Episode 49: Power Abs, No-Diet Food Rules & The Ugly Science of Beauty

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On Our Minds

Sometimes Chris is a fitness Grinch. He doesn’t get why I’d want to sign up for an ab-training program – the type where you go through the workout along with a trainer’s instructional videos. He thinks that because I’m an experienced lifter, and because I have access to tons of ab-training articles on T Nation, I should be able to just train abs without any help.

That makes sense in theory. And I have been able to train abs consistently before… but not long-term (if that makes any sense).

So we had a heated debate that I ended up winning (I think?) and I’m now doing Kari Pearce’s Power Abs program. So who do YOU agree with in this disagreement: me or Chris?


This quiz is all about the psychology of good looking (and not so) good looking people. Believe it or not, researchers have objectively been able to categorize people as very good looking, average, and very ugly. This was a bit of a shock to me because it doesn’t sound super objective at all.

Need to see the research? Here are some of the topics we covered:

Dietary habits of those with good looking spouses
High-earning ugly people
First Impressions
Good looking political candidates
Perceptions of beauty
Charity and hot people


Chris found a survey that made him disappointed in people. Mainly because they diet hop every time there’s a vacation or holiday and because they follow the diet advice of celebrities. Here’s a breakdown of that survey.

This made him realize that the main thing that works – as far as long-term fat loss and dietary structure – is setting personal rules or guidelines for yourself based upon what you struggle with the most.

Coincidentally, Tamar Haspel, a journalist from The Washington Post agrees with Chris. In a recent article, Why Moderation is the Worst Weight Loss Advice Ever, she talked about how clear cut rules are what help people make and maintain progress. And this is not just her opinion on the subject, she also shared a study which demonstrated the efficacy of going by a set of rules for continuous success.

The whole article is GOLD so I recommend reading it. But here’s a teensy bit of what she had to say:

“The rules insulate you from the come-hither, obesogenic, food environment known as normal. Instead of going out into the world of tasty, convenient food with a hazy idea of moderation, you go out with a plan. And it works.”

So Chris and I shared our own personal plans – our rules and guidelines. His were more about types of foods (eat this, not that), and mine were more about behaviors (don’t eat 9-million calories to distract yourself from unpleasant emotions or crap you need to take action on).

The Shugart Cart

Chris found a way to access research that’s behind a paywall. He’s not sure if this is “allowed” so I’d rather not link to anything crazy here, but listen to the episode and jot down the details if you’re a person who’d like to read studies for free as well.

This week I’m recommending Amazon’s music streaming app. Not because I think they need any more of our money, but because you might already be paying for it. If you have Amazon Prime, you’ll have access to their ad-free streaming service, which I’m LOVING right now. They also offer podcasts, and you can find Fit Pants on there with just a quick search. (I’m still not sure how to link to it here though. They don’t seem to have a “copy link” button.)

Thanks for tuning in to SEASON FREAKING FOUR of the Fit Pants podcast! If you missed any episodes, you can catch up right here, but we’d love it (even more) if you subscribed wherever you get your podcasts!

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