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.

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