No Excuse

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Yes, this blog is still alive.

From Jonas Peterson's Photos

I’ve been studying the basics of fatherhood, which is probably a good idea since in about a month someone tiny will make her way into the world and call me daddy. I’m trying to give myself the best chance to earn that title.

The worldly things that once mattered — horsepower in cars, friends on facebook, weight lifted, wine on the list, literature and art, price of gas, peace in the Middle East — have all been overshadowed by something still in utero.  My concern for all matters expansive or contractive in the entire universe pales in comparison to the hope that my daughter arrives safely into this world and takes her first breath.

Baby Changes Everything

As I face fatherhood, my perspectives are changing. Everything now takes a backseat to the little bundle of the self-insufficient human being that will be my daughter, whose delicate flesh I’ll sacrifice myself to keep safe.

This primal devotion can often trip a typical new father into shell shock and descend him into self-neglect. Perhaps this is why a new father tends to settle for a steady diet of increasing girth and declining health.

Surely it’s good intention, in light of his endless social, professional and financial obligations. Ten, twenty, or 40 pounds of excess body fat is a small price to pay to keep his child warm, safe and fed, and to maintain a roof over her head. A parent will sacrifice much to shield a child from the rain of the literal and the proverbial kind.

I forecast this paternal path for my own fatherhood and I must admit I’m worried about the health and fitness I’ve earned and enjoy (in possibly their final months). Fatherhood means severe sleep deprivation, poor food choices, and utter sloth. It means changing a diaper instead of changing the pin on a weight stack. It means the dreadful creeping of bodyweight and diminishing health.

A Reminder: Simplicity

But as I clicked through the archives of The Lean Saloon, it slowly came to me that everything I’ve written within shall be the ultimate saving grace as I enter the lockdown schedule of fatherhood.

This blog has breathed simplicity into an exercise and diet lifestyle that otherwise has been encumbered with modern information and obsession. The ease of use and the simplicity within The Lean Saloon makes weight loss and weight management realistic and hassle-free.

Less Obsession, More Time for Important Stuff

Less obsession on diet and exercise leaves us with more time and resource to dedicate energy to other pressing matters of life, without sacrificing body, health, and relationship. This leaves me time to be a father while preserving my physique and health.

If you want a lean body with a rational amount of muscle, there’s little need to spend more than 20 or 30 minutes doing formal exercise. That’s a western gimmick.

If you want to stimulate muscle, then create muscle tension through physical activity. In other words, get active, lift something, accelerate something… even if it’s just your body. Or an old medicine ball. Do them with genuine effort.

If you want to have less body fat, then eat less. Do intermittent fasting to make eating less simple. Eat mostly whole, real food; but also enjoy the delicious essence of culture.

Getting lean, staying that way, and becoming healthy cannot get simpler than that.

What I’ve Been Doing and Why There’s No Excuse to Stop

In the past 6 months, my primary exercise equipment has been a trusty 9-pound leather medicine ball. It’s a classic beauty that can be displayed in the living room without looking out of place — it’s a decor item when not in use. But when it’s in use, it takes a beating like… well, an old leather medicine ball.

The Classic Leather Medicine Ball that I've used almost daily. It's like an old buddy. Everyone should have one.

Five days a week for the past 6 months, I simply grab this leather medicine ball and accumulate 100 wood-chops. I do them in segments of 25s, four times through the day, or all at once. I typically do them at high speed. (Force = mass x Acceleration.)

I don’t consider the 100 reps of wood-chops formal exercise; I look at them as purposeful incidental activity. I just do them. This gets me out of the chair to metabolize some fat and sugar. This allows me to let go of the cultural urgency and obsession placed on formal exercise.

As for formal exercise: I perform some bodyweight exercises periodically, and lift a barbell infrequently. Sometimes I go for weeks without formal exercise. It’s because I know that leanness is more about staying active through the day and not overeating.

Focus On the Meaningful Stuff

Don’t complicate and obsess in areas that can be kept simple. There are other things deserving of greater work from us. Counting carbs and counting reps aren’t them. Keep this part simple. Enjoy that part of life that won’t be around forever.

My awesome lovely wife, Lori, 8 months and counting.

With our 5-year-old boxer, as energetic as she was at 5 months. Yes, she does intermittent fasting quite naturally and intuitively.

And, of course, it wouldn't be Johnny at The Lean Saloon without the impromptu shirts-off shot. (It's nice to just whip the shirt off and look decent without having to obsess with diet and exercise and all that ridiculous preparation.)

This entry was posted in Dietary Habit, Exercise and Physical Activities, weight Loss and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

72 Responses to No Excuse

  1. Brandon says:

    Great post Johnny. Probably the greatest blog post I’ve read in awhile.

  2. Chris says:

    I put on lots of weight after every one of my 3 kids. And whittled it off again. Being a daddy is amazing, but does provide some challenges. I think your approach is perfect though. Hope the birth goes well!

  3. Sami Paju says:

    Awesome post! I totally dig what you’re saying. Love the writing style too 🙂
    …And congratulations!


  4. Daniel says:

    Johnny, I have something inspiring for you:

    Congratulation 🙂

  5. Randy says:

    Congratulations and good luck! Daughters are a lot of fun.

  6. Shawn says:

    As a father of two with very little extra time, your site has been of great encouragement to me. I had assumed that since I did not have time to spend hours a week in the gym that I couldn’t get lean. But thanks to IF and being more active and of course your site I am getting there and know that I will be healthy and alive for my kids for a long time. Oh, and I agree with Daniel, Kids are great for lifting though I would avoid wood-chops. Congrats and goodluck.

  7. Marc says:

    Exquisite FRIGGIN POST!!

    Johnny congratulations. As a father of 4, I have a tiny bit of wisdom to share.

    1. Enjoy every second. Even the sleepless nights and a car seat full of poop when arrving somewhere
    2. Encourage incessantly. Don’t lecture
    3. Never spank
    4. Kiss their mom (or your partner) in front of them a lot
    5. Let them be themselves

    Welcome to one of the most amazing and yet natural things in our universe. Ahhhh another wonderful paradox of our lives.

    FYI, I’ve had 3 boxers over the last 25 years and they are the most wonderful dogs in my humble opinion. My first one kept watch over my first born daughter like something you’ve never seen before. He would put his big head under her belly when she would crawl to close to the stairs and turn her over over on her back and then he would stand in front of the stairs and block her way.

    Wishing your wife an easy delivery and you and her both the most magical of upcoming months.

    My girfriend just escaped a house fire with her parents and her son and 2 dogs in the middle of the night. A total loss….it made us both even more aware of the fact that the only thing we truly HAVE in this life, is our family,partner and loved ones. Nothing else ultimately really matters.


    • Johnny says:


      People cannot get enough kissing. #4 is how I remember my father’s relationship with my mother. Notes taken.

      Glad the night ends with the most important things safe for your girlfriend.

      And thank you for this comment.


  8. Sigi says:

    Congratulations, Johnny and Lori (I had no idea)! All the best for a healthy and happy new phase of your lives.

  9. Stephon says:


    First I would like to say congratulations on becoming a father :-). I’m not sure if I have ever mentioned that I have two wonderful children myself Jazmine 15 yrs old, and Jordan who just turned 8 yesterday. Last night I had a hard time sleeping because I was tossing and turning over obsessing about exercise and diet etc,. Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the more is better concept , but I can attest that being a father changes things quite a bit. Though I have attained a fairly descent physique via intermittent fasting and some obsession/complication with exercise, this post in particular really hit close to home. Last week my son looked at me and said
    ” Dad how come you are always working out, and you never eat with us anymore”?, is it because you don’t want to get fat”?. It just confirmed how complicated I was making things and how I was missing out on the important things in life, I was putting exercise and diet before everything including the people who mean the most to me, so this week it’s the beginning of my 3 brief workouts a week. Speaking of which, are you still going to post a few of your metabolic routines here?, or was the one you gave above that post?

    Without becoming too sentimental in my comment I would just like to say thank you for everything, this blog has helped me soo much as well as the many others who follow I’m sure. My blessings to you and your wife on your new found joy , your new passion, your baby girl.

    • Johnny says:


      Thank you for your comment.

      I will make it a point to write a post on medicine ball exercises, both as a metabolic routine and as “purposeful incidental activity.”

      Keep it simple, but keep it consistent. Your 15 and 8 year olds sound like they like time with their father!


  10. Congrats on your precious family! How exciting!!

    I have a beautiful 2 year old son and I’m in the best shape of my life! Having him made me want to make the best lifestyle choices for myself because ultimately, my family will benefit. Once a new parent truly grasps that, it makes that journey so much easier.

    Not that you are worried, you’ve got the right idea going on already. But what is often not brought up is that a kid could actually be a GOOD thing for your health-bringing you joy, teaching you new things. Stepping up as a parent can also influence someone to get their act together, whether it is to live a healthier lifestyle or anything else.

    You’re going to be a great dad! And you have a lovely family, I wish you guys the best!

    • Johnny says:

      Thanks, Ashley. I often have the foresight for contributive longevity for my daughter as she goes through life. You’re right on the money — health is a priority when you have someone who depends on you!


  11. Fern says:

    Beautiful post, Johnny,and congratulations to you and Lori. Yes, you can have it all-good health, family, and appreciation for our world-all with moderation and a good sense of humor.

    • Johnny says:

      Thank you, Fern.
      A good sense of humor is a skill, especially if I find poop in the back seat.


  12. Dale says:

    Johnny –
    Congratulations on your impending fatherhood! And nothing, I say NOTHING I could tell you will prepare you for the unmitigated joy of holding your offspring in your arms for the very first time.

  13. dboxing says:

    As a father of 2 girls – just stay in the present moment and everything will take care of itself. Take your own advice – don’t over think it.

  14. T says:

    Johnny, Great post. I love your writing style, and the points you’ve made in this post are worthy of mention. Great perspective, insight, and so very inspiring. Thank you for sharing. I wish you and your wife Lori much happiness and blessings as you welcome your new baby into the world. Your example of healthy eating and fitness will likely play a very important and positive role in this baby’s life. No Excuses. Amen. We may have to shuffle priorities around at times, but in the end, it comes down to managed discipline in our daily eating and activities, simply and most effectively.

  15. Bangkok Jay says:

    A very well-worded post. Thank you.

    Ironic. The impetus for me to have lost 50lbs through IF and low-carb was the birth of my son. I was already fat and thought to myself ‘this isn’t good’ if I want to be able to play with my son as he grows up and live long and healthy to see him become a man. That thought was what lead me to discover paleo and onwards to your site. You have nothing to worry about, my guru.

    • Johnny says:

      A child can be a positive impetus to many good things, for sure.
      You’ve been a long time reader. How has the weight loss been?

  16. Brian says:

    Great post Johnny! Congratulations to you both. I know you’ll make a great father and I wish you and yours good luck and great health.

  17. Jordan says:

    Hello Johnny,

    What a great post! Congratulations, I wish you the best for the future you deserve it for sure.

    PS: I know that it isn’t the ideal post for asking something on weight loss as it’s obvious that you have/ they are other priorities. But, I was wondering for quite some time how does we maintain a lean and healthy body over the long time with IF as it creates over time a state in which we are most of the time in calorie deficit? Of course there are days when we tend to eat more than our needs but, with IF and even more when eating mostly whole real food (low in calories) we are for sure on the lowish side and in caloric deficit. Does it means that we continues to (constantly) lose weight even after we had shed the excess fat?
    I perfectly understood the simple mechanisms that make us gaining or losing weight. But, I will be really thankful if you can clarify a bit about your thoughts on maintaining a low body fat or when one is happy with his weight, whitout being obsessed with dieting (calories…) or losing more weight than one wants. That’s why I’ve asked recently about the frequency of your meals (1 meal a day? 2 ? 3?) since we already know that you eat mostly whole food but not how frequently. Also, as I have a similar frame (height) I was interested… The goal is still to be healthy and get an healthy look.

    Thanks in advance, and congratulations again!

    • Johnny says:

      Hi Jordan. Thank you for your comment. Once you’ve eaten the average amount that keeps you around the weight you wish to be, then that’s not considered a “calorie deficit.” That is the amount your body needs based on the current activity and body composition you have.


  18. Haley says:

    Excellent post and congratulations!! That is awesome! I’m sure that once you settle into a routine (or as close to one as you can get), you will find yourself getting your medicine ball stuff in. You’ve simplified your diet and exercise activities down already, so you never know, it might be a perfect fit! 🙂 Enjoy!!

    • Johnny says:

      Hi Haley and thank you,

      I definitely believe it is a perfect fit for most normal people who want to have a lean, attractive physique with good health, but without the obsession of the 21st Century exercise culture.


  19. Sondra Rose says:

    Brilliant post!

    So happy for you & Lori, Johnny. Congratulations!!!!!

    I coach parents for pregnancy & birth preparation and post-partum support. Parenting is an amazing adventure and I’m sure you will have more equally eloquent insights to share with us…and remember that you have already been a father for 8 months, so you are an old pro–trust your instincts.

    • Johnny says:

      Hi Sondra,

      I may still send some questions your way!
      Thank you for your perpetual support of The Lean Saloon.

      All the best,

  20. Carmen Theresa says:

    okay…I’m new here at the lean saloon, but this is very exciting news. Congratulations!

    Stress hormones…..that make you want to eat….what about those?

    My body actually used to crave the extra calories and layer of fat as protection against added stressors. Food gave me energy to just get through a stressful activity-filled day, and food cheered me up when I was stressed out. My life is much easier now, so IF has also been a much easier transition than I had expected. Any thoughts?

    • Johnny says:

      Hi Carmen,

      I don’t know of any stress hormone that makes you want to eat. Stress hormones, such as the catecholamines, adrenalin, and glucagon, generally dump sugar into your blood and often squelch hunger. I believe it is an individual reaction to stress that may be the driver of hunger or, more accurately, motivation to eat. Under stress, a person may seek relief through the burst of dopamine that certain food offers.

      The individual has to address this stress-response issue personally before any kind of diet is even considered. Remember, life is inherently stressful, and everyone suffers stress hormones. Individual reactions to stress determine whether you’ll gain weight, or even lose weight.

      Sounds like you might have been successful with addressing this. Remember, there will always be stress in life.


      • Carmen Theresa says:

        Hi Johnny,

        If you google “Cortisol and eating”, or “Cortisol and weight gain”, you’ll find lots of articles on the subject as I am not educated on the science behind it. I certainly have adapted and changed my lifestyle and eating habits to compensate for the ever changing levels of added stress in my life. The hardest part was learning what works for me to keep my belly flat and my weight down, and IF seems to have accomplished that. I just wish I had figured it out sooner. You’re ahead of the game here, so your road may be easier in keeping the weight off. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens 🙂

      • Johnny says:

        Hi Carmen,

        Cortisol is an interesting and complex hormone. I’ve read about cortisol and its effect on body fat and health for over 15 years.

        Acute cortisol itself is of course necessarily a beneficial occurrence, but chronic cortisol is negative. Cortisol is associated with belly fat, and the adipose tissues in our belly has greater receptors for the cortisol hormones.

        The idea of cortisol increasing appetite is based on complex processes. A primary function of cortisol is to thwart insulin action at the receptor level in tissues, so that sugar remains in the blood for energy usage (fight or flight). Chronic cortisol, however, is thought to cause diabetes type 2, or insulin resistance — but this is theoretical and causative factors are still unknown. With insulin resistance, it is said the body is “starving” for energy and so cells “communicate” with the hypothalamus (the brain) to stimulate hunger. Unfortunately, this cellular starvation and hunger is still theoretical (it is the basis for Gary Taube’s GCBC, in which he also admits is still hypothesis). I’m not saying this concept is not a contributing factor to hunger, but there are too many drivers of hunger that I rather not put up the entire farm.

        As I’ve said in past posts, there are many drivers of hunger (social, environmental cues, psychology, food addiction, reward seeking, etc.), and I currently don’t believe the theory that cortisol is remotely a driver of hunger. It just doesn’t explain why some people under chronic stress gain weight while others lose weight.

        But, let’s just say that you and I agree that chronic cortisol is bad news!


  21. jaysond says:

    my daughter just turned 15 so enjoy the young years. when they are young you dont want them to fall down and get hurt. when they are 15 you dont want some jerk to break heart! LOL

  22. Dale says:

    Don’t let her date until she’s thirty!

    • Daniel says:

      He should let her leave her life.
      The worst mistake one could make is keep his/her children under a glass, preventing them from making experience and learning from mistake. That’s not protection, that makes them vulnerable for life as they will never learn to think with their own mind and to deal with different situations. What parents should really do for their children is teaching him/her how to deal with life without them, even when they’re still there. A parent should never say the words “I don’t trust him/her” because a parent should have taught his/her children how to act responsably so that they can be trusted. No trusting one’s child is admitting to have failed as a parent. Actually, treating children like people and educating them rather than taking the wrong “shortcut” of arbitrary prohibition is the most important lesson we could learn from hunter-gatherer population, NOT their “paleo diet” but how to treat and respect young people.

    • Johnny says:

      Hi Dale,

      LOL. I appreciate your comment of light-hearted jest!


  23. robin pennell says:

    I have three kids…and I am just now using IF to get the “baby” weight off…You will find so many ways to exercise with kids…Get a good jogger for running and walking with the baby…if you have a home gym, or body weight, you can get in great workouts while the baby sleeps…they sleep alot in the beginning…
    Enjoy every single moment because they grow up in a blink of an eye…

  24. jaysond says:

    just wanted to say, today marks my 3rd full week in to the program. i started with a 12/12 ratio, then a 10/14 and i am now i am 1 week into my final 8/16 and i have lost 3lbs. keep in mind when i started IF and following the lean saloon i was already at 8% body fat and following a primal/paleo lifestyle so this is still very, very good results. thanks again johnny and everyone. i am loving the new lifestyle! love it!

  25. Mommy1.618 says:

    Hi Johnny,

    Congratulations! As our pediatrician says, keep her in a car seat until she’s 18 🙂 Babies are so much fun. The days are long, but the years are short. Savor every moment and take lots of pictures!

  26. lolo says:

    dont drop the ball Jman, or better yet, drop it koss it seems is not helping you much, ( pic… 1, 2 abs present) mmm looks like you are already getting a bit chubbier mate…
    eating smart > jumping like a dork… in the end its all about the liver @ insulin levels ( btw im still mega lean eating lots of chocolate + milk every day, so im kinda full of shit, but i could be leaner) anyway congrats on the child, and good luck.

    • Daniel says:

      Insulin levels don’t make much of a difference in how much fat your gain/retain but could make a difference in hunger levels.

      • Johnny says:

        That’s the truth.
        Can’t believe people still think that insulin levels are the primary driver of body fat.

    • Johnny says:


      Believe me, I can get chubbier — like up to over 200 pounds chubby like I used to be years ago. The picture of me here is far from “chubby.” This is my physique for nearly a year now, and it’s the result of imposed demand… it’s the result of a non-obsessive exercise routine and non-militant dietary lifestyle. (The physique hasn’t changed, or hasn’t gotten — as you call it — any chubbier.)

      At the beginning of 2010, I had aimed to have less muscle and a much more “civilian” physique that makes me look like I don’t spend my life with a dumbbell, and I’ve achieved the look I was after. But the main goal wasn’t the look so much as a sustainable, hassle-free lifestyle that allows me to have the look — and to be healthy and with a lighter body weight, and a physique with which I can take off a shirt without hesitation. I’m unconcerned with the extreme, with veins snaking every inch of my body, with bulges like those on a cartoon character, and I’m unconcerned about the size of my pec. Yet, the physique I’ve maintained for nearly a year now is something I can be proud of while putting effort into other areas of life.

      I’m still under 150 pounds, and I do relatively little to be where I am — it’s liberating. But believe me, also, when I say that I remain in “striking distance” from getting ripped — it would take only about a week to get sliced. (But I don’t have a Fiji vacation on the radar, so I’m OK with my current physique. And in the picture above, the blurred abs was probably mostly water retention from a ridiculously delicious steamed pot of seafood and broth from earlier in the day anyway. Ha! Heaven!)

      And, as far as I’m concerned, there’s no “ball to drop.” I don’t carry around a “ball of exercise and diet” to worry about dropping. There are other balls in life worth carrying.


  27. Ron says:

    Hi Johnny,

    Congratulations! My first born was a daughter; I of course wanted a son first, but he came second. I’m glad it worked out the way it did. What does your boxer eat? There are a lot of primal dog foods out there, is the dog low carb too? I think it makes sense as dogs are hunters.

    BTW, great blog.


  28. lolo says:

    i share -most- of your views now : i do not care about macros, obsess about “clean” foods,
    ( im doing 1 k of chocolate every week + milk btw…) and barely work out this days – so yes im all about hassle free, lighter look. The working out with a ball?… i don’t think that’s useful @ sustainable long term. ( more if you have to change diapers! sorry) how do you eat?, how do you train?, how do you manage your insulin levels?, i think all that’s maters. Insulin does drives fat storage, ( most of the time) but there are ways around that btw- i was going to put a pic of my ” sliced” body ( cartoon?!) but im not going to do that… im not expecting a baby so i dont think that’s fair ( i do eat a shit ton of chocolate!)

    • Johnny says:


      You should read the post more closely if you’re going to comment on whether working out with a medicine is sustainable or not. (Sustainable for what?)

      And who said I was working out with only a medicine ball? Additionally, as mentioned, the wood-chops I do with the medicine ball is mostly for incidental activity — not for a “workout.” Any workout I do with a medicine is for high-intensity and vigorous work — and if you think a 4 kilogram medicine ball is not an effective tool for this, then you’re not thinking creatively. There are hundreds of movements done at varying velocity that will elevate your heart rate to maximum and stress all three metabolic systems (ATP-PC, glycolytic, and aerobic).


    • Daniel says:

      insulin is an hormone-transporter whose job is to transport nutrients within the cells only when there are nutrients to store. Insulin doesn’t determine the amount of nutrients to saturate a cell with, the amount of food you eat does, insulin just does the job.

      Would you blame the amount or content of your mailbox on your postman?
      Insulin can’t absolutely store nutrients that can’t be stored.
      If you need 2000 calories and you eat 1000 calories then it doesn’t matter how insulinogenic the foods you ate are, because those 1000 calories are all needed and they won’t be stored. Even if they will be stored, it will be momentarily since they will be mobilitized from the stores an burned to make up for the lack of 1000 calories. If nutrients were stored even when you needed them, we would die. They’re stored only when there’s a surplus and can be saved for later used, that’s where insulin plays a neutral role: she just transports those nutrients. Even if you eat nothing but butter, an excess of calorie from butter will be stored anyway, even if no insulin is released, from another transporter called ASP. They’re all neutral postmen, having nothing to do with the amount or content of what is being mailed.

  29. Dale says:

    It is almost disheartening, the degree to which misinformation abounds, among fitness professionals, who accost us with forbodings about ‘starvation mode’ and ‘broken metabolism’ … and paint pictures of insulin magically, directly contributing to fat storage … and actually warning people that unless the INCREASE their calories they will not lose weight.

  30. Johnny says:

    Thanks, Daniel and Dale.
    For those who still believe that insulin is the main driver of fat:

    Part 1:

    Part 2:

    Part 3:

    James Krieger keeps it real.

    • Sondra Rose says:

      Excellent articles! Thanks for the links.

    • Denisha says:

      I am forever indebted to you for this ifnmoartion.

    • jaysond says:

      i just read this, any thoughts? no doubt from me just wondering if you agree with this article?

      -. And what does lifting heavy things do to insulin sensitivity in addition to its effects on muscle mass? It improves it. To show this, a study placed older Hispanic adults with type 2 diabetes on a 16-week resistance training regimen and measured their baseline and post-treatment muscle mass and markers of insulin sensitivity. Folks in the strength training group got stronger, leaner, built more muscle mass, and developed more type 1 and type 2 muscle fibers. They also became more insulin sensitive. The increase in type 1 fibers, in fact, was strongly associated with the improvements in insulin sensitivity, as this graph shows. Note how the sedentary group didn’t do so hot in either department (increasing muscle mass or decreasing insulin resistance). That looks like a pretty strong link between increased muscle mass and insulin sensitivity to me.
      Why is this important? Being insulin sensitive means you handle glucose well, which means less dietary glucose becomes body fat and less insulin is required to handle your business. This is far better than the idea of having a rumbling muscular engine idly burning calories as you watch TV, mostly because while the latter is a fun story to tell your bros at the gym, it’s not really true.

  31. nacho says:

    Where can I get a leather medicine ball like that with the strap? Nowhere to be found in Mexico City!

    • Johnny says:

      The leather medicine ball that I have is a test prototype and I’ve been using it regularly with no problem. It’s been a great tool and everyone who sees it comments that they fondly remember seeing classic medicine balls of yesteryear in black and white photos.

      So now I have a number of people who want to own the same leather medicine ball that I’m using; therefore, I’ve been in touch with a manufacturer to produce and ship more to me in mass quantity and at bulk cost.

      I am still testing this one for durability and so far it has held up like a champ.

      As I type this I’m looking at the leather medicine ball sitting in front of my brick fireplace. I typically just grab it and do a number of easy wood-chops while listening to the radio, just to get me up, moving around, increase my NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis — or calorie expenditure outside of exercising), and to stimulate metabolism.

      This morning, however, I had a kick-ass metabolic workout with it which lasted about 15 minutes. I was in sweat.

      This leather medicine ball is a very versatile tool and, like I mentioned elsewhere, everyone should own one in their home. A leather medicine ball takes up less space than a treadmill, it looks good in the house, and you can take it anywhere with you. It is a classic “gym” equipment.

      Would you be interested in purchasing one should I be able to order in bulk quantity?


      • John Behringer says:

        100% chance I would buy one as is.

        200% chance I would buy one if had “TLS – 2011” written on it or even if it were only available to celebrate the coming newborn 🙂

        And Johnny.. Congratulations!
        I’m scared to death of having my own Babies. IMHO-They seem to be the scariest little creatures on earth!

      • Joe says:


        I’d buy one in a heart beat. When do you think you’ll have them available?
        Congrats on your soon to be addition. You’ll be a great dad.

        Happy Independence Day.


      • Johnny says:

        Thanks, Joe.
        I’m in communication with the manufacturer to see what their production and shipping minimum will be.

        I will update you all on these leather medicine balls via a post.

        I will also write about my metabolic workouts with the medball, as well as just simple movements I use with the medball for incidental activity throughout the day.

        I use incidental activity to maintain healthy cellular activity and respiration, primarily for health but also to add to 24-hour calorie expenditure, which is another factor that enhances energy regulation and metabolic health. (Check out this post or Obesity Panacea’s article here.)


      • Chance says:

        Yes, I would be interested in purchasing one like you have shown, I haven’t had any luck finding something comparable on line.
        I appreciate your minimalist view of exercise, but wouldn’t you agree that there is a difference between exercising for progress vs. maintenance? Your physique is impressive, but I’m not there yet. Doesn’t it stand to reason that I need to do more, in some sense, in order to get to where I want and then find the minimum effective dose to maintain my physique?

      • Johnny says:

        I know this sounds zen-like, but getting more and maintenance are the same. You can’t just do a certain amount, and then once you’re there, you can back off to some kind of “maintenance.” Your body responds to stimulus dosage.

        What I’m doing now is no different from what I did to get here.

        Good luck,

  32. Jordan says:

    Hi Johnny,

    First, thank you for taking the time to answer.

    As I was reading TLS archives to find ideas for a strength training routine I realized that you emphasized the fact that the “big lifts” are not the best way to achieve the goal that most people is after: an aesthetic and balanced body (while still muscular/toned).
    But, could you please name exercises (lateral raises for the delts for example…) that would be in better help in order to achieve that kind of body shape? If you can give one (or more) exercise for each group of muscle that you recommend emphasizing that would be very appreciated.
    As you understand, my goal isn’t to get “man boobs” or big legs…

    PS: I know that the body is especially meant to work as a whole and at various level. I do it through sports (lots of soccer…), walking/ being active through the day and metabolic workouts you recommend. But, I ask here more for shape/aesthetics than for physical condition.

    Thanks in advance, and keep posting great articles and spreading informative and true thoughts!

    • Johnny says:

      Hi Jordan,

      To be clear, I believe in and promote full-body lifts such as squats, deadlifts, and press. For aesthetics (as defined by popular culture), I believe these lifts shouldn’t be over-emphasized in an exercise routine. (Obviously, the sport of powerlifting demands a different set of emphasis.)

      Everything is by degree, and it depends on what you want or what is appropriate for the condition you’re in. I absolutely include these lifts, but currently their volume is low (now more than ever), and that’s just my personal choice.

      If you’re looking for visual aesthetics, however, then focus on body parts that enhance the look, such as shoulders, arms, and rear delt/upper back.

      So, for you, in addition to some whole-body strength lifts, I would include:

      – overhead press
      – lateral raises / front raises
      – face-pulls and rear delts
      – various biceps and triceps

      Their frequency and volume depends on how much you want to emphasize your aesthetics. Personally, I’m happy to do the minimum and maintain a simple lean and normal look. In the end, the degree of emphasis is entirely up to you, and there’s no wrong way.

      Hope this helps,

  33. Jeffrey H says:

    Not too long ago I ordered a leather medicine ball on the internet and when it arrived the material turned out to be synthetic leather (“pleather”) and not genuine leather. I was disappointed as I really wanted a leather one. So months later I ordered one that was guaranteed to be genuine leather, but the leather felt like vinyl… the “grains” were all even and seem to replicate each other. The first one costed about $35 and the second costed some like $49.

    Then I looked further into it and found a company that makes real genuine leather medicine balls, but OMG an 8 pound medicine ball of theirs costed $500!

    Needless to say, I’m still on a quest for a real leather medicine ball (that actually looks like a *real leather* medicine ball!) that I can enjoy using and feel good leaving in my living room, out in the open. The leather medicine ball that you have in the picture looks to be THE PERFECT piece of equipment… functionally and aesthetically!!! PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE let us know when you’ll have them available to buy!

  34. sarahlipson says:

    I’d order one too for sure!
    What’s the weight?

    • Johnny says:

      Hi sarah,

      Having owned and used medicine balls for years, I find that for men a 9-pound (4 kg.) medicine ball and for women a 7-pound medicine ball are in general the best weight for dynamic movements that form either casual activities or metabolic conditioning, done in multiple planes of motion and at varying velocity.

      Remember that weight is not so much the primary factor but velocity is. F = m x A, where appreciable force can be created when mass remains small and Acceleration is large.

      Also, I’ve found that a diameter of about 8 inches is best for the average person’s grip for acceleration and for control in all planes of motion.

      As such, I am looking into 3 kilograms (about 7 pounds) and 4 kilograms (about 9 pounds) leather balls for women and men, respectively.


  35. TrailGrrl says:

    I’ve been on a quest for a leather medicine ball since you accessorize so well with it. Fid some slams and wood chops at work with their basketball medicine balls. I used 12 pound but I think it’s too heavy for me.


  36. Hi Johnny,
    I recently stumbled across your blog and I love it. Congrats on fatherhood. I’m currently, patiently waiting on first time unclehood! Your posts are such an inspiration. I too would purchase one of those medicine balls if you were to get them for distribution. Please keep me updated! Thanks again for the inspiration. I’m new to IF, currently working on a 10/14 split but with varying start/stop time consistency. Not sure if thats counter productive but I’m sure it still has its benefits. Have a great and productive day!
    Murphy David.

  37. Thanks a bunch for sharing this with all folks you actually know what you are speaking approximately! Bookmarked. Kindly also consult with my website =). We may have a link alternate contract between us

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