Thursday, November 26, 2009

I Promised Myself I Wouldn’t Do This…

…but with the myriad of people who will be feasting on such devilish delights as mashed potatoes and gravy, apple pie, rolls and butter, and stuffing, I decided I would give you a few ideas to help you keep off the feasting 15:

  1. Do something physical before dinner- Try and get outside and move around a bit. It doesn’t have to be anything crazy but activity will help burn off a couple of calories to make room for the day of gluttony. Some examples would be hill sprints, burpee countdowns, complexes, jumping rope or just walking with your family.
  2. Stay away from the empty calories- You’re already going to be consuming enough food for two, why add to the calories with soda and juices? Limit yourself to water or red wine (in my opinion, the benefits are worth the calories).
  3. Eat a lot of the bird- Eating some extra protein can help you feel fuller and also store less of the calories because of the Thermic Effect of Food. This will help you eat a bit less, but you might want to take a bit of a nap afterwards.
  4. Spread the food out- Try and graze around the food table instead of piling the food on your plate like you are storing for a cold winter. Spreading it out can help boost up the metabolism a bit and give your stomach some time to alert your brain its full before it makes you wish you were dead.
  5. Don’t worry!- Remember, the holiday’s are for fun and family. Don’t obsess on the food and fear for the future. You can always go back and burn off the extra blubber in the New Year.

Did I leave anything out? Got any other ideas for what you can do to ward of the weight gain? Let me know in the comments!

In my next installment, I will give you some training ideas to help you get rid of whatever you gain these next couple of weeks and try and keep up your motivation and focus to stay in shape!

Until next time, stay strong.

Friday, November 13, 2009

What Should I Do?

I get a lot of questions from people along the lines of “What do you do when you workout?” First off, at the risk of sounding like and elitist, I do not “workout”; I train. Chase Karnes wrote a great article here if you don’t know what I’m talking about. Secondly, I keep things pretty simple. There are really only 8 different things you need to do to stay in shape:

  1. Run
  2. Jump
  3. Climb
  4. Push
  5. Pull
  6. Throw
  7. Carry
  8. Hold


You don’t need any fancy equipment to do these, just some dumbbells, barbells, medicine balls, cables, or bands. Most of these can be found at any gym. If they don’t have them, you may need to rethink where you train. Even then, if you don’t have these tools, you can use your bodyweight for an effective workout.

The reason behind this post is to just point out that training does not need to be some super reverse engineered Eastern European periodization scheme. Just keeping it to basic movements and progressively increasing your weight, sets, and reps will work wonders for your gains.

Got anything else you think should be on the list? Let me know in the comments!

Until next time, be strong.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

A Look Into My Eating (or Feasting?)

"There is NO WAY you are going to be able to eat all of that!" my roommate exclaims after seeing my feast breakfast. Sounds like a challenge to me. We just got back from training with our usual total body routine , which always beats me into the ground. Since I had already swam that morning too, and only had a protein shake and a banana after that, I was in serious need of sustenance. So I decided to make my usual breakfast which consists of these magical culinary delights:
  • 3 whole omega-3 egg's
  • 1/2 cup egg whites
  • 1 cup broccoli 
  • half a red bell pepper
  • 2 slices Orowheat Light wheat bread (my toaster is too small for bigger bread.)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Smart Balance peanut butter
  • 1/12 tablespoons organic fruit spread
  • 1/3 cup Coach's Oats
  • 1/4 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese
  • cinnamon to taste
  • cup of coffee
As you can see, it is quite large. But, I do this for 3 major reasons: 1. Breakfast should be the largest meal of the day. 2. Your after training meal should be one of your biggest meals of the day as well. 3. Food is awesome!

The nutritional breakdown of this meal (brought to you by is 27 grams of good healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fats with only 6 grams of saturated fat, 84 grams of carbohydrates with 20 grams of fiber, and 62 grams of good complete proteins. Thats a ratio of 30%:40%:30% of fat:carbohydrates:protein for a total of 805 calories. Thats a pretty well balanced meal in my opinion.

After that, my meals will get progressively smaller due to decreased need of calories throughout the day. I still eat every 2-3 hours with protein at every meal. My average calorie consumption is around 3,400 calories a day on training days with a ratio of 45%:35%:20% carbs to fat to protein. What does your day look like? Do you track your food intake? Let me know in the comments below.

Until next time, be strong.

Friday, October 23, 2009

End of Squatting?

Super-human uber coach Mike Boyle has just released his new Functional Strength Coach 3 set of DVD's to the public. Rest assured that when Mike Boyle speaks, people in this field shut up and listen, even when he has something radical, different, and downright shocking to say. All I will say is is all that squatting really helping us?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

No dumbells, no problem

I've made no secret about the fact about the fact that I love kettlebells. They are versatile, they are challenging, they are fun, and pretty damn cheap at that. I would go as far as to say that if you had two kettlebells and a pull up bar, you have your very own home gym right there. However, if you're like me you are really good looking you want more awesome in your gym. So, I'm going to give you some ideas on how you can beef up your home training play chest.

1. A sandbag- These things are amazing. Besides the fact that, like kettlebells, they are portable, they offer great core training because of their instability. You can do cleans, presses, rows, squats, loads, rotations, you name an exercise and I'll bet you can do it with a sandbag. I'd go with about 1/3 of your bodyweight to start.

2. A 40'-50' thick rope- Holy hell. If you want a sick conditioning workout you should, nay, NEED to get a rope! Whipping this thing around with get your upper body jacked, gas your lungs, boost your work capacity, all while making girls go "Wow, thats a whole lotta man!"

3. A tractor tire-

While a bit hard to store, I believe the benefit far outweighs the scolding you will get from your parents/landlord. Building explosive power and getting good conditioning will be easier than getting a picture of Lindsay Lohan without panties on.

4. A sledgehammer-

Doing sledgehammer slams on your new tire will be one of the hardest exercises you've ever done. Adding this to your conditioning training will seriously help with upper body power and strength.

Well there you have it. Four things that can take your home gym from ordinary to "My lord I am all that is man!" Did I forget anything? Let me know in the comments!

Until next time, stay strong

Monday, October 19, 2009

I was sitting here on a slightly cloudy Monday morning here in Goleta, California after just going out to triathlon practice, then doing a couple sprints and burpee countdown, drinking my coffee and eating my eggs and oatmeal when a thought burrowed its way into my mind :"Why do I do this?". Not for the obvious reason we probably all do it which is we enjoy it and its makes us feel like the breed of man that seems to be slowly but surely slipping off of this planet. No, I mean what are your goals? We all have stuff we want to accomplish both in and out if the weight room and I am interested to hear what all of yours are. It may be to deadlift a truck or get 10 good pull-ups in. Whatever they are, however big or minuscule, lets share them. That way, maybe we can help each other reach them. For example, I just recently deadlifted 400 lbs with a hexbar. My new goal is to get up to 420 by Christmas, gain a little bit of muscle, and improve my GPP. Feel free to share on my Facebook comments!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Guest Post from Ryan Zielonka

Though he has taken hiatus from posting on his fantastic blog, Ryan has come back and said what needs to be said about all those ladies out there who are considering using weights as a means to lean up and become more fit.

Pink Dumbbells

by Ryan Zielonka

Ladies, I feel bad for you. Really, I do. When it comes to fitness marketing, women are preyed upon like helpless bunnies in a field brim-full of intimidating, roided-out personal trainers and professional salesmen. It’s as if fitness professionals go full-retard when presented with a female audience. Seriously, how many training programs do we need that tell its victims to do a bunch of cardio, some butt raises, and biceps curls with pink dumbbells?

Let’s get some things straight. First, lifting weights isn’t going to magically give you more tone or burn more calories while you sit at work all day, regardless of what some authors might claim. In fact, weight training has a marginal impact on metabolism, an average session burning somewhere around 300 calories. Even the addition of lean muscle mass to our bodies bears little on our thermodynamics. Building appreciable muscle, particularly for women, is hard, and I can count on one hand the number of women I’ve seen in the gym lifting in a way congruent with the goal of lean body mass gain or retention.

So if weight training doesn’t burn that many calories while you’re doing it, doesn’t give your metabolism much of a benefit when you’re not doing it, and on top of that, it’s hard to gain muscle anyway, why do it at all?

If you put a discerning eye to the screen or page and scan the above paragraphs a few times you’ll notice much of the disappointment comes out of the exaggerated promises found in books, magazines, and in the mouths of personal trainers. These sources are obsessed with calories burned. To a degree, this caloric obsession has merit. If the number of calories consumed exceeds the number of calories burned, body mass accrues – i.e. weight gain. What none of these sources tell you is that weight training’s great benefit is its ability to tilt the partitioning scales in our favor.

So what the heck does partitioning mean?
Partitioning refers to what happens to calories when they find their way into your body. High-intensity activity, especially high-intensity resistance training, puts your body into an optimal partitioning state. By demanding a lot of your body’s physiological systems, resistance training elevates a host of hormones and metabolic processes encouraging your body to build lean muscle and lose fat. When you consume food before, during, and after your workout your body wants to lose fat and wants to gain muscle. Partitioning refers to how many of those calories get stored as body fat, and how many of those calories go toward replenishing muscle glycogen or building lean muscle tissue.

Nutrient timing is getting more press in mainstream literature; in essence, timing your food intake to benefit maximally from the calories your body receives. Regardless of the type of training you’re doing, you’re best off consuming a good proportion of your daily calories before, during, and immediately after training. All that cool stuff resistance training does to your body puts it into a repair and utilize state rather than a store and waste state. But here’s the kicker – to put your body in this state you need to tax it. Most women exert more effort cleaning the house or grocery shopping than they do at the gym.

So what to do? Find a challenging program and work on increasing your weights. Build on the basics – squats, deadlifts, overhead press, bench press, and rows. The basics will always stay the same and will always apply to both genders. No, you won’t get ‘too big,’ no matter how hard you try. Hit the gym with passion and purpose, and then reap the rewards.