“I remember where I put my keys!”

“Uncle Teddy:   [from jail cell] Lost another 5 pounds. 83 so far.
Tommy Gavin: Wow.
Uncle Teddy:    Yeah, this Murder One diet is the way to go. ”
-Rescue  Me

I have been working the last 6 weeks at a gym called Boston Sports Club. Since I am currently working for someone else, it would be wise of me not to point out the pitfalls of large corporate gyms or trash talk any members. The good news so far (only sucking up a little) is that the pitfalls are not so bad and, actually, the members we have (for the most part) are awesome. So, I won’t go on about the kid who was doing partial squats with weight that was clearly too heavy for him, and when I politely corrected him and suggested less weight and deeper, fuller range of motion squats, his response was, “Thanks, dude, but it was like our eighth set!” I said, “It could have been your hundredth; all I care about is if you’re going to do it, do it correctly.” I won’t, in this post, get into why the hell anyone would think 8 sets is a good idea. There are exceptions (powerlifters), but even that might be excessive. Why would we do 8 when 1 set, done correctly, done safely, and done with the right amount of soul crushing, intensity is all you need?

I won’t be able to reach or save everyone, even with a captive gym audience. Fortunately, many don’t need saving. They are there! They are training and I have noticed one particularly cool trick several of our members use to help them make sure they get there. These members are coming in on their way to work in the mornings. Many just come in to drop off their gear, but some even take their showers at our facility and prepare for work in the morning at our gym. Then they go to work. After work, they come back to work out because everything they need for the gym is already there waiting for them. (Brilliant!)

But here is the story I really wanted to share in this post: One of my colleagues is the personal trainer to actor/comedian Lenny Clarke. He’s been a working comedian and actor for years, and the role that you might know him best for would be as Uncle Teddy from the show, Rescue Me. Now, believe me; if you saw the show, and then saw him now, you’d barely recognize him. He’s worked hard to get where he is, but that’s still not the story I want to share.

Mr. Clarke disappeared for a month or so. I figured he was off working and shooting scenes or something. But this morning, I see this gentlemen wearing a bright red shirt, that says Banff with a Maple leaf, training with my colleague. Turns out, I’m not the only Canadian in Boston, so I thought I’d walk up and give this new Canuck a hard time and tease my colleague to double whatever he had planned. It wasn’t some random Canuck, it was Lenny! (Who is not Canadian, for the record; he just visited there.) I didn’t recognize him until I got up close. In just 40 days, he went from weighing 214 down to 191. We say our hellos and how have you been, and I ask, “What did you do to lose that much weight!?” He quick tells me, but they’re in the session so we keep it short and I go back to work.

Here’s where it gets great! I’m at the front desk with another colleague as we check in members, and now that he is done his session and getting ready to leave, I ask him for more details.

“Glenn, we were only allowed 8 ounces of meat/protein twice a day with a cup of vegetables. We could snack all day, but only vegetables. No super starchy veggies, so even zucchini was out. But cucumber, carrots, celery… all that stuff! A lot of cabbage! It wasn’t until I’d been there a couple weeks that they said I could put some spicy mustard on my cabbage. And hey, let me tell ya: it’s hard to eat a lot of that stuff! It fills you up!” (The quote is not exact. Writing this, 9 hours after the conversation, I can’t help but have Uncle Teddy in my head as he is saying this.)

Here is what I wanted to know: I say, “Lenny, a lot of those vegetables are rich in nutrients and sulfur, especially the cabbage. Cabbage is rich in sulfur and that’s good for the brain. I got to ask, how did your brain feel?” (Okay, I’m no lawyer, but I did know the answer before I asked it.)

“Glenn! I feel great! I remember things! I remember where I put my keys! I remember things I talked about with buddies months ago! Months ago! I remember stuff!” (Side note: I teased him about being in a Buddha state… there was definitely something in his eyes that screamed a rejuvenated, youthful aliveness and alertness.)

“I’ve got energy and I don’t get that… that brain fog.”

“Glenn, I got to tell ya – I did this to look better! But now I feel better! So much better!”

That’s the recipe! Two meals. 8 ounces of beef, chicken, fish, eggs, etc., and a cup of vegetables. I’ll confirm with him as I see him more often at the gym, but I can imagine the veggies could be raw, steamed, stir-fried, or grilled. And the rest of the day, you can snack and eat when you are hungry, just so long as it is veggies. Cabbage.

Is there really any simpler way to eat right and lose the fat? Nope! (Maybe I should have been a lawyer.) But it’s not easy. He had to go on a retreat (New England Fat Loss) to make it happen. And, alas, many members who do come to the gym are only working with half the equation. They are coming to the gym, they are training, but 7 weeks, since I have been hired, most have not changed their body compositions. They are still overweight. They still have not mastered the second, and most important, half of the equation: eating nutrient-rich foods and not the crap.

My colleagues and I are, and will, continue the never-ending endeavor of trying to reach and help these members.


  • I asked Mr. Clarke if I could share this story via my blog as soon as he finished telling it to me. It saved me from writing a whole piece venting about 8-sets guy.

Lenny Clarke IMBD