Sunday, December 30, 2007

Average Guys Guide #8

Avoiding Stupid New Years Resolutions

We are at the second most dangerous time of year, New Years. During this time many people, including tons of folks who should know better, make ridiculous resolutions for the new year. Often these resolution come in the form of promises of diet and exercise. I am here to tell you that if you have been doing the Average guys eating and exercise plan, to avoid the impulse to jump into something radically different in hopes of some fast transformation into a leaner and more muscular you. Now, if you have been going along and think you would like to step it up a notch thats fine, just wait a week or two after Jan 1, to make sure its not some passing fancy that you will abandon. Its way too easy a trap to fall into. Right now your total time commitment to exercise is about 90 minutes a week, max. Your eating guidelines are quite flexible. Many, however, have probably already gotten complacent. Rather than jump into something completely different, tighten up on what you are already doing. Examine your diet, are still eating the recommended amount of meat, vegetables and fruits? Are you still eating breakfast everyday? What about your workouts, are you still adding weight when the exercises get too easy? Are you still faithfully working out twice a week every week? Are you still doing any conditioning work? If you can answer yes to all of these questions, then you are ready to step up to the next level if you wish. If you are not doing all of these, and haven't been able to keep up with the basics, why would you make an even larger commitment? Yes, its bloody hard to resist the sirens call of all the advertising and marketing out there. Remember tho', all these people really care about reducing, is the money in your wallet. If you really feel compelled to spend money and try something new then let me recommend going to your favorite used book store and buying either A Week in the Zone or Mastering the Zone . For people that have trouble with my eating recommendations due to their lack of sufficient structure, these are a good way to go. Next time I'll address how to take your training a new direction.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Strawberry Catfish

Not Having made any culinary contributions is a while, I offer up this upscale, down home dish. For those of you who are familiar with catfish, this will - I'm willing to bet, become one of your favorite ways to enjoy this wonderful fish. For those who have not yet enjoyed catfish, what a wonderful introduction this will be. The recipe originally used cornmeal and white flour to bread the fish, after several substitutions, I settled on almond meal and whole wheat flour. For those who are fastidious with their carbs, you can use just almond flour, or mix almond flour and carb quick mix. My Favorite oil for frying catfish is rendered bacon drippings, but a cooking grade of olive oil also works just fine. No need to waste good, expensive, extra virgin olive oil here.

Serves 4
2 Lbs Catfish
3 tbsp soy sauce
4oz Strawberry Jam - I use polaner all fruit
2 tbsp hot sauce
2 tsp horseradish
4oz red wine vinegar
2 oz marinara sauce
1 tsp crushed garlic
6oz Whole Wheat Flour
6oz Almond Meal
1 tbsp Cajun Seasoning
oil for cooking - about half a cup
Salt and pepper

Place catfish in large shallow dish, season with salt, pepper, and hot sauce on both sides. Cover and place in fridge for at least one hour, upto over night. In sauce pan combine Jam, vinegar, soy sauce, horseradish, marinara, and garlic. Simmer over med low heat till jam has melted and sauce is warm. Combine flour, almond meal, and cajun seasoning in shallow plate. Heat cooking oil in heavy skillet to med high heat. Dredge fish pieces in flour mixture, coating evenly, and place in skillet. Saute the fish until brown on both sides and fish is done. Drain fish when done. To serve, divide sauce onto 4 plates and top with fish. Garnish with extra strawberries if you have them.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Average guys guide to getting thru Thanksgiving and the rest of the holiday season.

Step 1, eat enough protein.
Step 2, continue with your work outs.

Thats it. Despite all the ranting, raving, hand wringing and self pity that goes around this time of year, my advice to you is have a good time. Yup, you heard me; eat too much, drink too much, stay out too late, dance with your wife, flirt with the secretarty, have a good time. If you do nothing else but make sure you eat a healthy serving of protein at every holiday event you attend, and keep with your twice weekly workouts, you'll be fine come January 2. Maybe you'll have gained a pound or two, maybe not. As long as you keep lifting, at least part of it will be muscle. Come the frist of the year when things calm down, and you retrun to a normal eating pattern, and keep with the lifting, any extra fat will take care of itself with no extra effort from you. Plus you'll have the bonus of having added a bit of muscle in the process. If for some reason you have to go somewhere that may not have much protein, or you just want to keeep things in check, chug down a protien shake before you leave home. Water, ice and protein powder in a blender, gulp, go, party on dude!.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Prof. Tietbohl where are you?

What do you call a bus load of Epidemiologist at the bottom of the ocean? A good start. With the recent release of the diet and cancer report, we are going to be bombarded with meaningless data. In the words of my college psychology professor, Prof. Tietbohl, correlation never, never, never, never,never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, equals causation. NEVER! Now that I've gotten that off my chest, lets addrress the issue of relative vs absolute risk. I have read all about how processed and red meat raises your risk of cancer by 15%. Sounds scary, like they want you to believe that eating this way gives you a 15% chance of getting cancer. Such is not the case. It raises your chances by 15%, but they don't say a 15% increase of what, do they. According to the report, red and processed meats are convincingly linked the colorectal cancer. According to the CDC's latest data available for the U.S., your chances of developing colorectal cancer are 0.05%. Add 12 ounces a week of red and processed meats, and you increase your risk by 15%. Your risk is now, drum roll please, 0.058%. (I rounded the numbers.) All of the news and media outlets will however focus on the relative risk, ignoring how small the actual risks are. This will provide fodder for the folks pushing the politically correct diet agenda. Mean while, I'll be having a ribeye and drinking Jack Daniels.

Monday, October 29, 2007

clue bat

Sometimes we all need to be smacked back into reality. Despite good intentions, and knowing better, most of us will do things, that after coming back to reality, will cause us to scratch our heads and go, "WTF was I thinking?". My most recent post prior to this one, is one of those things. At the time I started down that happy path, it all seemed so logical. I even lost weight. Must be a good thing right? Sometimes too much knowledge is worse than not enough. When I read things, especially new studies, or different twists on old ideas, my mind goes off on these tangents and starts coming up with ways to improve or alter what I'm doing to incorporate this new information. Sometimes these things can take weeks to play out. This latest episode was relatively short lived. In the case of nutrition, Pareto's principle still holds true. All the complicated answers and formulas and ideas and all the new and novel plans, still come down to the basics. Get enough protein. Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables everyday. Minimize refined sugar and sweeteners. Be active. It really is that simple. For reasons I can't understand, I, like countless others, seek to make it so much more. The hardest thing about all of it is to keep it simple. Is it because we live in a world of such startling complexity that simple answers seem so unacceptable?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Part Time Low Carb

I'm not exactly sure how this came about. I had done some reading about Intermittent fasting and various implementations of cyclical ketogenic diets, and this idea began to form in my brain. This idea was borne of a combination of my boredom as a cook with preparing meat and veggies and not getting to flex my culinary muscles on some of the worlds great cuisines and dishes that I once took such pride in creating, and this nagging feeling that there was such a great variety of new things that were out of my reach due to the restriction of eating a carb controlled diet. While I no longer make my living cooking for others, In my heart of hearts, I still think of myself as a chef. Now I am fully aware that for some, this approach will lead to disaster. For others, it just may be the thing that keeps them from going off the track into a binge. The concept is brutally simple. Eat a very low carb diet every other day. On the opposite days, eat three meals of what ever you want. When I say very low carb, I mean less than thirty grams carb total, including fiber, sugar alcohols, etc. When I say three meals, that means three meals. If, like me, you normally eat a mid-afternoon snack on low carb days, you can have a snack on your off days as well. Your off days are not an excuse to go face down in the buffet and gorge all day. I just means you don't have to watch your carbs on those days. If you want dessert, fine, have it with your meal. For me the addition of grits or biscuits to my morning eggs on some days has been a little slice of heaven. I still don't eat much sugar, and end up getting plenty of fat and protein, mostly because thats how I like to eat. Over the past couple of weeks while experimenting with this I have with out trying, lost an inch off my waist, and 5 lbs on the scale. Nether of which was the goal. I was really shooting for maintenance. I have as a matter of course, lifted weights mostly on my "off" diet days, and I still don't do cardio. Posted below are two recent days of what I've eaten.

3 eggs
3 slices bacon
Coffee with cream and splenda

Grilled steak
Leafy greens
Provolone cheese

Handful Almonds

Parmesan Coated Tilapia
Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower

Off day
2 eggs
biscuit with fresh pumpkin butter
coffee with cream and splenda

Turkey Sub with the works
Diet soda

Mixed nuts

Saltimbocca Romana
roasted potatoes
Olive oil
tossed salad
(yes, I cook like this)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Average Guy's Guide #6

No, I haven't fallen off the face of the earth.

Ok, so for those of you who are waiting with baited breath, all two of you, for the next installment into the average guys guide your wait is over.

The question I here from my meat space participants who have been my guinea pigs, most often is, "How strong is strong enough?" Well, the most straight forward answer I can find is the tables at For the purposes of this series the only two of the exercises listed that we are going to concern ourselves with are the over head press and dead lift. The combination of these exercises provide for a very good assessment of total body strength. You goal should be to achieve the "novice" levels of strength. According to the authors of these charts, the level of strength associated with novice is sufficient to support vigorous fitness activity. So in my estimation, that is strong enough for an average guy. This is not strong enough for competitive lifters, or bodybuilders, but hey, all we're trying to do here is be strong enough to be healthy, fit, and not too fat. Right? So far I've had you do a body weight, and an intro routine. Nether of which included the dead lift. A stiff leg dead lift yes, but that is not the one we are concerned with. The dead lift is the most basic exercise there is, and one of, if not the most useful. It involves your whole body, and working up to novice levels of strength in this exercise will pay dividends for years to come. We will not however be doing any one rep max lifts, nor will we ever work this exercise to failure. Start with a weight you can lift with confidence and slowly add weight. It will get hard soon enough. Starting with this next routine we are going to be working a split routine. Not a bodybuilders body part split, we are just going to divide the exercises into two different workouts, each done once a week.

Workout A
DeadLift 2 sets of 8 reps
Overhead press 2 sets of 8 reps
Curls(optional) 2 sets of 8 reps
A brisk walk or other conditioning work

Workout B
Split Squat 2 sets of 8 reps
Bent Over Row 2 sets of 8 reps
Push Ups/Bench Press 2 x max reps/2 sets of 8 reps
Hammer work

Continue using this routine until you reach novice levels of strength as defined by the charts at Do a warm up set or two prior to the work sets. This is a tried and proven program that has been used before by many many trainees to achieve strength levels much higher than we are shooting for here. You can find numerous variations of this routine in books and on the Internet. The reason you see this routine in so many places is quite simple, it works. Don't be put off by its simplicity, worked hard, this is a beast. Yes, it is enough volume. Until you have built a solid foundation of strength you will do yourself more harm then good by doing extra work. Leave the advanced routines to the advanced trainees. To sum it up, lift hard, eat well, get enough sleep, recover between workouts. Simple ? Yes. Easy? No.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


So I've been tagged again. It's taken me a couple of days to come up with eight random facts about me. So, In no particular order of lack of importance.

  • 1. On the day I turned thirty, on a dare, I got my belly button pierced. Some friends and I were out and about imbibing when one of them mentioned that I was to old to do any such foolishness. So I said if they would pay for it I would do it, they did and so did I. When I turned 40 I took it out.
  • 2. I have a cat named "Pig". when he was little he looked just like a little piglet, hence the name.
  • 3. I make the worlds worst beef stroganoff. I can follow any recipe, and it will still come out wrong. I can cook many other things, just not stroganoff.
  • 4. I've been drunk and asked to leave a bar on 6 different continents. "Beer" and "Jack Daniels" are understood world wide. Actually I was only asked to leave 5 times, the sixth one thru me out.
  • 5. I have no problem jumping out of perfectly good airplanes, but climbing a ladder scares me.
  • 6. Anne Marie Fahey was a friend of mine in college. It still weirds me out, what happened to her.
  • 7. I know people who worked in the World Trade center on 9/11, all of them made it out, or were late for work that day.
  • 8. On a clear day I can stand on the roof of my house and see 5 rivers, the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal, and the Chesapeake bay.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Does Organic still Matter?

With Big Agri-business now firmly in control of the organic products available in most grocery stores, how much does buying organic really matter? No longer does organic signify small family farms and local, seasonal goods. In the case of dairy if one were to visit a Dean foods, Horizon Dairy operation, it would be indistinguishable from its non-organic line. They are both feed lot operations, and ship products all over North America. Much of the produce that is organic is grown half way around the world, and shipped by airplane. The carbon footprint of this produce is far higher than non-orgainc produce grown anywhere in the United States. Is that what we are really trying to accomplish when we purchase orgainc products?Given the efforts of large agri-business to homogenize our food supply, it has become fairly impossible to eat a healthy diet and eat only locally grown meat and produce. There are still a great number of family farms in small communiteis across these United States, and we are doing ourselves the biggest favor of all when we support our local faremers, even if they are not organic. Farmers markets and roadside stands are a great source of high quality local produce. The money you spend at these places stays in your community, and doens't flow to large corporate interest. Even better, plan now to plant a garden next year. There are few things that will ever taste as good as home grown tomatoes.

Homegrown tomatoes homegrown tomatoes
What'd life be without homegrown tomatoes
Only two things that money can't buy
That's true love & homegrown tomatoes

Guy Clark - Refrain from "Homegrown Tomatoes"

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Average Guy's Guide #5

So, the time has come, man meets iron. After much consideration, read procrastination, its time to get busy lifting weights. We are going to stop the body weight deep knee bends, but keep the push ups, situps and hammer work, plus add a few other things in. There will be a link provided for each new exercise to for a complete description and demo. So here is your next routine

Spilt Squats
Stiff leg Deadlift
Overhead Press
Bent over Row
Push Ups
Sit Ups
Hammer work

There ya go. Do these twice a week, giving yourself at least 2 or three days between workouts. Start conservative with the weights. These are new movements, and it'll take a time or three to get the hang of them. Its far better to do it light and do it right, then go heavy too quickly and get hurt. Getting hurt is not good, in fact part of why we're doing this is to be more injury resistant. Now that we are past the absolute beginner stage the question always comes up as to how many sets to preform. If you travel about the internet you will find various answers to that question. Here is mine, One set works IF you have a qualified coach or partner to spot you, push you, and watch your form. IF you are in this situation, especially if you have access to high quality equipment like Med-x or Hammer, then go for it, one max set is all you need. IF however, you are working out alone in your garage or basement, then two hard sets, is better then trying to do one max set unsupervised. To start the Split squats and deadlifts with, use a weight that you could get 20 reps with but stop at 15. For the press' and row's, use a weight that you could get 15 reps with, but stop at 12. For the pushups and sit ups you should be able to get 2 sets of 20. If on the second set you aren't sure if you can get all the reps, stop on the last rep you know you can get. Just try to do a little better next time. After you are able to get all reps in both sets confidently, add weight, 5 lbs, at the next work out. This routine should last you for about 8 weeks. At the end of 8 weeks, take a week off. It will be time to change things up again.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Average Guy's Guide #4

So, how ya doing so far? You're probably wondering when the miraculous transformation is going to start. Well, it ain't. This here is not some get ripped in 90 day type of program. This is about building a foundation of strength and health, one brick at a time. There are plenty of books and websites that'll promise you the moon,take your money, and leave you right where your are now, looking for a real answer. The real secret to strength and health is there ain't no secret. Its about eating right and getting regular exercise, for the rest of your natural life. Sorry to bust your bubble. Thats right, the pursuit of health and strength is not something you do for a little while and then you're done. Nope, to continue to reap the benefits of eating right and exercising, you got to do this forever.

So, Back to the eating right part. Protein, protein, protein. In case I was too subtle, PROTEIN. Forget all the nonsense you hear about the dangers of a high protein diet. Unless you have been diagnosed with kidney disease, a high protein diet is better than good for you. How much protein? I am so glad you asked. Since I am in The U.S., I will answer in pounds and ounces. Dive your weight in pounds by 10. That is how many ounces of meat/fish/foul you should eat everyday. Notice I didn't say grams of protein, this is how many ounces of meat you should put on your plate. A piece the size of a deck of cards is about three ounces. So if you weigh 210 lbs, that would be 21 ounces or seven decks of cards of meat. Such non meat items as eggs and cottage cheese can be used as well. Each large egg is one ounce of meat, a half cup of cottage cheese is 4 ounces.

Your mother was right, about vegetabels anyway. After protein, vegetables are the most important part of your diet. A serving a vegetables is about a cup raw. To get the number of servings you should eat divide your body weight in lbs. by 30. Round Up any decimal point to the next whole number. This is how many servings of vegetable you should eat everyday. One serving can be of root vegetables (carrots, beets, potatoes etc), and beans (navy, kdney etc) can be substituted for a serving as well. People who are carb sensitive may need to do an either/or on the root vegetables and beans.

For servings of fruit divide your body weight in lbs by 70, and round up as before. If you are carb sensitive stick to berries, apples, and citrus, and avoid tropical fruits (bananas, mangos).

Eat one ounce of nuts or seeds (almonds, walnuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds etc) or two table spoons of nut butters everyday.

The above are minimums. Divide it up over 3-4 meals and a snack or two. You can eat more if you like.

What about Pasta, cereal, and bread? Here is the deal. Fill your plate with the protein, vegetables and fruits first. If on any given day you have the choice between pasta and a potato, pick the potato. As long as you eat your minimums of the meat, vegies, fruits and nuts, you can eat what ever else you want, just don't stuff yourself to do it. I eat dairy almost everyday in the form of yoghurt, or milk in my protein shakes. I go to community dinners where spaghetti is served. I just make sure I eat meatballs, sausages and salad in sufficient quantities to go with it. BBQ's are easy, just stick to the ribs, chicken, beans, and fresh fruits. Everyday isn't going to be perfect. Life sometimes gets in the way of our best efforts. The object is to be on track 90% of the time. If you blow a meal, or a whole day for that matter, just get back on track the time you eat. Again, its not about being perfect, its about making progress and doing better over time.

NOTE: The above diet is based on a post Made by David Maurice in the Hard Gainers Round Table. To see the original diet as posted you will need to join the round table.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Average Guy's Guide #3

We've all seen those infomercials that say 10 minutes a day is all it takes to get fab abs. Well 10 minutes a day is enough for somethings, but it aint going to get you fab abs. More Importantly, which six pack would you really rather have, Abs that require more maintainance than Joan Rivers face, or the one from the Micro-brewery across town? If you're like me, the beer wins every time. So, if not abs, what is it we're really trying to get out of exercise? Strength, plain and simple. IF they are still kicking, look at your father and grandfather, what could they use more; the areobic capacity to run a 5k, or the stength and flexibilty to do squats and push-ups?

The first routine I wrote was to do pushups, situps, and deep knee bends , twice a week. Mastering your own bodyweight is the safest form of strength training. You can build a reasonable amount of muscle and metobolic conditioning using just body weight. Most guys however get really bored, really quickly, doing calesthenics. This is why barbells in one form or another have been around for so long. There is something about lifting weights that just appeals to most guys. At a bare minimum you will need a bar, about two hundred pounds of weights that fit on the bar, a sledge hammer, and an old tire to make use of the advice in the remainder of this series. These can be picked up dirt cheap at yard sales, flea markets, and used sporting good stores. I routinely see full Olympic sets on sale for $99. Dumbells such as the bowflex select tech 1090's or PowerBlock's are also a good option if you are willing and able to spend the money. A nice thing to have is some type of stand or rack to hold the bar while you change weights and to allow for heavier squating and pressing. The stand is not required for this series, just nice to have. A bench you can use with the stands is also a nicety. You don't have to do bench press', but for those of you out there who are stuggeling with push ups, moving to bench press' where you can use a lighter weight and work up may be a reasonalbe approach. Also, at a certain point doing 10-15 bench press' may be more appealing than doing 30 to 50 push ups. Again, the bench and stand are not required.

The first implement of destruction we are going to use other than our body is the venerable sledge hammer. Do your pushups, situps, and deep knee bends. Then, go outside, get an old tire, one that has been deflated and taken off the wheel, and for one minute swing (get a timer if needed) the hammer from the same shoulder and pound the tire. Rest 30 secondes, change shoulders and swing the hammer for another minute. Rest for one minute. Now grab your hammer like a shovel, the heavy part being the blade, and leading with your right hand closest to the weight, "shovel" for one minute, rest 30 seconds and repeat with the left hand closest to the weight. Hit the showers and grab a proten shake, you've earned it.

What to do if you don't have a sledge hammer, or room to use one. For the time being a single 15 lb dumbell can be a substitute for the hammer. Using both hands do a wood chop motion. and Dumbell swings for the shovel.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Average Guy's Guide #2

Lets start off this time with some house keeping items. I am not a bodybuilder. I have no real interest in bodybuilding. I respect what bodybuilders do, but have no desire to do it. Neither I, nor any of the men I know have any desire to shave every part of our bodies except our heads, put on bikini bottoms, and parade around on stage. In my pantheon Phil Pfister, current Worlds Strongest Man Champ, rates way above Jay Cutler, Current Body Building Champ. After all, what we are trying to accomplish here is to be healthy, strong, men.
For the ladies out there, I am writing this from a male perspective, but it applies to you as well. Muscle is muscle, and the women out there can be healthy, strong, women. is the best site bar none, on the web for women. Not that I don't want the women folk reading this, its just that Krista lays it out woman to woman in a way I never could.
I'm not going to quote endless scientific studies to support what I'm writing. Science is fine, but it has its limitations as well. Contrary to popular belief, there were many strong and healthy men before exercising became all sciencey. In fact I'm willing to bet that we can draw a strong positive coorelation between research into diet and exercise and the "obesity epidemic".

Next on our list of things to add into the program is this: Eat Breakfast Everyday. Your body will thank you. I'm going to give you a couple of sample breakfast menus here, but by no means should this be viewed as a complete list of acceptable breakfasts.

Breakfast 1
Meat (bacon, steak etc)
Fresh Fruit

Protein Powder
Whole Milk
Fresh Fruit

Peanut Butter
Fresh Fruit
Cottage cheese

For those of you who prefer juice, thats fine, I prefer to eat my fruit rather than drink it, but hey, thats me. Just make sure that you're drinking 100% juice, organic is best. Any added sugars or any corn syrup or High Fructose Corn syrup, turn and ok, (but not great), drink into junk food. The oatmeal should not be instant or flavored. Go for the plain old fashioned oats. If you must sweeten it add real honey or 100% real maple syrup. Supermarket pancake syrup is evil, if you have it in the house, throw it out. For the protein powder I like Designer Whey. It just tastes best to me. You may like another brand. Don't buy the meal replacement shake powder, get either whey or a whey blend protein powder. Use Whole milk, preferably organic, grass fed is best. For those who can't tolerate cows milk, use hemp milk, or almond milk. Use butter, real butter, not some butter flavored spread. For the Toast, go with sprouted or sourdough. Alvarado St Bakery is ok, Food for Life Ezekiel Bread is better. I can find both in my local chain super markets in the frozen section. White bread is not real food, if its in the house, throw it out. Don't even keep it for the kids.

Take a multi-vitamin and fish oil. For vitamins, Centrum or the store brand equivalent will do. For fish oil find one that says concentrated, store brand is fine for the most part.

Eat protein with every meal. This includes eggs, beef, poultry, fish, shellfish, pork, mutton, lamb, veal, game and cottage cheese. You should have a serving of protein about the size of your hand with every meal. You can substitute protein powder for a serving at one meal. Do not worry about the fat in the meat, it is good for you. So enjoy the Rib-eye or pork chop with gusto.

Eat a salad every at least every other day, and do not use Iceberg lettuce. Romaine, fine; Arugula, fine, Spinach fine, Spring Mix fine, Iceberg - skip it. Don't be afraid to dress your salad. I like olive oil, toasted pumpkin seeds, and real blue cheese, or gorgonzola crumbles on mine. Skip the fat free stuff, it tastes bad and the junk in there to cover for the fat they took out, is mostly just sugar.

Next time I talk more about exercise.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Average Guys Guide Part1

The Average Guys Guide to Being Healthy, Not Fat, Strong Enough to do Manly Things, and Not Going Crazy in the Process

Most of the fitness books out there for men stink if you're over 40 . They all assume we are 20 something's who want bulging biceps and six pack abs to impress the girls so we can get dates with some shallow bimbo and boff her brains out. To make matters worse they all have these work out plans that assume we have nothing better to do then spend all our free time in the gym. Not to mention we have access to a gym or have all this great equipment at our disposal. On the other hand most guys I know, have wives, kids, houses, errands to run, yard work, and other stuff to do that constitutes real life. I've talked with many of these guys, and am one myself. The general consensus is that our wives would be far more impressed by us volunteering to do the dishes then if we achieved a 300lb bench press or developed 18" biceps. While boinking some young chic might cross our minds from time to time, the real woman we want to make happy is our wife. I talked to my wife, and several other women who are wives or SO's, and their responses were refreshingly simple. They wanted their men to be healthy, not too fat, but not cover models either, and strong enough to do husbandly things around the house with out hurting themselves or being sore for days. Basically what they really wanted was for us to take care of ourselves so we would be there for the long haul. I was also surprised to learn that their idea of "not too fat" was incredibly forgiving. So I talked to a few of the guys I know, and they all said that those were reasonable goals. Several of them had bought this book or that book, but all the books were about building "big guns" and six pack abs, had unreasonable time commitments, diets that were either to complex, or too restrictive, and generally geared to a younger crowd. Mostly they had just plain given up trying to find a livable solution.

At this point I need to make the following disclaimer, I am not a doctor, so none of what I am about to write in this or subsequent installment should be taken or used as medical advice. If you are under the care of a doctor, always clear any eating or exercise plan with them first.

So, lets get started.

Step One, if you smoke, stop. No further explanation should be required. Get help if you need it, but just make up your mind and quit.

Two; stop eating junk food. You're not a teenager so stop eating like one. Lets face it, Twinkies, ho-ho's, oreos, soda's and french fries have no redeeming value. Instead of going to a fast food joint, go to a deli and get a real sandwich and some fruit or a salad. If you like blue cheese or mayo that's fine. Just skip the fake, fat free stuff. I'm going to recommend you buy one book. Jonny Bowden's 150-Healthiest-Foods . If 80 pct of your diet come from the foods in this book, you're ahead of the game.

Three; push ups, sit ups, and deep knee bends. Cardio? Bah! skip it. Twice a week, like say Tuesday and Saturday, do as many push ups, sit ups and deep knee bends as you can for one set each. Do them slowly and smoothly. Take only enough time in between exercises to catch your breath. In the beginning it might take 2 minutes, but after a few weeks you should be down to a minute or less. That's it. That's all the exercises you need, and if you are just starting out this will be sufficient for several weeks. If you can't do at least 10 regular push ups, then do as many as you can then do them on your knees. Until you can do 30 reps of each, don't worry about adding any exercises. Eventually you will need a set of adjustable dumbbells, or a barbell set, but no need for any thing else. For right now however, bodyweight will be enough. I'll be adding in a few exercises as we go, but this is where it starts.

Four; go to sleep. Get at least seven hours a night. If that means you miss Letterman, too bad, now say good night.

That'll wrap up the first installment of this project. They say you get 80 percent of your return on the first 20 percent of your efforts. The above is the first 10 percent.

Journey To Mecca

York, Pennsylvania, a place near and dear to every strength trainer, home of "The Barbell", and the weightlifting hall of fame Many of the ideas about training I've developed over the years owe a great deal to the Bob Hoffman legacy, and the fact that I grew up reading "Strength and Health" not "Muscle and Fitness" or any of the other Weider magazines. It makes me kind of misty inside lamenting the lack of leadership in todays fitness world. Joe Weider de-throned Hoffman, but Weider's days and empire are crumbling fast. Bodybuilding has become a freak show. Oly Weightlifting and power-lifting are niche players. Physical culture is homeless. We live in a time of a multitude iof guru's, but no real leaders. All of those voices speaking in authority drown each other out in a cacophonous roar. Perhaps its no coincidence that the rise in obesity is taking place in a time without leadership in the world of strength and health.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Save the Tallywhackers!!

Jolene! Jolene! Answer me woman! Don't be givin' Junior no more of them
there flintsone vitamins, cuz it says right here that vitamins cause the
prostate cancer. Thats right woman, ifn' you want grand kids don't be
gving him no more vitamins. Its bad enough that my Momma gave them to me,
but you aint gonna ruin our son. Great googley moogley, is that why you
is always trying to get me to eat right and take the centrum? Thats just
plain mean. I told you that that waitress was an accident, but you aint
gotta go so far as to try and kill my tallywhacker. Why you lookin' at me
the way, It says right here in black and white that vitamins cause cancer
of the prostate, and when that happens your tallywhacker stops workin. It
happend to Bobby Jon down the road, and now his wife is seein a trucker,
ain't that just a shame.

I love reading the headlines of the latest scare research. Today it was
multivitamins increase your risk of advanced prostate cancer. Men taking
multivitamins showed a 32 percent increased risk of advanced prostate
cancer and a 98 percent increased risk of fatal prostate cancer. oooo,
scary stuff. Lets look at the actual numbers behind the percentages.
There were 295,344 men in the survey, only 1,476 developed advanced
prostate cancer, 179 developed fatal prostate cancer. So the absolute
risk of developing advanced prostate cancer is .49%, and 0.06% for fatal.
Worst case scenario, you still have less than 1% chance of developing
advanced or fatal prostate cancer. Not very scary is it.

In other news, the Mediterranean Diet reduces the risk Of COPD. Glad to
hear it. Really, I think a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is a good
thing. 111 people out of 43000 developed COPD, giving us an absolute risk
of 0.258%. Is a 50% reduction of 0.258% really meaningful? I think not.

With all of the problems in the world today why can't scientist focus on
sovling real problems instead of producing meaningless statistics that
serve no purpose. Furthermore, when does correlation imply causation?
NEVER! While we keep hearing about this is associated with that, all these
associations don't add up to diddley squat. There is an old joke that
goes, What do you call a bus load of lawyers at the bottom of the Ocean?
"A Good Start", I think a bus load of epidemiologist would be a fine
follow up.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Dr Ken Podcast

If you don't know who "Dr Ken" is, then its about time you found out.

Monday, May 07, 2007

On the Road to Damascus

Mrs D. and I belong to a local Natural Foods Co-op that supports many philosophies of healthy eating. Most of the members are of one vegetarian flavor or another, but a large contingent, including myself, is interested in organic, local and sustainable agriculture. A large number of people are both, they are generally lacto-ovo ,L-O, vegetarians. Many of the L-O's when pushed will admit to being flexitarian, but just choose meat very infrequently, often for economic reasons. I enjoy talking with these folks as they walk the talk, are generally among the best informed, and don't have the same attitude as the vegans. During our visit to the co-op this past weekend, Paul, (a L-O who is over 80, looks 60 and acts 40), and I were engaged in casual conversation. The subjects ranged from the weather, to the availability of local produce , and our wives shopping habits. Our chatting was sprinkled with the occasional "yes dear' and "That looks fine dear", whilst tagging along behind our wives. As per usual there were a few members handing out samples of things they had prepared. The items of the day were a cookie, and a vegetable-bean casserole. The casserole smelled wonderful. It was made with beans, root vegetables, real raw cream, cheese made from raw milk, and a fragrant blend of seasonings. I took a sample with out hesitation. Paul took one too. It was really quite good, and I remarked as such to Paul. While we were standing there guessing the seasonings, a young, pale, and skinny, couple walked up to inquire about the contents of the casserole. Their look of interest turned to disgust, as they heard the description. They demurred the sample in faux politeness, and strode away horrified at the fat and animal content of this most tasty dish. Paul snorted and said "Kids, they'll never last with a diet of the crap they eat". I inquired as to what he meant. He told me to look in their basket, and see how much was shrink wrapped, low fat, and imported. They were not only damaging themselves but the planet from all the resources it took to process and transport that stuff. He went on to compare that to the sample we had just finished. Everything in the casserole was grown with in 100 miles of the co-op by people who cared about the land and what they produced. Next stop was the cookie sample. It was an oatmeal-honey-blueberry thing and I attempted to take a pass. Paul asked why. I mentioned that in general I tried to control my carbs. Cocking one eye brow, He asked if I ate meat. I said yes. Did I ever buy meat at a grocery store? Again, I say yes. "So you mean to tell me, that you think this cookie made from oats grown right up the road, real honey, berries and butter is gonna do you more harm than meat from a cow shot full of anti-biotics, hormones and god know what else?" He asks. I didn't have an answer. "Kids!" snorted Paul.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain

We all know where this is going to lead High Insulin Levels Impair Intestinal Metabolic Function.

The researchers note that excessive insulin appears to alter the mechanics of blood vessel walls, allowing chylomicrons and cholesterol to build up in them, which, over time, creates blockages in the blood stream, leading to heart problems.

I haven't found the actual study, but, the review seems to point to one of two solutions, either cut fat or carbs. Guess which one the authors of the review chose. Despite the growing volume of evidence of the benefit of lowering dietary glycemic loads, fat is still enemy numero uno. We now know that there is more than one way to lower glycemic loads, eat fewer carbs, eat low gi carbs ,or best of all, do both. Not everyone needs or should be on a very low carb ketogenic diet. But, damn few people need 300++ grams of carb per day. Eating that many carbs almost requires one to eat processed food. There just isn't any way around it. I admit, on most days I still eat one slice of bread, generally as toast with my eggs in the morning. I've given up grits and gravy, biscuits and honey, but I still need something to soak up the yolks from my eggs. I also eat sweet potatoes and legumes a regular basis. Even eating bread, sweet potatoes and legumes, I still manage at least two servings of fruit, several servings of vegetables, and a cup of yogurt, all while keeping my glycemic load in the low range, defined as under 80. A high glycemic load is defined as over 120. 300g carb of low GI food (avg gi 50) still gives you a glycemic load of 150, well into high. If you use such whole grain goodness items as whole wheat bread or Cheerios, you GL quickly passes 200. Now remember the problem mentioned at the top of the article was due to high insulin levels. How do we alleviate the build up of chylomicrons? Since chylomicrons are produced as part of lipid digestion, the answer is to limit fat. What about the excessive insulin?? The mighty Oz has spoken.

Getting Turbulent

Over the past couple, three to be exact, of weeks I have been using Turbulence Training. It started as me looking for a change up from my regular HIT workouts, and hearing some buzz about Turbulence training. So I googled it, read the ad, and plopped my money down with no real expectations, other than being a few dollars poorer. I mean Hey, I'd spent more money on bar tabs, so no great loss. Besides, he's anti-cardio. I figured anyone who doesn't like cardio can't be all bad. So I downloaded the ebook and read it. Deciding to give it a go, and not having done a workout like this in quite some time I started with the beginner routines, and its a good thing I did. I was whooped. Turbulence training is just plain hard work. About 45 minutes of butt busting work, three times a week. 20 -25 minutes of strength training plus 20 minutes intervals. Arthur Jones once described productive exercise as "hard, brief, and infrequent ", TT qualifies on all counts. While this may not be HIT in the traditional sense, this is certainly intense training, and I highly recommend it, and look forward to continuing my workouts into the advanced phases.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Alwyn Cosgrove's lifting for lymphoma project is now complete and available for purchase. Read about it here

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Passing Between Scylla and Charybdis

So there I am, on Good Friday, shopping at my local Costco to get items for the up coming Easter Dinner. Ham, check. Yams, check. Veggie tray, check, Fruit Tray, check, Eggs, check. When lo and behold there it was. As I rounded the corner from the dairy case there was one of them there sample tastings of the dreaded Tiramisu. As I struggled to get by my cart found itself caught in the tempest of Costco traffic, compounded by the sirens call I like Odysseus crew, floundered, and washed upon the shore of temptation and sampled the forbidden. The marscapone topped The lady fingers soaked in espresso and marsala. It was mahhhvuhluhs. One bite was not enough, and yet to much. So I bought one to take home. Upon arrival at mi casa, Mrs D noted the the Tiramisu was not on the list I had been sent to the store with. I swore that it had jumped into the cart and refused to get out until I reached the check out line, and then it leaped out of the cart and into the hands of the cashier. What was I supposed to do? I got "the look", that all husbands know to well. We had our gathering of kith and kin on Saturday, and a good time was had by all, including yours truly. In fact I enjoyed myself all the way till Sunday morning when upon testing my Fasting Glucose was greeted with a glaring 120. Reality sucks. No Easter candy for me. I cut my carbs to a net of 70 on Sunday, and Monday I was back down to 104. Better, but still not great.

Progress Report

Well Friends and neighbors, In the first 3 months of the year, I have managed to lose 5 lbs, and one inch off my waist. Slow and steady may win the race but I think this is a bit too slow. My eating has been mostly in line with a healthy diet, but no real efforts made at losing. My exercise has been consistent, but again, no efforts made at any real progression. In retrospect, I haven't been as dedicated as I needed to be to really see any significant results. So, on Monday, I started a four week concerted effort at fat loss. After Zero results from Weight Watcher for several weeks, Mrs D. started back on a 40-30-30 diet about 3 weeks ago, and is down 3 lbs, and 1.5 belly inches in just those 3 weeks. This has in no small way got my attention. Her efforts at managing her diet and consistent exercise are paying off. I, on the other hand, have been, well, somewhat less focused.


In the chalk one up to experience dept, I've recently determined that when my sugar is out of whack, I need to really tighten up on my carbs and calories to get it back down. All those formulas that calculate caloric needs, don't mean diddley squat, and what may be reasonable advice for a person with normal blood sugar could harm a person with impaired fasting glucose.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

So easy a caveman could do it

The gulf stream shifts, warm tropical air moves in, charcoal in the grill turns light gray, and I with a single malt scotch sit on the deck with the smell of cooking meat pervading the air.  Life is good.  As Spring rolls in and fresh produce once again becomes available, cutting carbs is no longer a decision, its auto-matic.  Even Mrs D is willing to give up her wieght watcher ways for more fresh vegetables, and food on the grill.  Grilled pasta, hah, fugedaboutit.  This time of year the cravings for heavy starchy food seem to fade on thier own.  Its as if nature is telling our bodies that winter is over and its time to shed the excess blubber and get about the business of chasing and eating meat.   The winter sloth is gives way to activity outside.  Cutting grass, clearing brush, organinzing and planting a garden.  Here in the northern lattitudes for the first time in months the Sun is now Strong enough again to cause our skin to make vitamin D.  I think this is at the heart of the need to be outside.  Our reserves of our own natural vitamin D reserves are depleted.  We need the sun to restore us to a healthy state, and this drives us outside to sit and work in the sun. The cold pale flourescent lights now seem mean and hateful.  Get me out of this cubical hell ,and let me go play in the sun my inner cave dude screams.  My inner cave dude and I have been communicating more regularly these days, and I have been trying to minimize anything he wouldn't recognize as food.  I call him my inner cave dude, but more accurately he is my Jungian archetypal ancestor figure, inner cave dude just sounds cooler.  My inner cave dude thinks I should take up bow hunting again, Mrs D says I need a hobby to get me off the computer.  Maybe thier both right.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Butter This!

One of my biggest complaints about the High Carb/Low fat crowd is their insistance that all we who practice carb restriction eat, is bacon and butter. The recent bru-ha-ha about the Atkins diet beating the others has brought Ornish and his cronies out of the woodwork spouting thier nonsense, and his "bacon and butter" comments are everywhere. He's a lucky man he lives so far away from me, cuz If I could get to his house I would put a flaming bag of cow dung on his front porch, ring the bell and run away to watch him stomp it out. So with out further ado.... Do I eat bacon and butter? Sometimes. Do I eat vegetables" Yes, lots of them. Do I eat fish? Again, Yes, quite often. And berries, and apples, and Oranges, and even a bean or two. Right at this moment I'm in an eat on principle, not counting phase. While it might seem silly to some that I measure everything and count nothing, one does have one limits you know. I really don't know what my calorie or carb count is, but If some one wants to add it up, good for them, but I'm fairly certain that my carbs are well below what the ADA etc recomends. A typical day, today, looks like this.

3 eggs plus .5C egg beaters
2 oz Canadian (back) bacon
6 oz V8
1 small banana
Coffee with cream and splenda

5 oz Salmon
3 cups salad
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp vinegar
1 med apple
Liptons Diet Ctirus Green Tea

1oz nuts
2/3 cup cottage cheese
2/3 cup mixed berries

8 oz Top Round
3 C roasted vegs
.5C rice
2tbsp olive oil
Wine (Yellow Tail Cab/Merlot Blend)

Post Work Out
1C Milk
2 scoops Bomber Blend Protein Powder

How many low fat dieters eat that many vegetables, or get as many
nutrients from thier grain based diet? Not many I'll bet. So for all you
bacon and butter preachin low fat zionist, take that and smoke it.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


If, for what ever reason, I was forever allowed access to only one book on strength training, the book I would choose is, The Complete Keys to Progress by John McCallum. Originally written as a series of articles between June 1965 and November 1972 for “Strength and Health” magazine, this goldmine of information was collected into a book, and is still available and relevant even today. In this one book, is how to advance from beginner to intermediate, to advanced. How to train if your old, young, skinny, fat, or injured. You will find the recipe for the “Get Big Drink” , how to properly do a ketogenic diet, and the benefits of protein. I consider myself fortunate to have been exposed to McCallums writings very early on in my training career. While to many, my views about strength training fall into the “HIT” school, in my own mind, I consider myself a “McCallumite”. The bottom line in training is out right hard work. There is no substitute. All these complicated schemes of sets and reps and undulating periodization patterns and what ever the latest buzzwords are is a sham. Most people spend way to much time thinking about how to train. I was speaking to an acquaintance of mine who knew that I lifted. He wanted my opinion of a spread sheet he had developed to help him keep track of what set/rep scheme he was supposed to do and for which body part on any given day. It was full of a's, b's, c's, and d's in multiple colors with a legend and auto calendering, truly impressive it was. I told him I thought it was “something else”. He asked If I wanted a copy. I politely refused. He looked confused, and somewhat hurt. There was a question on his lips, when I interrupted, “I only workout twice a week, maybe three if I'm doing an upper/lower split”. I then proceeded to receive a mini lecture on the science of strength training and optimal lifting patterns yadda yadda yadda. To which I responded, “So, how much do you squat?” Confused silence. So I continue, “like for Instance, right now I'm squatting 235 for 2 sets of 15, how much weight do you put on the bar when you squat? “Really?” he asks. “Yup, I'm doing some foundation work do get my strength back up to par”. - “Oh,... can you really squat 235 for two sets of 15?” - “Sure, I've done more than that. But at this point I don't go really heavy anymore. Not worth it.” Now, I realize that for many squatting 235 for 2x15, isn't very heavy. I agree. Unless of course you are A: a small framed women, or B: one of those folks who never really works hard, but just works out. But, If you're a man under the age of 50, and have no limitations from illness or injury, squatting 250 for 2x15 should be a minimum for a foundation of strength. Women should go for about 1.25 x body weight. Until you build a foundation of strength, all those fancy schmancy schemes will do you more harm than good. Even after you build your foundation a good basic work out, worked hard, will get you far. Whats a good basic work out? I'm so glad you asked. Based on the work out in Chapter one of “Keys”:

Overhead Press 2 sets of 12
Bent Rows 2 sets of 15
Bench Press 2 sets of 12
Curls 1 set of 10
Squats 2 sets of 15
Breathing Pullovers 2 sets of 20
Straight Leg Dead lift 1 set of 15
leg lifts 1 set of 25

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Lifting for Lymphoma

Dave Tate writes about an up comming project by Alwyn Cosgrove that is for a very good cause.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Insanity defined

Ok, so I'm a moron. For reasons I can't quite explain, even to myself, I once again tried a low calorie, high carb, low fat diet. Go ahead, laugh. I deserve it. For some reason, the diet gremlins got to me and said, Ya know, "This time it will be different". Riiiiight!. I had my fasting glucose down in to the mid 80's. Then, in less than 5 days of this nonsense, while eating less than 2000 calories, my sugar hot up to well over 100. The part that confuses me the most about my own behavior, is that I wasn't unhappy with what I was eating or feeling deprived or anything. This need I have to occasionally self sabotage, is most confounding. Its also not like I haven't done this before with the same results. But because I'm insane, what else could possibly explain this behavior, I keep going down this same path expecting it to lead some where new. I guess at some level, I had thought that because I was engaging in daily exercise that I would be able to handle 300! g carbs a day. Never mind the fact that I sit at a desk 9 or more hours a day. Perhaps its all the marketing that we are exposed to all day everyday. Its difficult to ignore the message that is being broadcast that high carb, low fat, is how we are supposed to eat. If people like me who know better can succumb to the pressure, how should we expect the general public to fare? This time my misadventure was short lived. Thanks to my glucose meter, I was able to see very quickly where this was leading. The experience of doing "everything right", and seeing the results quickly go the wrong way, was a metaphorical two by four to the back of the head. I can only imagine what would be my fate if I hadn't tested my own glucose. If nothing else I did gain some insight into why many people diagnosed with T2 give up and eat whatever they want. Marketing is a powerful tool, and the high carb/lowfat cult are beating our asses with it. We in the carb control arena need a better message, and a better way of delivering it. Blogs and message boards are great, but that is basically just preaching to the choir. Dean Ornish has a colum in Newsweek. Bob Greene and Dr Oz are regulars on Oprah. The closest thing the low carb community has to national exposure are the Drs Eades on PBS . PBS vs Oprah, is it any wonder we can't get the word out?

Monday, February 19, 2007

Get An Atlas Body

I am an Atlas Man. Like many young boys, I too, wanted big muscles and to not be pushed around by the bigger kids. So I saved my money earned from odd jobs and doing chores, went to the post office, got a money order, and waited with little patience for my package to arrive. For an 11-12 year old boy, 3 weeks is a lifetime when waiting for the magic answer to one of life's most oppressing dilemmas. I'm not sure how much the course originally cost, but I remember thinking that for the princely sum required, it must surely be something special. I think I had been doing with the program for about 4 weeks, of the 12 that came with the course. I had gotten stronger, strong enough to shove one of the bigger kids down. I was quite proud of my self for about a second. Boy was he mad. I stood my ground that day, and learned an important lesson, Strong is good.
30 years later, I realize now, even more then when I was prepubescent male, that stronger is indeed better. Not for the purposes of standing up to bullies, but to stand up to the ravages of time, and the insidious decline of muscle mass, and an increasing waistline. The last time we moved, about a year ago, I found In a bunch of stuff, my copy of the Atlas course, complete with membership card and certificate. I flipped through the pages, smiled at the exercises, and put the course in a binder that was put on a bookshelf and again forgotten. A couple of weeks ago, I opened the binder and looked through the routines and came upon the perpetual lesson. And here it was, the true wisdom of the Atlas course is at last revealed. Daily exercise. Almost 80 years ago, Atlas, like others before him, had figured out that we needed to get up and use our bodies, everyday. If we all did the recommended 100 pushups and 100 deep knee bends, plus the other handful of exercises, everyday, aside from being stronger, we would all be healthier. After going back and looking again at the course, it is an absolute master piece. Strong doesn't mean setting a world record in competitive lifting. Strong means being able to pick up a crying child and carry them up the hill, across the yard and into the house with out hurting yourself or the child in the process. It means being able to climb more than one flight of stairs with a full laundry basket and not getting winded. Strong is being able to carry a full pack and hike for 10 - 12 miles. Strong is being able to row across the pond to a secluded spot, make love, and row back. Strong is good.

Monday, February 05, 2007


Can I substitute Vegetables for the fries? This has become the most common question I ask when I go to Restaurants. A simple yet effective way to eliminate useless carbs and grease from my diet. As part of my job, my presence is often required at business lunches, and being able to gracefully order and not create too much of a fuss is an important skill. At the generic chain restaurants, Apple-bees/Ruby Tuesdays/etc, which are often the venue, avoiding "white" carbs and grease is problematic. At the White Linen Tablecloth places that we attend, its rather easy. I often notice how the less expensive the establishment, the more food they serve per dollar spent. A big ass burger with a truck load of fries and a beer is 10 bucks. A steak with a salad, a side of veggies and a "Luncheon Sized" Manhattan, straight up of course, is 25 dollars. In the modern American sense of value,the cheaper meal is a better value. Now, don't get me wrong, I enjoy a beer and a burger as much as the next person, but, at what point did quantity become a substitute for quality? Is a slab of ground beef and processed cheese food really comparable to broiled tenderloin topped with roquefort, just because its cheaper? I cannot afford to spend $25 a day on lunch. Which is why I pack my lunch on most days. There are however many people who spend $10 everyday at these food factory's and suffer the consequences.

The advertising for the cheap food places says nothing about the quality of the food, its all about the quantity. Post WW2, I could understand the appeal of this sort of thing, just coming out a long period of national deprivation and all. But now, damn, what drives this whole mind set? The richest nation in the history of the world eats like a starved beggar at a banquet, eschewing quality, and simply gorging like there is not going to be a meal tomorrow

The conspiracy nut in me sometimes goes into overdrive. A fat, well fed, if sickly populace, is easy to manage and unlikely to rebel. Have we been sold down the path of cheap food to divert our attention away from what the government is really doing? Was the real lesson of the French revolution that you can do what ever you want as long as the peasants have plenty to eat? Hmm. One of the most common complaints I hear, and have myself, about eating a reduced carb, and nutrient dense diet is the expense. If everyone suddenly had to pay the real cost of producing food, with out government subsidies and fake fillers etc, how fat do you think the populace would be a year from now? How much unrest would there be in the streets? How much difference is there between cattle feed lots and modern corporate America? Keep the Animals from moving to much, feed them energy dense grain based food, and shove them full of medicine because the food is bad for them. I see striking ! parallels. Scully and Mulder, where are you when your nation needs you most??

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The Middle Pillar

I've been a slacker lately and not posted anything here. Originally I could blame it on a virus, but then it was little more than shear lazyness. I've been back on track with my diet and exercise for about a 10 days now, and I'm happy to report that my blood sugar is responding nicely. It has been floating in the 87-91 range for about the last week. During this time my diet rules have been simple, always eat protein when eating a carb, and eat Low GI carbs. Most of my carb choices have been fruits, vegetables, legumes, and some whole grains. Though, I did have Ice Cream once. One is not a saint. Unlike some, I actually find it easier to keep control of both my diet and sugar by limiting saturated fat. I know this runs counter to what many feel, but its what works for me. The fact is that foods that are High in fat are trigger foods for me. Some like to binge on sugar, I would binge on fat. It must run in my family, I have a sister who still eats butter by the spoonful. This is not to say my diet is low fat. if I were to assign percentages, my diet would resemble 40-30-30. This is less an attempt to eat in the ZONE, than the fact its just an easy diet to do and live with over a long period of time. Using the "hand-eye" method Sears describes, or the plate dividing method ( divide plate into fourths, cover one fourth with protein, one fourth with low gi starchy carbs, and the other 2 fourths with vegetables and fruit.) provides an easy way to control carb intake, eat nutient dense, and still have a wide varitey of choices. Eating this way, I find I have plenty of energy for exercise and activity. I have been getting at least 30 minutes everyday of some type of activity. Generally three days a week of some type of strength training or calisthenics, yes dear freinds push ups and squat thrusts woo-hoo, and walking at a moderate pace on the other days. Nothing extreme, just the basics. I often am amused by the actions of myself and others who take extreme measures when moderation really does work. I think it may be a symptom of the times that moderation has gotten such a bad reputation. Everything these days is polarized, politics, diet, business, even strength training. The whole issue is one of a false dichotomy, Red Sate vs Blue State, low fat or low carb, HIT or HVT, no one seems to be willing to admit that there might be a middle ground. The high rate of diet failure could be related to this all or nothing mentality. I know for both my wife and I, diets which eliminate one type of food or another ultimately lead to a sense of deprivation. Being deprived of something you enjoy sucks. But I think many people like deprivation. They wear their suffering, and sacrifice like a badge for all to see. They then gather in groups of people who are suffering similar deprivation and cast aspersions upon those who choose other forms of deprivation, then brand them heretics for failing to see the one true path of deprivation. Generally when both sides of an issue think I'm wrong, I know I'm close to the truth. Later this week I'll be posting progress updates, I'm feeling pretty good, and my clothes are fitting better. So it should be a positive outcome

Thursday, January 11, 2007

I've been tagged

Five things about Me that are fit for public consumption.

1. I have a degree in nursing though I've never worked as a nurse or taken my board exams. When I first got off of active duty Army, I went to college to get a nursing degree. I actually changed majors two classes shy of finishing my ADN. Between then and Graduating I had four different majors. I ended up with a BA in liberal studies, with minors in Biology, English, Economics, and Psychology. Later I went back and finished my ADN. As it stands now, I have a BA in Liberal Studies, and Ass in Nursing, an Ass in Computer Science, and a Graduate Certificate in Project Management.

2. I was a state champion Archer, and tried out for the Olympic team. I didn't qualify for the Olympics, but it was fun trying and, Being in that level of competition was rather intense.

3. I met my wife in Mr Anders Intro to Physical Science class. I was in ninth grade, she was a sophomore. Of course at the time she would have nothing to do with me. I was a skinny runt, and she would only date upper class-men. She eventually saw the light, but not until after we had both graduated from High School. In a chance meeting on AOL, back when AOL was cool, we decided to go to lunch. And that as they say was that, we've been together ever since.

4. I was a professional Chef for several years. Having been a cook in the service, I worked in a number of restaurants while in college. By the time I graduated, I was a working chef, and running a kitchen. At the time I was making more money doing that then any of the entry level jobs I was qualified for were paying. I eventually became a corporate chef for Sara Lee, they mad me mad, I quit, and never went back to cooking.

5. I can Drive a tractor - trailer. Growing up in my family means working on and driving all types of vehicles that are used on farms. Even now, I sometimes drive a load to or from the farm. I still like honkin the air horn WOOT WOOT!!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Oatmeal, Chicken Soup, and Peanut Butter

It’s scarcely a week into the New Year, and already I’ve had to adjust course. A nasty cold virus has reared its ugly head and laughed at my plans for diet and exercise. So, you thought you were going to lift weights 3 times a week, do interval training, and eat a fat loss diet? HA!, says the virus. So while I’m recuperating from this, I’m eating lots of vegetable and chicken soups, and peanut butter toast, onFood for Life Ezekiel Bread of course. If all else fails I can always eat Peanut Butter toast. During some of my poorest times, milk, peanut butter and bread kept me from going hungry. On good days there might have even been jam or jelly. These days I forego the jam or jelly. Though I must admit, when my grandmother makes here home made plum jam, I still eat some. The worst part of feeling this way is the drag ass fatigue that takes days to get over. As soon as my stomach is cooperative, I’ll bump up my food intake to help the process along. In the meantime I’m taking a week or so off from any thing more than a brief walk. Hopefully this will quickly pass, as I am not a wonderful patient according to reports from Mrs. D.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Of Mice and Men

And so begins a New Year and a new set of goals and plans. A new set of challenges, as of yet unknown, to navigate. Opportunities to rise to the occasion, or succumb to circumstance. There will of course be successes and setbacks. In order to know when we've successful in the endeavors of physical fitness, and health, measurements must be taken. Yes, this is no existential pursuit, but a quantifiable set of goals. So, with out further ado, the opening salvo.
BF based on 3 site Caliper test 23%
Waist Circumference 42"

And all 23% is affixed to my belly, and upper body. Just a few weeks ago my waist as 39" so I am sure that much of it is sugar bloat from my holiday over indulgence. My Fasting glucose over the past week has bounced around between 94 and 111. Oddly enough pumpkin pie and chocolate cake make it go up, especially when accompanied by stuffed shells for dinner. On those days when my food choices were low GI, my sugar on the following day was down. Coincidence?

Mrs. D is still on weight watchers and doing quite well. Despite my misgivings about certain aspects of the system, she has been very successful, she’s lost 8 lbs, and who am I to argue with success.

My Diet and training plans for the first six weeks will be focused on normalizing my blood sugar and fat loss. I will be using a protein adequate, low GI diet combined with full body circuit training 3 times a week. I’m going to use PHA training as described by John McCallum in “Keys to Progress”. This is “old school” circuit training, a little more volume than normal, and will be a good change up from my usual routines.

This will be followed by 6 weeks of “X-Rep” based training. This is different twist on High Intensity training, and something I’ve never done before. So I thought I would give it a try. I’m not expecting comic book results, but nothing ventured, nothing gained. This will take me to the end of March, and based on results I will either focus on getting leaner or stronger. My plan at this point is to move back into my standard routines and diet pattern and manipulate them based on where I need/want to go. We shall see what happens.