Home » Blog » Book of the month May 2022 ’24 / 7 Body’

By Matt Morsia

This is a hugely enjoyable, refreshingly different, and insightful book to read. I have to confess that it had me laughing out loud several times, due to the author’s grounded sense of humour. I believe that many people who read it will significantly change the way they look at their health and fitness lifestyle. As one of my client’s said last week “It’s a belter of a book!”

In nearly 12 years of my ‘book of the month’ reviews, I have not yet reviewed a book about health and fitness, which I am putting right here!  As my subscribers will be aware my books reviews usually alternate between business growth, leadership, and personal growth, but it has to be said, without a healthy body, growing your business and developing yourself mentally, emotionally and spiritually are less relevant .

The author, Matt Morsia is a former professional athlete who suffered from an eating disorder, he then spent 4 years as a school PE teacher in a school in a deprived area where he honed his teaching skills. His challenging background and his love of fitness then led to him becoming the most successful UK fitness YouTube vlogger with 2.4 million subscribers. Morsia is a really ‘down to earth’ individual who really understands how the challenges around diet and fitness, what works and what doesn’t and how to communicate this information humorously, effectively.
I would encourage you to also check out some of his videos after reading this book.

Myth Busting
Like James Coburn in the film ‘A fist full of Dynamite’ foiling the bad guys. Morsia ‘blows to kingdom come’ so many of the accepted norms in the health and fitness industry! If any author has ever been justified in describing their book as a ‘myth buster’ Morsia has more than earned that right. One of his first health and fitness ‘myth bombs’ is “Diets that exclude foods like pizza and chocolate do NOT work (in the long term)!”

As the title of the book implies, having a fit healthy body is not a ‘quick fix’ or a part-time endeavour, it is about your lifestyle 24/7. Food and exercise are the obvious subject matters of this book, with an initial emphasis on getting your eating habits on track.

Binge Eating 
The key as to why diets that restrict what you eat do NOT work.
Matt’s personal journey as a professional athlete, involved periods of diet restriction prior to competing and periods of binge eating after competition. Morsia describes his years of famine and feast eating as a professional triple jumper like an horrendous mental, emotional and physical roller coaster, that is completely unsustainable and that he would definitely NOT recommend to anyone.

Trying to lose weight is stupid!
Morsia tells us to disregard most of what the diet and fitness industries tell you!
In fact, the title of Chapter 2 says it all “Trying to lose weight is stupid’ 
Morsia makes the critical distinction that what you are really trying to lose is body fat, not body weight. This fact is well illustrated by the fact that just like many professional rugby players, the author Morsia must be amongst the fittest and healthiest people in the world, yet he is technically categorised as clinically over-weight or obese! This is because the medical and health & fitness ‘industry standard measurement’ is based on your body height to weight ratio and takes no account of your muscularity. Using this height to weight measurement is even more ridiculous when you consider that by volume muscle weighs significantly more than fat.

He explains how inaccurate most people are when they weigh themselves and why weight loss goals are a complete waste of time. And assessing someone’s physical health based on how much they weigh is equally ridiculous.

Stating the often unsaid obvious, Morsia points out that reduced body weight is a poor primary indicator of ‘fat loss’ and that too much emphasis is often placed on a person’s overall body weight.

It’s all about healthy ‘body fat levels’
Morsia, destroys the health industry’s lack of emphasis on body fat percentage, although he states that measuring your body fat percentage accurately is almost impossible to do outside of a testing lab. 
One of the key tips Morsia gives to losing weight is to eat marginally less calories than you usually burn in a day, keep yourself well hydrated (thirst often gets mistaken for hunger by the body) and then to do regular resistance training. 
Morisa, warns against drastic calorie deprivation and describes that devastating impact this can have on your health over extended periods, including massively increasing your body’s production of ghrelin which is the ‘hunger hormone’ whilst reducing your body’s production of leptin which is the satiation (fullness) hormone.
As you build up more muscle, your muscle will burn more calories than the fat it is replacing.

Morsia’s underlying philosophy to being fit and healthy is best summed up when he says; 
“I know it sucks that you can’t do this quickly. But trying to do this all in the space of a couple of weeks or even months will back you into a corner and doom you to long term failure.”

Poor Quality v Quality Calories
Morsia gives a great example of foods with quality calories as opposed to foods with poor quality calories: 
Big Mac, Fries and a Milkshake = about 1,500 calories (and you will often feel hungry soon after eating it).
He then compares eating this compared to a 1,500-calorie portion of ‘Rice, chicken and vegetables’, saying ‘if you could manage to eat this amount of rice, chicken and vegetables your stomach would feel like it was exploding, and you would be unlikely to get hungry for quite a while’.

Morsia says “I am not saying to never eat a McDonalds meal, but if you do, do it occasionally and reduce your other calories slightly over the following few days to compensate.”

He compares eating a 700-calorie chocolate brownie, that ‘won’t touch the sides’ to a 700-calories salad with either beans or some chopped meat thrown in. The salad and protein combination will not only fill you up more for longer, it will provide you with more nutrients.

Your philosophy and approach to exercise is critical
Whilst Morsia references the importance of exercise all the way through this book, less than 10 percent of this book is about the technical elements of exercising. 

He does what many health and fitness advisors fail to do, which is to question all the assumptions that people typically have around eating and exercise (myth busting), he empowers the reader to question and adapt their current philosophy and their approach to health and fitness.

Matt Morsia is a natural great coach in his chosen field, sometimes you need someone else to point out what you ‘kind of already know’ and maybe teach you some things you don’t really know and to provide you with some ‘change options’ and some strategies. 

These are my personal favourite takeaways from reading the book (There are many others):

  • You need to be patient if you want to get long lasting results.
  • Starving or depriving yourself completely from any foods that you like, does not work. It creates a feast v famine mindset which is why most diets rarely work and are rarely sustainable.
  • Exercise most days.
  • Look to incrementally improve your work out performances over time.
  • Building muscle, leads to your metabolism increasing, which will lead to greater fat loss.
  • Don’t get attached to losing a particular amount of weight.
  • Losing weight and losing body fat are 2 different things, in some cases people become fitter and healthier by increasing their overall weight, because they have lost body fat and increased their muscle mass.
  • Become more calorie aware about what you eat every day and adjust appropriately.
  • Find out your daily ‘calorie par’, (mine is around 2,300) if you are trying to lose body fat go marginally under this and if you are trying to gain weight go a little over with quality calories.
  • You can occasionally have poor calories (like a treat) but aim to eat quality calories most of the time.

If you were only to ever read one book on health and fitness, you would do well to choose this one.

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