Everyday I have clients ask me about some exercise or routine they’ve read in a magazine. Usually the secret routine of Mr or Mrs ”exactlyhowiwannalook”. Most recently it’s that dude from Thor. If you look at his routine it’s based around squats, deadlifts, bentover rows, bench presses, dips and chins for 4 sets of 4 to 8 reps each. How sad is it that this is considered “new” by some people! This is the way people have been putting on muscle since long before Zubas started overcharging for gas pants! Don’t get the 80’s reference? Thats ok! All you need to know is that exercise magazines make their $$$ by selling copy and no ones going to keep buying them if every copy says: “Use basic exercises and try to get a little better at them week to week. Make sure you don’t do too much more so you’ll have a little left to go up again next week”. Right now crossfit is taking the exercise world by storm! What are they doing? Squats, cleans, presses, dips, chins, jumping and running… all the basics! They package them neatly in small bite sized easily digestable morsels to keep things interesting and give them cute little names like “Fran” or “Isabell”. They then do timed rounds or post maxes so that everyone is competing with themselves trying to get better. Nothing new at all, just a way to keep working out interesting and bring a commuinity of like minded people across the world together with a giant team atmosphere. Again, nothing new just hard work at trying to improve on the basics. Later!
Ok, so you have added some new healthy choices, you have been good about portion control, and you are parking further away from your office and are walking faster than usual to get places. If you have made these changes hopefully you are feeling like you have more energy and have noticed the scale and the tape measure moving in the right direction. Now it’s time to step it up a notch.
Portion control is important – what foods you put on your plate is also important. In the beginning of this class we didn’t make any changes to WHAT you were eating, you just started to make changes about how MUCH you were eating. Now we are going to make changes to WHAT AND how MUCH you are eating.
Example: For dinner you watched your portion control and only ate 4 chicken nuggets, a small fry and a small diet coke compared to the usual Big Mac, large fry and large coke. This was a good change, but you need to learn to give up the fast / processed foods and start choosing REAL wholesome food.
Life can be very busy and many people tell me they do not have time to prepare 6 small meals every day. YES YOU CAN! Everything does not need to be a gourmet meal that requires hours of preparation. You can prepare healthy meals and snacks with little effort as long as you use a little forethought and planning. Here is a sample grocery list for this week. Feel free to substitute any of the fruits or vegetables I mention with your favorite fruits and vegetables. The meats should all be lean, healthy meats such as chicken, turkey, lean cuts of steak or ground beef, salmon or your favorite fish. The meat choices should NEVER be breaded, fried, or coated in salad dressing. This is just a sample list and may not work for everyone depending on medical conditions, allergies, and personal taste.
Omega 3 enriched eggs (it will mention the omega 3 enriched on the label)
Jennie O lean turkey kielbasa
Oranges green onion
Bananas garlic powder
Pineapple (fresh not canned) avocado (3-4)
Bell peppers (red, yellow or orange) vinegar (or flavored Asparagus vinegar)
Lettuce low sodium soy sauce
Cashews fresh ginger
Chicken breast (boneless / skinless)
Tyson grilled chicken strips (frozen)
Crushed red pepper
Now that you have the list, let’s use the list to create a sample meal plan. This meal plan is designed to show you portion size for 1 person so double the amounts if cooking for 2, triple for 3 etc…
1 glass of water with slice of lemon
6 – 12 sliced mushrooms (chopped)
3 – 4 asparagus (chopped)
1 Tablespoon olive oil
½ cup blueberries
-add olive oil to pan, over medium heat sauté the mushrooms and asparagus; add 2 eggs and either scramble or cook omelet style. Put blueberries in a small bowl and enjoy with a glass of water.
1 oz cashews (weigh this on a food scale)
Glass of water
Glass of water
4 oz Tyson grilled chicken strips (heat in microwave for about 2 min until warm)
1 oz walnuts
½ apple (diced)
½ bell pepper (diced)
1Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon strawberry flavored vinegar (or whatever vinegar you prefer)
-combined all ingredients and eat the other ½ of the apple
Glass of water
1 oz pistachios
Glass of water
1 chicken breast
3-4 slices pineapple
1 bell pepper (sliced)
5 cherry tomatoes
2 Tablespoon olive oil
-sprinkle garlic powder and lemon pepper on chicken, coat with 1 Tablespoon olive oil; grill until done (flip chicken every 5 minutes) coat bell pepper slices and cherry tomatoes with 1 Tablespoon olive oil stir fry briefly, for the pineapple either grill it or serve it fresh with the meal.
Sample meal options#1:
1 serving size of shrimp (how many will depend on their size but you want approximately 18 – 25 grams of protein)
1 bell pepper cut into chunks
6 – 8 chunks of pineapple
Alternate each ingredient onto a skewer and grill until done
Sample meal option #2:
4 oz Tyson grilled chicken strips (heated in microwave approx 2 min)
3 avocados (chopped)
2 tomatoes (chopped)
1 bell pepper (chopped)
Garlic powder (sprinkle to taste)
½ a lime
4 green onions (chopped)
-combine the avocados, tomatoes, bell pepper, green onion, & garlic powder in a small bowl and mix well. Squeeze the juice of ½ a lime into the mixture and serve with warm chicken. This will make enough fresh guacamole for more than one person so measure out approximately ½ cup of the guacamole mixture.
Sample meal option #3:
4 oz salmon
1 cup broccoli
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
½ bottle low sodium soy sauce
3 Tablespoons fresh ginger (diced)
-combine soy sauce, minced garlic and ginger in a bowl; marinade salmon in the mixture for 30 minutes. Steam broccoli in a steamer, done to your preference. When making this dinner I prefer to cook the salmon using the George Foreman Grill for 8 minutes; but you can also grill the salmon – grill until it flakes easily with a fork.
Sample meal option #4:
4 oz lean steak
2 Tablespoons olive oil
Garlic powder & ground pepper
1Tablespoon minced garlic
6 – 8 asparagus spears
8 – 12 mushroom slices
1 bell pepper (sliced)
-sprinkle steak with garlic powder and ground pepper to taste, coat with 1 Tablespoon olive oil & grill until done. Steam asparagus spears in a vegetable steamer until done, Stir fry mushrooms and bell pepper slices in 1 Tablespoon olive oil and minced garlic until done, pour mushroom / pepper mixture on to steak & serve with steamed asparagus.
None of these meals take more than 30 minutes to prepare and many can be prepared ahead of time to bring to work with you. If you do not have a refrigerator at work or you are traveling most of your day; you can use a cooler. If you have the will to make healthy changes you can find a way to make it happen. Healthy does not mean tasteless!!! All of these options have flavor and will fill you up due to their high fiber content. However if you are used to eating a 12 oz steak, 2 cups or more of mashed potatoes and green bean casserole for dinner or if you spend a lot of time at the Golden Corral enjoying the all you can eat dessert buffet, it will take some time before you adjust to the new portion sizes. The first few weeks will be the hardest. Your body and your mind have become accustomed to eating a certain way and change isn’t always easy. But the benefits of making this change so greatly outweigh any discomfort you may feel while you get used to this new way of eating.
You will notice that this meal plan is full of fresh fruits, vegetables, and lean protein choices. There is a reason for this; these foods (fresh fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and seafood) are high in the beneficial nutrients (soluble fiber, antioxidant vitamins, phytochemicals, omega-3 and monounsaturated fats, along with low-glycemic carbohydrates) that promote good health. There is no sugar, bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, fast food or processed food on this meal plan because refined sugars and grains, saturated and trans fats, salt, high-glycemic carbohydrates, and processed foods are the foods that frequently may cause weight gain, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and numerous other health problems. Be creative! If you stick to the basic grocery list I provided for most of your cooking you can make many wonderful, delicious, healthy meals for yourself and your family. If you come up with a new recipe I would love to hear about it! I am always looking for new healthy meals J
I would recommend reading the book Bod 4 God and also The Paleo Diet. Or go online to http://www.thepaleodiet.com. You will be amazed to learn how food affects our health. The Bod 4 God book is a very inspiring, motivating book. When making any change in your life, you need support; and many people feel that they do not have the support they need from friends and family. The book Bod 4 God shows you that you are NEVER doing this alone. God is with you every step of the way.
For more workouts and nutrition tips, check us out at www.thatworkoutguy.com
Your ultimate diet is about what works for your lifestyle and what you are willing to sacrifice to achieve your goals. You must ask yourself what your goal is and what its worth. If you weigh 300lbs and HAVE to eat ice cream every night to be happy, weighing 200 with rippling abs may not be worth the sacrifices you have to make. Conversely, if you weigh 150lbs fully clothed and soaking wet and hate eating you may want to think twice about your dream of winning ESPN’s “World’s Strongest Man” contest. Life is give and take. You need to figure out how much effort you are willing to give and how much crap you are willing to take! Let’s assume your goal is to get as lean as possible and it’s worth giving up eating your nightly twinkies after finishing off a bottle of wine because nothing will ever taste as good as walking down the beach with a 6 pack on your waist instead of in your cooler will ever feel.
99% of our foods should be found in nature and be as close to their natural form as possible…..
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If you follow powerlifting or strongman you’ve most likely heard of hanging chains on the bar for dynamic effort, or speed work. This is also a great technique for bodybuilders and fitness people to use. Why? Because as the bar goes down the chain deloads on the floor. When the bar raises the chain comes off the floor increasing the amount of weight in hand. On most exercises this is in line with how the strength curve works anyway. This was a big selling point for nautilus back in the day: The weight gets heavier as you move into the contracted postion. With the use of chains or bands you can now have this effect with free weights. Which, by the way, pretty much everyone agrees are far superior to machines for most exercises. Try it out! It can also be used on machines as well. I especially like bands on leg extensions, any chest pressing, tricep extensions, and pushdowns.
…but to make it to your destination you must:
1. Know where you are trying to end up.
2. Be travelling in the right direction.
3. Keep on stepping!
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For many of my friends living in the Northeast regions of the United States, right now you are all locked in a pattern of blizzards, Nor’esters and frozen EVERYTHING! So only the hardiest of New Englanders venture outside of the gym and get their cardio from cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and skating. If you are lucky enough to live in the southwest or a warmer climate you have the luxury of getting outside for running, hiking, kayaking, canoeing, walking, rock climbing, swimming, baseball, basketball, football etc…. So while outdoor sports can definately be weather dependant; don’t feel like you need to be stuck inside running in place staring at the same spot on the wall for an hour…. Get outside! Breathe some fresh air! Enjoy the world around you! All while getting the great health benefits of cardiovascular exercise :)
Train harder AND smarter!
I used to think that if I went to the gym and did hours of training that I could eat whatever I wanted….many people think this way, which is why over the years of managing a health club I watched the same people come in take their same class and year after year look EXACTLY the same!
Why is this? It’s because they proudly proclaim “I workout so I can eat whatever I want” or “I am not giving up my wine” or “I am not going to live on a lettuce leaf!” That one is my favorite….You DO NOT need to live on a lettuce leaf! But you DO need to realize that you can not ‘undo’ a box of twinkies or a meal plan that includes - Dunkin Donuts for breakfast, fast food for lunch and a pizza for dinner because there is no time to cook anything - with one just hour a day at the gym!
Lately I have been following the Paleo diet. Before I started this, my diet was fairly clean, I had 1/4 cup oatmeal with flax meal and blueberries with a scoop of Champion protien mixed in water for breakfast, my snack was 1 oz of cashews and an apple, lunch was stir fried shrimp with brown rice and veggies, or tuna or sushi if I was lucky, and dinner was either steak, chicken or fish with a small portion of rice or potato with broccoli or asparagus. Healthy right? I thought so. But I noticed that after dinner I would feel bloated and get severe stomach pains that would last about 30 minutes. I wasn’t really loosing any weight anymore so I convinced myself it was because I wasn’t really pushing myself during my workouts due to my pesky shoulder injury.
BUT - for the last 2 weeks I have been following the principles of the Paleo diet. Only eating lean meats, fruits and vegetables. Now I do not eat sugar, potatos, rice, or my beloved oatmeal. I have been amazed at how full I feel and how GOOD I feel! I have also lost about 8 lbs so this made me realize something. I have not changed my workout, I have only changed my diet. So while I will say that you absolutely NEED strength training and cardio, if you have a piss poor diet you will never reach the goals you have set for yourself.
So keep going to your favorite aerobic class, keep working with your personal trainer, or just keep hitting the gym with your favorite 12 week power burst routine from www.thatworkoutguy.com but start writing down everything…and I mean EVERYTHING you eat and drink during the day, then check out www.fitday.com and when that pie chart is staring you in the face and you don’t like what it has to say - go pick up a copy of the Paleo diet and give it a try!
Train smarter AND harder! -Thatworkoutguy’s wife :)