Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Bigger, Stronger, Faster Movie: DVD Release

September 30th marked the DVD release of one of the best documentaries of our time.

The film did a great job at showing both sides of the steroid spectrum and everything in between. I highly recommend this movie as do the many others that have seen it. Check out the trailer below:

"Steroids. I love 'em if they're on my team!" - Random G-Men Tailgater

Sunday, September 28, 2008

10 Effective Ways to Interval Train

Interval training is superior to steady state cardio for fat loss, yet I see people constantly doing steady state stuff when the goal is fat loss. Though I'm sure the reason is because it's easy, it isn't very efficient because you can get a superior workout in less time with interval training. Interval training is alternating a period of work with a period of rest. You could start with a 30-90 work to rest split where you would work for 30 seconds and then rest for 90 seconds and repeat a desired number of times (somewhere between 7 - 10).

When you get bored and are willing to venture out I'd suggest finding a few ways to do your intervals so you keep your body guess, and keep boredom at bay. Here are some of my favorite methods of interval training:

1. Sprints - This is probably the interval training method I use the most. I find some open space at a park and just do some timed sets of high speed running followed by a slow walk. Keep in mind if you are just starting out this would probably be considered "advanced" and you should consider trying a more beginner type interval to start with like bike sprints. To change things up you can sprint up a hill and walk down it or sprint the base paths at a local field.

2. Stair Climbs - Spending some time in a hotel with a lot of floors, or live in a complex with a decent stairwell, then stair climbs can be your friend. There is no need for a treadmill when you have a few sets of stairs because you can get a killer workout in. The method I like is sprinting one flight, walking down and then sprinting 2 flights, and walking down and see how many sprints you get in before you have to quit.

3. Bike Sprints - This is great for beginners because it is low impact. Just be sure to turn up the resistance on your sprints and then take it way down when you go for your rest.

4. Tire Flips - These have become a new favorite of mine since my gym has a varied set of tractor tires. You basically get your heart rate going by flipping this massive tire over for a timed set and then resting. It's pretty cool because it's a total body movement trying to get flip these giant tires.

5. Farmers Walks - These will really test your grip strength. Basically you grab two farmers handles and load em up with weight and walk a set distance. Alternatively you can use a trap bar, lift and start walking.

6. Sledgehammer Training - A heavy sledgehammer is a great upper body interval training method. Slamming the sledgehammer over and over into a tire seems to be the most popular way to do it.

7. Sled Drags - Take a sled, load it up with some weight and get ready to move. These are pretty brutal as it's again total body but really pushes your limits. If you aren't seeing stars after a few sets of these then you probably aren't working hard enough. You probably want to try and work hard enough that you feel a little woozy but you don't want to work so hard you throw up your lunch.

8. Slideboard - Granted this is probably one of the more expensive ways to interval train but it's a great way to get a workout indoors and you can usually just tuck this away under a bed. I was fortunate that Cressey Performance had one of these bad boys (two in fact).

9. Med Ball Circuit - Throwing a med ball around all different kinds of ways can really get you firing on all cylinders and breaking out a sweat.

10. Body Weight Circuits - Mixing up a few exercises and creating a circuit can be a lot of fun and can help you out in a pinch when a gym isn't available. You can do a simple circuit of lunges, push ups, squats (make it tougher with single leg squats), rows. Do 15 - 2o reps of each exercise in a series with no rest. Then take a 60-120sec rest and repeat a couple more times. If this doesn't break a sweat then you might consider adding in some tougher exercises.

Just a couple interval training methods

If any of these methods you scoff at because you feel like they would be too easy you simply aren't thinking outside of the box. Most of these methods you can make more difficult through a variety of ways. You could add a weighted vest for a number of these, or for example carry a light set of dumbbells on your stair sprints. You can also manipulate the working set time and rest time. Longer working sets with shorter rest times are obviously going to be more difficult. Be creative and don't be afraid to mix things up.

How do you do your intervals? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Great Hump Day Debacle 2008

The day was September 17th though I remember it just like it was a week ago. The stage was set for a healthy treat to be a part of our office "healthy lives: colorful choices program" which encourages its participants to eat a rainbow of fruits and vegetables.

Ugh, I can't believe corn made it into this awesome picture!

Every Wednesday they offer a hump day treat to help you get some of the colors in. This week was no different and this is what they offered:

Healthy Alternative?

I quickly emailed the person in charge to see if there was a mistake, but apparently it wasn't a mistake. This was their response:

Thank you for your thoughts and we on the Health Services Team discussed using ice cream for the hump day treat and we decided that we wanted to let associates know that they can still have some treats in a healthy diet.

They further went on to say they used fat free ice cream and a host of fruit options, granola, and coconut to make it "healthy" and it only totaled 160 calories with 3g of fat. Thorough answer but I can't imagine the portions were well controlled. Ice cream sundaes lend themself to a free for all environment.

My concerns further lie in the fact that in an office environment you are bombarded with poor food choices from cakes, muffins, cookies and the like. There seems to be a celebration on a weekly basis. Just this past month in fact I've been offered an oversized muffin 6 times, large cookies 8 times, fat boy ice cream sandwiches 4 times, cake and now this. All in all in this month(which isn't even over yet) I've passed on about 10,000 calories (that's more than 3lbs using the 3500 calorie standard).

Offering a treat like this only makes the problem worse and using the argument that the ice cream is fat free rather than full fat is akin to comparing Nsync with the Back Street Boys or high fructose corn syrup with sugar. Crappy processed calories are crappy calories. I still can't believe people still fear fat. I thought it went out with the 90's but apparently I was wrong.

Now don't get me wrong, I indulge from time to time and agree that having some freedom in your eating plan is important, but using it in a program like this doesn't make sense. We already have means to get garbage food into our system and the program goal should work toward offering the alternative, not more of the same helping to bring us closer to center. And if you are going to have ice cream go all out and have some real ice cream, none of this processed garbage nonsense. That's like saying freakin' when you should have just dropped the F bomb and been done with it.

Monday, September 22, 2008

For the last time I am not on Atkins!

I love how everyone feels they can extrapolate my whole diet when they only see me eat one meal a day. I find that people see me basing my lunch time feeding around lean proteins, vegetables and good fats and I get comments like "oh no carbs for you eh?" or the ever popular "I see you are on the atkins diet?"

First off just because I don't have carbs at lunch doesn't mean I don't eat them. It amazes me how many people feel they need a ton of carbs during the day to get through a light office day at work. I'm sorry I didn't realize you were utilizing all your glycogen storage filing all that paperwork. You better go get yourself a soda because the coffee and muffin you ate a few minutes ago obviously didn't have enough caffeine/calories/sugar in it. C'mon people, it's time to get with it. Nutrient timing is important and if you want those carbs you have to earn them by doing some rigorous physical activity. You don't need carbs to file your TPS reports!

Futhermore, I don't even consider what I do a "diet" persay. Diets Suck! I eat the things I want but time them appropriately.

I was delighted to see this under the cap when I opened the bottle

If I want some starchy carbs they are going to be following my workout. The fact is if you tally up my daily carb intake it's probably about average in terms of what SAD(Standard American Diet) people eat. Granted it comes from good carbs, whole fruits and vegetables, but hey that's just the way I do it. My metabolism feels like it's out of control comparable to five years ago and I'm eating close to 2x the amount of calories I was back then. This increase in calorie intake correlates with the increased energy expendature from strength training and various other forms of activity. Carbs can be your friend if you let them. Otherwise you'll just be another office slave with a gut.

So don't judge people based on what you see them eat in one sitting. We probably shouldn't judge people to begin with, but frankly when you say I'm eating low carb you are flat out wrong. You have to look at the whole picture to make that call.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Utah's Strongest Man 2008

The 2008 Utah State fair held a Strongman competition on September 14th that I was lucky enough to attend. After a day of grueling qualifiers the competitors were asked to come back for 3 more events on a final day 2. The first was a press medley, and that was followed by Dodge Caliber deadlifts. They capped the competition off with another timed medley that involved carrying a 250lb block, followed by a 275lb block and finally pushing a truck to the finish.

The Big Man Deadlifts the Dodge Caliber for Reps (Roughly 900lbs at the bottom)

It was inspiring to see such fierce competition among these strong men. The amount of preparation that goes into these must be intense, from the training, to the eating and the supplementation.

Suddenly sled pushes don't seem all that bad

For your viewing pleasure I uploaded a video of the final medley. Yes that is John Sullivan in the left lane, your eyes are not deceiving you and if you have motion sickness I apologize for my inability to keep the camera still.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

12,000 Calories per Day with Abs: Michael Phelps Diet

You don't need to train like Michael Phelps, you just need to eat like him.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

So You Want to be a Bread Truck Part II

In the first installment we went over the tried and true methods to becoming big like a bread truck. Lets be honest, those first 10 tips are for the amateurs among us and as we all know you aspire to be advanced. Well I can't promise this will bring you to that level but you'll be an intermediate at least and well on your way. In any case, hopefully part II will give you what you need to take it to the next level.

Don't worry, to get to the next level there won't be any stairs

11. Disturb your sleep. Having negative sleep patterns will affect your hormone output thus making it difficult for your body to regulate your weight. So make sure you fall asleep to the television, or other noise and light inducing device.

12. Eat Cereal. Most people don't realize that after you eat a bowl of cereal you are hungry again in an hour. This is because cereal isn't actually food. It is a food like substance that was designed to cure masturbation. Aside from that it will leave you hungry in the later hours which will allow for more binging. If you aren't skipping breakfast, then hold out as long as you can and then woof down a bowl of cereal. Make sure you are ready to go with something else to stuff in your face an hour later as your tummy will be good and ready.

13. Avoid the Sun. The sun causes cancer, and bread trucks have more skin to absorb those rays of light, so make sure you avoid it at all costs. You want to load up on SPF 9000 and double up with an extra coat. This will ensure your vitamin d levels are catastrophically low. This lack of sun exposure will lower free testosterone levels in your body thus eliminating a key hormone to muscle production. And remember muscle burns calories, and the bread truck is all about saving calories!

14. Eat a boatload of carbs before bed. If you eat carbs right before you go to bed all that energy will get stored as you sleep, you know in your belly. This is a good time to load up on calories because your bodies lack of activity will make it difficult to burn off. And when I say carbs we're talking the good carbs, like ho-ho's, cakes, ice creams, and the like.

Perfect Pre-Bed Snack

15. Hang out with other Bread Trucks. As the saying goes in the financial world your income will likely be the average of the 10 people that are closest to you. Likewise your breadtruckedness will be defined by those close to you, so it's important to have social support en route to your goal. A recent study even showed that obesity may be contagious, so take full advantage. Social support is the reason why programs like weight watchers are so successful. Even the fact that their program isn't all that great, the social support trumps all. If they can do that for weight loss, surely we can do that for weight gain!

When Bread Trucks get together everybody wins!

Well that will wrap it up for this rendition of Bread Trucks. Some may have found this humorous, while others were offended, but the intent was that maybe you learned something. The goal of this article was to bring to your attention how off the wall the most seemingly innocent things we do in our daily lives are. As crazy as some of these '15 rules to being a bread truck' might sound, I see it on a daily basis. If any of this applies to you take the time to re-evaluate what you are doing, especially if you are trying to keep the pounds off. I know when I was a tubby kid I did a number of these things habitually.

Monday, September 15, 2008

How to be Big Like a Bread Truck

Aspire to build the Bread Truck* Physique

So you want to get fat, and not just soft or chunky. You want want to be so fat that you can be the envy of all your friends. You want to make sure you have to turn sideways to get through doorways and struggle to put on your pants and tie your shoes. If this sounds like you then Part I of this 2 part article series will give you the strategies that can accelerate your progress. So what is the bread truck physique you ask?

Just one example of being big like a bread truck

1. Skip Breakfast - Skipping breakfast will allow you to gorge on extra calories later while keeping your body catabolic in the morning. By keeping the body catabolic you waste away muscle tissue, which is good because muscle burns calories. You want to store as many calories as you can, so lets get rid of that muscle. It should be noted that sumo wrestlers skip breakfast and then eat two much larger meals later in the day. So you want to increase your calories as the day goes on.

2. Don't Eat Vegetables - Vegetables fill you up for a long time while failing to deliver the kinds of calories you need to get disgustingly fat. They also contain all kinds of nutrients which will accelerate fat loss. And as for fiber you don't want much of that. That will keep you satiated for much longer than you want. If you must eat vegetables, make sure you bread them and fry them first. Dipping them in a fatty cheese sauce or sugar laiden sauce scores you extra points.

The only way to eat your veggies

3. Eat Mindlessly - Eating in front of the TV is the best way to get extra calories in. Bring the entire bag of whatever your heart desires with you and try not to focus on the food. You'll be lucky if you find yourself reaching for the crumbs because that means you've gotten through the entire bag. Go you! If you had only put some in a bowl like a normal person you'd have to get up (calorie expenditure) and refill your bowl. But you were more efficient and failed to even dirty a plate. Who wants to do dishes anyway.

4. Take the Elevator - I used to work at a place that was 2 stories. They fortunately had an elevator for the bread trucks. Those that used the elevator to travel 1 whole floor were signifcantly fatter than those that took the stairs. These are the same people that take 20 minutes to find that perfect parking spot. Make sure you find these people, befriend them and learnd from them. How else do you think I came up with all these strategies!

5. Drink Calorie containing Beverages - Soda's, Fruit Juices and sports drinks all provide tons of calories in a portable format. Drink these in between meals and snacks to ensure your digestive system never gets a break from digesting all those calories. Sports drinks are especially good when not doing any physical activity.

6. Do Steady State Cardio rather than Strength Training - If you must go to the gym make sure you spend time on things like the elliptical and treadmill and do steady state cardio. This will ensure you only burn calories during your workout and don't build any muscle. Muscle burns calories, we don't want that. You'll notice that most of the people in the gym that are overweight and obese spend their lives on these machines yet never seem to get any thinner. This will fit the bill perfectly. You also want to do the same workout every time. This will make you really efficient at that workout and you'll burn less calories. Don't even think about progressing. Keep the incline at 0.0 and don't run or walk any faster. You'll end up raising the heart rate and create more calorie burn.

7. Avoid Protein - Protein has a high thermic effect of feeding. This means it takes more calories to digest. Make sure you eat mostly fat and processed carbs. These are much faster to digest, and don't expend much calories. Plus the processed carbs will make you hungry sooner so you can get more food in. Protein helps muscle recovery and rebuilding as well. Muscle is evil, it will make you big and bulky! We don't want bulk here, we just want super size with none of the bulk.

8. Eat Fast - It takes your body 20 minutes to send the signal from your tummy to your brain to tell you that you are full. You want to take full advantage of this. Even though you are full that gives you a full 20 minutes to pack in more calories. So eat fast and don't stop. You'll impress yourself with how much food you can get in.

9. Eat Out - Most restaurants use cheap foods so they can pass the savings along to you. Good thing that cheap foods tend to often pack some extra filler calories. This is good as it will make you hungry sooner as your body can break it down. They typically add extra sauces and fatty oils. You can even find salads that pack over 1,000 calories. If you really want to dig in try a 2,400 calorie pasta dish. And in case you are thinking no way, that doesn't include the 3 large sodas you'll need to wash down the 5,290mg of sodium.

A days worth of calories in 1 sitting, YES!!

10. Eat Healthy Sounding Foods - Foods marketed as low fat, don't necessarily mean they've cut out the calories. Often they've replaced the fat with more calorie containing foods. People think low fat fruit flavored yogurts are just yogurt with fruit. Not so! Conveniently enough they've added some extra sweetner to not only make it taste better, but provide more calories. Other healthy foods you should keep an eye out for is the 600 calorie low fat muffin. Nothing better than getting 4 days worth of carbs in one convenient muffin. If they are all out of muffins a bagel is a close second. Be sure to smother it with a pound of cream cheese or butter. Get that Venti latte to wash it all down. You'll be getting over 1,000 calories that will run through you so fast that you'll be hungry in an hour.

Part I contains a lot of strategies pertaining to diet and exercise. Part II will focus on some more of this while hitting on some of the more abstract things and closing.

Got any good strategies to pack on the pounds? Post a comment below.

*The Bread Truck reference was coined by Scott and Todd. They are famous for phone scamming people on NYC radio 95.5 WPLJ.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Eric Cressey's Maximum Strength: Phase 2 Wrap Up

So I just completed month 2 of Eric Cressey's Maximum Strength Program. All I can say is I hate clusters.

No silly, not those clusters, though they suck too!

The clusters with the front squats were by far the worst. For those of you who don't know what a cluster is, it goes like this. 5 sets of 4 x 2 with 10 second pause would mean you would do 2 reps, wait ten seconds and repeat that for a total of 4 times. That would count as one set. Take a 2 minute break, and chat it up at the water fountain with all the hot chicks and then do it all over again until you've done that sequence five times. Doing this with front squats really tests your commitment to getting stronger mentally as well as physically.

Go ahead, chat it up, you got 2 minutes!

NOTE: I completed phase 2 for the first time in November, so this is roughly 10 months after the fact. Here are a few of the main exercises where there have been good improvement.

Best set the first time through is in black, best new set is in red.

Straight Bar Deadlift 185x5, 305x5
Front Squat Cluster 135x4x1x10sec,175x4x1x10sec
Close Grip Bench Press 135 x 5, 170 x 5
Pull Up Clusters: A whole lot of assistance from bands, Unassisted Body Weight Clusters (and it should be noted these are even harder because I've put on some weight.)

The biggest improvement has been in my deadlift. I think finally doing some straight bar deadlifting form work has helped out significantly and my upper back just feels a lot stronger which was expected after my success in phase 1's rack pulls. I don't straight bar deadlift often and normally use a trap bar, but I think the carry over is pretty good. I should be able to do a single around 350 would be my guess, but that test won't happen for another 8 weeks in which I hope to go well beyond that.

I'll be doing a quick wrap up of each phase of Maximum Strength so look forward to the phase 3 wrap up next month. If you haven't picked up a copy of Maximum Strength yet go here and order it already!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

"Natural" Food: Cheetos and High Fructose Corn Syrup

Well I heard rumors the corn industry was going to fight back, but I never imagined it would be quite like this. With all the bad media around High Fructose Corn Syrup it was only a matter of time before people would wise up and avoid the stuff. Check out the ads from sweet surprise dot com. Who knows maybe you've already seen one of these on TV by now.

You know what they say about it? This is what they say about it. It's made from corn. Well this is true, but lets get real here for a moment. Industrialized corn funneled and processed down to High Fructose Corn Syrup and it isn't all that natural. Fruit sugar is still sugar, and to have them compare HFCS to regular sugar is certainly fair, but isn't that setting the standard pretty low?

Also lets think for a minute about all this "natural" food we keep hearing about. I see it on food labels all the time. Natural doesn't mean anything anymore. A cheeto can be natural, processed meats like bacon and sausage can be natural, but could anyone really argue that just because it's labeled natural it really is. Last I checked cheetos don't grow in the ground, you can't hunt them and aren't an animal byproduct. As far as I'm concerned that is what is natural.

Go ahead, eat the bag, it's all natural

But HFCS is made of fruit sugar, it has to be okay, right? Well again, this sugar comes in the absence of any of the positive things fruit brings to the table like antioxidants, fiber, and all kinds of micro-nutrients. The proposal for moderation is absurd because lets face it, one cup of that juice and you are over your daily limit for moderation. A couple tablespoons of ketchup would probably put you over a moderate amount. Moderation and HFCS don't exist. It hides in the ingredients label of all the packaged garbage food.

I think these commercials are further going to confuse the public and give them the rationalization they need to continue their crappy eating.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Chocolate Mint Shake

Chocolate & Mint: A Heavenly Combination

This protein shake is a refreshing treat that reminds me of those little after dinner chocolate mints you get at those "fancy" restaurants. If you are tired of that plain boring chocolate protein drink this is a great way to shake things up.

1 Cup Cold Water (more if you like a thinner shake)
5 Large Ice Cubes
2 Scoops Chocolate Protein Powder (about 40g of protein)
3 Drops Mint Extract
1 TBSP Flax Oil (or other healthy fat)

Toss all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Drink it while it's still ice cold.

I like to add flax meal to all my shakes and this one is no different. Don't add more than a couple Tablespoons else your shake will be really gritty which is a no no, unless you like that sort of thing.

You could also use fresh mint or peppermint tea instead of the mint extract.

With any shake you can add some xanthum gum which is a thickening agent that will give the most runny the density of 10W40 on a cold, bitter morning.

Drink Up!

Lastly feel free to experiment with healthy fats. Things like olive oil, coconut oil, tree nut oils and even flavored fish oils can go great in a protein shake.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Processed Meat

I hope by now you are aware that processed meats like deli meats, sausages, pepperoni and hot dogs aren't the best foods for health(understatement of the century).

But do you think this is a bit over the top?

The kids in the commercial are disease free and I do realize the shock factor is at play here. Is this not stooping down to levels unnecessary. If you remember a ways back that vytorin commercial with the heart doctor. It was later found out he did none of the activities he was depicted as doing in the commercial. Many people were outraged by this misleading commercial.

I'm all for educating the public, but I think it should be brought about the right way.