My Recommended High Quality Nutrition Supplements

Monday, September 28, 2009

September 2009 Fitness Bootcamp Results at Smith Fitness Center

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Cut back on Calories and do More Exercise Right? - WRONG!

Most people today can tell you the common mainstream answer for what you need to do to lose weight. Cut back on your eating and become more active. Less in and more out equals a deficit and therefore weight loss. That's basically what everyone will tell you from your dietitian, to your nutrition teacher, your doctor and most trainers.

The funny thing is, they have been telling you this, for like 30 years and obesity levels are higher than ever. Then toss in the FDA Food Pyramid diet plan and BAM! You have a recipe for obesity, metabolic syndrome and sarcopenia (skinny Fat).

Sure - go ahead and eat like a bird, and what you do eat is usually high carb, no fat, low protein and then crank out 8 hours a day on a treadmill at a snails pace, reading your favorite book, while in the "fat burning zone". By golly don't you dare miss a cardio day or you might get fat. Then after 90 days to 6 months, look back at your fabulous progress. You would probably lose some weight in the beginning and then it would just kinda taper off. But you still jiggle in all the wrong places and although you may fit into a smaller pair of jeans because your quads are gone, you still look like a skinnier horrendous beast, naked. Back of the arm fat wings, back fat, belly, butt and hip blubber, cottage cheese thighs -all still there, but you lost 10lbs and fit into smaller clothes. And your feeling weak and tired, can't make it through the day without half a dozen of your favorite starbucks sugars lattes. How can this be, when you did what everyone told you to do?

There is only one human body and it only operates one way. Biology 101 is a course that just about everyone has taken in high school and college. But nobody remembers anything from the class - even your doctor and dietitian.

Here is a run down on how it works when you eat alot of carbs -in a nutshell.

Carbs (glucose) are used to provide energy to the body (muscles, brain, nervous system)
The liver and muscles can store small amounts of glucose (glycogen)
Carbs-especially simple sugars-are absorbed rapidly into the blood stream and cause a big rise in blood sugar levels
The pancreas then releases high levels of insulin
High insulin levels rapidly lower blood sugar levels
Then you crash and get hungry
Then you usually eat more carbs
This again leads to high levels of blood sugar
The pancreas has to release more high levels of insulin
This goes on and on kicking your ass.
Insulin becomes a bad thing and promotes bad stuff like fat storage.
All excess blood sugar that you don't use as fuel, is stored as fat in the fat cells of the body
Obesity follows: You get Mega Fat!

Toss in 8 hours a day of slow, useless cardio and the effect is amplified and made worse due to the extreme catabolic effects of feasting on your own lean tissue to survive.
So carbs have to be controlled. Your meals should have carbs, protein and fat. Highest carb intake should be at breakfast and post workout. Limit carbs at night, before bed. Eat the right amount of calories per meal and per day. Eat frequently 5-8 times a day every couple of hours. Lots of protein, a bunch of good fats and vegetables and fruit. Drink lots of water throughout the day.
Do targeted fat loss cardio and high intensity interval training along with metabolic resistance training focusing on strength and interval total body circuit work - heavy and fast with good form. Build muscle and burn fat! Be lean, healthy and strong, not weak and fat.
You can do it - just not on Tony's Gazelle while snacking on a 100 calorie snack pack.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Blasting the Quads and Glutes

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Tonight, I crushed my legs, with squats and lunges using bodyweight, 135lb barbell and a 61.6 lb kettlebell. It was fast and furious and didn't take long at all. I warmed up with jumping rope followed by bodyweight squats and lunges. Then I went on to do 135lb barbell back squats and 135lb barbell lunges. I finished my legs off by doing 61.6lb kettlebell front squats. Hopefully I'll be able to walk tomorrow. Some may think that this was an easy workout, but for me and my messed up knees and back, it was more than sufficient.

Warmup Jumping Rope

Bodyweight Squats

Bodyweight Lunges

135lb Barbell Back Squat

135lb Barbell Lunges

61.6lb Kettlebell Front Squats


Monday, September 21, 2009

Do Marathon Runners and other Distance Athletes Die From Heart Failure?

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Here is the BLUF - old army term for bottom line up front - in others words - spit it out and get to the point in the beginning - Long Distance Cardio Training is not healthy for you because it excessively elevates the major catabolic hormones, adrenaline and cortisol, which break down lean body mass and causes a huge list of related health issues. And the excessive carbs, to fuel such long events, adds excess sugar and insulin to the mix creating a metabolic nightmare.

I spent most of my adult life as a weightlifter in a runner's world (U.S. Army). Sure, I got my strained muscles and numerous injuries from weightlifting - due to ignorant behavior and poor judgement and technique - not due to weightlifting itself. But my long term injuries, that really have caused lasting damage, have all come from endurance events, mostly long distance running. Once I retired from the army and stopped being forced to do pointless, steady state, long distance running daily, I was able to heal myself through - yup, you guessed it - weight training and nutrition. Now I can lunge, squat, deadlift and still pull off plyometric jumps and even sprint without the knee pain that plagued me for the last 20 yrs. - Silly huh?

But everywhere you go, look and hear, Cardio Queens are still promoting and people are still following the failed archeic protocols from over 30 yrs ago. RUN, RUN, RUN and the world will be a better, healthier and skinnier place -except that since the time that cardio or aerobic training has become the big deal and that generally coincides with the original FDA Food Pyramid launch, obesity and every other bad health thing has been steadily on the rise - to the now epidemic proportions. If something doesn't work for 30 yrs, odds are it's time to try something else that does.

So here are two words for Ya, that will definitely mess you up in the long run (pun intended) - CARBS AND CARDIO.  You can't have one without the other and they will both kick your ass and may even kill you. - Yes kill you! Picture yourself on the sidelines, watching your favorite marathon, and the champion runner trots by at some sound barrier blasting speed and then crumples to the ground and dies, while all of the fat guys on the sidelines gasp in horror. Sound impossible? It's happened more than once, more than twice - it's happened alot.  All I can say is "Remember Jim Fixx". He was a master marathon runner, author of some books on how running is great for you and in 1984, died of a heart attack, during a run, at age 52. Just a fluke right - oh not by a long shot my friends - the list goes on and on.

The medical community has been forced to take notice and action and now most distance athletes have extensive medical screening and EKG type testing before they run off and die. There are many reasons why this happens to certain athletes and No- not everyone dies -  but too many have.

Here is an article for you to check out on this topic with the nutrition side bar ( not power bar mind you- the power bar guy -founder / CEO type - oh yeah he died on a run too ). Now I'm not laughing at this or downplaying these people in any way - it's a serious situation.  This article has alot of good info on it - well not if your a subscriber to runner's world magazine. I don't agree with everything in this article but it does illustrate some good facts. If your a runner, you will will get mad and stomp your little feet when you read this - but go easy, as I don't want you to inflame, your already sore runner's knee.

I remember in Iraq, when the artillery shells where coming in (friendly fire of course), I was sprinting to my foxhole, to avoid being obliterated by my fellow army artillerymen, who were a little off on distance and direction- luv ya guys - and I thought man, all those years of knee breaking, Ranger 5 mile standard runs paid off - NOT! sTUPID IS AS sTUPID DOES. Let me hear from all the haters (runners) - the facts be the facts.

So what's the answer: My Program of course! I have eliminated all of this silliness that kills you and implemented science based methods that have been proven time and time again. Sprint dont run, lift heavy weights for power and strength, eat good whole real foods that the caveman ate and you'll be lean, strong and fast. - and healthy and alive.


Friday, September 18, 2009

Barbell and Rings on a Friday Night

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Tonight's workout consisted of pushups on the rings, barbell rollouts to pushups, barbell deadlifts with 225lbs, barbell floor press to windshield wipers with 135lbs, and barbell bent rows with 225lbs. Before I left the gym I knocked out shrug machine deadlifts and got a new personal record of 450lbs X 3reps - which was good for me seeing I have a shot back and knees. When I got home to my studio, I tried to get 20 reps on the deadlift with 225lbs but I only got 15 reps. I think I could have gotten the last 5 reps but I was cautious about my back so I quit while I was ahead. Sometimes you have to stop while you are doing good. Here are some videos of the workout.

21 pushups on the rings

Barbell Rollout to pushup

135lbs Barbell Floor Press to windshield wipers

225lbs X 15 Reps Deadlift

225lbs Barbell Bent Rows

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Health Benefits of Yerba Mate Tea

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Yerba mate, also known as erva-mate in portugues, is a herbal tea that originates from South America. It is made from an infusion of the dried leaves of Ilex paraguariensis. Traditionally, Yerba Mate is often drank out of a dried gourd using a metal straw called "bombilla". The dry leaves (about 50 g) are packed into the gourd and hot water is poured over them; this is then repeated multiple times, with as much as half to 1 L of water.

Besides as a stimulant, traditionally, Yerba Mate is used for treatment of arthritis, slow digestions, liver diseases, headache, rheumatism, and obesity, among others.

Nutritional Value of Yerba Mate
Yerba Mate is rich in polyphenols and minerals, with the concentration varying depending on the variety, growing condition and processing. Among the polyphenols in Yerba Mate are caffeine, caffeic acid, catechin, epicatechin gallate, quercetin. These polyphenols have antioxidant activity, the ability to scavenge oxidative stress causing free radicals. Its antioxidant activity is suggested to be significantly higher than green tea (13.1 nmol TEAC/μg equivalents gallic acid in Yerba Mate vs. 9.1 nmol TEAC/μg equivalents gallic acid in green tea).

The caffeine level in Yerba Mate is comparable to coffee, 78 mg of caffeine in a 150 ml of Yerba Mate compared 85 mg of caffeine in 150 ml of coffee. Minerals in Yerba Mate include aluminum, manganese, potassium, zinc, choline, copper and more.Yerba Mate is also a source of chlorophyll.
Health Benefits of Yerba Mate
Yerba Mate, due its phytochemicals (some high in antioxidant activity), is known to be associated with reduced risks of many diseases that are caused by free radicals.
High lights of benefits of Yerba Mate:
reduces lipid peroxidation, DNA damage, cell death.
reduces risk factors for diabetes.
reduces LDL cholesterol oxidation, a precursor for atherosclerosis.
inhibits toxic effects of some highly reactive chemicals (eg. peroxynitrite) that are associated with stroke and myocardial ischemia, restriction in blood supply.
contains chemicals associated with reduced risks of cancer. It has shown the ability to inhibit growth cancer cells.
may help in weight loss and management.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Tricep Workout in the Dungeon

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Triceps were the target tonight. I warmed up with some light tricep exercises and then went into heavy tricep overhead presses, followed by 135lb partial skullcrushers (I couldn't do them full range, because it was simply too heavy for me - I'm a weak ass), then I did dips on the dip bars and chair dips. My arms have become puny over the last few months and with my arm measurement at only 17 inches, I am disgusted with my lack of progress so I am pushing forward to make changes. More food, different exercises and routines and a heavy dose of "CAN DO" will fix the problem.

90lb Dumbbell Overhead Tricep Extensions

135lb Skullcrusher Partials


Chair Dips

Monday, September 14, 2009

Heavy Arm Training

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Today, I blasted the shoulders and arms with standing dumbbell overhead presses. I got a 1 rep max with 75lbs dumbbells (in each hand as it's important to note :-) I then worked on a couple sets of heavy dumbbell cleans with 80lbs dumbbells which was brutal. By default, this type of training is heavy core and forearm/wrist training as well. I then went on to do some heavy side raises and band pullaparts. I then knocked out some heavy dumbbell arm curls. When I got home, in between clients, I decided to finish the biceps off with some 135lbs barbell arm curls and some reverse grip, hang power cleans otherwise known as deliberate cheat curls. I tried to keep my core tight and head and back straight even while doing cheat reps. Here are a couple of videos.

135lbs Barbell Arm curls

Reverse Grip Hang Power Cleans / Deliberate Cheat Curls

What Did You Have for Dinner Tonight?

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Ok so I had t-bone steak and brussel sprouts and it was good. It took me about 10 minutes to do the steak up on the george foreman grill while simultaneously heating up the brussel sprouts for 5 minutes. I was hungry like a mad dog and this saved the day in 10 minutes flat. So what did you have for dinner? If you were super hungry, could you create this kind of simple meal instead of grabbing for something bad? If I can do it, anyone can cause I'm the laziest cook in town. Hell, this meal was hot for a change. Most of my meals are raw and cold.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Hours of Steady State Cardio and No Fat Loss Results

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Everyday at the gym, I see dozens of people pounding away on the treadmills and cardio machines, attending every group aerobics class there is and frankly, they look the same to me, day after day. I've had women tell me countless times about how they did cardio or a certain class consistently and after some initial progress, nothing else seemed to happen. Recently, I even heard a lady say that she attended every group aerobics class, daily for a whole year straight and made no progress. I personally observed a large, obese man attend at least 2-4 hours of group aerobics classes, every day for three years, at the gym I used to go to in Columbus. He didn't look any different to me at the end of three years.

How can this be? Aren't you eating too much and not exercising enough? Don't all of the mainstream weight loss gurus tell you to eat less and exercise more? Isn't walking for at least 30minutes a day, a common recommendation for those embarking on a weight loss journey? You have been lied to my friends. And the liars are making billions of dollars a year keeping you eating like a bird, hitting the treadmills, taking the secret fat burner pills, buying all sorts of get skinny over night gizmos and potions.

The answer lies in the facts and not in the common myths (sales ads) that you hear everyday.
Steady state cardio is beneficial for cardio endurance. Running 5 miles a day makes you efficient at running 5 miles a day. Your joints may not appreciate it in the long term though. There are hormonal effects in your body from everything that you do - some good and some bad depending on what your doing.

Excessive steady state cardio causes your cortisol levels to rise, makes you efficient at the type of cardio that you do, which burns less calories each time, as you become more efficient at that type of cardio, puts you in a catabolic state which burns lean tissue, stresses your joints and skeletal frame, and burns very little fat. You also become efficient at preserving glucose and burning fat which means that your body burns less and less as it gets better and better at it.

I have been a certified endurance sports trainer since 1997. I have participated in most forms of cardio training and events to a fairly extreme level for over twenty years. I have done my share of running, biking, swimming, hiking / ruck marching and have spent many hours on all of the cardio machines. I have even participated in more than one aerobics class in my time. Despite all of the steady state, long distance / duration cardio training that I have done, I never leaned up or lost bodyfat. Many times I got fatter. I have been embarrassed more than once by a fat guy beating me on a run. Yes, fat guys run marathons and yes, the fat guy stays fat. I've seen it.

A study in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition (8(3): 213-222, 1998) showed that 5 days a week of 45 min aerobic training for 12 weeks had no effect on body composition over dieting alone.

Research (Jones et al., Sports Med. 18(3): 202-214, 1994) has shown that the intensity required by the average sedentary person trying to improve their cardiovascular system will likely create an excessive structural overload – in fact in this study there was a 50-90% injury rate in the initial six weeks of training.

Does steady state cardio actually work for some people? Yes, it does and if it works for you, then rock on with what your doing. There are many competitors who use it to supplement their weight training with the cutting phase of training. For the average jane or joe, you might make initial progress but more than likely it will rapidly fade.

The key behind the positive or negative effects of steady state or any other type of cardio is always the nutrition plan. If you are not eating the right amount and types of food frequently enough, you will rarely ever make any fat loss progress. Not eating enough, speeds the catabolic and hormonal effects, that cause fat sparing / storage and lean tissue loss. You don't want to walk on a treadmill or stairmaster for an hour or two a day and end up skinny fat.

So what does work? As I always say, strength and metabolic resistance training ( Tabata Protocol ), targeted fat loss cardio, high intensity interval training and proper nutrition are the keys to building muscle and burning fat. It's the 99.99% solution for most people.


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Thursday Night Workout Videos

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Tonight was a push / pull night, consisting of the barbell bench press ( 135lbs X 12, 225 X 8, 245lbs X 5). I went light to go easy on my bad shoulder which has been on the mend. Then I did back extensions, a barbell complex consisting of 135lbs two arm deadlift, 1 arm deadlift, bent row, romanian deadlift, arm curl, clean and push press, finished with Kettlebell renegade row with pushup using the 61.6 lbs green kettlebells. I was smoked and favoring my back at the end of the barbell complex and my form sucked on the push press but it wasn't bad enough to strain my knees or back. What can I say, my trainer sucks. The barbell complex is a great total body tool to use if you can do all the lifts with the same weight - which is not an easy task. The workout was quick but intense. No need to waste lot of time in the gym. Get in, hit it hard and fast and get out.

Bench Press 225lbs X 8 reps

Bench Press 245lbs X 5 reps

Back Extensions

135lbs Barbell Complex

61.6lbs Kettlebell Renegade Rows with Pushups

Ricky's Post Workout Drink

Ricky brought me a post workout drink that he found at a local gas station up the road. It's called Rockin Refuel. He gave me one and I tried it. It was good!!! Tasted like creamy chocolate milk and didn't have the protein shake aftertaste at all. If you like chocolate milk, this is the stuff. It has 300 calories, 48g carbs and 20g whey protein so it's a decent post workout drink to tide you over until you get home to real food. If you find one in your travels, give it a try. Chocolate milk has long been known as a great poorman's post workout drink. You generally want a 2 to 1 carb to protein ratio at breakfast and post workout and this drink would be a good fit at either spot. Great Job Ricky!! If anyone else finds something cool like this let me know so we can share it with the team.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbucks

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I don't usually drift far from my semi-disciplined meal plan week to week. But tonight I had to have a post- birthday (my 41st birthday was on the 4th) indulgence with a high calorie seasonal drink. Allison, my current longest term client (JAN 08), convinced me that this was a fabulous drink and that I must try it. So initially as a birthday favor (her birthday is on the 6th - Happy Birthday Allison!), I broke down and ended up at Starbucks ordering a pumpkin spice latte codenamed PAPA SIERRA LIMA or PSL for short. I took a drink and wow- it was awesome. I sucked it down rapidly with tasty enjoyment and contemplated getting another- but sped away quickly, feeling my discipline being weakened. It was really, really good.

So now for the damage. It was 340 calories with 49g of carbs with 47g being from sugar! Check out the different nutrition data for this drink here.

So I recommend this drink to try as an indulgence, if you earned one, with the 90/10 rule. The 90/10 rule is that if you are really disciplined 90% of the time with your meal plan, you can have a 10% cheat factor and not cause that much damage to your physique= get fat. I would try it if you like Starbucks, but only once in awhile. It is seasonal and won't be available everyday forever so if you earned a cheat meal or drink then indulge once in awhile - that means try something that you wouldn't have access to everyday or is not commonplace. But definitely don't make it a habit to drink your calories from any drink.

Strive to earn your cheat meals and drinks - discipline earns the positives in life. Train hard and eat right and you can have a pumpkin spice latte guilt free!


Thursday, September 3, 2009

Kimberly's Updated Progress Pic

Kimberly continues to make awesome progress. In addition to getting leaner, she is also making great gains in her fitness performance. Today, she raised her bench press from 105lbs to 110lbs and she raised her shrug machine deadlift from 180lbs to 200lbs. Awesome work in a week's time. She is making this progress by using the time proven method of training hard and eating right. Great work Kimberly!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Meal of the Week 02 SEP 09

Today's meal of the week consists of chicken, broccoli, baby carrots and baby tomatoes with a splash of extra virgin olive oil. This meal was cold and raw with the exception of the chicken. Took a couple of seconds to throw in a bowl. Protein, good Fats and fibrous Carbs in seconds flat.