Becker’s Social Media:
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Michael Andrew: Good morning everybody. Ladies and gentlemen, we have the very first guest on The Maven Nation and in The Efficiency Playbook, Chapter 11, The Spyglass, I talk about the importance of having a mentor. If you are going to do something very difficult or if you have a new job or a challenge, you are making it exponentially harder on yourself if you do not have a known expert in the field guiding your way. I cannot stress this enough.
When I first got started in wedding photography, it was about 2004, 2005, I met Becker online. He had a promotion packet that I purchased and it was hugely beneficial and I credit him as one of the top three photographers who really mentored me and allowed me to become successful and competitive. Becker, the thing that I love about him, is he sees himself as a mentor and he’s done it in a couple fields now. He started something called The [b] School, which was for photographers.
I don’t know how many photographers he’s mentored. It has to be several hundreds, potentially thousands, and now he’s a ketogenic diet coach. I am thrilled to have the Becker. If you guys want to check it out, his photography work, it’s thebecker.com. I’m sure we’ll hear more about his websites. Becker, I am thrilled to have you on the podcast. Thank you for joining us.
Becker: Oh, I am very excited to talk to you Michael. Again, I really appreciate you sending me an advance copy of your book and I’m about halfway through it, but I absolutely just love it because I’ve always been an efficiency guy and I just love the little tips and nuggets and anything I can learn from somebody else and apply it to my life to make my life a little better, that’s what I’m all about.
Michael Andrew: How in the world … I have to ask you this and if there’s anything that I missed about your background as a photographer, how in the world were you able to stay competitive in southern California as a wedding photographer?
Becker: Well, I came up at a time right when this little thing called the internet was getting popular and I remember I would have to talk to early brides and say like, “Well you could go on your computer and look at my pictures.” You know, you have to get this thing called a browser and go to CompUSA and you know, I don’t know, I just did that. But the reason that my friends and I, I think, were able to be successful is because we all helped each other.
Instead of all competing and being stand-offish, we all just figured like, “Hey, you know, I can only do one wedding on a Saturday and as soon as I’m booked, I would refer my friend Joe, or my friend Mike, or Pat, or Alex, or whatever,” and we’d all just kind of help each other out because we all know different people and once we started collaborating instead of competing, we all seemed to do really, really well.
Michael Andrew: That is such a great point and you know, when I was getting started I would get a lot of friction. I tried to make friends with other photographers and they just didn’t want to help me. Until I met another photographer who took me kind of under her wing and we did the same thing. That is a competitive advantage is when you have other photographers who are willing to go for the win-win and give each other referrals. I mean, it’s just, there’s nothing better than that. Did you have … I’m sorry go ahead.
Becker: No. I was going to say, yeah for sure, because if a bride calls you, you can’t just say, “Oh my gosh, I’m so good. You should hire me”, because you sound like an idiot if you’re bragging.
Michael Andrew: That’s true.
Becker: But if a bride calls me up and I’m not available on her day, I can say, “Oh my gosh, you’ve got to call my friend Joe. He’s absolutely amazing.” I’m able to talk him up, brag about him, and then they just get excited about Joe, so then when the call him, Joe calls me 15 minutes later and says, “Oh my gosh. The girl gave me her credit card over the phone.” You know?
Michael Andrew: Yeah.
Becker: And so … Because you’re just able to brag about your friends more than you’re able to brag about yourself and so if you can find three or four other photographers to brag about you and you just kind of share the wealth and help each other out, that’s the smart way to go.
Michael Andrew: Absolutely, and I think Becker is being a little humble right now. Becker is elite-level photographer. I think if I was going to get married, he’s one of the two people I would ask to shoot my wedding. That’s how good he is. If you live in his area or are doing a destination wedding, I would highly recommend him. Is your photography website still at thebecker.com for those that want to check it out?
Becker: Been there forever, but I need to know who’s the other person you’re considering.
Michael Andrew: Oh, The Image Is Found, Nate Kaiser. I think he’s-
Becker: For sure.
Michael Andrew: He’s amazing. You know?
Becker: Oh, he’s way better than I am. That guy’s so good. Seriously. Nate is the man.
Michael Andrew: He’s incredible. You know, there’s some other photographers. Jessica Claire, Jasmine Star, really incredible and very talented photographers, just not my style or taste. You and Nate, I think, are the ones that I kind of gravitate most towards in terms of style.
Becker is being very humble right now because there are a number of other things that a photographer has to have to stay successful. It’s not just technical or artistic competence. There’s marketing and there’s how to talk to the customers, how to weed out the bad customers, and to do so and stay competitive is a huge, huge thing.
Becker, did you have any mentors when you got started into … I know you started photography in high school, but when you got into wedding photography, did you have a mentor?
Becker: Well, again, I had a virtual mentor. I bought a videotape series from Dennis Reggie who’s kind of like the father of wedding photo journalism and that’s what actually got me excited about wedding photography because at the time, I was shooting fashion photography, I was doing head shots for actors and models and what not and I had done a few weddings, but I didn’t really enjoy it. But once I learned his whole approach of document the wedding as it happens and just going with the flow, it seemed like that was more suited to my style and personality and that’s where my business really started.
And then, like I said, I don’t know that I had big mentors per se, but like I said it was a lot more of the collaboration with my friends. We just kind of started helping each other out. So Joe Photo, again just 20 years after we met, he was the best man at my wedding and we helped each other immensely just kind of bouncing ideas off of each other, “Hey, what about this?” Or “Check this photo out.” Or “How can I make this better.” Or you know, there was a lot of stuff. Artistically as photographers but also as businessmen trying to figure out what works. “Hey, look at these packages. Let’s see if we can massage the prices.” Or “How do you sell parent albums?”
And again, it really came down to the idea of collaboration because anyone can be a mentor. You know, someone that is brand new, they might be able to teach you something, you know?
Michael Andrew: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Becker: So I’m always looking to learn and go, “Oh, okay. That’s a different perspective and I never thought of it that way.” And again, we always joked around, kind of like the blind leading the blind. Because we didn’t really know what we were doing. All we know is the phone were ringing off the hook, brides were hiring us left and right.
You know, I got into photography right at the time that 35mm became an expectable thing for wedding photography because originally it was all about medium format. You had to have medium format cameras and all that stuff. In fact, some of the local pros were kind of like back on the AOL chat boards back in the day were kind of making fun of me because I shot 35mm. And it as just like, who cares, you know?
Michael Andrew: Yeah. Go ahead-
Becker: Yeah, we shot further out.
Michael Andrew: I even remember, I have a strange memory where I can remember these very specific things. You wrote an article when you were starting to get into digital and you’re like, “You know what, these Canon digital cameras” … I think it was like the 10D or the 20D or something like really low end to compare to our standards today. And you were talking about switching over because of the benefits of digital and that was a thing for a while too.
Some people were, you know, “No, not digital.” I was going to ask you though, outside of technical competence, what are the three skill sets that you would recommend to a beginning wedding photographer? What do they need to know after they know how to use the camera?
Becker: Well, I think the number one skill in life and business and anything is people skills. You know, you have to be a people person, you have to be able to deal with people.
I think now a days, the cameras are so good and with Lightroom, the technical prowess isn’t as important. Your camera’s going to get a decent exposure, pretty much automatically and then if it doesn’t, Lightroom can help you out. So you do need to learn about composition, timing, lighting, those kinds of things for sure, but I’m just a big believer in people skills. If you can’t talk to people, if you can’t relate to people … We saw this so many times over the years where people would be really, really talented photographers, but maybe they were just kind of a jerk.
Michael Andrew: Yeah.
Becker: Or they weren’t very nice and people didn’t like to be around them and so how it goes is, the bride will say, “Oh yeah, the photos were great, but he was kind of a jerk.” Or “He was kind of, you know, he took forever to return phone calls.” You know, so I think business skills and people skills and the ability to sell yourself because yeah, a lot of us are artists and we hate selling and we hate high pressure sale, but again, if you don’t believe in what you’re doing and say, “Hey, look. I am worth this money.” No one’s going to pay that fee, you know?
You really have to believe in yourself so there is a lot of the people skills involved that are way more important in determining long term success than whether you know how to calculate an exposure or do any off camera lighting or anything like that.
Michael Andrew: Absolutely true. I think the people skills … And I saw exactly what you were talking about this amazing photographer was just, I was at a wedding shooting video and he was just really upsetting the bride and it ruined the experience for her. And she wouldn’t even really want to pose for him anymore, so the people skills are absolutely huge.
Becker how important is efficiency and workflow?
Becker: Well, you know, I was always a workflow guy too. I’m a big believer in work smart not hard and again, I came up with my [b] flow and that was kind of the reason that I evolved and I did end up opening up the [b] school because I was teaching about the business of photography and that side of it, but it was about workflow and it was about, “Hey, if you can do this and you can, you know, do your work and your chores after the wedding faster, you end up making more money per hour and you just have a more efficient life and workflow.” And again, I really embrace the switch to digital. We were digital in 2001, right at the very beginning, five and a half megapixel cameras. Nikon D1x was the first camera that I thought, “Okay, hey, I can get a 10×15 out of this or an 11×14 and it was good enough quality.”
So then it became managing all those digital assets and downloading and backing up and doing all the things on the computer and I was always geeking at that kind of stuff. And so I just had this little work flow and I just go, you just do it the same every single time. And so even today, if I shoot a wedding on Saturday, usually I’m done with that wedding on Tuesday. You know, the photos are backed up, downloading, all that stuff, I’ve called them, I’ve deleted the blanks and the bad ones. And one of my favorite things to do is, before the bride and groom get back from their honeymoon, the first thing that they’re going to see, they might see a couple preview shots on my blog, but they are going to see a designed wedding album less than a week after their wedding. And say, “Hey, here’s how your album should look.”
Michael Andrew: That’s incredible.
Becker: “Would you like to buy these extra pages.”
Michael Andrew: And you’re very good in terms of putting those packages together and making sure that the client, not only gets what they want, but, I hate to say the word upsell, but yeah, you’re very good at that. You’re very, very good at it.
I have to ask you this question, please be honest. Raws versus jpegs, if you’re shooting a full wedding, what’s your strategy?
Becker: Okay, again, this comes back down to efficiency and again, I get chastised for this all the time, but I shoot 100% jpegs at all of my weddings.
Michael Andrew: Interesting.
Becker: And I always have and it came down to, the raw is very good if you need to tweak some stuff afterwards or if you’re not good at getting your exposure or the light balance or whatever, but I’ve been shooting for a long time, over 25 years now, and I can walk into a room or look up at the sky and basically guess what the exposures going to be and be within a third or a half of a stop almost every time.
Michael Andrew: That’s crazy.
Becker: But again, that takes practice and experience.
But so I just felt like, “Gosh, you know, I could shoot all of these files on raw and just fill up drive after drive after drive and then go through all the thing and then export them as jpegs anyway that get printed at the lab and they get all the stuff.
And all that extra information that’s in the raw file wasn’t really that useful as long as you get good exposure. So again, I’m about speed and efficiency, so we shoot jpegs, we always have, we always will and every once in a while in an online forum, some other photographer will rip on me for it and I just laugh and go, “okay, my clients love my work and they pay me a ton of money.” So, you know, I don’t really about arguing with people about how they should do it, you know? I figured out something that worked for me and I’m going to go with it.
Michael Andrew: Absolutely. And you know, I actually learned that lesson from you and so I … It’s the candid stuff and stuff at the reception. You might take a couple thousand images and if they’re all raws, just the download time and the transfer time and the back up time, you’re putting a huge burden on your workflow and so when I switched to jpeg, I would shoot a couple raws if it was mixed lighting or something weird, it sped everything up. Everything was faster and I remember hearing about some of the flac that you were getting and stuff and I was just like, no, this is a great way to go because I had never had one customer complain about a jpeg, ever.
Becker: No customer … Most of them don’t even know raw versus jpeg. They don’t know anything about that, you know? And then too back in the film days, I used to have to shoot black and white film or color film. And I would go back and forth all the time, so again, sometimes if you do get mixed lighting, hey, that shots black and white, you know?
Michael Andrew: Yeah.
Becker: And I love black and white photography anyway and I think it’s so timeless and so we just hit de-saturate and it’s black and white and like I said, I’m a big believer in working smart not hard.
Michael Andrew: Oh absolutely. Becker, I have a confession. I think you’re one of the few people who will understand this as a wedding photographer. When I did the jpegs, I used the jagged jpegs, not the smooth ones and I never had anybody complain about it. And they were half the file size and it was just so much faster. Anyway-
Becker: yeah, I shoot the jagged JPEGs too.
Michael Andrew: Oh, you do? Oh my gosh, that’s awesome. So, if you’re-
Becker: Wrong end. I remember in the early days when we first got our digital cameras, we would turn the sharpening up all the way in the camera thinking that the pictures would be sharper, but that’s not what sharpening does, so yeah, we learned that the hard way. But you know, hey, trial and error, that was way back a long time ago.
Michael Andrew: Real quick, tell us about the [b] school, what it was and tell us what you learned. Were there any important lessons there that you learned about the [b] school? It’s no longer online, that’s my understanding, what lessons did you learn from that?
Becker: Yeah, we ran the [b] school for seven years. I did over 500 videos for photographs. It was a great community, we had a couple thousand members and even more people were watching the videos on the blog and stuff. And I actually had a really good time, because whatever I did in life, again, I felt like, gosh, I had some really good success in my photography career and I’m just always the kind of guy that wanted to help other people do that. I was like, hey, I want to be the guy that’s going to lift them up instead of trying to keep them down.
So I had some great success and knew my friends were doing really well and then a lot of my friends who I had mentored or taught, ended up selling DVDs or here, sign up for my workshop. And I had done a few workshops here and there, but I came up with this idea where it was more of a subscription model, so instead of selling a DVD for $500, I’m like, “Hey, join my site. It’s $20 a month and we’re going to provide videos and a forum and a community.” And again, I learned a ton about that and like I said, made 500 videos and just shared as much as I knew.
And then I just got to the point, I did it for seven years, and then a lot more competition start coming around and even competing with Facebook groups, the online forums kind of went away, and I literally go to the point where I’m like, “I don’t have any more ideas. I’ve shared everything that I know about this business. Unless I want to start going and doing re-runs of different topics and rehashing them.” Which I did for a little bit, but I’m like, 500 videos, it was just kind of time to shut that down and just move on and get back to photography.
And then again, I had some changes going on in my personal life. I met a girl, I had a long distance relationship, I now live in the Midwest, I’m a dad now and so my life’s totally different now. And so, but again, I still learned a ton and just again helping other photographs and it was really rewarding.
Michael Andrew: The thing that I loved about it, you did a couple things that I thought were brilliant. In the very beginning of the [b] school, you opened up legacy memberships, do you remember that? I bought one of those legacy memberships, but you were able to raise a lot of money initially, so instead of paying the subscription fee, what Becker was doing was saying … I think it was like $500 or something like that and it was paid in full for eternity. And so he was able to raise a tremendous amount of money very quickly.
But the second thing that was brilliant about the [b] school was he did a residual business model where the subscription fees were coming in residually and the third thing that I really loved about it was the interaction between the photographs, so it was almost like crowd sourcing within the [b] school. Becker would have his lessons, but you also allowed us to communicate with each other and I thought that was just awesome.
Becker, before we get into the keto stuff, I have to ask. Are you still mentoring wedding photographers or would you be open to mentoring up and coming wedding photographers who wanted to have access to you?
Becker: Yeah, I do have a little coaching site and I do a very specific thing. Again, I’m not the guy that’s gonna really critique or work or teach you off-camera lighting, but I help photographers with pricing. Because there are so many photographers that just kind of pull some numbers out of the air and they say, “Here, this is what I charge.” And there’s no rhyme or reason and they don’t make sense, and then they wonder why nobody’s booking them.
So I actually do a service, I call it the price check, and I literally just go, “Hey, send me a price sheet.” And I go over it. And I make some notes and then we have a little Skype chat and then I tell them all the stuff that I learned over pricing over the many years of doing this and I actually guarantee it. You know, I charge $500 for the service, but I give them a money back guarantee that if they don’t think that it was worth it, that hey, no questions asked. Here’s your money back.
But not one person has ever taken me up on that because A, I know what I’m talking about when it comes to the money and then we also go into some other things as far as like, just the actual, how do you actually sell it. How do you actually position the packages? How do you sell yourself? How do you tweak your website to get more inquiries so people will check with you? And so that’s been really fun and that’s what I was really, really good at and really known for and so I figured like, hey, stick to what you know. And I do a couple of those every month and I don’t really advertise it or get it out there, but I’m always willing to help photographers.
And the crazy thing is, I still am actually a working wedding photographer. I mean, the process of combining my business with my wife’s business, she’s a wedding photographer that I met when I moved to St. Louis. Actually, I met her when I came to St. Louis to speak, and now I moved here. And I love shooting with her and I’m at this point, so I am doing some other things now, so like, hey, I love showing up on Saturday’s and shooting your pictures, but my wife, she can go ahead and do the Photoshop and build the albums and take care of the brides and I can help people [inaudible 00:19:09].
Michael Andrew: So now we’re going to segway into the weight loss stuff and so Becker for many years was a great lover of food. We would always see on his blog post, he would talk about Superbowl parties and what he’s eating, and it was pretty glorious, I have to admit. Becker was a little heavy and this is why I think it’s so important to bring him on to this podcast, The Maven Nation, is because Becker has lost over a hundred pounds over the last couple years, which I think is absolutely insane.
And I am a firm believer that if you’re struggling with somebody and you find somebody who really, really excels at it, you should probably pick their brain a little bit. And so, I was struggling with some weight gain. I had gained some weight. I got injured, I wasn’t able to work out as much as I had liked and I just gained 30 pounds. Boom. 270. There you are. And your metabolism slows down when you get over 40 and so I had heard about the ketogenic diet through Becker, started it but I wasn’t having the success that I wanted. And so I contacted him and talked to him about it and he coached me through and I was able to lose 30 pounds, down to 240. I’m in great shape right now, I’m working out again. And it was super beneficial.
I’ve had many friends ask me about it, so Becker, tell us, what is the ketogenic diet? What is the theory behind it? And how does it work?
Becker: Well, gosh, how much time do we have?
Basically, the ketogenic diet is one where you train your body to burn fat for fuel instead of glucose and sugar where most people … Anybody on the standard American diet, they’re eating lots of carbs, lots of sugar and it’s really quick energy. You eat something, you get a little pick me up, just like the Snickers commercial says, like hey, if you’re feeling down or hangry, have a Snickers, you’ll feel good. And you will because the carbohydrates are quick burning fuel and you get there.
The problem is, we all know that it crashes. Then you gotta eat some more and whatever, that’s a whole thing.
But the ketogenic diet is where you literally basically cut out all carbs, all sugar, all grains, the only carbs you get are from some vegetables and maybe some nuts. And you really eat a low carb, high fat diet. And I know it sounds crazy and when I tell people how much butter and bacon I eat on a regular basis, they all worry that I’m gonna drop dead from a heart attack and it’s just not that way.
So, it really is amazing how it, gosh, not only the weight loss, but just so many great health benefits from eating a high fat diet.
Michael Andrew: I have to get a side by side picture of you before and after. And tell us a little about, how did you come to the decision that it was time to lose weight? I think everybody kind of goes through that at some point, you know? Those of us who are not genetically gifted at least. And how did you come to that decision, and how did you find the ketogenic diet? How did you get started in coaching?
Becker: Well, so let’s back it up here. So again, a few years ago, again I was a single guy, I was traveling all over the world shooting weddings, room service, eating at airports, doing this, doing that. And then also, single, really busy, living alone at home, I was getting pizza’s delivered, Chinese food delivered, I was eating fast food like at least once a day. Sometimes I would have it for lunch and dinner and I got to a point where I actually shot a wedding in Las Vegas and I got my picture taken with Elvis and when I saw the picture of me and Elvis I was like, “God, I’m fatter than Elvis.”
And I knew I was always a big guy, but I didn’t realize how big I had become. And you know, I hadn’t weighed myself in forever and so I’m like, I went over to my parents house, I’m like, I’m gonna step on the scale because I didn’t own a scale. And I was guessing I was maybe pushing 250. Well, when I saw the number said 285 pounds, I was really kind of scared. I was like, oh man, that’s pushing 300 and you know, I was kind of worried.
We had a family friend who had just passed away from a heart attack who was about my size and was only a couple years older than me, and I just said, “Okay, this weight, it’s time to chance.” And so I actually read Tim Ferris’ book, The Four Hour Body, and I did a low carb thing and I lost 70 pounds. And it was awesome and I was doing great and I kept it off for a couple of years, but then again, habits start creeping back in and life happens and again, I mentioned the long distance relationship earlier and all that stuff. And turns out, gosh, about two years ago, I realized I had gained half of the weight back.
Michael Andrew: Oh no.
Becker: And I was like, uh. So that’s when I really started studying nutrition and I read a book called, Eat Bacon, Don’t Jog. And so even though Tim had me on this low carb plan, which is really good. If you want to lose weight, cut out the carbs. But the key for me was, if you add the fat, that’s what keeps you satisfied and that’s what makes the sustainable long term.
So a lot of people do low carb and then they also do low fat and they’re eating lean chicken breast and broccoli with no butter and it’s like, that’s really not a satisfying meal. But when you can start adding cheese and bacon and butter to everything-
Michael Andrew: Yes.
Becker: It’s like, oh my gosh, you can eat all this delicious food that tastes really, really good and so I was able to lose the weight back again, so I was down 70 pounds, and then kept going. And then basically, I lost 100 pounds. 100 and a half pounds and every day I weigh and I’m usually between 98 and 102 pounds down, basically.
Michael Andrew: Wow.
Becker: And so, and you know just like I said, I just eat this and not that I really need to lose more weight. I could lose maybe 10 more pounds if I really tried, but I eat this way because it’s healthy long term and I feel good and I have all this energy and like I said, I just started helping other people because sometimes, I know what it’s like as a big guy myself, I understand what it’s like to struggle and be addicted to food and not have self control.
And I used to look at those infomercials and you see the guys all ripped and like, “Hey, do this exercise program.” Whatever, it’s like, “Yeah, you’ve never been overweight a day in your life, you know? You’ve got a 12-pack let alone a 6-pack.”
Michael Andrew: Yeah.
Becker: Oh, I just say, I know where people are coming from. I know how they feel to be overweight and I’m like, “Okay, I can help you get through that.”
Michael Andrew: The point about being … I was gonna ask you about what the greatest misperception about dieting today is. What is the brainwashing that has occurred in our society, in your opinion?
Becker: Well, I mean, we can literally spend the entire episode just talking about these misperceptions, but I’m just gonna three really quick.
First of all, the fact that you said dieting. Okay, all diets in the short-term work. Anytime you cut out crap or whatever, you’re going to lose some weight. But then in the long run, all diets fail. Every single one. Because even though if you lose a few pounds on this plan, the second you go back to your old eating habits, the weight comes back. That’s just the whole cycle of yo-yo dieting, I’m sure many people have experienced it because that’s how it works for everybody.
So the point is to really make it a lifestyle and something that you can sustain long term.
Michael Andrew: Yeah.
Becker: The second greatest misconception about dieting is, it’s about calories. For our whole lives, we’ve been taught about calories in versus calories out. Oh, if you eat a cupcake, you’ve got to go job six miles or whatever and people just get hung up on calories. And the thing is, it’s really not about calories at all and it comes down to hormones. And there’s a bunch of different hormones that determine whether your body is going to store fat or lose fat. Insulin being the number one thing, and so again, if you keep your insulin low, your body will burn fat. When your insulin is high, your body stores fat. So going back to what we were talking about earlier, when you eat a lot of carbohydrates, your insulin is high and your body stores fat and again, if you eat a ketogenic diet, your insulin stays really low and you burn fat. And there’s that.
And then the last big misconception about dieting is about saturated fat. For so long, we’ve been told that fat is bad for you. Saturated fat will clog your arteries and cause high cholesterol and all that stuff and that notion that was floated like way back in the 50’s, had some really sketchy science behind it. And then if you look in 1977 when the US came up with their health guidelines, you know, obesity wasn’t really a thing. I mean there was always a few people that had a few genetic things, but there weren’t a lot of obese people.
And if you look from basically 1977 on, it basically hockey sticks and the obesity rate is going through the roof. And that’s right about the time that the government and all the doctors start saying, “Hey, eat a low fat diet.” And when you take fat out of it and you replace it for carbohydrates, people get fat. And it’s not even for me, it’s not even about weight loss anymore like I said, it’s about health and man, people are getting diabetes and all these diseases that are metabolic diseases based on their bad diet. So, again, if we can get over your fear of fat and realize that hey, high cholesterol is actually nothing to really worry about. It’s certain kinds of cholesterol that can be dangerous, but guess what, they’re the kind of cholesterol that develop when you eat a lot of grains and sugar. If you cut that crap out, you don’t really have to worry about cholesterol.
Michael Andrew: Absolutely. And two points that you brought up that I love about the ketogenic diet is sustainability. It’s something that you … I feel like I can sustain indefinitely, which other diets, you start feeling that stress and that pressure after a certain amount of time to eat something different.
And the satiability of fats, like when you eat a nice piece of bacon, there’s something in your body that just goes, “Ah, yeah. That’s really nice.” And you lose the hunger, you know, if you’re eating these different kinds of fats. That’s one of the key differences is that, yeah, it’s okay, you can eat fat, it’s not going to make you fat. It’s actually going to make you lose fat.
Besides losing weight, are there any other medical benefits that we know of about the ketogenic diet? Any research or anything of that nature?
Becker: It’s still very new and it’s hard to prove this stuff and it’s hard to say these things and I have to be careful what I actually say. There’s studies that suggest that cancer is fueled by glucose, so if you remove glucose and sugar from your diet, the cancer can’t grow and so a lot of people … I’m not saying a ketogenic diet cures cancer, but I’m saying, it can help maybe slow down the spread. There’s all kinds of studies coming out like that. But the one thing that you can do is, if you go to the American Diabetes Association, and they say that if you get Type-2 diabetes, it says that it is a … There’s no cure for it. And you’ll be on insulin for the rest of your life basically.
And bottom line is, time after time after time, 99 people out of 100 that try this, if you just cut out eating sugar and carbs and go on a ketogenic diet, you will actually reverse Type-2 diabetes.
Michael Andrew: Really? Wow.
Becker: I was at a point where I was pre-diabetic. I was never actually diabetic, but I’m no longer pre-diabetic. I completely control my blood sugar, my blood pressure, all these factors that, there’s just so many things that are so good about this diet. But like you mentioned before, it is about being satiated when you eat something that is very satisfying, you don’t feel hungry, and that’s the thing. We only have so much will power. And you know, you can hold out for as long as you can hold out, but eventually, hormones are going to win. But the ketogenic diet will actually regulate your hunger hormones, so when you’re eating fat, your hunger hormones are really happy and it doesn’t cause you to crave stuff like that.
Michael Andrew: Yeah.
Becker: So that’s the whole thing, it’s like, yeah, you get rid of the addiction. And I know when I first started, I would go out to Mexican food and I would get fajitas and I would skip the rice and beans and tortillas, but my friend or whoever I was dining with, they’d get their big old thing of chips and salsa and I’d be like, “Oh, please take that away. Get it out of my face.” Now I go out all the time and I look at it and it’s like, I don’t even care that it’s there because I’m not tempted by it, you know?
Michael Andrew: Yeah.
Becker: And now it just comes down to, not that I have great will power, it’s just that my hormones don’t crave that kind of crap anymore.
Michael Andrew: I was reading some and that is the truth. Now, I have a couple points.
The first one was, I read some articles that the ketogenic diet is sometimes prescribed to children with seizures and it’s able to cure them. Do you know anything about that?
Becker: That was the original point of this diet back a hundred years ago, they talked about people that had epilepsy, they would do this kind of thing and it would be better for their brain. And again, you know, I don’t know how much time we have, but there are all these studies that, the way that the ketones work is that it’s a ketone body, it’s actually a little thing that is produced in the liver and it comes down and your brain can, most people’s brains are fueled by glucose, but you can actually fuel it with these ketones. And it just, it’s a better brain food and one of the side affects of being on the ketogenic diet is just that you have clearer thoughts and you just function better and you’re mentally aware and sharp and so they do talk about that with children and stuff.
I never dealt with that so I haven’t done a studies on those things, but I’m just looking at all the other health benefits. So I’ve been helping people lose weight for a while now, but it’s not even just losing weight, it’s like they’re just getting on a path to a long term healthy lifestyle.
Michael Andrew: Absolutely. And you know, if you look at what white sugar is and how it’s, you know … Soft drink for example. If you were to take all the sugar out of a soft drink and try to eat that sugar by the teaspoon or tablespoon, it would be extremely difficult to do that just because your body is going to reject it. And so, we live in an age of technology where we are taking this refined sugar, which I’m starting to associate with being a pharmaceutical drug now because of the high that you get and the addictiveness of it and it is-
Becker: Light up those pleasure centers in your brain. I mean, it is addictive drug for sure. I think it’s toxic, but the scary thing is, obviously people know if you’re on a diet, don’t eat cupcakes, don’t eat cake, don’t eat pie. But what they think is like, oh, I’ll have some low fat yogurt, which once you take the fat out of yogurt, it tastes really, really bad, so to make it taste good again, you’ve got to add a bunch of sugar to it. So people have been eating these low fat foods, that they think, “Oh, it’s low fat, it must be good for me.” But there’s so much sugar in there, that it’s always, always worse for you to eat the low fat option. Every single time. There’s not one exception to that rule.
If it says low fat on the package, like literally throw it away. It’s terrible for you. But we’ve been taught as a nation for the last 30 or 40 years, oh, cut out the fat. Do this, do that and it’s just like, God, we’re just getting sicker and sicker as a nation and people are getting bigger and bigger and more and more unhealthy. But yeah, sugar is bad and again, sugar’s in ketchup, it’s in salad dressing, it’s in all these things-
Michael Andrew: It’s everywhere.
Becker: That you don’t even think it’s in. Of course, a big soda you know is full of sugar, but it’s the hidden sugar, which is actually the scary thing. Wheat bread has a ton of sugar in it.
Michael Andrew: Yeah.
Becker: Wheat bread’s not much better for you than white bread. So that’s why I thought, if you’re going to have bread, might as well eat the white bread, it tastes better.
Michael Andrew: That’s true.
So I have to ask you, how much exercise would be required … So a lot of people associate exercise with losing weight and this is, I really believe the ketogenic diet is the most efficient way to lose weight because how much exercising do you need to do while you’re on this diet plan to lose weight?
Becker: Need to do? None. Okay, so I actually did my challenge, so when I first started helping and coaching people, my challenge originally was called the lazy mans challenge. And literally you could do zero exercise and still lost a ton of weight, okay? And I lost a hundred pounds barely exercising at all. Okay?
Michael Andrew: Incredible.
Becker: I will tell you in those years that I did that, I probably sweated like three times. Because I figured I was allergic to exercise because every time I exercised I would get all sweaty and dizzy and it wasn’t very good, so I just hated exercising. And I’m like, okay, I wanted to prove a point like say, “Hey, I can lose a hundred pounds without exercising at all.”
Now exercise does have some great health benefits, it makes you stronger, there’s lots of things that exercise are good for, but going back to those misconceptions is, exercise is not actually good for losing weight. Because when you exercise a lot, a lot of times you get hungrier and so people overeat to compensate and so they don’t actually lose weight exercising. If you eat really, really well … You know, they always say, abs are made in the kitchen, you know?
Michael Andrew: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Becker: So it’s like mostly like, eat good, that’s going to be 80% of it. Exercise might be 10% of it and then the other 10% is you want to get proper sleep and keep your stress levels low. So going back to managing those hormones.
Michael Andrew: Absolutely. And when I went on it I was, again, injured and so I wasn’t working out at all and I lost 20 pounds just in six or seven weeks, right off the bat. I was not doing any, I wasn’t even walking. And I was like, Holy cow. You know, if somebody’s obese, it makes sense to just do the diet, lose the weight and that at some point if you want to get back into the gym, go for it you know if that’s your goal.
Becker, you’ve done a … Go ahead-
Becker: I figure, I’m like, there’s no way I can, again at 285 pounds, dude I can’t get through Insanity. I bought it and I’m trying to do these exercises and I’m like, cussing at the TV and I’m like, I literally thought I was going to do. And I’m like, no, this is not good. There’s got to be another way.
So again, I would walk a little bit and do little things like that, but I wasn’t actually exercising in the form of like, hey, I’m gonna go do some cardio or jog or whatever. So again, you can lose weight doing it. But then now I’m at this point where, yeah, I’ve lost all this weight and I do exercise now, I do a short little 8 or 10 or 12 minute routine at home depending on what day it is and I just kind of mix it up and I just do weights. I still, I never jog. You’ll never, ever, ever see me jogging. Sprinting maybe, sprinting is actually really good exercise but jogging, eh, it’s just not actually good for you. And there’s just so many things that everyone thinks it’s good for you, but it’s just not. It’s bad on your news and all that stuff.
But again, I’m trying to make myself stronger. There are tons of benefits to exercising, but weight loss just isn’t one of them.
Michael Andrew: Interesting.
Becker: So that’s what I’m telling people, like, “Hey, you can actually lose weight by just watching what you eat, eating the right things, avoiding certain others and you don’t have to worry about doing all that exercise.”
Michael Andrew: So you’ve done a couple of these lazy man challenges over the past year or two and on average, I know you can’t really say specifically, but if somebody actually sticks to the diet for three months, what range of weight can they expect to lose if they’re really religious about it?
Becker: So our challenge is a hundred days, so it’s a little bit longer than three months, and we tell people to shoot for 10% of their body weight.
Michael Andrew: Wow.
Becker: And we figure that’s actually a really reasonable goal and when we were looking at some of the math from some of the earlier participants and stuff, 75% of the people would actually lose between 8 and 15%.
Michael Andrew: Incredible.
Becker: So a couple people just went a little bit shy, but again, three out of four people literally were in that ballpark of 8-15%. And there would be a few people, you know, 10% of the people would lose more than 15%. Obviously the bigger you are, the easier it is to lose weight. So a 300 pound guy, it’s easier to lose 30 pounds than a 150 pound woman to lose 15 pounds, you know?
Michael Andrew: For sure. Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Becker: So again, the bigger you are the more the weight usually comes off quicker. But you know, we’d have a handful of people that actually would crush 18 even 20% of their weight loss and then there were a few people that they didn’t hit their goal because they either didn’t stick with it or there are certain people that … Everyone’s got different genes and they don’t always relate to this. There were some people that they signed up and they just couldn’t eat the fat. They just said, “Oh my God. I cannot fathom mentally putting butter onto my vegetables and eating it.” And so they didn’t do very well. You know?
Michael Andrew: Yeah.
Becker: So, it’s not for everybody.
Michael Andrew: You know, I have another confession here. Sometimes when I’m feeling hungry, I keep a carton of heavy whipping cream in my refrigerator and I will literally open that and drink some of it. You know, not a lot, but that stuff is what’s used to make butter. And it just kills the hunger. You know, I just drink a couple tablespoons and I’m good to go. And so that’s a really strange mindset to get over eating coconut oil or eating butter and not feeling guilty about it. That’s something that everybody has to overcome.
I was going to also ask you about cheat days. If somebody’s doing this 100 day diet, what’s the thought and the logic about having a cheat day where you can have an ice-cream or a snack or some candy. What do you think about that?
Becker: Yeah, it’s one of those things. It’s a slippery slope. We have a whole section on cheat days in my program and we talk about it. We say, “Hey, let’s think about it a couple different ways.” When I first did the low carb thing with Tim Ferris, it was all about the Saturday cheat day. And so I knew on Thursday when I was craving ice-cream, I was like, “Oh, if I could just wait until Saturday, I can have a cheat day, guilt free.” And I would do it and did that for a year. And it worked because psychologically it helped me get through.
What the problem is it does kind of mess up some of the progress that you’re making and stuff and so we just tell people, “Look, you’re an adult, you’re not a six year old. You can go a hundred days without a snack or without a cupcake or something like that. And then if you want to have something every once in a while after the hundred days, hey, you gotta live life and you gotta” … I’m trying not to turn into a total weird person that … I mean, I eat sugar sometimes. Every once in a while. Again my mom makes these cinnamon rolls at Christmas time and I’m gonna eat those because that’s our family tradition.
It’s funny because last year we ate those and I kind of felt sick afterwards because the sugar is poison, but whatever.
Michael Andrew: Yeah.
Becker: But every once in a while, you gotta live life and you gotta do something. If you’re going on a trip or if you’re … When I go to New York City, I go and I get a New York City or a slice of pizza and you know, whatever. That I only do that knowing that I’m going right back because I’m committed to this lifestyle long-term that it’s like, okay, yeah, I’ll go. I probably won’t feel good for a couple of hours and I’ll gain a couple pounds, but guess what, it’ll come back off as soon as I start eating my rib eye steaks and my pork chops and my bacon and all that stuff.
Michael Andrew: It’s sort of like … And sometimes, I didn’t mean to bring up the topic of fasting, but I fast one day a week on Sundays, just because it makes me feel good and it kind of resets and gets all the sugar out of my system and the clarity and everything and so I did some experimental fasting where you drink water for three and then I went to five days and the clarity that you get from it is crazy, but the take home message there were, all of these things are tools that you can put in your tool box so you have an answer if you’re gaining weight.
And so I know a lot of our listeners are maybe they are concerned about gaining weight but they’re too busy with life and raising kids and working and they don’t have time to work out, ladies and gentleman, ketogenic diet is something I recommend you try absolutely. And it may not work for everybody as Becker was saying. But Becker, tell us a little about ketology.co, what you’re doing there and what the program is. What is that all about?
Becker: Yeah, well like I said, my original thing was called the lazy mans challenge and I rebranded it because women wanted to join too. And they’re like, “Hey, can women join?” And I’m like, “Yeah.” We actually had more women sign up then men, it was about 60% to 40%, so that’s why we kind of just rebranded and basically what it is it’s an online coaching program where you’ll get access. And I’ve made a ton of little videos and it’s kind of an automated program. I’ve already made these videos, I’ve written the emails, I’ve got the grocery lists and the recipes and the meal plans. All that stuff’s ready to go. And you just, you have to pay to sign up and then you get access to our Facebook community and so if people do have questions for me or the other people, like I mentioned with the [b] school, someone will ask a question or if I’m busy or sleeping, someone else on the other side of the world will write back and respond and give that person an answer right away and then I’ll chime in when I wake up the next morning or whatever.
But we just have this great community of people that are all training to lose weight and when you do something together as a group, you’re I think a lot more likely to hit your goals. And so it’s about accountability and motivation. And I tell people all the time, “Okay, I mean this is the thing. You don’t need to pay for anything at all. You can say, hey, you want to lose weight? Stop eating sugar, stop eating grains. Okay? You will lose weight for sure. If you want to stay satisfied, add some fat to that and then you’ll feel satisfied and you’ll never feel hungry.” That is it. That is the secret, okay?
Now the trick is, it’s a lot easier said than done. So that’s what we’ve kind of come up with is these techniques to actually help you implement that into your lives. Because a lot of people when they first try the ketogenic diet, they try it for a week or so and maybe they lost a few pounds, but they feel terrible. And it’s because your body’s switching fuel systems. You’re switching from being a sugar burner to being a fat burner and the body doesn’t really like change and it doesn’t like going through that.
Think about it like if you were just gonna give up coffee cold turkey or something like that. People would freak out because your body is used to getting these certain things so it does take a good three maybe four weeks to kind of get adjusted to become fat adapted and then again you start using fat for fuel. So again, eat that butter, eat that bacon, but then guess what? Like you mentioned fasting, you can actually just go ahead and eat your own belly fat when you need some energy.
So it’s funny because I do some fasting from time to time and they’ll be these days where I’m fasting … I actually fast on wedding days now and I’ll go shoot a 12 hour wedding and we’ll eat a single bite of food knowing that I can get plenty of energy from my body. And you know, fat is a much more effective fuel source and again, that’s the thing now. Yeah, I’ve lost a bunch of weight, I feel great, I look a lot better than I used to, but again, I just have so much energy now, it’s not even funny. And that’s why I’m just passionate, just like I was with the [b] school trying to help other photographers build their business and make more money.
Now I’m at the point like hey, guess what, I used to be fat. I used to be obese and I was at that point where I was ashamed and embarrassed and all that stuff and now I’m like, I’m not longer overweight and it feels so good. And to be able to help other people who have struggled because I struggled my whole life. I tried every diet imaginable. I did all kinds of exercise programs and then I just realized, “Oh, all you’ve got to do is cut out the carbs and eat a bunch of bacon. Yeah, okay, cool. Sign me up. I can do that.”
Michael Andrew: Becker, I think your enthusiasm for the ketogenic diet really … Every time I talk to you just, I can feel the energy coming from it. Where can our listeners go to find more about the ketogenic diet and what you’re doing in terms of coaching?
Becker: Well, it’s just ketology.co. It’s not dot com. There’s nothing at that site. I want to buy it, but there’s nothing there. And then like I said, you can just kind of read my story. There’s a short little two minute video that you can watch about me and Elvis. And then gosh, if any of your listeners want to check it out, they can just use the coupon code MAVEN and it’ll give them a nice, juicy discount and save them some money on that too.
Michael Andrew: What a great coupon code name. I can’t imagine …
Becker, is there anything else? We’ve gone way over … I originally told Becker 20 to 30 minutes, but this is just … I am loving the interview Becker. It’s been great having you on the show. Is there anything else you want to add before we close it for the day?
Becker: No, like I said man, the last thing i want to say is just plug your book again because I really love what you’re sharing in there and it’s applicable to any part of your life. And so again, whether it’s business or family life or again dieting like making your life so it’s like, okay, hey, make these efficient little changes in your life and like you mentioned earlier, the ketogenic diet is a very efficient way to lose weight.
Michael Andrew: Oh my gosh.
Becker: And thanks for your book.
Michael Andrew: Becker, thank you so much for coming onto the show. I really appreciate you taking the time out of your schedule and we were honored to have you on here. Ladies and gentleman, Chris Becker. He goes by Becker. I call him B sometimes. Check out his website, I’ll have the links and the descriptions and the transcripts. Thank you guys so much for listening. We’ll see you next time.