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by Ryan Lee June 15, 2018 7 min read

How to Knock 20 Years Off Your Body

I was.. 44 years old and given the news..

I gained over 30 pounds. Bloated. Blood pressure climbing. So exhausted I had to take a nap just to make it through the day.

Now, I‘d been diagnosed with a painful autoimmune disorder called psoriatic arthritis.

How did I get here?

I’m a former personal trainer with a Master’s Degree in Exercise Physiology. Former captain of my college track team and 2-time NY state champion.

Heck, I was the guy who created a workout video called “the world’s fastest workout” by   Mens Fitness — and I was a mess.

I should’ve known better.

To make things worse my doctor said I needed to start a toxic chemo drug for my psoriatic arthritis.

This is all being caused by nutrition and stress — and I’m going to figure it out before turning to heavy medication as a last resort”.

So I went on a mission.

I WAS going to knock at least 20 years off my body so I can live a longer, high-quality life with my four kids!

It’s taken me:

  • Weight down from a bloated 195 pounds to 160 pounds (I’m only 5'8").
  • Waist size down from 35 to 32 (same size pants I wore in high school.. almost 30 years go).
  • ZERO symptoms of my autoimmune disorder. I’m finally pain-free  and can even play tennis again (although my game is still mediocre, at best).
  • And, crazy as it seems, my neck size went down a size and a half. I didn’t even know that was “a thing”
  • Even my face seemed to shrink down and looks less “puffy”
On the left.. in my 30s. On the right.. feeling better at 45!

How did I do it?

A crazy diet? Fasting? 3 hours a day in the gym?

Nope. Not even close.

I SIMPLIFIED my health.

Here are the 7 SIMPLE ways I knocked 20 years off my body.. and you can too:


1. Win the Morning

“The secret of your future is your daily routine” Mike Murdoch

You must start the day off right. No compromise.

Winning the morning carries momentum into the afternoon. And momentum is everything.

Tried intermittent fasting — it didn’t work for me. I was starving within a few hours. (if it works for you, that’s great).

My “secret” was having one high quality   nutrition bar  every morning along with a large glass of water and a few essential supplements (Omega 3s, Turmeric, and   Probiotic).

This gave me energy and filled me up for a few hours. Plus it’s a lot quicker (and less messy) than a smoothie.

Just be sure to go for something good in the morning.


2. 20 Minutes a Day of Cardio Cocktails

“My rule is to break one sweat a day” Matthew McConaughey

First, a disclaimer.

Even if you workout for 2 hours a day, if you eat like crap, you’re going to gain weight.

Nutrition is more important than the workouts.

It’s been said   your abs are created in the kitchen. . and it’s 100% correct.

With a unyielding schedule of running my businesses AND being a hands-on dad for my four children, I keep my exercise routine SIMPLE and EFFECTIVE.

I can’t spend 2 hours going through the gym routine (driving to gym, waiting for equipment, driving back home, etc.).

The workout had to give me the most “bang for the buck”.

It’s a circuit treadmill high-incline walking (4.2mph on 10% incline) combined with bodyweight strength training.

For example, I’ll walk for 2 minutes, then hop off the treadmill and do 8 pull-ups, 15 push-ups and 20 reps of a core exercise. Then, back on the treadmill and repeat for 8 cycles.

Every. Day.

As you start getting older, it takes longer to recover. Just 20–25   minutes  a day is all you need — and I’ve found this routine (walking and bodyweight training) puts little stress on my joints.

And a BIG plus — I do this from my bedroom, which also saves time (nice bonus!). And there’s no excuse to get it done. You can see my pull-ups in action below:

My “gym” ain’t fancy.. but it works!

3. Eat.. ANYTHING?

“Everything in moderation, including moderation” Oscar Wilde

EVERY diet book or plan always has the following…

… a list of “restricted” or “forbidden” foods.

You can NEVER eat: sugar, gluten, dairy, anything friend, anything that even looks fried, fruit, alcohol, coffee, pasta, bread, meat, and the list goes on and on.

And that’s why they don’t work.

You read the list and the panic starts to set in.

The minute you are told you can NEVER eat it, of course, you want it more. It’s all you think about.

You think of never having fresh hot popcorn at the movies.

Or a night out with friends and a nice bottle of wine (I’d insert the name of a fancy wine.. but I know absolutely zero about wine!)

Or enjoying pizza and a beer with friends.

If you can NEVER enjoy those moments again, it’s only a matter of time until you quit your “diet” and go back to your old habits.

Unless you have a terrible allergy to a specific food, you should be able to eat anything you’d like.. in moderation, of course.

Hey — if you are on a specific plan, you enjoy it and it’s working for you. Stick with it. That’s great.

For me? And 99% of the people I’ve helped over the years, “diets” are usually too restrictive.

To keep you on track — here’s my simple formula, which brings me to #4.


4. The 80’s Rule

Resist the urge to clear up small things first” Brian Tracy

I was born in 1972 and a proud child of the 80s.

MTV. Back to the Future. Michael Jackson. The A-Team.

These are the memories of my youth. A time before the Internet and cell phones filled with great memories.

So it makes sense my nutritional concepts are based around the number “80”.

80% of the foods you eat should be nutritious. That’s it. Simple.

Eat as many veggies and fruits as you want. No limit. Start every meal with these.

Lean protein. Nuts. Beans. Eggs. All good.

Not so good?   Inflammation is the big thing you want to avoid — so food with sugar, gluten, red meat and dairy fit neatly into the 20% because these foods are notorious for causing inflammation.

Does that mean you NEVER eat it?

Nope. You can have it every day — just keep it around 20% of your daily food intake.

Here’s an example.

Every day for lunch I have a salad. In the past, I’ve tried the “healthy” salad dressing with just olive oil — and I didn’t like it. Just too bland for my taste.

So now, I load up my salad with lots of good stuff (Spinach, kale, olives and salmon for a boost of protein and healthy fats). And I chop it all up with a pizza cutter (seriously!).

BUT, my salad dressing of choice?   Newman’s Own Honey Mustard dressing.

That’s FOUR good things and one “not so great” choice (I don’t go crazy and use 8 cups of dressing, but a few tablespoons hit the spot!)

Which comes to 80% awesomeness and 20% not-so-awesome. And that’s a-ok.

Would the “experts” disagree, of course, but by doing it this way I look forward to my salad and I’ll continue to eat it everyday. (which is MUCH better than my previous lunch of a 12" sub on processed bread and a bag of chips).

You must enjoy what you eat. Give yourself 20% wiggle room and reduce the stress.


5. Weigh Yourself Every Morning

“If you can’t measure it, you can’t change it” Peter F. Drucker

This one is a bit controversial.

When I was a fitness professional I was AGAINST my client’s weighing themselves because I felt it was unnecessary. And might be stressing pounds as the most important factor in your health (which it’s not).

But when I needed to turn the tables on myself, the scale told me where I was. It gave me a number.

A better gauge is when your clothes start to fit better.

And in an ideal world it’s better to do body fat composition test instead of weight because of muscle mass.

Remember, this is about SIMPLE.

If I break my own rule of 80/20 I will start to notice my weight creep up within a few days… and that’s enough to get me back on track.

I went down a pant size in about 3 weeks. And kept dropping until I finally got back to a 32 waist size.

I’m telling you..   there’s nothing better than buying new clothes because you need a smaller size.

Try weighing yourself every morning, at the same time, to keep yourself on track.



6. More Water

“Water is the driving force of all nature” Leonardo da Vinci
Water? Yes please.

Forget overpriced “detox” juices, pills and potions.

Water is nature’s best detox drink.

There have been volumes of books written on the topic of drinking water.

Water is your friend.

Embrace it.

Love it.

Drink a tall glass first thing in the morning — and if possible — with every meal.

Go crazy by adding a lemon, lime, or melons to your water! Why not?

You’ll stay hydrated.

You’ll feel better.

And people will stop in the streets to admire your “glow” (ok, maybe not, but you will get comments from friends about how good your skin looks!).



7. Sleep it Off

“There’s practically no element of our lives that not improved by getting adequate sleep” Arianna Huffington

It seems like everywhere you turn these days you see the word “hustle” and “grind”.

“I’ll sleep when I dead”. Give me a freakin’ break!!

A lack of sleep not only wrecks havoc on your brain and zaps your energy — it also makes you gain weight.

Less sleep leads to more stress. Which leads to overeating.

There are   scientific studies  showing people who slept between 6–8 hours had more weight loss than those who slept less than 6 hours.

Get a good night sleep and your brain and body will thank you.


Don’t wait.

Start today. Right now.

Start with a morning routine. A simple   routine.

Carry the momentum into the day.

Live like the 80s (80% good food).

Get in a solid 20 minute workout a day.

Drink lots of water. Get sleep.

Measure your results with a daily weigh in.

You CAN do this.

And please keep me posted on your progress.


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