Does Being Fit Make You Harder to Kill?

Quick Tips

 

At first I was going to say yes, without a doubt building fitness makes a person harder to kill.

I’m not sure about you, but personally every barbell squat, kettlebell swing, turkish get-up, 500m row and jump rope interval makes me that much harder to put 6 feet deep.

[Improving fitness cannot just be centered around improving exertion.  Exertion is just one piece of the puzzle, a fragment of a much larger picture.  We must consider the role of achieving better body position or movement pattern quality, tissue health and integrity, recovery and nutrition to be highly influential topics that enhance our ability to perform.]

It’s empowering to know that my stopping power increases with each and every repetition, distance covered and position held.

In fact, I was walking through the grocery store yesterday sizing up other customers wondering who might challenge me to a scrap.

As fate would have it, I navigated my way through the treacherous isles of the store without a single encounter,  purchasing my groceries unscathed.

Leaving the store, my thoughts quickly shifted to a classic movie scene from Indiana Jone’s.  Many of you will remember this particular clip quite well…

 

 

But if you do manage to trick me with ninja smoke and slip in a finishing move, please, do me the service of burying me ass up so you’ll have a place to park your bike.

Harder to kill?  Sweet slogan but hardly relevant for most of us. 🙂

Whatever gets you going though, right?

 

 

 

Kyle

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A Martin Luther King Quote Could Help Ease Your Fitness Anxiety

Quick Tips

martin luther king jr quotes

 

After watching an episode of Madmen that shared some audio and video clips about Martin Luther King Jr. being assassinated, I felt that it was ironic that I stumbled upon this quote this morning.

The quote hit home for me because it represents some feelings that I continue to have toward modern science.

First, let me clarify that I really enjoy reading studies and learning of scientific breakthroughs. I find it fascinating that we continue to understand things that were previously only considered true through speculation or anecdotal evidence. I continue to read articles on Business Insider where scientists claim to have identified formulas for “What Causes Men to Be Attractive” or “Scientists Have Figured Out The Noah’s Arc Would Have Floated with 70,000 Animals If Built By Dimensions In The Bible”.

I would be lying through my teeth if I said that I didn’t click on links like this to see what exactly was the conclusion of the findings. I am lured in like everyone else it seems.

However, I’m usually less than impressed with the findings, just like I am with nutritional and exercise studies at times. There completely meaningless. Whether Noah’s Arc had 7 animals or 70,000 animals on board, it doesn’t matter to me.

It’s pure minutiae, but you know damn well that there are groups of people fighting about those facts and figures as I write this. Someone is always trying to prove someone else wrong.

All of this relates back to what I am realizing is my spiritual connection with exercise and nutrition, kettlebells, short burst workouts, long walks to re-energize, breathing to calm the mind and body, yoga (not often but more so lately) and the exploration of ideas that haven’t been proven by double-blind study or a laboratory somewhere.

I thoroughly enjoy partaking in activities that science cannot find explanations for. Yoga has been around for thousands of years and delivered a healing/calming effect to millions of people. Science decided to investigate all of the hype to investigate matters. Initially, they concluded that the entire concept of Yoga had inconclusive evidence supporting it’s integration into a human beings life.

I wasn’t a yoga supporter at the time so I have to admit that I didn’t care. My body was younger and more pliable than it is now. Once I gave yoga a chance, even just focusing on a few poses that I knew would help to alleviate tonic muscles or calm my nervous system through deep breathing, I knew it worked. Just because I couldn’t explain it or support it with 10 pages data filled charts and tables, I knew that it worked extremely well for my mind, my body and to be somewhat poetic, my soul.

Science is great but we lean on it way to much. It’s a crutch for people to finally take action. It seems like we increasingly disregard activities that our mind and body tells us that it thoroughly enjoys, just because a study says that it burns 5% less calories than an alternative approach.

Who gives a shit? Do you really care that much?

Maybe if your a top 1% athlete (those who we watch on TV) or a professional (paid) bodybuilder who can detect the slightest alternations in their workout and eating habits.  These two populations can gain a competitive edge over such minutiae.  Shaving .0001 sec can be the difference from wearing a gold medal and shedding a tear over the silver.

But when we are talking about Billy Bob who handles accounts at the office versus Sandra who is the company social media direction this 5% becomes less and less important in my mind.  The average Joe needs to focus on establishing and perfecting the basics.

I’ve seen multiple studies showing that running is superior to riding a stationary bike, but from my own experience, I thoroughly enjoy putting my headphones in and riding my $180 (bought from Craigslist) Schwinn Airdyne over pounding the pavement. 5% more calorie burn for the same duration of exercise is irrelevant to me because my nutritional habits are good and I am 100x more likely to consistently hop on that old rickety Airdyne than I am to tie my shoes and beat the streets.

There is a beautiful simplicity in ignoring science jargon, and there is also value in respecting it.

The evidence based approach guys/gals will always claim that the spiritual approached guys/gals are lazy and “just don’t want to work to understand the data”, and the spiritual guys/gals will always claim that the evidence based approach guys/gals are robots guided by incentive based research.

I think both parties are somewhat accurate in their assessment of the other and quite honestly, I prefer to be a hybrid of both approaches.

As I have gotten older, I find that I don’t have that deep seeded need to prove why everything works the way that it does. I enjoy letting my body and mind dictate the intensity of any given day’s workout, staying up late because I feel like it or drinking too many cups of coffee in the morning because I enjoy the aroma and taste.

Modern day research would frown upon these things because the data says that all three won’t make me the best possible functioning human. Science says that I should be monitoring any fluctuations in my resting heart rate upon waking from an adequate 8 hours of sleep, following by a cup of green tea.

Did I mention that I love drinking craft beer also? Science hates beer, but my soul loves it.  I drank two delicious beers last night in fact.

I have found that no matter what approach guides your fitness and nutritional actions, what’s most important for the long-term is that you ENJOY whatever form of physical activity and eating style you adopt.

High tech or low tech, extreme or un-extreme, evidence based or spiritual…  it doesn’t matter as long as it ignites a motivation to take consistent action for the long haul.

If you evidence based, take the time to understand the spiritual approach and if you top-heavy on the spiritual approach, take some time to understand the evidence based approach.

The fusion of spirit and evidence based efforts might provide the truest enjoyment of the journey.  The side of your brain that wants science supported action can get along with the side of your brain that wants to discover your inner connectedness.  They can coexist.

Self-experimentation can be a liberating experience for both parties.

 

Cheers to thought-provoking quotes from MLK!

 

 

KG

 

How Many Eggs Can Be Eaten Everyday?

Food/Eating, Quick Tips

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As I was perusing through one of my trusted nutrition websites, Authority Nutrition, I noticed there was a posting about egg consumption that was a few days old.

Articles about eggs always catch my eye. I am a huge supporter of egg consumption, and yes that means eating the entire egg, not just the white portion.

Eggs, considering their cost and nutritional impact, are probably one of the best foods that a human can eat. They are a great source of protein. If you’ve adopted resistance training into your exercise regimen, eggs provide a daily protein boost that will aid in your quest to build more lean muscle.

Obviously, there is more to complete nutrition than just eggs. But if you’re in search of a quality source of protein that simultaneously provides other vital vitamins and minerals without breaking the piggy bank, you really need to consider eggs.

If I was really down on my financial luck, and I needed to choose one food to get me through, I would choose eggs. Cheap, easy to cook and nutritionally dense.

For those of you who are still on the fence about making the transition away from breakfast cereals, toast and oatmeal, please give this article a read. I think that the information provided will help to ease your mind about the consumption of eggs. Notice the scientific support from the author, it’s a nice touch.

For those who are already eating eggs steadily, here is an article from Authority Nutrition that was published on February 6th. Give the entire article a focused read. This is the article that further discusses the health benefits from eating eggs, and also what might possibly be the boundaries of how many eggs can be eaten everyday.

The information is solid and entertaining.

I am in no way preaching that everyone needs to be eating eggs, but I am saying that it’s helpful to understand that eggs are a tremendously healthy alternative to sugary breakfast foods. When you consider that more and more research points toward sugar intake as a major contributor to poor body composition and other health issues, eggs begin to look like a superfood. Maybe a savior for some.

Heck you can even have eggs for lunch or dinner, which I do quite often.

Also notice that the article is very upfront that most of the larger population studies that investigate health benefits/negatives of egg consumption involve consuming 3 eggs per day (at the most).

The author does a great job reiterating this throughout article.

I personally eat 3 eggs per day at the minimum. Breakfast is always a 3 egg scrambler with veggies and left over lean meat from the previous night’s dinner.

If it is a training day, which most days are, I also add in some Ezekiel toast with peanut butter. Peanut butter is my vice food.

Lately, I have been buying eggs in bulk (box of 96ct.) to save myself time from having to run to the grocery store and the pain from waking up to no eggs in the refrigerator. I highly suggest any of you reading this look into how you can buy in bulk also. If you have good food conveniently available, you’re more likely to eat it. If you have to go through the trouble of driving to the store, checking out, driving back home, cooking it, you might find that you’re more apt to avoid it altogether.

Whatever is most readily available, you’ll eat.

I have also gotten back into hardboiling a dozen eggs at the beginning of the week. Hardboiled eggs make an amazing protein rich mid-day snack, especially in situations where you don’t have much time to sit down and eat, as I do not most of the time.

1 egg has roughly 6g of protein. Eat 3 eggs and you’ve just taken in 18g of protein without giving the situation much thought.

Sprinkle some salt on top for added flavor or just eat them peeled as they are. Wash it down with some ice cold water and you just had a meal/snack that you can feel great about.

Let me know what you think of the article, as I thought that it would be a great read for all of you…

Cheers to eating more eggs!

KG

*** If you want less trivial information and more of a structured nutritional system, I highly suggest you check out Precision Nutrition.

Chin Up + Kettlebell Swing + Squat + Jump Rope + Push Up… Workout

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I’ve never felt inclined to name any of my workouts.  Thus, I give you the:

Chin Up + Kettlebell Swing + 2KB Squat + Jump Rope + Push Up…

… workout.

There is another organization that names all of their workouts, which isn’t a bad thing,  I just don’t feel like labeling my workouts with someone else’s name.  I could name this one “Brutus” or “Cactus Jack”.  Maybe I should name my workouts after WWF wrestlers past and present.  That would be cool.  Everyone seems to know WWF wrestlers names whether they admit to watching it or not.

I could use a numbering system I suppose, like “Workout #1” or “Level 5”, but maybe I’ll just call it what it is.

I selected the movements listed above because they represent most of the major movement patterns, and also because these exercise could be easily executed with the workout equipment that I had available the other day.

What did I have available?

As I mentioned, I typically only incorporate big movement patterns into circuits.  To be honest, I don’t like wasting time with exercises that hardly stress the prime movers.  Bicep curls and such are desert.  If I have time after I have completed what I often refer to as the “main meal”, I will work in the accessory exercises for fun.

 

I value my time.  Time is a commodity in my life (as I am sure that it is in your’s) so I prefer to get in, get out and get back out to experience other aspects of life.  Sure, I write about working out, structuring workouts, movement and nutrition a great deal, but that doesn’t mean that I am working out 2 hours a day.  Efficiency is the name of the game.  How effective can I make my workouts without taking away from other areas of my life that I also value.

Occasionally I will add an exercise or two that is slightly out of the box, but these movements are usually treated as a filler exercise (active rest) between more demanding exercises, or reserved for before or after the main circuit of the workout.

While I will admit that doing this is my personal preference, I would suspect that most of you will find that your own workouts are immediately enhanced by working in the big movements instead of a series of fillers.  More muscles engaged equals a greater training effective at the end of the workout session.

If you do more work in a smaller time frame, now you’ve primed your body for fat loss + muscle gain.

This is a great scenario, one that we need to keep advocating instead of “weight loss”.  You can lose weight by dehydrating yourself down to a raison in a sauna.  That’s weight loss, right?

Swap the fat tissue for muscle tissue.

Chase muscle and while running away from fat.

So what are the big movements?  In this case, the big movements that I leveraged for a training effect were:

I’m continually amazed at how effective bodyweight strength movements are, especially when organized into a circuit.

I can get the training effect that I desire while minimizing risk of injury and awful soreness in the days that is so commonly associated with resistance based training.   Of course, if you have never performed a push up or a squat, you’re going to be sore in the coming days.  That’s something you can expect with a new training stimulus and re-discovered muscle contraction.

Loading up on bodyweight style training sessions.  This type of training sessions should be heavily considered by anyone that struggles with achy joints, etc.  Bodyweight resistance exercise provides a low load introduction to basic strength drills, easing your body back into the swing of things.

Plus, being able to control your body exhibiting stability, strength and power through a healthy range of motion will do wonders for your performance, whether that performance be for sport or raking the leaves out of your yard.

So what does last weekends workout look like?

The structure looked something like this:

Metabolic Resistance Training Circuit

I loaded up most of the movements and went for 4 rounds, which took slightly over 20 minutes.  20 minutes continues to be the sweet spot for workout duration.  Anything more than that and I lose output, anything less and it seems like it wasn’t enough… as if I left some fuel in the tank.

20 minutes also seems to allow for focus on proper exercise technique (and grooving) while the fatigue continues to snowball.  Technique is important, don’t forget that.

If you take another look at the exercise selection above, I’d like to share a couple of substitutions that you could make.  If you cannot perform a bodyweight chin up, wrap a resistance band around the chin up bar you’re using, and stretch it down around your knee or foot.  This will assist you on the way up and ease you down from the top.

You could swap out standing broad jumps or squat jumps for the kettlebell swings, although there really isn’t a movement to mimic a kettlebell swing.  If you have dumbbells you could use those in a pinch, but again, there is no tool that functions quite like a kettlebell.

If you don’t have a suspension trainer, just do regular old push ups.  If you want a less expensive option that does a decent job of mimicking the push up+knee tuck combination, use furniture sliders or socks on a hard surface.  Both work decently.  I would go the furniture slide route if I had to choose.

If you don’t have kettlebells, dumbbells or a barbell for squats, you can do bodyweight squats just as well.  If bodyweight squats are easy, mix in pistols alternating each leg.  If you squats are too easy and pistols are too hard, use squat jumps.

If you don’t have a jump rope or a bike, run in place.  High knee with simultaneously arm action.  If you’re lucky enough to have a place to run a short distance, figure out how far it takes to run half of a 20 second shuttle run (10 sec out, 10 sec back).

As you can see, there is a progression, regression and alternative to just about every single movement known to man.  Once you know what a level up and a level down from an exercise is, you’re in business. Now you can OWN your workouts.

Replenish and refuel your body with some rock solid recovery nutrition, and you’ve just done your body good.

 

 

Cheers to Chin Ups, Kettlebell Swings, Squats, Jumping Rope and Push Ups!

KG

PS:  Seriously check out the nutritional link that I posted above.  If you want to see dramatic change in your body and performance, nutrition is at the bottom rung of the pyramid.  

Building Yourself Through Experimentation and Experience

Quick Tips

[This blog post has ZERO pictures.  Straight written word kids]

I’ve read a lot of books on health and wellness.

Nutrition, biomechanics, fat loss, athletic development, psychology of sport, anatomy and physiology, Orthopedic volumes and so many more.

I cruise through blogs that are maintained by some of the brightest and most innovative on the planet.

While I do feel that all of my reading has been for something, I also feel like at the end of the day… you’ve got to continue self-experimenting.

Some of the biggest names in the industry frown about self-experimentation, but I look at the concept as being no different from playing as kids.  You live, you experience,  you learn.

Obviously, don’t dabble around with something that could potential harm your life permanently, but don’t be afraid to… just… try stuff.

Try it.  See if it fits in your program.

The truth is that almost anything that you do exertion-wise is going to move you closer to your goals, especially if those goals are aesthetically based goals.

If you want to trim down, create less of a shadow, decrease your pant size, drop lb.’s on the scale, flatten that stomach, develop some muscular definition…

You’ve got to make an effort to progressively move more and eat with a sense of urgency.

Exercise is simple.  Start somewhere that fits your current strength and conditioning level and training know how, and begin climbing the staircase.  Stop over thinking it, just put on foot in front of the other and climb.  There are free resources all over the internet that can get you moving forward.

Progress yourself as quickly your body can tolerate over time.  Keep progressing.  The body is no different than the mind.  Imagine if you would have stopped learning mathematics at addition and subtraction.  Would you have understood Calculus?  No, you wouldn’t have.  You would have been lost like a puppy and miserable.  You’ve got to progress and build up to learning Calculus, at least most of us did.

Trust me on one quick thing here… you’re going to reach a point in your progressions where it feels like you’ve reached the top, but believe me, you can bust through that barrier.

There is another gear that you can drop in to.  Always another level of effort.

If you disagree with me, ask yourself if your body is holding you back, or if your MIND is holding you back.  You might be surprised at what you find here.  The mind is the command center of your universe… get it in check.

With eating, explore everything.  I am serious with this suggestion.

Buy something, cook it and eat it.  If you like the way it tasted, right down the recipe.  If you didn’t, find a new one.  Just because something doesn’t taste good the first time you try it, doesn’t mean that it will never taste good.  Give food another chance.  It’s not all vegetable’s fault that you don’t like eating it, it might be your desensitized palate.

If your diet primarily consists of processed foods, of course most veggies and fruits are going to taste like cardboard at first!

Everyone eats differently.  What I like to eat, and can tolerate eating on a daily basis is not the same as what you can tolerate eating on a daily basis.  This is just my guess.

If you don’t like boiled broccoli, sauté it.  If you don’t like either of those options, throw it on the grill.  If you still don’t like it, season it for heaven’s sake!  I don’t even think that plain broccoli is that appetizing.

If you hate broccoli, stop complaining about how much you hate broccoli and eat something else.  Find a substitute, an alternative.  There are thousands of foods on the planet.  Choose something else that provides a nutrient load that you body can use.

Seasoning can change a food, and to be quite honest, who cares if you add some salt to your food. Just don’t be a donkey and throw a pile of it on there.  Be sensible in your approach, a pinch is more than enough.  You season foods to enhance their flavor, not drown it out.

I’ve always wondered why people drown food in condiments.  Why eat something if you have to bury it in so much ketchup, BBQ sauce or some other condiment on it to the point that you don’t even taste the meal?  Not judging, just wondering why we do it.

Eating for performance is different from eating for aesthetics.  This might be getting a bit too detailed, but when I was eating to sustain my athletic performance, I didn’t have the greatest physique.  I was lean, but only because of my daily energy expenditure.  When I finished my athletic career, I cut out a few foods that I was initially led to believe that I “needed”.  Bread was one of them.

Thanks government created food pyramid for that load of B.S.

My abdominals popped through in less than 3 weeks.  Ironically, my performance didn’t suffer a bit.  I had no idea if this elimination would work, but it seemed logical.  Pure trial and error here.

Actually it was more like trial and success.

One thing that gets beaten like a dead horse is the concept of avoiding trying to out train your diet.

I should stop telling you not to try this, and let you try it for yourself.  Go ahead, workout like a maniac and eat whatever you please.  See what happens.  It’s an experiment right?  So, go ahead and experiment with it.  Challenge the thought.  If you’re an Ironman, I don’t want to hear a word from any of you, because you’re about the only category of human that can make this work.

Experiment and experience.

Guys and gals are writing books, shooting DVD’s and maintaining blogs (just like this one) that preach a certain way of doing things in order to get results.

But how about this… learn a little something, enough to get you started, and begin carving out your own path.  Nothing about fitness is the law.  There are theories that I would prefer to follow, but if you break them, who cares!

The more you do something, despite your knowledge, know-how or skill level, the more you learn.

You develop knowledge that sticks because you experienced it.  You didn’t read about it and do nothing, you experienced it first hand.  You became an eye-witness to what works well for you and what doesn’t.

It’s important to break out of your shell… practicing and experiencing things.  My suggestion, as I have learned in my own life, is to get out and practice as many things as you can.  You’ll develop likes and dislikes, and you’ll carve your own path.

I tried not to get too specific with anything here.  This is a thought process that applies to everything.

Trial and error, self-experimentation and experience are tremendously powerful methods for catapulting a person forward toward their goals.  If you have the conviction and dedication to follow through over the long-term, you’ll find methods that are the best fit for you.

Just remember, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.  Trust yourself…

 

 

Cheers to trial and success!

 

 

KG

 

A Brief Synopsis About Why “Fat Loss” is Preferred Over “Weight Loss”

Quick Tips

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Look familiar?

“Weight loss” is a common set of terms that has been the measurement of health and wellness for decades.  Once the mainstream grabbed ahold of the weight loss, it was all over.  As for who first used the phrase “weight loss” to describe a positive shift in a person’s health and appearance?…

I have no clue.

What I do know is that I have never really understood why we say “weight loss”.

While I know that on some level, “weight loss” does do a decent job of describing the events taking place when a person decides to improve their nutrition or physical activity, I also feel that “weight loss” is so short-sighted.

Especially when the weight that is being lost is being measured by a bathroom scale or the equivalent.  We judge our progress by comparing our previous weigh in to the current weigh in.  If the needle moves left (weight loss) we celebrate and feel good, if the needle moves right (weight gained) we become frustrated, depressed, pissed off and in some extreme reactions, give up on our health endeavors all together.

I’ve witnessed people give up on physical activity and nutritionally smart eating habits solely based on the needle bouncing to the right instead of the left.  They may not give up the first time that they see it happen, but most certainly on the second, third, or fourth time that significant loss does not occur.

The problem with letting the weight scale be the dictator of your progress is that weight scales measure weight!  Ha!  Yes, weight scales suck because all they do is measure weight.  Weight scales don’t factor in whether that weight is useful muscle or useless fat (not all fat is useless), water weight, fecal matter (grow but true), etc.  There is zero indication about where the weight displayed on the scale is coming from, which is why I feel that body composition (or the composition of your total weight) is such important information to know.

Here are a couple of pictures that help make my point.  If you are someone that finds motivation to get fit for body appearance reasons, consider this picture:

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The picture depicts the same female at different weights, yet different shapes.  Although the difference between the right and left pictures may be subtle, there is a noticeable difference.  When asked, most people would probably want to look like the picture on the right, especially not knowing that the picture on the right represents the same girl at a HEAVIER weight.

The girl looks more “toned” (not sure I like using this word but it works for now) and fit in the picture on the right, but she weighs more.  Why?  She built lean muscle and removed  layers of fat.

Fat on the body, visually, projects much different than muscle on the same body.

Here is a picture that helps support my last statement, anyone who has ever been in a health class or kinesiology classroom has no doubt seen images like this:

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While the old “muscle weighs more than fat” adage doesn’t make much sense, body composition and  visual observations at what muscle increase and fat decrease looks like certainly do.

What we could potentially say, is that “a pound of fat takes up nearly four times the space of the same amount of muscle tissue”.

In other words, your height and weight can remain exactly the same, but you can feel and even visually look, well… fatter.

If you add more lean muscle to your body while simultaneously losing fat, you’re going to see a decrease in size, despite what the scale tells you. Your body begins to “tighten up”, “tone” or whichever descriptive word you choose to use.

Increasing muscle while decreasing fat is a positive shift in body composition, and generally, overall health.

The most direct and efficient way to accomplish this is with resistance training, and decent nutritional regimen.

Here is an old article from the University of New Mexico describing all of the benefits of resistance training…

Too simplify, here is a snapshot:

Weight loss versus Fat loss

Because of this, I have to recommend that we shift our thinking and judgements away from the weight scale, and on to body composition tests like bodpods, skin calipers or hydro-static weighing to analyze what the ratio of muscle to fat really is.  The problem is, these are all laboratory tools.  They are unrealistic for the average person to use for monitoring progress.

Waist circumference is also a decent indicator of how your body is reacting to exercise and nutritional interventions.

Go find a pair of jeans that fit tight at the current moment.  Try them on.  Set them aside for now.

Get aggressive with your movement and eating, forgetting about any measurements or weighing.

A week or two down the road, try on that same pair of jeans.

Rinse and repeat for months, because months is how long it is going to take.  Dedicated and repeated effort for months, not overnight or in a week.  Bodies built naturally and properly, take months to establish.  But once they are built, basic upkeep is all that needed to maintain their integrity.

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Better yet, strip down into a swimsuit for females, and a  pair of short with no shirt if you are a male.  Make a conscious effort to show some skin.  Now, take a full body picture.  Have the courage to do this in the beginning and frequently along the way.  It’s unscientific but it is brutally effective.  As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.

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You don’t have to show anyone the pictures but yourself.  It’s your reminder of where you started and how you a progressing.  In the future, it may serve as a fuel to continue on the right path when times get rough.  We can all use a little motivation every now and then.

It takes time and effort to make change.  Transformation is a big process.  You’re tearing down and building up.  A complete remodel of your body.  Don’t get discouraged.  If you’re doing right things to initiate lean muscle gain and fat loss, you’ll make progress.  There is no doubt.  If you falter or give up, your progress will slow or halt.

Always remember that if it were easy, everyone would do it.

In most cases, body composition change is incredibly predictable.  Keep moving often, purposefully and aggressively and leverage that effort with nutrient dense food.  The combination of the two will peel fat off of your body like an onion, and restore something that most of us could use more of… muscle.

Cheers to trading weight loss for fat loss…

KG

A Time Based Bodyweight Workout for Boosting Fitness and Fat Loss

Quick Tips

Let’s face it, time is a commodity.  It’s our most precious commodity.  The clock will continue to tick no matter what we do.

I used to think that people who claimed that they “have no time to work out” were just dishing out lame excuses.  I might be conditioned though.  I have heard this time and time again from people who ask me for fitness advice.  Once I give them a rough outline of what they need to be doing in the gym or at home workout-wise, they raise their eyebrows and throw out the “I have no time for that” card.

What did you expect?  Hahaha.  It makes me laugh every time.

Enter:  Time based training.  

What follows is a simple time based workout program that is an immediate solution for anyone leery of investing decent time in a workout or for people who are legitimately short on time (because I know that you are out there folks).  

You’ll be able to progress this training plan for about four weeks while avoiding stagnation and adaptation.  The body tends to get really efficient at activities that we repetitively engage in, so don’t be silly and try to ride this program out for a year or something crazy like that.  

Building fitness demands that you constantly keep tweaking the variables.

Here you go… 

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Essentially you are increasing the volume of your training sessions by adding one minute per week for four weeks straight.  I like workouts like this for beginners or advanced individuals alike because everyone can move at a pace that is appropriate to them.  Beginners can grab a breather and some water if need be, and advanced trainees can whiz through at break neck pace to get their training effect from the workout.

Best of all?  You can do this type of workout anywhere.  

Worst of all?  No pulling and no hip hinging movements.  Without equipment, it’s really hard to work upper body pulling movements into a workout.  Suspension trainers like the Jungle Gym XT really help this issue.  

Hip hinging is the motion you’d make if you were butt bumping a car door shut.  You’re hinging at your hips.  Without weight, it’s hard to train this movement pattern, which really sucks because hip hinging is one of the most beneficial movement patterns that we humans can train.  

You’ll find that every style of training sacrifices something.  Nothing is perfect.  

The key with short workouts like this is leveraging the training effect of the session.  Short training sessions like this need to be high tempo since you are cramming a lot into short duration. 

If you’re not willing to buckle down on your eating habits, well, prepare to be awfully disappointed by every workout program ever created.  Physical activity is a supplement to eating food worthy of fat loss.  The changes that take place post-workout are just as important if not more important than what takes place during the workout.

Sure, you can reduce body fat and increase performance without any dietary intervention (yes it is possible), but you’ll sell yourself short in the long run.  Sooner or later you’ll reach a plateau.  Eating crap food and training like a crazy person only gives off the perception of health.  Food is the key to the body aesthetic universe and long-term health and wellness. 

Any honest personal trainer or fitness advocate in the world will tell you that nutrition makes up the bulk of the foundation of any athletic or fit-looking body.  We cannot train hard enough or long enough to offset poor eating habits.  Unless you are an Iron Man athlete, in which case you are training for 3-5+ hours per day, almost daily and you have no real world career other than your sport.

Less than 1% of us fit that description, so lets just be big boys and girls and eat nutrient rich foods.  Ok?  Make the food that enters your pie hole primarily veggies and plants mixed with some animal protein and nuts.  Perfect little diet solution that will work wonders.

Plus, it would be so stressful to think about having to workout so ridiculously hard to combat all of the junk food eaten.  

If the food grew from the earth or has a mother, eat it. That’s your checklist to decipher through the food trickery that has saturated our restaurants and supermarkets.  

Rock this workout plan for at least 2 weeks.  Training for any period of time shorter than that isn’t even worth lacing up your shoes for the first training session, and it really shows that you aren’t prioritizing to make some changes.  Stay committed and trust yourself and your program.  

All in good time.

 

Cheers to leveraging our body’s natural ability to burn fat…

 

Kyle

Homemade Protein Bars

Quick Tips

Before I get into this post I have to admit that I first saw this protein bar recipe in Gourmet Nutrition.  Gourmet nutrition is a phenomenal cookbook for anyone who is remotely health conscious yet doesn’t want to sacrifice flavor.  All in all, it is an incredible cookbook designed for the fit food lover. Actually, I think that is the slogan, maybe not.

Homemade proteins bars are the way to go.  Protein bars that you find at gas stations, discount stores or even grocery stores are probably about 90% crap.  

Why are they crap?

Next time you are in the store, grab one of those protein bars, flip it over and check out the ridiculous amount of ingredients it took to make that baby non-perishable.  The fact that most protein bars now taste like candy bars should be a hint that there is really nothing magically healthy about them.

So, the simple solution is to make your own.

John Berardi’s apple cinnamon protein bars have been a staple in my diet for years.  Well, ever since Gourmet Nutrition was released, which was probably 4-5 years ago.  The best part about creating your own food is that YOU know exactly what ingredients you are mixing in to make it.  

Trust me, this is priceless to know this information.  You’ll read stories every single week in the newspaper about how a large company is cheating it’s customers by using ultra low quality ingredients.  It’s not worth wasting your money on a protein bar that you can make at home for far less money while improving the overall nutrient profile of the damn thing.

It’s a no brainer really.

Much of fat loss is based on your nutrition and having a homemade protein bar that is packed with nutrients that will help move you along in this process.  These bars are a perfect solution to those of you who cannot make it home to eat during the work day, as they will keep you full for hours on end. 

So, without further ado, I present to you… The Apple Cinnamon Protein Bar.

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Here’s what you’ll need on hand:

Tools:  Mixing spoon, measuring cups, 9×9 pan, PAM (or other non-stick spray), whisk and a decent sized mixing bowl.

Food:  Cinnamon, salt, almonds, protein powder (I use Whey), oats, eggs and unsweetened apple sauce.  

Before you do anything, immediately pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.  (nothing is worse than forgetting to pre-heat the oven once you’re ready to bake)

I prefer to mix all of my dry ingredient together first.  So, in your bowl mix together the following:

–  1/2 oats

–  almond meal (start with 2 cups whole almonds, throw in a blender, blend until crumbly) 

–  6 full scoops of protein powder

–  Cinnamon (I use a lot of cinnamon for this recipe, it’s gives great flavor)

Stir all of these dry ingredients together so they are mixed nicely.

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Next, measure exactly 1/2 cup of unsweetened apple sauce in a beaker/measuring bowl and crack 2 eggs on top of the apple sauce.  Whisk the two together aggressively until the yokes disappear and the mixture is smooth.

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Pour the apple sauce/egg mixture into your dry ingredient bowl and begin to stir aggressively once again.

If you have ever made cookies before, you’ll be familiar with the thickness of the dough and the amount of work that it takes to mix everything together.

Once you’ve mixed the dry with the wet to make your dough, scrape it into the 9×9 pan that is already pre-sprayed with PAM.  

Spread it out evenly across the pan.

Bake for about 12-15 minutes and BOOM you’re done!

I love doughy textured bars so I bake for around 12 minutes each time.  If you like them a little more dry, leave them in for about 14-15 minutes.

The original recipe from Gourmet Nutrition adds chunks of fresh apple to the mix before baking, but in my personal experience, all this does is cause the apple to rot in the fridge if you don’t eat the bars fast enough.  You’ll deal with that one time before you say “screw it”, I don’t need the apples.  No worries, I feel your pain.  

By baking your own protein bars you are taking control of what is going into your mouth.  If you want a better body, you’ve got to get on board with this habits.  Take ownership for your situation (whatever it is) and aim to improve it bit by bit.  

Homemade protein bars is a massive step in the right direction.  You’re showing that you care about what you are consuming.  15 minutes of your time will give you more protein and nutrients in one bar than most people get in an entire day.  Consider that and tell your friends.  

Pat yourself on the back, rinse and repeat.

 

Cheers,

 

 

KG

Red Table Round Table #1

Quick Tips

Good Saturday morning from the little Red Table in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

Part of the fun of keeping a blog is being able to write whatever you want, whenever you want to write it.  It’s your own personal space to release thoughts and ideas on this massive beast we call the Internet.  That is a pretty cool thing.

I decided that I really wanted to develop a blog posting series where I could just discuss whatever topics happened to come to mind during that writing session.  

Basically, I am talking about just putting my fingers on the keyboard and having at it.  

Creatively, I think this will help me regurgitate some of the interactions, questions and experiences that I had from the previous week.  

A recap of sorts from the past week.

Here we go…

 

—> Fat loss isn’t an ongoing process, it ends eventually<—

The concept of losing fat has to end at some point.  You cannot forever be in “fat loss” mode with your training and your eating.  You have got to have some kind of end goal to attain.  Whether you choose a certain body fat % or a performance related goal, it doesn’t much matter to me.  Although I suppose that if you are partaking in a full-fledged fat loss program you should probably be measuring the amount of fat you lose.  Skin calipers are a simple and relatively effective way to do this, otherwise hydro-static weighing or a BodPod will give some fairly accurate numbers also.

I was talking with my girlfriend Amanda about the whole concept of fat loss.  I told her that in my experience, sometimes people end up taking the fat loss concept to the extreme.  They literally attempt to walk around with 0% body fat.  They engage in extreme eating habits (calorie restriction and the like) and sign up for extreme workouts.  It becomes just as addictive as eating sugar or smoking cigarettes.  

At some point, you have to realize that you are going to enter a maintenance phase.  You’ve reached  your goals and you’re content with your body figure and your physical abilities and now you’re in what we call:  Maintenance. 

Fat loss ends at some point and maintenance begins.  You decide when that happens.  

Fat loss is a war and it is a lot more mental than physical in my opinion.  Habits need to be broken and new habits need to be hardwired.  Mentally you’ve got to prepare yourself for fighting off your old self-talk.  You’ve also got to get your head in the right place to endure your training schedule.  Physically, the human body is incredibly resilient.  You can handle a lot more physical stress than you think.  (Just keep it manageable physical stress)

 

I often go back and forth between favoring two approaches fat loss, and I think both depend on the personality of the person.  

Here they are:

  • Aggressive training and eating for 4-6 weeks, followed by a tapering process.
  • A consistent, not overly aggressive effective training regimen paired with a smooth transition into concepts of clean eating.

 

The first bullet point is an approach that is my definition of a fat loss war.  It’s pedal to the metal. You go crazy in your training and you stay brutally strict with your diet.  You get results quickly and then you turn back the dial a bit and continue pushing on at an effective yet much more manageable pace with regard to training and nutrition.  

The second bullet point is an approach that is quite popular also.  This is the “lifestyle” approach.  I am sure you’ve heard that a million times… “It’s not a diet… it’s a lifestyle”.  Puke.  

Anyways, this approach is a gradual climb.  There is a lot of acclimation to this approach.  I enjoy this approach to losing fat because fat loss is inevitably going to happen if you are eating clean and training purposefully.  I love the research and the highly technical information that the experts put out, but they complicate topics in an effort to sell products.

Eat clean and drink water, learn how to lift weight using big movements, ramp up your cardiovascular training from aerobic to higher effort intervals, then move into a more cardio-strength style training regimen and you’re going to experience a reduction in overall bodyfat.  

Measure your fat loss progress on the cheap.  Use a snug fitting pair of jeans and a tighter fitting shirt to gauge your progress.  Remember, you’re after fat loss and lean tissue gain… not weight loss. (I lose up to 3-5lbs just from sleeping, it doesn’t tell me anything useful).

 —> Again, I encourage you all to set your sights a goal.  A goal is a target.  Once you have the target, set the timeline.  Once you have the timeline, you can assess what kind of effort is required to achieve that goal in that timeline.  It’s simple.  We over-complicate what should be simple.   

 

Cheers to keeping it simple…

 

KG

 

 

Flip the Switch

Food/Eating

I don’t think that there is anything more:

  • Controllable
  • Manageable (is this the same as Controllable?)
  • Predictable

… then movement, eating and transitioning your lifestyle into the positive category.

Think about it.

What other area in your life do you have so much control over?  You are in the driver’s seat throughout your entire life.  You determine your general health.

What other area in your life can you map out and say, “If I do this, then I am going to get the reward of that”, especially with such subtle adjustments.  There really isn’t any real effort involved, it’s more of perceived effort.  Your brain is holding you back.

Improving your overall health is certainly a choice, but once you flip the switch and make the decision to be healthy by  executing consistent bouts of physical activity paired with rock solid nutritional habits, you are GUARANTEED to get results.

Be the switch on the left

It’s tough to guarantee a lot of things in this life.

Again, stop and think about it for a quick second…

Can a person guarantee by achieving a Master’s Degree that they are going to be successful?  Is your life going to be that much better by going through another 2 years of school and thousands of dollars of school loans?  No.

(I am not hating on all of you that went for your Master’s… kudos to you)

My point, again, is this:  What other area of your life has such an obvious step by step procedure to attain desired results outside of choosing to eat well and move more?

I cannot think of anything.  If you can, please leave a comment below.  

My job is to create awareness.  Actually, that is my mission.  If you’re aware of the exact steps that you need to take to achieve lasting positive change by improving your body and mind, you are that much closer to success.

Once you’re consciously aware of what you should be doing, you’re screwed.  

Why?  Because now you know.  Now you are aware.  Now you’re emotional invested in executing what’s right.  Anything negative or toxic is now just moving you further from your goals.

Yes, my aim is to get at your conscious thought process, absolutely.  If I can create enough of an emotional justification in your head for you to break your current habits and reach for better habits, then I have won.  That is my goal.

I say it all of the time it seems like, but people who are currently living in an unhealthy state really don’t realize how close they are to being able to change it all for the better.  It is so simple.  Not easy… simple.

A tweak in your eating here… a tweak in your beverage consumption there… sprinkle that with some movement instead of sitting…

You viewed this on an older post, but, watch it again because it’s that good…

2.7 million people have watched this video.  That means that 2.7 million people now know what even just the smallest adjustment of moving more throughout the day can have a life.

That’s awareness.  That’s my aim, my goal and my mission.

Stop wasting time and flip the switch before it’s too late.

-KG-