Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent Fasting

by Jason Kilgore

What is Intermittent Fasting (IF)?

occurring at irregular intervals; not continuous or steady.

fast 2
intr.v. fast·edfast·ingfasts
To abstain from food.
2. To eat very little or abstain from certain foods, especially as a religious discipline.

Let’s define it like this:

Irregular intervals of time without food.

An example of this practice may be, twice a week, going 14-16 hours between your last meal of the day and the first meal of the next day. Drop the notion that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” Granny may have been wise, but I think she may have been out of her league on this one. Maybe you fasted three days a week instead of twice. Or you fasted, but still consumed broths and/or a quality oil. Your neighbor told you about a juice fast that you decided to try. There are tons of combinations, but the concept is the same… irregular intervals of time without food.

Some of the reported benefits of IF are weight loss, reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes, diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, cancer, increased longevity, improved insulin sensitivity along with a host of other benefits. It’s a no brainer, huh? Who wants to worry about stuff like that???

The science behind IF is a little shaky as there hasn’t been much in the form of human research. I find that strange because so many people have benefited in more ways than one from adopting this mindset. Not to mention, I haven’t seen anything in the negative when it comes to the animal trials that have been conducted.

“BRO!” You won’t even lose any muscle mass doing this!

Dr. Bojan Kostevski has a pretty solid review concerning the effects of IF on human and animal health.

I know how much weight scientific studies/reviews have when it comes to people making decisions about their nutrition, whether or not they should consume antibiotics/immunizations that wreak havoc on their health, how fast they should be sprinting on rep number six of conditioning day, whether or not the latest multi-level marketing scam is really good for us or not, etc. I get it….completely. Complicate the hell out of something so simple that it was almost thoughtless up until less than a century ago; in a laboratory with rats as subjects, nonetheless. All the while looking right past all of the anthropological evidence we have in front of us showing that sometimes life wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows (Rocky plug), but life continued…and thrived. There were occasions in time when people went without food. Some days it was calorie restriction, some days food was bountiful, some days there was no food at all.

Man thrived this way, for thousands of years.

Borrowed from:

Borrowed from:

We don’t need a lab coat who needs more sun in his/her life to tell us how we should be living our lives; especially a lab coat whose own health is, more than likely, in question. “Science,” whether good or bad, seems to dictate way too much of our actions these days. Ancel Keys completely changed the world’s conception of nutrition and ended up on the front cover of Time Magazine for demonizing fat.

                                                              Borrowed from:

                                                              Borrowed from:

We’ve spent the last 54 years since then getting fatter and sicker and dying of the same heart disease that he was trying to prevent and it’s happening at an alarming rate. When the lab rats start scurrying, brace yourself. Don’t turn away, but be skeptical. Look over the info…..just don’t forget to look back in time a little. You’d be surprised at how many answers you can find.

Homo sapiens didn’t become the most intelligent and complex movers on the planet crunching numbers in a laboratory. We did it through experience, trial and error, falling down and getting back up. The world was our laboratory and I believe many of our questions were answered many of moons ago.

Borrowed from:

Borrowed from:

Is it right for you?

Some say to have your nutrition dialed in first because intermittent Fasting (IF) is a stressor. Adding stress to an already stressed system is the last thing we need when trying to regulate and maintain your health. Sounds good and I totally get it. Apparently, there is a fundamental difference between the controlled IF stress and uncontrolled physiological/psychological stress, however. This is noted in Dr. Kostevski’s review in the above cited link. Either way, it’s probably not going to put you in the hospital.

If you have a medical condition or concern, feel free to contact me and we can troubleshoot.

Here’s the deal….

Twice within the next seven days, take note of what time you eat dinner (I don’t care what time it is). Your next meal will come 14 hours later. If you have a job or something going on that may interfere, plan this accordingly. Take your “brunch” with you if you’re on the run or know you’ll be sitting at your desk or whatever. This may push your lunch back a little later. Breathe….don’t freak out. You came prepared for this. Didn’t you? Eat a light lunch if you have to. Keepin’ it green is always a good idea when looking for something light. Get three meals in on these days; just squeeze them into a smaller window of time.

Twice within the next set of seven days, do the same thing, but only eat two meals per day. The night before each day of fasting, eat a good sized meal (something of quality please) and then do the same the night of fasting.

A week or two later, grab a handful of good juice recipes and go on a three day juicing binge…no solid food.

I know how crazy all of that sounds. That completely flies in the face of what almost every globo gym trainer preaches while he’s eating pizza and pounding beers on the weekends. It also doesn’t fall in line with the meal plans the nutritionists are peddling after conning people into the metabolic assessments that they don’t need. While the unfocused stay busy preaching the misinterpreted benefits of 5-7 meals a day and “starvation modes” that don’t exist, they are completely dismissing all of the digestive stress being created with this mindset. More importantly they are missing out on all of the benefits of intermittent fasting that far outweigh the idea of grazing like a cow (see Dr. Kostevski’s study…again).

All of that being said... we need to cater to our fuel needs if we are training hard and vice versa. Not too sure I’d be murdering metabolic conditioning sessions in the middle of a juice fast. Give it some thought.

This can be a pretty deep rabbit hole and I plan to jump in a little deeper with it in the future. Stay tuned. In the meantime, feel free to skip “breakfast” every now and then.

Fuel the tank with supreme and move well my friends!

Jason Kilgore

Trident Strength & Conditioning
IG: @tridentstrength

Psychology of Nutrition

by Andy Travis

The fitness industry is quite an interesting bear. Commercials for the latest product promise “immediate results” that seldom prove to be true. This raises a couple of questions: Why do the promises never become reality? Why are so many Americans still unhealthy? The answers are quite simple yet quite complex.

Simply put, it is Psychology. Our thoughts and emotions control how we eat, when we eat, and why we eat. Sadly, most of us know this, yet refuse to accept it as truth. The reasoning leads to another conversation, which we will have to address on another blog post.

Before we dive into the complex world of emotional eating, I would like to make it clear that I am not a expert in psychology. As a matter of fact, I have only taken one psychology class in my life and I barely passed! All of my insight comes from experience; some personal and some from my 8 years in the fitness industry working with athletes, obese individuals, as well as those with extreme psychological barriers.

How do our emotions control our eating habits?

The basis of emotional eating comes from comfort. We are sad, so we associate happiness with a sweet treat. We are afraid we will become fat, so we associate food with obesity. We believe that our significant other loves us exactly how we are, therefore; we refuse to gain or lose weight for fear of losing their love. The situations are endless and very subjective, but they all stem from our emotions.

How can we control our emotional eating?

It’s hard to provide a generic answer to this due to the complexity and individual nature of each human. A great place to start would be a detailed food log. Three categories need to be tracked during each eating period. Food we consumed, quantity of food consumed, and our emotional state during consumption. This will help us identify foods associated with certain emotional states.

Once we have identified our associations, we can move in one of two directions; either, dissection of the problem and eliminating the root cause of the emotional state or teaching ourselves to re-associate our emotional state with more nutritious foods.

The thing about psychology is that with each discovery we find new paths we could take. The above steps may solve the problem for some while for others it might be the beginning of a journey to self-discovery. Either way, discovery is the first step one must take.

I would like to end by reminding the reader I am not a psychologist, psychiatrist, major in either discipline or any sort of profession in the field. As a matter of fact, if it weren't for spell check, I probably couldn't spell the words properly! If you need help, please contact a professional. The above tips are simply meant to shed light on a prevalent problem that seems to take second place to revenue and quarterly sales reports. Hopefully, one reader will find the information beneficial and can move toward living!

Why you should reconsider the bench press

by Jason Kilgore

Back in November, I took a trip to New Jersey to meet with some pretty high level Sports Performance coaches. The seminar was an intense two day course that resulted in a test and certification. A little while after returning, I’m sitting in Roots Fitness with Andre Miller discussing some of the things that were covered in the seminar.

As I am cruising through the information with Andre, I quickly pass over the bench press information because, as we all know, there is very little, if any, practicality to bench pressing unless you are a power lifter. We try not to waste too much time and energy on impractical movement.

JK_Blog 1.png

“But I want to look good Jason!”

We’ve all seen and maybe even aspired to look like the gymnasts with the physiques that look like twisted rope. I can assure you, Chris Brooks (pictured left) achieved his Greek God-like body without spending countless hours on a bench press…and I know nothing of his training program.

The only clients I teach the bench press to are my high school football players and the only reason I do is because they are forced to perform it at school. I want to know they are performing this movement correctly and safely when I am not around. The bench press has, arguably, wreaked more havoc on shoulder health than any other movement performed in a gym setting and I would argue that most of that is due to the lack of understanding of the set up.

Andre had me back up real quick during my rundown as he was interested in the cues that were given to set up and perform a bench press….this lead to some pretty sweet conversation.

I run through a checklist of cues when having clients set up for the bench press. I won’t list them all here, but something in particular struck a chord with Andre and me that day. One of the cues to protect the shoulder girdle during a bench press is to retract and depress the scapula while arching the lower back by bringing the chest and ribcage up as we drive the traps into the bench. This puts the shoulder girdle in a much more protected environment to press loads off of the chest.

When I look for information regarding (insert any topic), I always look to who does it and/or teaches it best. Why wouldn’t I? If I want to know more about bench pressing, I look to the best in power lifting; people like Louis Simmons of West Side Barbell, Dave Tate of elitefts, Jim Wendler, or Mark Rippetoe, to name a few.

Louie Simmons

Dave Tate

Jim Wendler

Mark Rippetoe

Dan Green

When it comes to lifting heavy, these guys are some of the best strength coaches/lifters in the world. Listen to each of them talk about the bench press set up and you will hear the exact same concepts from each of them. We can take their word because they are the best at what they do. We can also dig into the information behind this idea and understand that with the scapula retracted and depressed while under a load on a bench press, your shoulders are protected and safe. It’s almost like having a safety harness for your shoulders.

I will not try to refute this. I 100% believe and agree with this method of bench pressing. I am sure any Ortho surgeon worth his/her weight would agree as well. What I will try to refute is the practicality behind football players (or anyone outside of power lifting) bench pressing.

Anyone who has watched American football has witnessed athletes on the field pushing an opposing player’s body away in an attempt to create space to either block an opponent or to get around an opponent. Creating space, in this instance, requires one person to press another away from him. That will not happen effectively with scapulas retracted and depressed.

Stand in front of a partner. Put both of your hands out in front of you and have your partner put his/her hands palm to palm with yours. Both of you set your feet in a manner that would prevent someone from pushing you over. One foot forward and one back leaning into your partner would be ideal. Try pressing them away from you with your scapula retracted and depressed. Go ahead and arch that back for me while you’re at it because that’s good bench press technique. The lack of efficiency should be obvious. If not, try to press that same person away with your scapulas protracted. Don’t arch your back this time…it is pointless and all you will be doing is leaking force. Pay attention to how much more force you were able to create with protracted scapulas. Play with this. Instead of doing the pushing, try to stop someone from pushing you away with your scapulas retracted vs. protracted. The results should be glaringly obvious.

If I was looking for a population of people to call the best “pressers” in the world, I would argue that gymnasts hold that title. The planche (pictured below) is a perfect example of what good pressing looks like and to perform it properly, one must be completely connected on the anterior side of their body. We lose connection to the anterior side when we start contracting posterior muscles such as the ones involved in scapular retraction and arching in the lumbar region of the back.

Scapular retraction, hyperextension in the hips/lumbar, thoracic extension…basically anything that involves contraction of the posterior chain is usually indicative of pulling, not pressing. The anterior chain presses and the posterior chain pulls.

During a football game, you won’t find anyone on the field in scapular retraction and arching their lower backs while blocking, hitting, etc because it doesn’t make sense. If we are supposed to train like we fight and fight like we train, what purpose does the bench press serve on the football field?

This article was meant to induce some thought and discussion on a topic we’ve seen little of. I’d love to hear your thoughts concerning this. Feel free to email me at or hit my Facebook page at


J. Kilgore

Deeper Connection

From time to time, people ask where I first heard or learned about Systema. It’s an unusual story so I tried to avoid it. Now, as an instructor, I am grateful it even happened.

In the early 2009, I was assigned to a security detail in Japan, my employer at the time was an Israeli man that had lived and worked in Japan for over a decade. After work one day, he asked if I would like to train in the dojo that was in our building of occupancy. I agreed, and he went on to show me some grabs and escapes, ground movement and soft work. My brain was trying to understand what was happening, all while my body was experiencing something foreign and fascinating. I was hooked. So there I was: an American, in Japan, learning a Russian Martial Art, from an Israeli man. I can’t make that up. Thank you, Avry. Once I returned to my home state of Texas, I immediately searched the Internet for the closest Systema school; there was one an hour drive away, in Austin. So I showed up one day, a little eager, and a little nervous, not really knowing what to expect. Little did I know, I was about to embark on something so profound and life changing. That was over 5 years ago, I met Gene Smithson and started my training, and to this day, I get the same feeling every time I walk into his school. 

So, what is Systema? 

This is quite possibly, the hardest question to answer as a student and an instructor. Could it be that Systema is by far the most diverse, complete, and unique martial art in the world? I don’t know. As I continue my training the question gets harder and harder to answer. Shouldn’t it get easier to understand though? 

No, it shouldn’t. That’s because each time you train Systema you begin to see “more”, taking you even further down the rabbit hole. When I say, “you see more”, I mean you see more of everything, more possibilities, more options, more entrances, more exits. However, if not careful, this positive skill and knowledge can also initiate growth of ego. This is where the balance of Systema comes in. You also start to see more of your limitations, weaknesses, and bad habits. This is can both frustrate and/or motivate depending on the individual in training. So a balance needs to come into play, to humbly accept what you are not good at, and at the same time not letting your ego get bigger when you become better at something that others are struggling with. Easier said than done, right? Well, that’s all part of your growth as a student of Systema. 

In a weird way, one of the best ways to progress at Systema, is to stop trying to progress at Systema! To clean yourself of everything, and I mean everything. Walking into class with no expectations, no thoughts, no preconceived ideas, and no agenda. 

This is can be a challenge for many, especially in today’s world. We live in a time where we are the most connected we have ever been (social media, Internet, instant messaging, email, smart phones) but at the same time, we are the most DISCONNECTED we have ever been. We as humans have lost connection with the outdoors, with our families, with our peers, but worst of all… we have lost connection with ourselves. 

For example, last year Dr. Emma Seppala, a Stanford Psychologist, gave a speech to employees at Facebook HQ where she stated, “The urge to check social media and Facebook has now surpassed the desire for sex and addictive substance like cigarettes”. Powerful statement if you think about. Research shows that our desire for social connection is one of our strongest needs in life. This social connection is also considered a strong predictor of physical health, psychological health, recovery from disease, and even life longevity. Sound familiar? Most of my students that I have taught or personally trained in Systema have approached me at one time and said, “I started training because I wanted to learn how to fight, now I train because of a much deeper connection”. 

This connection is not only with their training partners, but also with their spouses, their children, co-workers and most importantly, themselves. This is something we will never achieve through social media or the Internet, and it cannot be replicated. 

When I wake in the morning, I struggle with the desire to reach over and check my phone. This has become a problem for me in the past year. I would wake up, and without hesitation, reach for my smartphone to check my notifications. Now, I have slowly progressed to leaving the phone in a different room while sleeping (whatever it is can wait for the next day). Here is where I started to implement my Systema, from Let Every Breath, pg. 55 “Starting your day”. Vladimir articulates that the body over time can suffer when it’s trying to adapt to “cold starts”. He says that the way the body handles the transition from rest to activity is paramount, so it’s best if we do not rush ourselves and try to begin the first moments of our day rapidly. A better way to begin your day is by slowly waking, remain in the laying position and begin with a breath based warm-up routine. This routine has helped my body and me tremendously. It has also helped me to reconnect to myself. If you have not read Let Every Breath, do yourself a favor and get it. 

In these modern times, we are completely surrounded by outside influences, and they are starting to affect our mind, body and soul. The good news is, we all have something much more powerful and special within us, and there is a “System” that can guide and help you find it. It’s up to you determine when that starts. 

All the best to you and your training! 

Navigating the space-time continuum

First off, this is not a blog post about mathematical concepts or metaphysics, so you can put away your abacus. However, being able to balance work/life obligations can feel as complex as computing the Euclidean space perspective; it’s daunting and, at times, feels like a never-ending game of catch-up. Michael’s post last week got me thinking about time and then my wife pointed out that I’ve experienced my own new understanding of time, so figured this would be a good follow-up to last week. We all want to be there for our family and home needs, but also have personal pursuits we would like to explore (nutrition, fitness, reading, writing, the arts, etc.). As a father of a one-year old, I understand the many demands of time, throw in your job (or two) and you end up with just enough time to eat and sleep. I work a full-time job, manage the gym and the marketing/social media for Roots, and then must finish everything else so I can spend as much time as possible with my wife and son. Oh, and my cloning program hasn’t been as successful as I hoped.

This leaves us with 24 hours to use each day, but numerous tasks to be done during that time. This is the crux many people find themselves facing and often cannot find the “right” answer.  I would contend that there is no “right” answer and spending ones time trying to find this answer only pushes you further down the not-enough time rabbit hole. I know this is pretty obvious, but I would like to present another perspective, one that I took on as I started to evaluate what is truly important in my life. Now, each person has their own circumstances to take into account in order to complete this type of evaluation which may not make it as easy as it sounds coming from me in this blog post; by no means am I saying this is a blanket solution, just another perspective to view this conundrum.

As we take on more and more real-world responsibilities, we are often faced with making sacrifices for one reason or another. It is this decision making process that I think we can see differently and instead of seeing sacrifice as a negative, we see it as an opportunity to gain independence from the white noise that can clutter our lives and calendars. Think about the things you do on a fairly regular basis; now from that list, what are tasks you absolutely cannot get rid of (work, doctors’ appointments, taking care of the kids, taking care of our parents, etc.). This leaves us with a list of other time consumers that may be necessary and others that may be frivolous. This is the list that we can use to carve out time to pursue those things that are personally fulfilling. Unfortunately, our society can, at times, make us seem selfish because we want to seek a way to enjoy our own personal growth, but without our own growth, we cannot contribute as much to our family and friends.

For me, I realized I wasted too much time browsing aimlessly online or watching TV just because it was on. So we did away with cable (gasp, I know) and now only stream TV shows, which forces us to be much more selective about what we watch and when (we’re lucky to get one 1-hour show a night). Now the internet, that’s an easy one to let get away from you; so I cut out some social media and then use RSS feeds to send me topics I’m most interested in so I don’t waste time just browsing. But this only tackled some time before or after work, I needed time during the day. So for me, the biggest chunk of time that I found was lunch. I realized I would eat lunch  at my desk every day and would often skip a formal lunch hour. I figured, if I am going to eat at my desk anyway, I may as well take my lunch break to get in my gym time. That was nearly 4 years ago and I wouldn’t change a thing. 

There are several other changes I made in order to allow for time to hit the gym, but at the end of the day I knew that this time at the gym was more important that the many other superficial needs or wants I had vying for my time. I know this isn’t as easy for everyone, but sometimes, just going through this exercise will help you realize how you spend your time and if the value returned is worth the investment. Further enriching our personal lives has so many positive benefits that can have a rippling effect on our general well-being. 

Until then, I’m the guy you’ll see in the gym most mornings and eating lunch while on conference calls at my desk.

Chocolate-Covered Guilt

by Michael Gonzales

This past week made me think about two things mostly: Contentment and Time. How are these two related to health and wellness? Well, first, you have to be happy with yourself and know you are a good person that is doing good things for your health, if you truly want to keep positive and on track (Contentment). Secondly, you need to understand what time truly is! This is a major factor for health and wellness, especially in today’s society. How many times in our life have we caught ourselves saying, “I don’t have time” for this, or that? Just think: time was here before we were born and it will be here once we are long gone, so why sweat it?

When it comes to our health and wellness, sometimes it seems we don’t have time for it. We tend to say or think we are too busy to go to the gym or workout on our own. So this year I am going to change my  “Philosophy of Health” to understanding time and contentment. I am happy with myself, but I know I need improvement in some areas. I am now 34 years old and just realizing I am happy with my weight, my body shape, my height, and, most importantly, myself. For once in my life, I am not striving to be someone else or like someone else. Each day we are inundated with movies, pictures and Internet videos of these models and people with amazing physiques. These images get into our heads and lead the masses to believe this is who we should be—NO! You should be yourself, and you should be happy with yourself. If you cannot be happy with yourself, how can you possibly live a happy life in the first place?

Now, back to time. Since I stopped looking at the time, my phone, or my watch, and stopped trying to “squeeze in a workout,” I am seeing more physical achievements, more gains, and more success. This was not easy for me to do. I’m a Marine Corps veteran and we were always taught to be 15 minutes early for every meeting and make sure we are always on time, causing me to constantly check my watch. What I didn’t realize was that by me always checking the time, I was making myself neurotic and anxious (not good for your health). So by trying to do something productive and ahead of the game, I was actually ailing myself without realizing it.

If you think you don’t have time to work out or commit to a physical activity, then you should reevaluate your priorities. That being said, I want to go into this New Year without hesitation (less talk, more doing). Too many times I find myself talking about what I am “going to do” or “what my plan is,” but nothing ever materializes, ever. When I was in the Marines, I remember an older Marine telling me “hesitation kills,” after watching me balk on something during a live fire training exercise. Well, the same goes for physical fitness. You either train, or you don’t; nothing about it is rocket science. But battling excuses and fighting with hesitation always seems to sneak its way in somehow, only to be followed with some chocolate-covered guilt later on.

For the past three months, I have been Cold Water Dousing quite regularly. This procedure seems psychotic to some and intriguing to others, depending on what your concept of the two are. So twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening, I walk out to my backyard and slowly pour five gallons of icy water over my semi-naked body. Then I grab a second bucket and do it again. Nothing I have ever done in my life comes close to the feeling I get afterwards. It’s like five hours of silent mediation was compressed into one minute of time. This practice helps me physically, psychologically, and spiritually. Physically, because I am feeling the blood flow and increase its vascular flexibility. Psychologically, because I have to defeat my own thoughts of backing out, quitting, and just trying to put the whole thing off until another day. Spiritually, I feel a little different each time. Sometimes, it’s just me standing there in silence and trying to listen to my thoughts and feelings. Other times, I feel as if the water has just washed away everything and anything negative that I had been carrying around with me, giving me a fresh start. Dousing has absolutely nothing to do with health and wellness, and at the same time it has everything to do with health and wellness. Let that marinate for a minute. 

Welcome to Roots!

by Andre' Miller

If you’re here, you are most likely much like the many others and myself who have been a part of Roots for years. You may find yourself asking: What is fitness? What is health? What does it mean to be strong, feel good, be free of disease and have the ability to maintain if not improve upon that as I age?

Honestly, we don’t have all the answers and, more importantly, don’t let anyone else convince you they do either. We are, however, willing to share our knowledge and walk with you along a path that will help you answer these questions. Let’s start with movement.

The fitness industry and exercise communities are evolving rapidly. I honestly believe we are in the Renaissance of fitness. With so many different sub-disciplines out there, it is difficult to consolidate it all into a cohesive system. At Roots we have devised such a system that we call the “Veritable Forest of Movement,” or simply “Movement web”. “Veritable,” because it takes nothing more than observation to realize an interconnected network of movements with one leading into and away from many others. The movements seem to take us into positions of strength and stability, away from the peripheries of weakness and instability and back towards more familiar territory; essentially, a web of never-ending connected movements. Some people and animals have much more robust and diverse movement systems, while others seem frail and limiting to one’s lifestyle and overall awareness. It is understood that a more diverse ecosystem is more resilient and can sustain itself after a shock or stressful event better than a less diverse ecosystem. Our bodies are much the same; by embracing diversity we adapt to our ever-changing environment. Only by “doing” can we begin to construct a more robust system, but as with many other matters, a proper assessment is in order. It is first important to observe the fundamental reality of your own veritable forest of movement before changing its quality, diversity, or scope of such a thing.

Beginning with the most fundamental of movements, breath, we make our way to rolling and grasping as infants which eventually develops into a variety of crawls, low gait, bent-arm support, and straight-arm hanging positions. As we begin to pull, push, and rotate ourselves upright, we develop bent-arm hangs, straight-arm supports and high-gait capabilities. A strong foundation is key; as adults, many times our breathing and rolling must be free of dysfunction if we are ever to achieve a way of living where the demands of our lives are met with ease and comfort. Below is this “Veritable Forest of Movement” as we see it at Roots; this web you see is only the start as there are many more details that connect all these movements. We will continue to explore these principles in future blog posts.

If you are interested in exploring this web, contact one of our trainers today.