Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Flaws of Conventional Wisdom

As you know by now, I'm not a conventional wisdom kind of guy.  I think conventional wisdom is vastly flawed.  In many cases it's bought and paid for.  In some, gross negligence.  In others, arrogance and ignorance.

With that said, it comes as no surprise to me that the molecule that you see to the left makes about $13,000,000,000/year.  Yeah, that's right -- 13 BILLION!  And the statin market?  Try this on for size: $26 Billion +.  With negligible benefits, even by conventional wisdom standards, tons of side effects and a big price tag it has quite possibly added to cardiovascular morbidity.  We've been sold a bill of goods.  All of us: doctors, consumers, media, mom, dad, grandma...

This brings me to my point.  I'm not going to talk about all the flaws of conventional wisdom (that would take too long and I don't even know them all).  But this one pisses me off (especially because of reasons that hit 'close to home').  I think it stems from a number of things: ignorance, arrogance, greed, money-generated flawed 'wisdom'.  I don't fault all involved.  I think there are many, many well-meaning people who research, develop, and sell medications  On the other hand, I think there are ill intentioned people that spend hundreds of millions on the development of a molecule, see the flaws and dangers and move forward anyway.  I think this one is a mixed bag.
Most believe in conventional wisdom when it come to a diet rich in fat and cholesterol -- they believe that fat promotes cardiovascular disease and paves the road to an early death; I do not.  I believe a diet rich in processed, chemical-laden food and processed carbohydrates that obliterates your pancreas year and year with masses and continual amounts of insulin is what leads to obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.  Mix processed fats, high insulin levels and processed carbohydrates and you have a recipe for an unhealthy, disease-ridden and likely earlier-than-should-have-been death.  So what?

The flawed conventional wisdom that fat and cholesterol kill you is why the pictured above molecule has been a blockbuster seller for more than a decade.  Yet, now research is showing (and it doesn't coincide with CW -- uh oh --) that statins actually promote and worsen Alzheimer's.  My father died from Alzheimer's in 2006 after (what we now know) a 10 year battle.  He started showing sign of Alzheimer's at age 51!  He was gone at 61.  I believe aspartame played a part in the development of his disease; CW does not agree.  Google aspartame -- make your own judgment on its safety.  I think other factors played a role as well that I won't discuss that here.  But at about the mid-way point of his battle (2002), he started taking Lipitor for his 'high' cholesterol.  It seems now that not only did it not help him, but it likely worsened the progression and further development of Alzheimer's.

"Alzheimer's is a devastating disease whose incidence is clearly on the rise in America. Fortunately, a significant number of research dollars are currently being spent to try to understand what causes Alzheimer's. ApoE-4, a particular allele of the apolipoprotein apoE, is a known risk factor. Since apoE plays a critical role in the transport of cholesterol and fats to the brain, it can be hypothesized that insufficient fat and cholesterol in the brain play a critical role in the disease process. In a remarkable recent study, it was found that Alzheimer's patients have only 1/6 of the concentration of free fatty acids in the cerebrospinal fluid compared to individuals without Alzheimer's. In parallel, it is becoming very clear that cholesterol is pervasive in the brain, and that it plays a critical role both in nerve transport in the synapse and in maintaining the health of the myelin sheath coating nerve fibers. An extremely high-fat (ketogenic) diet has been found to improve cognitive ability in Alzheimer's patients. These and other observations described below lead me to conclude that both a low-fat diet and statin drug treatment increase susceptibility to Alzheimer's."

I'll not belabor my point any longer or delve into the specifics of fat and cholesterol transport and the importance of it to our body, specifically our brain; the study below explains it all in fantastic detail.  But I'll leave you with this.  Make up your own mind.  Don't let one person, a company, a doctor, or any one entity make your decision for you.  Use your mind and make your own decisions about your health.  Look around you.  You are surrounded by an epidemic of obesity and diabetes and it's not because of fat and cholesterol.  And by the way, medicines don't seem to be helping all that much.

Change your life.  Move more, eat less, educate yourself.

Until next time...

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Endogenous Growth Hormone and Fat Loss

Nutrition, fitness, and fat loss expert Lyle McDonald recently wrote an article on growth hormone (GH).  Specifically, he covered the raise in GH after intense exercise and what that means.  Does it mean that we can take advantage of raised GH levels in our quest to burn fat?  Well, sort of.  Lyle, as always, is succinct in answering that question.

When I'm leaning out or providing advice for others when trying to lean down (for summer as an example), I advise to always follow workouts with a slow, low-intensity jog, walk, or ride (a heart rate of about 100).  The intense exercise releases free fatty acids from their fat stores and provides a prime opportunity to 'burn off' those fats.  Thus, the use of low-intensity exercise.  What's interesting is that GH plays just a small, secondary role in this process and Lyle's covers this in this article.  What hormones are mainly responsible for this 'burn off' opportunity?  Read this.

Taking all of this into's still about calories.  Eat less, move more, lose body fat.  Don't make it harder than it really is. 

Until next time...

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Intermittent Fasting's Positive Effects on Metabolic Hormones, etc.

Just another reason to employ an intermittent fasting lifestyle; not to mention that it will absolutely, positively, keep your weight in check -- even during the holidays.

People: IF works!  It will help you live a happier, healthier, life.  Do your research and then employ it.  Let me know how you feel.

Dietary restriction has been shown to have several health benefits including increased insulin sensitivity, stress resistance, reduced morbidity, and increased life span. The mechanism remains unknown, but the need for a long-term reduction in caloric intake to achieve these benefits has been assumed. We report that when C57BL/6 mice are maintained on an intermittent fasting (alternate-day fasting) dietary-restriction regimen their overall food intake is not decreased and their body weight is maintained. Nevertheless, intermittent fasting resulted in beneficial effects that met or exceeded those of caloric restriction including reduced serum glucose and insulin levels and increased resistance of neurons in the brain to excitotoxic stress. Intermittent fasting therefore has beneficial effects on glucose regulation and neuronal resistance to injury in these mice that are independent of caloric intake.

Intermittent fasting dissociates beneficial effects of dietary restriction on glucose metabolism and neuronal resistance to injury from calorie intake.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

More Reasons for IF and Calorie Restriction

Here's a few good reads regarding intermittent fasting and calorie restriction.  There's is an accumulating mound of evidence to support IF as a lifestyle.

Move more, eat less, make your life easier.

Enjoy the links.

Link 1
Link 2
Link 3

Until next time...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Are sprinters made differently?

I stole this story from Dennis Faye over at Fitness Nerd, but garnered it worth the thievery (thanks Dennis).  It's a study that he referenced that confirms that sprinters really are born and not made.

It's not that you cannot improve your speed, get stronger, and faster; but 'born' sprinters have an innate advantage over me and you.  It seems as though their heels are shorter and their toes are longer, thus giving them a leverage and 'time of contact to the ground' advantage. 

So that's why I'm so slow?

Until next time...

Friday, November 27, 2009

Did you plan for Thanksgiving?

If you ate to your heart's delight on Thanksgiving like I did, I'm hoping you had a plan.  I incorporated a pre-Thanksgiving fast coupled with a hard high-intensity-full-body workout,  a Thanksgiving sprint workout, and a post-Thanksgiving fast.

I'll also get in a quick, high-intesity workout today during my post-Thanksgiving fast.  And this is no small feat as I'm preparing a post-Thanksgiving turkey gumbo...but I'll wait to eat my serving tomorrow.

For me, it's not a huge deal because I'm currently eating in a small surplus to gain a little more muscle.  But Thanksgiving will put you in a HUGE caloric surplus if you don't adjust on the front-end or back-end; I've chosen to do both.

If you are not familiar with intermittent fasting, I suggest getting a copy of Eat Stop Eat.  There are countless benefits and it's a simple, easy way to manage your calories and still enjoy a normal life.

So enjoy all the goodies and dishes that you look forward to all year, but have a plan.  You'll feel better and thank yourself later.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Until next time...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Reduce Inflammation and Live Longer

I ran across a great article on the benefits of intermittent fasting.   Just more proof that IF is a legitimate way to lose weight, manage hormones, reduce inflammation and, yes, live longer.

I don't refer to IF as a diet (as the article does), but the benefits are well documented in this article.


Until next time...

Friday, November 13, 2009

To Marathon or Sprint

I recently ran (no pun intended) across a great article on marathons and 10 reasons NOT to run in marathons.  There are so many reasons not to run long distances...ever!  We were not made to run long distances.  Our bodies combat running long distances in a variety of ways and will do anything to protect us from doing so.   Signals from our mind and bodies tell us to halt immediately.

Top Ten Reasons Not to Run Marathons, by Arthur De Vany

In light of the three deaths last week in Detroit and the two deaths the week before in marathons or half marathons, I am reposting this old post of mine on the dangers of marathoning. The readers of my private blog have known not to engage in this dangerous activity for some time. I put this post up with some sadness and take no pleasure whatsoever in these tragic and needless deaths. It is a measure of how poor the prevailing fitness advice is that so many needless deaths occur in the quest for health.

I was speaking with some of the participants in the St. George Marathon before the Senior Games. Most of them had chronic or recent injuries from their last event or from their training. There was a sense of pride among them as though they had done something to prove something about themselves. Perhaps, but there are other goals one could have that are more heathful and fulfilling. Not one of them looked really fit or healthy. Most said they had formerly been sedentary and wanted to get up and show they still had it. A few had been doing it for many years; they really looked bad, wrinkled and skinny with no muscle and poor posture. Only a few natural runners looked OK.

I told them of the risks versus benefits of marathoning and all were astonished and in total denial. I sent them to this site and told them to look for a reprise of this old post. So, here it is. Let the complaints begin.

With my apologies to David Letterman, here are the top ten reasons not to run marathons.

10. Marathon running damages the liver and gall bladder and alters biochemical markers adversely. HDL is lowered, LDL is increased, Red blood cell counts and white blood cell counts fall. The liver is damaged and gall bladder function is decreased. Testosterone decreases.

From Wu, Worl J Gastroenterol. 2004 Sep 15: 10 (18): 2711-4, “RESULTS: Total bilirubin (BIL-T), direct bilirubin (BIL-D), alkaline phosphatase (ALP), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) increased statistically significantly (P<0.05) the race. Significant declines (P<0.05) in red blood cell (RBC), hemoglobin (Hb) and hematocrit (Hct) were detected two days and nine days d after the race. 2 d after the race, total protein (TP), concentration of albumin and globulin decreased significantly. While BIL, BIL-D and ALP recovered to their original levels. High-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) remained unchanged immediately after the race, but it was significantly decreased on the second and ninth days after the race. CONCLUSION: Ultra-marathon running is associated with a wide range of significant changes in hematological parameters, several of which are injury related. To provide appropriate health care and intervention, the man who receives athletes on high frequent training program high intensity training programs must monitor their liver and gallbladder function.”

9. Marathon running causes acute and severe muscle damage. Repetitive injury causes infiltration of collagen (connective tissue) into muscle fibers.

From Warhol et al Am J Pathol. 1985 Feb: 118 (2): 331-9, “Muscle from runners showed post-race ultrastructural changes of focal fiber injury and repair: intra- and extracellular edema with endothelial injury; myofibrillar lysis, dilation and disruption of the T-tubule system, and focal mitochondrial degeneration without inflammatory infiltrate (1-3 days). The mitochondrial and myofibrillar damage showed progressive repair by 3-4 weeks. Late biopsies showed central nuclei and satellite cells characteristic of the regenerative response (8-12 weeks). Muscle from veteran runners showed intercellular collagen deposition suggestive of a fibrotic response to repetitive injury. Control tissue from nonrunners showed none of these findings.”
8. Marathon running induces kidney disfunction (renal abnormalities).

From Neyiackas and Bauer, South Med J. 1981 Dec; 74 (12): 1457-60, “All postrace urinalyses were grossly abnormal…We conclude that renal function abnormalities occur in marathon runners and that the severity of the abnormality is temperature-dependent.”

7. Marathon running causes acute microthrombosis in the vascular system.

From Fagerhol et al Scan J Clin Invest. 2005; 65 (3): 211-20, “During the marathon, half-marathon, the 30-km run, the ranger-training course and the VO2max exercise, calprotectin levels increased 96.3-fold, 13.3-fold, 20.1-fold, 7.5-fold and 3.4-fold, respectively. These changes may reflect damage to the tissues or vascular endothelium, causing microthrombi with subsequent activation of neutrophils.”
6. Marathon running elevates markers of cancer. S100beta is one of these markers. Tumor necrosis factor, TNF-alpha, is another.

From Deichmann et al in Melanoma Res. 2001 June; 11 (3): 291-6. “In metastatic melanoma S100beta as well as melanoma inhibitory activity (MIA) are elevated in the serum in the majority of patients. Elevation has been found to correlate with shorter survival, and changes in these parameters in the serum during therapy were recently reported to predict therapeutic outcome in advanced disease.”

From Santos et al Life Sci. 2004 September: 75 (16): 1917:24, “After the test (a 30km run), athletes from the control group presented an increase in plasma CK (4.4-fold), LDH (43%), PGE2 6.6-fold) and TNF-alpha (2.34-fold) concentrations, indicating a high level of cell injury and inflammation.”

5. Marathon running damages your brain. The damage resembles acute brain trauma. Marathon runners have elevated S100beta, a marker of brain damage and blood brain barrier disfunction. There is S100beta again, a marker of cancer and of brain damage.
From Marchi, et al Restor Neurol Neurosci, 2003; 21 (3-4): 109-21, “S100beta in serum is an early marker of BBB openings that may precede neuronal damage and may influence therapeutic strategies. Secondary, massive elevations in S100beta are indicators of prior brain damage and bear clinical significance as predictors of poor outcome or diagnostic means to differentiate extensive damage from minor, transient impairment.”  Other studies indicate confusion in post-event marathon runners.
4. Marathons damage your heart.

From Whyte, et al Med Sci Sports Ecerc, 2001 May, 33 (5) 850-1, “Echocardiographic studies report cardiac dysfunction following ultra-endurance exercise in trained individuals. Ironman and half-Ironman competition resulted in reversible abnormalities in resting left ventricular diastolic and systolic function. Results suggest that myocardial damage may be, in part, responsible for cardiac dysfunction, although the mechanisms responsible for this cardiac damage remain to be fully elucidated.”
3. Endurance athletes have more spine degeneration.

From Schmitt et al Int J Sports Med. 2005 Jul; 26 (6): 457-63, “The aim of this study was to assess bone mineral density (BMD) and degenerative changes in the lumbar spine in male former elite athletes participating in different track and field disciplines and to determine the influence of body composition and degenerative changes on BMD. One hundred and fifty-nine former male elite athletes (40 throwers, 97 jumpers, 22 endurance athletes) were studied. …Throwers had a higher body mass index than jumpers and endurance athletes. Throwers and jumpers had higher BMD (T-LWS) than endurance athletes. Bivariate analysis revealed a negative correlation of BMD (T-score) with age and a positive correlation with BMD and Kellgren score (p < 0.05). Even after multiple adjustment for confounders lumbar spine BMD is significantly higher in throwers, pole vaulters, and long- and triple jumpers than in marathon athletes.”

The number two reason not to run marathons.

2. At least four particiants of the Boston Marathon have died of brain cancer in the past 10 years. Purely anecdotal, but consistent with the elevated S100beta counts and TKN-alpha measures. Perhaps also connected to the microthrombi of the endothelium found in marathoners. [Sterling Advice note: 15,000 cases per year in U.S. general population and 10,000 deaths (.0200%) .  4 deaths in Boston Marathoners per 20,000 participants (.0033%).]

And now ladies and gentlemen the number one reason not to run marathons,

1. The first marathon runner, Phidippides, collapsed and died at the finish of his race. [ Jaworski, Curr Sports Med Rep. 1005 June; 4 (3), 137-43.]

Now there is a recommendation for a healthy activity. The original participant died in the event. But, this is not quite so unusual; many of the running and nutritional gurus of the past decade or two died rather young. Pritikin, Sheehy, Fixx, and Atkins, among many other originators of “healthy” practices died at comparatively young ages. Jack LaLanne, the only well-known guru to advocate body building, will outlive us all.

This got me thinking...

Compare a marathoner to a sprinter.  What would you rather look like?  Would you rather look and be healthy and strong OR unhealthy and weak?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Take A Break

I've mentioned it before.  You've got to take breaks.  Breaks from work, breaks from school, breaks from kids, breaks from parents, breaks from life and yes, breaks from fitness. 

Taking a break can do a world of good for physical, mental, and emotional well-being.  It allows your body to rest, heal, grow, recover and rejunvenate itself.  In our world of health and fitness, sometimes it can become overwhelming. 

Eat this, eat that, don't eat this, don't eat that, push to failure, stop short of failure, use light weight, use heavy weight, weights only, bodyweight exercises, sprint, run long distance, low fat, low carb, grains, no grains, all about calories, all about get the gist.

So I took a break.  A full 7 day break from all things health and fitness.  I didn't exercise.  I didn't take in my daily health and fitness reading.  I didn't worry about calories. I took a break.  And I feel rejuvenated.  I had a tough, but great workout yesterday.  I was well rested.  Just like IF allows your body a break from food, taking an exercise break allows your body a rest from work.  This provides a prime opportunity for your muscles to heal and grow.  Overworking your muscles by pounding them day after day does not make them grow, it breaks them down.  Only during times of rest will your muscles grow.  This is why sleep is so important to a healthy and fit body.

If you decide to take a break keep these 5 things in mind:
  1. Don't scrap your nutrition.  Breaks are often accompanied by bad nutrition.  There's something in us that makes it easier to eat crap when we are not exercising; it should be the opposite, if at all.  Maintain your healthy nutrition during a break; it will help in the recovery process.
  2. Limit your break to 2 weeks or less.  Don't take too long of a break.  If you go beyond 2 weeks' rest from your 'normal' routine, at least throw in some bodyweight circuits.
  3. Enjoy it.  You are not going to halt your progress with a break.  You'll actually make progress.  Don't stress about it.  Enjoy the rest and let your body enjoy it.  If you want to go for a leisurely walk or bike ride, don't stop yourself from going just because you're taking a 'rest'.  We are talking about resting from your 'normal', high-intesity workouts.
  4. Evaluate.  This is a great time to evaluate your goals and adjust them as necessary.  Do you want to gain muscle or lose fat?  More HIIT or move lifting of heavy things? More sprints or more leisurely walks?  Take the time to assess where you are and where you want to be.
  5. Read a good book.  Although I didn't read much health and fitness material, I did review one of my favorite books,The Primal Blueprint. This can help you during your evaluation period or just provide some reinforcement to how or why you're maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
So take a break and enjoy it!

Until next time...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

20 minute workout: Back & Biceps

Here's a quick and effective workout for your back and biceps.  Ideally, finish this workout in 20 minutes.

It's a very simple workout utilizing only chin-ups (palms facing you) and standard curls.  Perform 1 pull-up and then 1 curl, 2 pulls-ups and then 2 curls, and so on until you reach 10 repetitions for each exercise.  If you do all reps, you'll have completed 55 pull-up and 55 curls.  A pretty simple, short, and effective workout.

I used a 25 lb weighted vest and 40 lb dumbbells.  I completed 46 pull-ups and 45 curls.  The last set was extremely difficult and it should be for you.  If it's not, go with a heavier weight.

Pull-Ups     Curls
1                 1
2                 2
3                 3
4                 4
5                 5
6                 6
7                 7
8                 8
9                 9
10               10
55               55

Until next time...

Monday, November 2, 2009

I Ain't Quitin' You

Are you satisfied with where you are when it comes to your health and fitness goals?

A friend once told me 'If you don't like where you are, then you better keep going'.  What a great statement!  In this world of instant gratification and quick fixes it's hard to maintain consistency and not get discouraged.  Maybe it's just getting the motivation to start exercising.  Maybe it's the constant, unhealthy battle with food.  Maybe it's progressing from 2 to 4 pull-ups.  Maybe it's losing those first 10 pounds.  Maybe it's losing those last 10 pounds in your quest for extreme ripped-ness and low body fat.

We all stuggle.  It's relative to where you are.  But if you don't like where you are, then you better keep going.  I struggle with how easily I gain lower-belly body fat and how freaking hard it is to get rid of.  Others that I know don't have that problem and it pisses me off!  I work hard and eat great.  But that's just the way it is sometimes.  I'll tell you this; to steal a line from 'Night At The Museum': I Ain't Quitin' You!  That's what I have to tell myself sometimes.  Trust me -- even super fit individuals have their struggles.  BUT, they work through them and they do not quit.

Friday, October 30, 2009

What can you expect during a fast? A 60-hour breakdown.

I'm often asked what it feels like during a 24-hour fast.  Misconceptions and myths permeate beliefs regarding fasting.

Aren't you starving?  Doesn't your energy drop?  I could never do that...I'd starve.  There's no way I could workout with no food in my system.  Aren't you worried about muscle loss?  What about low blood sugar?

These are just a few of the questions that I receive on a weekly basis when discussing my intermittent fasting lifestyle.  The guys over at fitness spotlight like to call it intermittent feeding; I like that term.  For more answers about IF, check out Eat Stop Eat by Brad Pilon.  Brad is regarded as an expert in the health and fitness field, specifically IF. 

With that said, I thought I'd document a recent 60-hour fast.  Before that I'll note a few tidbits and observations.  I don't make it a routine to initiate such a long fast, but I think it's beneficial (for many reasons) every once in a while.  There are numerous studies and anecdotal 'research' that bunk the myths that are commonly associated with fasting.  Take a look at Martin Berkhan's website, Lean Gains.  He posted a great IF Q & A this past Thursday.

When deciding to start a 24-hour fast, I'd suggest eating your final pre-fast meal at night; a 7PM meal always seems to work well.  By 7AM, you are already through the first 12 hours.  Mix in work, the busyness of life, a workout and 24 hours will fly by.  Additionally, if you are just starting to try IF, be realistic; you'll likely be hungry.  You can thank 'social programming' and the hormone ghrelin for that hunger.  Your body must re-train itself and its habits.  Each fast thereafter will get easier.

My 60-hour fast:
  • Tuesday, 10/27, 11PM: Final pre-fast meal mixed with some 'junk' food (thus prompting a fast).  If you overindulge or simply indulge, a fast is a great way to balance your indulgence and you'll keep your weekly calorie intake in check.
  • Wednesday, 10/28, 6AM (7 hrs): Not hungry at all.  I have a couple of waters throughout the day.  I even skip my morning Americano coffee for some odd reason.
  • Wednesday, 10/28, 12PM (13 hrs): Lunch-time for millions.  My fast is only 13 hours in.  Still not hungry at all.
  • Wednesday, 10/28, 5PM (18 hrs):  All of the kids are home from school and I'm home from work.  A tinge of hunger, but not really.  When you don't plan to eat and have no intentions of eating, it's amazingly easy for your mind to 'rest' from the thought of food.  Plus the added benefit of burning body fat for energy especially from the 16-hr point and beyond.  Americano for me.  A famous Sterbucks latte for my wife (Sterling -- Sterbucks, not Starbucks...get it?)
  • Wednesday, 10/28, 6:30PM (19.5 hrs): P90X shoulders & arms workout with my 7 year-old (don't worry, he's not lifting weights and if he is they are 3 lbers).  I heavy up the weight, quicken the pace with no rest, and cut the workout in half.  Done in 35 minutes.  I do have a pre-workout BCAA (Purple Wraath) drink but it contains no calories, thus leaving me in a fasted state.  A minimal increase in insulin due to the amino acids, but still fasted.
  • Wednesday, 10/28, 8PM (21 hrs): A little 2-on-2 FIFA 2010 Xbox 360 soccer with my 3 youngest.  No food thoughts here.  I want to WIN!  My little girl & I dominate...well, half the games anyway.  I also drink a fair amount of water and take my daily Omega-3s and Mulit-vitamins.
  • Wednesday, 10/28, 11PM (24 hrs): After catching up on work email, blog email, daily health and fitness reading, and my college football call-in show fix it's off to bed.  I'm not really hungry at all, but I'm starting to pee a alot.  Hmmm...sign of some junk food the night before?  My insulin levels have dropped and my body is thanking me; more than normal urination is a sign of your body and muscles releasing water that increased carbohydrate consumption prompted your body to hold onto.
  • Thursday, 10/29, 5:50 AM (31 hrs): I didn't forego my Americano.  Double-shot and a little water.
  • Thursday, 10/29, 10AM (35 hrs): As I'm working, I see some people who should probably think about fasting.  Just a thought.
  • Thursday, 10/29, 1:15 (38.25 hrs): Black coffee from a local coffee house (PJ's).  Remarkably, I'm not that hungry.  I know I'm doing my body good so it's made easier knowing the facts about IF.  A cardio session of sorts this afternoon; I'm not sure what I'll do.  I've decided I'll break my fast around noon tomorrow (61 hrs) with a Whole Foods' ribeye steak and a pile of veggies.
  • Thursday, 10/29, 8PM (45 hrs): I decided on 30 minutes of moderately high-intensity cardio followed by 30 minutes of low-intensity cardio on my stationary bike.  My body relies on body fat and ketones for energy.  The 6PM workout was not too terribly hard, but I'm starting to feel a bit of hunger.  However, I'm extremely clear-minded and I've worked on several blog posts and material for a future e-book.  The workout was followed by a nice, long shower and some Thursday night college football.
  • Friday, 10/30, 4:30AM (51.5 hrs): As is common in fasts beyond 48 hrs, I awoke at 4:30 and could not sleep.  My mind was racing and clear so I worked again on additional blog material.  I'm waiting for my 15-year old to get up to enjoy a cup of coffee with him.  The thought of that steak is really, really starting to sound good; I can already smell it cooking on the grill.  My agenda today: coffee, 15-year old off to school, 12-year old to school, 7 & 9-year old to school, work, meal @ noonish - fast is broken, back to work, welcome weekend.
  • Friday, 10/30, 5:45AM (52.75 hrs): Coffee with my 15-year old.  Always fun to visit.
  • Friday, 10/30, 12PM (61 hrs): Time to break the fast.  Ribeye, veggies, and bacon.  I'm pretty dang hungry.  The meal was superb.  I put some spices on both the steak and veggies.  You'll see two pats of butter on the veggies -- butter and salt really bring out a full taste of the veggies.  Medium rare is how I like my ribeye.

So there's my 60-hour fast; a rare activity for me.  I'll eat a normal meal around 7 and it's back to my normal routine tomorrow.  Eating normally after a fast is important, especially after a 24-hour fast.  If you break a 24-hour fast with a huge meal you've just consumed the calories that you were avoiding in the first place.  You'll still benefit from the hormonal 'reset', but one of the key roles of IF is to 'free you up' on other days.  I had a normal meal even after a 60-hour fast and I'm full & satisfied.

It's back to work for me.  Please feel free to ask questions or comment on your own fasting experience.

Until next time...   

Thursday, October 29, 2009

PaleoKit: Real Food For Real Athletes

This is my new favorite product to support a primal lifestyle.  As I've talked about before, I eat primally about 80% of the time; sometimes as high as 100% over a given time period, especially when I'm leaning down.  But at any time, this convenient, healthy snack is an awesome treat.  You can only buy a PaleoKit over the internet.  I've provided a PaleoKit button on the right-side of my blog.

You can choose from 4 different sizes -- small, medium, large, and x-large.  Small - 227 calories, Medium - 318 calories, Large - 373 calories, X-Large - 464 calories.  Each packet comes with a mix of Free-Range Beef Jerky, Macadamia Nuts, Raw Pecans, Raw Almonds, Dried Cranberries, and Dried Strawberries.  Each packet comes vacuum packed with a 'slit' on each side of the packet for easy opening.  The macronutrient profile is also broken down for you: 40% protein, 20% carbohydrate, and 70% fat -- a perfect primal meal. 

I use the PaleoKit as a snack or sometimes it will be my meal on the run; a much healthier option than some convenience store garbage, fast food trash, or a snickers.  I will admit that when I received my first shipment it did not look that appetizing, but it is very, very good.  I recently took a PaleoKit to a football game for a halftime snack.  My non-primal buddy was like 'what the hell is that'!  After sharing the packet with him, he was impressed with the taste and quality.  'Dude, that was awesome...but it sure did look gross at first' was his response.

Here is the best part.  Not only are you getting a great primal snack, but ALL proceeds for PaleoKit packets go to Steve's Club.  Steve's Club is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization offering young athletes (and non-athletes) of Camden, NJ world-class coaching, community and training techniques used by elite and professional athletes worldwide to help strengthen the foundation of our future.  Need I say more?  What a great cause from a group of men who are showing compassion for at-risk kids and doing something about it.  And that, my friends, is a great reason to buy some PaleoKits.  Figure in the added benefit of a quality primal snack and it's a win-win for everybody.

So do yourself a favor.  Support a great cause with a nutritious, healthy, primal option -- The PaleoKit.

Until next time...

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Vomit Sunday: Legs & HIIT

I'm about to vomit right now.  Why?  Keep reading.

I decided to change up my leg routine today.  Normally I do some variation of the P90X legs & back workout.  But today I decided to mix some leg work with some HIIT in the form of sprints.  Sprinting 'works' the body on so many different levels and it is an excellent, efficient way to burn body fat, increase HGH, and improve insulin sensitivity.   I created this workout on the fly and initially wanted to complete 5 rounds of 3 exercises, but my body made an adjustment about halfway through the workout.  Without further ado...

Legs & HIIT (total workout time:28 minutes):

5 minute warm-up and stretch: light jog, jumping jacks, and light legs stretches

Repeat below 3 times
  1. 50 lunges (50 yards)
  2. 20 jump-squats (25 yards)
  3. Walk 25 yards followed by 30 second rest
  4. 100 yard sprint
  5. 100 yard walk-back
Repeat below 2 times
  1. 100 yard sprint
  2. 100 yard walk-back
  1. 50 yard sprint
  2. 50 yard walk
  3. 100 yard walk
That's it.  It should take you about 28 minutes to complete this workout and YOU WILL FEEL IT.  If you've gone all out, then you'll feel like throwing up and your legs will thank you by quivering for a good bit after you're done.

(Want a more intense workout?  Add a weighted vest to the mix.)

Give it a try at some point this week and shoot me back a comment in the comments section.  You'll thank me or curse me or perhaps you'll do both.
Until next time..

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Video Interview - Mark Sisson Book Tour

I don't normally post on Saturdays, but I thought you'd enjoy this video interview with Mark Sisson.  It's short and sweet, but it sums up The Primal Blueprint in about 3 minutes.

Mark Sisson Interview

Until next time...

Friday, October 23, 2009

Killer Friday Workout

Do you want to change up your boring routine?  Here was my Friday workout.  It's effective and it's tough IF you bring it!  Give it all you have.  Don't quit!  Watch the video that I posted yesterday (Thursday, October 22) to charge you up before you commence.

Will you work hard enough to feel like this little guy when you're done?

Here's the workout:
10 Jump-Spin Burpees
10 Bodyweight Squats
10 Pull-ups (standard chin-up with palms facing you)

Repeat this as many times as you can in 15 minutes (Trust me -- it's hard!)
  • Jump-Spin Burpee - This is a burpee (enbedded below) with a jump-spin.  From a standing position, drop and throw your legs out to a push-up position, perform a standard push-up, jump your legs back to your hands, come to your feet, jump (bringing your knees as high as possible) and spin 180 degree (when you land you will be facing the opposite direction that your were facing for your first push-up).  Repeat 10 times.

  • Bodyweight Squat - stand with your legs about shoulder-width apart with your feet facing a tad outward, hold your arms out in front of your body with your palms facing down, perform full squat all the way down and up.  Keep weight on your heels.  Repeat 10 times.

  • Pull-Up - Standard chin-up with palms facing you. Start from a hanging position and pull-yourself up with your chin over the bar.  Repeat 10 times. (Use full range of motion pull-ups going all the way up and all the way down.  Right before you pull-up, compact your shoulder as if you are squeezing them together towards your chest.)

Work hard.  Expect Success. 

Until next time...

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Operation Motivation: Don't Quit!

I ran across this video today and it was very motivating.  There is not a doubt in my mind that it will freaking pump you up!!  If you fail to get the 1st pull-up or that 40th pull-up -- keep trying.  If you fail to get that x number of push-ups, just keep pushing through and don't quit.  It's about the process.  It's about the journey.  Enjoy it.  Embrace it.

Don't stop, failure is not an option. 

It may take time, but you will get where you want to be if you just 'bring it' consistently and intensely. 

In fact, after already having an intense workout this morning this video motivated me to throw together an intense, sweat dripping, heart pounding workout this evening.  It's brought to you by Vic Magary over at Gym Junkies.  My man knows how to bring it!  Enjoy.

Until next time...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Get Your Sleep

You are working out, eating right, and doing everything you can to eat less and move more.  But are you hurting your progress if you aren't sleeping enough?  Yes, yes, and yes!

Monday, October 19, 2009

'The Primal Blueprint': Review and Random Thoughts

Last week, I posted a two-part interview with fitness expert and author Mark Sisson.  Mark's most recent endeavor is his book The Primal Blueprint. It details his ideas and opinions regarding a primal lifestyle & the importance of controlling insulin levels as a base for effortless weight loss and fitness utopia.  Within that context, it's obvious that our ancestral friend, the caveman, ate much differently than we do today.  His diet consisted mostly of plants, animals, veggies & fruits. 

Yesterday I was interviewed by Roy Wallack for an article he is writing for Muscle & Fitness magazine; it's due to come out in January or February.  The article's focus is the primal lifestyle and the momentum that is developing in mainstream America, in large part, due to Mark's book.  Believe it or disregard it; love it or hate it; the primal way of thinking and the battle against conventional wisdom is stirring the pot in the world of health & fitness, fat loss, and overall well-being.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Part II: October Interview - Mark Sisson

Mark Sisson joins us today for Part II of our interview.  Read for endless hours about every topic imagineable over at Mark's website, MDA.

What are your top 5 foods for effortless weight loss?

This is always changing, but I always come back to foods that are satisfying and delicious. In no particular order:

1. Big Ass Salad – just about everything you’d ever need to thrive and survive, all in a single (big-ass) serving

2. Grilled, grass-fed ribeye – a huge serving of protein and healthy fat (just don’t trim it off!) that will fill you up

3. Butter – makes everything better, and it’s a good way to maximize nutrient absorption (either by getting people to eat their vegetables or by increasing bioavailability of vegetable nutrients)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

October Interview: Mark Sisson - Part I

Mark Sisson joins us today.  Mark is a recognized expert in the field of sports nutrition, fat loss, and a primal lifestyle.  You can read Mark's daily advice over at Mark's Daily Apple (MDA). 

Mark, tell us about your background in athletics?

My father’s past as a top track and field athlete was hugely formative for me, especially in my early years. I was always testing my athletic limits: climbing, running, leaping, and getting hurt in various interesting ways. I’d always been active as a kid growing up in New England, but I was too scrawny to play basketball or football, so I opted for cross-country running in school. I seemed to have a knack for it, eventually moving on to marathons – which I ran competitively for years, even making the Olympic trials one year. Injuries forced me to reconsider my plans. I figured maybe it was all the running, so I moved onto triathlons to “spread the damage around.” Maybe the running wouldn’t be so bad if I could swim and bike for most of the race, you know? I placed fourth in one of the first Hawaii Ironman competitions, but the health issues didn’t get much better. Around 1988, I officially retired from competition.

When did you start helping others with their health and fitness?

Monday, October 12, 2009

P90X: What's all the fuss about?

By now you've seen P90X everywhere. You've seen it on TV at all times of day. You've seen it plastered on web page after web page. You've seen it on QVC. And certainly you've heard of it by word of mouth. Chances are that you know someone that is an active P90Xer, has tried P90X, is about to try P90X, or at the very've had someone ask you, "Have you heard about this P90X? What is it?" So you get the point. P90X has reached tipping point levels.  So what's all the fuss about?

Friday, October 9, 2009

Tom Venuto - Guest Post: No Pain No Gain: Fitness Myth or Ultimate Fitness Truth?

Sterling Advice Intro:

About once a week, I'll try to provide guest posts from fitness experts.  My good friend, Tom Venuto, has provided today's post.  Tom is a lifetime natural (steroid-free) bodybuilder and expert fat loss coach.  Thanks Tom!

No Pain No Gain: Fitness Myth or Ultimate Fitness Truth?

By Tom Venuto

No Pain, No Gain. Is this aphorism just a fitness myth and downright bad advice? A lot of people seem to think so. As a bodybuilder with 25 years of training experience and more than two dozen trophies on my shelf, I have another perspective to offer you. Success with your body and in every area of your life is all about stepping outside of your comfort zone and that means embracing pain.

To reach high levels of physical and personal success you must approach your training, and your entire life, as an endeavor in constant growth. The ultimate truth is, you are either moving forward or moving backward; growing or dying. There’s no such thing as comfortably maintaining.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Football Saturdays & Alcohol

My alcohol consumption has decreased significantly during the past 2 years. In fact, I limit myself to a glass of red wine or Crown Royal on the rocks on occasion. Why, you ask? Alcohol represents calories -- empty calories, at best. But sometimes you've just 'gotta live' without worrying about its consequences on your fitness goals and progress. So, will alcohol impede your progress and sabotage your fat loss goals?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Where To Start?

So you've decided that it's time to make a change.  You want to eat better.  You want to feel better.  You want to look better.  You want to improve your life.  So where do you start?  Let's look at 5 key things to help change your health and fitness future.

#1: Change Your Mindset

This is absolutely crucial.  You have to look at everything in a different way.  Food, exercise, weightlifting, cardio, priorities; anything that has set you back in the past -- change your thinking about it.  Don't think about food as a crutch or something to do while bored.  Food is fuel; look at that way.  Everything you eat will do one of two things: hurt you or help you. 

Friday, October 2, 2009

Accelerate Fat Loss: Intermittent Fasting (IF)

Intermittent fasting? Fat Loss? Oh, you mean muscle loss Sterling. This is the first response that many people have when the topic of fasting comes up. Many people believe, wrongly, that intermittent fasting (IF) is a sure way to loss muscle mass; this could not be further from the truth. As a matter of fact, IF is one of the most useful tools when trying to rid body fat while maintaining muscle mass.

In a recent study, IF was shown to promote amd maximize the oxidation of stored fat during and following exercise sessions. But what about your metabolism Sterling?  Aren't you slowing down your metabolism and sabotaging your body's ability to burn fat?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Eat Less, Move More

Welcome to my blog. That would be me sporting the 70's threads and eating my brothers huge lollipop. Ahh...those were the days. You may know me from several other sites that I frequent (among many): or I'm a former fat, out-of-shape, know...typical, American guy.

In 2007, I decided that I didn't want to be that guy and wanted to change my life.

And now I want to get the word out that if people will simply eat less and move more, then they can change their life. Even eating less will enable people to achieve their fat loss goals, but adding exercise will take it to another level.