Archive for the ‘nutrition’ Category

A happy New Year to all those who still scramble up the crag that is this old worn out blog to view my inconsistent (and sometimes incoherent) fitness ramblings.   I know you are expecting me to talk about how I resolve to post more to this blog over the coming year, but actually I don’t.  I plan on posting more and I expect to be more active than I have been the past year or two, but it isn’t on the top of my to-do list.  I was putting too much stress on keeping this blog up and anxiety was getting the better of me.  I hope that with a more relaxed attitude I can better keep up with this blog, minus the stress and anxiety.

So what are my resolutions?  Before I get to that I should note that experience has tempered my firm belief in specific goals.  They are great until you reach them.  Then what?  A new goal?  Where is the joy in that?  Instead, it is better to find general guidelines for how life should be lived, live by them, and reap the rewards as they come.   No more stress or pressure to hit specific numbers.  I will take my victories as they come.

So the question is changed to what are my guidelines and how do I plan on implementing them.  I answered that question by creating three general guidelines, short enough to remember, but broad enough to allow for a considerable amount of change in the life of myself and my family.  I have termed these “Family Commitments” as they impact both myself and my family.  However, because of their dual nature I will refer to them interchangeably as family and individual commitments, depending on the context.

The three primary commitments are:

  1. Keep God first in all things
  2. Eat fresh and be active
  3. Buy less, throw out more, and organize what we keep

These three commitments hit on the big four: mind, body, spirit, and wallet.   Commitment 1 will keep us spiritually balanced and aids us in keeping commitments 1 and 2.  Commitment 2 will keep us healthy and aids us in keeping commitments 1 and 3.  Commitment 3 will keep our bad spending habits (and my tendency to hoard things) in check, and reinforce commitments 1 and 2.

Now how do I turn these three broad commitments into a plan of action?  Like this: (more…)

This is a tasty snack with low calories, whole wheat, plenty of veggies, and lots of healthy fat (depending on how you make it).   The base is simple (and cheap), a whole wheat Joseph’s Pita (you can buy 6 in a package for $2.79 at Wal-mart).   Their whole wheat pita has a well-balanced nutritional content (see image below).  From there the steps are simple. (more…)

It has come to this.  The metaphorical tornado that is my life swept through over the last couple of months and now I have to assess the damage caused by stress, apathy, inactivity, distraction, and gluttony.  I hate doing this, always have, but it is essential to starting over.  It’s hard to climb out of the hole when you don’t know how far down you are (not to mention which way is up).   It would be far easier to sulk and stew where I am, ignore the depths to which I’ve descended, and find comfort in a blissful ignorance of my current condition.  After all, if I am unaware of how much I weigh now or how many inches I’ve added to my waist then I can’t have any depressing thoughts about how much ground I’ve lost over the last few months.  Well, I can have those thoughts, but as long as they aren’t confirmed by the scale and the tape, I can push them to the side and ignore them with much more ease.

No longer though.  This morning I braved the tape and the scale.  The knowledge I gained wasn’t pretty, but it was essential.  I have returned to a 37 inch waist and about 188.5 lbs.  This is still far better than the 209 or so lbs I started out at, but a far cry from my best weight of 166 lbs.  I did some chin-ups only to find I lost some, but luckily not a lot, of my upper body strength (down from 7 chin-ups to about 4).

But my workout for today isn’t going to be fun, nor will it be easy.  I designed it to be part fitness assessment, part penance for my previous apathy.  Perhaps it will be a cathartic exercise (pun intended).   (more…)

I’ve spend the summer neglecting every good bit of nutritional advice I’ve ever received, and as a result I feel bloated, tired, and “ick.”  So as of yesterday I got back on the nutritional wagon.  As per my trainers instructions:

“[Eat] fresh vegetables (no root vegetables or squash), berries, small amounts of nuts & seeds, unprocessed animal protein, unprocessed fats, salt, spices, coffee with cream, tea, water and 1 tbsp of fish oil per day.”

So I planned all my meals out for today.  But as we know the best laid plans often go straight down the toilet. My plans went down the drain thanks to a severe thunderstorm that left our family stranded in the local Wal-mart until lunch time today.  The only food place there was subway, and as we all know, if you want something that doesn’t come on bread (and isn’t a salad), Subway ain’t the best place to eat.  So after reviewing the menu several times, my frustration finally eased when I saw a steak and cheese omelet sub.  I ordered the sub with double steak, part-skim mozzarella, tomatoes, green peppers, onions, and spinach.  I ditched the bread in the trash and laid out the omelet et al. on the table in front of me.  It was quite delicious, and despite the VERY user unfriendly nutritional info at the Subway website (they won’t let you deduct or add specific ingredients)   I was able, with a little math, to guesstimate my nutritional intake at around:

  • 400 calories
  • 9g carbs
  • 37 protein
  • 18g fat

Sounds good to me.  Not ideal, but the best alternative.

[Note: Several pictures and a few funny stories can be found below the cut line.]

Well, I figured why not try it. The stuff tastes great at the local Japanese restaurant, but it also costs a small fortune.  So early this morning, with wife and child in tow, I embarked on what would become a day long journey in search of the perfect cuts of salmon and tuna for sashimi.  After four stores (the local Asian Market, Whole Foods, Harris Teeter, and Lowe’s Foods) I quickly became discouraged.  The answer from behind the meat counter was always the same, “Sorry, we don’t have sashimi grade salmon.  Only tuna.”

I was pretty disheartened until I decided to stop by the sushi chef’s station at one of the supermarkets. I asked the chef if he knew of where I could buy some good cuts of sushi quality salmon.  “Right over in the seafood section.”  I was a bit shocked, “I was just over there and they said they didn’t sell sashimi quality salmon.”  Now he looked suprised.  The next words out of his mouth floored me, (more…)

All three provide good and useful services, but is any one of them clearly better than the other two?  The reviews are based on the features most of us would expect from a fitness tool/advice site.  For each category/feature I will rate Traineo, Gyminee, and Sparkpeople.  The format is simple, five categories (user-friendliness, groups, nutritional logging, exercise logging, and graphing capabilities) judged by placing each site into first, second, or third place.  First place is awarded 3 points, second place 2 points; third place 1 point.  At the end of this review the points are added up and the winner announced.  Pretty simple, right?  Good, well let’s start the reviews. (more…)

In the category of “D’uh!.” In the wake of Tim Russert’s heart attack the belief that “if we do everything right — eat healthy, exercise, undergo diligent screening, and get all of our numbers lined up in ideal ranges — that we can prevent heart disease, cancer, diabetes and forestall premature death” is taking quite a few hits.  [1]  While these methods are helpful they are not foolproof guarantees.  Then again, what in life is guaranteed other than death and taxes?

Are you a Metabo? You might ask what is Metabo?  Metabo is another name for a person who is presumed to suffer from Metabolic Syndrome.  And for those too lazy to click on the link here is a definition:

Metabolic syndrome is a compilation of risk factorswaist circumference, blood pressure, blood sugar, and triglyceride and blood lipids (cholesterol). Some say that the more of these indices that are “high,” the greater the risk for heart disease. [Metabo- Is a Small Waistline a Measure of Health?]

The author poses a question that provokes some…interesting…imagery

Is a smaller belt size to prevent heart disease like going braless to reduce risks for breast cancer? [Metabo- Is a Small Waistline a Measure of Health?]

The article also contains this gem which is too good to pass up. (more…)

How Healthy are you Right Now?

  1. What is your ideal weight?  Try this site, which will give you several methods of finding your ideal weight.  This will give you a good general idea of a healthy weight range for you. 
  2. How does my blood pressure and my resting heart rate..well…rate?  All you need to do for this one is head down to your local Wal-mart and take 30 seconds at the blood pressure testing machine.  It isn’t spot on accurate, but it is close enough.  I recommend taking 90 seconds (i.e. 3 times) and averaging them out.
  3. Find your caloric needs.  You need this many calories just to survive and exist. 
  4. Check out your waist hip ratio
  5. How are you arteries doing?  Run this simple ten question test to see how your cholestorel level might be effecting your health.
  6. Are you healthy enough to start exercising
  7. Are you presently at risk for diabetes?
  8. How much fat is on my (your) body?  If you have access to a fat caliper click here, if not try this siteand this one too.
  9. How is your vertical jump?
  10. Male girth calculator.  It isn’t what it might sound like.  This calculator uses your wrist measurement to tell you how big the rest of your body should be.
  11. JUST FOR FUN: Enjoy this health and longevity quiz
  12. How many push-ups can you do and how does that rank?
  13. What is you frame size?

How much _________ should I _____________?

  1. How much protein should I be eating?
  2. How much fat should I be eating?
  3. How much fiber should I be eating?
  4. How many carbs should I be eating?
  5. How much (pick your favorite exercise/activity) should I do to lose one pound?  Find out here.

Now I’m Working Out, So….

  1. First things first, do you know proper weight room etiquette?
  2. Finding your ideal heart rate range for cardio.
  3. Find out how many calories are epxended by your favorite activities from standing to yardwork to softball. 
  4. JUST FOR FUN: How does your bench pressing skill rank?  Load the bar with 80lbs and see how many reps you can do.  Input your info and see how you rank.
  5. Calculators for runners.
  6. Predict your one rep max and lots of other stuff.

I hope this helps.  Best of wishes on your fitness journey.  As always, if you have questions I am glad to answer them. 

How far can two weeks of perfect meal plans and just the right amount of exercise- given that I don’t deviate in even the slightest manner into unhealthy (but all too well charted) waters?

Why don’t I (we) find out?! This is going to be the two-week transformation to end all two weeks transformations. Here are the simple to understand (but admittedly super hard to follow) rules.

1. 6 meals a day w/ lots of protein. (Easy enough)

2. I am cutting out almost ALL non-fruit/non-veggie/ non-whole wheat carbs from all my meals EXCEPT for breakfast. This means that when I stop by Chick-fil-A I will buy the grilled chicken, ditch the bun, and eat it over a salad. That is just ONE example of MANY I no doubt will be frustrated by over the next few weeks. (Very Hard)

3. Resistance training and Cardio go together! This is similar to what I’ve been doing off and on for about a month now, but I will stick to it much more consistently this time and with a higher level of intensity. (Hard)

4. Perseverance, perseverance, perseverance!

And here are three “before” pictures today. This is my starting point. Let’s see how far I can take this, together.

oct 7 crop   oct-7-crop-side-close.jpg  back-closeup-crop-oct-7.jpg

Here it is, as simply as I can put it:

Indulgence days aren’t optional, they are essential!

Yeah, I know, you’ve spent the last few months (or years) carefully watching every calorie lest you eat 1 calorie too much.  And this might seem counter-intuitive, but trust me on this.  I stumbled on this by accident.

As many of you know I was stuck somewhere between 168.5 and 170.5 for about 70 days or so.  I also had no change in either muscle growth or waist shrinkage.  Both numbers remained the same for that 70 day period.

Last week, as I had company in town, I ended up taking two days off my diet for the sake of convenience.  Keep in mind I DID NOT take off time from my workouts.  On the first night I ate three VERY large slices of pizza and a few garlic knots, and on the second night I ate a delicious Checkers’ burger with small fries.  Sure, on those nights I weighed in at about 170.2, but I felt fine and my waist measurement never went up.

The next day I got back to basics and stuck with my meal plan and ran through a good resistance training workout and a short cardio session (part walk, part interval training).

The next day I rested and ate well.

On the fourth day I stepped on the scale…

(more…)