Friday, July 29, 2011

The emegence of Crossfit

Crossfit is beginning to gain massive popularity.  Affiliates are opening everywhere.  The Crossfit games, which are a competition of the fittest of the fit, have been sponsored by Reebok.  Last years prize was $25,000.  This years is $250,000.  The paleo diet is also the latest diet craze.  So much so, there isn't a single library remotely close to me that has Robb Wolf's or Dr. Loren Cordain's books on the diet.  Is this a fad?  Possibly.  Will it fade?  It might.  The difference between this and something like the Atkins diet or step classes is that everyone sees the results.  When you walk into a crossfit gym, you see people in great shape.  Spend a little time in one and you can see results too.  You just have to try....

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

De-Stress for Success

As it has always been stated, stress is toxic for the body and the mind.  It causes you to tense muscles and put unnecessary constant strain on the body and your internal organs.  Chronic stress can cause heart disease, impaired brain function, impaired immune system, etc.  Stress can also negatively affect your emotions.  There are plenty of different methods of staying level-headed and in a calm state.  Reducing stress in your life and your body, in particular, is great for your health.

 One way to reduce stress is through meditation.  Recently, a study done at UCLA suggests that people who meditate have stronger connections between different brain regions and reduced brain atrophy from aging.  Another favorite stress reducer is yoga.  Yoga not only reduces stress, it increases flexibility and blood flow.  The increased flexibility will greatly help your workouts. 
Always make sure to take time out of your day to relax.  Simply closing your eyes at your desk for 10 seconds can help you regain a sense of stability.  Gathering a sense of calm by controlling stress levels in your body can be great for your mind, mood, and overall health.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Beat the heat

Where I live, there is a huge heat wave going on right now.  Hitting temps near 100 and heat index of 115 at times, it's important to listen to your body.  This post goes side by side with the last post about common sense.  Listen to your body and your mind.  Do not go crazy in the blazing heat.  Stay hydrated.  Also, as health coach Laura Pappas says, it's important to stay away from items that will dehydrate you.  Check out her blog HERE for important tips to beat the summer heat!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Common Sense

Dieting is all about common sense.  It should be simple.  We all have common sense, but if you read the news or talk to people, you will see that not everyone uses it.  There aren't magic pills or anything special that help us burn fat and get in shape.  There are some strange theories out there that I just can't say I would adopt because it doesn't sound right.  For instance:
  • Walking around outside without shoes on to get the physical connection to the earth cause electromagnetic stability in your body
  • Eating dirt because it is filled with plenty of vitamins and minerals, after all, that's where our food comes from.  (I SWEAR I JUST READ THIS)
  • Eating ::insert insane amount of certain food:: here 
Now fasting has been shown to have its benefits, but going days without eating is just not healthy.  I also understand the walking around without shoes on, but it was the reason why that made me laugh.  You should eat natural foods.  Common Sense.  Eat fruits and vegetables.  Common Sense.  Consume a decent amount of water throughout the day.  Since we're mostly made of water, sounds like common sense.  If you don't know what's in it? Don't eat it.  Common Sense.  Get SOME exercise.  Common sense.

These are simple ideals that can turn anyone from unhealthy to healthy.  Use some common sense when determining your lifestyle and your body will thank you for it.  Simple.

Motivation: “Great souls have wills; feeble ones have only wishes.” - Proverb

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Shoes and your feet become a real important aspect of your lifestyle.  I could care less what they look like but I do care about how they function.  A bad pair of shoes can have a negative effect on your posture, which can affect your joints, muscles, balance, etc.   While working out, your shoe can make a certain lift more difficult by affecting posture and balance as I found out during a recent lifting session.  I had been wearing a pair of traditional nike basketball shoes.  Since they have a curved sole, on certain lifts, I found myself rolling forward on the balls of my feet instead of powering through the heels.

Now I can't tell you what shoe to wear because it really depends on the person.  When I lift now, I prefer to get myself as close to what nature intended as possible so I do not wear shoes.  If my Workout of the Day includes running, I will wear a pair of shoes since my running is outdoors and I don't know what I'll step in.  When running, I will want a pair of shoes that keep me on the balls of my feet to spring forward and promote proper running technique.  Regardless of the shoes you wear, if they start to wear out, replace them.  You don't want a part of the shoe rubbing against the back of your ankle or wearing out the sole to the point where you can see the ground underneath.  When starting out with a new pair of shoes, don't run long distances at first.  You're shoes will be stifBe smart and listen to your body.  If it feels uncomfortable....if you don't have good balance.....if your KNEES! start to bother you.....maybe it's time to look into a new pair of shoes.

Motivation: "Begin to be now what you will be hereafter." - William James

Monday, July 18, 2011

Stay on track

So the weekend passes and you had a BBQ.  You went to the party fully motivated and told yourself, "I will have some chicken and a salad.  That's it."  As the night wears on, you have some chicken.....with some pasta....cheeseburger.....french cream....and some cake.  Ok, so you failed.  That is perfectly fine.  One bad day you can live with.  That will not make you obese.  Use the "bad day" to motivate yourself.  Take the next day to get yourself on track.  Start with waking up in the morning and having a solid meal.   Hit the gym hard and stay focused.  One bad day does not need to ruin the next 6 months.  Let this monday serve as a kick start.  Hit the gym hard.  Focus on your meals and Carpe Diem.

Motivation: "He who hesistates is lost." - Proverb

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Weekend Edition!

My first attempt at a Crossfit benchmark workout went as expected.  I could only physically finish 3 rounds although the rx is for 5 rounds.  I'd like to blame on the paleo pancakes my wife made before the workout but it is probably the fact that I did not drink anything since I woke up.  A big, big mistake.  So "Barbara" (the name of the workout), beat me up pretty good so I returned home to eat.  There was nothing quickly available as I normally drink a protein shake after a workout.  The normal protein shake doesn't quite fly with Paleo.  So, I improvised.

4 oz. Coconut Milk
4 oz. Water
1 tbl. Almond Butter
2 scoops Whey Protein
2 handful of ice cubes

That went in the blender and I sort of had chocolate ice cream.  While delicious, the protein powder could be better quality and next time I would add a little more coconut milk and a little less ice cubes.  Try it out!  If you have your own post paleo meals, feel free to share!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Crossfit so far

Crossfit recommends 3 days on and 1 day off.  I am going to half enjoy this day off.  After my first three days at Crossfit SOAR, I am beat.  It is incredibly addictive though.  I get pushed to the limit every time and I love it.  The great people there definitely help.  The community aspect is the perfect touch to the workout.  Strangely, the people are why I stopped going to a conventional gym like Retro Fitness.  Every workout is the true meaning of friendly competition.  It is competition against yourself and it can be against others.  I watch other people working out around me and try to do the same or outpace them.  At the same time, everyone is rooting for everyone else.  If this keeps happening, everyone gets better and everyone wins.

I'm using today's day off to do some food shopping.  I'll be heading to whole foods to pick up as much grass-fed beef and other paleo goodies that I can find.  Maybe gathering ingredients to make these: Paleo Donut Holes

Motivation: “When you reach the top, keep climbing.”  -Proverb

Monday, July 11, 2011


So this past weekend, I participated in the Rugged Maniac 5K run.  It was a blast!  It was a 5K run through Raceway Park in Englishtown, NJ.  There were mudslides, crawling through rivers, hoping walls, and tons of other obstacles along the run.  If there is ever and adventure race like the rugged maniac near you, I suggest you try it out. 

As for today, I feel great and I'm about to join my local Crossfit center, Crossfit SOAR.  I'm excited and looking forward to the WOD (Workout Of the Day).  Of's deadlifts.....

Motivational Quote: "Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear."
—Ambrose Redmoon

Friday, July 8, 2011


Let's jump right into a big controversial topic.  Eggs!  A great source of proteins, vitamins and minerals, eggs are the staple of all diets.

Western society tells us that egg whites are full of protein and the egg yolk is bad because of high saturated fats and cholesterol.  Avoiding egg yolks should not be something you incorporate because of its numerous dietary advantages.  Some paleo enthusiasts have said to me, "Why would you not want the part of the egg with all the nutrients and vitamins?"  So I've done a little research.  What paleo believes is that you should stick to the cage-free eggs that have the bigger amounts of omega-3.  Just because a carton says brown eggs, does not mean they are cage-free.  Someone about 60 pounds lighter than I am says he eats 4 whole eggs every day in the morning.  As a results, I started eating 5-6 whole eggs in the morning.  I was immediate scolded by my wife who did her own research and found that a well-known paleo supporter, Dr. Loren Cordain, suggested eating 6 eggs a week.  It appears the good doctor has changed stance a little and advocates whole eggs.  In fact, he states that egg whites can increase intestinal permeability which is a cause of autoimmune disease!  The second big part is the study that suggests that dietary cholesterol and saturated fat are not leading factors in coronary heart disease.  In fact, diets with high dietary cholesterol can be beneficial.  Here at quotes from the doctor himself,
"Although eggs are one of the most concentrated sources of dietary cholesterol (212 mg per egg), dietary cholesterol has a minimal effect upon blood cholesterol concentrations in most people. Further, high cholesterol egg diets cause an increase in blood HDL particles (the good particles that remove cholesterol from the body) and reduce the highly atherogenic small dense LDL particles while simultaneously increasing the less atherogenic large, “fluffy” LDL particles."
Now, a dozen eggs shouldn't be automatically thrust into everyone's diet.  There are people with egg allergies, existing autoimmune diseases, etc.  If you want to read up some more, I've included a couple articles that are worth a read:

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Paleo Meal

Last night's dinner and today's lunch was a first for me.  Now that my wonderful wife has decided to give the paleo diet a try, she cooked up a nice dinner.  Spaghetti squash and homemade pasta sauce made with turkey sausage.

Being italian, I need my pasta fix once in a while and this did the job.  After dinner, she did some reading and saw she could make her own almond butter.  Since we didn't have any in the house, she grabbed some raw almonds, threw them in the food processor, and in a few minutes had her own almond butter.  Well now what could she do with all this homemade almond butter??

It was muffin time.  As an even bigger fan of pastries, these were perfect for after dinner.  Coconut almond muffins.  Google the recipe.  It's starch free and great with a couple blueberries on top.  Try these out yourself.

NEW FEATURE!!  If you look to the right of the page, we have added the Foodee Meal of the Day!  Another spot to grab some great paleo meal ideas!  Check back often.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Rule #1 - DIET!!

You can do all the workouts you want to try and lose weight/get muscular/etc.   The only way you will see any permanent change is through your diet.  Ten millions crunches a day will not get you that six-pack.  It is your diet.  The concept is the same as a car.  The better you take care of it, the better it will run.  Fueling with the best possible gas will give you the best possible results.  While you can get very specific, you should follow these very basic principles.

1. Stay away from sugars!
  - Refined sugars are the worst and will go straight to your fat stores.  There is almost no reason to have any refined sugars in your diet.

2. Drink plenty of water.
   - Many believe you should be drinking half your bodyweight in ounces of water.  I try to go for at least a gallon of water a day.  There are many reasons to drink lots of water.  Water will flush your body of toxins, which none of us want in our bodies.  Also, muscle grows efficiently in a hydrated environment.  How will it get there??  Through drinking lots of water!

These are the two biggest rules that I see broken daily by everyone.  Some other points to follow based on the paleo diet are:
- Do not eat grains or starches (like bread, pasta, noodles, potatoes)
- Do not eat beans or legumes (including string beans, kidney beans, peanuts, peas)
- Avoid dairy

Items to eat are:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Meat, Chicken, Fish
- Eggs
- Nuts (Not peanuts or cashews)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Big Changes

I think it's time to give this blog the ol' kick start again.  When I get a better cell phone, I'll be able to post more often.  Until then, it's time for an update.

I spent the July 4th weekend at my good friend Chris' wedding.  He is a crossfit guy.  They are basically a totally different breed than the usual bodybuilder types you see.  I had been preaching the values of the bodybuilder for a long time and after this weekend......changes are in store.  I'll be looking up my local crossfit to see if I can join.  A crossfit gym is very expensive so I'll see what I can do about the price until I can set up my basement for such workouts.  I spent two workouts at Crossfit King of Prussia and it was one of the best workouts I have EVER had.  The people are great and the community aspect is something I have not seen in a long time.  It is something that can make being a part of a crossfit family well worth the cost.  It also gives me something to strive for.

In the most basic of terms, a crossfit workout is usually less than a half hour long and is made to be 110% effort throughout.  This is very different than the hour to hour and a half you can spend lifting weights in a gym.  The diet is also different as it is based on the diets of that of the cavement (Paleo diet).  Of course, there are a lot more details than that but this is what I will be adopting from here on out.  All of the people I met are inspirations.  Chris himself is an inspiration and someone who's times and weights I now have to reach for.  I'll be documenting my findings, my travels and overall tips so check back often and leave comments!  (I'll also get better at writing articles.  Right now I just spew out random thoughts.  Enjoy!)