Fitness Confidential – Vinnie Tortorich – Book Notes

Fitness Confidential - Vinnie Tortorich I have to admit I was not a huge fan of Vinnie after listening to him on Rich Roll’s podcast.  But, the guy grew on me.  I listened to his podcast for awhile until I felt it lacked actionable information besides don’t eat sugar and grains. I’ve had his book Fitness Confidential for awhile now and finally decided to read it.


Well through following a plant based diet I noticed fatigue, bloating, muscle loss, etc.. and decided to look into a white colored and hairy tongue (gross I know).  Long story short it lead me work on healing my gut from leaky gut, Candida yeast, and parasites.

After reading a few books I have subscribed to the GAPS diet. Low and behold that author also recommended a no refined sugar or carb diet.  You can have a little natural sugar from fruits like berries, and natural carbs from vegetables, etc.  I will write another post all about this when I see results or not. So after reading everything about how the gut works.. I am now convinced that plants are cleansers for the body and animal meat provide energy and building blocks.  To be optimal one need both.

Figured I would actually read Vinnie’s book Fitness Confidential as he may have been on to something with the diet, and I am also studying for my personal training certificate (Vinnie is a personal trainer in LA).

Book Notes:

Vinnie usually trains people from 4am to 10pm.  He feels like a psychologist as people are in their homes in private and tell him many personal things. He strives to show up on time, be reliable, and pay attention with what mood and personality they are in so he knows how to motivate them. He loves his job and exercises with his clients.

Whether its hiking up a mountain, biking 60 miles, running through town, etc. All without a 9-5 schedule. Strive to give clients a little something extra. If he bikes with them for six hours he only charges them for one.  This comes back to a basic law of success that states.. provide more value than you get paid for. Provide a service that is unmatched by anyone.

A pro trainer has to be a combo of running, weight lifting coach, nutritionist, streching instructor, amateur orthopedist, motivational speaker and life counselor. Success isn’t measured by money or material.  It is through the success of clients. Many popular diet programs like Weight Watchers, or Jenny Craig are actually in the food service industry.  They want to keep membership low to get you in the door and buy their food system for the rest of your life.

Doughtnuts = Instant fat pills.

Counting calories or relying on will power will not be a long term solution.  Eventually will power will win and no one has the will power to starve. Weight loss = Don’t eat sugar and grains How long will it take me to lose weight?  Why are you going to stop when you get there? With this diet you can lose weight easily and maintain it fairly easy. You will lose weight if you cut calories and they are coming from proteins and fats.  If they are coming from carbs you will lose less.  The body responds differently to different foods. Sugar and grains create an insulin response in the blood and stores glucose in cells as fat. Natural sugar from fruit is better because it gives you the short term burst but it slowed down by fiber. The refined sugar and grains give you the spike, but then you crash and you want to eat MORE!  It creates a cycle that just keeps you eating and storing fat.

Fat is our bodies long term energy source. Fat is used for energy, fruits and vegetables are used for short term energy, and protein is to rebuild our cells. When you stop the insulin cycle you stop becoming a bottomless pit.  You will feel full much quicker. How many fat carnivores are there in the wild? NONE Don’f follow fads, just follow results!  Be quick to study, but slow to change. If clients don’t look good the trainer goes broke. You body may feel a little lethargic after starting this way of eating since its transitioning from the sugar roller coaster its been on to the way it was meant to function.

After a day or so you should have more energy than ever.  Your body will start to release fat stores and use them for fuel. Leaving you feeling great and losing weight at the same time. This doesn’t mean you can never have a treat again, just don’t do it everyday.

Exercise goes hand in hand with healthy eating. If we don’t get exercise naturally throughout our day we need to get it another way.Exercise is what changed Vinnie’s life. He training with a guy named Joe.  What was interesting is that Joe told him that he is to train there 5 days a week.  If he missed a day don’t ever come back. Exercising can start with simply walking and not being a couch potato.

The body will adapt to whatever it does.

GYMS – They are not in the business of making people healthy.  They are basically a collection company.  They want your credit card so that they can keep billing you when you don’t come anymore. Shop around and look for discounts and coupons they may be running. Pay for an entire year up front for a discount. Join during October when membership is over.  I would guess its really not beach weather anymore so people stop coming in for awhile.  Once new year hits they are back trying to get in shape for the following beach season. How do you get the most out of a gym membership?  SHOW UP and workout.  Most people quit after a few weeks. For workouts do 40 minutes of cardio and then do 20 minutes of resistance training 3-5 times a week. Sweat does not equal fat loss.

Only by working on your diet will you get fat loss.

So you don’t have to exercise to loss weight.  Which is most peoples goal. So why do it?

Because to obtain optimal health and fitness we need to move our bodies and exercise.

There are all kinds of health benefits by doing so.  Most people don’t care and we need to appeal to their vanity to get healthy and toned/muscled up. Exercise gives you better looks and health.  Two for one! Putting on lean muscle mass will help you look better.  You don’t want to look like a drug addict.  But lean muscle mass isn’t cheap and you can’t buy it with money.  You have to put in the work.  The more days/work you put in the more you will get back.

For lower body focus on leg press, squats, and lunges.  Goal is to do three sets of ten.  When you can do three sets with the same weight and 12 reps.. up the weight so you can only do 10 again. Upper body – Bench, shoulder press, and lat pull downs. Put some variety in there though.  Once day all cardio, one day two leg exercises.. etc.

Gyms take 50-70% of the money a personal trainer makes.  So why would one be training there?  Because they are not good enough to get clients on their own. Use a cheap daily multi-vitamin and get a all in one electrolight capsule from a running or cycling store.

As if you sweat a lot you will need them. Stay away from supplements and just get your nutrients through food.

Best piece of fitness equipment is the jump rope.

Its easy to say you’re going to do something but hard to actually do it when it’s not a matter of life or death, so we look for excuses not to. Excuses are given daily, but if its a physical problem its game over.  Health is the number one priority.

Help people lead by example by looking and feeling great. Fitness is more of a mental game than a physical one.

There is no reason a workout shouldn’t be fun.  In fact a good trainer should make sure it is.  When the brain is having a good time the body won’t focus on the pain of the workout as much.

We do things that are worthwhile, not because they are easy, but because they are hard. Riding is Vinnies passion.  And he has always looked for someone to share that passion with him than try to change it. The other person needs to understand this passion. Taking money out of a sport like Ultra keeps it pure.  Its just about you and the sport.

Just like the economy is losing the middle class we are losing the middle class of fitness.  There is more ultra athletes or obese people and less in the middle.  Vinnie says to do so we need to stay away from sugar and grains, exercise and cut the crap (do things that are hard).

Seth Godin – Nugget of Wisdom

Email from Seth Godin:

“But I might get rejected”

Indeed, you might.

You might get your hopes up only to find them dashed.  You might decide on where you want to go, and then not get there.  You might fall in love with a vision of the future and then discover it doesn’t happen.

How much would that hurt? How much would it hurt to have those hopes, those decisions and that love turn out to be all for nothing?

Of course, it’s not for nothing. In fact, those hopes, those decisions and that love is the foundation for a path worth pursuing. It’s what makes us better.

Sure, the odds are against you, but I think that’s a lousy reason to avoid exploring something. “Will I get in?” is not nearly as good a question as, “Is it worth trying?”  Don’t apply (to this or to anything else) just because you can, but yes, apply to something that matters to you, something worth dreaming about.

You might get rejected. So what?


A Life Worth Remembering

One thing you can do to follow your heart and pursue your passion is to live as lean as you can in your younger years. The more baggage you have.. the house.. the car/s, family.. it all makes it harder to explore options and really find what makes your heart beat hardest.

Live lean, explore until you feel it in your heart. Pursue that path and then along the way you can happily add the baggage and not resent it.

Thanks to Rich Roll for showing me this video:

Open your eyes and heart to the world.

I never set out to become anything in particular, only to live creatively, and push the scope of my experience. For adventure. And through passion.

Heavy waves, waves with weight. They coax from comfortable routine. Ignite the imagination. Convey some divine spark.  Whisper possibilities.

If I only scrape a livin’, at least it’s a livin’ worth scrapin’. If there’s no future in it, at least its a present worth rememberin’. For fires of happiness. And waves of gratitude. For everything that brought us to that point on Earth at that moment in time. To do something worth rememberin’.

The dude behind the video

Cyborg – Following Your Passion and Love

Great post by Zac. What an amazing story about a humble guy who:

  • Followed his belief for his passion, not money.
  • Surrounds himself with people he loved.
  • Persisted when there was no light at the end of the tunnel.
  • Gets out of his comfort zone.
  • Crazy work ethic.  Sweat is not enough.  You have to bleed for what you want.
  • Give it and share your best. Present a good thing to people and it will come back to you. Opportunities will come.
  • You have to give what you love a shot, or you will never know if it will work out. So if you really believe in and love what you do take that chance. Throw yourself at the world and see what happens and you’ll grow up as a person.

Which leads to getting the fruits of the seeds he planted with things money cannot buy such as real friends, family, giving back, doing what you love (Cyborg’s definition of success).

Daily Workout

Felt a little sluggish today and didn’t drink any caffeine.  Took it easy

15 min of moderate rowing

Leg Press – 175lbs, 10 reps x 3

Ab pull downs 5 sets

Side bends 15 reps x 2

Dips – 2 Sets and had a pain in left tricep so I stopped

Foam rolled back.  Tight in upper right.


Kettle Ride

Sunday, 10 mile John Muir loop ride with Steveo.  Took a few breaks and rode at a moderate pace.

Time – 1:00:57.

Notes:  Feel like I figured out standing and sitting through hills.  30 PSI in tires is working good.  Maybe try dropping pressure down a bit more.

Golf and Slacklining

My brother treated me to a round at Kettle Moraine golf course in Wisconsin.  Groupon – $40 each for 18 holes, cart, driving range, and $10 for food/drink. Davin Paul Eberhardt Davin Paul Eberhardt Finally setup the slackline.  It’s an e-line from Yogaslackers. Directions are a bit confusing and I found the Youtube video much easier to follow along.   Davin Paul Eberhardt Yogaslacker slackline

^ Don’t pay attention to the ghetto bubble wrap setup haha.  I didn’t have a old yoga mat or anything else to use and didn’t want to damage the tree or line. Will have a more pro looking setup in the near future.


I am coming across a principle that keeps rearing its ugly head.  I was reminded today when looking at a Facebook post of an article done by Outside magazine.


Meet the Most Punishing Man in Fitness

On a sprawling farm in Vermont, Spartan Race founder Joe De Sena runs a business and a fitness crusade. He’ll train anyone who shows up, with one major caveat: You must submit to his every cruel and unusual whim.

“It’s easy to quit. It’s hard to keep going with anything.” This is the single most important characteristic I have found with successful people.  They work their butt off and keep showing up constantly working themselves to exhaustion. Pushing themselves until they pass out or almost die is an everyday affair. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Travis Pastrana – Professional extreme athlete
  • Joe De Sena – Athlete and business owner
  • Greg Plitt – Fitness model
  • Gary Vaynerchuck – Business and marketing
  • Ricky Carmicheal – Motocross racer
  • Rich Roll – Ultramarathoner
  • Robert Cheeke – Vegan bodybuilder
  • Thomas Edison – Failed 1093 times before the light bulb lit

And the list could go on and on. This also applies to other theaters of life.  Thinking of relationships.  The ones that struggle usually quit and get divorced when things get hard. Jumping to new relationship to new relationship because they can’t stick through tough times.

How does one cultivate perseverance of this extreme?  How do you know you’re putting the effort into the right things?  How do you handle sacrifice in other areas in your life that will inevitably suffer due to being out of balance?