CUT! How to Lose Weight and Get the Muscle Definition You Always Wanted

Okay kids, after months of testing, documenting, writing, and editing, it’s finally ready — my program for losing weight and shedding fat.  It’s called CUT! How to Lose Weight and Get the Muscle Definition You Always Wanted.

Don’t be fooled by the kitschy, comic-book-styled artwork.  This is the real deal.  Follow this program and you will get the lean body you want — no extreme workouts, no insanity, no mail-order food, no expensive equipment.  Just sensible food and realistic exercise.

I am uniquely qualified to write on this subject because I used to tip the scales at over 230 pounds.   If you want to hear the long, sad tale you can read on.  If you don’t, and you want to trust me, then head on over and buy a copy.

It works.


How I Went From Fat to Fit

I had been chubby since middle school. The older I got the heavier I got, and while I had always hated being fat and out of shape, I had never been able to summon up with the discipline to change. Fortunately a couple of things happened that pushed me in a new direction. Both of them, inexplicably and coincidentally, happened in my car.

The first event occurred in the early 1980s. I don’t remember the exact year, just that I was in my early twenties and I was driving home from a sales trip. A shooting pain in my chest forced me to pull off the road. It quickly subsided, and I was able to finish the drive, but it scared me half to death. I went straight to the doctor. After a physical exam and some lab tests the doctor informed me that I had not had a heart attack – that was relief – but he added the following:

“Relax Mr. Mitchell. There’s nothing wrong with you that isn’t wrong with half of the men in North America. You’re grossly obese and you have the body of a man twice your age. Just keep doing what you’re doing and you won’t make 50.” He handed me some pamphlets about weight loss and he was gone.  Somehow his sarcasm was more searing, and more scary, than the pain in my chest had been.

I started trying to diet and work out, but it was slow going and I hated it. There was nothing about the process of dieting or working out that was anything other than miserable.

One day I was driving to an appointment and got stuck in traffic. It was hot, the air conditioning was blowing tepid air in my idling car, and I was desperate to get to my destination on time. The car was literally a pressure cooker, and it was just too much for me to handle. So I proceeded to throw a childish fit, complete with screaming, swearing, and pounding of the steering wheel.
“Come on people, just go! What are you doing? It’s the pedal on the right that makes your car go you stupid…”

I don’t know why, but at some point during my idiotic tantrum I realized that it was nobody’s fault but mine that I was late. The people in the cars in front of me were just like me. From there I came to the inescapable conclusion that I was sick. I did not have a multitude of problems – a weight problem, a patience problem, a temper problem, and so on – what I had was a one big problem, a massive mental problem centering around low self-esteem. This central problem resulted in ill health, poor discipline, and all of the other issues I’ve already mentioned, plus a heaping helping of monetary problems and relationship problems.

It’s hard to be a decent employee, husband, father, and friend when you’re an irascible prick who hates himself. You spend all your time trying to prove you amount to something when you really don’t. Your subconscious mind knows you’re worthless as all hell, but your rational mind can’t except that. The imbalance between those two moving parts soon begins to shake the machine to pieces.

Somehow, as I slid down a terrifying slope into a life of complete failure, I managed to put on the brakes. I reached out in desperation for something that would help. I had heard that martial arts were good for discipline and weight loss, and I knew myself well enough to know that if I was going to work out, I would have to find an activity. Running and lifting weights were just too boring.
I walked into a Korean Karate school so fat that I could barely tie my crispy white uniform shut around my waist. I had never played a sport in high school, let alone college, and I could not even do a single Push-up. I loved it though. It was fun. Fun that is until my exam for yellow belt.

The school was full of people. Students, parents, and friends gathered to see both children and adults take their tests. When it was my turn I stepped to the center of the mat in front of everyone. I did okay until it was time to demonstrate my form. I had only a couple of dozen movements to execute, but I blanked out. I couldn’t remember a single technique. The room seemed as quiet as a meat packing plant at midnight. There I hung in the silence, a hundred eyes waiting to cut me up into steaks.

For the first time in my life I found myself in a situation I could not bullshit my way out of.   Before then, whenever I got in a jam, I could always flash a smile and borrow some money, convince a lover not leave me or a friend not to ditch me, tell a believable lie to get my way, make an excuse and keep my job, or beg for extra credit so I could pass a class. But the faces of the black belts behind that long table in front of me said that there was nothing I could do but demonstrate my skills. This was pass or fail. No excuses. No bullshit.

The school had a wall of mirrors along one side, and in those mirrors I saw myself clearly for the first time. I was a crappy father, a worthless husband, an unreliable friend, and a lackluster employee. Everything that I had previously told myself about myself was a lie. And now I was about to prove that I was an awful martial arts student as well.

Something inside me welled up and I managed to turn on the lights inside my head. I completed the first movement and the rest followed in succession. I passed the exam and got my yellow belt – a yellow belt that is more precious to me than the black belt I got three years later. That was the day I started rebuilding myself from the ground up. I decided that I was going to be the best father, husband, friend, and employee that I could possibly be, and that I would never again fail to look at myself the mirror without flinching.

If you are a fat, miserable, unhealthy person in your mind and in your body there is only one thing you can do. Look at yourself in the mirror and evaluate yourself without fear. Make a decision, today, right now, this very moment, that you are going to change.

Look at yourself hard, without the candy coating. No more lies, no more excuses, no more bullshit. See that person? That’s what you were thirty seconds ago.

But not anymore.

Jumprope 30 minutes @cabal_fang #WOD

Jumprope 30 minutes @cabal_fang #WOD

Androgenous Guest on my Patio


This is a red eft a.k.a. the juvenile red-spotted newt a.k.a. the eastern newt.

Ain’t he cute?  I say “he” but he could be a she.  My newt sexing skills aren’t what they once were.  Newt sexing (which, although it sounds similar if you say it quickly at a dinner party, is entirely different than “nude texting”) requires regular practice.  But I digress.

My wife said, “You should move him off the patio and put him somewhere moist.”

I let that go without making any coarse remarks.  “He’s fine.  These little guys have bio-magnetic orientation.  They never get lost.”

It’s true.  Has to be.  Says so on Wikipedia.

AMRAYC in 10 mins of: 5 Bodybuilders and

AMRAYC in 10 mins of: 5 Bodybuilders and Twisters w/ Medicine Ball #12 @cabal_fang #WOD

I’m no Bruce Lee: Intro to Non-dualism

Life imitating art imitating life

Life imitating art imitating life

Pretty sure this faceless dude in a yellow jumpsuit is supposed to be a depiction of Bruce Lee.  How could I resist the temptation to kick alongside the “little dragon?”

I know what you’re thinking: “Why didn’t you do a jump kick?”  Answer: because I’m an old fart and my jumping days are pretty much behind me.  To be honest, I never was much a jump kicker, even back in the 80’s, a.k.a. “the Taekwondo years.”

I’ve caught myself thinking about those days quite a bit recently.  I can’t say why.  I’ve forgotten some of my hyung (also know as tul or poomse) and that makes me a little sad and nostalgic.  Not enough to put on a uniform and go back mind you.   I love what I’m doing now too much.

I can’t say that Cabal Fang, the martial art I founded, is “better” than Taekwondo.  That would be like saying a screwdriver is better than a hammer.  No tool is better than another because each as its own specific functions.

It’s hard to put on a uniform and go to Taekwondo class, to follow instructions, stand in line, memorize movements and material, follow directions, and so on.  But it is also hard to be responsible for your own education, to fight with more contact, to test and re-test techniques for effectiveness, and to stay focused without the external support of fifty other people who all dress the same.  Which is most difficult?  Well, which is harder: walking a hundred miles of road with the support of fifty friends, or hiking twenty miles through uncharted wilderness with a couple of your buddies?  It’s an impossible question with no meaningful answer.

The trap of dualism is deep and wide, and few escape.  Evaluating, categorizing, judging seem to be engrained in human DNA.  Black and white, good and bad, left and right, moral and immoral.  Opposites.  Value judgments.  Which is better: blue or safety orange?   Depends.  Are you dressing for a hunting trip or a job interview?  Are you painting the shutters on your house, or highway cones?

But more importantly: what do you want to paint today?




Pointlessness and the Purple Pill

Me hitting a double-end bag

Never forget to hit it as hard as you can.  “Swing away Merrill…Merrill, swing away.”

If you stopped ten people on the street and asked them which pharaoh the Great Pyramid of Giza was intended to entomb, maybe one of them would answer correctly with “I think it was Khufu, right?”  Remember Shelley’s “Ozymandias?”  There is nothing you can build that will last for more than a short time, and there is no achievement you can make that won’t be forgotten in short order.  Nothing is permanent except impermanence.

All in all, it’s easy to see why so many people react in one of the two most popular ways:  they either manufacture significance where there is none (insert religious or ideological outlook here) or give up entirely and just pay bills and wait to die.

You don’t have to choose the red or the blue pill.  There is at least one another option.   Mine is something I’ll call the purple pill:

Life is an aesthetic practice rather than a material or moralistic one.   You are a work of art in sidewalk chalk that will be destroyed by the next rain, a piece of graffiti soon to be white-washed, a comedy improv skit nobody will remember next week.  While you last, be the most beautiful piece of art you can be.

Be amazing, be striking, be the best damn thing you can be.


5 rounds of: Run :30, Prisoner Squats :3

5 rounds of: Run :30, Prisoner Squats :30, Run :30, Prison Pushups :30 (10 mins total) @cabal_fang #WOD