Friday, November 13, 2009

Weird Belly Fat Buster

"But Jesus replied, 'I have a kind of food you know nothing about.'"
- John 4:32

Okay, I don't mean to get too scientific, but this is super important. You see, while busting the belly fat does take effort, it's not nearly as hard as people make it out to be.

Seriously, the most important part of the process is arming yourself with the CORRECT knowledge. If you know how your body works (why it stores belly fat, what actually causes it to burn off, etc.), you're a whole lot better off.

Now, I know there are a ton of so-called experts out there that are confusing the heck out of you. I know a lot of people tell you different things. It can be as frustrating as all get out. But if you follow these simple rules and burn them into your brain things will be a lot different.

Anyway, let's get to today's easy lesson. Check this out:

- Increased Protein intake triggers the hormone Glucagon.

- This, in turn, prevents the spiking of your Insulin levels (which is also a hormone).

- Which simply means you minimize the chance of storing blood sugar as fat.

In other words, eat more protein and you bust the belly fat. Sure, there's more to it than that, but that is the crux of it. And so long as you understand the basics you can KEEP the belly fat from coming back.

When you only eat carbs, your Insulin levels go through the roof. And all that blood sugar (that's what the carbs turn into after you've eaten them) which isn't needed by your body MUST go somewhere. Yup, it goes to your belly; or your butt; or your hips; or your thighs.

The best part is, it's not very hard to consume more protein. In fact, it's pretty darn easy. A high quality protein powder will do just the trick.

As you've probably heard, my buddies over at Prograde Nutrition have launched their new Prograde Protein powder this week. I wanted to be sure you knew today is the last day you can get it at 10% off. Yeah, they were offering a discount on it just this week to celebrate it's arrival. But the offer ends TONIGHT at 11:59pm EST so hurry over to Prograde Protein to take advantage of it.

Dedicated to your health and fitness,


PS - I cannot recommend Prograde Protein highly enough. These guys create the highest quality products out there. Save 10% by getting yours right NOW before you forget

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Two Little Known Fat Burning Facts!

"A wise person is hungry for knowledge, while the fool feeds on trash." - Proverbs 15:14

Carbs, carbs, carbs. That's what everyone seems to want to talk about. How do I avoid carbs? Well, what you should be talking about instead is, "How do I get more lean protein into my eating plan?"

Now THAT is the right question.

You see, protein is where it's at. Check out these two little known facts about protein:

1) Protein requires more calories to digest than carbs or fat. This is called the "thermic effect of food." In other words, your body uses more calories to digest protein than other nutrients. Pretty sneaky, huh?

2) Protein provides satiety. That's a fancy way of saying you feel fuller for longer when you eat protein.

Good sources of Lean Protein come from foods such as:

Fish, eggs, poultry and lean beef.

But some people have trouble eating enough protein each day. Some people would like it to be more convenient for them.

If that's the case with you, then I have VERY good news. And it's news I've been waiting to tell you for some time now.

My buddies over at Prograde Nutrition have finally released their pharmaceutical quality whey protein. You see, not all Protein powders are created equal.

Prograde Protein:

- Delivers unparalled purity through low-temperature mirco-filtering

- Is naturally sweetened with Stevia

- Contains 24 grams of protein per serving and only 2 grams of carbs

- Contains 5.3 grams of branch chained amino acids per serving

- Mixes instantly with just a spoon

- Enhances absorption and digestion via lactase and Aminogen digestive enzyymes

Look, I've been waiting patiently for Prograde Protein to come out. But as usual, Prograde just would NOT release this product until they could get it as close to perfect as possible.

The best part is they are putting it on sale this week to celebrate it's launch. You can get it at 10% off this week ONLY. Just go to Prograde Protein and you'll find all the details. Including the coupon code to use when you order to get the 10% off your order.

But you need to hurry. For one thing, the special price ends this Friday, November 13th at 11:59pm EST. The other thing is, well, I cannot begin to tell you how highly anticipated Prograde Protein has been. There's a very good chance they'll be out of stock well before Friday even gets here!

So get yours NOW!

Dedicated to your health and fitness,


PS - Prograde Protein is NOT just some run of the mill protein powder you can find anywhere. They've really hit a home run with this one.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Do NOT Fall For This Scam!

"Wisdom will multiply your days and add years to your life."
- Proverbs 9:11

You can't really miss it on the Internet these days. It seems like everywhere you look there’s another company promoting the nutritious Acai Berry as a weight loss miracle.

And that's why I thought it was critical to write you today. We want to make sure you know my opinion on the subject.

First, you know better than to believe you're going to pop some pills – ANY pills – and have the pounds and inches melt off like magic.

If you've been listening to any fitness expert for any length of time, you know true fat loss comes from a variety of factors, including exercise and proper nutrition.

Second, any fitness expert worth their fees will tell you that any diet that promotes you eat any one food all day long and then eat a sensible dinner, well, don't bother. Yes, you will lose some weight short-term, but as soon as you go back to your old eating habits – and you know you will – you know exactly what happens.

Third, the Acai Berry contains VERY powerful antioxidants, and it is getting a lot of good press for that very reason. Yes, antioxidants as in the extraordinary nutrients that help fight the free radicals associated with aging, cancer risk and other degenerative diseases.

And while on the subject, I wanted to fill you in on something that has recently come to light. Did you know that Coffee Berry (the berry that covers the coffee bean) is one of the most powerful antioxidants on the planet? It's something researchers have discovered in recent years.

What's really cool is my friends at Prograde Nutrition have created an amazing Whole Foods based Anti-Aging formula called Prograde Longevity that includes both Acai Berry and Coffee Berry.

Oh, and it also utilizes Green Tea, Pomegranate, Wolf Berry and Biovin Grape (Red Wine extract).

Just to give you an idea of how powerful this formula is, well, you'd have to eat an entire POUND of raspberries to get the same ORAC value. And in case you're not familiar with the term, ORAC stands for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity.

The best part is you can now try Prograde Longevity for free! You simply pay a tiny shipping and handling fee. Just go CLICK HERE to order your FREE bottle today.

But you really do need to hurry. I'm not sure how long they're going to be able to make such an incredible FREE offer.

Yours in health,


PS - Remember, Prograde Longevity is NOT some silly weight loss pill. It is a powerful combination of anti-oxidants specifically designed to give you extraordinary protection against dangerous Free Radicals.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Seeking God's Will For My Life!

"O Lord my God, you have performed many wonders for us. Your plans for us are too numerous to list. You have no equal. If I tried to recite all your wonderful deeds, I would never come to the end of them." - Psalm 40:5

God works in mysterious ways when we remain faithful to Him.

When we returned from our mission trip to Abangaritos, Costa Rica in June, I prayed to God every day and asked Him to show me what He has planned for my life and where He wanted me to go. At the time, I didn't realize that He had been giving me little signs along the way.

On the evening of July 30 as I was getting ready to leave work, my employer told me that they were letting me go. I was completely shocked. Once I got past the disbelief, I immediately realized that this was the sign I had been praying for each day.

I knew immediately that God had other plans for my life, but I wasn't sure what those plans were. I only knew that I had to remain faithful to Him and seek His will for my life.

I was very worried about our finances when I was let go from my job. Despite filing for unemployment, I knew it would not be enough to pay our bills. The loss of my income meant that we would not be able to pay our mortgage. We would have just enough money from Stacey's paycheck to cover all our other bills.

We had enough money to make the August mortgage payment, but I knew that we would not be able to make any other payments beyond that. I prayed that God would help us get through this difficult time, and He answered my prayer one day when Stacey received an unexpected check from work - it was enough to cover September's mortgage payment.

We should be able to pay October's mortgage as well. I'm not sure what will happen beyond October, but I know that God will provide if we remain faithful to Him.

Since being let go from my job, I have prayed to God every day asking Him to show me His will for my life. I have asked Him to show me the way He wants me to go. I have asked Him to show me His purpose for my life. I have asked Him to open and close doors to help guide me down the path He has laid before me.

I have received an incredible amount of support from family, friends and business contacts regarding various employment opportunities available to me. However, I had made a promise that I would not make a decision until I returned from our second mission trip to Abangaritos, Costa Rica -August 20-24 (I'll write about the return mission trip in a future blog).

Since my return, I have seen what God has planned for me. He has given me this opportunity to pursue a dream I've had for a long time. I have decided to start my own fitness business. This is my passion and it is a way for me to glorify God through the talent and gifts He has given to me.

I will need the help of family and friends to get things moving forward. I'm working on putting together my business plan, getting quotes for liability insurance, filing for LLC or S-corporation status, looking for a potential place to host my facility and much more!

If you have comments, suggestions or advice that may help me, please let me know.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Current Training - Accelerated Muscular Development!

"But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint." - Isaiah 40:31

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I was able to get my training back on track after illness, injury and time off for various reasons.

Because of my busy schedule, I wanted a program that wasn't excessively time consuming each day and that encompassed all areas of training including a proper warm-up, proven resistance training techniques and a proper cool down. I also preferred a training program that consisted of no more than three resistance training sessions each week.

I began writing my own training plan that consisted of all of the above when I discovered a program that addressed everything I wanted and was already written - Accelerated Muscular Development (AMD)!

During the past three weeks that I have been using AMD, I have been pleasantly surprised to see a visible increase in my upper body development along with lower body fat levels.

AMD contains several different components that make it a well-planned training program. Let's discuss the various components of the program.

Self-Myofascial Release (SMR), Mobility and Activation
Many training programs do not include this information. However, it is a very important part of the warm-up process to prepare the body for resistance work.

Self-myofascial release (SMR) is a way to manipulate the soft tissues of the body (muscles, tendons, ligaments and fascia) to help break up scar tissue and increase range of motion throughout the body for better movement and performance. A few minutes of "foam rolling" will make a tremendous difference in the quality of a training program.

Mobility refers to the body's ability to move properly and absorb forces and dynamic movements in the various joints of the body including the ankle, hips and spine. Performing a dynamic warm-up that includes exercises that improve mobility results in better posture, proper muscle engagement, fewer injuries, more strength and better, more fluid movements. This doesn't take much time, but it is highly beneficial.

Activation refers to "awakening" muscles that have become dormant as a result of too many activities that cause a shortened range of motion. Examples include sitting on the couch or in front of a computer and driving - Basically, any seated task or activity causes the muscles of the hamstrings, glutes and upper back/shoulders to shorten. This creates pain, a slouched appearance, forward head posture and tightness. By including exercises to activate these dormant muscles, we can regain a full range of motion.

Resistance Training - Undulating Periodization and EDT
A properly designed resistance training program should use a form of "periodization," or planning, in order to elicit consistant progress over weeks, months and years. There are different forms of periodization including linear, alternating, conjugate and undulating. Although all these methods can and do work, it has been proven that undulating periodization results in the best strength and size gains. With AMD, the main exercise movement during each day of training is based on undulating periodization in order to elicit the best size and strength gains possible.

Once the main exercise is completed, the trainee moves to the supplemental exercises. The supplemental exercises are based on Escalating Density Training (EDT) as popularized by Charles Staley. EDT consists of timed blocks of training where two exercises are performed back-to-back with as little rest as possible. This increases the "density" of the workout by allowing the trainee to perform a lot of work in a short period of time. The use of EDT allows the trainee to increase the amount of volume of work performed, thus increasing overall muscle size while getting some conditioning benefits.

The "Core"
When referring to the core, many people specifically mention the abdominals or the coveted "6-pack." However, the core refers to the musculature surrounding the torso, hips and pelvis which includes the abdominals, lower back, glutes, obliques and surrounding muscles.

A proper training program should include exercises that work the entire core in order to help stabilize and protect the spine through various torso movement patterns (flexion, extension, rotation, chaos or no movement at all).

AMD ends the resistance portion of the training program with the best core exercises to help strengthen the body and prevent injury.

Static Stretching and SMR
At the completion of the resistance training workout, AMD gives recommendations on specific stretching exercises and additional SMR. Static stretching is best when done at the conclusion of your training to help with recovery and to get blood flowing throughout the body. By ending the workout with more foam rolling, it also assists with recovery and helping to loosen any tight areas to help prepare the body for the next training session.

Fat Loss Strategies
An optional portion of AMD covers various methods to help with fat loss and conditioning. This includes various high intensity fat loss and conditioning exercises such as high intensity interval training, circuits or complexes, power clusters, sled dragging/prowler pushes and hill/bleacher sprints.

When performed twice a week, either directly after training or on the off days, these methods help to strip fat and increase conditioning while not taking up too much additional time. The key with these exercises is the intensity at which they are performed - and they work!

The above components of AMD make it one of the best training programs I've used. It is very comprehensive and contains separate books covering all of the above along with pictures and descriptions.

In addition to the above, I like that the workouts are short and intense. I also like that I can use a variety of exercises and implements in my training including barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, bodyweight exercises, medicine balls, sandbags, the TRX Suspension Trainer and more!

If you're looking for a well-planned program that contains all the essential components of training, then I highly suggest picking up a copy of AMD and following it as written.

Once you use the 16-week program, you will be able to create your own workouts by using the templates and information contained within the system.

I'll post more updates on my progress in the next few months. After seeing changes in the first three weeks, I'm looking forward to the next three months!

Let me know if you have any questions about AMD! To get your copy, go HERE.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Precision Nutrition Informal Experiment: Testing Results!

"History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new. Sometimes people say, 'Here is something new!' But actually it is old; nothing is ever truly new. We don't remember what happened in the past, and in future generations, no one will remember what we are doing now."
- Ecclesiastes 1:9-11

As I mentioned in a previous blog, I was selected to participate in the Precision Nutrition Informal 8-Week Training Experiment.

I said that I would report the results of the study, and here - with the help of Helen Kollias of Precision Nutrition, Alwyn Cosgrove and myself - are the results.

In this study, we asked three questions. Which of these three programs:

-would most effectively improve performance?
-would most effectively promote weight loss?
-would people find most fun, and thus, stick with the longest?


The Testing
We compared the programs based on two indicators: body weight and performance.

Assessing body weight was easy: Participants simply recorded their weight once a week during the study. By the end of the study, we had nine body weight measurements to compare from week 0 to the end of week 8.

Measuring performance was a little more intensive. Before the study began, and after it ended, everyone did the following five performance tests:

1. Maximal push-up test
2. Inverted row test
3. Standing broad jump test
4. Treadmill V-max test
5. Treadmill T-max test

Thus, at the end of the study, we had before/after body weight measures as well as before/after performance changes to compare between groups for the entire 8-week study.

Who Was in the Study?
On average, participants in all three groups were in their early to mid-30's, although we had participants up to 70 years old (see table 1).

Table 1 – Average age (in years) of participants
Steady-state cardio
N = 17
Male = 35 +/- 6
Female = 34 +/- 11
Combined = 35 +/- 9

Interval cardio (I was in this group - I turned 34 going into this study)
N = 23
Male = 36.8 +/- 8.
Female = 31.0 +/- 6.8
Combined = 35.0 +/-8.1

TRX group
N = 16
Male = 33.2 +/- 7.3
Female = 36.4 +/- 8.1
Combined = 34.6 +/-7.6
Note: Once the participants were selected to participate in the study, they were matched and assigned to groups (I was in the interval training group) based on gender, age, weight and training experience. This meant that the groups were very similar to begin with, so any measured effects should be the result of the training intervention rather than individual differences.

Our participants had an average of 9 years' exercise experience (I have more than 15 years' experience). These people knew their way around the gym.

A Few More Things…
We wanted to make sure that the results reflected the exercise program, not other factors. So we asked our participants to make a few sacrifices in the name of science.

First, although we didn't have any dietary restrictions for the participants, we did ask anyone who was currently on a "bulking" diet (weight-gaining diet) to exclude themselves from the study or modify their diet.

Second, the participants couldn't do any other physical activities except activities required for everyday life.

Finally, anybody who had specific, short-term performance or body composition goals (such as a 5k race or a figure competition) were discouraged from participating, as this program was a general, not a targeted, plan. And we wanted to measure what our intervention alone could do.

Study Results

What Happened: Weight Loss
Interestingly, those in all three groups lost weight. Indeed, after 8 weeks, the average weight loss was about 3.2 lbs with no statistical differences between genders or groups. In other words, although all groups lost weight, any apparent differences in table 2 below are likely due to random chance rather than real differences.

Table 2 – Average weight loss (in pounds) over 8 weeks

Steady-state cardio
Male = -3.4 +/- 4.4
Female = -4.9 +/- 4
Combined = -4 +/-4.1

Interval cardio
Male = -2.9 +/- 3.8
Female = -0.6 +/- 2.2
Combined = -1.8 +/- 3.7
*I actually gained 6lbs in the first several weeks but then lost a few pounds during the last few weeks showing a net gain of 3lbs at the end of the 8 weeks!

TRX group
Male = +4.2 +/- 5.1
Female = -1.1 +/- 3.2
Combined = -2.8 +/- 4.5

What Happened: Performance
Along with weight loss, every group improved their performance — often impressively. (High fives to Alwyn.) But there were no statistical differences between genders or groups; remember, they all did the same strength workouts.

Table 3 – Average change in push-ups after 8 weeks

Steady-state cardio
Male = +9.8 +/- 7.2
Female = +11.7 +/- 5.5
Combined = +10.7 +/- 6.3

Interval cardio
Male = +10.1 +/- 6.9
Female = +2.7 +/- 6.7
Combined = +7.9 +/- 7.5
*I increased my pushups by 4.

TRX group
Male = +12.4 +/- 9.4
Female = +6.2 +/- 3.5
Combined = +9.8 +/- 7.9

Table 4 – Average change in inverted rows after 8 weeks

Steady-state cardio
Male = +4.8 +/- 2.0
Female = +6.9 +/-6.5
Combined = +5.7 +/- 4.6

Interval cardio
Male = +5.1 +/- 3.8
Female = +2.9 +/-1.2
Combined = +4.4 +/-3.3
*I increased my inverted rows by one rep.

TRX group
Male = +6.8 +/- 4.5
Female = +2.9 +/- 1.6
Combined = +5.1 +/-4.0

Table 5 – Average change in broad jump distance (in cm) after 8 weeks

Steady-state cardio
Male = +6.2 +/- 6.5
Female = +5.0 +/- 3.7
Combined = +5.7 +/- 5.3

Interval cardio
Male = +4.1 +/- 9.4
Female = +6.4 +/- 6.9
Combined = +4.7 +/- 8.7
*I had a 3-inch gain.

TRX group
Male = +4.8 +/- 3.0
Female = 2.6 +/-4.4
Combined = +3.8 +/- 3.8

Table 6 – Average change in V-max (% grade at constant speed) after 8 weeks

Steady-state cardio
Male = +1.2 +/- 1.2
Female = +1.7 +/- 1.1
Combined = +1.4 +/- 1.2

Interval cardio
Male = +1.4 +/- 0.9
Female = +1.9 +/- 1.1
Combined = +1.5 +/- 1.0
*I increased from 7mph at 5% incline to 7mph at 7% incline.

TRX group
Male = +1.4 +/- 0.6
Female = +0.3 +/- 0.5
Combined = +0.9 +/- 0.8

Table 7 – Average change in T-max (in seconds) after 8 weeks

Steady-state cardio
Male = +128.0 +/- 156.4
Female = +193.4 +/- 145.3
Combined = +160.7 +/- 149.0

Interval cardio
Male = +80.7 +/- 123.6
Female = +0 +/- 43
Combined = +53.9 +/- 112.3
*I actually had a decrease of 60 seconds but it was at the higher incline (7% instead of 5%).

TRX group
Male = +78.7 +/- 118.9
Female = +37.4 +/-63.9
Combined = +60.75 +/- 98.1

Fun Factor
While there wasn’t much of a difference between groups as far as weight loss and performance, we noticed a huge difference in the study drop-out rate. Steady-state cardio had a very high drop-out rate, while the TRX group participants were most likely to finish the study.

Table 8 – Drop-out rate

Steady-state cardio - 80%

Interval cardio - 55%

TRX group - 35%

Most research labs never have this sort of dropout rate. Because subjects are paid to participate and because they have to report to real-life people, they finish what they start. However, because our Informal Experiments are unpaid and distance-based, it's easy for participants to blow us off.

Sure, a few will let us know if something happened to exclude them from finishing. However, many of them simply ignore our emails. Even if we were kind enough to send them a workout plan — or even a TRX suspension trainer. Shame, shame. But, no matter. This is what explains the higher drop-out rates seen in a study like this.

However, we're not sure what explains the higher drop-out rate in the steady-state cardio group. For starters, five people in the steady-state group dropped out the day they received their programs. We figured this was because they assumed steady-state cardio sucks (which it does not, when combined with a good strength program). Again, shame, shame.

Of course, injuries are another possibility. But we didn't get more emails from the steady-state groups saying they were injured. For the most part, any injuries were evenly distributed and mostly non-exercise related (for example, we got a picture of a bruised toe to prove a ladder accident story.) So we doubt that was the problem.

The final explanation could be — simply — that steady-state cardio is kinda boring. Not everyone loves the idea of walking on a treadmill for 45 minutes. (Personal trainers everywhere, are you listening?)


All groups saw equal improvements in performance and weight lost. At least, statistically speaking. If you ask me, these improvements were excellent. For example, after just two months following the prescribed programs, participants improved their performance by an average of 30%.

This is especially awesome considering that, on average, these people had over 9 years' exercise experience. Why does this matter? The vast majority of exercise studies use participants with no training experience (untrained). And anybody who has trained can tell you that in the beginning you get the biggest improvement.

And yet, in this study, people who had already been exercising for over 9 years saw up to 30% improvement in some performance measures (push-ups, inverted row and T-max) in 8 weeks!

Why No Difference Between Groups?
Now, you probably noticed that for push-ups, rows, broad jumps, and V-max, the group means were pretty similar. That’s not unexpected.

While there is literature out there showing the effectiveness of interval training and other types of conditioning exercise vs. steady-state cardio for weight and fat changes, there isn't really any data showing that with a properly designed cross-training program, we should expect differences in key performance variables.

The steady-state group did seem to have better T-max scores. Now, again, statistically, there was no difference between groups. However, if there were a slight trend toward a higher T-max, a surrogate marker of anaerobic threshold and aerobic fitness, we would expect the groups that spent the most time on the treadmill to do the best.

So, what's the take home? Well, around here, most of us do interval training and circuit training (similar to the TRX work) for our conditioning exercise because we find theses types of exercises more challenging, and far more interesting than steady state cardio work.

Maybe this type of training just brings out the masochists in us; we usually alternate between states of:
  • Trying to survive the work interval without flying off the treadmill or getting tangled in our TRX
  • Dreading the end of the rest interval, thinking, "Is there something wrong with my watch?"
But I think that's what most folks want in a workout: challenge. And fun.

So, while the performance numbers weren't really different between groups, something more important was: actually doing the workouts. Remember, 80% of the people in the steady-state group dropped out. 55% dropped out in the interval group. And only 35% dropped out in the TRX group.

As Woody Allen said, "80% of success is just showing up."

Weight Loss
Participants lost, on average, 3-5 lbs without changing their diets. And if you think this isn't much, think again. Resent research has shown that exercise alone isn't very effective without some sort of nutritional change. In fact, many studies have shown no change if a nutrition plan isn't implemented. Check out this article for more.

The simple fact that weight loss occurred in all three groups of experienced exercisers is very cool.

Why No Difference Between Groups?
Although many people have pooh-poohed steady-state cardio for the last few years, when combined with a solid strength training program, steady state cardio can help folks lose weight and improve performance.

That's right: steady state cardio + strength training has been used – with much success – by physique champions for decades. It works. As does interval work + strength training. As does TRX work + strength training.

Thus, we weren't surprised at all that there were no differences between groups in terms of weight loss or performance. After all, they did about the same total duration of exercise – 4 sessions per week; 2×45 min strength sessions and 2×30-45 min conditioning sessions. So, when total workout times were equated, why should we expect to see anything different?

Now, we don't have body composition data, as described above. Had we collected those data, perhaps we'd have seen more subtle changes in fat mass and lean mass.

But, truthfully, I doubt it. All three programs included a strength training program and a similar volume of exercise. We have no reason to believe more muscle would have been built and fat lost with any specific intervention.

The Bottom Line

Here's how to interpret these results:
When you equate total exercise time, as long as you're doing an intense, progressive strength + conditioning exercise program, you can feel free to choose whichever program you like best.

If you prefer steady-state work, add it in. If you prefer interval work, add it in. And if you prefer TRX style workouts, add them in. Indeed, in this study, participants seemed to prefer the TRX style workouts. They loved the diversity and intensity associated with this program.

Of course, to do these workouts, you'd obviously need a TRX suspension trainer. Here's how you can get one:

TRX suspension trainer

And once you have your TRX system, know that as long as you have a great strength training program, feel free to add in steady-state cardio, TRX circuits, and sprint intervals to your heart's content.


Alwyn Cosgrove's comments:

I was actually a wee bit surprised with the results.

All the studies published on body composition show weight training to be superior to cardio, and interval training to be superior to steady state.

So I was expecting to see a clearer difference - but I guess the strength program in addition changes everything. Or at least the way I designed it (with supersets and short rest periods) had an effect.

I didn't see the TRX program until after I'd written the strength program, so there may have been some interference as there was some overlap between movements.

The drop out rate surprised me too. Like the PN guys said - it's an informal experiment but there is a real-world take home message for fitness professionals there.

One of the very interesting things was that the TRX group demonstrated similar improvements in running performance as both the interval training and steady-state groups. Without doing any running! That's a pretty good result.

I'd also like to have seen a group that did my program only, to see what those results alone were.

Informally - Right now our number one body comp program is two days strength, two days metabolic (combo of intervals, BW, KB's and TRX). We tested it against resistance training and traditional cardio and it was more effective in terms of pure body comp numbers.

(We also just had a group of women go through a 4-week cycle of TRX only training)

Overall, it was very cool to be involved with JB, the Precision Nutrition team and Fraser, and I look forward to doing more work with them.



My comments:

I was also surprised that there wasn't a more distinct difference in performance between the three groups. As Alwyn mentioned, this may be due to the resistance training program that he designed.

Although some of my performance numbers weren't as high as the other males or the combined numbers for each group, they were all increases from the beginning of the program. Considering that I began training more than 15 years ago, those are some good improvements in a short period of time.

The fact that I gained weight almost as soon as I started the training experiment and for the first four weeks into the program is due to two things:
  1. I was performing less total exercise than what I was previously doing
  2. I had not reduced my caloric intake when I began the program
By the end of the eight weeks, my 6lb weight gain turned into a three-pound weight gain. I even lost the three pounds I had gained a few months later once I increased my training and continued to monitor my food intake and choices.

The biggest take-home point to this experiment is what Helen mentioned previously:

"When you equate total exercise time, as long as you're doing an intense, progressive strength + conditioning exercise program, you can feel free to choose whichever program you like best."

As I've said before, "Everything works. Nothing works forever."

When it comes to training, you have to find the things you enjoy doing but that also give you results. If you have plenty of time to exercise, then resistance training and steady-state cardio will work. If you are more time challenged, then resistance training and interval training or TRX circuits will work.

It all depends on your goals, the time you have available to train, your training experience, your compliance (fun factor) and your adherence to a proper nutritional program.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Costa Rica Mission Trip

"Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?" He said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind." This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."
- Matthew 22:36-40

I was part of a group of 10 from our church that traveled to Abangaritos, Costa Rica from June 20 - 27. Our mission was to help put a roof on a church currently being built for the approximately 1,500 people living in this remote area on the west coast of Costa Rica.

Although we planned on helping to put on the roof, we knew that there would be opportunities to share our testimonies, witness to people in the community, provide programs for the children and youth as well as attend regular church services.

However, our purpose in Abangaritos went far beyond what we were originally planning to do. It became evident almost immediately that we were there to fulfill God's special plan for Abangaritos that went far beyond what we thought we were there to do.

This was an amazing realization that was fulfilled not only through numerous answered prayers each and every day, but also by the talents and abilities he gave each member of the team to perform any task - no matter how great or how small - on a daily basis.

My eyes and ears were opened and my faith in God was increased each and every day when I was physically able to see, feel, hear, touch and experience God all around us. Seeing prayers answered, no matter how big or small, on a daily basis was incredible!

The fact that some members of the team would get together and talk about something one night and then see those things take place the very next day was a miracle. These answered prayers were not based on "luck" or "random chance" or any other human possibilty - they were only possible through God.

One such example was when we were told (the night before we were going to install the trusses on the church) that we would need at least 15 men in order to complete the task. We knew that there were several men from the church who would not be able to come that day because they had work outside the village.

We had prayed that God would bring us 15 men the next day. During that same prayer, we had also discussed that we wanted opportunities to witness to people in the community.

The very next morning, our team leader and mission leader said that we were going to go out and recruit men from the community to help with the trusses (answered prayer) and that we would witness to people in the process (answered prayer).

While we were recruiting men from the community, we had an opportunity to recruit a man (Liber) who was waiting for the bar to open at 9am. He said he would come and help us immediately (and he was also accepted Christ later that week). We also recruited another man (Wanner - Maria's father) in the community who did not have a job and had a family to support. He also agreed to come with us. One of the members of our team also witnessed to him and his family.

After we went into the community to recruit help, by the time we began we had EXACTLY 15 men (answered prayer). Not only that, but when people had to leave for various reasons, others showed up at the exact same time to keep 15 men consistently throughout the day.

Toward the end of the day when more people were needed to help finish putting up the last truss and help with clean up, there were 20 men. This was just one small example of how God answered prayers and fulfilled his plan through us and the people of Abangaritos.

Despite the incredible things we did each and every day, I always told our team members during our nightly debriefing session that I was completely satisifed with what I was doing but that I didn't know my purpose for being there.

I knew God had called each one of us on this mission trip for a reason. Throughout the week, I saw others fulfill their purpose. But I didn't know what mine was. But I was still happy, excited and content with each and every day that took place.

Throughout the week, I played with the children and participated in several of the children's programs. There was one little five-year-old girl that caught my eye early in the week. Her name was Maria and there was something about her that just filled my heart.

Throughout the week, Maria and I began to form a strong bond, but I didn't know why or what it meant. I was just drawn to her because of her beautiful smile, the sparkle in her eyes, her childlike innocence and joyful attitude.

On Thursday night after one of the children's programs, Stacey and I decided to give Maria a gift. We gave her a small necklace with a cross that we had picked up in Italy when we married two years ago. Her mother said that she would teach Maria how to take care of it so she would have it forever. Maria also gave Stacey a beaded bracelet that I took and wore the next day.

This is when I realized that my purpose for coming to Abangaritos was because of Maria, but I didn't know why. Friday was our free day and it was also the day we were going to pack up and head back to San Jose to prepare for our flight back home on Saturday.

During lunch, I felt compelled to write Maria a letter and have it translated to Spanish so I could read it to her before we left that afternoon.

In my letter, I said to Maria (this is a short summary):
"Maria, God called us to Abangaritos to fulfill his plan. He brought each of us here with a specific purpose, and I believe my purpose is you. I have come to love you as a father loves a daughter. I don't know if God will bring me back to Abangaritos or if he will bring you to America, but I know I will see you again - even if it's in heaven. I will never forget you, and I will pray for you and your family constantly. I know that God has many plans for you. Stay diligent in your bible studies and prayer. I will always love you. - Nate"
In addition to the letter, I had found one last stuffed animal from a huge box of stuffed animals that ProGifts had donated (THANK YOU AMY AND PROGIFTS!) that didn't get handed out the day before to all the children.

This particular stuffed animal was a teddy bear that I noticed before we had even left for Costa Rica. It was a beautiful white teddy bear that I really liked and wanted to keep. But I knew that it would be best to give it to a child.

The fact that this particular teddy bear was the only one left the night before we were going to leave was a sign from God. As this was the stuffed animal that I ended up giving to Maria the next day when I read her my letter!

When we were heading out of town and we saw Maria and her family, she was waving to me and had gifts for me. I ran out of the van and grabbed her and hugged her and told her that I loved her and thanked her for making me the gifts.Maria made me a picture frame with her photo, her name, a message that says "Jesus loves me" and little hearts and crosses. She had also made me a cross that said "Christ" on it and had her name. She also gave Stacey another bracelet when we told her that I had taken the one she had given to us the night before. In addition to those wonderful gifts, she had a letter for me.

I had read her my letter. I was crying so much because I still wasn't sure what my true purpose was and because I loved her and wanted to stay with her. I thought that maybe God wanted me to take her home with me. Maybe that was my purpose - as I came to love Maria as if she was mine. And I would have eagerly taken her with me.

Her mom told us that Maria was up all night crying and even when she fell asleep, she was still sobbing all night long. She asked her mom to write down the words she would speak because she was too upset to write a letter to me.

Her two-page letter was definitely an answered prayer for me, and it went like this (very short summary):
"I didn't go to school today even though I had a test because I was too sad that you were leaving. I have come to love you both as if you were my second family. I asked my mother and father if they loved me and they said yes. I asked this because if they said no, I would have gone to live with you. But they need me and love me and I must take care of them here. I love you Nate and Stacey (she spelled our first and last names perfectly - and no one knew our last name - another miracle). When you have a child, and you will have a child, I want you to name her Jaqueline Maria so that you will never forget me. I love you and will love you always."
The reason that Maria's letter was an answered prayer was two-fold: First, it let me know that I was not to adopt or take Maria home with me despite the fact that I wanted to so badly. Second, for those that don't know, I have never wanted to have children of my own. This has been a huge problem in my relationship with Stacey, as she has always wanted children.

Meeting Maria and reading her letter fulfilled my purpose of going on this mission trip. God used Maria to open my heart and let me know that I could love a child that much. God wanted me to experience that so I would realize that he wants me to have a child - a little girl whom we will one day name Maria Jaqueline.

Having my purpose fulfilled at the end of the week gave me such great peace. Although I was completely happy and satisfied in all that we did during the week, I knew there was more. I was also blessed to be able to see each day unfold before it actually happen.

This is a gift from God, and one that I was glad to experience. Throughout the week, there were things that I knew needed to be done or said. And each day, those things took place through members of the team. It didn't matter what it was. If there was something that I felt in my heart that needed to be done, I saw it happen through others on the mission trip.

Each day, I saw God work all around us. I saw him answer prayers. I saw what it was like to come to love people in the name of God just as he commanded. I saw a church roof get put on and a community come together. I saw just how much I could come to love a child. I saw my faith grow in leaps and bounds.

Being in Abangaritos, Costa Rica was the most amazing thing I have ever experienced through God. The lack of distractions and the closeness to God was truly incredible. Words cannot even begin to describe everything that took place and everything we saw.

I pray that God brings me back to Abangaritos. Not only to see the people that we met and help further his plan, but also so I can see Maria again. She changed my life forever, and I praise God for what he did.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Things Don't Always Go As Planned...

"You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail."
- Proverbs 19:21

I apologize for not posting as regularly as I had hoped the last few months. I have been extremely busy and haven't had the time to sit down and write blogs as frequently as I would like.

In my last blog, I talked about the TRX Suspension Trainer and how I planned on setting up my next phase of training using the TRX and weight training several days each week.

Unfortunately, that didn't work out as originally planned. After my first week into the new training schedule, I tore some ligaments in my left ankle playing ultimate frisbee.

A visit to the Emergency Care Center and follow-up visits with an orthopaedist confirmed the injury and the slow recovery time. I wore an airboot for almost a week and a half and then transitioned to an ankle brace while also icing it several times each day for the first two weeks (It's still sore and I have a limited range of motion - I've been trying to strengthen it ever since).

During the following week, I was only able to use the TRX a few times. The TRX worked great during this time, as I was still able to perform a full-body workout to keep in shape (I was even able to perform TRX lunges, squats and one-legged squats!). But I was unable to lift weights until a week later when I combined some weight training with more TRX workouts.

However, my training took a back seat the week after that as I flew to Abangaritos, Costa Rica as part of a one-week mission trip with our church (I'll write about this in my next blog).

When we returned from Costa Rica, I was going to write a new training program to help get me back on track. In the process of writing a new program and having meetings after work, I did not train that week as well.

That lead to a two-week period of no training as well as the previous six weeks of on and off training for reasons listed above. Also, it was during Memorial Day week that I had food poisoning causing me to miss a week of training - that was the beginning of when things didn't go as I had planned.

In the past six weeks, my training has not gone as planned despite my best efforts. I'm a very organized, disciplined and routined person, so when things don't go the way I want, it throws me off.

But I believe there may have been a reason for that, as God was trying to show me that no matter what plans I make, he is always in control. I think God was using my workouts as a way to grab my attention for several reasons.

I think he wanted me to see that I can adjust to changes in my routine whether it's due to illness, injury, low energy or for something much bigger - like completing his work in Costa Rica!

If you're like me and things don't go as planned, just remember that God is in control and that you can adjust to whatever it is that comes your way as long as you continue to walk in the footsteps of Jesus Christ.

And yes, things are back on track for me this week. I started my next phase of training - Accelerated Muscular Development - and it is going great! I'll talk more about this in a future blog as well.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

TRX Suspension Trainer - A Review!

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven…."- Matthew 6:19-20

I recently purchased the TRX Suspension Trainer for my home gym after reading about it for the last year and seeing how it effectively works the entire body - including the core. There's a reason they dubbed it "all core, all the time."
What is the TRX Suspension Trainer?
The TRX Suspension Trainer is the original bodyweight-based portable training tool that builds strength, balance, flexibility and core stability for people of all fitness levels. It contains 12 feet of nylon-webbed straps, anchors and handles that can be used in a variety of places and provide a full-body workout using one's own bodyweight.

The TRX was designed by Randy Hetric, a former Navy SEAL, to keep his unit in top shape when deployed. He used it effectively in places where no weights were available and in small spaces such as in ships and submarines. He used materials from a parachute to rig a system that allowed him and his unit to train using their bodyweight. From this initial design, he created the TRX Suspension system now being used and sold.

The entire unit weighs less than two pounds and fits into a stuffsack the size of a lunch bag. While it looks deceptively simple, the TRX is crafted from heavy-duty nylon webbing with built-in handles and an ingenious pair of quick-release strap adjusters to produce a rugged, extremely practical piece of equipment. It attaches to anything from a tree to a hotel-room door (using a door anchor) and provides a total-body, core-intensive workout.

TRX Suspension Training is a new category of exercise for athletes of all abilities that leverages one’s own bodyweight and gravity to develop strength, balance, flexibility and joint stability simultaneously while encouraging multiplanar training that mimics real life movement. It's for that reason that I decided to purchase the TRX.

After looking through all the products, I decided to purchase the Essentials Bundle as it contained the TRX Suspension Trainer Professional, the door anchor and four excellent training DVD's (Flexibility, Strength, All Body Xpress and Cardio Circuit). I also purchased the X-mount so I could install it on my garage ceiling.

Once I placed my order, I received a UPS tracking number and eagerly tracked it until it arrived (only a few days later). When I opened the package, I was extremely impressed with the quality of the TRX Suspension Trainer and all the DVD's and workout manuals - it also smelled like a new pair of athletic shoes.

Fitness Anywhere has done an incredible job of putting together a durable and high-quality product that will last for many years and provide an excellent way to train at home or on the road.

The straps, handles and buckles are of the highest quality. The TRX is easy to adjust and can be used nearly anywhere (door, tree limb, pole, jungle gym or playground, etc.).

There is a slight learning curve when first using the TRX and luckily, the DVD's quickly show how to adjust the system and how to use it in single-handle mode or for various exercises. Check out this video to see it in action:

Fitness Anywhere Video

So far, I've only had it set up for a little more than a week and have used it a few times. For my first workout, I followed the All Body Xpress DVD and in less than 30 minutes I was dripping in sweat and had a thorough full-body workout - I was in love!

As simple as the exercises looked, I could tell that they worked. I wanted more. I'm now using the TRX twice a week as a metabolic conditioning workout. I'm also performing two full-body strength workouts and playing ultimate frisbee on Sunday's.

I plan on following this routine for the next eight weeks to see how effective the TRX is for fat loss and conditioning while maintaining or gaining strength.

My schedule looks like this:

Monday - Full-body strength workout (squats, benches, lunges, rows, back extensions, DB overhead presses and hanging leg raises)

Tuesday - TRX Metabolic Workout A

Wednesday - OFF (mid-week bible study)

Thursday - Full-body strength workout (deadlifts, standing barbell overhead presses, step-ups, chins, glute-ham raises, dips and ab rollouts)

Friday - TRX Metabolic Workout B

Saturday - OFF or light activity

Sunday - Ultimate Frisbee

I'll post the results of the above schedule in a few months.

For anyone who has considered purchasing equipment to train at home, I highly recommend the TRX Suspension Trainer. It's affordable, convenient, easy to use, takes up very little space and can be anchored to a door (with the door mount) or mounted to a wall or ceiling (with the X-mount) and taken on the road when traveling.

The TRX truly provides a full-body workout that will help increase strength, conditioning, balance, flexibility, fat loss and joint stability.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Are You Ready For Memorial Day Weekend?

"Keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who searches finds, and to the man who knocks, the door will be opened."
- Matthew 7:7-8

Here's a guest blog originally from Alwyn Cosgrove about Memorial Day weekend and being ready for summer. Take a good look in the mirror or take some photos and see where you're at and if it's where you want to be.

Well it's here - Memorial Day weekend.

The official start of Summer for many.

The great "unveiling" - when the shirts come off, the swimsuits go on and the entire world knows exactly how good or bad your dieting and exercising was for the last 3-4 months.

Judgement Day.

Are you ready? If not, you have two more BIG weekends this summer in which to dial in your physique and make a huge difference. That's right, it's not over! You still have two more Judgment Days this year!

Goal setting is all about setting S.M.A.R.T. goals and "T" stands for "Time line." Athletes peak for National Championships, Trials and World events. Just because you're training for fat loss or to look better naked doesn't change the fact that DEADLINES are extremely effective tools.

So we're going to set two this summer. Your next goal is Independence Day - July 4th - only five weeks away. With a combination of a kick-start plan, a solid workout and nutritional support program, and a healthy dose of motivation, you could easily be 10-15 lbs leaner by then.

Your next goal is the end of summer - the Labor Day weekend. This is currently 14 weeks away. So if you're looking a little flabby this weekend or feeling a little embarrassed about your physique, you can still make amazing changes. It's never too late.

This is an opportunity for you to look completely shredded - rock hard legs and abs by summer's end. But you still need to start now.

Here are the fat loss basics:

You need to create a caloric deficit. There are no two ways about it. You must burn more than you consume. The most effective way to create that deficit is to use a combination of diet and exercise.

Your diet should consist of lean proteins, fruits and vegetables. Keep starches and refined carbs to a minimum. Keep your fluid intake high (water only), and try to eat at least 4-5 small meals per day. This will help maintain blood sugar levels and keep you from blowing your diet.

Interval training and metabolic resistance training will provide the most bang-for-your buck. Steady-state aerobic training just doesn't burn enough calories for your goals right now, and a bodypart training split will be less effective than total body training for fat loss. Try to exercise at least six days per week - three days of interval-based cardio and three days of resistance training.

There is almost nothing that will make a difference. Sorry. Certain supplements can boost metabolism, or increase your energy somewhat and these may be useful. But in terms of real world "pounds of fat lost," I have yet to see anything that really made a difference. A multivitamin and a fish oil supplement are vital though - but more for your overall health. A protein shake or post-workout shake can be useful for convenience but are nothing more than high-quality food.

If you need a jump start - go HERE- this will take care of some fat quickly in the next four weeks.

P.S. All talk of fat loss aside, enjoy your holiday weekend. But PLEASE remember that the point of this weekend is to remember our fallen heroes and spare a thought for all the troops who are still fighting for us today.

God Bless!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Avocado - One Fruit That's Hard to Beat!

"The land produced vegetation—all sorts of seed-bearing plants, and trees with seed-bearing fruit. Their seeds produced plants and trees of the same kind. And God saw that it was good."
- Genesis 1:12

Avocados are almost too good to be true. They taste great and they're good for you. Yes, they're high in fat, but it's the good kind of fat (unsaturated), which raises your HDL (good cholesterol) and lowers your LDL (bad cholesterol) - Just like olive oil or fish oil caps.

Avocados also help your body absorb more fat-soluble nutrients - such as cancer-fighting beta-carotene and lycopene and eyesight-saving lutein - from other foods you eat along with them.

Avocados are one of the healthiest fruits you'll ever eat - in moderation. A few slices or half an avocado each day is good, but a tub of guacomole is way too much!

So reach for the avocado and add it to your salads, sandwiches, eggs, toast (it's great as a butter) or on the side with some of your other meals and reap the benefits of this wonderful fruit provided by God.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Precision Nutrition Informal Experiment: 8-Week Training Study!

"Work hard and become a leader; be lazy and become a slave."
- Proverbs 12:24

In February, I was selected as one of 60 volunteers (30 male and 30 female) to participate in one of the Precision Nutrition Informal Experiments: 8 Weeks With Cosgrove and JB.

The experiment was set up as an 8-week training program that consisted of two strength training workouts and two conditioning workouts per week.

The Goal
The program was designed to look at the effects of three different strength and conditioning programs on fat loss and overall fitness. There were three similar, but distinct programs designed to boost performance and fat loss. The goal was to find which method was the most effective.

The three training groups were divided as follows (20 people per group - 10 male and 10 female):

Group 1
Two days of strength training and two days of steady state cardio

Group 2
Two days of strength training and two days of interval cardio

Group 3
Two days of strength training and two days of TRX conditioning circuits

The groups were divided based on age, training experience and other factors. I was selected to participate in Group 2.

All three groups followed the exact same strength training program twice a week, but each group followed a different conditioning and fat loss workout for the other two days of the week.

Prior to the start of the program, there were several tests that I had to complete including the following:

Maximal Push-Up Test
After a 5-minute warm-up, start this first test. This test is quite simple. Using a 2" sponge or yoga block as a depth marker, do as many consecutive push ups as you can. Start with the arms in full extension, descend to the depth marker, and extend back up. This counts as one repetition. Do as many as you can without resting. Once you're finished, record your number.

Inverted Row Test
With your feet elevated on a Swiss ball, box or bench and your arms gripping a barbell or smith machine bar, do as many inverted rows as you can. Start with your arms fully extended, pull up until your chest touches the bar and extend back down. This counts as one repetition. Do as many as you can without resting. Once you're finished, record your number.

Standing Broad Jump Test
Choose an open area and using a countermovement knee bend, jump as far forward as you can, going for maximum distance. Start with two practice jumps, aiming for about 80% of your maximum distance. Then, on your third jump, give it your all. Have someone mark where you landed and measure the distance from where your toes started to where they landed.

Treadmill V-max Test
Perform this one on a treadmill. Begin by running at 7-9mph (choose 7 if you're not a very good runner and 9 if you're a good runner) and 0% elevation. Every minute, increase the elevation by 1%. Continue this until you simply can't continue running. Go to complete exhaustion. Once you're finished, record the speed and elevation at which you stopped. These numbers represent your V-max.

Treadmill T-max Test
Come back to the gym rested and ready to run. After a 5-minute warm-up run, set the treadmill to your Vmax (speed and elevation recorded above). Run as long as you can. Go to complete exhaustion. Once you're finished, record the total time you lasted. This represents your T-max.

My pre-testing results were as follows:

Max Pushups = 43
Max Inverted Rows = 13
Standing Broad Jump = 95"
V-max Test = 7mph @ 5%
T-max Test = 270 seconds

8-Week Training Program
The training programs for each group were developed by Alwyn Cosgrove, Fraser Quelch of TRX Suspension Training and John Berardi.

During the first four weeks of the 8-week training program, I performed two full-body strength workouts on Monday and Thursday. Lower reps (6 or 6-8) were used to help preserve strength and muscle mass during the program. During the last four weeks, the strength workouts changed to one upper body workout (Monday) and one lower body workout (Thursday) using a similar set/rep scheme as the previous four weeks.

The interval cardio was performed on Tuesday and Friday. The intervals were performed on a treadmill set at the above-mentioned V-max setting (5% incline at 7mph) beginning with 25 minutes of intervals during the first two weeks, 30 minutes for weeks three and four, 35 minutes in weeks five and six and 40 minutes in weeks seven and eight. The intervals consisted of a 1:2 or 1:1.5 ratio of work to rest.

For example, conditioning workout A during the first week consisted of 30-second inclined treadmill intervals and 60-second rest breaks (1:2) for 25 minutes. Conditioning workout B consisted of 60-second inclined treadmill intervals and 90-second rest breaks (1:1.5) for 25 minutes. The interval workouts changed every two weeks (different work to rest periods and overall time - increasing from 25 minutes to 40 minutes during 8 weeks).

My Results
At the end of the 8-week experiment, my post-testing results were as follows:

Max Pushups = 47
Max Inverted Rows = 14
Standing Broad Jump = 98"
V-max Test = 7mph @ 7%
T-max Test = 210 seconds

The above shows that I improved in all areas. The one thing I could definitely tell was the difference in my conditioning when I played ultimate frisbee. Although I only increased my V-max from 5% to 7%, that 2% increase was significant on the field. I was able to run harder, faster and longer without tiring during the game.

However, I did not lose weight on the program. In fact, I gained three pounds overall after hitting a six-pound gain a couple weeks into the program and then slowly coming back down and holding a steady three-pound gain once the program was over.

Also, I retested my one-repetition maximum on several exercises once I completed this study to see if I had lost maximal strength. My bench was down by 10 pounds, my front squat was down five pounds, my standing overhead press was the same and my deadlift increased by 15 pounds.

The Next Step
At this time, I am waiting to see the final results of all three groups and how they compared. I think I know which group may have had the best conditioning and fat loss results, but we'll have to wait until John Berardi and the researchers with Precision Nutrition post the information. I will post the final results of the study in the next week or two.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Are You Ready To Bare All This Summer?

"So I saw that there is nothing better for people than to be happy in their work. That is why we are here! No one will bring us back from death to enjoy life after we die." - Ecclesiastes 3:22

Memorial Day is only a week away. For many, Memorial Day is the unofficial start to summer. It's a time for grilling out, going to the beach, pool, lake or springs and baring it all in your bathing suit or bikini.

Have you achieved your fat loss goals this year? Are you ready to wear your bathing suit and show off your beach body?

If not, there is still time to lose 10-20lbs and get in better shape before the next big summer holiday - Independence Day: July 4, 2009. Mark it on your calendar now!

You’ve probably heard of the rapid weight loss program - Warp Speed Fat Loss - as I used it last year with good results. Warp Speed Fat Loss is a complete 28-day diet and training system crafted to help you lose 10, 15 or 20lbs of body fat in just 28 days.

In fact, it's guaranteed that you will lose at least 10lbs or you'll get your money back plus an additional $20.

The guarantee is that if you use Warp Speed Fat Loss while charting your progress in the Faster Fat Loss Zone (Mike Roussell's fat loss membership site - you'll get a free 45-day membership when you purchase Warp Speed Fat Loss) and you don't lose at least 10lbs, they'll refund your order completely plus send you $20 via PayPal.

A 120% Money Back Guarantee.

That’s right. If you don’t lose the weight, Mike and Alwyn are going to give you your money back AND send you $20 for your trouble. Find out all the details here:

Warp Speed Fat Loss

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Confused by Nutrition? Read This!

Then God said, "Look! I have given you every seed-bearing plant throughout the earth and all the fruit trees for your food."
- Genesis 1:29

I apologize for not posting recently. The last two months have been extremely busy for a variety of reasons, and I haven't had the time to post regularly.

Today, I want to simplify nutrition. I know there is a lot of misinformation available when it comes to nutrition. Although I've tried to give simple tips in previous blogs about nutrition, it still doesn't seem to be helping.

I know that there is no "one-size-fits-all" diet plan, but these are fairly general recommendations that can be easily tailored to fit you, your metabolism, your lifestyle, etc.

It amazes me that despite the amount of information available on the internet about nutrition, almost everyone I come in contact with is still confused or mislead by outdated information, practices and recommendations.

Not to mention that they roll their eyes at me when I give them recommendations that go against what they've been taught or led to believe.

Here are 10 simple tips to keep in mind (you'll notice many similarities to John Berardi's 7 Habits of Highly Effective Nutritional Programs). These tips can be applied to any situation (restaurant, party, fast food, etc.) and it will help you with your nutrition, health and fitness goals.

As an added bonus, I'm going to provide many links to other blogs I've written or articles that explain things even better and more in-depth than I can!

1. Eat Protein with Every Meal. Protein is needed for many processes within the body including building muscle. Muscle is the only thing that is metabolically active in the body. The only way to burn fat is to build muscle and protein will help you do that when you also use a proper resistance training program.

Also, protein has a higher thermic effect than carbs or fat. This means that by eating protein, it increases your metabolism. I recommend .8 - 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight for most people. No, this is not harmful and it's not hard to do. Remember, a 3-ounce serving of meat typically has 18-24 grams of protein. Also, see this article that talks about some protein myths that just won't go away.

Choose from the following: Lean red meat (grass fed is best), chicken, fish, venison, buffalo, ostrich, pork, eggs (organic is best), cottage cheese and protein powder.

2. Eat Vegetables and/or Fruit with Every Meal. I shouldn't need to explain this one. Vegetables and fruits are real power foods that contain a variety of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals along with fiber and many other things science has only begun to discover (although God designed and created these things for us already knowing how good it was!).

Yet, if you listen to some people, they'll tell you that carrots will make you fat because they are listed on the high-end of the glycemic index. I won't get into this as it should be common sense that carrots are going to be healthier and better for you than pasta. But you can read more about the glycemic index and the more important glycemic load in this article by Dr. Jonny Bowden - HERE.

Choose from the following: Any type of green vegetable (broccoli, spinach, green beans, aspargus, brussel sprouts, green peppers, etc.) tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, carrots, Romaine lettuce, zucchini, squash, sweet potatoes and other brightly colored, high-fiber vegetables (it's best to limit potatoes and corn).

The best types of fruit include berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries), apples, peaches, cantaloupe, oranges and other citrus fruits and low-sugar fruits (it's best to limit grapes, bananas and pineapple).

3. Eat Healthy Fats with Every Meal. It amazes me that so many people still fear the word "fat" or think that by eating fat (even saturated fat) it will cause them to automatically become fat. Yes, you should definitely avoid anything with trans fat, but you need fat in order for your body to work properly.

In fact, as I mentioned in a previous blog, when you restrict something your body does the opposite. So if you restrict your fat intake, your body will hold onto fat. But if you eat plenty of healthy fats, your body will help you lose fat!

Choose from the following: Extra-virgin olive oil, coconut oil (great for cooking at high temperatures), salmon and other fatty fish, avocados, raw nuts (walnuts, almonds, etc.), flaxseed and healthy fats from eggs, lean meats (especially grass fed and organic), butter, etc.

4. Raw Milk, Cheese and Greek Yogurt. If you're going to drink milk, I highly recommend that at the very least you stick to organic milk. However, it would be best to switch to raw or raw but pasteurized milk as I've spoken about in a previous blog.

Cheese in moderate amounts is also good for snacks and to spice up various dishes - just be careful of the amount being used and don't buy reduced fat versions as mentioned in the aforementioned blog. Greek yogurt is a great Power Food and I highly recommend it over other types of yogurt. It's higher in protein, lower in carbs, low in lactose, is creamy and works great as a snack or in various recipes.

5. Drink Water Throughout the Day. Water is the best thing you can drink on a daily basis. Our bodies are made up of approximately 70 percent water, and the more water you consume the better hydrated you will be and the more efficiently your body will function. Water is needed for virtually every metabolic process in the body. It helps flush wastes and toxins out. It helps keep joints lubricated and skin fresh and moist. And it helps prevent bloat.

A good recommendation is to drink half your bodyweight in ounces each day. If you weigh 150lbs, you should drink at least 75 ounces of water each day. You'll need to drink more if you live in a hot climate or if you are exercising. Stay away from calorie-containing drinks such as soda, various coffee drinks, fruit juice, milk, etc.

6. Eat 4-6 Meals Per Day and Eat Every 2-3 Hours. Eating more frequently helps to elevate your metabolism, it keeps you from getting hungry and making bad choices, and it helps limit how much you eat during each meal.

7. Consume Starchy Carbohydrates During Breakfast or Post-Workout Only. In order for your body to utilize starchy carbohydrates properly and not store them as fat, the two best times to consume them are for breakfast and after an intense workout as part of a post-workout meal. These are the two times during the day when your body will refill your body's glycogen levels rather than storing the carbs in your fat cells.

Despite what the Food Pyramid may suggest, you DO NOT need anywhere near the amount of servings suggested unless you are a high-level endurance athlete participating in marathons or the Tour de France. The majority of people do not get nearly enough exercise to warrant the amount of starchy carbohydrates that are typically recommended. Not only that, but you can get the amount of carbohydrates your body needs from vegetables and fruits. Also, here's a good blog I posted about Carbohydrates and Fat Loss.

In addition, many people are allergic to gluten which is found in grains and other products. Not only that, but most people are healthier and lose more weight on a lower carb diet (less than 40% from carbs).

Choose from the following: Raw oats, sweet potatoes and yams, Quinoa, couscous, whole-wheat pasta (limit it to 2 ounces), brown or whole-grain rice and real bread (Ezekiel bread).

8. Avoid High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) and Trans Fat. HFCS is the evil it's been made out to be despite some clever PR tactics that you may have seen on TV. Here's a good article for more information - Thank You for Guzzling Corn Syrup.

Trans fat is the one type of fat that you should avoid at all costs. No amount of trans fat is good for you. Despite the claims seen on many boxed and packaged foods that say "no trans fat" - they do not have to legally list that the item contains trans fat if it's .5 grams or less. Don't be fooled by man-made, pre-packaged and commercialized products. Your best bet is to avoid anything that comes in a box or has a list of ingredients that you cannot pronounce.

9. The 90 Percent Rule. Dr. John Berardi is attributed with the 90 percent rule. If you want to make changes in your body composition, it requires that you adhere to a proper nutritional plan 90 percent of the time. Anything less, and you won't meet your goals.

This means that if you eat an average of five meals per day, seven days per week for a total of 35 meals. In order to stay 90 percent compliant, you can skip or mess up (have a cheat meal) only 3.5 times each week. Think about it next time you reach for some dessert or decide to eat some fried, greasy fast food rather than something healthy and nutritionally balanced.

10. Look to the Bible. If you're still confused as to what to eat, then look no further than the bible which lists many of the foods God has provided to us that have numerous benefits. An excellent book I would recommend reading is What the Bible Says About Healthy Living.

There, you will find many of the same things I tell people on a daily basis when it comes to the foods you should be eating (which I've already listed). But if you want to know God's perfect design and the many benefits of those foods which scientists are just now realizing, then check out that book!

There it is. A list of 10 tips that should help set you straight when it comes to nutrition. I know I haven't covered everything in this blog, but I hope that you will use these tips to make changes in your life.

As always, if you have questions or comments, feel free to post them below.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Youth Fitness Specialist Certification!

"The wise are mightier than the strong, and those with knowledge grow stronger and stronger." - Proverbs 24:5

In March, I completed my exam to earn my Level 1 Youth Fitness Specialist certification through the International Youth Conditioning Association (IYCA).
I was notified less than two weeks later that I passed the exam and earned my Youth Fitness Specialist certification. This is the first step in my goal of being certified and opening my own fitness-based business in the near future.

I began with a Youth Fitness Specialist because I have a desire to work with children and teenagers ages 6-18 to help them improve their self-esteem while also improving their health and fitness.

It's a sad fact that more than 30 percent of today's youth are now considered obese. With the lack of physical education programs in many schools and the increase in a sedentary lifestyle due to video games, computers and internet usage, our youth need a way to have fun while also improving their health and fitness.

I plan on completing my Level 2 Certification in the near future while working toward my business goals.

I may also pursue another fitness certification through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) or the American Council on Exercise (ACE) in order to have the basic certification to train all adults and children.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Lose Fat in the Morning!

"Wisdom will multiply your days and add years to your life."
- Proverbs 9:11

This is an article originally written by Mike Roussell, Ph.D. I wanted to post it as today's blog since it gives good tips on how to begin losing fat first thing in the morning. It also goes with many of the recent blogs I've posted by Mike Roussell, Alwyn Cosgrove and the Warp Speed Fat Loss Program.

One of the best ways to ensure you burn maximum fat is to get your training done first thing in the morning. A common fat loss tip people often give out is just this - exercise in the morning to burn more fat.

Does exercising in the morning burn more calories? Unfortunately, there is no scientific evidence to prove that exercising in the morning burns more calories, but it may increase your fat loss.

How? Because it guarantees that you'll get your training done! If you are having trouble losing weight, sticking to your diet, and getting in all your exercise sessions, then training first thing in the morning could be just the thing for you.

In a previous episode of my Naked Nutrition Radio, my guest was behavior change expert Kara Mohr. Kara and her husband, Chris Mohr, hold exercise bootcamp for women in Louisville, Kentucky at 5:30 in the morning. Why? They call it the "No Excuse Hour." You don't have any excuses not to be there and not to do it.

My friend, and Men's Health expert, Bill Hartman exercises at 4:00am to ensure that he gets his training done - No Excuses. Bill runs two physical therapy clinics, a gym and is a family man. He has every reason to make excuses, but he makes the time.

Success Coach Brian Tracy always says that if you want to be successful, just find successful people and do what they are doing. If you are having trouble getting your training sessions in because your day is too busy, follow the example of these successful people and embrace the "No Excuse Hour."

You will feel invigorated, your metabolism will be blasting at its highest level, and you'll burn more fat.

The second important piece to the puzzle is diet. You need rock solid fat loss nutrition first thing in the morning to fuel your day. One important factor for many people (especially if they are exercising in the morning as well) is time. That is why I recommend you use a nutrition-packed shake to get fueled and get going with your day.

Here is a sample shake that you could make to help burn maximum fat:

Add to a blender: 8-12 ounces of water, a few ice cubes (optional), 1 ounce of walnuts, a "greens" supplement (such as Emerald Balance or Superfood), one scoop of protein powder (such as Metabolic Drive Low-Carb), and one cup of frozen berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and/or blackberries).

Take 2-3 grams of fish oil while drinking this shake, and you'll be ready to go. This shake contains low-impact carbs, a blend of essential and heart-healthy fats, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. You would be hard-pressed to find a better way to start your day and start burning fat.

You need to decide. Are you going to starting losing weight tomorrow morning? Are you going to take advantage of the "No Excuse Hour?" Are you going to start your day with a fat-burning breakfast - or coffee and a bagel like the rest of the country?

Jumpstart your fat loss first thing in the morning, and you will reap the benefits throughout the day.

About the Author/More Info
Warp Speed Fat Loss is a complete 28-day diet and training system crafted to help you lose 10, 15 or 20lbs of body fat in just 28 days. To start losing weight fast visit Warp Speed Fat Loss.

Mike Roussell is a nutrition doctoral student at the University of Pennsylvania. Mike's writings can be found in magazines such as Men's Health, Men's Fitness and Testosterone Nation. Mike specializes in fat loss nutrition and diets for busy men and women who need to lose weight fast without it interfering with their lives. Warp Speed Fat Loss is a complete Done-for-You A-Z Fat Loss Blueprint that gives you exactly everything you need to eat to lose weight in record time.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Problem With Weight Loss: Your Body Will Do The Opposite!

"My words are plain to anyone with understanding, clear to those with knowledge." - Proverbs 8:9

I've been very busy this past week and haven't had as much time to post some of the topics I want to discuss. So today's blog is an article written by Alwyn Cosgrove about weight loss with some ideas on how to get your body to respond favorably.

Homeostasis is the property of a living organism that regulates its internal environment so as to maintain a stable, constant condition.

When you don't drink enough water in the short term, often the body retains water. It attempts to maintain homeostasis by counteracting the stresses we put on it. When you drink a lot of extra water, your body excretes more water to maintain balance.

When we weight train, we actually break down muscle tissue. And the body responds by building new muscle. It attempts to maintain homeostasis by doing the reverse of the stimulus we placed on it.

When a male takes supplemental testosterone, the body shuts down its own production in a bid to maintain homeostasis.

When we immunize children against disease, we actually inject them with a small dose of that disease. The immune system recognizes the vaccine as foreign, destroys it, and "remembers" it. When the virulent version of an agent comes along, the immune system is thus prepared to respond. In order to prepare the body to defend against a disease, we expose it to the disease and it responds by doing the opposite - it destroys the disease.

In almost every situation I can think of, the body tries to maintain homeostasis by "doing the opposite" of the stimulus.

How does this apply to weight loss?
  • We now know that while you are performing low-intensity exercise, it burns primarily fat.
  • Higher intensity exercise actually burns more carb stores than fat.

But in every head-to-head comparison, high-intensity exercise results in more fat loss than low-intensity exercise even though the more intense work may burn a lesser percentage of fat during the exercise session. Burning glycogen results in a larger amount of fat lost than burning fat directly.

The body responds by doing the opposite:
  • It breaks down muscle to grow more muscle
  • It burns glycogen to lose more fat

I designed the Warp Speed Fat Loss training program to specifically take advantage of this law of nature so that when your body "does the opposite," you’ll end up with faster and greater fat loss.

About the Author/More Info
Warp Speed Fat Loss is a complete 28-day diet and training system crafted to help you lose 10, 15 or 20lbs of body fat in just 28 days. To start losing weight fast visit Warp Speed Fat Loss.

Alwyn Cosgrove, M.S., C.S.C.S., is a nationally-renown fat loss expert whose work has appeared in magazines such as Men's Health, Men's Fitness, Muscle & Fitness, Maximum Fitness, Men's Journal, Self, Oxygen, Muscle & Fitness HERS and T-Nation. His Warp Speed Fat Loss system is a complete Done-for-You A-Z Fat Loss Blueprint that gives you exactly everything you need to eat and exactly what to do for exercise to lose weight in record time.