Saturday, June 28, 2008

Do You Believe In God?

"In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace."
- Ephesians 1:7

More than 90 percent of Americans believe in God and more than half pray at least once a day, according to a recent poll taking an in-depth look at Americans' religious beliefs.

The poll, by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, also found that nearly three-fourths of Americans believe in heaven as a place where people who have led good lives will be eternally rewarded. If you are a Christian, you know that good works and "living a good life" will not get you into heaven, but they are a part of our commandment to others (love your neighbor, serve others, etc.).

Almost 60% believe in hell, where people who have led bad lives and die without repenting are eternally punished, the poll found. Give thanks to Jesus for dying for our sins and blessing us with his grace so that we can have eternal life at his side.

Majorities also believe that angels and demons are at work in the world and that miracles occur today as they did in ancient times. "Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour." - 1 Peter 5:8.

This is the organization's second report that is based on one of the largest polls of Americans' religious beliefs ever conducted, with more than 36,000 adults interviewed.

The first report released in February took a broad look at the American religious landscape, while this report dives deeply into the faith and politics of religious, and non-religious, Americans.

On the political side, for example, it found, among Jews who pray daily, 36% are politically conservative - more than twice as many as those who pray less often.

- Story originally reported in The Washington Post

Friday, June 27, 2008

Tips To Improve Grocery Shopping!

"Lord, help them understand that wisdom from You is pure, peace-loving, considerate and sincere...." - James 3:17

Here are a few tips to utilize when you go grocery shopping:
  • Make a menu plan: Write out a weeks' worth of menus and consider how you could use leftovers to further stretch the budget. I usually make extra servings of dinner to have for lunch the next day. The Warp Speed Fat Loss program comes with 28 days' worth of meals that are easy to prepare and taste great!
  • Create a list: Write down the items that are essential to upcoming meals you have planned, and stick with it.
  • Organize coupons: Just inside most supermarkets, you will find extra newspaper coupon inserts or store flyers and a board with the sale items highlighted. Check these sale items against your shopping list to make sure you are getting the best price.
  • Shop alone: Friends and family members can steer you off the shopping list.
  • Don't shop hungry: Your appetite can influence your spending causing you to buy things you don't need or shouldn't eat.
  • Spend cash: Take time to get cash before going to the store. Nothing impacts our minds like taking cash from our wallet.
  • Always shop by the unit price: Supermarkets post the unit cost on the shelves. These numbers can show you that larger packaging isn't always the best buy.
  • Buy in bulk: Purchasing certain food items in bulk (beef, chicken, fish, nuts, eggs) can help save money and the environment (less packaging). Stores like Sam's Club, Costco and BJ's can offer savings over local grocery stores. But just as noted above, compare the unit price. Sometimes, bigger isn't always better. And occasionally, grocery stores will offer better deals on certain items during sales.
  • Shop the perimeter of the grocery store: If you shop along the perimeter of the grocery store, you will find all the fresh foods you should be eating on a regular basis. Think about it. What is located on the perimeter? Meats, vegetables, fruits and dairy products. Stay away from the aisles as they tend to host the man-made and pre-packaged items like cereal, soft drinks, chips, cookies, cake, etc.

These tips will help you make better decisions the next time you shop!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Australia Surpasses the U.S. in Obesity!

"I have great confidence in you; I have great pride in you. I am filled with encouragement; I am overcome with joy in all our afflictions." - 2 Corinthians 7:4

I was listening to a conference call with Craig Ballantyne of Turbulence Training last night. He mentioned that he sells many of his programs to people in Australia. Originally, he thought Australia was a very fit country even though he sold many of his training products to their citizens.

After speaking with a trainer in Australia, he found out that most Australians are actually overweight and many are even obese. I would have been surprised hearing this last night, however, my friend (Dan) in D.C. sent me a link to this article a couple days ago - CLICK ME!

I was a bit shocked when I read the article because, just like Craig Ballantyne, I thought Australians were much more fit than Americans. However, we now see that the obesity epidemic is spreading across the entire world.

As I mentioned in my previous blog, even the Japanese (a culture known to be fit and live long lives) are now trying to combat obesity.

This has become a world-wide epidemic. We need to do something about this sooner rather than later. It's affecting the quality of life for every man, woman and child in the world in which we live, and it's terribly expensive on the healthcare system.

Even with the amount of information available on the internet about nutrition and training, many people don't know where to begin or what to do.

Here are a few simple ideas everyone can implement today:
  1. Eat more fruits, veggies, lean meats and healthy fats from fish, fish oil, nuts, seeds, avocados, peanut butter and olive oil.
  2. Eliminate processed foods from your diet - If it comes in a box or is man-made, don't eat it!
  3. Avoid soda (diet and regular), candy and anything made with high fructose corn syrup.
  4. Avoid fast food and fried foods.
  5. Read labels more carefully!
  6. Drink more water each day.
  7. Eat 4-6 small meals per day.
  8. Move more! Take a walk each day for 20-30 minutes. Park at the back of a parking lot and walk to the store. Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
  9. Hire a trainer or buy results-proven training programs that you can do at home or in your garage and backyard (see some of the links on my blog!).
  10. Get 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Keep your room dark, quiet and cool. Try to keep electronics (phones, TVs, computers) out of your bedroom (they disrupt sleep)

By incorporating a few suggestions from the list above, you will help reverse some of the damage caused by poor nutrition and lack of exercise that can lead to obesity and a variety of health problems including diabetes, heart disease, cancer and more!

For some excellent training programs, DVD's and more that you can do at home, be sure to check out Art of Strength.

For a jump start on your fat loss, you can also check out the Warp Speed Fat Loss program.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Bryan Clay - Christian Athlete!

"Therefore, I remind you to keep ablaze the gift of God that is in you through the laying on of my hands." - 2 Timothy 1:6

Bryan Clay is a great example of a Christian Athlete. His faith in God has helped him change his life for the better, and he has become an outstanding athlete. He will be competing in the Summer Olympics in the Decathlon, one of the hardest sports of all since it combines a blend of speed, strength, explosive power, endurance, skill and more to be successful.

What is remarkable about Bryan (besides his physical abilities and talents - an obvious gift from God) is his faith as a devout Christian and how he has used his talents, abilities and faith to help and encourage others through speaking engagements and his foundation.

If you want to be an example of a Christian Athlete, then look to Bryan as a role model. I also encourage you to check out Bryan's web site where you can read more about him and watch his videos. Be sure to post some words of encouragement on his site and pray for him so that he will continue to do God's work while staying healthy as he competes in the Summer Olympics.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Faith Healing!

"May they understand that You, Lord, bring health and healing and will reveal to them an abundance of peace and truth...."
- Jeremiah 33:6

Recent research suggests that religion offers health benefits including longer life spans.

Some have attributed this to the healing benefits of prayer and faith in God. Others believe it's because people of faith enjoy supportive, healthful lifestyles. If you're a Christian, you know it's due to both of those things and more!

Some statistics:
  • 83: The life expectancy of people who frequently attended religious services; for infrequent attendees, the estimate was 75.
  • 70%: The percentage of churches that provide healthcare services to their communities, according to a survey of 6,000 congregations.
  • 40-60%: The percentage of hospital patients who want their doctors to pray with them.

Faith in God, prayer, living a healthy lifestyle as God intended and surrounding yourself with strong social support from other Christians is an important part of living a long and healthy life.

Exercise and a proper diet are important to our physical needs. Faith in God, a strong support system and prayer are important to our spiritual, emotional and physical needs.

Have you prayed today?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Art of Strength and Punch Gym - kettlebell training and more with Anthony DiLuglio

"Always rejoice, constantly pray, in everything give thanks. For this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."
- 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

When I attended the Perform Better Seminar in Rhode Island last month, I had the good fortune of meeting Anthony DiLuglio of Punch Gym and Art of Strength.

I attended Anthony's hands-on session that included kettlebell training and also spent much time talking to him and asking him questions about Art of Strength and Punch Gym at the social and throughout the weekend.

I've used kettlebells on and off in my training since 2001. I learned how to perform the movements first from Pavel Tsatsouline, whom made them popular right around 2000-2001 through his video, book, web site and sale of official "Russian" kettlebells. There have been others who have used kettlebells in their training and become "Russian Kettlebell Certified" (RKC) since that time including Mike Mahler, Steve Cotter, John Davies and others.

However, it's been Anthony that has brought kettlebell training into the general public through the use of his web site, Punch Gym locations, DVD's, books and other training aids. I am thoroughly impressed with Anthony's materials and his teaching methods. I learned quite a bit in his hands-on session that I had not seen before. I also picked up one of his DVD's and have really enjoyed the quality of the production and how it is set up so you can train while watching the DVD.

If you are interested in kettlebell training, rope training and more, definitely take some time to check out Anthony's web site: Art of Strength.

His materials are high quality, and I highly recommend them. In fact, I recently purchased one of his Bulldog kettlebells for my own training and those I train in my garage. The advantage of the Bulldog kettlebells is that they can be loaded from 8.8lbs - 60lbs. This makes it much more affordable than buying a full set of kettlebells that could easily cost hundreds of dollars (even thousands depending on the brand and how many you buy).

The other advantage of the Bulldog kettlebells is that loading them with steel or lead shot or even sand acts as a "corrective" tool to make sure you are performing the movements correctly. For example, when performing a swing, there should be no sound or shifting of the weight. The movement generates from the hips, and if you hear the loaded material making noise, it means you are not performing the movement correctly. This is a quick and easy way to correct your own form without having to find a certified kettlebell instructor.

Once I recieve the Bulldog kettlebell and the other materials as part of the package I purchased, I'll post my feedback on my blog and include some photos as well.

For more information, check out Anthony's web site: Art of Strength!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Japan Seeking Trim Waists!

The obesity epidemic is no longer just an issue in the United States. It's becoming a problem in other countries as well. This is the result of people eating more processed foods including items containing white flour and sugar, fried food, fast food, trans fats and high fructose corn syrup in addition to exercising less and not moving as much.

Japan has taken steps to help curb obesity recently. Check out this article for more information - CLICK HERE!

People need more exercise along with the consumption of whole, natural foods such as lean meats, vegetables, fruits, nuts and healthy fats in order to combat the obesity epidemic.

A plan like Warp Speed Fat Loss would also be a good idea for many willing to put in the hard work necessary to lose weight and get in shape.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Warp Speed Fat Loss - Days 23 through 28!

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." - Matthew 11:28-30

I must once again apologize for not making consistent updates to my blog about the Warp Speed Fat Loss program. I've been so busy and have had such limited time that I haven't even had a few moments to update my blog for the last week.

I do have a confession to make. I have not trained since last Monday, June 2 (Day 22). As I mentioned in my last blog post, I did my best to stay healthy while traveling to and from the Perform Better Seminar in Rhode Island. Unfortunately, I became very ill after returning home and was sick, sore and too tired to train.

Not only that, but I was swamped at work and at home the entire week. I had a ton of work to catch up on during the week and had a few late nights at work as well as several late nights at home trying to organize some things around the house and catch up on a few chores and projects. I was lucky if I had 5-6 hours of sleep each night for the entire week. I finally had about 8 hours of sleep this past weekend (the end of the program).

However, although I wasn't able to train from Tuesday - Saturday, I still followed the Warp Speed Fat Loss meal plans. Ironically, I lost three pounds during that time period from following the diet only. Prior to this, I had only lost two pounds. That means a total weight loss of five pounds in 28 days on Warp Speed Fat Loss.

Now, that may not seem like much, but you have to remember that I was already fairly lean when I began the program (13-14%), and I have gotten quite a bit leaner while only losing a total of five pounds. This means that I actually gained muscle and lost fat at the same time.

Stacey had reached her lowest weight of 151lbs (a 5-6lb loss) at the end of the third week. However, because I was sick and didn't train during the last week, she took the week off from training. She continued to follow the meal plans during the week, but she did veer from the plan a few times. She ended up gaining back two pounds and ended up at 153lbs (still lower than her starting weight of 157lbs at the beginning of the program).

I have mentioned some of the training-related variety issues that we faced while following the Warp Speed Fat Loss plan in previous blogs, and I will talk about that more in my next blog along with some specific ideas and feedback that I believe to be crucial to the success of the plan.

Not only that, but I recently found out from Mike Roussell that we were not included in the Member's-only section of the site and never received many of the additional email updates and add-ons to the program. This has been fixed, and I just received access to the files as of yesterday!

There are several additional files that would have been helpful to have prior to beginning the program. At least I can go back and read the materials and watch the movie files and listen to the audio files and see if we were on track or missed something along the way that could have accelerated our progress.

Although we are technically finished with the 28-day program, we have decided to continue using the meal plans, but we have switched over to Alwyn Cosgrove's Afterburn 2 program. This is the program I had begun using prior to Warp Speed Fat Loss. It's also very similar in many ways as it utilizes circuits, intervals and a variety of rep ranges throughout the training program.

What I like about Afterburn 2 is that the training is 3-5 days per week (depending on the phase) rather than six days and it uses undulating periodization for the set/rep scheme throughout the same training week.

Also, as I mentioned before, our only true method of interval training is sprinting outside or the use of bodyweight or kettlebell circuits since we don't have access to cardio machines. With Afterburn 2, intervals are performed twice per week and the Tabata method is performed 1-2 times per week. There is also no steady-state cardio on this particular plan. I think this will help us since we have limited access to cardio equipment and will not have the constant pounding of sprinting or jogging aggravating our knees, shins, ankles and feet.

In the current phase, we'll be training three days per week with everything being performed in the same training day. So it looks like this:

Workout A & B (Alternate each workout throughout the week)
Week 1:
Mon - Workout A
Wed - Workout B
Fri - Workout A

Week 2:
Mon - Workout B
Wed - Workout A
Fri - Workout B

Repeat for Week 3 and 4

A) Barbell Complex 5x4 (different complex for Workout A and B)

B1 - B4) Weight Circuits (different exercises and sets/reps each training day)

C) Ab exercise 2-3 sets of 10 reps

D) Finisher x1-2 sets

Cardio A (intervals - 1:1.5 work to rest ratio for 8-10 sets) or Cardio B (Tabata method)

Although there are many similarities to Warp Speed Fat Loss, it is missing the steady-state cardio and uses different frequency and intensity for the interval training. But Afterburn 2 does add the barbell complexes and finishers. In the end, it basically comes down to the same thing: A lot of hard work that creates a huge metabolic disturbance in the body thus raising metabolism and EPOC while burning a lot of calories!

This should definitely help us continue to achieve our fat loss goals while not having to train as often as we did during Warp Speed Fat Loss. Because of our schedule, we can use a few extra days off during the week to rest and also take care of other chores, projects, volunteer activities, etc.

Since we are still following the meal plans and adjusting as needed, we should continue to burn fat and get good results! Also, I will post more about the Warp Speed Fat Loss program in my next blog and possibly a few more. Overall, I highly recommend this program. Although we didn't completely finish the 28 days as written, we did have great success with the program beyond just the fat loss (I'll talk more about that later).

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Warp Speed Fat Loss - Days 18 through 22 and the Perform Better Seminar!

I apologize for the long delay in posting updates about the Warp Speed Fat Loss program. As I wrote in my previous blog, I left town on Thursday and headed to Rhode Island for the Perform Better Seminar. Ever since I returned on Monday, I have been slammed with work and playing catch up around the house.

Before catching my flight on Thursday, I performed the interval workouts early in the morning. It wasn't easy to perform the intervals and the steady-state cardio at 7am, but I knew I had to get it done since I was going to be traveling. I also packed my snacks for the day to take with me.

My flight to Rhode Island went quite well, and I even arrived 20 minutes early (a first!). I flew with Continental Airlines on the way there, and I was quite surprised when I received a small boxed lunch that included a turkey sandwich, carrots and a Kit-Kat. Although I didn't eat the bread from the turkey sandwich or the Kit-Kat, the meat and carrots were a nice snack. I would highly recommend flying Continental Airlines, as I believe they may be the last airline that still provides meal service and snacks to coach passengers (as I didn't get anything more than a drink flying with US Airways on the way back despite flying at almost exactly the same time).

I have family in Rhode Island, so I stayed with my uncle, aunt and their two kids for the weekend and visited the rest of my family after the seminar on Sunday afternoon. I even stopped by the grocery store to pick up a few essential snacks and other food that I would need to stay on track with the meal plans all weekend.

Although I had trouble sleeping the entire time (I was hot and uncomfortable trying to sleep on the couch or mattress and didn't get much sleep each night), I did my best to stay healthy, get in all my meals, stay hydrated and keep clean (I kept a small bottle of GermX sanitizing lotion in my pocket since I was shaking hands with people during the seminar and working out with various equipment).

Each day, I packed snacks as close as possible to what was required in the Warp Speed Fat Loss program. The only thing I had trouble with each day was the correct meal and portion size for my lunch. I ended up getting a salad from a place called Salad Creations in the Providence mall each day. I created my own salad and added all sorts of healthy toppings including 4oz of grilled chicken. I also ate with my uncle and his family for dinner each night, but we ate chicken or steak with veggies while I was there and just a burger on Sunday as part of my no-carb day.

The Perform Better seminar was incredible! I've attended several seminars and bootcamps in the past three years, but this seminar was the most professional seminar I've attended while also hosting more speakers and sessions than I could possibly attend in the 2 1/2 days. The Perform Better staff did an excellent job preparing for this event and making it memorable. I was excited that attendees also received a very nice backpack, T-shirt, towel, shaker cup and a thick binder of all the presenters' Powerpoint presentations.

Although I never had time to perform the Warp Speed workouts on Friday and Saturday, I did attend several hands-on presentations each day. The first day included an awesome hands-on workout with Rachel Cosgrove (Alwyn's wife) of Results Fitness. The workout we performed was one of the workouts one of her female clients used to drop 35lbs of fat in 12 weeks. And it was tough! I'm used to the Warp Speed Fat Loss workouts, so I thought this workout would be easy. But I was wiped out by the time we were finished. I also attended Anthony DiLuglio's (Art of Strength) kettlebell class on Friday.

On Saturday, I attended Alwyn Cosgrove's hands-on class (another brutal workout) as well as a hands-on bootcamp session. Sunday was another tough day as I attended three hands-on classes (one after another!) including Don Chu's strength and speed session, Juan Carlos Santana's metabolic session and Jeremy Boone's speed session.

The social on Friday evening gave me a chance to speak to many of the presenters and ask questions about the fitness industry and gain some good advice that will help me in the future. I was fortunate to be able to speak with Alwyn and Rachel Cosgrove quite a few times during the weekend. There was also a panel of presenters on Saturday evening that spent more than an hour answering questions from the audience. I was fortunate to be able to ask the last question to each of the panel members: "What one piece of advice would you give someone who is not currently in the fitness industry but would like to become involved (with a business)?" I received numerous excellent answers that I wrote down in my seminar manual to refer to often.

Overall, I had an incredible time. I will definitely attend future Perform Better Seminars, and I may even go to Long Beach next year and make a mini-vacation out of the trip since it's held in June and would be a good time to enjoy the Southern California weather and possibly even go to Alwyn and Rachel's gym, Results Fitness, for a personal visit.

Despite not being able to follow the Warp Speed Fat Loss meal plans and training exactly as written, I did my best to stay on track. When I arrived home on Monday evening, I even trained as scheduled even though I was extremely tired and still sore from the hands-on training sessions I participated in all weekend.

I'll give an update tomorrow to help get caught up for the rest of the week!