Ways your fitness habit is ripping you off

Everyone is getting fit these days and I t seems like there are so many different ways to push yourself to new levels of perfection, so how do you meet your goals without going broke? Let’s take a look at ways you can push your peak without breaking the bank:

1. It shouldn’t cost more than $50 per month for a decent gym membership. I know what you’re thinking…”but my gym has a pool/towel service/24 hour schedule/multi-club access..”. News flash, there are plenty of $50-or-less-per-month gyms that have all of this. My gym, for example, is short scheduled on Sundays and closes at 8, but is open 24 hours a day during the week. It also has a pool, fun classes, and multi-club access, for $21 a month. In a world of 24 Hour FitnessAnytime Fitness/LA Fitness/or Xperience Fitness, there is no reason to be overpaying for a gym with decent amenities. Just find the one that has what you need.

2.Your multi-vitamins should not cost more than $1 per day. GNC is excellent at ripping people off here, by trying to show the GNC vitamins have extra “stuff” in them, by showing how they break down in water, etc., but there are two things you are overlooking if you fall for this scam:

A. The extra stuff in their themed vitamin packs should almost always be taken at a different time than the vitamin to maximize their potency.

B. Your stomach can digest metal so how a vitamin dissolves in water has no meaning to your stomach-it will dissolve. If you’re pooping out a whole vitamin, you’ve got bigger issues.

3. Your protein should also cost under $1.40 per scoop. It doesn’t matter if it’s organic, grass-fed, magic protein milked right from the last male unicorn…$1.40 per scoop is the MAX you should pay for good protein, unless there is a protein blend, an IGF-1 additive, or it’s a limited time thing (like it was made with unicorn milk). There are also two other things to take into account:

A. Flavor is a big deal. GNC and some other brands will tell you their vanilla flavor is different (which means it tastes like garbage) because they focus on the added nutrition and protein blend, not the flavor. Vanilla should not taste like a plastic toy or burned coconut. Dymatize, ON, Bucked Up, Sparta Nutrition, and others make delicious protein that actually tastes like the flavor on the tub. Don’t overpay for crappy flavor.

B. Watch for amino spiking. For example, if the serving size is 33 grams, and the tub says 24 grams of protein, 11 grams of glutamine, 6 grams of leucine, the manufacturer is substituting amino acids for “protein” count. Your protein grams plus all of the amino acid grams should be equal to or make up around 80% of the serving size. Furthermore, you should never buy the “multivitamin in my protein” kind of protein. Some nutrition is okay, but if the protein is equivalent to your multivitamin, you’re buying garbage disguised as protein.

4. Your sleep supplement shouldn’t contain more than 4mg of melatonin. A sleep supplement can help with recovery, growth hormone development, and overall well-being…but if your sleep supplement is more than 4 mg of melatonin, you’re wasting your money. A proper sleep supplement should have GABA, valerian root, EAAs, phenibut, and some other things if necessary, but a high melatonin count means your body will eventually develop a tolerance to melatonin, and that the manufacturer wanted to add a cheap sleep ingredient for a high price and make a buck off of a sucker like you.

5. Your thermogenic shouldn’t be a caffeine pill. Fat burners are a decent addition to help burn some stubborn fat, but while a thermogenic could have SOME caffeine, any thermogenic that has over 75% of the total ingredients comprised of caffeine is a joke. A good thermogenic should have any of the following: L-Carnitine, CLA, Yohimbine, Rawuscoline, Vitamin B, Caffeine (some), Phenylalanine, Eria Jarensis, or DMHA. Just watch out if you’re taking any anti-depressants or other medications.

6. You do not need a meal coach. There is enough info online to put together a solid meal-prep for a week…you do not need to pay someone to do this for you, unless they pay for the food AND cook it for you.

7. The majority of fitness clothing you see in FB or IG ads is a ripoff. Leather-free shoes for $200? $80 CrossFit shorts? A lifting shirt for $40? Just say no, people. TJ Max , Sierra Trading Post (my fave), and Amazon all sell fitness clothing from reputable brands for a reasonable price. My Merrill trail running shoes would have cost $140 regular price, but they were $40 at Sierra Trading Post. Unless those leather-free shoes are going to last 5 times as long as normal shoes with twice the comfort, they aren’t worth it.

8. Your at-home fitness videos won’t provide long term benefit. We’ve all seen the friend who posts at-home fitness routines on social media with the “hands on hips while leaning forward toward the camera like they have a back problem” pose. For quick and short-term weight loss, these programs work well…but for long term benefit, nothing burns fat and protects bone density like dense muscle and you won’t get dense muscle without lifting a decent amount of weight. It’s the secret these dance in your living room video programs don’t want you to know: you WILL eventually plateau and they WILL try to upsell you to “take you to the next level”, but you could do this with a simple gym membership and some actual weights. My advice here is use them while you can (if under $50 a month and if you have kids or a fear of sweating around others), but eventually get your ass to the gym and lift.

There you have it…8 ways to help you get or stay fit without breaking the bank. Try a few, or all 8, and put your savings toward a masseuse or some ibuprofen-you’ll need it.



The other side of the hill..

Since I am 40 today, some may consider me over the hill. I consider myself in my prime. My 20s and 30s were definitely fun, but it was more of a primer for these “adult” years. Here are some random moments in the last 40 years:

I once shot my friend Kris in the ass with a paintball gun, totally by accident…from about two feet away. He got revenge by shooting me in the balls with a paintball gun from about 100 feet away 20 years later.

I was riding my bike with my friend Joe and whipped into the underground parking ramp at top speed. The door to the ramp was closed and my bike hit a rain drain, sending me over the handlebars and face first into the ramp door.

I cut the tip of my finger off while making chicken salad for the woman that is now my wife. We never did find that tip.

I met an adult film star in downtown Minneapolis after the bar once but was too shy to get a picture with her. I just shook her hand, made small talk, and said it was nice to meet her.

My friend Brian and I once had a little too much to drink and fell asleep (we may have passed out) on top of our tent while trying to set it up for the evening. I ended up wrapping up in the tent to stay warm.

I have been to 38 states.

I’ve had three surgeries and 8 sets of stitches (not counting wisdom teeth).

I went to basic training in Georgia and before finishing, was given medical discharge for a wrist cyst that swelled up my arm. I am just now regaining grip strength from wrist surgery.

I can now bench press 205lbs (and not just the “I did one rep, so that counts”…crap) and I squat 185.

I consume copious amounts of protein.

My favorite artists in the 9th grade were Tori Amos and Queen.

I once rode 10 hours to Indianapolis after getting over severe food poisoning (an hour before we left) to watch a roller derby bout. I vomited so hard I lost a contact and had to flirt my way to getting a free contact trial pair at a Shopko in Wisconsin.

I have made some great friends over my 40 years and my family (both sides) couldn’t be a better group of people. I love you all. Here’s to another 40 years. May our hearts hold up longer than our hips.


Don’t go back

Mario wrote,

Sean, a friend of mine recently went back to his abusive ex-girlfriend for the 5th time even though she has been caught cheating on him over and over and she slaps him in public if she gets pissed while drinking.

I don’t know what to do. He seemed so happy when he was single and looking for someone new, but she just inserted herself back in his life and he took her back. I worry they’ll end up together and I don’t want to be around her because she makes him so depressed. I want my friend back and I want him to be happy long term, not short term.



It’s a sure sign of weakness when unmarried people go back to cheating and abusive exes. The post breakup starts the same way…the newly single person talks about how they are happy being single and how they are doing so well by finally moving on, then they express frustration with who they did find and who they can’t find, and finally, they go on a few dates that don’t work out and they start sneaking their ex back into their life because he or she starts “being nice and different” this time around and the person starts believing that crap (it won’t be different).

I think it’s mainly a self-esteem issue and they eventually settle for the ex because they’ve convinced themselves it’s all they really deserve when they could really be much happier pushing to find the person they could really be happy with. Dating isn’t easy…if it was, online dating wouldn’t exist – people would just greet the first person they found attractive and they’d start making wedding plans.

Most of these “go back” cycles usually end in utter disaster or the person wakes up and realizes they don’t have to settle for the crappy ex, and now they’ve wasted even more time in life. If kids are involved, it’s especially bad for them seeing a parent go through disastrous relationship cycles with someone.

I’d love to say your friend will wise up, but it doesn’t always swing that way. Be a friend to him, but if you find this situation is bringing you down, maybe it’s time to start spending less time with him. Hopefully he sees he’s an idiot, especially for going back repeatedly.


Give it a bad name

Sheri wrote:

My boyfriend who is a trainer got me into the gym lifestyle and after six months of dating him I have gotten into incredible shape. However, I recently found out he has been hiding a Vape habit from me. I feel betrayed that someone that is so healthy could do something as dangerous as smoking or vaping. It feels so deceptive to be preaching health but also do something so bad for your health.

What do I do?



What do you do as in “should I leave him”, or as in “how do I confront him”?

I feel that any doctor smoking, dentist chewing tobacco, or fitness professional smoking or vaping instantly delegitimizes their role in the their profession. You don’t see NASCAR drivers drinking during a race, and you wouldn’t see an opera singer screaming before a performance because it’s going to ruin their tools used in their professional careers…just as smoking or vaping is ruining the very tool a fitness professional is exemplifying as healthy while training someone. At its core, its deceptive to the customer.

If you want to leave him, leave him. That’s your choice. If you want to be with him and confront him, let him know you find his vaping disgusting and deceptive and that you’re also bothered by him hiding it from you. If you’d like, make him choose between you and the vaping. Hopefully he chooses you.



Donita wrote me and said I should have a logo for my Minnesodad brand because it’s the “visual salesman of the modern times”. I thought it was a great idea. Thanks for suggesting such a time suck, Donita!

After some design attempts, I realized:

A) I am the least creative person possible when it comes to designing a logo.

B) I get distracted easily

C) Hey, it’s raining..

Here are some logos I decided not to use.

Minnesodad: I am a woman throwing a tantrum.


Minnesodad: I’m a woman with a long stride

Minnesodad: My nipples are like mountains (and I have three here?)

Minnesodad: A cure for what ails ya.


Minnesodad: I spilled my urine sample again.

Minnesodad: WTF?

Minnesodad: As much fun as two dudes stretching.

Minnesodad: He’s on fire!

That’s about as far as I got tonight, so I haven’t found a logo yet.



Not a spitter

IMC wrote

Sean, I am a guy that has a question about other guys. Why do most guys, and I say most because I am not one of them, spit into urinals when taking a leak? I think it’s odd, but I just noticed it.



I don’t like to spit myself. Sure, if a bug flies into my mouth or something like 409 gets in there while cleaning (rare), I will spit…but I can’t stand loogies on my tongue so I rarely spit at all. I know people that like to clear out their lung butter from time to time, but if I did that, I’d end up with vomit on my shoes (and pee if I tried while peeing).

I did some research on this pee-spitting phenomenon and have found it’s quite common. I don’t know of any (so far) friends or family that does it, but I made some observations in public restrooms and found that over 80% of men did this in the areas I was in. Could some guy’s mouth be so filled with saliva at the thought of peeing that he just has to spit at that moment? Could they be claiming the urinal as their own?…I’ve never seen any turf wars over a urinal.

I asked three people why they did this. One guy said beer made him spitty. Another said he had a cold. The final one said he figured he’d always done that.

There you have it. I am going to guess it’s beer, colds, and habit or any combo of the three. Heaven help the guy standing next to the spitter that has all three at once.


Not so fast

KD wrote:

Have you heard of intermittent fasting? Is it effective, I am seeing lots of Facebook stuff on it.



There are only a small number of studies that actually prove this weight loss technique to be effective for long-term weight loss, but I think the greater benefit here is that people that practice intermittent fasting are getting in touch with what, how, and when they eat. This results in an understanding of how to control hunger and the food the body needs throughout the day. So, while studies out there have largely not proven the effectiveness of intermittent fasting, the benefit in trying it is a better understanding of your body and the food you need to keep it healthy. Quite frankly, any balanced eating plan that is providing a rational caloric intake (at or under 2000 avg calories per day) and combining food intake with exercise is a good plan to keep the body in top shape. Keep in mind that people that are looking to bulk up for weightlifting competition, sports, or to add to their overall physique may actually benefit from a higher caloric intake than fasting provides.