Setting the Vibe

Over the last year, I have attempted to incorporate this routine first thing in the morning, which I have found, really helps me get my mind into the correct state and help me be more productive and positive throughout the day.  I used to always wake up and watch the news, however, I simply can’t stand to turn on the news anymore!  I am so sick of all the negativity and bad energy that is occurring in this country.  I am not saying I don’t care or want to know about the current state of our country and world, unfortunately it just creates negativity and fear into the minds of society, and for me, it serves no purpose to fill my head with more anxiety.  Among all the chaos, I still have a family to provide for and a mission of my own to complete.

Before anyone else is awake, I go downstairs, I find my comfortable spot, open up my iTunes, and I have about 10 different selections of meditation style sounds and frequencies to get me into the right place.  Today was the 528hz frequency with ocean sounds and ambient sounds.  img_0267For the first few minutes, I really like to focus on my breathing, I follow a inhale for a 4 second count, drawing in as much air into my lungs as possible, then hold for 7 seconds, release all the air for a 8 second count, and keep my lungs depleted for the 4 second count before repeating.  After several minutes of that I just really try to empty my mind, which is nearly impossible, but I really just try to be in the moment.  As soon as a thought enters, and no doubt, 9 times out of 10 it is something that brings me anxiety, I will then do all I can to remove it.  It took me more time to be able to do this, but it is possible.  Usually my response when that occurs is to say to myself, “I am attuned to the frequency of my purpose” and this is usually effective at getting that negative thought out of my head.  Once I feel I have been in the completely relaxed state and emptied my mind, I finish with stating my gratitude.  Things in my life I am thankful for.  This whole process is about 15-20 minutes, but I will never question the effectiveness and benefits I receive from this almost daily routine.  If you are interested in learning the proper technique as well as the benefits to the mind and body, you can listen to Dr. Weill on Amazon.

I save a later post for how and why this practice is so important to the aspect of happiness in our lives, but for now, I would like to encourage you, that if this is something you have not done, to try to incorporate it into your daily life.

So this morning, after completing my meditation and proper breathing, (and my cup of coffee), it was time to hit the basement for my morning workout.  All I can say is, “man, I hope these get a little easier!”

7/25/17 Workout:  5 Rounds of:

  • 30 calorie row on the concept 2
  • TRX chest press with fly for As Many As Possible (AMAP)
  • 50lb kettlebell goblet squat for 10 reps
  • ab roller for AMAP

Ab Roller on Amazon for $17.99, comes with a knee pads (which is highly recommended!)

Concept 2 rowers never go on sale, so no need to keep waiting around.  It is the same price here on Amazon as direct from Concept 2.

TRX Home Unit is $40 off Amazon right now, that is an awesome deal!  I like the Home version since it comes with the door mount.  I personally screwed additional 2 x 4’s in my basement to mount off the wall which if you can do this, you will get so much more from your TRX!

Tackling Monday Like a Champ!

Started the day off with a great workout, and had some wonderful food that nourished my body and mind! A successful day!

My post workout meal, with some Hemp seeds sprinkled on top of peanut butter and banana on Ezekiel toast.


Lunch time smoothie, letting the ground up chia seeds soak in water


Time to add some parsley banana and a carrot into my nutribullet


Afternoon snack was some rolled oats, almond/coconut milk with vegan protein powder


For dinner, after some carrots and hummus snack, had a bowl of my quinoa and rice with green beans and some wild caught swordfish. Oh that was so good!


Here’s to a good day! Onward and upward!

Early Morning HIIT this 24th of July 2017

This morning completed 10 rounds of:

  • 150 meter row
  • 10 TRX crunches

Funny, after the first set, I was thinking “hmm, I might want to add another exercise to make this more difficult” well, by the 5th set, I was sucking eggs! Why I like this is that the concept keeps track of the entire session, so now my goal is to be able to complete faster than my 27 + minutes.  (The calorie is not cumulative, but per 150 meter.)

Here is a little summary of how things went.  Thank god it’s over!  Trust me, it is still embarrassing having my shirt off, but I guess its not where you’re at, it’s where you’re going!

Without hesitation, when asked what is the best fitness equipment to own, the first two things are the Concept 2 Rower and a TRX Suspension Trainer.  You can accomplish so much with these!

TRX is running $40 off right now!  That is an awesome price since I never see these things go on sale!

Eat’n Clean Saturday

Had some really fresh and organic foods yesterday that left me satisfied, leveled out the blood sugar so had energy all day and just felt great!

Mid day snack was Ezekiel bread topped with vegan mayonnaise and spinach, sliced tomato (from my garden!) and avocado.  Washed it down with a ice coffee with coconut milk and some stivia


For dinner, I took out my container of my vegan black bean burger and cooked in olive oil. Topped with mixed greens, hummus, and cucumber(from my garden too!) in between two pieces of toasted Ezekiel bread! Cold beer to wash that baby down!

Have a healthy and happy day!

The “Food-Like” Culture

As I write these food related posts, I must begin to explain that I too, like the rest of society, has been sucked in to the culture of “food-like” nutrition that has plagued our American diet.  I spend a lot of time discussing this in my book, since overcoming the addiction of what food manufacturers have created is by far, the biggest obstacle to overcome in the quest for proper health and nutrition.  So what is “food-like” products?  I would probably imagine by now you can read between the lines and figure out it is food that has been converted, processed, refined, artificially flavored, colored, and preserved and put into a very attractive bag or box, celebrity endorsed or just heavily promoted, and typically inexpensive food that sits on the shelves at your local grocery store.  I briefly touched on this in my last post about the meat industry, stating that 100 years ago, there was no such thing as any of the above listed items found in our food.  The introduction of all these chemicals have created a very unhealthy society, and it’s only getting unhealthier.

Unfortunately, as much as these products taste good, our society truly doesn’t understand the magnitude of the food they are consuming.  Again, pointing back to the fact that we have become so detached from our food, that we don’t even question its relevancy anymore to our overall health and well being.  To us, it’s about enjoying the taste, and providing the calories that our body and mind think we need.  I will spell it out right now:  THIS IS NOT FOOD!  I know that the old phrase, if it walks like a duck, talks like a duck; it’s probably a duck.  So you think to yourself: “it smells like food, it tastes like food, so it must be food!”  Unfortunately some truth there, but looking further into the industry behind that food sheds light on a completely different picture!  There is a great book by Michael Moss, called “Salt, Sugar, Fat,” which really opens the door to discussing how the food manufacturers are working to create a food so closely to have the same addictive properties as a drug.  By combining those three things into food, and at exact amount in order to create something called a “Bliss Factor” which creates this immediate pleasure to the system that says, “oh yeah! I want more of that!”  It is really funny to think about the idea that these food manufacturers are basically scientists that are in a lab, adding more of this, taking away some of this, adding this, and all in search to get you addicted to their product so that you keep coming back for more.  This is how sad our food system has become, it has pretty much gone away from the farm, and now is built inside a laboratory.

With this much effort put into creating an addictive food product, no wonder it is so hard to try and eat a well balanced and healthy diet! Not to mention, if you are a father like me, having 3 teenage boys who see these commercials and they see their friends bringing it in their lunch bags to school, they ride your coat tails to get some in the house. And of course, in a weak moment, you come home, you are hungry, it will take 30 minutes or so to prepare a healthy meal, so it is so easy to just grab that bag or box and eat a few, and a few more, and some more, and next thing you know, you have consumed the same amount of calories you would have consumed in that healthy meal you were about to prepare. So what do we do?

This was an area I had to discuss about more thoroughly in my book, since the psychology of eating plays a much greater factor in our food choices than simply the nutrition or purpose.  I (at the time of my vegan run) had to daily work on verbally announcing to myself when I saw a bag of something on the shelf or a box of something in the pantry, I had to tell myself, “that is not food!”  and I would have to search my house for something that nature had provided me, not the laboratory.  Simply put, the only thing I would allow myself to eat would be a food item where the ingredient, was the ingredient!  Make sense?  It had to in its natural form, a piece of fruit, vegetable, or something else that grew out of the earth, but not in a processed form!  If there were more ingredients than the ingredient, it was off limits!

This little activity actually began to give me power.  Sounds funny, but having the strength to say no to artificial food-like food and yes to something natural, even though I would go through periods of feeling hungry, this sense of inner strength made me proud of my decision and each time, it became easier and easier.

Try practicing this activity, and I promise you will begin to see improvements in your health and energy levels!

HIIT or Long Steady Cardio For Weight Loss?

For anyone not familiar with HIIT, it stands for High Intensity Interval Training.  Basically a workout that a person would establish a either a few different exercises or an exercise that allows for short intervals of high intense effort, like a rowing machine, bike, treadmill, etc.  But is this more effective than getting on that elliptical trainer or treadmill, getting the heart rate up and keeping it there for 30 minutes or so?  What do you think?

Well, best thing we can do is break it down:  I would imagine that most people reading this like myself, are interested in losing some fat, especially around the mid section.  We know that we must burn 3500 calories in order to lose a pound of fat.  So to lose a pound of fat a week, we must burn 500 calories a day more than we consume over a 7 day period.  So if we keep our eating the same, that 500 calories would result in the following activities of long cardio:calorieexpenditure

 

The benefits of the long cardio is that almost 60% of the calories burned during the session are the result of fat.  Not bad, however, we have to look at the downside of this too.  Once we complete a bout of long cardio, within the hour, more like minutes, our heart rate has returned back to its resting rate, our muscles have minimal damage, so little is required in regards to repairing of muscle tissue.  The heart was not stressed enough to increase it’s overall capacity and strength.  We did open the arterial walls and allow more blood flow, which is a good thing in heart health.  But lets take a look at HIIT.

Completing 20-30 minutes of HIIT unfortunately is not track able in regards to caloric expenditure unless you are completing on an apparatus that tracks the overall calories, but what we do know, is that this form of exercise typically takes the heart rate into maximum values, forcing the heart to respond and become stronger over time.  This type of exercise also pushes the muscles beyond normal exertion forcing muscle damage requiring muscle repair over a 24-48 hour period.  So what does this mean?  When we push the body beyond normal capacity, once the bout of activity is completed, our body must repair itself.  In order to repair, it is going to require more energy expenditure for those 24-48 hours, simply put, our metabolism is now at a higher level causing our base metabolic rate to be a higher state, burning more calories while we are at rest.  Not too mention, that repair is now going to increase the total volume of the muscle fiber itself, requiring more calories in the day to keep its current volume.  Basically, the more muscle in volume (size), the more calories our body requires to maintain that muscle volume.

In a study produced by the Journal of Obesity by Stephen Boutcher, it was cited:

“Possible mechanisms underlying the HIIE-induced fat loss effect include increased exercise and postexercise fat oxidation and decreased postexercise appetite. As mentioned, Gaitanos et al. [29] have suggested that towards the end of an HIIE session that consists of numerous repeat sprints (e.g., ten 6-second bouts of maximal sprinting) an inhibition of anaerobic glycogenolysis occurs and ATP resynthesis is mainly derived from PCr degradation and intramuscular triacylglycerol stores. That increased venous glycerol accompanied HIIE in both trained female cyclists and untrained women [15] supports the notion that acute HIIE progressively results in greater fatty acid transport. Also Burgomaster et al. [55] and Talanian et al. [42] have shown that 6 to 7 sessions of HIIE had marked increases in whole body and skeletal muscle capacity for fatty acid oxidation.  (here is the link to the study)

Basically the study is stating that fat loss from HIIT occurs far after the bout of exercise is completed, in addition to the body requiring calories to return to normal levels of muscular glycogen (energy stored in the muscle) and muscle repair.  When our heart rate levels are low, as in the repair phase after the exercise, fat is a dense energy fuel that can be broken down with sufficient levels of oxygen.

To summarize, yes, if you want to take a walk in evening with your family it will be a good way to not only burn a few calories, but probably some mental clarity will be good for you too.  But let’s face it, if you are like me and are past the age of 35, you have probably seen a dramatic drop in your testosterone levels and regardless of how much you try to watch what you eat, you are gaining fat around the mid section faster than you ever thought possible.  The best way to attack this, is through some HIIT which can be done with some simple or even no equipment! high-intensity-interval-training This is a good starter guide.

Good luck with your bouts of exercise, if you have never done any HIIT, start small, and look to incorporate more of it into your workouts!

Live happy and healthy!

 

At 45, It’s More About Functionality

As much as I look on social media and see these dudes all ripped up and shredded and want to look like that, I have learned my body well enough to know that keeping it strong and injury free has to take precedents in my exercise routine.  Today was lower body stability work after my 2000 meter row, finishing with 4 high intensity intervals on the treadmill.  Why functional training is so important, and especially to me, after a knee surgery in my teens, I have had continuous knee problems in my left knee, resulting in an atrophied left quadricep which creates a imbalance in my movement system.  You will see in the video when performing the TRX lunge with the left leg, it is much harder to maintain balance.  For this reason, I need to be focused on functional strength and flexibility.  This morning I completed 3 sets of 2-3 reps per leg on the TRX and then 3 sets of TRX stretches to finish my lower body workout.  I ain’t no spring chicken anymore!

Have a great weekend!  Stay healthy and happy!