Autor: markyoung

~ 10/07/12


There are a ton of proposed reasons why society as a whole is getting fatter and less healthy.  People have speculated that it could be due to carbs, chemicals, drugs, hormones, genetics, and a whole host of other things.  Most interestingly to me is that most people tend to focus almost exclusively on one of these things and, as a result, think the solution to helping the world get leaner and healthier is to simply fix that one thing.  (Not so coincidentally, these same people are often willing to sell you a book or product geared towards fixing that singular issue for the one time price of $29.95)


From where I sit though, it is more than just one issue.  To my clients I’ve described the process of losing weight as being very much like swimming up a raging river.  The current is driving us towards fat gain, disease, and inactivity and when we become motivated to lose weight we must choose to swim against the violent current…forever.  As soon as our motivation wanes and simply “stop swimming” for a short period of time we are swept back up by the river only to lose the forward progress we have made.


That river is what some have called our “obesogenic environment”.  By default, our culture sets us up for lives where we’re too busy, too stressed, too tired, too sedentary, too lonely, and a bunch of other “too’s” which leads to the consumption of poorer food choices, general lack of exercise, and altered physiological responses to those things.


While some might be quick to suggest that people are lazy and that losing weight is simply a matter of choosing to behave differently, I get where you’re coming from.  I’ve been there and I used to feel the same.  I said things like “nothing tastes as good as it feels to have abs” or “you don’t want it bad enough”, but that was a bunch of shit.  The reality is that most people ARE willing to put in some effort.  In fact, many people HAVE…several times.  But they got tired of swimming.  They got swept backwards.  They got frustrated and maybe they’re afraid to try again.  And who can blame them?  It is damn hard…and it isn’t getting any easier.


The past couple of years my blog has been rather sparse with writing and a large part of that was because I didn’t feel like I knew how to pull everything together.  I tried several times to start again, but I always found that my the vision I started writing with was too limited and that I wasn’t actually going to make a real difference in the sense that I’d just be teaching people to swim and invariably be setting them up for potential failure in the long term when they got tired of battling the current of society.


Now I think I have a vision that pulls it all together and will enable me to tackle various angles while truly creating a change and helping people from novice to advanced win the war on fat, disease, and inactivity.  I’ll first aim to help those who are drowning in the current.  I hope to throw them a life line and teach them how to swim upstream by cutting through the BS, answering questions, and giving them practical tips so they can learn to lose fat, get strong, and get healthy.


The next step involves helping other trainers to follow the same path and help people to swim as well as becoming aware of the bigger picture of the battle against obesity and fat gain (see below).  In truth, I never started writing this blog with any expectation that I’d ever have trainers coming to me for advice, but I really appreciate that some have and I’m going to do my absolute best to help them.


And finally, even though it is beyond training and nutrition (and far beyond the scope of where I ever thought I’d be considering “my place in the industry”) I am beginning to take focus on the many forces creating the raging current leading to weight gain and a sedentary lifestyle.  This means looking into food politics, food production, health policy, and a whole bunch of stuff that sounds boring as hell, but NEEDS to be done by people who are passionate enough to create real change.  It needs to be done by people who have been on the front lines fighting the battles…teaching people to swim…and are getting pissed of at losing so many to the raging waters.




So the reason we’re fat may have to do with what we eat, or hormones, or drugs, or all of them.  But at the end of the day, ALL of those things can contribute to sweeping us all in the wrong direction.  We can teach people to swim…but most can’t swim forever.


We need to fight back against the upstream forces!


Part of my mission will be to continue to make this blog a place to learn to swim, a place to ask questions, and a place for discussion.  But a large part will also be to create a meaningful change to the obesogenic current of society even if it means becoming unpopular with some.  I believe that this message will resonate with many and that a growing army of passionate fat fighting soldiers (from regular peeps to fitness pros) will begin to emerge and fight this battle with me.


So that’s where I’m at.  I’m tired of swimming.  And people always talk about a chance to REALLY make a difference.  For me, this is it.  Follow me on Facebook and Twitter to join the battle.


Let’s change the world!


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  1. Awesome post Mark. Love the analogy, definitively stealing that one from you. Looking much forward to hearing more about your vision in the future, let me know if I can help you out somehow.

    All best,


    Comment by Bojan — July 10, 2012 @ 5:19 AM

  2. Great post! I look forward to following your blog and sharing with patients and colleagues. Thanks!


    Comment by Eric Lazar — July 10, 2012 @ 8:55 AM

  3. Good stuff my man. Ironically, I’ve taken a bit of the opposite view. I totally agree that we live in an obeseogenic environment and I LOVE your river analogy.

    My thought is to provide the correct stimulus to provoke better adaptations to the current environment first (ala Metabolic Flexibility).

    I agree and do have clients control their environment as much as they can (keep the cookies out of sight or don’t have them in the house, etc), but also to also work on their physiology to use fat more as a fuel, respond better to food (goal being to get them to move more in response to overfeeding), respond better to carbs, etc.

    I think both are very important and worth perusing.

    Glad to see you writing again and look forward to more from you!

    Rock on
    Mike T Nelson PhD(c0

    Comment by Mike T Nelson — July 10, 2012 @ 9:07 AM

  4. Nice post Mark. I particularly like paragraph #4. It’s one of the biggest things that annoys me about all the “motivational” quotes floating around Facebook. Folks who haven’t fought in the trenches with someone (ie a client) do not get the mental struggles people face that are trying to lose fat. That’s why I always say fitness is simple, it just isn’t easy.

    Many of my clients have not only needed to learn how to swim, but also needed to realize that they have to actually swim against the current and not with it! It’s a great struggle for most folks that is far more than just “choosing” to live a healthy lifestyle, etc.

    On another note, I can say that you have helped me out quite a bit and I thank you for that. Although we’ve never met in person, you’ve always made yourself accessible to me and provided me with honest answers. I, for one, appreciate that. I’m glad to see that your fire is back my friend.

    Comment by Tim — July 10, 2012 @ 10:21 AM

  5. Mark,

    Glad to have you back. We spoke a little bit at the PTDC Seminar about this topic but I am most excited about when you start to deal with the “current”. I think if you start to scratch beneath the surface you could potentially see some very scary realities about the government.

    Looking forwarding to having you expose the real problem for what it is.

    Comment by Brian — July 10, 2012 @ 12:23 PM

  6. Mark,

    Please know that I mean this in the most respectful way: I don’t care what you say or think about what you have to offer in the way of advice or input. Just provide it. Your writing is a breath of fresh air, and it is very much needed.

    I am neither a fat-loss client nor a trainer, but I have perused your site for over a year now, learning everything I can to become a better me. Trust me, you have a lot to offer.


    Comment by R. Smith — July 10, 2012 @ 2:40 PM

  7. Wow Mark, I haven’t heard that kind of passion for quite some time. I don’t know exactly what rattled your cage…but I can’t wait to hear more. A lot of great stuff here. You hit the nail on the head with your analogies. Your passion has given me hope once more.

    Comment by Sue — July 10, 2012 @ 4:46 PM

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