Tuesday, September 30, 2008

If Eat Stop Eat was the Batman...

...what would be the joker?

Have you ever noticed how every famous super hero has an equally famous super-villain?

Batman has the Joker

He-man has Skeletor

Superman has Lex Luthor

Every hero has his or her villain, and in comics and make-believe land, the villain is always the exact antithesis of the hero.

So why the sudden hero/villain revelation? Well I finally had the pleasure of finally seeing the latest Batman movie. It was as good as everyone says it is, and Heath Ledger was an amazing Joker. In fact, I would say that he was one of the best villains ever in a

I'd put him right up there with Darth Vader.

But this post isn't about villains, rather it's about the idea of an antithesis - A direct opposite.

And in this example...Eat Stop Eat is the good guy. After all it is an incredibly easy way to lose weight, this we know. But, what would it's antithesis be?

What would be the Joker to Eat Stop Eat's Batman?

In Eat Stop Eat I recommend a form of flexible intermittent fasting where you eat normally on the days you are eating, and you include a 24 hour fast once or twice a week. This very simple style of eating has helped thousands of people lose weight.

Interestingly, it is the EXACT ANTITHESIS of Eat Stop Eat that probably made many of these people overweight to begin with.

Think about what the antithesis of flexible intermittent fasting would be ==> Eat normally for most of the week but then once or twice a week, over-eat by a fair amount.

As an example, a person would eat normally for almost the whole week, except on Monday during an unexpected lunch meeting there would be an additional 1,500 calories from a soup and sandwich combo maybe a glass of wine or a beer with the meal, and a cappuccino and a chocolate croissant for dessert.

This small overshoot doesn't seem like much...and for the rest of the week this person would eat very well, but then on Saturday there would be an extra 2,500 Calories from 3 slices of pizza, 2 beers and some nachos.

But other than these two dietary indiscretions, eating would be normal.

This is the EXACT OPPOSITE of Eat Stop Eat, and it is how most people who are overweight eat.

Most people who are overweight actually eat very well MOST OF THE TIME. The only difference is a one or two minor slips ups per week.

Overeating once or twice per week can have absolutely devastating weight gain effects. Fasting once or twice per week can have absolutely remarkable weight loss effects.

Eat Stop Eat
is the easiest way to make this dramatic transition from weight gain to weight loss, and oddly enough it is the EXACT OPPOSITE of how most people eat.

If you don't like the way you look, perhaps it's time you tried a completely opposite approach.


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Monday, September 29, 2008

What I eat

I've been getting A LOT of questions lately asking about the foods I eat.

People have been asking for samples of my meal plans. And, when I reply that I don't follow any sort of meal plan I sometimes get some very heated responses.

The truth is, I don't beleive in meal plans, and I don't beleive their is an optimal "healthy" way to eat.

I will go on the record to say that I eat AVERAGE.

I might eat a bit more fruits and vegetables than the average person, but you will not find Tupperware contains full of skinless chicken breasts in my fridge or green tea in my house.

In Eat Stop Eat I mention my only rule of eating:

"Eat less and enjoy the foods you eat. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables, herbs and spices, and probably most importantly try not to stress over what you eat"

I live by this rule.

However, I'll admit that this is a somewhat vague descriptions of how I eat, and I can see how just might not work for some people, so I have decided to share a days worth of food with you.

So the following is exactly what I ate on Friday. I took a picture of everything. From snacks to desserts - everything I ate, I photographed.

The one thing I should share with you is that this particular weekend my wife was away, so I had Brier all to myself and I was playing the role of single daddy...(Keep that in mind when we get to dinner time)

OK, So lets start with Breakfast

Brier was up at 7:30 AM. We started the day by sharing a banana...

After eating our banana (we split this one) I then made both of us Oatmeal with cinnamon, nutmeg, some strawberries...

And we also had some Whole Milk. I had a full cup, while she had 4 ounces.

After this we played around the house for a bit, I did the dishes and managed to sneak in a quick snack around 9 Am, 1 Hard boiled egg with some Cajun spice.

After this quick snack I prepped Brier and took her to her day care, then I headed into the office.

Around 11 AM I took a break and went to Starbucks for a Grande Americano with about an ounce of whole milk and some cream.

I drank my coffee while working and then really didn't eat anything again until around 2 pm.

I was in a groove getting things done so I decided to keep the flow going and quickly get something quick from the Tim Horton's around the corner.

Obviously, this was not nearly as tasty as something I could have made at home, but like I said, I was in a groove.

I packed up shop around 4:30 and left to pick Brier up from day care. We were home by around 5:15 pm.

This is where it starts getting a little crazy.

I'll preface this by saying I have NO IDEA how single parents do it.

Brier was hungry as soon as we walked in the door, and I really hadn't planned ahead for dinner. So Brier had pasta, corn, carrots and her bottle...I helped her eat her pasta...probably about a handfull worth of cooked pasta...

(You'll notice I completely forgot her bib.)

Eating dinner took much longer then I expected, so instead of the usual cooked dinner (I love making dinner) I had to compromise and make something quick.

So far my day has been pretty typical, however I will point out that a Nutella and banana sandwich is not something I EVER eat...But I had Nutella in the house and was pressed for time...like I said..Props to the single parents out there.

Brier finally fell asleep around 8, so I settled in with a pear and some tea and started answering emails.

Then around 10 pm I had about 1 cup of yogurt with blue berries, strawberries, black berries, 1/3 cup sliced almonds and roughly a quarter cup of unsweetened shredded coconut.

And that's it. I was in bed by midnight.

So this was a pretty average day, (except for dinner). Looking back, I would have preferred a bit more veggies, but other than that, it was a good day with a nice variety of foods.

No magic foods, no Tupperware containers full of broccoli and chicken, no patting myself on the back for eat 'super clean' - Just foods I enjoy in amounts that allow me to stay at the weight I like being at.

Enjoy the foods you eat.


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Friday, September 26, 2008

Why we exercise

I'm sitting in a coffee shop across from a MASSIVE health club, and as I watch the people scurry in and out of this gigantic big-box style fitness chain, I can't help but wonder..If exercise didn't work, would we still do it?

Put another way - if there was absolutely no physiological reward to weight training or structured exercise (like cardio or fitness classes) I doubt any of us would even bother...

Sure, we've learned to enjoy exercise, but I think that the root of this enjoyment is knowing (or thinking) we are doing something that is healthy, and that it will improve the way we look and feel.

In fact I am hard pressed to think of any form of structured exercise that is not 'end result' oriented.

I can only think of two things we do for no reward..

We walk - because humans wonder by nature. Throw a bunch of grade school kids into a field and see what happens...they just wonder off, exploring things or sometimes just walking for the sake of walking.

And we dance (if we're not too self-conscious). Throw a bunch of children into a gymnasium, turn on some music and watch what happens.

From watching my daughter I beleive that wondering aimlessly combined with dancing and unstructured play is the root of our innate calorie burning abiltity...Everything else is a learned skill.

Based on this I am starting to think that many of us would benefit from limiting our weight training and structured cardio to the MINUMUM we need to get the effect we desire, and then fill the rest of our time with walking, and unstructured play...

The bottom line - I think walking around your neighborhood is far better for you then walking inside on a treadmill...and most forms of dancing are probably just as good as interval training, if not better.

I still love weight training, but I think we should be striving to get the best returns from the least amount of work, rather than just working out as much as possible and hoping we hit our target.

Balance is the new healthy


PS- Here is a great story about a trainer who experimented with Eat Stop Eat for one month..you can read about her results HERE

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Muscle Loss While Fasting

I had a sudden urge to clean out my desk today, and while going through some of my old notebooks I found a page that had all my measurements from February of 2005.

The awesome things about measurements is that they don't lie.

With pictures, the right light, the right angles and BAM! you are a supermodel or shredded bodybuilder.

With the wrong lights it's a whole different story.

With measurements there is a lot less variability. They are a lot harder to fake, and they typically aren't as affected by happenstance.

The interesting thing is that 2005 is almost 2 full years before I started fasting.

So I can compare my measurements today with my measurements from 2005 and get an idea of what almost 2 years of fasting has done to my body.

in 2005 my right thigh measurements were:

4 inches above the top of the knee = 18 inches

6 inches above the top of the knee = 20.25 inches

10 inches above the top of the knee = 22.5 inches

My right arm (flexed) = 16 inches

My chest = 42.5 inches

My waist = 35 inches

My shoulder circumference = 47.5 inches

These are my current measurements as of September 25th 2008

4 inches above the top of the knee = 18 inches

6 inches above the top of the knee = 22.5 inches

10 inches above the top of the knee = 23.75 inches

My right arm (flexed) = 16 inches

My chest = 42 inches

My waist = 32.5

My shoulder circumference = 49 inches

(****I don't have my weight from back in 2005, however I know my wedding was in 2005 and that I had started to diet for my wedding by February...so I'm guessing I was under 200 pounds...probably about 15-20 pounds heavier than I am now.)

So what has fasting done to me?

My legs are bigger, but my waist is smaller. This is a good sign.

My arms are the same size which makes sense since I don't train them too often and I'm happy with a 16 inch arm.

My chest is a half inch smaller which also makes sense since I don't train my chest as often or with as much weight as I did back in '05.

I was really happy to see that my shoulder circumference has increased, since over the last two years the majority of my upper body work has been centered around increasing the size of my shoulders.

So, after almost two years of fasting once or twice a week, my waist is smaller, but everything else has either stayed the same or even increased in circumference.

Combine these results with my pictures (you can see them HERE) and I am confident in saying that after two years of following the Eat Stop Eat lifestyle I have lost fat, and gained muscle.


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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

20 years of steroids

Today marks the twentieth anniversary of Ben Johnson's 1988 Olympic steroid scandal.

Steroids have changed a lot of things in our lives.

The existence of steroids makes us question our sports heroes.

The prevalence of steroids makes us question just about everyone we know who carries an unusual amount of muscle.

Steroids also had a profound effect on how we think of 'nutrition'.

Because steroids are considered cheating in almost every sport, athletes who were abusing steroids had to come up with excuses to why they were able to put on 30 pounds of muscle over an off-season.

The answer was easy "nutrition" or more appropriately "better nutrition" - the idea that eating 'better' could create massive changes in how the body looks.

From Bodybuilding to Baseball, Wrestling to Football, it seemed like a lot of professional athletes were suddenly eating more protein, cutting back on the sweets and instantly gaining unprecedented amounts of muscle.

It is my personal opinion that the "miracle effect" that people beleive foods have on our body was born out of a cover up of steroid abuse. And it is because of this that we greatly overestimate the effect that food can have on a human bodies ability to build muscle.

It is also why so many of us are disappointed when after months of eating 400 grams of protein a day combined with every supplement imaginable, we don't get the same results.

So from our sports heroes to the billion dollar sports supplement business, to the equally large industry of nutrition consulting, the events of 1988 changed the world of sports nutrition dramatically.


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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

More on Cleansing and Detox

Here's an interesting quote:

“fasting (simply eating less) is Nature’s omnipotent method of cleansing the body from the effects of wrong and too much eating.”
Now this isn't my quote, rather its a quote from Arnold Ehret, the man many people consider to be the father of naturopathic medicine.

I can't help but wonder if the founder of naturopathic medicine thought that simply FASTING was the 'omnipotent' (again, his words not mine) method of cleansing the body, then were did all of the cleansing DIETS come from?

Bottom line, I still don't know exactly what detox is, but I feel strongly that it is definitely NOT something you can find in a bottle or pill.


(as a reference, I found the quote on wiki and special thanks to JB for emailing about Ehret)

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Monday, September 22, 2008

Are you trying too hard?

I was hit by a sudden realization today in the gym.

We have somehow been taught that we need to make exercise LOOK DIFFICULT.

We have learned that we need to ‘stress the muscle’. Go slow. Stress. Squeeeeze.

Look around the gym during your next workout – specifically, check out the bodybuilder and bodybuilder wannabes - Do they make lifting weights look easy? Or, do they make it look really, really hard? Almost like they are fighting the movement the entire way.

While I have heard about the idea of the mind-muscle connection and making sure you feel the muscle work, I don’t know if I buy into this philosophy.

To me, it’s almost like you are teaching your muscles to fight against their own potential.

In direct opposition to this habit is what we see when athletes perform an amazing skill.

How many times have you heard someone describe it as “He/She made it look easy”.

Take this lift for example:

(I know this lift wasn’t actually easy, but wow, didn’t he make it look almost effortless!)

Now, I understand that we all don’t want to be Olympic lifters, but it does beg the question – shouldn’t we be trying to make lifting look and feel easier, not harder?

Next time you are in the gym, concentrate on what you are thinking while you are lifting..are you making the lift feel harder than it needs to be? Are you limiting yourself by ‘acting the role’?

If so, try doing the opposite – breathe properly (no grunting or hissing) and try to make lifting look effortless, see what kind of difference it can make with your energy levels and the amount of work you can get done.

I tried this today and was amazed. I had a great workout, AND left the gym feeling...well, energized.


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Friday, September 19, 2008

Nutella Commercial Misleading?

I saw an interesting TV commercial yesterday, and thanks to the miracle of YouTube I can share this video with you.

Check it out below.

Now, after watching this commercial..did you notice something weird?

Here are the ingredients of nutella from the nutella website:

Is it just me, or did the commercial fail to mention the first two ingredients of Nutella, as well as the last 3 ingredients?

Honesty goes a long way in marketing.


PS- Don't worry Nutella, I still think you are tasty...I just didn't like the commercial.

(still tastes great)

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

I like the Green Pans!

If you remember back to July, I mentioned that I wanted new cookware for my birthday.

Well, I finally got around to doing some shopping.

My plan was to get some high-end stainless steal fry pans, but I found that all the stainless steal cookware were endorsed by chef what's his name, and were WAY more expensive than I expected.

Since I like paying for quality and not celebrity endorsements, I decided to forget the stainless steal, and continued to do some browsing.

Boy I'm glad I did...I found something very interesting.

Green Pans.

The reason I was shopping for stainless steel was that I wanted to get rid of my old Teflon pans. Over the last couple years I have become very weary of PTFE (the chemical used to help spread the Teflon chemical all over traditional non-stick pans).

It's considered potentially harmful, and Ive read that by the year 2015, companies who make non-stick cookware are required to find a non PTFE chemical- free alternative.

In my opinion, since I'm now cooking foods for Brier (she's 15 months now) why use Teflon at all?

And this is where Green Pans come in.

In contrast to the classical PTFE-based non-stick technology (using PFOA as a processing agent), Green Pans (which by the way, are blue..go figure) use something called Thermolon™.

They say on their website that coating cookware with Thermolon releases 50% fewer greenhouse gases during production and contains NO toxic substances that could be released at high temperatures.

Also on their website I foudnt he following information:
  • Temperature resistance up to 450°C (850°F)
  • No toxic fumes are released if overheated
  • High Quality Non-stick
  • Durable and highly scratch resistant
  • 0% PTFE & 0% PFOA
  • Environmentally friendly production, significant reduction in CO2 emissions in production.
When I got my Green Pans home I immedietly put them to work...

Test 1: Scrambled eggs ...the pans handled them easily.

Test 2 - Omelet..again not a problem.

Test 3 - Clean up...easy...one good wipe and they were ready to be used again.

Bottom line...I like these pans. They work well, and if their claims are true, they are better for my family and better for the enivronment.

Just a little tip from me to you ;)

For more information you can visit...www.green-pans.com


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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

More Free Advice for Product Developers

Every time I pick up a trade magazine it seems like the functional food industry continues to grow at an unprecedented rate. Even to the point where functional foods are slowly replacing traditional foods.

Fish oils and green tea are BIG business right now, an can be found in everything from milk and yogurt to bread.

(It's actually getting hard to find foods that haven't been fortified with SOMETHING)

So...after fish oils (which are a product development NIGHTMARE)..and after green tea (not as bad as fish oil to work with, but still makes flavoring a product horrible) what's next?

Well, here's my thought.

Vegetables are going to make a comeback.


They have a good story..and they are MUCH easier to work with than fish oils or green tea.

For instance (and here's the million dollar free advice)

You can bake adding in vegetable purees...they are easy to work with, add great flavor and compliment most bread products very nicely

...And if you can bake with them then they will be easy to do product development work with.

For instance...listen up General Mills...you could easily fortify breakfast cereal with vegetables.

Sweet potato Cheerios would ROCK (I'll take a 5% royalty for that one).

So added to Brad's list of nutrition predictions...I hereby boldly add that after green tea and fish oils become old news...watch for vegetables to make there way into your breads and cereals.

Just some thing different for today,


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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

How to get big and strong

I heard two very interesting pieces of advice in the gym today. Two different groups of people, not less than 15 minutes apart.

The first one was:

"You need to get strong to get big"

The second was:

"You need to get big to get strong"

Such is the way with weight room advice.

So what DO we know about muscle size and strength?

We know that your strength is largely determined by the size of your muscles.

And we know that if you want to improve the size of your muscles (or your muscle strength) you must stress them with ever increasing amounts of "work".

These increases in work can be accomplished by using more weight, or lifting the same weight more often (workout volume), or lifting the same weight more frequently (workout frequency).

But the common principle is 'more'

'more' will make your muscles bigger and 'more' will make your muscles stronger.

So the arguement of strength versus size is something of a chicken and the egg sort of paradox.

Does one cause the other? We could argue about this forever.

However we know for sure that they are connected.

So do you need to get big to get strong, or do you need to get strong in order to get big? The answer is, you can't disconnect the two.

And before we start arguing about Olympic lifters and power lifters who are really strong for their size...remember there is a big difference between BEING BIG and having LARGE MUSCLES.

I know a number of powerlifters, all of which have very impressive lifts. And the muscles that they use (ticeps, legs, upperback) are all very developed - Even the guys who lift in the lower weight classes.

The same goes for olympic lifters, the muscle that drive the lifts they excel at are all very well developed.

As a general rule of thumb, whether you want to get bigger muscles or you want to get stronger -

Train hard and train often.


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Monday, September 15, 2008

Are you Addicted to Exercise?

It's getting cool where I live. The leaves haven't started to change yet, but I think it's going to happen soon.

Truth be told, I love this season..the time in between summer and fall when it's the PERFECT temperature outside.

And since this won't last long (fall is coming fast) I took some time today to sit outside and catch up on my reading.

There is lots of great fasting research that has come out lately, but what I really want to tell you about is an exercise study that I found to be depressing.

Yes, a depressing research study...let me explain.

Researchers from the UK took 58 women who exercised at least 4 times per week, and forced them to take 3 days off of from exercise.

The Researchers found that compared to the control group, the women who took part in the forced 3 day lay-off had developed a higher level of body dissatisfaction.

So with a 3 day lay off, these active women began to feel less happy with their bodies...

In my opinion this just isn't right.

Just like how I believe you should not be a slave to nutrition and that healthy eating should be simple and enjoyable, you workouts should be enjoyable too.

I see too many people these days who are almost DESPERATELY ACTIVE.

Running, jogging, lifting, sprinting, lifting, stretching, even more lifting.

I get the feeling that they believe if they were to stop, (even for a second), they would start gaining fat.

It doesn't have to be this way. Your diet should prevent you from gaining weight.

And if you have the RIGHT diet, then you don't have to be obsessively working out all the time.

Which means you can actually enjoy exercise.

Enjoy lifting. Enjoy running.

Do it because you want to - not because you think you HAVE to.

My advice is to take the Eat Stop Eat lifestyle approach and apply it not just to your nutrition, but to your exercise plan as well.

Your training routine should revolve around the simplest, easiest methods that get you the results that you want.

If the idea of a 3 day lay off makes you feel panicky, perhaps its time you reassessed your relationship with exercise.

Train hard and train smart,



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Friday, September 12, 2008

Doggy Fitness

Quick story for you.

When I was in second year at University I was stuck in a rather boring class that had nothing to do with nutrition, biochem, or physiology...don't ask me why I had to take such a course, since I was majoring in Nutrition, these are the unexplainable laws of University curriculum..

Anyways , this particular class was super boring..So I was scanning the class and I happened to notice a girl with an impressive amount of ink on her arms.

Since one of her more prominent tattoo's was a portrait of a rottweiler and since I've lived with BIG dogs my whole life, I figured this was a good enough reason as any to strike up a conversation.

(Yes, I'm the guy who talked during class...but remember this was not a science class, and... well it was just plain boring)

Long story short, even though she was a Dallas Stars fan (and I'm a DIE HARD oilers fan), we ended up being good friends throughout University.

We both lived in the gym, both as gym rats and as employees.

Fast forward a couple years and she became a champion powerlifter, then a police officer and finally..a really good blogger.

If your a fan of Rottweilers, doggy and/or people fitness then pop over to Sara's Blog http://www.doggyfitness.blogspot.com/


(I'm not sure what's going on in this pic, but it made me smile)

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Exercise for Anti-Aging

This morning I set up shop as usual at my local coffee shop to get some work done before going to Krav Maga class.

And, (as usual) the coffee shop was packed full of people from our local runner's club.

In typical fashion they came in in waves of 3 or 4 at a time.

In as little as twenty minutes I was engulfed by at least two dozen runners, who had decided that the guy with his face buried in his lap top in the corner of the coffee shop wouldn't mind if they pulled all the chairs from his table and turned them around so they could join the running conversation.

Being the positive person that I am, I took this as an opportunity to do what any good scientist would do...I observed.

Actually, I guess the term is eaves dropping ;)

From listening in on the conversations of these runners it's obvious that exercise plays a role in staying young and active into your sixth, seventh and even eight decade of life.

But, the secret isn't just exercise.

The secret is being ABLE to exercise.

As in, the number one way to stay fit and active at any age is to not get injured to the point where you can't exercise.

The number of complaints I heard from this group was remarkable.

From bad shoulders to knees and ankles..bad backs and pinched nerves this group seemed to be one big collective injury.

And I'm not just picking on runners..body builders and athletes aren't any better.

The purpose of exercise is to build the body up in some form or another NOT to tear it down.

Whether it's more muscle or more endurance or more skill...you are trying to improve.

Tearing your body down with repetitive use of the same motions, or using too much weight, or just doing dumb thing in the gym will limit how long and how effectively you can workout.

Take care with your workouts, and make sure you are not pushing yourself into chronic injury.

Change your routine often, avoid overusing one exercise (bench press anyone?) and if a joint is sore, rest it.

Combine this with a dedication to improvement in the gym or on the field or track, and you have a great plan for using exercise as a way to stay young.


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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

How much Muscle can you Gain?

I took 5 minutes to flip through the muscle building magazines this past weekend.

And while I'm still adamant that there are SOME things we can learn from bodybuilders I definitely DO NOT think we should ever take these magazines too seriously.

We’ve all read the headlines that scream their inflated promises at us a like a canvassing politician :

“Gain 40 pounds of rock-hard muscle in ONLY 6 weeks”.

“Gain 50 pounds of super-dense freaky lean mass in 5 weeks”.

While this sounds fantastic, it is most likely not going to happen. Not without A LOT of drugs…and even then, let’s face it, for most of us it’s just not going to happen.

While the promise of gaining unlimited amounts of muscle is a grandiose one that fuels our passion for working out, it also hurts our progress.

Simply put - It fuels false hopes.

Personally, I can see why a lot of guys love the idea of being able to put on 50 pounds of rock solid muscle without drugs...

Unfortunately, the VAST MAJORITY of published research on the science of muscle building suggests that once we become adults we may be limited in our ability to put on muscle.

The best results I have ever seen in a research study (that wasn’t studying anabolic steroids) was 13 pounds of added muscle from a workout program.

This was in about 12 weeks of training, or about 3 months…

So this doesn't sound to bad right?

After all, if guys in a 3 month research trial can put on 13 pounds in 3 months, then logically they should be able to put on 52 pounds in a year...if they kept training for another year..that's over 100 pounds of muscle in two years!

Again, this just doesn’t happen.

The truth is much more conservative. There seems to be a limit to how much muscle you can add, and the amount you can add seems to be limited by your height (The taller you are the more muscle you can add to your frame).

For hockey fans consider this:

Every time you hear about a pro hockey player putting on 20 pounds of muscle over a 4 month summer, these guys are typically 19-20 years old and about 6'3"!

And while currently research does not know the answer to the exact limit for muscle growth, for this exercise I want you to consider the number to be 13 pounds.

(This would obviously be higher or lower depending on you height, but again for this experiment let's stick with 13)

Alright so, ask yourself this question…if you knew that you could only add 13 pounds of muscle to your current body…how would you do it?

Would you add it haphazardly…wasting away precious pounds of muscle on parts of your body that are already big enough…or would you be as strategic as possible…making sure you got the most “bang for your buck” out of every single pound?

If you are professional athlete, this most likely means training the exact muscles you need to excel at your sport (generally more leg work, less bicep work).

But if your chances of making millions in the big leagues are slim to none..then what? Do you train like an athlete, or a power lifter just because these training styles are what is popular right now?

You could follow the trend and train 'functionally' but a more logical approach would be to as yourself 'why do I workout?'.

Because doing work for the sake of doing work is torture. Doing work to move towards a goal is fulfilling.

And there is a BIG difference between something that is fulfilling and something that is torture.

Simply, we want our time in the gym to give us the best returns, especially since we know these returns are NOT UNLIMITED.

Now, 13 pounds is just the number we used in this example, and depending on your height, age and training background in could be substantially more (or less), but the point remains the same.

If you want to get the most out of your workouts you need to train hard, but also train smart.

Concentrate on the exercises that work the muscles that you want to grow or make stronger.

Don’t waste your time in the gym doing things that don’t move you towards your INDIVIDUAL GOAL goal. After all, if your growth potential is limited, than you better make sure that you have done your absolute best to make every pound count.


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Tuesday, September 09, 2008

What Thin People Eat

Ever wonder what thin people eat?

Recent research suggests the obvious - they eat less calories than over weight people.

Sounds simple enough, however research also suggests it has a lot to do with the food CHOICES they make, as opposed to just simply eating less food.

People who gain weight over time tend to not only eat MORE food, but they also eat more CALORIE DENSE foods.

People who stay thin over long periods of time tend to avoid calorie dense foods.

Choosing foods that are less calorie dense allows you to still enjoy eating, while also eating responsibly.

Here are some simple suggestions to help you choose less calorie dense foods:

1. Fruits and Vegetables - It never ceases to amaze me at just how great fresh fruit tastes, and just how little calories they contain. A FULL CUP of blueberries contains less that 100 Calories!

2. Rediscover Soup - Soups are a great way to enjoy a whole bunch of flavor without a lot of calories. Even some of the hardier soups still contain less that 250 Calories per cup. Making soup yourself is fairly easy ( you can look up the recipes on line) and helps you control the sodium and preservative levels.

3. Embrace Flavor - Are you hungry or do you just need some flavor? More often than not we eat out of boredom, or simply because we want some 'taste' - Try flavored teas as a way to get you by until it is truly time to eat. Replacing a snack with some sticky toffee tea once or twice a day could add up to a significant reduction in calories over time.

It is possible to eat less while still eating well.



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Monday, September 08, 2008

Can Flexing Make Muscles Bigger

Sometimes bodybuilders get things right.

And despite what most fitness writers would have you beleive, this happens more often than you may think.

Through a history of trial and error and personal experimentation, this fringe group of people have come up with a pretty impressive track record of getting METHODS right.

Granted, they almost ALWAYS get the explanation of why these methods work incredibly wrong, but like I said, they do a great job of getting the 'what works' right.

When it comes to getting bigger muscles, we can learn some tricks from bodybuilders.

Take flexing for instance.

There is a considerable amount of research to show that isometric contractions (such as flexing a muscle) can increase the cross sectional area of your muscle when used over time.

(NOTE- Please don't take this as permission to be one of those people who flexes in the gym...that is still NOT COOL).

While naysayers for isometrics point to the fact that they only increase the STRENGTH of your muscle for a very narrow range of motion, this does not change the fact that they can increase the SIZE of your muscles.

I wouldn't recommend replacing your weight training with isometrics, but I do like the idea of adding in some isometrics to your routine. And don't be surprised if you find that they are hard work - any bodybuilder who has ever competed will tell you just how hard holding a pose on stage can be...

(If it worked for the Ulitmate Warrior...It can work for you!)

If you want to try using isometrics here's some quick tips:

  • After your workout try hitting a couple classic bodybuilder poses (front double biceps is a good one).
  • Practice flexing as hard as possible, while keeping excellent posture (NO SLOUCHING)
  • Hold the pose for 10 seconds, then rest and repeat.
  • Try to work up to multiple poses of 30 seconds.
  • Do this 2-3 times per week


*(Wernbom, Augustsson, Thomee. Sports Med 2007;37 (3): 225-264)


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Friday, September 05, 2008

Olympic "Inspiration"

I've noticed that even now with the Olympics being over, a lot of people in the media are still in awe of the bodies belonging to this years group of Olympic athletes.

Many women are using the bodies of Olympic athletes as their "Inspiration", and many men (including myself) were just a little jelaous of how ripped some of the athletes were.

While I'm all for the athletic look, we do need to keep in mind that these exceptional athletes train and exercise A LOT!

And by A LOT I mean multiple hours per day.

You can check out the workout routines of several Olympic athletes here:

Olympic athletes train for hours a day to get their phenomenal bodies AND amazing athletic abilities, we should not forget that these athletes are also working out to improve their SKILL at an EVENT or for a SPORT...simply getting into good shape does not have to be this difficult.

To lose weight and hit your goal weight you need to find the right diet that works for you, and combine it with resistance training.

(I highly recommend Eat Stop Eat, but any well designed diet WILL work as long as it puts you into a caloric deficit).

To gain muscle you have to follow a resistance training program, then follow the simple rule of 'more'.

Over the weeks and months of training try to add more volume to your workouts, or more weight to your exercise, more work in a given time or more training sessions to your week.

Personally, I like adding more weight, but that's just my personal preference.

The best routine will most likely involve adding a little more of everything every once in a while.

If you are looking for rules to train by, this is about as simplistic as it gets..for eating - Eat less but enjoy the foods you eat. For working out - Workout using the rule of 'More' and make sure your workouts are enjoyable.



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Thursday, September 04, 2008

3 simple steps to better eating

When I was in Nova Scotia I stayed at the Glenora Distillery for a night.

While the highlight of this stay was purchasing a bottle of 18 year old whiskey that was bottled from their very first barrels, another highlight was the creative cooking in their restaurant.

In fact, it was the bread they served before the meal that impressed me the most.

The bread was infused with cumin...delicious and remarkably different. I've had olive bread and honey oat bread even cranberry bread, but never cumin bread.

This act of kitchen creativity gave me the idea for this post - 3 ways you can start eating better today.

Of course, by eating better I mean eating less and enjoying the foods you eat while emphasizing fruits and vegetables and herbs and spices.

1 - Purchase 3 spices that you have never used before. They don't have to be spices you have never tasted before, just ones that you have not used in your kitchen in the last 3 months.

2- Create a meal using foods you commonly eat

3- use the new spices to add a unique twist to foods you typically eat.

I bought medium curry powder, cumin and paprika and combined it with chicken and sweet potatoes to create curry and cumin chicken with mashed sweet potatoes flavored with curry and ginger.

It turned out really well and helped me broaden my cooking abilities to include some new flavors.

Give it a try and let me know what you came up with.



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Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Krav Maga and Fasting

(WARNING - This is not a Nutrition Related Post)

I just returned from an unbelievable Krav Maga class.

We fought outside. In the dark. On gravel. In our Street clothes.

It's a whole different world when you are defending yourself on unsteady ground, in a environment that is unfamiliar.

Its a BIG difference from training in a well lit studio with great flooring.

And this is the whole premise of Krav Maga - Self defense in real world uncontrolled conditions.

So as I was recovering from throwing knees while on uneven footing (Here's a tip - throw low or you're gonna slip!) it dawned on me that this may be why I like training fasted.

If you think about it, if you ever end up in a REAL life or death situation (and I hope you never do), you probably aren't going to have time to whip up a pre-workout shake with 'scientifically bioengineered nutrient ratios!

Real world situations may involve times when you HAVE to perform in a fasted state - Luckily your body ABSOLUTELY can perform incredible feats while fasted.

This is more of a ramble than anything else, but it is something to consider the next time you are going through a tough workout during one of your fasts:

If it were life or death..could you do make it through, and could you give it your all?

All the more reason to train hard.


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Juice Fasts and Juice Fasting

From my experience, using a juice fast for weight loss can be disastrous.

If you are going to fast, then remember, the key is to try and consume NO calories for a period of time (I like 24 hours).

Juice is loaded with calories, so it's like drinking liquid food, and much less filling...if you think about it, this is actually depressing - you get the calories without the pleasure....in my opinion this defeats the whole purpose.

A true juice fasts (really, it should be called a juice DIET) can actually be very low calorie when done properly, but it is NOT a true fast.

With high sugar comes insulin, and with insulin GH release is blocked and if GH release is blocked and insulin is released you can say BYE BYE to fat being released from your fat stores.

You can lose weight with a juice fast (if done PROPERLY) but you do lose the 'on/off' simplicity of a fast, you don't learn how to handle food cravings AND you lose the potent GH effects of true fasting.


A true fast (even a short one) can reap all the BENEFITS OF GROWTH HORMONE, a juice diet can not.

PS - To see a video of me answering this question visit - Juice Fasting

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Tuesday, September 02, 2008

What is your goal weight?

It seems like everyone has their 'goal weight' or 'ultimate goal weight' that they are trying to reach.

I can remember back when I first started University my goal weight was to hit 198 pounds.

There was no scientific reason why I picked this number. In fact, I picked it purely because it was how much professional hockey player Doug Weight was listed as weighing on a hockey card I once owned.

Now Doug Weight wasn't my favorite hockey player (my hockey idol was his teammate Ryan Smyth), but he was the captain of the Edmonton Oilers (my team) and was around my height, so I figured this would be a good weight to aim for.

It's not only guys who have goal weights - I know a lot of women who claim 110 pounds is their ULTIMATE goal weight.

The funny thing about goal weights is that they are actually a very poor predictor of how you will LOOK at that weight.

When I finally reached 198 pounds, I was NOT happy with what I saw..sure I hit my goal weight, but I did it by gaining the wrong TYPE of weight.

Definitely NOT what I had planned (damn you Doug Weight!)

These days, I don't have a goal weight, but I do have a goal LOOK.

Specifically, I have a goal ratio.

I used the same mathematic formulas that were developed for the Adonis Index to create my own personal goals.

Now, I won't give away the rational for these equations, however I will show you how I calculated my goal ratios:

So for me the 'Look' I am aiming for is 5'10.5" (the half inch is important) with a 31.5 inch waist circumference and a 51 inch shoulder circumference.

Now, here is the cool thing about aiming for something like actual body measurements - You can't POSSIBLY be overweight with a 31.5 inch waist and 51 inch shoulders.

In fact, hitting these numbers would mean I would look very lean and pretty darn jacked (I'm at 32.5 and 50.25 right now)

And that's the beauty of goal measurements - they are a VERY GOOD predictor of how you will look once you reach them.

If you want to change the way you look, don't worry as much about what your scale tells you, instead, work with your mirror.

And when using a mirror, try to be as honest as possible. We all have our 'Fat Days' and most of the time we are simply overreacting to bad lighting or bad angles..be honest with your assessment of how you look, and use your measurements to guide you.

This rule is even more important for women then it is for men, since THE SCALES LIE to women a lot more then they do to men. (Water fluctuations based on changes in hormone levels can cause a woman's weight to go up or down by 5 pounds)

The bottom line is - if you are trying to change the way you look, stick with measurements and the mirror as your guide..you can use the scale as a rough idea of whether or not you are heading the right direction, but it is a poor estimator of how you actually look.


PS - for an easy, practical way to get to your goal wight click here ==> Ultimate goal weight


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Monday, September 01, 2008

Food makes me feel bad

I always hate hearing people say things like this. Truthfully, I even find it a little scary.

One of the hallmarks of obsessive compulsive eating is letting food (and especially specific types of food) affect your mood.

It's one thing to be a little upset because you know you ate A LOT more than you needed to at a meal, it's another thing to be downright depressed becuase you ate a piece of garlic toast at lunch.

It doesn't matter if you are a bodybuilder or someone who is trying to get back into shape - Food is there to be enjoyed.

In fact, most of us would do incredibly well just by following the credo of "Eat a LITTLE less and ENJOY the foods you eat".

That would probably be the 'healthiest' thing we could do for ourselves.

Even traditional junk foods can be enjoyed - As long as you eat them in moderation.

If you are constantly letting food effect your moods, I think 0ne of the best things you can do for yourself is to learn to enjoy food again.

( A perfect example of enjoying food - and don't worry she didn't' eat the whole cone by herself, I had some of it, and the rest went onto her dress!)


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