The Ghrelin Made You Eat It

  1. You feel hungry.
  2. You eat.
  3. You feel full
  4. You stop eating.

.This is how it’s supposed to work.

Unfortunately, our bodies don’t always work the way we want them to. Sometimes,we feel an intense desire to eat (and eat and eat) even when we are full

And why is that?

According to researchers, one of our appetite hormones – Ghrelin, can trick our brains into making us eat “pleasurable” foods even when we are full.

Previous research has shown that elevated levels of ghrelin is linked to the “reward” aspects of eating.

According to researcher Dr. Jeffrey Zigman, rewards can “generally be defined as things that make us feel better”.

“They give us sensory pleasure, and they motivate us to work to obtain them,” he said. “They also help us reorganize our memory so that we remember how to get them.”

In this recent study, researchers looked for an answer to why someone who is already is driven to eat that high-calorie dessert.

For this study, the researchers conducted two standard behavioral tests on some lab mice.

In the first, they evaluated whether the mice that were fully sated preferred a room where they had previously found high-fat food over one that had only offered regular bland chow. They found that when mice in this situation were administered ghrelin, they strongly preferred the room that had been paired with the high-fat diet. Mice without ghrelin showed no preference.

“We think the ghrelin prompted the mice to pursue the high-fat chow because they remembered how much they enjoyed it,” Dr. Perello said. “It didn’t matter that the room was now empty; they still associated it with something pleasurable.”

When the researchers blocked the secretion of ghrelin, the mice spent less time in the room that they associated with the high-fat food.

For the second test, the team observed how long mice would continue to poke their noses into a hole in order to receive a pellet of high-fat food. “The animals that didn’t receive ghrelin gave up much sooner than the ones that did receive ghrelin.”

Note

Humans and mice share the same type of brain-cell connections and hormones, as well as similar architectures in the so-called “pleasure centers” of the brain. In addition, the behavior of the mice in this study is consistent with pleasure- or reward-seeking behavior seen in other animal studies of addiction.

Future research will look into which neural circuits in the brain regulate ghrelin’s actions.

Conclusion

Elevated levels of ghrelin can force your brain to override your normal signals of fullness.

So, the next time you overeat when full, blame it on the ghrelin.

My Xmas Present to You

Because I love all my Health Habits readers soooo much, I have decided to give each of you the gift of an online personal trainer…namely, moi.

Starting in January, everyone who signs up for the Facebook group will receive 52 weekly workout programs designed to burn fat, increase all aspects of functional strength and speed while reversing common muscle imbalances & eliminating any associated pain.

My goal is to turn all of you into the leanest, strongest and fittest yous that you can be.

There will also be a nutritional program that we are going to start on February first.

So, if you’re interested in the program (estimated value $2600), sign up for the Facebook group.

Happy Holidays

Doug

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p.stell all your friends & family. The more people we get in the group, the better this is going to be. There is way too much research showing how group activities improve adherence as well as improving overall weight loss results

Genetics & Obesity – Prader-Willi Syndrome

A few days ago, I met a woman whose young child has been diagnosed with Prader-Willi Syndrome.

And while I am no expert on Prader-Willi, I have a general idea of the associated symptoms.

These include:

  • low levels of testosterone
  • sleep disorders
  • strabismus (mis-aligned eyes)
  • scoliosis
  • delayed puberty
  • weak muscles
  • extreme flexibility
  • learning disabilities
  • various
  • and an insatiable desire to eat which leads to compulsive overeating, morbid obesity and an increased risk of diabetes and various other obesity related conditions

The cause of PWS is genetic.

Although the exact genes responsible for Prader-Willi syndrome haven’t been identified, the problem is known to lie in a particular region of chromosome 15.

This defect in chromosome 15 leads to a malfunctioning hypothalamus.

This results in a flaw in the hypothalamus part of their brain, which normally registers feelings of hunger and satiety. The number of oxytocin neurones–the putative satiety neurones–in the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus is markedly decreased in Prader-Willi syndrome. This is presumed to be the basis of the insatiable hunger and obesity of patients with the syndrome.

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This means that people with this flaw never feel full; they have a continuous urge to eat that they cannot learn to control. To compound this problem, people with PWS need less food than their peers without the syndrome because their bodies have less muscle and tend to burn fewer calories.

Doesn’t sound very nice, does it?

So, maybe that explains my irritation the very next day when I had a chat with someone who told me that the reason they are fat is their genetics. His mom is overweight and so is his father.

Never mind that he was drinking a Starbucks Venti Mocha Frappucino and munching on some sort of scone while we had this brief conversation.

Arrrrgggghhhhh

So, like the shit-disturber I am (pardon my French), I asked him if he suffered from Prader-Willi or some other form of genetic disorder.

[blank stare]

The moral of the story….the next time you are feeling sorry for your obviously fat genetics, think about the little guy in that Prader-Willi video….feeling hungry all the time.

If you’re overweight, odds are it ain’t your genetics.

And if it ain’t your genetics, you can do something about it.

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Reference

Workout Tunes #4

Here’s a little ditty that I keep especially for those days when I want to lift verrrryyyy heavy.

MotorheadAce of Spades

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Anti-Cancer Potato Chips

Over the past few years, a growing body of research indicates that acrilamyde (a substance produced when potatoes/corn et al are deep fried) can lead to heart disease, nervous system disorders and cancer.

Ironically, this means that the bag of potato and/or nacho chips you ate last night while watching House might just lead to a situation where you require the services of a real-life Greg House.

Ain’t irony grand?

Luckily for us Canadians, our socialized health care system has sprang into action and has devised a plan to solve this whole acrilamyde kerfluffle.

And how are they going to do this?

  • By implementing a public health campaign to reduce the consumption of crunchy snack foods?
  • By taxing products high in acrilamyde?

Nope

  • Health Canada wants snack food manufacturers to put small amounts of the enzyme asparaginase into their products prior to the deep frying process.

What is Asparaginase?

Asparaginase is an enzyme that hydrolyses an amino acid, asparagine, to aspartic acid by hydrolyzing the amide in free asparagine to the corresponding acid, aspartic acid.

This is a good thing.

Reduced levels of asparagine means reduced levels of acrylamide means reduced chance of heart disease, nervous system disorders and cancer.

Currently, asparaginase is injected into leukemia patients as a treatment for their cancer.

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So this is what we’ve come to.

Instead of “not eating” foods that cause cancer, we choose to inject those foods with anti-cancer enzymes.

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It won’t be long before every bag of nachos comes with it’s own pre-loaded syringe of asparaginase.

But, before that happens, Canadian health regulations require that before a new food additive is allowed to be used in Canada, a submission must be filed with Health Canada so the Department can conduct a safety evaluation of the proposed use(s) of the additive. Food manufacturers are not permitted to use the additive until the safety assessment has been completed by Health Canada and the Regulations are amended to formally enable its use…. blah, blah, blah…

As part of the evaluation process, Health Canada is soliciting comments from the public.

So, for all my Canadian readers, I urge you to take the time to shoot Health Canada an email and let them know if you want asparaginase injected into your nacho chips.

But before you send that email, here are some…

Points to Consider

  • Deep fried Potato/Nacho chips have high levels of acrilyamide
  • Acrylamide is linked to heart disease and cancer
  • You don’t want heart disease or cancer
  • Acrylamide researcher Dr. Lorelei Mucci says that acrylamide levels can be reduced by cooking chips at lower temperatures or by first soaking the chips in water to extract some of the sugar. Unfortunately, these techniques can affect the plesant odor, crispness or color of the finished product
  • Acrylamide levels can be reduced to 0% by not eating potato/nacho chips
  • Potato/Nacho chips make you fat and give you pimples.
  • Cool kids don’t eat potato/nacho chips

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Last Minute Christmas Shopping Guide

If you’re anything like me (and 96.4% of all men), you have left your Christmas shopping to the last minute.

And the stores are all sold out of Red Ryder BB guns.

So, whatcha gonna do?

I’ll tell you what you’re gonna do.

You’re gonna give your friends and family the gifts of health, fitness and smaller love handles.

And I am here to help with my Health Habits Approved™  Last Minute Christmas Shopping Guide.

Category 1:  Health Club Memberships

Don’t do it.

The latest research shows that overweight gym-goers feel more embarrassment and intimidation about exercising, exercising around young people, exercising around fit people, and about health club salespeople than individuals of normal weight.

And most health clubs do nothing to address these feelings of embarrassment and intimidation.

As a result, the people who need that gym membership the most are the same people who are most likely to quit.

So, unless you enjoy throwing your money away, don’t buy them a gym membership. Just don’t do it.

Category 2: Personal Training

Once again, don’t do it.

Starting in the new year, I will be starting a Health Habits Fit Club for anyone interested.

  • All for the low, low cost of $0.00

Note – I will give you more details later in the week.

Category 3: Book Learning

There are a lot of really crappy health/fitness/diet books out there.

And sadly, some of the worst are some of the best sellers.

So, to help you separate the wheat from the chaff, I went through my library and picked out my favorite health/fitness books.

And here they are

If you’re still confused which books to buy, shoot me an email and I can help you narrow down your selection.

Note – you don’t have to buy the books through my little Amazon store…even though I would appreciate the 4% kickback I get from them.

Category 4: Cardio Equipment

It’s a FACT* – 68% of all cardio equipment purchases are used primarily as over-priced clothes racks.

And 90% of those people who employ their cardio machines as luxury clothes racks feel intense remorse and shame every time they recall what lies underneath that pile o’ clothes.

So, if you’re going to buy your loved one a piece of cardio equipment (bike, elliptical, treadmill) ask yourself these questions:

  • Are they going to use it?
  • Is this the type of equipment they enjoy using?

Bike people don’t use treadmills and vice versa

  • Is the equipment going to last?

If you can afford it, avoid the “home grade” equipment and move up to the “light commercial” or even the “commercial grade” equipment. The “home grade” has lower quality bearings, motors, etc. The end result is that they break down sooner. And breakdowns = service calls = $$$

  • What does the warranty cover?see #3
  • Bells & Whistles?

To me, this is the least important stuff. Unfortunately, it is also the stuff that salespeople use to get you all excited in order to sell you an inferior piece of equipment.

Remember, the primary use of cardio equipment is to improve your cardio. And, you don’t need all sorts of on-board computers and video monitors and internet connections, etc to improve the function of your heart & lungs. All of this flashy stuff should go in the “want” category, not the “need” category.

However, if money is no object, go nuts on the bells & whistles.

* actually I have no idea what percentage of cardio equipment ends up as expensive clothes racks. 68% just seemed like a good number.

Category 5: Non-Cardio Fitness Equipment

Do NOT buy this!!!
do not buy this...you have been warned

Once again, I need to warn you that when it comes to fitness equipment, there is a lot of junk out there.

My advice:

  1. Avoid the shopping channels
  2. Avoid anything that promises chiseled abs in 6 weeks
  3. If it seems to good to be true, it probably is.
  4. Take a look at some of the items I have collected here.

For much less than the price of a 12 month gym membership, you can build a compact home gym that will meet all of your needs.

Here’s what I recommend:

Exercise Mat

I have grown to love my G2 mat.

It’s cushier than a yoga mat, but not as cushy as a gymnastics style mat. As Goldilocks would say, it’s cushiness is just right.

Plus, it doesn’t hurt to have a visual reminder to stretch more often.

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Resistance / Strength training

Forget about buying one of those “home gym” multi station gizmos.

Seriously, just forget about it.

For about $200, you can have a strength training center that is next to invisible, won’t break down and gives you a significantly better workout.

What you need to do is:

  1. Buy a set of Jump Stretch or Iron Woody resistance bands. These bands never break and will give you more workout than you can handle.
  2. Buy a 4 ft long safety grab bar and install it (vertically) where ever you want your new home gym. Alternately, you can go with a painted or stained wooden handrail for a more rustic look. Be sure to install it well. We don’t want thos screws coming loose.

Here is an article I wrote than might give you a better idea.

Note – I am currently working on setting up a sales arrangement with either Jump Stretch or Iron Woody to get you guys a better price.

As an option, I would also recommend a chin-up bar. It’s not vital, but there is such a high payback from chin-ups, you really should consider it.

I prefer an “Iron Gym” style chin up bar that you don’t have to screw directly into your door frame.

Note – There’s no need to worry about this chin-up bar collapsing under your weight. I have used it at home during on of my strength phases. I weighed 265 lbs at the time.

So, what’s next?

Core Strength

Buy an ab wheel…end of story.

It’s the best thing for functional core strength and a bullet proof lower back.

Check out this info on ab wheels

Pain Relief / Flexibility / Massage

For the less than half the price of a massage, you need to buy a quality foam roller and a massage ball.

The foam roller will break up all of the knots, tight muscles, scar tissue, etc in your thighs, back, calves etc.

The massage ball does the same thing for all of your nooks and crannies that the roller can’t get to. I rely on it for the small muscles in my upper back.

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Okay, that should do it for your Christmas shopping.

Unless somebody wanted to get me something…hint hint…the new 2010 Camaro is just my size

Braised Holiday Brisket

Braised Holiday Brisket

The first time I had brisket was when I was working for a caterer at a Hanukkah dinner here in LA. I was fresh off the boat so I wasn’t versed in this Jewish tradition, though over the years I’ve become well versed in the variety of foods served around this time of year. This is in honour of all my Jewish peeps.

I’m a huge fan of braising meats because this technique of slow cooking over longer periods of time makes the meat super tender and intensely flavourful. Plus it’s hard to mess up. What I’m doing with this recipe is laying flavours on top of each other so that when the meat is cooked it’s tender like ‘butta’ you get this deep rich flavour that shows how much care and time has been put into preparing it. Now, I know brisket is more of a Hanukkah type dish but for those beef eaters coming ’round for Christmas dinner, this’ll go down a treat and can (and should) be done ahead so all you need to do is reheat. Doesn’t get any easier than that!

Continue reading the full recipe here and don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE to the HEALTHY IRISHMAN Newsletter!

When you do you’ll receive a FREE Entertainment Booklet with recipes and tips for your next dinner party.

Fueling your body with healthy food. Fueling your mind with the wealth of health.

Copyright © 2009 The Healthy Irishman. All rights reserved

Need Some Motivation?

analisaIn a previous post, I wrote about  the weight loss reality show X-Weighted.

Last night, I watched the latest episode.

fitness health obesity diet weight loss

And today, I am going to introduce you to the star of the show:  Analisa.

fitness health obesity diet weight loss

  • Analisa is a 23 year old with with cerebral palsy.
  • Analisa is clinically obese.
  • Analisa has daily seizure brought on by the cerebral palsy
  • Analisa has impaired control over the right side of her body

And yet, over 4 months, Analisa:

  • Cleaned up her diet
  • Regained neuro-muscular control over her right leg in order to ride a bicycle
  • Worked out daily
  • Lost over 20 lbs of body-fat
  • Achieved her fitness goal of cycling 24 kms up and down hills
  • Motivated her mother & sister to also lose weight and get fit
  • Increased her self-confidence
  • Became a public speaker
  • And impressed the heck out of me.

fitness health obesity diet weight loss

So, what’s your excuse for skipping yesterday’s workout?

fitness health obesity diet weight loss

  • X-Weighted airs on the Canadian cable network – Slice
  • Full length episodes of X-Weighted are available here.
  • Unfortunately, Analisa’s episode hasn’t been uploaded yet, but here is a little snippet

fitness health obesity diet weight loss

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A Light Went On

Today is a great day.

fitness health exercise diet weight loss

I have been working with this woman for almost two months.

During that time, she has said all the right things. She wants to be healthy. She knows it’s not going to be easy but she is willing to do the hard work. She has tried this before but this time is going to be different.

blah, blah, blah

All the same things that we tell ourselves when we know we should do something, but we don’t really believe that we can actually pull it off.

Basically, it was a great big load of self delusion disguised as an Oprah-esque self-help pep talk.

But today, after workout # 19, I get a call from her.

And things were different.

I almost don’t know how to describe it.

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Before today, she understood that she could transform her body if she ate and exercised the way I told her. But tody, that theoretical belief became something bigger.

Now, she knows that she can transform her body.

And I don’t mean that she knows which exercises and diet are required. That’s my job.

  • She knows how to produce the spirit, will, intestinal fortitude…whatever you want to call it.
  • She knows how to take control of her thoughts and feelings.
  • She knows how to get herself  to actually do the things she needs to do.

She doesn’t just believe it…she knows it.

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And that is the moment I wait for with all of my clients.

And that is why today is a great day.

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Workout Tunes #3

This song is addictive…and guaranteed to help you workout faster, stronger, harder, better.

Daft Punk – Harder Better Faster Stronger

or if you prefer the Kanye version

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Health Habits meets Facebook

Well, I did it.

I set up a Facebook Fan Page for Health Habits.

facebook fan page

And, over the next few days, I will probably be adding & subtracting various features and applications as I try to mold it into the type of health & fitness community that I have been imagining for the past few months (years???).

In that imagination of mine, I pictured a place where anyone who is interested in health & fitness can go to discuss the best methods to get lean, healthy & fit.

No B.S. dogma where the low carbers mock the vegans and the Crossfitters try to beat up the Ultra Marathoners.

What I am looking for is a place where science geeks can discuss weight loss theories with a bunch of willing real world guinea pigs.

And a place where we can challenge & support each other as we embark upon another round of New Year’s Resolutions.

Hopefully, all of you will sign up as fans of Health Habits.

Hopefully, you will encourage your friends to do the same.

And, hopefully, you will participate by joining into discussions and by telling me what works and what doesn’t.

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Seriously……sign up

My fragile male ego depends upon it.

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BTW, I also just opened up a personal Facebook page earlier today (haven’t even added any friends yet…except my wife Nicole). So, if you want to be my Facebook buddy, send me a friend request.

and, in case you’re wondering, I am not the guy from Hoobastank.

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mango-shake health nutrition fitness healthhabits food

Peri-Workout Nutrition

Back in the olden days, workout nutrition consisted of a quick run to the water fountain between exercises.

Then came Gatorade.

Then, we were introduced to the magic 20 minute post-workout window of time.

We were told that if we chugged down a  carb/protein shake immediately after working out, we would:

  1. Shift our metabolism from a catabolic state (muscle damaging) to an anabolic state (muscle building) .
  2. Reduce post exercise muscle soreness
  3. Get bigger, stronger, leaner, faster, etc…

And there was (and still is) a lot of scientific research to back up this belief.

As a result, every gym put in a “smoothie bar” and we all chugged down some pretty gross post-workout protein shakes.

But wait, it doesn’t end there, we’re just getting started.

Researchers began to study whether pre-workout carb/pro nutrition might be even more efficient than post-workout carb/pro nutrition.

And their research showed that it was.

mango-shakeAs a result, instead of one post-workout shake, I was now drinking half my shake pre-workout and finishing the rest post-workout.

I thought I had it all figured out.

Not quite.

The next scientific breakthrough discovered that while a combined carb/pro shake pre-workout worked wonders, a carb free protein meal didn’t work near as well.

And that was fine with me. Those heavy pre-workout protein shakes were sloshing around in my stomach and slowing down my workouts.

RECAP

At this point:

  • Carbs before workout – GOOD
  • Carbs & pro before workout good, but made Doug’s tummy upset
  • Carbs during workout – GOOD
  • Carbs & Pro (Amino Acids) immediately post workout – GOOD

In a nutshell, the theory is that:

  1. Carbs raise your insulin levels, increasing the efficiency of nutrient absorption.
  2. Your workout inflicts micro-damage on your muscles.
  3. Your muscles are now screaming for nutrition to re-synthesize newer/stronger/faster muscles.
  4. Then you throw a bunch of protein/amino acids into the mix

And voila, your body recovers faster & more efficiently from your workouts.

End of story, right?

Not yet.

In the past few years, I have been reading more about improving anaerobic endurance during workouts by supplementing with beta alanine or bicarbonates. And while the research shows mixed results, I have personally and professionally seen impressive gains in endurance during some pretty intense HIIT & HIRT workouts.

Since adding these supplements into the mix, I have been able to push some very intense workouts well past the dreaded 45 minute mark.

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So, what does all of this mean?

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It means that for best results, I recommend:

  • Eating a combined pro/carb meal (real food) 1 to 2 hours before working out
  • Drinking a mid-workout beverage containing…a high GI carb like maltodextrin, BCAAs, creatine, bicarbonates and/or beta alanine.
  • Drinking a post-workout shake containing carbs and a fast digesting protein (whey isolate).

Keep in mind this is a best case scenario type of peri-workout nutrition program.

Most of you aren’t going to want to spend the money on all of this stuff.

So, if cost is an issue, I would recommend

  • Eat the pre-workout meal as described above.
  • Drink watered down orange juice during your workout. BCAAs & Creatine if you can afford them.
  • Post-workout shake as described above.

Personally, I have tried 3 different workout beverages with sugar/BCAAs/Beta Alanine/Bicarb and have found that Biotest’s Surge Workout Fuel to be the most effective. It costs approximately $1.10 per serving.

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BTW – peri means around or about…so in this case peri-workout nutrition means nutrition around your workout

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I look forward to hearing your feedback. Workout nutrition is a hotly debated topic amongst all of the “experts” out there on the interweb.

My skin is thick, don’t hold back.

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You Will NEVER Drink Soda Again

 

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Winter Split Pea Soup

Split Pea Soup

Winter is arriving if not already here for a lot of you (apparently there’s snow in Houston?) so this is defo soup season. You all know there’s nothing better than a delicious bowl of homemade soup with a nice sangwich. I remember growing up in the tropical Isle of Ireland and the odd day it might be cold and wet my Mum would always make us soup for lunch. It’s always been one of those things that was a staple in our house as any leftover veg from dinner would be made into a delicious soup the next day. Those were the days.

This soup recipe is one of my faves and you’ll definitely love the fresh pea flavour and earthy texture. Off you pop and get the pot out.

Continue reading the full recipe here and don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE to the HEALTHY IRISHMAN Newsletter!

When you do you’ll receive a FREE Entertainment Booklet with recipes and tips for your next dinner party.

Fueling your body with healthy food. Fueling your mind with the wealth of health.

Copyright © 2009 The Healthy Irishman. All rights reserved

muscle_baby-health-healthhabits-fitness-nutrition-diet-

Fitness Trends 2010

fitness trends 2010

It’s that time of year again.

It’s time for the fine folks at the American Council on Exercise (ACE) to peer into their crystal Bosu balls and predict the Fitness Trends for 2010.

So, without any further ado, here are your…

Fitness Trends for 2010

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ace

The clairvoyants at ACE have predicted that fiscal restraint will be the biggest influencer on the fitness trends of 2010.

Quel surprise

Here’s their top 10:

  1. healthhabits recommendsCost-Conscious Workouts at Fitness Clubs and at Home: The impact of the economy continues to affect the choices of fitness enthusiasts and health clubs alike.  Gyms will alter programming and training to better serve the needs of the cost-conscious member, while in-home workouts utilizing small, portable fitness equipment will be popular among individuals watching their budgets. health fitness exercise Honestly, I can’t say enough about the Iron Woody bands – great workout tool, portable, inexpensive and pretty much indestructible. For the time being, you can buy them here. But, in the near future, I hope to be able to get you a better Health Habits discount.
  2. Group Training: Individuals will scale back on personal training sessions to take advantage of small-group training and group class participation as another way to save on expenses. Health clubs may alter some programs to better suit the needs of larger groups.  Likewise, individuals may find that the group setting offers additional motivation and support of their fitness efforts.health fitness exercis xxxe body We are already seeing this with the explosion of Boot Camp style group workouts health fitness exercise workout hiit
  3. Time-Efficient Workouts for the Time-Pressured American: Shorter yet higher-intensity workouts will be more appealing to those with busy schedules because they can reap significant fitness rewards with relatively minimal time investment.  Boot-camp style workouts will continue to be one of the most popular of these trends in 2010, offering the ability to burn sufficiently large number of calories while simultaneously improving muscular fitness.  Circuit training will also be a time-efficient workout of choice due to its combined strength and endurance activities. health body fitness health health fitness hiit healthhabits hiit healthhabits Not to mention the growth of HIIT & HIRT workouts health fitness exercise workout hiit health fitness exercise workout hiit
  4. Exergaming: Exergames (see Nintendo Wii Fit) will continue to climb in popularity and be taken to the next level: fitness clubs. By integrating fitness-based video games into their programming, clubs will offer unique exercise sessions for game-lovers and those looking for variety within their workouts. health fitness exercise  hiit healthhabits fitness obesity weight loss Note – This already exists at “kids-only” gyms like this one he health fitness exercise workout hiit health fitness exercise workout hiitalth
  5. Boomer-Specific Programs: Special fitness programming for aging adults will remain a strong trend next year.  Growing numbers of boomers recognize the multitude of benefits that come along with regular exercise participation, from lowering blood pressure and cholesterol to maintaining one’s functional independence and overall wellbeing. fitness obesity weight loss hiit The Boomers have been driving market trends for decades. No reason for it to stop now. health fitness exercise workout hiit health fitness exercise workout hiit
  6. Functional Training Workouts: Functional training workouts will increase in variety. health Over the past 12 months, I have noticed that people are replacing “bodybuilding” style exercises more more “functional” movements. Hopefully this is a trend that has legs. health fitness exercise workout hiit health fitness exercise workout hiit
  7. Health and Fitness Awareness: The importance of health and fitness is gaining greater awareness among commercial and governmental organizations.  There will be a strong movement towards collaboration between these groups and health and fitness organizations throughout the New Year.  These diverse groups will work together in the fight against physical inactivity and obesity. The media frenzy over America’s Obesity Epidemic is driving this increased awareness. heal health fitness exercise workout hiit health fitness exercise workout hiitth fitness exercise workout hiit health fitness exercise workout hiit
  8. Importance of Proper Professional Credentials: Health and fitness clubs are recognizing the need for, and the importance of, hiring trainers who hold high-quality, reputable professional credentials.  NCCA-accredited fitness certification is fast becoming the recognized stamp of approval for credentialing quality in the fitness industry.  ACE is among the few organizations to which the National Commission for Certifying Agencies grants this accreditation for certification programs. Hmmmmm, is it coincidence that ACE exists solely to sell training certifications??? Methinks I smell a conflict of interest health fitness exercise workout hiit health fitness exercise workout hiit
  9. Specialty Exercise Classes: Specialty classes such as ethnic dance, hooping, pole dancing and Zumba will remain popular due in part to the continued success of shows like Dancing with the Stars and So You Think You Can Dance.  Fusion-type classes will be popular among fitness enthusiasts that want to switch up their typical workout programs.  Additionally, more gyms will offer unique group exercise programs and mind-body activities. fitness fit weight loss Let’s face it. A lot of people don’t exercise because it bores them out of their little Ritalin addicted minds. Zumba classes, stripper classes, surfboarding classes, ballet bootcamp classes, mma classes and even dodgeball classes aim to make exercise a little less like work and a little more like play. health fitness exercise workout hiit health fitness exercise workout hiit
  10. Fitness Training Tools: Technology is continuing to infiltrate the fitness world.  The use of tracking and online training and scheduling tools will increase in the coming year with more people looking to better gauge their progress by accessing and monitoring details of their fitness programs.  Mobile applications are even bringing fitness on-the-go through iPhone applications and other downloadable programming. health body fitness health health fitness hiit healthhabits Between wearable fitness tools and their online companions, technology IS going to play a larger role in the fitness industry. Unfortunately, you are still going to have to do all of the sweating.

We,, there you go. The fitness trends for 2010.

Too bad that the #1 trend wasn’t…MORE EXERCISE, LESS TV

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Workout Tunes #2

Here’s another classic tune for your HIIT/HIRT workouts.

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Nutrition Myth Busted: Caffeine and Dehydration

For years & years, we have been told that caffeinated beverages (coffee, tea, etc) are diuretics and that they dehydrate us and that they do not count towards those magic 8 glasses of water we are all supposed to drink each and every day.

And for years & years, I thought this was a colossal line of B.S.

And I was right.

According to this study & that study, there is no valid scientific support for the suggestion that consumption of caffeine-containing beverages as part of a normal lifestyle leads to fluid loss in excess of the volume ingested or is associated with poor hydration status.

Therefore, there would appear to be no clear basis for refraining from caffeine containing drinks in situations where fluid balance might be compromised.

So, the next time someone tells you that you shouldn’t drink coffee because it will dry you up like a California Raisin, send them over to Health Habits for a little book learnin’.

And once again, like those guys on the Discovery Channel, I declare this nutrition myth…BUSTED

myth-busted

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Fitness Scam or Miracle Supplement?

Earlier today, I came upon this online ad.

i got ripped

Wow!!!

Paul got ripped in 4 weeks…without killing himself in the gym or dieting.

However did he do it?

I have to know….Must follow link…to this site….

pauls hollywood workout

Double Wow!!!

It gets even better….a FREE super supplement used by hollywood actors to get ripped in 4 weeks without killing themselves in the gym or dieting

It almost seems too good to be true.

But, Paul looks like an honest guy, so I click through to check out the secret to his success…Muscle Might

muscle might

Triple Wow!!!

  • The World’s #1 Selling Muscle Building Supplement
  • A Risk Free Trial
  • A Chance at a $1000 prize
  • and I can get ripped in 4 weeks without killing myself in the gym or dieting

Sign Me Up!!!

But wait, maybe this offer is too good to be true.

Perhaps I need a little cooling off period.

This feels like one of those impulse purchases I have been hearing about….

(30 minute cooling off period…imagine the theme from Jeopardy playing)

….I’m back, and it’s not an impulse purchase. I still want to take advantage of Paul’s kind No Risk Offer.

So, let’s head back to Paul’s website….and what the???

pauls hollywood workout

Who’s this guy?

That’s not Paul.

And what the hell is Ultimate Acai Max?

Where’s my #1 Best Selling Muscle Building Supplement – Muscle Might?

Arrrrggggghhhh!!!!!

Paul lied to me.

I feel so used

.

But wait, it gets worse.

I’m not alone in my shame.

According to web traffic reporting sites

Alexa

alexa

and Quantcast

quantcast

…a lot of people are being sucked in by Paul’s fat burning, muscle building siren’s call.

And my question to them is…is anyone buying buying this stuff?

Does anyone believe pretend Paul?

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Waves and Waves of HIIT

This workout is dedicated to the “skinny-fat” cardio guy at my gym…you know who you are.

It’s a simple HIIT workout that is guaranteed to have you sweating buckets and burning mega calories.

THE WORKOUT

Cardio equipment of your choice (I recommend an exercise bike, but an elliptical or Versa Climber are acceptable alternatives)

  • 10 min steady state cardio at 60% of maximum perceived intensity
  • 10 min of alternating duration (Wave) sprints
  • Sprint #1: 10 sec sprint / 50 sec rest
  • Sprint #2: 15 sec sprint / 45 sec rest
  • Sprint #3: 20 sec sprint / 40 sec rest
  • Repeat for 10 sprints
  • 5 min steady state cardio at 60% of max intensity

Beginners are now finished….go home and rest

However, if you think you can handle some more HIIT, please feel free to do another:

  • 10 min of alternating duration sprints – same as above
  • 5 min steady state cardio at 60% of max intensity

And now, go home…seriously.

Note: HIIT sprints are designed to be performed at maximum intensity for maximum benefit. If your intensity starts to drop below 90% of your best effort, shut it down and call it a day. Intensity is key. It’s better to do 5 sprints at 100% intensity than 10 sprints at 75%

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Chipotle Lime Catfish

Chipotle Lime Catfish

I remember as a young fella going fishing with the boy scouts (ahh, I was Angelic looking as you can imagine) and on occasion catching a catfish. We’d always just throw them back in as we were told they were inedible, though the people in Texas would beg to differ! There are Catfish Parlours all over the map there. According to Wikipedia, the most commonly eaten catfish species in the States are the channel catfish and blue catfish, both of which are common in the wild and increasingly widely farmed. Farm-raised catfish became such a staple of the diet of the United States (I’m pretty sure Texas played a substantial role in it) that on June 25, 1987, President Ronald Reagan established National Catfish Day to recognize “the value of farm-raised catfish.” Catfish is eaten in a variety of ways; in Europe it is often cooked in similar ways to carp, but in the United States it is typically crumbed with cornmeal and fried. Now, how ’bout that for some good info?

I think usually catfish is one of those fish that we don’t always gravitate to in the store because some people just don’t know what to do with it but once you get the hang of it, you’ll really enjoy it especially since it’s not expensive and it’s sustainable. I’ve made some delicious fish tacos with catfish and most recently Cajun spiced with Chard & Leek Saute. This is another tasty way to whip up a quick n’ easy dinner. How times have changed!

Continue reading the full recipe here and don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE to the HEALTHY IRISHMAN Newsletter!

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Fueling your body with healthy food. Fueling your mind with the wealth of health.

Copyright © 2009 The Healthy Irishman. All rights reserved

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Transformation #2 – Me

Doug...happy & sweaty @ the gym

Every autumn, I dedicate my workouts to strength & power.

I set myself a goal, hit the gym and unleash the beast.

This year, my goal was to press 350 lbs overhead.

And, as that stupid grin on my face can attest to, not only did I achieve my goal, I crushed it by pressing 365 lbs overhead. Woo Hoo!

Unfortunately, along with all this superhuman strength comes some superhuman eating and a wee bit of extra body-fat.

As of this morning, I weighed in at 252.2 lbs @ 15.4% body-fat.

doug's body composition Dec 2

Way too p-p-porky for my liking.

So, as I do every winter, I clean up my diet and start a new training program similar to the one I gave to the Healthy Irishman.

The goal being that I drop my body-fat down to 10% without losing much muscle mass.

doug's body composition goal

What is new for this year is that I will be doing this transformation in front of my millions and millions of readers.

In the next few days, I will post an outline of workout & nutrition plans.

I will also post my daily workouts here. Feel free to sign up for email updates if you want to follow along.

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Is There A Link Between Exercise and Arthritis?

knee pain jointAccording to a study being presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America, “Middle-aged men and women who engage in high levels of physical activity may be unknowingly causing damage to their knees and increasing their risk for osteoarthritis”.

“Our data suggest that people with higher physical activity levels may be at greater risk for developing knee abnormalities and, thus, at higher risk for developing osteoarthritis.”

And in case you didn’t know…Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that causes pain, swelling and stiffness. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and affects approximately 10% of the American population.

The Study

The study involved 236 asymptomatic participants who had not reported previous knee pain – (136 women and 100 men, age 45 to 55, all within a healthy weight range.)

The participants were separated into low-, middle-, and high-activity groups based on their responses to the Physical Activity Scale for the Elderly (PASE) questionnaire. PASE is a standard test that scores an older individual’s physical activity level, based on the type of activity and the time spent doing it.

Then came the MRIs.

Radiologists scanned the knees of the test subjects and compared their findings to the levels of physical activity as determined by the PASE questionnaire.

Sadly, the MRI analysis indicated a relationship between physical activity levels and frequency and severity of knee damage.

tiger woods knee

The Details

Specific knee abnormalities identified included meniscal lesions, cartilage lesions, bone marrow edema and ligament lesions. Abnormalities were associated solely with activity levels and were not age or gender specific.

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  • The prevalence of the knee abnormalities increased with the level of physical activity.
  • In addition, cartilage defects diagnosed in active people were more severe.
  • The findings also indicated that some activities carry a greater risk of knee damage over time.

“This study and previous studies by our group suggest that high-impact, weight-bearing physical activity, such as running and jumping, may be worse for cartilage health.”

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“Conversely, low-impact activities, such as swimming and cycling, may protect diseased cartilage and prevent healthy cartilage from developing disease.”

Their Conclusion

The researchers concluded that there is a need for prospective studies to evaluate the influence of low-impact versus high-impact physical activity on disease progression.

My Conclusion(s)

  • Our bodies wear down with use. This should not come as a surprise to anyone 40+ years of age. Odds are there are lots of things that you can’t do that you could do in your teens or twenties. (see Viagra)
  • With age comes wisdom. Or at least it’s supposed to. As a kid, I never included a warm-up into my workout. Nothing hurt, so why would I warm-up? Today, if I skip the warm-up, things hurt.
  • Additionally, since I have become a slightly-older, slightly wiser version of myself, I have eliminated or modified the types of exercise that cause me pain – long distance running, 1 leg pistol squats, football, various weightlifting exercises, high intensity plyometric jumps, etc…

And with these modifications, I eliminated the nagging knee & shoulder pains that had begun to crop up.

My Other Conclusion(s)

  • No exercise is perfect for every person. Swimmers often suffer with shoulder pain. Cyclists often develop muscle imbalances due to their posture while cycling. Yoginis suffer joint injuries.
  • The body you have today is different from the body you had 20 years ago. Treat it as such.
  • Your body is different from my body. What works for me might not work as well for you.
  • Your body will tell you what is best for it. If your knees swell up after going for a long jog…maybe you shouldn’t go for a long jog. If your shoulders hurt after a set of overhead presses, maybe you should find a way to modify or replace that exercise.
  • There is a difference between high intensity exercises performed properly & high intensity exercises performed improperly.
  • Before giving up on “high intensity” exercises that require running & jumping, see if you can find a better way to do them. Try to modify before you eliminate.
  • Look at correcting postural imbalances that may lead to injuries
  • Consider purchasing rehabilitation equipment designed to prevent injuries

and most importantly, remember this…

You would rather visit an orthopedist than a cardiologist……so get off your butt and get some exercise.


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Leftover Turkey Soup

Leftover Turkey Soup

Ah, another Thanksgiving has come and gone. By now you’re all probably completely and utterly over turkey. I wouldn’t blame you. With the size of turkeys nowadays there’s enough meat on there to feed a whole African village! We began our gorging with the actual turkey which lead into turkey sandwiches the next day and the next. Finally taking off whatever meat is left in order to make stock with the bones, the next obvious step is to make a delicious easy soup with the stock (and if you have turkey still left over–good luck!!)
Here’s how it’s done:

Continue reading the full recipe here and don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE to the HEALTHY IRISHMAN Newsletter!

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Fueling your body with healthy food. Fueling your mind with the wealth of health.

Copyright © 2009 The Healthy Irishman. All rights reserved

Health Habits P.I.

magnum_pi_tom_selleck

Earlier this month, Health Habits went undercover.

I approached 10 of the biggest, most powerful names in the fitness/weight loss business, and I tried to get the answer to one simple but powerful question.

But, before I get to the question, let me explain my motivation behind this little adventure.

  1. Obviously, I am obsessed with health/fitness/weight loss
  2. I am always searching for easier & more effective ways to help people transform their bodies from flab to fab, from fat to fit, etc…
  3. While I think that certain ways of eating and exercising are superior to other methods, I believe that the key to improved health & fitness is consistency. The best training or diet plan is useless if you don’t follow it consistently.

So, being a wee minnow in the ocean of health & fitness, I decided to pick the brains of the giant whales of the industry.

Here’s what I did:

I emailed these fitness gurus and told them that some friends of mine had experienced great success with their program, but that I was having trouble sticking with the plan. I would lose some weight, cheat, gain the weight back…

Did they have any advice on how to improve my adherence to their amazing plan?

The Results

  • 3 of the 10 never responded to my emails (3 attempts)
  • An additional 3 of the 10 recommended that I purchase their book.
  • 2 of the 10 suggested that I join their online coaching program
  • and the remaining 2 of 10 actually replied with a personal response.

Of those two responses,

The first recommended that I needed to set goals and work step by step towards those goal.

Set goals…seriously?….Why didn’t I think of that? (sarcasm)

So, at this point, I was pretty bummed about the results of my little undercover private investigation.

But then this happened…

Doug,

Thanks for the email.

Your problem is one that I have personally and professionally experienced many times over the years, and to be honest, I don’t have a “fool proof” answer to your question.

My experience has shown me that every person is unique and that they need to find their own motivation. The thing that motivates me might not motivate you.

All I can suggest is that you try to find something that creates an emotional response down deep in your heart. Take that emotion and use it to fight those bad habits that we all have.

I hope this helps

So, whaddaya think of that?

My faith in human nature has been restored.

A multi-millionaire personal trainer to the stars has his own problems and is willing to admit that he doesn’t have all the answers.

But, where does that leave us?

Is there a magic answer to my question?

How do we train ourselves to stick with the game plan?

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Belly Fat Doubles Your Risk of Dementia

This post is for all of those readers who are getting on in years and still think that carrying a “spare tire” around their middles is no big problem.

Researchers have found that women who store body-fat around their midsection (see Apple) are more than twice as likely to develop dementia when they get older.

apple vs pear

FYI, the symptoms of dementia include:

  • Progressive memory loss
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Decrease in problem-solving skills and judgment capability
  • Confusion, severe
  • Hallucinations and delusions
  • Altered sensation or perception
  • Impaired recognition (agnosia)
  • Impaired recognition of familiar objects or persons
  • Impaired recognition through the senses
  • Altered sleep patterns

The Study

The research is based on the Prospective Population Study of Women in Gothenburg, which was started at the end of the 1960s when almost 1,500 women between the ages of 38 and 60 underwent comprehensive examinations and answered questions about their health and lifestyle.

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A follow-up 32 years later showed that 161 women had developed dementia, with the average age of diagnosis being 75. This study shows that women who were broader around the waist than the hips in middle age ran slightly more than twice the risk of developing dementia when they got old.

Conclusion

Dementia is not a good thing.

It’s not good for the person suffering from it and it’s not good for their loved ones.

So, if you, or someone you love is shaped like an apple, do something about it.

And luckily, I just so happen to have about a million articles here on how to lose that belly-fat

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High Intensity meets High Tech

It’s no secret – I love High Intensity Interval Training.

  • I love that it’s great for melting body-fat
  • I love that it’s great for improving aerobic fitness
  • I love that it’s great for improving anaerobic fitness
  • And I love the fact that I get all of these benefits without having to spend hours on a treadmill like some kind of human/gerbil hybrid.

do-your-tabatas

BUT, one thing I don’t like about HIIT/Tabata Training is that intensity is highly subjective.

When I tell a client that I want 100% on a set of interval sprints, how can I know that they are giving 100% effort.

How do we measure intensity?

Well, up until now, here’s what I have been doing (I will use HIIT bike sprints as an example)

  • After an adequate warm-up, I set the exercise bike at the appropriate level of resistance.
  • Then we start banging out 10 second sprints going as fast as possible
  • I help things along by “encouraging” my client to go faster.
  • I also ask the client to track the number of revolution one leg makes during the 10 second sprint.
  • For example, a new client recently tested out at 25, 27, 28, 28, 29, 27 and 24 revolutions per leg per 10 seconds. (bike resistance set at level 7 of 10)
  • This means that their maximum speed at resistance level 7 was 29 revs per leg per 10 sec.
  • This is also the number we now use to judge performance.

If they pedal slower than 29 rev @ level 7, then they are either fatiguing, not working hard enough or just having a bad day.

It’s not very high tech, but it has worked pretty well…up until now.

Now, I want to get my hands on some of this technology.

These new pieces of technology (Pulse Oximeters, portable ECGs and Activity Monitors) are being used right now by elite level athletes and in research settings to determine how to make exercise more efficient.

And when you consider that every IPhone and Google Android phone comes equipped with a built-in accelerometer, a proximity sensor and is bluetooth ready, it is highly likely that in the very near future, you are going to be able to ramp up the efficiency of your workouts by at least 25%.

And where did I get that 25%, you might ask?

And the answer is…from this study.

Without going into all of the highly technical details, researchers used some of the technology mentioned above to collect performance data while putting their test subjects through a modified Tabata workout.

data setThen they took that data, combined it with the data collected via a medical survey questionnaire and plugged it into a data mining decision tree.

I told you it was technical.

The upshot is that after all of this data was crunched, the researchers were able to design optimized interval training programs personalized for each and every test subject.

And, as a result of those optimized programs, the test subjects were able to improve their performance by 29.54%

What do you think of that!!!

29.54%

I can’t wait to get my hands on some of this technology.

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Holiday Gift Guide for the Fitness Geek ver 1.0

festivusDid you know that it’s only 32 days until Christmas, 23 days until Hanukkah and 30 days until that most glorious of holidays…Festivus?

Have you finished all of your holiday shopping?

Have you picked out your Festivus pole?

Have you prepared your list of grievances?

No?

Well, you came to the right place.

Over the next few days, I will be posting some of my Health Habits approved™ holiday gift giving solutions for those near and dear to your heart.

Today, I am starting with one of my favorite fitness training books.

Never Let Go by Dan John

never let go - dan john

In the world of strength training, Dan John is a breath of fresh air.

Where other strength gurus design overly complex training programs in an attempt to impress their peers, Dan writes programs that are simple enough for a beginner to understand.

But, don’t let that simplicity give you the wrong impression.

While they are easy to understand, Dan’s training programs are based upon the best combination of old-school know-how and bleeding edge exercise science.

And it’s that blending of the new & the old that sets Dan apart from his peers.

So, if there is someone on your holiday shopping list who is trying to get stronger, faster or just plain fitter…pick them up a copy of Never Let Go.

BTW, Dan was the guy that introduced Tabata training to the non-scientific world.

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Workout Tunes #1

Music can be a powerful workout tool.

Especially on days when I just don’t feel like working out.

These are the days when I throw on the headphones and listen to a little Rage Against The Machine.

Nothing gets the blood pumping like Rage.

Persimmon Couscous Stuffed Turkey Breast

Persimmon & CousCous Stuffed Turkey

Gobble Gobble (as the actress said to the bishop). It’s Turkey time! If you saw my turkey post recently you’ll now know what type of turkey you should be getting as we know there’s going to be lots eaten over the next month or so. There will be soups, sandwiches, stews, stocks, casseroles and God knows what else we can think to make with Mr. Turkey. Salting, roasting, brining–each American family has their own style to cook the bird. But what if your family is small and you’d rather not cook an entire turkey? I’ve got you covered!

I’ve made stuffed turkey breasts before (here and here) but for this recipe I wanted to give you the idea of stuffing the breast with something a bit more out of the ordinary yet still in keeping with Thanksgiving flavours. PersimmonsGuess you could say it’s a modern twist on the classic turkey & stuffing. I came across Persimmons in my CSA box and though I don’t have much experience with them after one bite I knew I had to use them. In November and December persimmons are at their peak. I kept expecting the fruit to soften like a peach but as it turns out this type of persimmon, the Fuyu, is eaten like an apple. The taste of the flesh inside reminded me of a sweeter cantaloupe with the texture of a firm pear. The persimmon’s delightful flavour and texture turned out to be lovely addition to this dish.

Continue reading the full recipe here and don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE to the HEALTHY IRISHMAN Newsletter!

When you do you’ll receive a FREE Entertainment Booklet with recipes and tips for your next dinner party.

Fueling your body with healthy food. Fueling your mind with the wealth of health.

Copyright © 2009 The Healthy Irishman. All rights reserved

Did You Take Your Vitamin D This Morning?

  • Winter is on the way people.
  • And along with the frigid temperatures and slushy sidewalks, winter means less sunshine.
  • And less sunshine means less Vitamin D.

And, according to this study, less Vitamin D means you have an increased risk of stroke, heart disease and death.

vitamin-D

 

The Study

For more than a year, the Intermountain Medical Center research team followed 27,686 patients who were 50 years of age or older with no prior history of cardiovascular disease. The participants had their blood Vitamin D levels tested during routine clinical care. The patients were divided into three groups based on their Vitamin D levels – normal (over 30 nanograms per milliliter), low (15-30 ng/ml), or very low (less than 15 ng/ml). The patients were then followed to see if they developed some form of heart disease.

Researchers found that patients with very low levels of Vitamin D were 77 percent more likely to die, 45 percent more likely to develop coronary artery disease, and 78 percent were more likely to have a stroke than patients with normal levels. Patients with very low levels of Vitamin D were also twice as likely to develop heart failure than those with normal Vitamin D levels.

The researchers concluded “that among patients 50 years of age or older, even a moderate deficiency of Vitamin D levels was associated with developing coronary artery disease, heart failure, stroke, and death,” she says. “This is important because Vitamin D deficiency is easily treated.

If increasing levels of Vitamin D can decrease some risk associated with these cardiovascular diseases, it could have a significant public health impact. When you consider that cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in America, you understand how this research can help improve the length and quality of people’s lives.”

So, did you take your Vitamin D today?

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What does Healthy Look Like?

According to research out of the UK, the color of a person’s skin affects how healthy and therefore how attractive they appear.

And since the color of a person’s skin is directly influenced by the quality of their diet, the researchers concluded that your diet may be crucial to achieving the most desirable complexion and therefore maximizing your attractiveness.

So, it’s true…you are what you eat. Or, in this case, you’re as attractive as you eat.

Note – Researchers were looking exclusively at Caucasian test subjects. The research was not concerned with racially differentiated skin colors. Draw your own conclusions.

The Study

Using specialist computer software, a total of 54 Caucasian participants of both sexes were asked to manipulate the skin color of male and female Caucasian faces to make them look as healthy as possible. They chose to increase the rosiness, yellowness and brightness of the skin.

“Most previous work on faces has focused on the shape of the face or the texture of the skin, but one of the most variable characteristics of the face is skin color,” said Dr. Ian Stephen who is now at the University of Bristol.

“We knew from our previous work that people who have more blood and more oxygen color in their skins looked healthy, and so we decided to see what other colors affect health perceptions.

Skin that is slightly flushed with blood and full of oxygen suggests a strong heart and lungs, supporting the study’s findings that rosier skin appeared healthy. Smokers and people with diabetes or heart disease have fewer blood vessels in their skin, and so skin would appear less rosy.

whathealthylookslike - red face

The preference for more golden or ‘yellow-toned’ skin as healthier might be explained by the ‘carotenoid pigments’ that we get from the fruit and vegetables in our diet. These plant pigments are powerful antioxidants that soak up dangerous compounds produced when the body combats disease. They are also important for our immune and reproductive systems and may help prevent cancer.

whathealthylookslike - yellow face

 

They are the same dietary pigments that brightly colored birds and fish use to show off their healthiness and attract mates, and the researchers think that similar biological mechanisms may be at work in humans.

“In the West we often think that sun tanning is the best way to improve the color of your skin,” said Ian Stephen, “but our research suggests that living a healthy lifestyle with a good diet might actually be better.”

Melanin, the pigment that causes the tan color when skin is exposed to the sun makes the skin darker and more yellow, but participants in the study chose to make skin lighter and more yellow to make it look healthier.

whathealthylookslike - bright face

Conclusion

Beauty = Health

And until all of us start carrying our health records around with us, we will have to rely on our ancient “lizard brains” to determine if another person looks healthy and therefore attractive.

 

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Reference

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We (almost) have the technology to make you leaner, stronger, fitter…

Back in the 70s, Colonel Steve Austin was the Six Million Dollar Man…a NASA astronaut nearly killed during a test flight.

But, luckily for him, NASA had the technology to rebuild him…better than he was before..better..stronger..faster

And luckily for all of us, we are pretty close to having the technology to help make us leaner..stronger..fitter…and healthier.

Thanks to researchers at St. Louis University, we may soon have access to smartphone applications that will help us transform our bodies from fat to fit.

And I am not talking about first generation apps that tell you the number of calories in a Big Mac or produce a generic computer generated workout.

CADA interface
CADA interface

I am talking about software that is being used currently on a group of elderly Chinese diabetic patients (not necessarily the most tech-savvy group on the planet).

This new technology uses interactive smartphone games and various logging features to help the elderly diabetics manage their health and learn more about their condition.

Initial studies of the interactive diabetes self-management system, called the Chinese Aged Diabetic Assistant (CADA), are promising, researchers found. The system enables diabetics to track their blood glucose, weight, diet, exercise, mood and blood pressure – valuable information that will assist their doctors in providing the best care possible.

“This project did not start out as a gaming project, but we did a lot of groundwork – from looking at the health care infrastructure in China to conducting focus groups with older diabetics and interviewing various providers – and found that gaming was a persuasive way to engage patients in managing their personal health.”

The games vary in purpose. For example, researchers created a “food pyramid” type game, which encourages gamers to eat a balanced diet, limit high-sugar foods and watch their daily intake of fat and salt.

Applications including a trivia game and a tile matching game, in which gamers connect the necessary components for a healthy lifestyle, were popular educational choices among the test group.

While games engage and motivate the patients, smartphones makes the technology convenient.

First, smartphones are mobile, meaning patients can use them at any time or any place. They can be used as small, inexpensive computers even if no network infrastructure is in place. If connections are in place, smartphones make it easy for patients to share health information with their providers, care givers and others within personal network. Also, because many users are already mobile phone owners, including some smartphone users, adapting the technology is feasible for patients, providers and hospitals.

Smartphone technology may even offer a solution to better managing health care costs for chronic conditions, says Mark Gaynor, Ph.D., associate professor of public health at the School of Public Health.

The only way to cut the cost of caring for people with chronic conditions is to enable the patients to self manage their health. In order to do that, though, self-management must be reasonable and easy to do. Smart phone technology makes it easy for patients to track important health information.”

So what about us non-diabetics?

There are almost endless opportunities for using smartphone technology in health care, researchers say.”Imagine walking into a McDonalds and having your cell phone recognize your location and make healthy menu recommendations – all this and more is possible with smartphone technology.” (why do they always use McDonalds as the restaurant example?)

Researchers say smartphones can make tracking one’s health easier and more convenient. In the future, CADA users will be able to share information with their providers and receive important health reminders. They are also working on Bluetooth-enabled devices, such as a scale that communicates with the phone to record and track daily measurements and a blood sugar monitor that automatically records daily readings on the phone.

And while it’s true that this technology doesn’t have the pizzazz of a pair of bionic legs, I think that its potential to integrate healthier behaviors into our day to day lives is powerful stuff.

True, it took an explosion in global obesity levels to get peoples attention, but finally, there is growing public awareness that we can and should take better care of our bodies.

And, if tools like the CADA smartphone make it easier to get fit, then maybe, just maybe, we aren’t doomed to a future where we evolve into this…

wall-e-captain-fat

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Reference

  • CADA project website

CrossTraining for Strength

Occasionally, I still design training programs for Strongman and Powerlifting competitors.

zydrunas savickas

And the hardest thing about designing those programs is that these guys never, ever want to do anything except train for strength.

No rehab/prehab work, no HIIT, no flexibility/joint mobility work and certainly no cardio.

They are all too afraid that if they do any of that stuff, they will lose strength.

Arggghhhh!!!

No matter what I say, they don’t want to listen.

So, when I read the excerpt to this study, I actually laughed out loud….and then sent out a bunch of emails beginning with “I told you so”.

The Study

Researchers compared a traditional resistance training program designed to increase strength with a CrossTraining style of program that combined strength & endurance training.

The study lasted 16 weeks and was tested on 38 sedentary, apparently healthy males (25 yr +/- 8 mo).

Subjects were age matched and assigned to 1 of 3 groups.

  1. A control group (Con)
  2. A resistance training group (Res)
  3. A crosstraining group (Cross)

After 16 weeks, no changes were found in the strength of the subjects in the Con group .

But surprisingly, after 16 weeks, researchers found that both the Res group & the Cross group were equally effective at “eliciting improvements in strength”.

They concluded that “concurrent resistance and endurance training (CrossTraining) does not impede muscular strength gains and can be prescribed simultaneously for the development of strength in sedentary, apparently healthy males and thus may invoke all the physiologic adaptations of resistance and endurance training at once.

So, for all of those guys who think that doing some HIIT or (shudder) cardio is going to steal all of your strength…RELAX

Rubens_samson

CrossTraining (done properly) can give you the best of both worlds.

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Losing Weight is Simple…but it ain't easy

I just about got my butt kicked at the gym this weekend…by a 50-something, morbidly obese woman with a fetish for unproductive cardio workouts.

Here’s what happened.

After finishing my workout, I was chatting with some other gym members about the best ways to lose weight, get fit, etc.

During the conversation, I made the unfortunate decision to proclaim that losing weight is simple, but not easy.

Bad move on my part. Little did I know that our conversation was being overheard by the aforementioned 50-something morbidly obese cardio junkie.

And after hearing my comment, she decided to join the conversation. Unfortunately, she pretty much went nuclear.

I couldn’t make out much of what she was saying due to all the screaming and profanity, but I think the gist of it was that:

  1. I didn’t know what I was talking about
  2. She had “fat” genetics and her obesity wasn’t her fault
  3. I was prejudiced against overweight people
  4. and then the profanity started again.

The entire gym stopped…and watched…Fun times.

Luckily for me, I was so blissed out on my post-workout endorphins, that this verbal onslaught had little effect on my good mood, and I was able to weather the storm. And, with the help of the other gym members, we calmed her down and she actually started to listen.

Over the next 20 minutes, we discussed a lot of the lies and half-truths surrounding weight loss.

I explained that successful weight loss is as simple as:

  1. Choosing an effective nutrition program
  2. Choosing an effective exercise program
  3. Learning how to control destructive thoughts & emotions.

But, it is learning how to control those thoughts and emotions that makes successful weight loss nearly impossible for a lot of people.

Ergo…simple, but not easy. And, believe it or not, 20 minutes after it all started, Ms. Angry Cardio Junkie and I were hugging it out…which was a little gross considering she had just finished 80 minutes of cardio.

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Almond Crusted Chicken

Almond Crusted Chicken

Now I know it’s coming up to turkey season with Thanksgiving and Christmas around the corner (where’d the year go?) but I get asked a lot of how to spice up boring old chicken.
Previously I made a pecan crusted turkey dish and had some great feedback from that so I decided to do something with it’s step-cousin, chicken. I know you can’t beat a perfectly roasted chicken but here’s a great alternative if you fancy some nuts ‘n’ spice (as the actress said to the bishop).

I love almonds and I snack on them quite a bit so I figured why not try them as a breading. I added some gluten-free breadcrumbs and toasted cumin seeds to the mixture and it turned out quite tasty.

I served the chicken with grilled veg which I tossed with fresh tomatoes then quickly sauteed with freshly chopped oregano, thyme and olive oil–the business!

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Fitness Equipment Deathmatch #1

In the tradition of my Nutrition Deathmatches #1 and #2, today’s post compares and contrasts two different pieces of fitness equipment.

First up, the Wellness Belt

To be completely honest, I had never heard of the Wellness Belt until this morning when I heard a commercial for this product while listening to a radio station marketed towards Zoomers.

I could not believe what I was hearing.

According to the commercial, the Wellness Belt is the health breakthrough that every soon to be senior citizen has been waiting for.

Simply by wearing the ultra-fashionable Wellness Belt throughout your day to day activities, you will experience:

  1. Effortless Weight Loss
  2. The Elimination of Back Pain
  3. A Reversal of Osteoporosis
  4. Improved cardio-vascular fitness, a reduction in cholesterol, high blood pressure and a lowered risk of heart attack
  5. Improved posture, reduced back pain, less intense headaches and migraines, increased neck range of motion and elimination of menstrual cramping. People with scoliosis have reported reduced tightness in the spine.
  6. Increased free time as you never have to exercise ever again

Sounds great!!!

How do I get one?

Well, I’ll tell you.

For a limited time, you can save $30 off the regular price!!!

That’s right. For just $167.97 +s/h & applicable taxes, you too can own your very own Wellness Belt.

kettlebellOR for less money, I can buy a set of 6 indestructible exercise bands and a single kettlebell.

With this equipment, I can expect to experience:

  1. Actual Fat Loss
  2. Increased Muscle Mass
  3. Increased Strength
  4. Increased Anaerobic Endurance
  5. Improved Body Image
  6. Improved Sex Appeal
  7. An Improvement in many types of Pain (back, head, neck) caused by Muscular Imbalances
  8. A Potential Improvement in Osteoporosis due to increased Osteoblast production caused by longitudinal loading of the long bones of the body.
  9. Improved Cardio-Vascular Fitness
  10. Increased pride as I know that I earned my new and improved body.

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What to do, what to do?

On one hand, I have a product that requires no effort, is unlikely to do anything useful and is only being purchased by the self-deluded and extremely dim-witted.

On the other hand, I have a set of products that are going to require time, effort and buckets of sweat. But in return, I am pretty sure to transform my body into something I can be proud of.

Darn it, I cant decide.

What do you think?

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The No Excuses Workout

This workout is designed for all of those people who say they would like to exercise, but when push comes to shove:

  1. they don’t have enough money for a gym membership, or
  2. they can’t run because they have bad knees, or
  3. they don’t have enough space in their tiny bachelor apartment.

It’s my No Excuses Workout.

Program Goals:

  • Improved Aerobic & Anaerobic Fitness
  • Accelerated Fat Loss
  • Increased Muscular Strength
  • Correction of Typical Muscular Imbalances

The workout consists of 2 workouts that can be performed twice per week for a total of 4 workouts

The remaining 3 days of the week can be devoted to the walking program outlined in Boomer Bodyweight Workout #1

WORKOUT #1

Superset #1

Perform the following two exercises back to back for 5 minutes with no rest between sets

  • Chair Squats – Maximum 20 reps per set
  • Push-Ups – Maximum 10 reps per set – choose a push-up version that matches your level of fitness

Superset #2

Perform the following two exercises back to back for 5 minutes with no rest between sets

Superset #3

Perform the following two exercises back to back for 5 minutes with no rest between sets

  • Shuffle LungeMaximum 30 reps total for both legs
  • Plank – Work up to 60 seconds

Repeat all 3 supersets 2 to 3 times

One complete circuit of all 3 supersets takes 15 minutes + any rest you take between supersets. Two circuits will take 30 min +. Three circuits will take 45 min+

It’s important to keep rest to an absolute minimum. This is how you are getting the aerobic benefit of the workout.

WORKOUT #2

Superset #1

Perform the following two exercises back to back for 5 minutes with no rest between sets

1 or 2 Leg Hip Thrusts – Maximum 20 reps total for both legs

Bodyweight Tricep Extensions – Maximum 10 reps

Superset #2

Perform the following two exercises back to back for 5 minutes with no rest between sets

Bulgarian Split Squats – Maximum 10 reps per leg

Bear Crawls – Crawl 5 yards forward, reverse and crawl 5 yards backward

Superset #3

Perform the following two exercises back to back for 5 minutes with no rest between sets

Reverse Lunges – Maximum 10 reps per leg

Plank – Work up to 60 seconds

Repeat all 3 supersets 2 to 3 times

One complete circuit of all 3 supersets takes 15 minutes + any rest you take between supersets. Two circuits will take 30 min +. Three circuits will take 45 min+

It’s important to keep rest to an absolute minimum. This is how you are getting the aerobic benefit of the workout.

And remember to go at your own pace. The goal is to get healthy.

If you are a beginner, it is most important to learn how to perform the exercise well before picking up the intensity. Use some common sense people.

For advanced trainees, focus on reducing rest time and increasing the difficulty of the exercise.

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Transformation #1 – the Healthy Irishman – Workouts #2 & 3

The transformation of the Healthy Irishman (and bro) continues

And they’re both going to be nasty workouts

Sesame Street v.s. Childhood Obesity

grover sesame street exercise

Sesame Street has joined the battle against childhood obesity.

First, it was Grover getting into the gym and pumping some iron.

Then, it was the Cookie Monster kicking his cookie addiction and switching to a diet heavy on fruits and vegetables.

Things were looking good in this battle between fit and fat.

Unfortunately, not everyone believed in the cause. There were traitors amongst us….

http://www.oliverwillis.com/files/flvplayer.swf?file=http://www.oliverwillis.com/files/colbert-cookiemonster.flv&autoStart=false

Cookie Monster Defends His Honor Vs. Colbert – Watch more Videos at Vodpod.

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But luckily, for every Stephen Colbert, there is a Michelle Obama, willing to stand up against video games and Twinkies and Big Gulps.

On this weeks 40th anniversary show, First Lady Michelle Obama helped a group of children plant a vegetable garden on Sesame Street.

And just like those vegetable seeds will eventually take root and grow into mature plants, let’s hope that the message of eating healthy and exercising daily will take root in the minds of a new generation of Sesame Street viewers.
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Transformation #1 – the Healthy Irishman – Workout #1

Yesterday, I outlined the Irishman’s transformation.

Today, I will post Workout #1….feel free to try it out for yourself

WARM-UP

  • Goblet Squat (DB) x 8 reps
  • Push-Up x 8 reps
  • Body Weight Row x 8 reps
  • Shuffle Lunge x 30 reps
  • Ab Wheel Roll-Outs x 8 reps
  • DB Swings x 20 reps
  • Hip Flexor Stretch x 8 reps

Repeat as many times as possible in 10 minutes (no rest between exercises – 30 sec. rest between supersets)

Note – You NEED to get through this at least 3 times in 10 min.

By the end of the 10 min. warm-up, the Irishman should be sweating hard and gasping for breath.

WORKOUT

Superset #1

  • Alternate between exercise #1 and #2  for 10 minutes
  • No rest between sets

Exercise # 1

  • Goblet Squat
  • Choose a weight that would allow you to perform 20 quality reps (doesn’t have to be exact, weight selection will improve with experience)
  • Perform a maximum of 10 reps per set (at first, this will seem very easy..don’t worry, after 10 minutes you legs will be dying)

Exercise # 2

  • DB Lateral Raise / DB Bent-Over Lateral Raise
  • Choose a weight that would allow you to perform 20 quality reps (doesn’t have to be exact, weight selection will improve with experience)
  • Perform a maximum of 10 reps per set (by the end of 10 min, you may only be getting 1 or 2 reps per set, but remember 100% intensity)
  • Alternate between shoulder exercises –  ie Goblet/Laterals/Goblet/Bent-Over Lateral/Goblet/Lateral/Goblet/ Bent-Over Lateral…

5 Minutes rest between supersets #1 and #2 – Use that time to set up for superset #2

Superset #2

  • Alternate between exercise #1 and #2  for 10 minutes
  • No rest between sets

Exercise # 1

  • Swing Snatch
  • Choose a weight that would allow you to perform 40 quality reps
  • Perform a maximum of 20 reps per set

Exercise # 2

  • Cable Straight Arm Pushdown (aka the Vertical Woodchop or Hi-Lo Slam)
  • Choose a weight that would allow you to perform 20 quality reps
  • Perform a maximum of 10 reps per set
  • Be explosive with these

5 Minutes rest between supersets #2 and #3

Superset #3

  • Alternate between exercise #1 and #2  for 10 minutes
  • No rest between sets

Exercise # 1

  • 1 Arm Kneeling Pulldown (or 1 Arm Alternating Standing Pulldown if 1 arm is n/a)
  • Choose a weight that would allow you to perform 20 quality reps
  • Perform a maximum of 10 reps per set

Exercise # 2

  • Shuffle Lunge
  • Bodyweight
  • 30 reps per set
  • Focus on speed…shuffle those feet

Go Home…you’re finished

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Exercise Videos

Goblet Squat

Lateral Raises

Bent-Over Lateral Raises

Swing Snatch

Straight Arm Pushdown

Pulldown variations

Shuffle Lunge

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Transformation #1 – the Healthy Irishman – Workout Overview

jason-statham-shirtless-trans3

The other day on my blog, I introduced you to the Healthy Irishman and his plans to transform his body. Here is a link to that post.

Today, I will be outlining his program.

PROGRAM GOALS

  • The client want to add approx. 10 lbs of lean muscle.
  • Improve definition.
  • Improve fitness
  • Doesn’t want to look like a bodybuilder…more like LL Cool J or Jason Statham

llcoolj

PROGRAM OVERVIEW

This program is designed to:

  • provide maximum hypertrophy stimulus, while
  • supercharging anaerobic fitness and overall athleticism

In short, this program is going to make the Irishman bigger, stronger, faster, more flexible and hopefully reverse some of his dysfunction in his left shoulder.

THE WARM-UP

Unlike most programs, the warm-up doesn’t just get the Irishman ready for the workout, it is part of the workout.

I have designed two separate warm-ups that he will perform on alternate days.

Each warm-up is designed to dynamically stretch his joints, increase muscle temperature & elasticity, prime his anaerobic energy system as well as get his mind laser focused on the remainder of the workout

WARM-UP #1

  • Barbell Snatch x 8 reps
  • Barbell Overhead or Front Squat x 8 reps
  • Back Squat x 8 reps
  • Barbell Good Morning x 8 reps
  • Barbell Bent-Over Row x 8 reps
  • Barbell Deadlift x 8 reps
  • Hip Flexor Stretch x 8 reps

Repeat as many times as possible in 10 minutes (no rest between exercises – 30 sec. rest between supersets)

Note – You NEED to get through this at least 3 times in 10 min.

WARM-UP #2

  • Goblet Squat (DB) x 8 reps
  • Push-Up x 8 reps
  • Body Weight Row x 8 reps
  • Shuffle Lunge x 30 reps
  • Ab Wheel Roll-Outs x 8 reps
  • DB Swings x 20 reps
  • Hip Flexor Stretch x 8 reps

Repeat as many times as possible in 10 minutes (no rest between exercises – 30 sec. rest between supersets)

Note – You NEED to get through this at least 3 times in 10 min.

By the end of the 10 min. warm-up, the Irishman should be sweating hard and gasping for breath.

Take 5 min to get ready for the “real” workout

THE WORKOUT

The key to the success of these workouts is intensity.

I don’t care about the amount of weight lifted or how many reps. What I care about is effort. If you push harder than you thought you could ever push yourself, this workout will reward you with truly impressive results

For example, I tried this workout on a personal training client with amazing results

He is/was a tall (6’5″) guys with little muscle

In 9 weeks, he added 13 lbs of muscle and if his impedance scale is accurate, his BF has dropped from 23% to 14%

WORKOUT BASICS

  • Each workout will consist of 3 supersets
  • Each superset will consist of 2 exercises
  • Each superset will last 10 minutes
  • The reps performed per exercise will be modified by yours truly to maximize results.
  • The weight selected per exercise will also be modified by yours truly.
  • Intensity level HAS to be 100%

Simple…but not easy

SAMPLE WORKOUT

Superset #1

  • Alternate between exercise #1 and #2  for 10 minutes
  • No rest between sets

Exercise # 1

  • Goblet Squat
  • Choose a weight that would allow you to perform 20 quality reps (doesn’t have to be exact, weight selection will improve with experience)
  • Perform a maximum of 10 reps per set (at first, this will seem very easy..don’t worry, after 10 minutes you legs will be dying)

Exercise # 2

  • DB Lateral Raise / DB Bent-Over Lateral Raise
  • Choose a weight that would allow you to perform 20 quality reps (doesn’t have to be exact, weight selection will improve with experience)
  • Perform a maximum of 10 reps per set (by the end of 10 min, you may only be getting 1 or 2 reps per set, but remember 100% intensity)
  • Alternate between shoulder exercises –  ie Goblet/Laterals/Goblet/Bent-Over Lateral/Goblet/Lateral/Goblet/ Bent-Over Lateral…

5 Minutes rest between supersets #1 and #2 – Use that time to set up for superset #2

Superset #2

  • Alternate between exercise #1 and #2  for 10 minutes
  • No rest between sets

Exercise # 1

  • Swing Snatch
  • Choose a weight that would allow you to perform 40 quality reps
  • Perform a maximum of 20 reps per set

Exercise # 2

  • Cable Straight Arm Pushdown (aka the Vertical Woodchop or Hi-Lo Slam)
  • Choose a weight that would allow you to perform 20 quality reps
  • Perform a maximum of 10 reps per set
  • Be explosive with these
  • Perform standing

Superset #3

  • Alternate between exercise #1 and #2  for 10 minutes
  • No rest between sets

Exercise # 1

  • 1 Arm Kneeling Pulldown (or 1 Arm Alternating Standing Pulldown if 1 arm is n/a)
  • Choose a weight that would allow you to perform 20 quality reps
  • Perform a maximum of 10 reps per set

Exercise # 2

  • Shuffle Lunge
  • Bodyweight
  • 30 reps per set
  • Focus on speed…shuffle those feet

Okay, that’s it for this intro post.

Tomorrow, I will be posting the Healthy Irishman’s first workout (just in case anyone wants to join in)
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Enjoy fellas.

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Rainbow Chard & Leek Saute with….+

Chard & Leeks1

I’m really diggin’ our CSA box delivery service. So far the produce has been great and in order to use it all we’ve had to use our noggins and think outside the box a bit, so to speak! Who said you can’t have looks and brains?

This week our box contained organic Fuji apples, spinach, leeks, rainbow chard, broccoli, Valencia oranges & mixed peppers. This week's CSA delivery I turned to old faithfuls for some of these—I used the oranges for Jerk sauce and the mixed peppers went into a pot o’chili.

Each week when our box arrives there’s a newsletter inside from the farm talking about what’s in season and giving tips and such about the fruit n’ veg. They also give a recipe highlighting one of the veggies. I was intrigued by this particular chard recipe not only because I really like leafy greens but also because it used the entire bunch of chard, stems & all. Usually one would remove the stems and either put them in the stock pot as I do or into the compost heap. Either way they’re getting used but I’d much prefer to eat them. They have a lovely peppery flavour and they add brilliant colour to the sauteed chard. I can’t take any credit for this but it did turn out great and I combined it with a rice recipe which uses up some of the apples. Usin’ my noggin!

Continue reading the full recipe here and don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE to the HEALTHY IRISHMAN Newsletter!

When you do you’ll receive a FREE Entertainment Booklet with recipes and tips for your next dinner party.

Fueling your body with healthy food. Fueling your mind with the wealth of health.

Copyright © 2009 The Healthy Irishman. All rights reserved
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another Health Habits transformation: The Healthy Irishman

It looks like the shift from healthhabits.wordpress.com to healthhabits.ca is finally happening.

For the next little while, I will continue to post here while directing you over to the new blog.

Hopefully, you like the new design. It is still pretty barebones, but I will be adding new features and improving accessibility over the coming weeks.

Let me know shat you like and don’t like about the new design

Now, back to today’s post

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another Health Habits transformation: The Healthy Irishman

A few weeks ago, the Healthy Irishman asked me to help transform himself from being merely healthy into something super-human.

And, considering how many posts he has written for Health Habits, I figured I owed him.

So, I put together a particularly nasty workout, beta tested it on one of my guinea pigs, and voila…starting Monday, the Irishman and his visiting younger brother will be putting on a freak show at the Venice Beach Gold’s Gym.

I will be posting the workouts here as well as on this Posterous website.

(FYI – with Posterous, The Irishman will be able to view his workouts (with video) off of his smartphone at the gym – just like an iPhone app, except the workout won’t suck)

For those of you who might be interested in following the Irishman’s progress (or joining in), feel free to sign up for email updates. Also, you should probably sign up for the Health Habits feed as well.

Here’s a brief outline of Gavan’s (the Irishman) current fitness routine

  • he trains 5 x per week
  • Mon to Fri
  • at 4:15 am (not a typo)
  • he workouts at Golds Gym – Venice (so he has access to every workout toy imaginable)

His current workout is based on a 2 exercise/10 set per bodypart workout based on a 5 day split

M- Back/Chest
T- Hamstrings. Calves
W- Shoulders/Abs
T- Bi’s/ Tri”s
F- Deadlifts/Glutes

Sat is off or 30 min cardio
Sun is off

Resistance workouts last 50 min with an additional 10-20 mins cardio after lifting. 1 hr 20 total approx.

His Goals:

  • He would like to build up maybe add 10 lbs of lean muscle.
  • Get some definition.
  • Improve fitness
  • Doesn’t want to look like a bodybuilder
  • Wants to look defined & strong…kinda like

LL Cool J

llcoolj

or Jason Statham

jason statham

His Stats:

  • Gavan weighs 176 lbs @ 5′11″
  • He has a chronically injured right shoulder (vertical presses are out)

Here’s his before pics

healthy irishman before pic 1

P9240005

His Diet:

He eats 5-6 meals a day and gets good quality carbs and protein in each meal.

Carbs: Brown rice, quinoa pasta or gluten free pasta, cous-cous, yams, polenta, oatmeal
Protein: Egg whites, fish, shrimp, tofu, seitan, chicken, turkey

Also, for the next 5 weeks, Gavan’s brother Ross is visiting. This means that the Irishman will have a workout buddy for the first 5 weeks.

Ross’ Pics

healthy irishman brother ross fronthealthy irishman brother ross side2

healthy irishman brother ross side rearhealthy irishman brother ross side

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In tomorrow’s post, I will outline the workout along with my recommendations for supplementation and diet.

And, on Sunday, I will post the first workout

Enjoy fellas.

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HIIT Workout o' the day

HIIT Workout # 1…a four minute Tabata workout on the stationary bike

4 minutes of PAIN

  • 20 seconds as hard as possible
  • 10 seconds of rest
  • Repeat 7 more times

If you don’t feel like dyin’ then you didn’t go hard enough
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Nutrition Deathmatch #2: Special K Protein Shake v.s. Chocolate Milk

special k protein shake vs chocolate milk

I think it’s time for me to find another health club.

Yesterday, while chatting with the “towel lady”, I noticed that they were carrying a new protein shake…..by Kellogg’s…  the makers of Eggo waffles, Froot Loops and Pop Tarts.

and now they’re making protein shakes.

I asked to take a look at a bottle of the NEW!!! Special K Protein Shake.

Arrrggghhhhh!!!

Here’s what the label looked like:

special k protein shake chocolate nutrition 2

Looks pretty good, right?

I mean, except for the sucralose, corn syrup solids, acesulfame potassium, nutritive and nonnutritive sweeteners.

On the plus side, it has 190 calories, some carbs to re-fuel after your workout and a relatively small dose of protein.

Just like chocolate milk.

chocolate milk low fat nutrition

In fact, the macronutrient profile looks almost identical to the carton of chocolate milk that I picked up at the 7-11 across the street from the gym.

Calories about the same, protein about the same, carbs about the same. The milk had a lower fat content as I prefer the low-fat version post-workout.

So, why in the world would I spend $3.99 for a bottle of Special K Protein Shake with extra HFCS and nonnutritive sweeteners when I can get a carton of chocolate milk for $1.25?

special k web site

I mean, besides the fact that Kelloggs is marketing their entire Special K product line as an effective way to get healthy….

and look like an airbrushed supermodel in short shorts.

But, maybe you’re not the kind of person who would fall for such obvious commercial manipulation.

Maybe you rely on the opinions of real people…like these bloggers:

Either way, Kelloggs is working hard and spending a lot of money trying to convince you to buy the protein shakes and their healthy cereals and snack bars.

So, as a counterpoint to the advertising, I would like to offer my review of the Special K Protein Shake:

Don’t waste your money.

Chocolate milk is healthier and cheaper.

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Resistance Stretching

In yesterday’s post, I introduced you to microStretching.

Today, it’s Resistance Stretching….made famous by 40-something Olympic and World champion Dara Torres.

dara torres banner

In 2008, Resistance Stretching was Dara’s secret weapon at the Olympic Games in Beijing where she won three silver medals, broke her own personal best time in the 50m freestyle (trailing the gold medalist by 1/100th of a second) and became the oldest Olympic swimming medalist in history.

dara torres banner 2

Dara’s success as an older athlete is what got me interested in Resistance Stretching (RS).

So, I contacted Dara’s RS gurus Steve Sierra and Anne Tierney and grilled them with questions.

Here is some of what they had to say…

What is Resistance Stretching?

Resistance Stretching is based on the theories that:

  1. The stretching effect occurs during the entire movement of the muscle while it is being contracted, not just at the end point of the stretch…unlike traditional static stretching.
  2. A muscle must contract while elongating for a true stretch. Stretching a muscle without contracting produces a false range of motion known as substitution, and ultimately results in over-stretching and injury.
  3. Repetitions are necessary for gains in flexibility, just as repetitions are necessary for gains in strength during strength training.

How do I do it?

Resistance Stretching can be performed alone using self-stretches or with other person(s) using assisted stretching techniques.

Dara relied on assisted stretching to prepare her body for the Olympics.

Vodpod videos no longer available.
more about “dara torres resistance stretching – n…“, posted with vodpod

Unfortunately, you and I will most likely not have access to a team of trained Resistance Stretchers.

But don’t fret, my clients and I have had great success using the standard self-stretches as well as the variations that I MacGyvered on my own.

This video outlines some of the basic self-stretches.

Where you go from here is up to you.

Once you understand the basic concept of Resistance Stretching, you are only limited by your imagination. I am constantly coming up with new stretching variations.

Just follow these ffive steps

  1. Identify the muscle or muscle group that you want to stretch
  2. Start by flexing or shortening that muscle
  3. Tense the muscle
  4. Start stretching the muscle while simultaneously resisting the stretch
  5. Repeat

In a future post, I will provide videos of some of my favorite stretches. I just need to bribe one of my clients to let me record them and put it on the blog.

 

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As well, you also get access to the series of Supplement Reports that I am publishing this year.

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microStretching

We all know how to stretch….right?

Bend over, touch your toes and hold for 30 seconds.

So, why is it that after years and years of static stretching after each and every workout, my hip flexors, hamstrings, abductors, calves, traps, pecs and entire shoulder girdle were always uber-tight and I was suffering from lower back spasms every few months?

  • Could it be that what we thought was right wasn’t?
  • Could it be that just about every personal trainer in the world is wrong?
  • Could it be that Mr. Toe Touch was wasting his time and perhaps even making things worse?

This is where I found myself about a year ago.

So I went looking for another way to stretch my tight muscles back into balance.

And I found two very different techniques that worked very well for me.

Today, I am going to introduce you to microStretching.

For those of you that need more info – here is an article written by microStretch guru Nikos Apostolopoulos that explains things in more detail.

Microstretching – Nikos C. Apostolopoulos

That’s it for today. I am going to let you chew on this concept for a little bit before we get into the “how to” details.

Like this article???

If you like this article, don’t forget to subscribe to @healthhabits. When you subscribe, my friends at MailChimp will make sure to send you an email every time I post something new here at the blog.

As well, you also get access to the series of Supplement Reports that I am publishing this year.

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Researchers Find the Answer to Senior Citizen Heart Health

healthy-heart

Researchers have discovered a cutting edge technique to help senior citizens improve the elasticity of their arteries – thereby reducing their risk of heart disease and stroke.

Led by Dr. Kenneth Madden, the researchers were able to reduce arterial stiffness by 15 to 20% in only 3 months time.

But wait, it gets better.

Unlike most cardiovascular treatments, the cost of this new cure-all is…….nothing, zero, nada, rien…it’s free.

It’s free because the treatment is:

Exercise

Wow!!!

Exercise instead of drugs…who would have thought of that???

The Study

Dr. Madden divided his test subjects into two groups.

  1. The first group performed one hour of vigorous physical activity for one hour, three times a week for three months.
  2. The second group continued to live a sedentary lifestyle.

Subjects were classified as sedentary at the beginning of the study but gradually increased their fitness levels until they were working at 70 per cent of their maximum heart rate, using treadmills and cycling machines. They were supervised by a certified exercise trainer.

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And after three months, the exercise group was healthier, while the sedentary group wasn’t.

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So, as a public service to all of my 65+ readers (and those readers with friends & family who are 65+), I will be posting “no equipment necessary” workouts geared toward trainees who are boomer age and older.

Enjoy

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BTW, this post is for my Dad…who should be outside right now getting some exercise

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Reference

Miso Marinated Cod with Sesame Soba Noodles

Healthy Miso Cod

The first time I had Miso was in soup at a sushi bar, which I’m sure is the case for a bunch of you guys. Then a few months later I ordered the miso-marinated cod, which is usually an appetizer at most sushi restaurants and I was blown away by how good it tasted. I knew I wanted to recreate the dish but in more healthy way because typically this marinade is made with sugar and several ounces of mirin, which has a high sugar content. So I hit up the kitchen to make a better alternative without using Mirin or granulated sugar. I’m delighted with the outcome.

Continue reading the full recipe here and don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE to the HEALTHY IRISHMAN Newsletter!

When you do you’ll receive a FREE Entertainment Booklet with recipes and tips for your next dinner party.

Fueling your body with healthy food. Fueling your mind with the wealth of health.

Copyright © 2009 The Healthy Irishman. All rights reserved