Inspired as a child by Jack Lalanne, Vinnie Tortorich began his career as a fitness trainer after graduating from Tulane University with a degree in Physical Education. He also hosted a top-rated radio show and worked as a strength coach at a local high school. Tortorich later moved to California and has trained many celebrities, competitive athletes, and people from all walks of life.He is also a distance athlete who has competed in multiple ultramarathon bike races. In 2007, Tortorich was diagnosed with cancer. He could not work and the medical bills started piling up. At a friend’s urging, he wrote Fitness Confidential which went on to become a best-seller and led to his podcast, America’s Angriest Trainer. He calls it this because he is angry about the manipulation that is being imposed on the public by the diet and fitness industries. He also developed his eating plan which he calls No Sugar No Grains (NSNG) to help prevent his cancer from returning.
Vinnie Tortorich’s Diet
Tortorich developed his No Sugar No Grains approach to eating after some advice given to him by his cancer doctor to cut back on sugar and take B vitamins. At first, he was hesitant to avoid carbs because he is a serious athlete. But since he cared more about his health and imagined every carb as feeding the cancer, he cut out all carbs from his diet. NSNG makes it pretty clear what you don’t eat. No sugar means no desserts or soft drinks, but also no fruit. What you do eat is vegetables, meat and fats like extra virgin olive oil, MCT oil and grass-fed butter. You may also have full-fat dairy if you tolerate it well. Water is the beverage of choice, but unsweetened coffee, tea, broth and unflavored sparkling water are all acceptable. NSNG is essentially the ketogenic diet, (although Tortorich doesn’t call it that).
- Low Carbs 10% 10%
- Medium Protein 30% 30%
- High Fat 80% 80%
Big Fat Lies
Tortorich says that there’s lots of lying going on out there, including the idea that fat makes you fat and veganism is the best way to lose weight.
Tortorich also says that the idea that fruit is healthy for you is another nutritional myth.
There’s no ‘P’ in NSNG
Even though potatoes aren’t a grain, they’re not part of Tortorich’s NSNG diet. Potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips, and other non-p foods including legumes are also out. Sweet veggies like carrots and beets should also be avoided at least for the first 30-45 days of doing the NSNG plan.
What to Eat
Full-fat plain yogurt
Full-fat plain yogurt
Cottage Cheese (high fat)
What to Avoid
Soft drinks including diet
Tortorich on Calories
‘Calories don’t matter when gaining or losing weight. At all.’
Tortorich on Fruit
‘You don’t need a whole lot in the way of fruit. You only need vegetables. You get everything you need from vegetables.’
Tortorich on Fact vs. Fiction
‘I’m from the science world, and I’m just giving facts. These are the facts.’
Tortorich on his NSNG diet
‘This is not a Get Thin Quick scheme. It’s a lifestyle.’
Vinnie Tortorich’s Fitness Routine
Several decades ago, Tortorich realized that the amount of calories burned during exercise doesn’t really help a person lose weight.
Grin and Bear It
Tortorich considers weight-bearing exercise, meaning any exercise where you’re carrying the weight of your own body, to be the most important kind. This includes walking, running, dancing, etc. Exercises like biking, rowing and swimming are also fine, but be sure to do some kind of weight-bearing exercise as well.
Cardio zones run 1-5 andTortorich says zone 2 is the best for fat-burning. Zone 2 is where you can still hold a conversation, meaning you’re not breathing that hard. (You can also use the formula 180-your age = target heart rate.) He also says high intensity interval training (HIIT) is good for burning glucose (sugar) but not fat.
Stretching is important to keep our bodies flexible. Tortorich says ‘use it or lose it’ applies here. Yoga is great for flexibility.
A Vinnie Tortorich Inspired Routine
Cardio: Tortorich doesn’t give specifics on his own workout regimen, but he recommends regular weight-bearing exercise, such as walking, jogging, or anything where you are carrying your own weight.
Legs: Work the legs once a week
Weighted squats: Set 1: Do 12 reps using only the bar. Then do 6-8 reps for a total of 3-5 sets.
Lunges: 6-8 reps, 3-5 total sets.
Upper body: Work the upper body twice a week
Do chest and triceps one day, and back and biceps on the other.
Choose 3 exercises to match each set of muscles (chest & triceps = pull. Back & biceps = push). Do 12-15 reps for the first set, then 6-8 reps for a total of 3-5 sets.
More tips from Tortorich:
Take 2 days’ rest between resistance training workouts.
It doesn’t matter if you do cardio before or after strength training.
Do whichever you care more about first. So if it’s weight loss, do cardio first. If it’s getting stronger, lift first.
Mix up routines to keep your body guessing.
Remember, abs are made in the kitchen, not in the gym.
If you only have 20 or 30 minutes each day to devote to exercise, do pushing exercises on day 1, pulling exercises on day 2, legs on day 3, and aerobic exercise with the remaining time.
Tortorich on Exercise
‘Exercise is a great leveler. It doesn’t matter how rich you are. You can’t just buy your way into a great body. You have to do the work.’
Tortorich on Exercise, Take II
‘I don’t like to prescribe exercise as a means to lose weight. I like to prescribe exercise as a means to acquire lean muscle mass.’
Tortorich on Participation Trophies
‘Unfortunately…trophies don’t mean anything any more…First, it teaches the loser that there’s no reason to work harder to win because losing is just as good as winning. Second, it teach the victor “screw it, why try?” because there’s no benefit to winning.’
Vinnie Tortorich’s Supplements
Tortorich developed his own vitamin line. This dailyhas 13 essential vitamins, 11 key minerals, has a vegetable-based capsule and no additives, preservatives, fillers or artificial anything.
For endurance athletes, Tortorich’scontains a unique formula of sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium, along with 60 other trace minerals to help minimize cramping, fluid loss and stress due to heavy perspiration.
Vitamin D can be made by the sun hitting our skin, but most people don’t get enough. Vitamin D is essential for strong bones, but it also offers protection against cancer, cognitive decline, and other diseases like MS. Tortorich’s formula is made in a base of 100% pure extra virgin olive oil.
Vitamin B12 is essential for the synthesis of DNA and is used by every cell in the body. Tortorich’s is a sublingual formula that is easily absorbed, free of fillers and binders, and includes calcium.
Vinnie Tortorich’s Lifestyle
Rise And Shine
Tortorich is opposed to sleeping in on weekends. He says you should get up, have a healthy breakfast and get moving, whether or not you have anything special to accomplish.
Tortorich was hired by Playboy to sculpt the bodies of several of its models.
Tortorich has won several World Championship 24-hour Mountain Bike Races, and competed in many Ultracycling events including the Furnace Creek 508 and The Race Across Oregon.
He Knew Them When…
Two of the students Tortorichworked with in his days as a high school strength training coach were Peyton and Eli Manning.
Tortorich on Treating the Body Like a Machine
‘We’re not automobiles; we’re humans.’
Tortorich on the Loss of Nutrients in our Food
‘Our land has been raped. We just don’t get what we need.’
Tortorich on Inquiring Minds
‘Always ask questions. That’s the only way you’ll learn…It’s the only way you’ll get through life.’
Tortorich on Dieting
‘We’ve been conditioned to think that diets are supposed to make us suffer, but you don’t need to suffer. In fact, if you’re suffering, you’re doing something wrong.’