Sunday, September 28, 2008

Quick Hint #4: Boost your metabolism

Stoke Your Metabolism
May 19, 2008

5 rules to get your metabolism heated up and help you burn more fat

Metabolisms are so much like furnaces. We want our bodies to use energy efficiently and to maintain our muscle while keeping our fat in a healthy range. The furnaces of today pull energy when they need it, to keep it running at the temperature you have set. Back in the old days of wood-burning stoves, people had to actually manually chop the wood and then feed it into the fire to create the heat. We don't have an automatic tap that sucks energy in to keep our metabolisms blazing, so what can we do to rev up the metabolism to keep it burning strong? We can utilize a number of simple strategies to rev up the engine on our own furnace and kick our metabolisms into the high efficiency zone.

#1 - Don't even think about waiting to have breakfast! When you wake up in the morning from that wonderful beauty sleep, rested or not, your metabolism is running at the lowest gear of the entire day. Your body is running on fumes! When I test client's metabolic rates here at AP, I do it fasted and in the morning before they eat or drink anything because that will be their lowest metabolic rate of the day. The second you eat something, your body cranks into gear and metabolically starts working at a higher rate. That shower with the Irish Spring may wake your mind and your senses up, but that breakfast wakes up your metabolism.

#2 - Do not skip meals! You should be eating every 3 hours. When the body has to digest food, it has to work to get it broken down into a usable form. The fancy term for this is "the thermic effect." What does this mean to you? It means that every time you eat, your body has to rev up the furnace to break that food down. Now, I am not recommending that you eat huge meals every three hours or swing by to get a quarter-pounder a few times a day. I am recommending that you eat a combo of high-fiber carbs, lean protein, and healthy fats every three hours, in portions that are correct for your size and activity level. When it comes to the number of meals, less is not more. In fact, more meals, means more metabolic revving, so eat wisely, but eat up.

#3 - Include a lean protein source with every meal. Mirror, mirror on the wall, what has the highest thermic effect of them all? Protein! When you eat protein, it is like throwing lighter fluid onto the fire in that wood burning stove; therefore, include a lean protein source with every meal to get a little extra burst of metabolic power. When choosing your protein, remember our saying: "The less legs the better." Fish have no legs and are a lean and healthy source of protein. Turkey and chicken have two legs - take off the skin and don't fry it and you have a fabulous source of protein. With anything that is or comes from an animal with four legs, be selective. Lean cuts of red meat and low-fat or non-fat dairy are the only way to go.

#4 - Exercise is a must! When we exercise, we have this great post-exercise period called "EPOC." Exercise Post Oxygen Consumption = more calories burned. The magnitude of the EPOC can change with different types of training. Weight training and circuit training where you have 40-70 seconds under tension per set will rev up the metabolism (So, count to 4 on each rep in the set). Interval training can also bump up the metabolic marvel! Bottom line: all training will create EPOC, but these exercises will give you the most bang for your buck. Try to do them four days per week and save the long easy sessions for your recovery days.

#5 - Drink your green tea! Remember when Alice drank the tea on her way to Wonderland? Well, that tea made her shrink, just like green tea can help to shrink the body fat on your body! Green tea has a natural component that helps to speed up the metabolism. Now, I am not talking about Lipton sweetened green, I am talking about brew-it-yourself with boiling water and a tea-bag-type tea. Green tea contains substances called catechins that stimulate the body to burn calories (rev up the metabolic furnace). Researchers have proven this and studies showing that four cups of green tea per day can help reduce body fat have been published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Added bonus? Catechins have been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects, anti-cancer properties, and may help control cholesterol levels.

So. No earth-shattering breakthroughs here. Just some simple strategies to get your metabolic fire blazing. However, I think that simple strategies are the secret to a healthy lifestyle. If you can find a few simple things that you can consistently do savagely well, you will be well on your way to a healthy lean lifestyle and not back and forth to the bookstores for the newest diet fad. Stick to these strategies and send your metabolism blazing strong.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Quick Hint #3: Weekend Nutrition

This quick hint is by Nate Green who posted this online article on t-nation. Stupid Things Young Guys (and Some Older Guys) Do in the Kitchen.

You've been rocking the gym all week, getting all of your healthy meals in, and you're feeling like a freakin' champ. Now it's the weekend and you're faced with an interesting dilemma: eat chicken wings and drink beer at Hooters, or try to talk your friends into doing something else. What's your call?
"It really depends on your performance that week leading up to Friday night," says Roussell.
Let's say you eat six meals a day, seven days a week, which equals 42 total meals. If you were following Berardi's 90 percent rule (eating well 90 percent of the time), you'd have four or five "free" meals where you could drink some beer and have some nachos without feeling guilty.
But if your nutrition was less than great that week, you'd be better off skipping the bad stuff, and ogling the Hooters wait staff while eating a clean meal and nursing a single beer.
No one wants to live a life free from beer, chicken wings, and general weekend debauchery, so the trick is to stick to the plan when you can, indulge on your own terms, and know when you need to get tough with yourself and get back on track.
The bottom line: When faced with an indulge-or-not-indulge choice on a weekend, let your adherence to your program and goals in the previous week be the deciding factor. If you've eaten clean and aced your workouts, you've earned the right to loosen up a bit. (Not that you have to use the privilege; I'm just saying it's there if you want it.)
And if you haven't earned it? You know, there are worse things than not eating crap food and getting sloppy drunk on a Friday night. You can be the designated driver for your friends, earning you some karma points.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Meet my kick ass wife.

I am always proud of all the cool things my wife can do. I guess that I have always given her credit, but have not been able to see it up close and personal on how athletically giften my wife is.

My kick ass wife.

We woke up this morning and headed off to meet David Whitley. He is a RKC (Russian Kettlebell Challenge) Senior Instructor. Basically he goes around the world instructing individuals to become kettlebell instructors. He runs a kettlebell bootcamp in Nashville and I contacted him to sign up for his October bootcamp. He in turn contacted me to see if we can come to one of the current bootcamps and afterwards can go over some techniques of some of the major lifts. 

So my wife and I rolled out of bed at 5:45am this morning and headed over to the local park where David was holding his bootcamp. We chatted a little bit about how much Nikki and myself knew about kettlebells (we no some, but not nearly enough). Nikki was typically using a 10 pound kettlebell and I am using a 15 lb. one of my own. 

So we showed him what we knew about the two arm swing. He gave us some great cues and Nikki began to kick ass from the start. She picks up things so quickly! By the end of the 45 minute personal session with David we knew how to do the 2 arm swing and the turkish getup. 

What is so surprising is that Nikki began with doing a 2 arm swing with a 12 kilogram kettlebell (that is 26 lbs) and ended the day pushing around a 24 kilogram kettlebell (my cute wife is pushing around a 53 pound piece of iron!)

David was so impressed. He stated that in all his years of instructing that he has never had a women 2 arm swing a 24kg kettlebell on the first day. He stated, "the force is strong with this one!"  He even went so far as saying he would like to have Nikki and myself go and get Russian Kettlebell Challenge Instructor Certified in April! Here is a video of just what Nik did on her first day!

All in all we had a terrific time and a good workout. We look forward to coming to the upcoming class and all that we can learn about strength and kettlebells. I will try and do a weekly update on our kettlebell class with David so you guys can keep track on myself and my kickass wife!

If you want to learn more about David Whitley, check out He has some great youtube videos as well. Just search for davewhitley. If you want to learn more about kettlebells and instructors in your area check out

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Is Your Training Form Keeping You Fat?

Absolutely wonderful blog by Leigh Peele. When you have 5 minutes. Please check it out.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


by Shawn E.

For years I’ve had difficulty with getting consistent exercise. I don’t have a gym membership, I don’t care for running, and taking a brisk walk doesn’t always get my heart rate up. One night, after dancing with some friends, I thought “wow, this is great exercise.”
Several weeks ago I started an experiment that i called Bojobeetmonbaba.
Bojobeetmonbaba is an exercise that involves free form dancing, push ups, sit ups, light weight lifting, and running in place. You can add whatever activities you want to it, but the basic idea is that you’re frantically moving for 30-45 minutes. Or an hour. However long you want. While you do it, you can work on toning whatever body part you want by focusing on that part. But mostly, it’s just dancing to your favorite music and getting your heart rate up.
The beauty of Bojobeetmonbaba is that it’s fun to say and fun to do. You can do Bojobeetmonbaba with your significant other or even your kids. One warning, though, you may look completely ridiculous doing it. It’s very silly.
In part of my workout, i like to hold two 5lb weights as i Bojobeetmonbaba. The extra weight makes you work a little harder, plus you can tone your arms as you do it. I also do crunches and push ups. You can throw some kick boxing in there if you like. It’s completely customizable. AND, you can do it in the comfort of your own home without having a gym membership.
Part of the fun of Bojobeetmonbaba is creating music lists. Here are some songs i’m currently using:

  • Put Your Hands Up - Apes and Androids

  • Hey Ya! - Andre 3000

  • Never There - Cake

  • I Feel For You - Chaka Khan

  • Mushaboom (Postal Service Remix) - Feist

  • Canned Heat - Jamiroquai

  • SexyBack - JT

  • Touch the Sky - Kanye West

  • The Prayer - Bloc Party

  • Without Me - Eminem

Then I like to do a little cool down time/stretching with some Sigur Ros or Mogwai

Friday, September 12, 2008

Quick Hint #2:Should you run to get into shape or should you get into shape to run?

This is a terrific question I heard on the fitcast (its a podcast I listen to every week).  Yes, some people are healthy enough to begin running as a means of burning off fat and do it and enjoy it.  BUT, the majority of people who would like to lose weight should take a different approach.  If they begin their workout routine with running then they may be setting themselves up for an injury.

My suggestion.  Get your nutrition into balance, get your head in the right place, and begin getting in shape in small steps and gradually work towards your ultimate goal of running in that half marathon.  (Consider hiring a personal trainer to help you achieve this goal) This way you when you are ready you will be running more efficiently than if you would have started with running.  

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Eating healthy while eating out - by Mike Roberston

Great post from Mike Robertson on his blog

This past weekend I had the chance to catch up with some old friends in Chicago. One thing I always come back to when traveling is trying to make solid food choices while "on the road."Luckily, if you arm yourself with a little knowledge it's generally pretty easy to be successful. Here are some things I try and do to eat well on the road, regardless of the situation:- Pack small snacks. My wife and I are really good about packing mixed nuts, water, protein bars, protein shakes, etc. If you're in a pinch, these items can substitute for a meal. Along those same lines, it will curb your appetite so you don't binge on the 8 lb. burger (yes, one of the restaurants we ate it really did offer it up!)- Always order a sald and/or extra fruit. If your only goal is to consume copious amounts of calories, then by all means forget about this tip and get that fried appetizer sampler platter and double dessert. If you are in the least bit concerned about your health (not to mention your waistline), adding a sald or fruit to your order helps ensure that you get more nutrients and fiber from your food.- Opt for extra virgin olive oil or vinagrettes instead of "traditional" salad dressings. Not only do they taste better (assuming your palette isn't dead), but they typically have better fatty acid profiles.A few more quick hits, without all the explanations:- If you are looking to shed pounds or body fat, say no to the pre-meal bread and get double-veggies for your sides.- Drink water vs. calorie-laden beverages.- Be reasonable with your meat selections. I'm all for a huge slab of beef from time-to-time, but eating a 10 or 12 ounce steak every night probably isn't necessary.- Whenever possible sub a salad, veggie or even a soup instead of fried side items. They may taste good but there's minimal nutritional value in fried foods.- I won't ever tell you that beer is bad - at the very least, drink light vs. normal beers.While eating out or on the road may never be optimal, performing some damage control can go a long way to helping you achieve your health and fitness related goals.Stay strongMR

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Tissue Quality and Trigger Points

Does everyone know about trigger points? A trigger point is a "knot' of muscular tissue that exists within muscles. Gray Cook states that "it is a small area or section in the muscle that acts differently from the rest of the muscle". A trigger point is unusually sensitive to pressure in that it pinches or burns. (Everyone knows the accustommed "knots" we have in our neck and traps=trigger points.

These trigger points are sensitive little creatures that show up when there is dysfunction present within the tissue. A weak muscle, tight muscle or an overworked muscle can all have trigger points. It can be to an underused muscle, overused muscle or a muscle that has been used to compensate for another muscle that is not working correctly. These trigger points can even refer pain to other areas of the body. The important point is that a trigger point is a warning sign for problems to come.

So how do we get rid of a trigger points? Just stretch? Not necessarily. If you stretch a muscle with a trigger point in it, it does not necessarily relieve the trigger point and might even make it worse. What you need to do is call myofascial release. That can be used in the form of a massage stick, foam roller or if you are rich a massage.

Once the trigger point has been relieved, then you need to stretch, strengthen and train. Those particular muscles. If you have questions, click on the links with the pictures and more information will be provided about the massage stick(right) and foam roller(above).

If you have questions, please email us at and feel free to subscribe to this blog at

Thursday, September 4, 2008

5 common mistakes in weight training by Eric Cressey

Terrific post on t-nation about single leg training, squating and the sleeper stretch. Has good videos as well! Click the title above or the picture below to take you to the article!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Recipe 1: Volumized Zucchini Bread

My wife and I absolutely love this recipe for a reduced carb, calorie zucchini bread. It is awesome!

Reduced calorie “volumized” recipe
Shugart's Volumized Zucchini Bread

By Chris Shugart on

3 1/4 cups whole wheat or whole grain flour

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3 cups Splenda

1 cup unsweetened apple sauce

3/4 cup egg whites

1/3 cup water

4 cups grated zucchini (Note how I doubled this, adding nutrition and "bulk" but hardly any calories.)

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a big bowl, combine whole wheat flour, salt, nutmeg, baking soda, cinnamon, and Splenda.
In a separate bowl, combine apple sauce, egg whites, water, zucchini, and lemon juice.
Mix wet ingredients into dry, add walnuts and fold in, or add walnuts to the top after pouring into loaf pans (pat down into dough, they will stay better this way). Bake in two standard loaf pans, sprayed with nonstick spray, for one hour or until a toothpick comes out clean when you poke the loaf.
Calories new version: 2372 (full loaf)
Saves 2740 calories! (from regular zucchini bread)

Kettlebell Training in the Nashville News