I played basketball and baseball through high school. I ended up going to Eastern Michigan on a college scholarship for baseball to try to see what I could do there. Played for two years, ended up hanging up the spikes.
And shortly after I hung up the spikes, all of the practices and the weight sessions and the conditioning sessions and the extra stress from baseball, I became a normal student and I got a job and started working and, and pretty soon I was actually even probably more busy than I was playing baseball, because I was working to try to pay for rent and whatnot, whenever I wasn’t going to classes and studying and the pounds piled on.
I didn't really have time to work out anymore. It was a pretty busy and hectic time, a hundred to 120 hours per week between the two, working and going to school. So the pounds piled on and piled on. I got into somewhat okay shape for my wedding, which was in 2005, but shortly thereafter it went to shit.
Me and my wife, we got married and we were brand new and trying to figure out how to adult, do life and make meals and stuff. So we ended up getting a lot of take out, a lot of carry out pizzas, and going out to restaurants.
We didn't really plan our meals or anything, just didn't have a plan, we were normal, how normal people, and what happens when you eat without a plan and you're totally normal and just eat when you're hungry and whatever? You gain weight quickly.
At least I do. I know some people don't, but I definitely do, and yeah, by the time I was 30, I weighed 300 pounds, so I was 220 when I started college, I was about 300 by the time I was 30, and my first daughter was born, and when she was born, that’s when it flipped the switch inside of me.
I was teaching school at the time, and I remember all of a sudden I had a newfound vantage point, when I would meet parents, specifically fathers of these young boys and girls that I was teaching, because all of a sudden I became aware that I have a child and one day my child is going to be the age of your child and will be old as you are.
Ted Ryce: Right.
Jason Helmes: Yeah.
Ted Ryce: This was totally not a judging thing, this was a magic mirror. This was a self reflection moment, but they'll come in and I would just kind of observe as I was talking to them, so how did that dad look? How was he put together? How did he present himself? How did he talk to other people?
What sort of a presence did he have? Was he a strong person, a walkover? All of a sudden I became aware of these things. I had never started thinking about them before, and I realized, if you keep this up.... I have one student, gosh it was terrible, he got news that his dad had a heart attack while he was driving home from work and crashed his car into a telephone pole.
Ted Ryce: Oh man!
Jason Helmes: It was like holy shit, and it was just blowing my mind, and my own mortality was all of a sudden all in my head and I was like, I got to do something.
So one of the first things I did, we’re talking about low carb dogma. Rick Coghlan was, I'll mention him on here because he listens to all my podcasts and he'll get a real kick out of it I'm sure.
Rick Coghlan was one of my coworkers and I saw him post on Facebook about a documentary he had watched, now all of a sudden alarm bells should be going off in your head.
Nutrition documentary, run, run, but when I was 30, that's not what I was thinking. I didn't know anything about nutrition, and it was called Fat Head. It was by a guy named Tom Naughton, and it's www.fatheadmovie.com if you want to go to the website.
I can’t hate on the website because this sent me down the rabbit hole, this was it, this one thing, and I got on Amazon and I ordered the DVD because there was no such thing as Netflix streaming or Amazon prime or anything like that.
The DVD came and I watched it and it was complete low carb dogmatic bullshit about the insulin theory, and about how when you eat carbohydrates your insulin spikes, when your insulin spikes to store this hormone, you can't lose fat and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah and your body is going to go into fat storage mode and it's going to wait until your blood sugar comes up, right? It's a low carb dogma.
We've all kind of heard this. This is the insulin hypothesis that has been debunked everywhere, but I didn't know anything about an insulin hypothesis, I didn't know anything about self-improvement Twitter or who to follow, so I bought it man, hook, line, and sinker. I watched this documentary and this, this is going to be the way.
So that's what, I was like I can’t eat any sugar at all, that's for sure. I need to really limit my carbs and I got obsessive with it, it was bad. I have an obsessive personality just in general, if I see something that excites me I run with it.
I think that's honestly part of the reason why I've been successful with all my business, but it worked. Now, you know this as a nutrition guy or a coach, what’s going to happen if you go zero carb?
Ted Ryce: You’re going to
Jason Helmes: You're going to lose a shit ton of weight.
Ted Ryce: Yeah.
Jason Helmes: Fast. Fast. And that's not because you're losing a shit ton of fat, especially if you're eating lots of calories, it's because every carbohydrate that you eat that comes into your system is going to bring three to four grams of water weight right along with it.
So, if you are not watching your carbs at all, you could be eating 300 or 400 grams of carbs per day, which I mean, you could be taking in two to three pounds of water per day, just via carbohydrate and you’re just unaware of it.
So when you stop that, all of a sudden seven eight pounds whoosh, in four or five days, and you’re like this is it, and that happened to me. I got that immediate feedback and that immediate dopamine hit, and that's what gets people in that insular thinking and that echo chamber and that’s really difficult to get out of.
Think about all the confirmation bias that just happened in your head. I've struggled and struggled and struggled and struggled and I watched this bullshit documentary that I don't know is bullshit, and then all of a sudden I lost nine pounds in a week, so talk about motivating.
So I held onto that dogma for about five months, and I will tell you, I will be honest. I lost a lot of weight, a lot of weight. Went from 300 to, I got down to 220 or 225 or so, I was pretty lean, but I was not healthy.
Ted Ryce: What do you mean by that?
Jason Helmes: I mean, my energy levels were shot. I was working out in the gym, my performance went from being able to do, I remember specifically I used to be able to do 120 pounds with additional weight on a chin up and all of a sudden, I could only do three or four regular chin-ups without extra weight.
I know I was losing muscle mass, I wasn't really tracking it because I wasn't into fitness the way I am now, but I know I was losing muscle mass. My immune system was completely shot, I remember I got a cold and I remember it took me like six, seven weeks to get over a simple cold and I felt so terrible, and I was still refusing to eat carbs.
I was refusing. I was like, I lost 70 pounds, I refuse to eat carbs. No, no, no and it didn’t dawn on me that I was completely screwing my metabolic profile. I had no libido at all, just wasn't even interested in anything related to sex whatsoever and these should’ve all been red flags, but I didn’t give a shit, I had lost 70 pounds.
And I remember, I forget what actually caused me to go all right dude, start eating...
At one point, in the comments section of Fat Head, the blog. I watched the movie, there's a blog and I'm reading all the blog, buying it all hook line and sinker, and in the comment section, someone mentioned hey, have you ever tried intermittent fasting along with it?
Because I was kind of stuck, I was feeling like crap and whatever, you ever tried intermittent fasting on top of it? This guy from Sweden named Martin Birkin, has this website called Lean gains.
Ted Ryce: Oh yeah.
Jason Helmes: I’m not sure if you’ve ever heard of it
Ted Ryce: Lean gains, yeah.
Jason Helmes: It was very, very, very popular, like 10 years ago. The Hodge twins who are all political now, they were big Lean gain fans and they were doing their body building videos and stuff.
So I was like, huh okay, and I started looking at that and Martin Birkin and Hodge twins and everybody else that was really popular with the fasting at the time, they were talking about the importance of it and you need to eat carbs.
So I slowly started eating carbs, I started cycling macros. Started eating carbs on my workout days only.
Ted Ryce: Ouu
Ted Ryce: And it was like, strength, boom through the roof! Energy - boom through the roof. Guess what happened to fat loss? Started accelerating again.
I'm sure I was fixing my hormonal profile a little bit. My testosterone probably came back a little bit. Some of the stress, the cortisol was lifted off of me because I was getting more food and more energy, and then that was what really got me questioning my own thinking.
That was the first time I was like, in the world of fitness and nutrition, I really was entrenched in that dogma, and now that I was on the other side of it, now all of a sudden, I am starting to realize like other people are entrenched in these dogmas too.
If it happened to me, it has to be happening to thousands, if not millions of other people that are out there that are confused about nutrition and are just stuck in these echo chambers and they’re always super loud in those echo chambers, but privately they’re… I’m not losing any weight.
Ted Ryce: Yeah. Sure, sure.
Jason Helmes: But they'll never miss that to everybody else.
Ted Ryce: Not in public.
Jason Helmes: Yeah. They would be like, I’m carnivore and I lost 120 pounds and I've kept it off for four years and everyone goes, yes follow that guy, but of the 5,000 people that just hearted that little tweet, you don't hear about the 4,500 people that are struggling mightily on this diet and there’s zero chance of it ever succeeding. You don't hear about those people.
Ted Ryce: You got to join the forum, not forums, but I joined a couple of private Facebook groups just to see what people were saying, and I remember this one guy, I lost 50 pounds on keto and it was awesome, but then I switched to carnivore - cause he was trying to take it up a notch, right?
Jason Helmes: Oh yeah. Yeah
Ted Ryce: To keto. High fat, but you're still eating other things, and then now you go carnivore and he gained like 30 pounds back and he was so dumbfounded by it. Well yeah, I mean, if you start having like huge ribeye steaks
Jason Helmes: And you’re eating 5 thousand calories a day.
Ted Ryce: Yeah, of just steak and you cook it in butter, it comes back.
Jason Helmes: Yeah. And in all honesty, what you just said there, that's another big issue, a big reason why I don't like these echo chambers, and even though I don't like them, I try not to like really talk shit about them.
I might throw a vegan or keto or carnivore little zinger out there from time to time, but I won't completely vilify these things because I don't want to turn someone off, who really needs to hear from someone that's a little bit more balanced.
A lot of times when you're in these echo chamber and this happened to me, I just told my story. So originally I was keto, for me it was just avoiding all sugar. I was keto, it stopped working, what’s my next thought?
Let’s go to something else more extreme. Okay, now I'm going to combine keto with fasting, only eat two meals per day, and eventually that's going to stop working and then what are you going to do?
Oh man, one meal a day. That's it, I'm going to do one meal a day. Oh no, let's go carnivore, carnivore one meal a day that's it. The answer to, if you were trying something extreme and it is not working, the answer is not make it extremer.
I know that's not a word, I'm messing around with the word play there, but yeah, and that's the kind of thinking that you get caught up in. Moderation is hard, man. There's nuance, there's gray. It's difficult.
Ted Ryce: Yeah, let's talk about that. Someone actually asked on Twitter when I said that we were going to do an interview, they wanted to know about how what we do is similar, how what we do is different and that might be good for a different interview.
But I think the main thing that you and I have in common is that we start teaching people, what I call the facts about food or the truth about food, and it is so loaded when you say something like that, but what I always do is, I just show them the numbers.
Because in our field, in our area, people say so many things like you have some great graphics, people will say peanuts or peanut butter is a great source of protein, but that's a qualitative thing to say, it's not quantitative.
It depends on how you define grey. If it's like one gram of protein, I don't even know, you probably know how many grams of protein are in a tablespoon of peanut butter.
Jason Helmes: I think it's like seven, it's about seven, I think. It’s not a lot.
Ted Ryce: Right. It’s not a lot compared to the fat.
Jason Helmes: Fat is like 14 or 16, and obviously fat has nine calories per gram instead of four calories per gram. So yeah, peanut butter is like 87% fat or something like that. I just ran the numbers on one of those infographics, just a couple of weeks ago.
And there's a lot of foods that are like this too, and really it’s because of the health halo effect. There's this big health halo around fat right now.
Ted Ryce: Right.
Jason Helmes: Everyone is just so convinced this is not a good thing for us, and no fat is a good thing for us. Fat is an essential macronutrient 100%, you need it for hormonal profiles, for sexual function, to make your food taste better. Honestly, fat is really delicious.
Ted Ryce: That's the most important there, right?
Jason Helmes: Yeah. It helps with lots of other things too, like your skin, your hair, your nails, just your overall wellbeing. It's a wonderful thing, but the poison is always in the dose, no matter what, the poison is always in the dose.
It doesn't matter if it's protein, carbs, fat, anything, the poison’s in the dose, you definitely got to be careful with that stuff.
Ted Ryce: Yeah, and that comes back to your point about moderation. Moderation is hard initially, but in the long run, it's much more doable because it just is more flexible.
I did a coaching call with a client just today and he's done. I mean, the guy's a very successful entrepreneur, he's worked with a lot of big name coaches, he's done fasting protocols and all types of extreme approaches, and then he was just telling me, this is way easier than anything I’ve ever done
And in terms of okay, how many calories are you eating per day? How are those calories distributed? How much protein do you have versus carbohydrate and fat? Because as much as I may come across as someone who’s anti-low carb, I don't care how many carbs people eat, I care about how many calories people are eating.
So you teach people how to get on track of their calories and get on track of their protein. When you have someone who's like, oh, Jason, why can't I just drop carbs? Or why can't I do this?
Why did you choose to teach what you teach, in terms of helping someone wrap their head around how many calories they're eating per day and the whole macro nutrient thing?
Jason Helmes: Well, the main reason, and as a coach that is what I do, is flexible dieting, right? So usually when someone starts, one of the first things that I'm going to do is take a close look at their estimated calorie maintenance, what their goals are, build in the proper calorie deficit or calorie surplus, depending on what it is that they're trying to accomplish
And then end up breaking that into macronutrients and giving them targets to aim for, that’s generally what I will start with, and there are some people that have some difficulty doing that at first.
And I know that a lot of coaches have different philosophies as far as what sort of information to give a client in order to best make them successful, and there is a fair amount of pedagogy that goes on in my own head, just because I was a teacher for 12 years. I'm kind of looking at this, like through the eyes of a teacher.
Ted Ryce: Sure.
Jason Helmes: If someone had a complete blank slate, what is the best way to get them from point A to point B as quickly as possible?
And in my estimation, from what I've seen with other students, you can say, let's guide them slowly along, or let's drop them in the deep end and see what happens. So that's usually what I try to do.
I have seen that if we drop in the deep end. Okay, protein, carbs fats, I'm going to send you materials, I'm going to show you exactly how to do this.
So I have a how to track macronutrients video, it’s long and it's full of information, but I have yet to meet someone that didn't come out of that video going, I know exactly what to do, because it's literally like a one period lesson plan, and I sit down and show them here’s what to do about this, here’s what you do about this. They get done and they’re like yeah, this is easy.
But sometimes there are people that still struggle, so we will sometimes go to a calorie plus protein count every once in a while, because in reality, carbs and fats are fairly interchangeable as long as you're not being completely stupid and idiotic with them.
As long as you're not trying to go keto to speed things up or no fat for whatever reason you have. So I do sometimes go to that, and then there are some clients that I have, just due to lifestyle considerations, they really can't track.
I think most people can, and really the goal when you're tracking, this is another thing too. The goal, you were talking about how difficult moderation is, 100%. I've been in the nutrition game for 10 years, I still struggle with moderation on a personal level all the time.
We all struggle with that, that is going to be a lifelong thing that I will always need to battle out of, to make sure to be moderate, but I can’t just tell someone what to eat because what macros truly are is, it's a way to get a proper blend and a proper portion of the foods you're supposed to be eating.
And the goal is not to have you track your tablespoons of peanut butter for the rest of your life, the goal is for you to do this long enough that you understand, okay, this right here has like 40 grams of protein in it.
This right here. Oh, that's a carb bomb, I probably don't want to touch that. This right here, I might think that this handful of almonds is a great protein filled choice for three o'clock in the afternoon, but because I track macros with coach Jay, I know that that's bullshit and I need to get a protein shake in, or maybe some beef jerky or an apple.
Those would all be better choices than a handful of almonds that's going to be 300, 400 calories. So it's learning and making all those little discoveries, that's really what I want for my clients.
And for them to realize the most successful people that are out there, they have their meals that they love, maybe they have six or seven different lunch options that they love, and they can just pick and rotate through them.
They've measured them in the past, they're tasty, they're delicious. They're whole foods, they're healthy, they fill them up, make them feel good and they keep them right on track with their diet, but then that way you don't have to think about it, you don’t have to track it because you have in the past.
You’re building your own view, your own mental framework of nutrition, how to eat, wellness, so that's really why, I just think that is so incredibly powerful to do.
And I will get people that'll say hey, I'll pay you X amount of dollars, just tell me what to do, create me a lesson plan, do this and I’ll say sorry, it goes against my own learning philosophies.
That's give someone a fish. I don't want to give you a fish. I'll tell you this too, I had clients at the very beginning, very beginning. And I mean, I was sending meal plans on Microsoft word documents from my Yahoo email address at the very beginning, and I would make entire recipes completely laid out.
I'd make it all for clients. There you go, these hit your macros perfectly go for it, and I had a number of them who lost ton of weight, were feeling great. Amazing. Thanks coach Jay, I'm going to go off independent. Sounds good.
Two years later, they're in my inbox, gained all the way back and I go, well you know how to track and everything and they go no, I just used the meal plans you gave me, can you make me some more meal plans?
And it clicked in my head, like oh my gosh, I didn't actually help this person. Yeah, I helped them in the moment, but they didn't learn anything. So I had to just stop even offering that as a service, so I don't do that anymore.
Ted Ryce: Yeah, same here. I've done quite a few different things, gave people paleo meal plans, I was kind of more into that, never did the keto thing, but at the end of the day, and we're talking for your benefit here, if you're in this space where you're looking for people to give you the fish.
If you're reading blog posts or listening to podcasts or asking questions and asking people, just tell me what to do, just tell me what to do and the thing that you need to hear, but probably don't want to hear is you got to put in the work, you got to learn this stuff.
You got to stop going for the, I equate it to instead of doing the weekend certification, you need to get the executive MBA and it takes time, but the thing is, after you get that executive MBA, you have that foundational knowledge that you can take with you so that you can create your own meal plans and not ever ask for anyone to do something like that for you ever again.
You know, Jason, I'd be interested in your thoughts on this, because it's certainly not right for everyone. Like for you, at the beginning of your journey, right after you watched Fat Head and I came to you and said, Jason look, that carb whole makes you fat thing that's bullshit, just track and let's get an idea of how many calories you're eating per day and come up with some food choices based on the things that you already eat, but just in the proper portions.
I wouldn't have reacted well to that. In fact, when I was already sold on the idea of tracking, I had a conversation with Layne Norton actually on the podcast. This was probably five or six years ago, I was trying to do things intuitively, based on what I knew at the time.
But the reality is, even though I had been in the business nearly 16, 17 years at the time, I just didn't know enough of the basics to do things intuitively like you and I can probably do now. I don't need to track right now, but I'm tracking because the veins are coming out again.
Jason Helmes: It works man, it works.
Ted Ryce: It works, and it’s such a great thing, but coming back to my question, what are your thoughts about people, where they are, and I believe this is what we need to get to. For most people, don't need to track, like you said, for the rest of their life, but how else do you get that knowledge?
How else do you get someone to realize, hey, it's not that you need to know the difference between a five and a six ounce piece of a steak, but you have no idea if it's three ounces, if it's 10 ounces, if you're eating 5,000 calories, if you're eating 35 hundred calories, you just have no clue.
What are your thoughts on whether that should be the goal for everyone, and you know what I’m trying to say, what do you think?
Jason Helmes: I don't necessarily think that everybody needs to track, but I do think that the vast majority of people probably would be better served if they started by tracking them with other methods.
Because in reality, what you're really attempting to do is, you're attempting to eat less calories. You might not realize that's what you're attempting to do, but physiologically calories are the main driver of fat loss.
They are not the end all be all, so you have people who will always go, oh, there's more to it than calories. Yeah, I get it. Okay you're right.
Ted Ryce: Yeah, right.
Jason Helmes: There is more to it than calories, but at the same time, it is the most important factor.
I know Eric Helmes does his own nutritional pyramid for fat loss and body recomposition changes, and he estimates around 70% of fat loss is calories, and then probably 10 to 15% is macros.
So look at that right there, there's 85% of the equation, and one of the reasons why I chose macro nutrients, well obviously it makes sense because I did it on myself.
Ted Ryce: Right.
Jason Helmes: But I wanted someone to have guaranteed results.
Ted Ryce: Right.
Jason Helmes: And that's really a big thing too.
Ted Ryce: That’s what it is.
Jason Helmes: If you come to me, and you say I'm giving you my hard earned money to follow a diet program and you follow it perfectly, you have better get the results that I claimed that you were going to get.
And the only way to make sure that that happens is to make sure that those calories are controlled and possibly to a lesser extent the macronutrients.
Now, someone who was really refusing a little bit or being really, really difficult. What would I say to them? I would probably tell them that I know exactly what they're feeling, exactly what they're feeling.
Ted Ryce: 100%
Jason Helmes: And what they're trying to do is they're trying to find a shortcut, they’re trying to eliminate the hard work. Anything worthwhile doing in life is going to take hard work, dedication, and it's not going to be a quick fix and obesity is 100% like that.
If you are obese right now, you need to get used to the fact that it's probably going to be an uphill battle the rest of your life and even if you accomplish getting lean and staying lean and reaching your goal weight, it's always going to be something that you have to think about and pay attention to.
It's never just going to completely disappear, you are not going to go back to the you of the olden days, eating whatever, whenever, wherever, you're not going to go back to that.
So you need to just realize that you are now a new person and that helps too, now you have a new identity. I'm now a healthy person, that's who I am. I'm a new person, I’m going to eat right in the proper portions and I'm going to take care of business.
I remember I went to keto first and I said, okay, I'll do fasting next, and I did keto plus fasting and yeah, I dropped more weight, but I got worse, as far as health went. I had less body fat, but I was not in as good of shape.
All I was doing is trying to avoid the hard work, that’s it, and it took me going through that. One question that we did have on Twitter today is, Jason what would you have done differently if you could start it all over?
And I want to answer that question, I wouldn't do anything differently because I learned from every single failure along the way, and it helped form the way I think about nutrition, the way I approach clients, the way I approach business, and honestly, the way I approach life.
To not worry about fucking things up, just take action, see what happens, adjust, and become a better version of what you used to be and it works way better if you just take action and try something, just try it, but have an open mind and make sure that you recognize when something isn't going the way that it needs to go.
But when I finally said okay fine, I'll track. So first I started tracking proteins and carbs. Those are the two, I didn't track fat. You got to remember in my head, fat still had that healthy, fat is good, eat as much fat as possible.
The movie Fat Head, I wanted to be a Fat Head. So I didn't track it, but because I was trying to eat no carbs, high protein, it didn't even matter. I'm six foot eight, and I was active, so it didn't matter, and that was because of my maintenance.
But if you're a shorter dude, if you're not six foot eight, 300 pounds, or if you're a woman specifically, shorter, petite women, you're going to probably run into issues and you will probably need to track.
There are some people that are going to need to track their food, and as soon as I started tracking, it all click, click click. Eventually, once I realized I really need to eat carbs every single day, I'm pretty lean here and my body can handle it.
I'm not insulin resistant, I'm insulin sensitive, insulin is not a bad thing. Once I learned all of that stuff then all of a sudden, instead of following the Fat Head guys, I started branching out a little bit started following the Brad Schoenfield’s, and the Alan Aragon's and the Lyle McDonald's and the Layne Norton's and whoever else.
And then I went all in and all of a sudden results just exploded from there, and I was like okay, yep I can see the benefit in this, and it was such an amazing... The changes, when I was hitting every single macronutrient, hitting those streaks and crushing it in the gym, it was so rapid and so fast that it was like, this is magic, this is a hack. And really, as we both know now, no, actually, it's called nutritional science.
Ted Ryce: Right. It’s called nutritional science.
Jason Helmes: I was like, this macro stuff is wild. When I really zoned in, I got down to like 7% body fat, it was nuts. I got down to 206, that was my lightest, from 300 to 206 six foot eight.
Ted Ryce: Wow. Yeah.
Jason Helmes: And I could deadlift of 500 and squat 350 and bench 300. I was like what is happening right now? So yeah, that really kind of shot me into coaching others and building the whole business and everything.
Ted Ryce: So listen, if you've been thinking about testosterone replacement therapy, because you think it's going to help you drop fat and get jacked, this is what you're really missing.
Someone asked me, I put my transformation photo up on Twitter and anyway, people always ask, like hey, so what's the history of anabolic use, if any, and are you taking, are you on TRT right now?
My genetics aren't that good, I'm a lazy fucker. I train, but I don't train that hard, I got a lot of injuries now too, and it's about doing that hard work, like you said. Where a lot of the hard work isn't even so hard, because it's not hard in the way like doing the fasting protocols are hard, eliminating all the carbs are hard.
Those things they seem easy at first because you can just do them right away, they're fast to implement and you can get some results, but it's really about shifting that mindset and getting away from what you said, that quick fix.
I've got a question for you, just kind of came up. I want to share the dumbest thing that I ever did. So, do you know who Paul Chek is, by any chance?
Jason Helmes: I don’t.
Ted Ryce: No, don’t know that name? Well, he's a bit more old school, a bit more. Anyway, he's the one that got me into the low carb thing.
Jason Helmes: Okay.
Ted Ryce: And had a very paleo approach. I think he pretty much popularized it before it was paleo, this guy. Not as popular these days, although you'll find him on some podcasts, but I would go out of my way to eat, if I was going to eat ice cream, I go and eat full fat ice cream, like the full fat Haagen-Dazs, because I thought it was better for me, fat loss wise, even though the fat free sorbet.
I thought that was the fattening thing, even though it was like a thousand calories or 500 calories less or half the calories. What is the craziest thing that you’ve done, or the silliest thing that you’ve done where you were deep in the dogma?
Jason Helmes: Honestly, it was probably what I explained earlier, where I would go grocery shopping and I would be walking around looking at all of these different things, trying to see how many grams of sugar were in them.
I remember looking at, I wanted to get some sausages. So I wanted to get lower fat sausages at the time, I was a little bit aware of the calories and I remember I looked and they had Maple, chicken, whatever the heck sauce, and it was like two grams of sugar.
And I remember going, oh I don't think so, I’m putting them right back on the shelf. Two grams of sugar.
Ted Ryce: Two grams of sugar.
Jason Helmes: That's eight calories, eight calories. I'd probably burn eight calories sneezing. When I’m thinking back on it, was like bro, what were you thinking? But I was just so entrenched in that, that that's actually oh well, here you go.
Oh man. I can't believe I'm going to tell you this. I feel like I need to like go into reconciliation or something. When I was at my worst entrenched in the dogma, I would put a couple of tablespoons of coconut oil in my coffee in the morning because I was convinced that adding fat to my coffee is going to give me magical fat burning properties, I was convinced of that.
It is going to ramp up my metabolism and turn me into a fat burning machine and that was very wrong, because I remember stalling, and this was before I even started doing the macros.
I started stalling and I went, huh and actually it’s one of the first things that made my mind go hmm. I remember eliminating that 200, 300 whatever calories worth of coconut oil in the morning, weight loss picked up, right like that.
And I remember going, huh? That was like the first time I was like, I was doing this thing because I thought it speeded up fat loss and then I stopped doing that thing and that fat loss actually increased its pace.
I try not to make fun of butter in the coffee people too much, but I mean, it's hard not to, it's hard not to.
Ted Ryce: I was one of them too.
Jason Helmes: Yeah, I mean it happens.
Ted Ryce: I actually got results from doing it, that one I got results from.
Jason Helmes: I think it’s also important for your listeners to understand that we're saying, do the hard work, do the hard work, do the hard work, and I did. I went through all these mistakes and wasted all this time and this and that, but it did make amazing and awesome and fantastic discoveries.
And I went through the arduous process, I tracked, tightly from 2012 to 2015, and then I'd go periods where I’d stopped tracking, and then I’d go back to tracking and then kind of stopped tracking, go back to tracking.
It took a long time. Now, 10 years later, I don't track anything, it took a very long time to get to that point, but I don't track anything because
Ted Ryce: So you don’t track now?
Jason Helmes: I don't track anything. Nope. I don't need it.
Ted Ryce: Yeah.
Jason Helmes: Well, I don’t need to, and I'll tell you why, because over time I had made my lunches so many times, and I made my dinner so many times, and my breakfast so many times that I know what the portion sizes are, I don't need to track.
And I do have a benefit of being six foot eight, 235 pounds, pretty muscular active guy. So if I'm trying to lose fat, I basically know, dude if you stick to three meals per day, you're going to lose fat really, really quickly, just don't snack.
I'm blessed where if I set, and I do this too, and I don't know if you do something, I like to have a base of my food. I have a breakfast, a lunch and a dinner.
If I want to lose fat, if I just stick strictly to that breakfast, lunch, and dinner and the proper portion sizes, fat loss. If I go breakfast, lunch, and dinner in those portion sizes, and maybe toss in a few extras, like if it's Mexican, I'll throw in some extra guacamole or cheese or sour cream, notice all three of those things are heavy in fat. So, I might add some extra stuff on top of it.
That was really cool, that sound effect that you had there, that wasn't even me, what was that? No, I’m just kidding. Me going, notice that I, never mind. Sorry, bad dad joke. Very bad.
Ted Ryce: It sounded good.
Jason Helmes: Yeah. I know right, but I had eaten these foods so frequently that I realized, okay, if I eat this strictly, I'm going to lose fat, if I add a few extras, I’m going to maintain.
I can probably eat a few extras during the week and then loosen up on the weekend a little bit. Go to a social event, barbecue, few beers, a few drinks, and I'll maintain doing that. If I want to add weight, right after the wintertime hits and up here in Michigan gets really cold. We go hoodies and sweatshirts, so I usually try to bulk up and gain some muscle.
Then I eat my base, I get some of those extras and I don't worry about if someone says here, do you want this? Yeah, sure. I’ll have that. So I'll have even just a little, a few more treats and now all of a sudden I'm going to slowly gain.
So in essence, the reason I even brought this up, is because right now my physical condition is easy. It's simple, it's not hard, and it took years of hard work to make it that, but I am so glad and grateful that I said, do the hard work, go right after it.
Instead of trying to find a shortcut or way around it, say I'm going to smash it right up the middle, that's what I'm going to do and meet that hard work head on.
And I'll be honest with you, Ted. The fact that I did that and got all the way through to the other side, and I realized how easy it is, that sort of a mindset bled into every aspect of my life. It bled into business, bled into relationships, it bled into.
And so now, when I see that hard work in front of me, I will feel the twinge of, oh shit, that's hard work, but I'll notice it.
I have the self-awareness and I’d notice it in my head, and when that happens, it's like a red flag goes off and this little angel, maybe it's a drill sergeant, on my shoulder goes, Jay, that's exactly what you need to do and you know you need to do it, so stop being a little bitch and get after it, and then I’ll go, okay.
And I’ll go right after it, but I had to do that hard work to develop that sort of mindset and discipline behind it, because I promise you, I was the laziest human in the world 10 years ago.
I was lazy, and you want to know why I chose macros and weightlifting? Because it was guaranteed results, and because I was lazy, I didn't want to do tons of cardio. I didn't want to do tons of circuits, I didn't want to run outside.
I said, I want to lift weights three times a week for 40 minutes, I want to work out two hours per week, period, that's it, because I'm lazy. I didn’t feel, especially back then. I didn't feel like doing it
But it's so funny because over time, when you do the hard work over and over and over repeatedly, and you see the positive results over and over and over repeatedly, eventually something changes inside of you and all of a sudden you're no longer lazy, you're now disciplined.
You've become a totally different person and you can't wait to have hard work in front of you and man, you talk about a life change if you can get to that point.
Ted Ryce: Yeah. You got me all fired up Jason.
Jason Helmes: Thanks man, thanks.
Ted Ryce: As I'm sure everyone else. Yeah, I know. It's been such a pleasure today, we got to do this again.
I feel like there's so many things that we could talk about, like for example, we didn't get to the whole, the influencer versus coach.
Jason Helmes: There's a lot we can talk about.
Ted Ryce: Yeah, and I think that's a really good one, and you’re a coach that we’ve learned from a lot of the same people, a lot of the same people help pull us out of that dogma that we were entrenched in.
But man, it's been such a pleasure. Love your energy. Love your vibe. If you are listening right now and you resonate with Jason, I mean, you got to check him out at www.anymanfitness.com, that’s his website.
So, any man fitness.com, just one word straight through, and he's also at Twitter and Instagram, although he's much more fun on Twitter, I would argue. And that's @anymanfitness.
Of course we'll have that in the show notes for this episode. Jason, I would ask you to finish off with what is the one thing that you hope someone takes away from this episode?
Jason Helmes: The one thing that you hope, you know what, I really do like that last little, I guess it was a bit of a monologue or tangent that I went on there. Fitness is hard, it is, especially if, and I mentioned somewhere in this 60 minutes here, that if you're currently obese, you have an uphill battle, you do. So accept it, get on with it and let’s do it.
And, in life there's always just going to be hard things, that's the way life is, and the beauty of it is you get to choose what's hard. You get to decide what hard things you want to do.
Sometimes they’re thrust upon you and you don't have control over them, but when it comes to your physical body, for most people, you have control over what happens and you get to choose what's going to be hard.
Is it going to be hard to follow a diet when you're 40? Is it going to be hard to get activity in? Is it going to be hard to get to the gym, even though you just worked 12 hours, you're exhausted, and all you want to do is stop at McDonald's on the way home and eat a huge sack of burgers and wash it down with a six pack.
Yeah, it's going to be way harder to go to the gym and bust your ass in that situation you are correct, but, you know what else is going to be hard? 15 years from, well, I'll tell you what.
If you're the father of that student that I had, that tragically ended up losing his life because he wasn't in shape, that was a big part of it too. When I was seeing those parents in my school, I realized, bro, you have two daughters, you are walking them down the aisle.
What do you want to look like walking down them down the aisle? Do you want to be a strapping 50 year old man who is in good shape, has a masculine presence, takes care of business, or do you want to just kind of be coasting and guiding through life?
You can choose to make the hard in your life, the fitness routine that you stick to religiously because you know it’s what's best for you, or you can make the hard in your life when your health and your own mobility and your own choices catch up to you, because that's the tough toughest part about fitness, right?
Is that you are making a current sacrifice for the future you, is what you are doing. It's not really benefiting the current you, yeah you’re going to feel good. Hopefully get nice dopamine and get all those endorphins going and everything, but you're making a sacrifice to benefit the future you.
And I swear to you, if you make those sacrifices, when you are 65 or 70, I mean, God, you'll be so unbelievably happy and you won't have to deal with that other hard that often happens when you're 65 and 70, and you hear you've got gout or diabetes or a blockage in an artery or just some horrendous news.
So I want your listeners and everyone to be the best version of themselves that they can be, just because you owe it to yourself. How terrible would it be to go through life and get to the end of it and be like, gosh, I wonder what I could have been if I would have done X, Y, and Z?
I don't want any regrets, we got one shot at this rock that's it. Anyway, I think I've probably talked for too long, I tend to do that.
I told you I was a teacher, right? Us teachers man we got to fill that timeframe. We have to learn how to keep talking and talking and talking.
Ted Ryce: No man, it was pure fire today. I’ve been in a bit of a mood because I've been dealing with Airbnb stuff this morning, so your energy was really appreciated., and I know everyone else listening, appreciates it as well.
So, Jason, thanks so much, man! Can't wait to do this again and I'll see you on Twitter my bro.
Jason Helmes: Rock and Roll man, let's keep taking down all the zealots all right. Thank you so much for having me, Ted. It was a blast and I know we're going to do this again.
Ted Ryce: We should definitely do this again, man! Thanks so much, Jason!
That is it for today, my friend! Hope you enjoyed this episode. I certainly did. It’s always great to talk to other coaches. We can just set aside some of the more theoretical parts about how to get in shape and just talk about the practical stuff, working with people, what really matters, what really doesn’t. And that's where Jason and I come from. It’s so much fun to talk to fellow coaches!
In case you didn't get that vibe from the podcast, and I know that is gonna help so many of you when you apply what you’ve learned today.
Now, I’ll be talking to you on Friday. And this time it’s gonna be another special Real Talk Friday episode.
I’ve received hundreds of questions from you, about fitness, nutrition, health optimization, longevity and much more. And I’ve decided to bring back the Ask Ted segment every single month.
So stay tuned for Friday when we’ll have a new Listner’s Questions episode! And we’ll answer the question: how does a person who is trying to figure out all the conflicting information, how do you figure this out? How do you figure out who to listen to. It's such a common struggle, it’s something that Jason struggled with, being a coach, is something that I've struggled with, but now I know how to sift through information.
And I am going to share how I approach information these days. So if this is something that you are struggling with, if you are having problems figuring out who should I listen to - one person says one thing, another person says the exact opposite, one person may have a degree, like a medical doctorate or PhD, and other person doesn’t have a degree - who do you listen to? People say such conflicting things. Who do you listen to?
Well, that is what we are gonna dive into. So, have an amazing week and I’ll speak to you on Friday!
Sign up to receive email updates
Enter your name and email address below and I'll send you periodic updates about the podcast.