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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Monday's workout

Image from Flickr, by kl.fitness
So, last week I killed my old workout routine.  It's dead.  Gone.  Adios.  Do svidan’yaAu revoir. 

Now, it's on to something more.  So, I spent some of my time today - the time I wasn't writing to you good folks - researching what my new workout routine would be.

This is a three times a week workout, and total body at that.  So far, that seems to be sufficient, with a day of rest between workouts also being sufficient.  This might change all of that, but if that's the case, I'll learn to adapt.

Here's the new routine:

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Understanding the science: Why reports conflict

Image from Flickr, by RDECOM
You've probably experienced that awkward moment when you're told via the news that something you were told was bad for you actually isn't.  Eggs are a great example of this.  After years of being told that they lead to heart disease, we learned that they're actually pretty good for us.

Why can't the scientists get it right?

Part of the problem comes from where this information comes from.

This is Sparta!

Image from Flickr, by pasukaru76
Why train?

It's a fair question.  Obviously, the answers are often "health" or "lose weight" and so on, and there's nothing wrong with that.  However, athletes often thrive most when they have an event they're trying for, and we are athletes, right?

That's why I've got my target set for a Spartan Race in my future.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Time to brag!

Milestone image from Flickr, by Smabs Sputzer
I detailed my workout a while back.  It was a beginners kettlebell workout that I cooked up on my own.  It's probably not the best, but it sure did kick my butt the first day.  I had to crawl over to the couch.  So much for active rest that day, let me tell you.

For those of you who don't really want to click the links, here's what my workout consisted of:

If you want to eat healthy, you better cook

Image from Flickr, by K.I.T.
Do you want to eat healthy food?

Of course you do.  If you didn't, you wouldn't be here.  Well, I'm going to tell you one thing you absolutely must be doing to bring about a healthy lifestyle.

You'd better learn how to cook.

In our modern world, people can go years upon years without even setting foot in their kitchen.  A small drink fridge in the living room, and take out or restaurant food for their meals means they don't have to take a single step in the kitchen, so why bother?

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The only easy day

Image from Flickr, by Rennett Stowe
I'm a Navy man.  You may not have known that about me, but I am.  I did my enlistment as a Navy Hospital Corpsman, but there was a part of me that dreamed about becoming a Navy SEAL.  During their training, there is a sign that says "The only easy day was yesterday."  The idea is that each and every day is progressively more difficult.

What does this have to do with your training?

How about the fact that you need to embrace the same philosophy, for starters.

A response to "It's too hard"

Image from Flickr, by jimmypk218
It started out as a conversation.  I was talking about my renewed focus on fitness and losing weight, which lead to them saying that they'd love to lose weight, but "it's just too hard".

Folks, what's too hard is being overweight.

I'm still fat.  My body mass index is still over 30, even after losing over 35 lbs.  I'm not going to blast away at folks who are overweight, because I know all to well what they're going through.  Let me say it again: What's hard is being overweight.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Are you resting the right way?

Image from Flickr, by Shlomi Fish
Rest is an important part of fitness.  There's no way to cut it, you need to rest.  After all, your body needs rest periods in order to repair the microscopic damage that results from the more aggressive parts of your training schedule.

The question is, are you resting the best way possible?

For most folks, rest is either sleep (a "right" way to rest) or bumming out on the couch (which isn't). 

The difference between pain and PAIN

Image from Flickr, by CGehlen
"No pain, no gain."

We've all heard it, and to some extent, it's true.  If you're training hard, you're going to feel a little pain.  You'll feel the burn of your muscles, and you'll fee soreness the next day.  Unfortunately, the "no pain, no gain" attitude can also result in a very different kind of pain.

One of the most important lesson a novice trainer can learn is the difference.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Is fitness is a revolutionary act?

Image from Flickr, by chris.corwin
Most of us, at some point in our life, have glorified the idea of normal.  This is usually during our school years, where standing out leads to ridicule and social outcast status.  However, as we grow up, we should shed this idea that "normal" is automatically superior.

Right now, two-thirds of all Americans are either overweight or obese.  Out of the other third, only a handful could be defined as "healthy" in any way other than the fact that their body weights fall within a correct range according to their height.  The current "normal" is to be fat and unhealthy.

Why be normal?  Be a revolutionary instead.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Four tips for dealing with fitness information overload

Image from Flickr, by jontunn
There is a lot of data out there.  There are paleo blogs, vegan blogs, kettlebell blogs, free weight blogs, pilates blogs, and so on.  This doesn't touch the fitness magazines, fitness television shows, podcasts, vblogs, video podcasts, and a million other things.

How is one person supposed to filter through all of the crap and get to the Golden Truth (TM) [patent pending]?

Luckily, there's a few tricks that I use that helps.  A lot.  Here, for a limited time only, are just those tips.

Why 'an athlete'?

Image from Flickr, by familymwr
Yesterday, I wrote about identity and shared the rules I've decided to use to build that new identity.  Rule number 10 may have raised a few eyebrows, because it didn't make a lot of sense on its own.  That rule was "I am an athlete", and I wanted to go into why that was my choice.

First, there's a reason why I ruled out choices like "I am a marathon runner" or "I am an MMA fighter" or similar things.  That reason is simply that I don't have any intention of competing.  While I might take MMA classes (I've taken a few and had a blast), or I might choose to run in a marathon at some point, that's not something I'm actually considering right now.  Why say I compete in a sport if I'm not competing?

In that case, why be an athlete?

Sunday, March 24, 2013

New Post on Kettlebells

I think I've made it clear that I like kettlebells.  Well, that love of kettlebells landed me an opportunity to guest blog over at FitnessBlogger.net.  Here's a sneak peak:

There are a ton of excuses to not get proper exercise.  Folks spout them all the time.  “I can’t get to a gym,” or “I don’t have time,” are really popular ones.  What would you do if I told you there was something that would actually kill both of those excuses?

Behold the Kettlebell

What is a Kettlebell?

And that's all you're going to get here.  Head on over and read the rest, tell them how awesome I am, and enjoy!

Who are you?

Image from Flickr, by kevin dooley
Everyone has an identity.  You identify yourself in one way, while others may have a different identity for you.  In your mind, you may be "mother" or "father", "accountant", "nurse" or whatever.  To others you might be "funny", or "great listener".  These make up your identity.

Maybe it's time to shake things up on that front.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Beware of dieting

Image from Flickr, by Steve A Johnson
Dieting is bad.  There.  I said it.  It's a hard truth, but it's a truth.  Dieting is, actually, a bad thing.

Did I just say that?  Yeah, I did.  You know what?  It's true.

"But Tom, didn't you say diet was the biggest chunk of losing weight?  Are you backing off of that already?"

No, I'm not.

You see, your diet is important.  Dieting is a bad thing.

Still scratching your head?

Stacking your deck

Image from Flickr, by LaRuth
There are secrets to success.  When you're trying to transform your life - and if you really want to make any gains with body transformations, you are wanting to change your life - these secrets are what makes it possible.

One rule that is, in my opinion, a hard and fast rule that has no wiggle room is that you are who you surround yourself with.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Why protein is so important

Image from Flickr, by tarale 
Protein is one of the most important macronutrients you can eat.  It's essential in the building of muscle, and studies indicate that it's also key in helping stave off hunger.  However, that's not all that protein can do.

You see, protein also has some unique qualities that make it essential if you're wanting to lose the nasty fat.

Of all the nutrients you could eat, protein does something pretty awesome.  It fires up your metabolism just be being in your stomach.

Exercise Breakdown: Kettlebell Goblet Squat

Kettlebells are great for upper body workouts, but what about legs?  Can you really get a good lower body workout with kettlebells? 

Well folks, my legs are telling me today that you can.

Let me introduce you to the Kettlebell Goblet Squat:

It's a simple exercise that's very similar to the front squat.  Just like regular squats, this is a compound exercise.  However, in my opinion, the kettlebell goblet squat offers some advantages.

My motivation and how I use it

Image from Flickr, by Jimee, Jackie, Tom & Asha
I'm 39 years old.  To most folks, that doesn't mean a whole lot.  For them, it just means that I'm older than a 38 year old, but younger than a 40 year old.  It's not like the age of 38 means anything special.

It's also the age that terrifies me.

Over a decade ago, my uncle - a man who was more like my brother than an uncle - dropped dead at the age of 39.  He wasn't the first family member to die at that magic age either.  He was just the latest in a long line of folks to die at 39.  Of course, good healthy doesn't exactly run in my family either.

So, despite rationality, I'm terrified of being 39. 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Four secrets to not getting sidetracked

Image from Flickr, by redjar
When you're fat and trying to become awesome, you try and do everything you can to stay on track.  Unfortunate, that's not always as easy as it sounds.  Real life can get in the way.  It's happened to me, and I suspect that most folks who have tried to go from fat to awesome have had it happen to them too.

However, the secret to avoiding it is to know what to look out for.

So, without further ado, here are four secrets to not getting sidetracked on the way to your fitness goals.

Understanding 'can't' and why it's meaningless

Image from Flickr, by tropical.pete 
You've heard it.  You've most likely said it.  "I can't."  We've all done it.  I know I have.

It's also one of the most meaningless words in the English language.

When you say "can't", 99 times out of 100, what you mean is that on some level, you lack the will to actually do something.  I used to think that one exception to this rule was saying that a person with no legs couldn't walk.  Recent history has shown me otherwise.  Oscar Pistorius, despite his more recent troubles, proved that "can't" is rarely as applicable as people want to pretend.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Exercise Breakdown: Kettlebell Swing

The Kettlebell swing is one of the first kettlebell exercises someone should learn if they're going to actually use a kettlebell.  The kettlebell swing serves as the basis for several other exercises and, frankly, it makes a hell of a warm up if nothing else.

First, let's take a look at the swing and how it's done, then we can get into some of what I've learned about this exercise from doing it.

Yes, this is a woman.  Guys, get over it.  The exercise is no different, and frankly this is a pretty good video.  Now, for some things I've experienced.

Three tricks for making your food tasier

Image from Flickr, by jpockele
Has one of the problems with eating healthy been the bland taste you associate with healthy foods?  If so, you're so not alone on that one.  The truth is, there's a reason the phrase "if it tastes good, spit it out," has been used so often to describe advice on eating healthy.  For years and years, that was the rule of thumb.  There's a reason the health care system calls a no salt diet a "bland" diet.

It doesn't have to be that way though.  There are a ton of things that you can do to season up a chicken breast so that it isn't so boring.  Here are a few tips that may help you actually enjoy eating healthier.

Beware the 'All Natural' Label

This is termed "All Natural", but is it healthy? (Image from Flickr, by dvs)
How many times has someone tried to argue that something is healthy because it's "all natural"?  Has that happened to you?  I've had this discussion a million times, and when you're talking about eating real foods, one would think the "all natural" label would be a welcome sight.

For me, it's not.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

My Kettlebell Workout

Image from Flickr, by andrewmalone
I've spent most of my time talking about diet, because that's what I know better.  I lost that 35 lbs that I keep prattling on about purely through diet.  This was during the time of having a newborn baby in the house, running a business, and taking care of not just my home by helping my mother out as well.

However, being thin isn't being fit.  To be fit, you must perform some kind of exercise.

Small Changes, or Go Big?

Advice is often worth every penny you pay for it, and since most advice is free, you can see where I'm going.  However, there is often two schools of thought when it comes to making changes to your life, and those are whether to make a huge, radical change or to make small changes.

Well, despite it actually being a myth that small changes lead to big gains, the reality is that small changes are easier to swallow than big ones.

The problem is, can small changes work?

Monday, March 18, 2013

A Hobby That Can Save Your Life

Image from Flickr, by Southern Foodways Alliance
People love hobbies.  In our modern society, we now have something our ancient ancestors didn't have, and that's free time.  Rather than spend our time and energy just putting together the necessities for survival, we have leisure time that we can devote to a variety of interests.

We have turned this into such things as collecting various things, reading, or various arts and crafts.  However, what would you do if I told you that there was a hobby that could save your life?

Having a vegetable garden actually can.

Are Celebrity Chefs Making Us Fat?

Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsey. (Image from Flickr, by jo-h)

Celebrity chefs have a tendency to draw a lot of fire when it comes to healthy eating folks.  However, are they responsible for where we has a society have fallen?  Are we a result of cooking shows which push tasty looking, but ultimately unhealthy, recipes on an unsuspecting society?

Well, Stephen Hoyles took to the digital airwaves (via his site at HoylesFitness.com) to defend these chefs.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Predators Out to Eat Your Weight Loss

Image from Flikr by By el_taytus
We have a new look here, as I'm sure you've noticed. I already talked a bit about that, so now down to business.

In our modern wilderness, we have a ton of predators to deal with.  These predators aren't after you, but are out to eat your weight loss gains.  Oh yeah, they're out there.  They're waiting in the weeds like a Rick roll, ready to smack you upside your head before you know what's going on.

Some of the predators are the kind you can clearly see.  Ready-made cakes, cupcakes, cookies, ice cream, all of the things people normally associate with weight gain.  Those are easy to deal with, because we all know it.  This is one time that conventional wisdom is universal.  This things can kill your weight loss plans.

The ones you need to worry about are the things that market themselves like healthy food, but aren't.

New Look

As you see, we've changed things up a bit here.  The old look just had a bit of customization, and it had a nice, peaceful color scheme.  Anyone who knows me can tell you, I'm not a peaceful sort.  I'm ADHD after all.  "Peaceful" isn't what ADHD folks do by nature.

The brick wall and more urban fonts are evocative of the more urban "wilderness" most of us find ourselves in on a day to day basis.  The days of hunting and gathering for survival are long gone, but now we are merely presented with new challenges.  So, in that regard, here's the new look.  Enjoy!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Three Simple Secrets to Eating Healthier

Have you ever tried to eat healthier, but keep getting sidelined?

If so, you're not alone.  Millions of Americans want to eat healthier foods, but keep falling short.  It's no surprise either, as our bodies tend to release chemicals that make eating some of these foods a little similar to drug or alcohol use.

However, if you want to eat healthy, there are some tricks you simply have to know and use.

The Only Thing You Need for Shredded Abs

Do you want that awesome six pack?

Of course you do.  Every guy who reads fitness blogs wants that.  Well, back before I became a disgusting fat blob, I had that.  In high school, I had the abs that every guy in school envied.  That's right, I'm a fat boy who knows the trick!

So what is this secret?  What exercise or piece of equipment will make you look like Brad Pitt in Fight Club or Gerard Butler in 300?

Why Go Paleo?

The paleo diet can be kind of controversial.  A friend of mine recently told me that he thought the paleo diet was kind of dumb, and that he didn't believe that it accurately replicates what ancient man consumed on a daily basis.  Well, that's a fair point.  The ancient hunter-gatherer cultures ate very different foods than grass fed beef and free range chicken.  However, there are some other good reasons why I tend to go with a paleo style diet that have nothing to do with evolutionary biology.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Healthy and fat?

Can you be healthy and fat?

Well, Anisa Sims, a plus-sized model, says she's healthier at her current weight - a weight many would consider "fat", though I'm not one to judge - as opposed to when she was much thinner.  From an article at Glamour magazine's website:

Photo from Flickr, courtest of from daxnorman

Seven Myths of Obesity and Presumptions That May Not Be

Are you a big person who's been trying to lose weight?

I suspect that you are, which is cool.  I'm right there too.  If you are, then you probably need to learn to identify the myths of obesity and weight loss, courtesy of The New England Journal of Medicine.

Five Facts About Weight Loss

Yes, a lot of this blog is devoted to weight loss, but that's because of where I am right now.  I've learned quite a few things, and I've still got a long way to go so I'll learn quite a few more things.  However, now that I've gotten to where I am right now, there are a few things that you just need to know to lose those pesky 20 or 30 lbs.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

If it tastes good, eat it!

There's an old saying regarding healthy eating that says, "If it tastes good, spit it out!"  It's generally offered up tongue-in-cheek, but the laughs it's always gotten has been because it's almost true...at least as a lot of people see it.  However, that doesn't have to be the case.  In fact, it really shouldn't be the reality.

Label menus, don't label menus...it really shouldn't matter

Yesterday, the head of the Federal Drug Administration said it would take a little while to bring out those new menus with all the nutritional data on them.  Long story short, politics has gotten in the way.  I'm not going to get into the politics of the issue, because this is kind of irrelevant right now, but what is important is whether labels on menus should matter.

Personally, I'm going to say it shouldn't.

Losing weight and working out

I'm about to poke a hole into a sacred cow of health.  You actually can lose weight without working out.  Contrary to what a metric butt-ton of people will tell you, losing weight doesn't really require exercise.  In fact, I'll argue that it's actually the least important factor in weight loss.

To Gym or Not To Gym

Part of any healthy lifestyle requires exercise.  There are two choices on that front, which is whether to hit the gym or to exercise at home.  There are advantages to each, as well as disadvantages to each.  Obviously, everyone will list their own which may vary a bit from mine but theirs are wrong.

Why I opted for kettlebells

For years, I banged away with regular free weights.  Back in high school, I was a whopping 135 lbs and hit the free weights in an effort to bulk up.  Well, it turns out that bacon cheeseburgers accomplished that much easier.  However, now that my goals have shifted, I've turned to kettlebells as the tool for the job.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Red Blooded, All-American Meat

Food is always a tricky subject. I'm a paleo/primal kind of guy.  I want meat in my diet.  I'm willing to skip out on bread and pasta if it means I get bacon.  A guy has to have his priorities, right?  Unfortunately, some people say it's going to kill me.

Step One: A diet you can live with

Diet is a word that tends to make people cringe.  I don't blame you.  The reality is that diet really just means "the stuff you eat".  However, when people talk about dieting, they almost always are talking about the process of limiting what foods one consumes in an effort to lose weight.  Unsurprisingly, the word "diet" is now associated with "sacrifice".  It's not really something most of us are interested in.

Goals and Stuff

First folks, when anyone begins to try and get their crap in order, the first thing they need to do is figure out what their goals are.  It's also good to share those goals with folks to help you remain accountable.  I'm going to do that right here, and right now.

Just the beginning

Every blog needs a first post, and this one isn't any different.  First, let me confess.  I'm a big old fat boy who is trying to host a health and wellness blog.  Ironic, ain't it?  So, why would my fat but think I have anything to offer on the subject, when I'm 5'8" tall and weighing in at 214 lbs?