Fitness Questions & Actions 2: Say no to “fly honies”

by Juan Antonio

Our Fitness Questions & Actions series is meant to provide real answers, for real people, in the real world.

Things to keep in mind:

  1. There is no question too big or too small.
  2. There are no silly questions. (but maybe some silly answers)
  3. Friends don’t let friends train without purpose. If you find something helpful, share it with your friends.

In this edition, we address workout videos, the effectiveness of jazzercise, planks for core strength and Functional Patterns.

Have a question of your own? Tweet your question to @MindsofSteel or email us at

How do you feel about workout videos like Jillian Michael’s 30-day shred? Do those actually work?

I think pretty much all these “follow-me-along-as-we-workout-together” videos and/or DVDs are a waste of time and space.

It’s all the same things I saw in 2005, in 1995 and in 1985. In over 30 years, nothing has significantly changed with this approach except better fashion choices and more reasonable hairstyles.

24/7 Coach will prove to be the world’s first true fitness innovation. Try it out and let us know what you think.

Actually, the production value is there with high definition visuals, upbeat tempo music and eye-catching graphics. 

Bottom line: 98% of what I see in all these different “workouts” sucks. The core features are terrible.  

All these terrible attempts at video exercise instruction share three poor commonalities:

  1) a sexy/fun/interesting/different sounding title 

  2) a pretty person/celebrity front and center, leading the “workouts” and

  3) the illusion and promise of fast results.

And of course, you always have the batshit crazy like, “Country Hip Hop Dancing.”

Yeah, some things you just can’t make up…

Some product examples I found semi-randomly surfing the web just now include: “20min of Legs & Butt”, “10min to a Six Pack”, “Shay’s 15min Beach Body Burner” and “The 17min Killer Ab Routine with Ariel.”

  1. Please tell me you see right through his bullshit of bullshit. What happens if we replaced the names “Shay” and “Ariel” with “Bob” and “Susan?” I personally wouldn’t train with someone who insists on naming fitness product X or fitness company Y after themselves. It just screams “ego” to me. 
  2. And where the hell did they come up with 20, 10, 15 and 17 minutes anyway? I guess 13 minutes just wasn’t enough to create a “body burner.”

All these videos/products are a joke. I’d run as far away from them as quickly as possible.

Please do yourself a favor and save your $11.99. Instead, go visit your local track or do some pull-ups at the park.

To me, all these videos are no better than this:

The real question is, will watching any of these videos bring real results?

I highly doubt that.

We have more fitness content available than ever before in human history. And yet, collectively, we’re only getting fatter and fatter. We’re drowning in fitness content. 

More content is not the answer. 

Follow-along videos are the worst offenders. They ask humans to (watch television) + (listen to quick exercise instructions) + (move your body just like the television).  

Add in the distracting music, the fast pace of the videos, the other 2-3 “fitness models” on screen, your heart rate going wild, not being able to breathe, being tired just 8 minutes in, your lower back hurting and you have a recipe for “I’m going to quit this bullshit DVD” in two weeks.

It’s asking too much.

These videos are not designed with getting you results in mind.

They’re designed to get you moving – which makes you feel like you’ll get results. But meaningful results don’t come from TV or cookie cutter workouts. They come from purposeful training.

Show me a video/DVD that promises results and I’ll show you 100 more that look just like it. All empty promises.

I suppose these videos are better than nothing right? 

One can argue that these videos are great when traveling. Maybe. I’d take walking or stretching any day of the week. (Both free you know.)

All I know is these type of videos will never beat out a) eating strategically for fat loss, b) lifting weights intelligently and interval cardio training.


One last thing. I think Jillian Michaels is great. She’s a strong woman who works hard to do her thing. I respect all the work she’s done to build up her brand.

The thing is, when you start to make it big, marketers have a way of finding you. Soon you find yourself saying “yes” to things you would have said “no” to in the past. I’m not one to judge someone else’s business decisions about their business, but it’s not how I run my show.


Marketers ruin everything.

Now that I think about it, Jillian’s kinda hot. I didn’t find her attractive before, but I can see the appeal. But chances are the other 1,300 “fitness models” selling X, Y, Z videos/products are hot too.

If everyone’s “hot,” how do you differentiate yourself?

It sure as hell isn’t going to be tight yoga pants, colorful sports bra’s and “whoo-yoo! Come on, you can do one more rep!” statements.

Instant ninja action plan: Turn. The TV. Off. Find out what type of training you want to give a legitimate try and why. Give that training an honest 90-day trial. And say no to videos with “fly honies.”

Are Zumba and Jazzercise classes effective for someone trying to lose weight?

Hell no.

For people trying to lose body fat, build quality muscle or improve their performance, all these classes are a waste of perfectly good energy and intention.

Take a look for yourself:

Again, some shit you just can’t make up.

For those unaware, Jazzercise “is a 60-minute dance party with all your favorite artists including Pitbull, Maroon 5 and Rihanna. It combines dance, strength training, Pilates, yoga and kickboxing. With it’s hot dance moves and today’s hit music, Jazzercise feels more like a girl’s night out than a workout.”

That’s straight from Jazzercise, Inc.’s mouth.

1) If I was a music artist, I’d make sure corporate gyms were paying me royalty fees for all the classes I’d be helping them fill up. You know damn well all these yahoos are bumping Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” or “Style” to appear hip and trendy.

2) Surely trying to combine pilates + yoga + kickboxing + strength training into one cohesive product is a terrible idea.

In what fucking planet would this bullshit work?

Not on earth – that’s for damn sure.

But go ahead and ask a professional pilates or kickboxing instructor and let me know what they say.

I know, I know, “but they’re fun” and “they make you sweat a lot.” You know what’s fun?

A Taylor Swift concert. Going to the circus. Or losing the 15lbs you’ve been wanting to lose for the last 10 years. That’s fucking fun.

Who wouldn’t have fun at a Taylor Swift concert?

You know that if you wear sweatpants and a hoodie during summer, you’ll sweat uncontrollably right?

“Fun” and sweating are not the best indicator of results.

Frankly, zumba and jazzercise and any other BS classes like it, are contributing to the reason people cannot lose body fat in America.

All these classes are corporate America at it’s worst.

Some marketing team came up with catchy wording, paired them up with sick beats and had the pretty, trim and energetic class instructor sell you on all the fun.

Sex sells, but I thought it was only guys that fell for it?

If you’re fit, trim and look how you want to look, you can pretty much do anything you want with a proper nutrition approach in place. If these classes are fun for you, by all means, rock out like it’s 1999.

But if you have more than 15lbs of body fat to lose, do yourself a favor and start walking uphill. 

Instant ninja action plan: Say no to BS classes. Find a treadmill, set it to 15% incline and walk at 3.0mph for 20-40min. And ask someone you trust how to do a proper push-up or squat.

I want to strengthen my core. Is doing planks sufficient or must I also incorporate the traditional core exercises like crunches?

With all lower back pain taking over America, everyone needs to strengthen their core.

If you want sit for hours at work, want to get rid of lower back pain or want to improve your performance in any form of physical activity, you want to strengthen your core as much as possible.

Having a strong core will make all aspects of your life better. Your core can never be too strong. But it can be so weak that one wrong sit-up, one improperly performed barbell bicep curl or picking up your two year old at a wrong angle could have you missing work for weeks thanks to a lower back strain.

It’s sad, but true.

Planks are great. They’re universally respected in the field of exercise science. They’re a type of isometric exercise that helps your core learn how to stabilize. Stabilization is a major function of what your core does during the day and while exercising.

But I don’t think they’re enough.

I also wouldn’t consider any type of “crunch” a traditional exercise. I’d consider all of them “bonuses.”

Traditional exercises for solid core strength I’d consider are push-ups (essentially a moving high plank the whole time you’re doing them), pull-ups (ahem, vertical moving high plank), squats and deadlifts.

There’s no way you can do this total body movement without solid core strength:

But you can do crunches all year long and accomplish nothing but a neck strain. 

I’ll keep it simple for now and tell you that it’s most effective to train your core as part of functional, compound movements.

If you insist on directly training your core or have to because it’s currently too weak, I’d advise you categorize them as such: rotation based, power based, lower abdominals based, isometric based and lower back based. 

I’ll go in the depth on this categorization in the future if you insist. For now, stick to functional/compound movements and you’ll be fine.

Instant ninja action plan: Do a plank. How long can you hold a plank for? Be safe and score 100. Get to 5 minutes and you’re a rockstar.

And think about this question over the next week: Are you doing core exercises to get a six-pack or to strengthen your core?

You don’t have to know the answer right now, but just think about it and realize they are not the same thing.

What’s your take on this type of exercise: ? 

For starters, this is Functional Patterns:

Very nifty stuff my friend. Thank you for bringing this to my attention. I’ve just spent over an hour looking through the website and most of their youtube videos. And I’m glad I did.

I dig their logo. It’s clean, simple, yet elegant. And I like their taglines: Training for humans; Train intentionally, not habitually.

I can tell some serious thought went into their design and branding.

Reading the website, their mission reads: “At Functional Patterns, everything has a foundation rooted in science. The goal of Functional Patterns is to empower people to not only get to their physical goals, but to ensure that the goal will be sustainable.”

The mission statement combined with this About Us snippet: “Culture and Nature are the two most influential factors that shape who we are, and they also affect our health in the process. Our health is determined by how adaptable we are to our natural environment” are all I need to know that Founder & CEO, Naudi Aguilar, GETS IT.

I’m particularly impressed with their approach to MMA training. Seeing XYZ videos, my mind keeps thinking, “Functional MMA training at its finest.”

Since MMA is still a new sport to most of the world, I wouldn’t want to pigeonhole this method, so I’ll just stick to categorizing this as a “functional, movement based” way of training.

My initial impression is that Naudi is at the cutting edge of distilling dynamic, explosive movements. I’m curious enough to want know more about his method, as it strikes me as both unique and innovative.

You know how doing muscle ups or handstands are all the rage right now thanks to CrossFit?

Well, I wouldn’t be surprised if in a few years, everyone is trying to emulate some of Naudi’s badass movements.

But considering muscle ups and handstands are just basic gymnastics moves with an origin in the 1800s, it may take a while for them to catch on.

Three things do concern me.

1) What I see mostly seems like advanced movements for the majority of people. They demand some serious coordination, balance, agility, body awareness, flexibility, strength and the ability to put all those skills together explosively. If you can’t properly squat or do one strict pull-up, chances are you’ll struggle with this approach and get easily frustrated. As well, a lot of the movements seem to involve specialized equipment. No fancy equipment = no fancy movements possible.

2) The price point of $49.99 and $74.99 for a handful of Functional Patterns videos seems way out of reach for most Americans. But trainers and coaches could benefit from the knowledge found inside. 

3) Can the Functional Patterns method scale and be adopted by the masses? Maybe. If we could get more people to focus on improving how they move, how they perform and how they feel, instead of focusing on what they look like, it’s possible.

I wonder if too many people will count themselves out of this training method from the high caliber promo videos?

You know, something like, “This shit is badass! Naudi’s a straight up ninja…but I could never do that. I’m no athlete.”

Rest assured folks, I know it seems like you have to be Jackie Chan, Bruce Lee, Batman or a professional MMA fighter to do these moves, but I’m sure Naudi has a systems for getting beginners and absolute beginners going.

The question remains: how does this type of functional training compare to CrossFit, Olympic Lifting or more old school traditional methods of training?

Only time will tell who’s left standing.

I know you really want to know about the intricacies of the fancy moves, but let me draw your attention to who created them. That story matters. Maybe more so than everything else.

Naudi’s bio may be the length of a college entrance essay, but I love it. It’s worth the read because it tells me his story.

Who is Naudi? Why Functional Patterns? Why do this? All the answers are in his bio. 

I look around at the fitness and health industry and I just see “paper bios.” Nothing with a grain of style and substance.

Instead, certification listings, “before” and “after” testimonials or photoshop-enhanced images showcasing physiques litter the internet.

Worst are the cowards that aren’t even willing to put up a bio they can stand behind or those that won’t take the time to craft a quality mission statement to live up to.

Those yahoos obviously don’t believe in their product, so why should anybody else?

Naudi believes, lives and is his product. He’s a man who has learned to think for himself. 

Any man who’s open enough to use any of this wording: “poor self image”, “ego crushing”, “[extreme] depression”, “feeling helpless”, “broker than a joke”, “wearing a mask all my life”, “being alone and broke” and “living my life with purpose” when talking about himself, is okay is my book.

It takes guts to admit your previous shortcomings and be real about dark emotions.

Naudi’s committed to his mission, passionate about movement and enjoys the process of discovering things for the greater good. I admire his understanding of biomechanics and fascia and how they can affect training sessions.

He’s real about who he is and what he’s about. He has my respect.

I don’t know Naudi yet, but I’m a fan and I look forward to meeting him, talking shop and seeing him in action.

You’re in luck too. Since Naudi’s training center is in San Diego, I’ll make it a point to go visit him next time I’m in town. Then I can give you the full first person experience. Until then, I’ll add some of the DVDs to the R&D file.

Instant ninja action plan: Watch out Naudi’s promo video and identify one new move you want to try to learn. Learn that move.

There is only trained and untrained.

Saul Juan Antonio Cuautle
Founder & CEO

Friends don’t let friends mindlessly “workout.” Friends help and support each other. Help your friends as they try to make positive changes in their life. Give them the gift of 24/7 Coach. If you know of anyone who may benefit from this content, please share it with them. 

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