Archive for the ‘tips’ Category

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. 

I have a long way to go, but today was light years better than I’ve been doing over the last couple months.  How much better?  Well, I don’t have the time to post all the details right now (stay tuned for updates), but here is the general outline.

Warm-up Cardiovascular Training: One mile run in intervals [2 min.  jogging, 1 min. sprinting , repeat four times]

Resistance Training:  A long workout- about 35-40 minutes.  I started out with a superset of jumping prisoner squats (don’t use that as a search term, you might not like what you find).  BTW a prisoner squat is a regular squat (no weights) where you hold your hands interlocked behind your head.  I did about 15 of those with a full extension and jump for each one.  Then I took two steps back and went right into my 200lb squats.  That number is so embarrassing- I should be able to do about 300+ lbs.  My upper and lower body are totally out of balance, which is something that I will need to correct.

I followed that with a combination of push-ups, reverse rows, and pull-ups.  Here is a PIECE of USEFUL ADVICE.  If you want to work on your grip strength try substituting your workout towel for actually gripping the bar- KEEP SAFETY IN MIND!  Reverse rows and pulls up are great exercises where substituting your towel for the bar (just wrap it around the bar and hold a few inches up from the ends of the towel) will build grip strength and give you a TREMENDOUS burn in your forearms.  And that kind of strength is the kind you need everyday for everything from giving a firm powerful handshake to lifting all sorts of objects.

I closed by doing supersets of tricep and bicep exercises.  Overhead extension mixed with Cable curls and then tricep pushdowns mixed with dumbbell Zottman curls.

Post Resistance Cardiovascular Training:  At this point my beating around 160 BPM.  So I hit the recumbent bike and did a nice relaxed pace mile in about 7 minutes.

Reflections: A sit in the steam room and a shower later I felt great.  My glutes and quads felt pushed to their limit and my upper arms were at one point swollen like the Goodyear blimp.  As if to reinforce the point I must share that the sweat stains my clothing were worse than they’ve ever been.  Guess I did something right.

I posted this on another blog as a comment, but after thinking about it, I think this is important ernough to share as a post.  As I don’t have much time to post I will be brief.  The B.M.I. measurment is practically junk.  It doesn’t take into account you body type and build- a muscular person of short height can have the same BMI as a couch potatoe.  So I give you this easy measurement, the waist to hip ratio.  All you need is a measuring tape.   

A very brief explanation.

The weight we carry around our center is the MOST dangerous kind of extra weight.

“Researchers reported in Friday’s issue of The Lancet medical journal that a hip-to-waist ratio is a better predictor of the risk of heart attack for a variety of ethnic groups than body-mass index, the current standard.”

How to take the measurement

“To determine if you have a healthy waist to hip ratio, use a measuring tape to measure the circumference of your hips at the widest part of your buttocks. Then measure your waist at the smaller circumference of your natural waist, usually just above the belly button.”

Here’s the web address for a waist to hip calculator (the above address works too).

It’s been a while since someone asked, but I finally got around to it.  Over the next week or two I will be posting reviews on protein bars.  I have selected five brands, all of which are available at Wal-mart.  After all, no sense in me reviewing bars you can’t find anywhere.

The competitors are….

Snickers Marathon Protein Bar: 290 calories; 9g fat; 40g carbs (11g fiber, 20g sugar); 21g protein. Caramel Nut Rush.

PowerBar Protein Plus:  290 calories; 6g fat; 37g carbs (2g fiber, 18g sugar); 23 protein.  Chocolate Crisp.

Meso-Tech Complete:  340 calories; 9g fat; 40g carbs (1g fiber, 26g sugar); 25g protein.  Cookies & Cream.

ThinkThin:  240 calories; 8g fat; 27g carbs (1g fiber, 15 sugar alcohol); 20g protein.  Chocolate fudge and Brownie Crunch.

MLO Sports Nutrition EXTREME: 370 calories; 8g fat; 44g carbs (2g fiber, 29g sugar); 30g protein (W/ 5g Creatine).  Peanut Butter.

Now to see how they taste.  I have a feeling this will be an interesting experience.

Tired of the same old push-up? I Guess you haven’t read my surprisingly popular Push-ups post. But now I have another push-up to add to the 21 push-up list.

Oh yes, I’ve found a new push-up. It has all the elements of a good push-up. It uses your full body weight, it requires some balance, and lets you work on muscle coordination all at the same time. Did I forget to mention, it requires a few extra materials. But don’t worry, you can acquire all the materials needed for this push-up for less than $5.


Create Goals, Engage Focus, and Gain Desire

Setting realistic goals isn’t just an exercise in penmanship. When you set goals you engage focus and gain desire. Without focus desires will run your life and send you in a thousand different directions- which usually amounts to going nowhere fast. You need goals to engage your focus, to center on that point on the horizon where you want to be. Your focus will breed desire to get to that point, to be that person, to live up to your potential.

How: Take today to create three goals, and harness your desires to become a better person.

Apply Honesty, Gain Perspective

Honesty usually isn’t hard when dealing with other people, but when dealing with our own actions and bad habits most have a habit of taking a less than honest approach. Too often we look at our failures and blame others, we look at our success and take all the credit. Can you be honest with yourself? If you can be honest with yourself, you will gain perspective. Perspective is the unique ability to look into your own life and see what you are doing right and wrong without resorting to the defense mechanisms of blame, excuse, and rationalizing.

How: Take some time at the end of the day and review your choices and decisions. Ferret out any excuses and rationalizations, assign blame or responsibility appropriately. Think about the causes and effects of your actions. In addition, find friends, family, and co-workers who have a vested interest in you and are willing to be honest with you.

Discover Core Values, Gain Traction

While your goals are limited and focused, you need to have core values that are open and broad in perspective. For example, while a good goal might be:

Lose 10lbs by September 30th, 2007,

a good core value might be:

To live a healthier lifestyle in how I eat, exercise, and how I handle stress.

Your core values create a checkpoint for future actions. Is that food something you want to eat? Should you be sitting on the couch or out running? Run these situations past your core values and you will find that you now have a light to guide your path. Core values and goals go hand in hand.

How: Look back on your life. What do you regret? What are your proud of? Find your core values and write them down, commit them to memory. Bring them together with your goals, and begin living a life with conscious direction.

Whenever I tried to lose weight in the past I always seemed to fail at the exact same time everyday- after dinner and before bed. Sometime between dinner and bed I would consume enough calories to cancel out any calories I cut during the day. It was never one big thing, but lots of little things. A handful of pretzel sticks, some goldfish (bag kind, not tank kind), a cookie or two, and the list goes on. I couldn’t seem to control my night time urge for these foods. So how do you break that bad habit?

Well here are a few strategies that worked for me. Some allow you to eat, some don’t. See what works for you.

First, consume lots of water during and after dinner. I try to drink somewhere between 4 and 6 cups of water during and after dinner.

Wanna take it to the next level? Try a low calorie (or no calorie) fiber additive like MetaMucil.

Second, keep your produce drawer stocked. So you want to eat, fine, eat some fruit. Grab a peach, a pear, a plum, an apple. You will probably be full long before you take in enough calories to sabotage your weight loss.


This will be a new series similar to my old posts on patience and pride.  I still stand behind my old posts, but I think enough remains to be written that I won’t have to repeat myself.  Each day (if the Lord is willing and the schedule open) I will post on one of the below virtues.

Each post will follow the same rough outline.  I will identify a vice, name the virtue which can diminish that vice, and then list the benefits of that virtue.   It isn’t realistic to expect a total absence of vice in your life, but that doesn’t mean you have to let your vices control you.

And if you think virtues aren’t for you because you aren’t a religious person, think again.  These four virtues cut across all aspects of life: body, mind, and spirit.  For example, holding on to anger and refusal to forgive can cripple the spirit, preoccupy the mind, and have adverse health impacts on your body.

1. Flee Pride, Pursue Humility, Find Contentment

2. Flee Impulse, Pursue Patience, Find Calm

3. Flee Excuses, Pursue Honesty, Find Perspective

4. Flee Bitterness, Pursue Forgiveness, Find Peace

Here are some sentences I humbly offer to help you on your way [If you use any of these sentences in your next great novel please give me credit.]:

“IF it weren’t for those damn squirrels! Now I was left to ponder, how would I get my toast out of the tree.”

Okay, that was two sentences, but just let it slide. Squirrels who steal toast aren’t for you?  How about this gripping beginning:

“AS my car spun off the road, and all I could think was, “How did that Elk know my name?”

Okay, the idea of a talking elk doesn’t get you thinking (in which case I must ask, what is wrong with you?).  But I’ll try something else.  If you want a deeply emotional beginning that tugs at the heart string, how about this:

“I had to admit, I did love her. But could I live with her odd obsession to shoelaces?”

So you didn’t like the squirrels, the talking elk, or the shoelace obsessed girlfriend. Well, you sure are tough to please. But maybe these next few might help:


As we near out first pay check in over two months (times have been tough but God provided) we are set to implement some money saving procedures and a much improved budget.   What have we done?  Well I will share with you three tips today to shrink your expenses and saved lots of money

First, perhaps the biggest change for us, we are limiting our grocery/all things Wal-Mart budget (excluding dog food) to $250 per month.  We are going to enforce this budget limit by taking out $250 cash at the beginning of the month and placing said cash in an envelope to be used each time we shop.  When the money runs out, no more groceries.  As an incentive to save more, 50% of the money left over at the end of the month can be used for ANYTHING we want.

Estimated Savings: $200-400/month

Second, we are going automatic.  We are signing up as many bills as possible for automatic bill pay.  We have been paying anywhere from $5 to $25 dollars in late fees each month.  The main offender is our water bill.  It is the only bill that comes without a return envelope and is therefore easy to forget about.  To make matters worse the local water department are known in our house as the water Nazi’s- if you are two weeks late with your bill they shut off the water and charge $20 bucks (plus late fee) to reconnect.  As if they weren’t selling the most abundant resource that only cost about $30 a month, and we were somehow going to run off without paying that hefty $35 dollar water bill….geesh.

Estimated Savings: $5-$25 dollars

Third, we will be paying down our lowest balance credit card in a month or two and using that card for gasoline- NOTHING else!  Well okay, emergencies, but only real emergencies.  The card will be paid off before the end of each month.  It will help us budget our gas money and allow for quick and easy gas purchases.  Tried buying gas without a credit card lately?  It isn’t fun.

Estimated Savings$10-$25/month on interest

OVERALL estimated servings:  $215-$450 dollars