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How To Get Fit and Spend Less at the Same Time, with Martin Dasko

Presented by Wealthsimple

Welcome to The MapleMoney Show, the podcast that helps Canadians improve their finances to create lasting financial freedom. I’m your host, Tom Drake, the founder of MapleMoney, where I’ve been writing about all things related to personal finance since 2009.

Over the past two years, I’ve lost over 40 lbs using a technique called intermittent fasting. My guest this week is the one who got me hooked on the idea in the first place. He joins me to discuss what makes intermittent fasting effective and the parallels between physical and financial fitness.

Martin Dasko has been obsessed with personal finance and physical fitness since he was a teenager. These days he runs two websites dedicated to each subject, owns several businesses, and travels whenever he can.

We begin our discussion by talking about my personal journey over the past couple of years, how I spent that time getting my nutrition in order, and building a consistent fitness routine into my schedule.

If you’re unfamiliar with intermittent fasting, the concept is pretty simple. You go through a period of not eating, followed by a period of eating. You can follow different schedules, such as a 16:8 pattern (fast for 16 hours, followed by an 8 hour period during which you can be eating). This is the method I use, and it’s one that Martin prefers as well.

According to Martin, one of the biggest reasons intermittent fasting works is that it’s not a diet. You’re not restricting yourself from any particular food; instead, you’re controlling when you eat. As Martin explains, it’s a lot easier to limit when you eat than what you eat.

If you’ve been stuck inside more than usual this winter and have put on what I call COVID weight, this episode is sure to inspire.

Our sponsor, Wealthsimple, believes that financial independence should be available to anyone. That’s why they have no account minimums, meaning that you can get started investing for as little as one dollar. Don’t delay any longer; invest online by visiting Wealthsimple today.

Episode Summary

  • Bad habits creep in when you don’t have a plan.
  • The benefits of intermittent fasting
  • It’s easier to change when you eat as opposed to how you eat.
  • The different types of intermittent fasting
  • Eating out of boredom instead of hunger.
  • When losing weight, focus on nutrition first.
  • Ways to make working out fun.
Read transcript

Over the past two years, I’ve lost over 40 pounds using a technique called intermittent fasting (IF). My guest this week is the one who got me hooked on the idea in the first place. He joins me to discuss what makes intermittent fasting so effective and the parallels between physical and financial fitness. Martin Dasko has been obsessed with personal finance and physical fitness since he was a teenager. These days, he runs two websites dedicated to each subject and travels whenever he can.

Welcome to the Maple Money Show, the podcast that helps Canadians improve their personal finances to create lasting financial freedom. Our sponsor, Wealthsimple, believes financial independence should be available to anyone which is why they have no account minimums, meaning that you can get started investing for as little as one dollar. Don’t delay any longer. Invest online by visiting today. Now, let’s chat with Martin…

Tom: Hi Martin, welcome to the Maple Money Show.

Martin: Thank you so much for having me back. What is this, the third time now?

Tom: This is the third time. You’re going for the hat trick.

Martin: Third time’s a charm, they say. Maybe we’ll get it right this time.

Tom: It’s the most appearances yet, but that’s because you dabble in a few different things. On the on the first episode… What were we talking about on the first episode? I don’t even remember now.

Martin: I was saving money for adventures and those things in general.

Tom: Yes. Saving adventure for adventures. And then the second episode, I brought you back to cover your coffee crawl business. And then Covid hit.

Martin: Oh, thanks for reminding me, Tom. Yes, I lost one of my businesses. Thank you for that kind reminder.

Tom: And the other thing you’re into is exercise and weight loss and you have another site for that. I want to dive into that because one of the things I’ve been working on for the last couple of years was weight loss. And the way I did it was something you encouraged me through. It was intermittent fasting. We’ll get into this more but it’s just the idea that you eat within certain windows. For me, that’s the only change I really made and I ended up losing over 40 pounds in two years.

Martin: That’s amazing.

Tom: Thank you. But granted, two years is a pretty long time frame but it probably took me over 10 years to gain that in the first place so I’ll take that two years.

Martin: And that’s the thing. So many of us forget how long it took us to get into debt or gain all that weight. It’s not going to come off in as short a time and it took us to gain it.

Tom: I do like the comparison with that because both are so very similar. Like you said, you can slowly accumulate this. Another comparison I’ve seen is if you’re tracking it, it’s just so much easier to stay motivated. Then once you’re at your goal to stay on top of it. I’ve been tracking my weight all the way down and now if my weight were to increase five pounds in a month, I’m going to see it and react to it. When I was gaining weight over that decade, I really wasn’t weighing myself. I don’t know what my original weight was before I started working my way up. It’s just something where if you’re not tracking and following it then you’re just walking around oblivious to this.

Martin: You made a good point there. Nobody plans on getting into debt or getting out of shape. These are things that happen when you don’t have a plan and kind of let bad habits creep in. When I work with readers when it comes to personal finance, nobody wanted all this credit card debt. But you buy something here and buy something there… it’s a daily habit. It’s the same thing with eating. You’re eating and eating and putting on weight. You’re not exercising. Life gets in the way and next thing you know, you’re 40 pounds overweight. What do I do now? We go looking for quick fixes and don’t find one. And as I mentioned earlier, it took a while to get to the stage so now it’s going to take you some time to get out of this.

Tom: Yeah, in my case I figured two years was too long. All I really did was intermittent fasting. I didn’t exercise. I did make some better food choices, mostly because of the intermittent fasting. Things like pop, beer, pretzels, chips, all that happened from 8 pm on, after the kids were in bed. I’d sit down to watch a movie or work on the blog so it was easy to just grab a snack. I do 12 pm to 8 pm so having that 8 pm cutoff wasn’t just about the fasting. It was also just cutting off some of the worst foods and drinks at the worst times.

Martin: Exactly. And I find with many people, the biggest problem is that we don’t have a system in place. We could all caught up and studying different theories, different ideas. Like in the personal finance world, people was looking for different investments, different ways to get rich quick and they ignore the basics. They didn’t have any systems in place. So when I first help someone with saving money, for example, I’ll have them make a system such as “pay yourself first.” Take the money off your paycheck right away. Instead of worrying about trying to make a million dollars in that new side hustle, worry about saving maybe $50 a week from a paycheck automatically. Then you can worry about building a little side hustle or trying to sell some stuff for extra money. The same thing happens with fitness. We just need some sort of a system. That’s why intermittent fasting works for a lot of people. It’s because we don’t have any idea of what we’re consuming. If you ask the average person how much they eat, they wouldn’t know. They say, “I think I’m eating healthy. I think I’m eating a little bit of food,” but these bad habits creep up without a system so it’s easy for things to go out of whack. That’s why intermittent fasting is eight hours of eating. Just this simple, simple system makes your life so much easier. You can eat for eight hours which makes it less likely that you’ll screw up—which I think what happened in your case.

Tom: Yeah, well, there was no control. To make another personal finance analogy, intermittent fasting is kind of like a budget. You’ve got this certain amount of time you can eat in. When I didn’t have those rules in place, I could just grab a snack whenever I felt like it. There wasn’t anything stopping me. If I wanted to eat as soon as I woke up until I went to sleep (and multiple times within) I wasn’t tracking it. I still don’t track my food. I’ve never gone that far.

Martin: I’m guilty of that. I’m a bad personal finance blogger and bad tracker. I suck at tracking things. That’s what I liked when I first start saving money. I used the envelope system where you have different envelopes for different areas of your life. I would have money for going out, money for coffee and things like that because I can’t track. I’d know when I ran out of something. So, instead of tracking my calories, I know when it’s time to stop eating and when it’s time to start eating, which makes it so much easier for me. Tracking is just one of those things that intimidates people. It’s just like when you first try to save money. You have to check every penny. Then you kind of feel guilty. It’s the same thing with food. You have a slice of pizza and think, do I really want to track that? Do you really want to track everything and make yourself anxious 24/7? Most likely not.

Tom: That’s what I really like too, intermittent fasting gave me the freedom to not worry about that as much. All I really worried about was basically eating my lunch, my dinner and maybe a snack or two in between or after dinner just before that eight o’clock window. But just the idea that I didn’t have to track it as much. I tried to make better food choices where I could. Instead of a pizza every week, maybe it was pizza once a month. But I wasn’t cutting out anything I didn’t want. If I wanted something, it was kind of fine as long as it was in that window. I also found as I was losing the weight, my body kind of got turned off to some of these things. I didn’t like sweet things as much. I couldn’t eat that second helping as often because your stomach just kind of says, “No.” It was interesting how it just kind of had momentum to it.

Martin: Getting back to personal finance, our mutual friend, J.D. Roth, said you can have anything that you want, but you can’t have everything that you want. This is why I like the fasting. That’s why when I write about personal finance, I never tell someone you can’t buy new shoes… You can’t buy this or that. You can buy anything they want, but you just can’t have everything you want. The reason the fasting works is because it’s so much easier to change when it comes to habit building. It’s so much easier change when you eat as opposed to how you eat. I talk to a lot of readers or they’ll message me—even friends at parties will say, “I’ve got to lose some weight. I’m thinking about trying the Keto diet. I’m going to go vegan or try this diet or that diet.” And I tell them that’s awesome if they can do it. That’s like someone saying they’re never going to buy new shoes again or spend money again. That’s great. But you’re not going to do that. Let’s be honest. Nobody goes from zero to 100 overnight. So when people tell me they want to try a new fancy diet or a new strict budget, I ask them if that is really realistic. The reason intermittent fasting is very realistic for anybody is because you can still have your favorite food. You just can’t have it all the time. Instead of denying, we delay. Like you said, nobody’s saying you can’t have pizza. You just can’t have it every day.

Tom: Before we get into some of these diets, which is probably part of the problem people see when they’re looking to lose weight, now that we’ve set up what intermittent fasting has done for me, can you just explain what it is for people that are interested? What exactly is happening?

Martin: I’ve been studying this stuff forever because there are things that I’ve been into my whole life, fitness and finances. So I’ve been trying to get to six figures and trying to get a six pack. I tried everything. When I first started out around 2002, 2003, it was confusing. Trying to find information, you’d have to buy magazines. You buy the magazine that has a guy with a 12-pack on the cover. And you’re like, “Wow!” And they give you all these diets and all these different new workouts. It was stressful and hectic. I tried everything. I always trained, but I never looked like I trained. I always looked like an average guy and it was really bothering me. I needed to find something that worked. Finally, I found this intermittent fasting. The concept is very simple. You go a period of not eating and a period of eating. I don’t like to use the word fasting because that might have a negative connotation. You’re pretty much just delaying your first meal. So in Tom’s case, he does the traditional intermittent fasting, which is the eight hour eating window and 16 hours of not eating. Now, some people might think they can’t do that but I’m pretty sure Tom is sleeping for eight of those hours.

Tom: Well, maybe not eight.

Martin: Okay, maybe six, seven or nine.

Tom: Exactly. It’s not that bad. For me it just feels like you’re skipping snacks in the evening and breakfast, which actually kind of feels almost like a “productivity hack” to get into your day.

Martin: It’s my number one productivity hack. You pretty much have a period of not eating and a period of eating. And the not eating period involves sleep and just regular life. People think it’s all about being idle and staring at the clock. That’s one of the bigger criticisms. People say, “Oh, I can’t stare at a clock,” but nobody is telling you stare at a clock. You wake up and go to work as opposed to, rushing to have a breakfast or going through a Tim Horton’s drive through to get something. You just don’t want to eat the first meal until 12 pm. And people will think I’m starving myself but you’re just waiting a few hours. You’ll be fine, I promise you. And Tom does the easiest version which is the best version. That’s a version I recommend for everybody because you pretty much just delay your first meal for four hours. I sometimes do something a bit more extreme. I do a feast every day. I have a four hour eating window, which is what I prefer to do because I like to have a big dinner. I work all day and trade it for a feast. It’s also good for your social life because I like to go out with friends and have a big dinner. That’s what I do. And some people do alternative fasting. There is also a 24-hour fast, but those are a bit more extreme. I don’t really recommend jumping into a three day fast or any of that stuff because it can obviously lead to issues if you’re not ready for it. But you want to just start, try the traditional 16-8 intermittent fasting. That’s what’s worked for Tom.

Tom: Yeah, and like I said, it’s just basically skipping the snacking and the breakfast. It feels like it fits into a normal lifestyle. To do a 24-hour fast and then have a normal day after just doesn’t seem as natural as this does.

Martin: Yes, that’s definitely more extreme. I hear a lot of negative things about fasting so I tell people not to do a 24-hour or 36-hour fast. Find a time that works for you. If you’re a morning person then try to eat earlier in the evening the day before. If you’re a night owl then maybe you’re going to like this because you can eat later and into early the next day. You have to find a system that works for you as well finding those six or eight hours where you can eat. People will say, “I have a meeting at work or a hectic job,” but every day is different. Try to work around your schedule as Tom has done.

Tom: One of the things I found too, was as I was doing this, my food bill was going down. This is one of the few things in the diet weight loss area that can actually save you money. There’s all these different diet products, oats and protein powders… You can spend a lot of money trying to lose weight. In my case, I’m saving money and losing weight. Can you compare that a little bit? What’s the diet culture compared to intermittent fasting, which is not actually a diet?

Martin: I have a lot to say on this topic. Like I said, I started training 2002, 2003 which is almost 20 years. I’ve been training since I was a teenager and have spent a small fortune on every gimmick in the world. I am coming from a place of experience. I’m not here to lecture you guys. But when I first started working out, I used to buy Slim Fast bars. Tom, you remember Slim Fast?

Tom: Yeah.

Martin: It’s a scam. You’re pretty much eating chocolate bars with a little bit of protein in them. You might as well eat a regular chocolate bar. I tried everything. I tried fat burners. They use these esoteric terms like oxidizers, blah, blah, blah. You read this stuff that says it burns your fat. Then you read about these different supplements that get you into better shape, better health. All these things do is burn a hole in your wallet. You spend so much money and it’s the biggest waste of money. I don’t have the numbers in front of me, but they said the supplement industry is worth billions of dollars per year. It’s the same with the food industry. The reason breakfast is promoted as the most important meal of the day is because people like John Harvey Kellogg started promoting cereal because he wanted people to eat his cereal. Then there was this gentleman hired to work for to promote bacon. Edward Bernays. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of him but he’s the father of PR. He worked for this company to promote bacon. He got doctors to sign off the how it’s good to eat first thing in the morning. It’s a whole long story. Look it up. I don’t want to get into it. It’s borderline wacky. Over the years, it’s been marketed to us that you should be eating constantly. And now fast forward to 2021 and you’ve got Uber Eats and probably 20 different apps on your phone to deliver food to you at any given time. It’s all instant gratification. All these gimmicks—all it does is stress you out and cost you a lot of money, and it doesn’t get you the results you want. To get into your best shape you have to get a calorie deficit. I know most of us hating tracking so just use intermittent fasting as a tool to eat less calories and lose weight. It’s really that simple. I want you guys to save that money. You can save at least $50 to $100 by cutting out the fat burners and detox teas. This is why I was skeptical to even talk about it when I first started talking fitness and dieting because this whole diet culture has a lot of negative connotations and it promotes terrible eating habits. I’ve seen firsthand, people take these detoxes teas. All these teas do is make you feel unwell for a few days. You may lose the weight because you’re in the bathroom all the time. But then as soon as you start eating you gain weight back. That’s why I wanted to share and talk about fasting. You’re saving money, eating less. It’s a not brainer. You’re eating less, you’re more productive and getting more done, and you’re not buying all these gimmicks. I wish I knew this sooner because I would have saved myself a lot of money by not paying fat burners and all these supplements I didn’t even understand at the time.

Tom: Yes, all the diet products are extra expensive. I never went down that road. But just literally buy less real food sure helped as well. All those snacks, I’m no longer eating, those are more expensive than the ingredients you would use to build a meal. A bottle of beer or can of pop costs more than drinking water during the day. All this stuff that is expensive, I was cutting out just because of a time window.

Martin: Yeah, and it retrains your hunger. When they first try this people say, “I’m literally starving!” You’re not literally starving. You’re fine. You’d be surprised how much food you eat that you don’t need to eat, you know? And then most of the time when you’re snacking or eating, let’s be honest, we’re just bored. We’re not actually hungry. Still, to this day, I remember coming back in the summer I went on the road trip and we were driving home when we saw a Wendy’s, so we stopped. I got a Baconator and as I was eating it, I realized that after all these years I fell for it again. I wasn’t hungry, I was bored. It was a long drive and I figured I needed to eat something. But I get it. Sometimes you’re stressed and feel the need to eat but fasting teaches you to eliminate those habits and find new habits. Now, instead of stress eating or eating in the mornings you find something else to do. It’s the same thing in the evenings. Instead of watching TV and grabbing a bag of chips, you might just watch TV and not eat a bag of chips. Maybe you’ll do something else.

Tom: Two things I noticed when I first started doing this a couple years ago. I recall it as being a week or less where it seemed like it would be hard to make it all the way until 12 o’clock. But your body does react to that. Since then, it’s felt normal where I don’t have a single urge to eat anything that early. One of the things I found that helped—I don’t know if this is a real thing or it’s just me but I just started drinking a lot more water, which already has its own benefits, too. But if you’re literally full of water, it kind of stops some of that feeling of hunger.

Martin: Yeah, that’s what I tell a lot of people that are new to this—drink more water. We often underestimate how hydrated we are. And we overstimulate hungry we are. Most of the time you’re not really hungry, you’re just dehydrated. Even in the evenings, I’ll ask myself if I’m hungry or do I just need more water? So next time you’re feeling hungry or tempted to grab that bag of chips, drink a cold glass of water. You’d be surprised. You may actually be dehydrated. And when you drink that water, you get more energy and feel better than you would from eating that bag of chips. And right now, during this whole global pandemic and everything being all locked down, it’s so easy to put on the pounds, to build terrible habits. I’m not saying you have to be perfect. I’m not one of those people who is going to lecture you about everything you do. But if you don’t take care of these habits right now, they’ll spiral out of control. This (the pandemic) could go on for another year and I’ve heard from a lot of people that they are packing on the pounds, building terrible habits. And when you eat late at night, you can’t sleep as well. The next day you’re tired. And when you’re tired you eat even more junk food. Studies have actually shown that when you’re sleep deprived, your body craves sweets and junk food, and you’ll never feel full. It’s such a vicious cycle. So when we build this habit, all we’re doing is having black coffee or water for breakfast. We’re getting our focus back. We’re getting our time back. We have our lunch and dinner with our families. We’re not being antisocial. And then we get our evenings back. If you don’t take advantage of your time, it’s easy for things to spiral out of control.

Tom: This whole intermittent fasting thing was huge for me. But like I said, I didn’t exercise at all. I know intermittent fasting works and that’s great as a case study, but now I want to get into exercising. Now that the weight loss is there, I would like to get some muscle. I’d also like to just feel better, to get rid of the sore back by having a better core. This is a lot newer to me, but it’s something I want to go over with you because I certainly don’t want to be wasting money. I hear all this talk about Pelotons and things like and it seems like a lot of money to spend just to exercise. Now that we’ve covered diets, what are your thoughts on the exercise side of losing weight and being healthier?

Martin: I’m glad we got into diet first because you’ve seen a variation of this quote where they say losing weight for fitness is 70 percent diet, 30 percent exercise. I used to hate that quote, but that quote is so true. It’s so easy for you to get caught up in this overambitious cycle where you do the intense, insanity workouts but you just get hungry and don’t make any progress. So before we can worry about weight loss, we have to get our nutrition in order. The goalpost is always moving and we all have different goals. If you want to just lose weight, I always tell people to fix the eating and then focus on adding more activity to your life. Cardio is a very complicated thing. People want to do fancy workouts and look at new routines, which is fine, but get more active first. Try to lead an active lifestyle. Make it happen to get those 10,000 steps in every day. This is an opportunity for you to listen to podcasts, call a friend, take your kids for a walk in the park, look up trails near you—try to create an active lifestyle. In the summertime, you can go for bike rides, do activities, play sports, meet up with friends, play soccer. Do whatever you can to be active. If you’re doing that and it’s working for you, that’s cool. When it comes to the fitness equipment, I’ll say this, if you buy a treadmill or a piece of fitness equipment and use it, it’s not a waste of money. If you buy a treadmill or Peloton and don’t use it, then yes, it’s a big waste of money. And unfortunately, the latter is usually what happens. People end up buying these treadmills and fitness machines they don’t use. They might use them once. I’m sure we’ve all been to somebody’s house and see their Peloton or treadmill is more of a coat hanger than an actual piece of equipment.

Tom: That’s me. I’ve got an exercise bike and an elliptical. They haven’t really gotten used. I’ve tried the exercise bike more recently. Even before I was losing weight, I would try the exercise bike and I found it kind of depressing me. I’d know I ate a certain number of calories in the day but it’s screen calorie counter would say I burnt only 100 calories. And I’d think, “Why would I do this?”

Martin: My friend has an elliptical. I was there a while ago and just for fun, I spent an hour on it. I think I burned 400 calories in an hour on the elliptical. And 400 calories is a like a large latte. That’s a lot of calories. That’s why I say, nutrition first, because when you see how tough it is to burn calories, it’s just so much easier not to eat in the calories in the first place. But back to your original question when it comes to fitness equipment, I’m not against Pelton’s. I’m not against treadmills. But chances are, you know yourself better than I do. In your case, if you asked me if you should get a Peloton, I’d say, “No, Tom, because you’ve still got that elliptical you haven’t used.” I’d start out by buying kettlebells. And, obviously, this would depend on your individual strength level and your experience level. I have a bunch of kettlebells and resistance bands. These are easy investments and you can put them anywhere. They’re not going to take up a lot of space like an elliptical, which I’m sure gets in the way. Any kind of dumb bells you can find. I know it’s tougher to get because of all the demand. The supply and demand has been all thrown out of whack. But you can find some dumbbells, get some resistance bands—any kind of kettlebells. People are asking about what weight to get—whatever you can get will do. And when you get your tools, the beauty about social media is you can find a million different workouts. So, if you want to exercise using a kettlebell, just look up, kettlebell routines. You’ll find so many videos. And if you take it one step further, there’s Instagram lives every day because a lot of gyms have to pivot because they’re closed so they’ll run classes online. What I was telling friends to do and what I saw people doing was just online classes every day. There are bodyweight ones. There are kettlebell classes. Just find a class that fits you. Obviously, you know yourself so just try to find a class. There are other people there and it’s live. It’s fun and interactive and you actually feel like you’re doing something as opposed to being on a treadmill or elliptical for an hour and losing your mind. And finally, I would recommend doing something with a group where there is some sort of accountability. When you’re at home, it’s easy to feel discouraged. You’re by yourself, going on this bike. It’s lame. You jump off. Try to join a group and get joined up. Find a Facebook group, an Instagram group. Find other friends that are doing this. And get into some challenges because competition is the best cardio. Tom could challenge a buddy for who can get better at pushups—who can put on more muscle. Find some sort of a fun challenge so that you’re actually enjoying yourself because fitness shouldn’t be stressful. I always tell people that play is the best cardio. So go for walks, go for hikes. I do Jujitsu when I can. Find any way to play, any way to get your friends involved and make it fun.

Tom: I like that you brought up videos because one of the first things I noticed was that there was a ton of stuff on YouTube. You could look up any particular exercise, any routine of exercises. You don’t need to go buy a DVD anymore or anything like that. It’s all available there.

Martin: You can customize too. You can literally type in “kettlebell workout for guys over 40” and I’m sure it’ll be like 20 different videos. Find a video, watch it or get a friend to join you. There’s your workout. Do it three or four times a week, get a couple walks in, try the fasting and boom… the pounds will melt away.

Tom: You mentioned accountability. One of the things that seems to be working for me so far is an app I have called, Seven. It’s by Perigee. I point that out just because there are a few apps called, Seven. All it is, is a seven-minute workout. Right now it’s got me on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I think it starts to increase as you go. But these little seven minute workouts are on my phone. They’re super simple. But accountability wise, it’s the fact that the phone starts harassing me by telling me I haven’t done today’s workout so I should get doing that. Then it tracks and sends it to my Google Fit and everything. It shows that I’ve done my exercise. It gives you a little achievement stickers and everything to say, “Oh, you went three straight exercises. You did all the exercises this week.” I don’t know what triggers all these achievements. It’s just like a video game. Sometimes they just randomly pop up. Early on, I’m finding this really useful. There are a ton of other apps that will do something similar, of course, but there’s a free version and then there’s a premium version. The free version does a lot, though. You get a lot of exercises included in that. I think the premium one will unlock more exercises. But this app is just seven minutes, which is quite doable. There’s basically no equipment involved at all. It’s things like planks and a chair kind of pose against the wall or pushups like you mentioned. You do 30 seconds of each over seven minutes. Early on, I found something like that. And yes, it’s going to depend on different people. But those notifications to do it and the tracking of it afterward—it’s been motivation for me so far.

Martin: I like to hear that. I always tell people, work with what you can, when you can. Like I said, if you have a tiny condo, find a tiny condo workout. If you have a big house then find a workout you can do in a big house. When the pentatonic first hit, I remember I was kind of freaking out because the gyms were closed and I was wondering what I was going to do. But the fitness industry probably had one of the best pivots, in my opinion, when it comes to this whole pandemic because all of a sudden everybody was online. There were live workouts every day. If I wanted to do more of a cardio high intensity workout, I would go on Instagram Live and, boom, it’s right there. And just to be accountable, I would tell a friend I’d be on this live session. That way I knew they would be on there too and knew they would be watching me. And I’d be watching them. So something like that—just having people hold you accountable if you don’t have an app. That was amazing. And then I found so many YouTube videos, so many tutorials. There are tutorials explaining A to Z, everything on how to do a workout. You can spend $20 to $50 buying a couple kettlebells or resistance bands (or buy nothing) and have an amazing workout in your home.

Tom: So far, other than the equipment that I don’t use, I don’t have anything else like kettlebells.

Martin: So you should sell the elliptical.

Tom: I probably will, actually. I just don’t like it.

Martin: Yeah, it sucks.

Tom: The exercise bike is not so bad but the elliptical, nah. In both cases, I feel like I’m not actually doing anything. Between the calorie count and the time used, I feel like I’ve achieved more in this seven minute workout where it’s getting automatically tracked and everything. I also have an Android watch too that’s tracking the length of time I’m working out. It tracks my steps as well.

Martin: How many steps are you getting in, Tom?

Tom: Not 10,000—especially this year. It’s a lot easier to get that step count just with something as simple as going shopping at Costco. The step count increases so much more when you get out of the house. But that’s been a problem this year.

Martin: Yeah, I’m with you. That’s why I made a point to get into the habit of exploring. I suggest people embrace nature. I’ve never been that kind of a guy. I’m a city guy. But now, this last year, instead of doing cardio in a gym or something, I’ve realized I can just get my cardio in and enjoy myself by hiking some local trails. Something as simple as googling trails near me is amazing. I’ve found so many places close to me and wonder how it is I didn’t know they existed. And too, you don’t want your cardio workout to feel like torture. When something feels like torture or feels like another job, we don’t want to do it. We dread it. We don’t want to do our main job so why would we want another one? Like you said, the elliptical feels torture. It’s boring. It feels like a job. Nobody wants that. But going for a walk—you’re going on a new trip and it’s fun. Another thing, a lot of my friends have got dogs that they go for walks with. Now, of course, that’s a big responsibility. But, yeah, if you’re feeling generous, you could adopt a dog, rescue a dog. That will force you to go outside for walks. You’d have to go for a walk every day so you might as well go somewhere scenic and enjoy the ride.

Tom: Well, I don’t know if I’m going down that path, but thanks for walking us through all this. I think if anybody’s looking for this change because they packed on a few extra pounds during Covid (or like me, it took them a decade to do it), it’s good to know that if someone’s thinking they can’t lose weight because of money, it’s almost the opposite. I saved money doing it the way I did. Basically, I haven’t spent a dollar, even though I will look at kettlebells.

Martin: You could sell your elliptical and use the money to buy a couple of kettlebells.

Tom: Great point.

Martin: You would still be ahead of the game.

Tom: Yes, I’d still be up. I’ll have saved money and lost weight. Can you tell people about your site and where they can find you?

Martin: As you guys have probably found over the years through Studenomics, my other love is fitness. I keep fitness simple because over the years we’ve overcomplicated everything, especially fitness. Most people who are intimidated by it and think they have to track calories, plan every meal, live in the kitchen, live in the gym. I want you to that’s not the case. You can get fit and lose weight like Tom did by literally doing nothing. Just cut out one meal and do a couple of workouts and you’re there. So, look me up on Instagram. My main website is I discuss fitness and finances also.

Tom: Thanks for being on the show.

Martin: Thanks for having me.

Thank you, Martin, for explaining how intermittent fasting works and for giving us some great tips on getting into shape during Covid. You can find the show notes for this episode at Did you know you can watch videos from past episodes on our YouTube channel? If you’re interested, you can check them out at Make sure to hit the subscribe button while you’re there. As always, thank you for listening and be sure to come back each week as we’re working on some great episodes in the near future.

Nobody plans on getting into debt or getting out of shape, right. These are things that happen when you don’t have a plan and you let bad habits creep in. Click to Tweet