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Sunday
May212017

Food Prep IS Meal Planning

I spent quite a bit of time the last two days "making" food for the upcoming week at the gym. A pork loin spent a couple of hours on the grill, with only sea salt and pepper, until it was nearly done and I hit it with some glaze. (Forgive me for a few grams of sugar spread over an entire loin). While it was cooking I added a few chicken breasts to the grill. I hate to fire up the Weber without using all the space.

Today was the vegetable / rice portion of the prep. Most of you are very familiar with my vegetable technique. Buy a bunch of vegetables. Wash 'em. Cut them up with a sharp knife. Sautee in big frying pan with lard or coconut oil. If you get stuck on the vegetables, put the word "vegetables" into the search bar on the very blog you are reading, and several articles and sets of photos will appear before you.

I took nine meal containers and added a half cup of my vegetable mixture to each one. A few also received three ounces of white rice. One larger has no vegetables, more rice, and two cans of wild-caught tuna. Some of these from today have 6 ounces of chicken, some have six ounces of pork loin. Three have no rice, but four scrambled eggs added to the vegetables. I individually heated the serving of vegetables in a pan, added the scrambled four eggs, some seasoning (Chili Lime from Trader Joe's), and voila, a meal. So, three of the egg/veggie mixture. One big one that will serve as two meals during a day (with guacamole added to each meal), that's the tuna/rice container. The remainder are all either chicken or pork, with vegetables and a little bit of rice.

Every container is marked on the lid, simply done, with masking tape and a marker. No big deal, but it's much easier to weigh and measure while I'm in the kitchen, than it is when I'm earing. This way my food log entries are simple and correct.

In addition, I have a shake prepared, containing BCAA, two scoops of protein, and a handful of strawberries and raspberries. The shake is a meal in itself, to be utilized only if my schedule makes getting a real food meal in at any one point in the day. I'd rather have the shake than miss a meal, but I'd always go for the real food first, if I can.

This is what I'll take to work (the gym) each day. In addition, I carry more protein powder, carb powder, BCAA, and creatine for my immediate post-workout shake. I also always have a sleeve of rice cakes with me, to add to the carbs in my first real meal after my shake. At that point, the vegetables aren't enough.

During the week, this is what all my meals generally consist of. The mornings I don't get up at 4:30, often I'll enjoy a half cup of oatmeal and two scoops of protein powder for my first meal. If my workout comes after that first meal, I try to always have it be oatmeal and protein.

See how meal prep and meal planning are the same thing? Often some additions take place in early evening to bring my carb-protein-fat numbers up to my target macros. Any logical food is fair game at this point, but for me it's usually almond butter if I'm behind on fat, and Progenex Cocoon for protein and a little bit of carbs. If more carbs are needed, I may enjoy a couple of rice cakes, or some sweet potato, with my Cocoon.

Meal planning is the same as meal prep. Use spices liberally, create flavors, and make your food logging as simple as possible with consistency when packaging meals.

Thursday
May112017

To All My Clients...

Many of you know I'm a personal trainer, have been for a long time, and consider myself pretty damn good at it. 

Most of my clients, in fact the majority of all the people I have conversations with in the gym, talk to me about weight and body-fat loss. Far and away, losing weight and the resulting opening up of options and life opportunities is what most people in a big commercial gym, certainly most of those who meet with me, are looking for. 

Everyone has a specific story, set of conditions and cultural life issues, and often emotional ties to food and eating. We all do. Give me time with someone, help them be open-minded and trusting and willing to change, and I can help anyone lose a significant amount of body-fat, be healthier and fitter, and happier. But all this takes time. Lots of time.

Commercials and books and websites and infomercials tout 21-day solutions, easy fixes, magic potions and supplements. But there is no magic! There is no spot-reduction.

I employ logic and common sense and science and nutrition and exercise. And patience.

Aaron Bleyaert, a staff member of the Conan O'Brien TV show, recently wrote about his losing 90 pounds. Read this compelling essay. I agree with pretty much everything Bleyaert says, notably his experience with the ups and downs of weight loss, how long true body-fat loss really takes, and how change seemingly is on hold until suddently it's dramatic. This is the real deal.

https://medium.com/@AaronBleyaert/on-the-2-pounds-rule-the-magic-trick-of-weight-loss-b16c95e50b19

Wednesday
May032017

I Fell Down a Nutritional Rabbit Hole 

Two days ago I returned from a four day trip with my in-laws. Our destination was a ten hour drive away, visiting family. That's all good.

The food, workout and nutrition portion of the time was a horror, though, and firmly reminded me of how difficult my expectations are for many of my clients. I took a few protein bars (last resort), plenty of whey protein powder, some Fiberlyze (critical when on the road), and my workout gear. In a little cooler was some turkey breast, a bit of cheese, some decent bread, and fruit (basically cleaning out the fridge).

Circumstances change the best plans, don't they? I ended up with a meal at Wendys (triple with no cheese).  No fries, no Frosty. Panera Bread turned out to be the best option one time. I ate a shit-ton of Lime chips while driving the first night. Completely lost control. Horrible eggs and some Greek yogurt were my best breakfast options in the hotel.

Visiting relative's homes featured chips and guacamole and hummus. And wine at night. And a beer one day.

The highest quality restaurant meal was a splendid Sunday buffet in a health food store/restaurant. I had oatmeal (laced with syrup), four salmon fillets (in a suace with sliced almonds), an omelet, a bunch of chicken sausage, more oatmeal, some potatoes.... it goes on and on. All good, healthy, logical food, but I went to the buffet three times! It's like I lost my mind.

Local gyms weren't open at times that fit my schedule. My one workout in four days, two of which were sitting and driving or riding, was in the hotel "workout" room. Dumbells to 40#, a weird two-station Nautilus thing, one flat bench and treadmills. I goofed around for 40 minutes but it was unsatisfying in most respects.

To summarize, I mostly ate relatively healthy food. I exercised very little. One more than one occasion I ate much more than was logical, way too much. I didn't eat often enough, didn't have my usual five or six small meals each day. Few vegetables appeared in front of me at any time. 

I gained four pounds those four days (three days later, it's gone). I felt bloated and tired. 

Here's my take-home:  this is how most people live all the time! I was reminded how easy it is to go along with a family group, to spend hours visiting with no food. There were a few occasions I was so happy I had a shaker and protein with me. That was so superior to the somehow fake eggs at the hotel. 

I consider myself to be way above-average in food quality consumption, in will-power, in planning ahead. But I experienced first-hand how easy it is to fall down the rabbit hole of no food prepared ahead of time, long periods without food due to the situation, and what happens to the smartest and most experienced taste-buds when crap is put in front of them.

Lesson:  take even more of my own supplements or food with me on trips involving others (this isn't a problem when traveling alone or with Anne). Try not to drink. Have a shake every three hours no matter what food or restaurant promises are on the horizon; nothing happens quickly with a family group. And don't start on the chips!

Friday
Apr142017

A Few of My (Recent) Favorite Training and Nutrition Podcasts

http://podcasts.joerogan.net/podcasts/robb-wolf 

Robb Wolf, godfather of the Paleo movement, has a new book out (Wired To Eat) so he's making the rounds. Catch him on the Joe Rogan podcast; he's relaxed and quickly disarmed by Rogan.  I found this one of the most entertaining and informative Robb Wolf interviews - and I've read and listened to a hell of a lot of them. There is so much more to Robb Wolf than Paleo - dive in with Rogan and find out for yourself. Nutrition as applied to exercise and humans is an always fascinating area to me, and I always learn from Robb Wolf. His voice is refreshing, in a world populated with so many "experts" and "gurus."

 

 

 

Sure, Armstrong is a lightning rod for argument and controversy. No question he deceived millions of us. At the same time, his athletic feats and inspiration hold strong for me. I consider this lengthy interview with Rogan to be his most "real" and relaxed and extensive recorded conversation. Armstrong is compelling and fascinating and seems to be relieved to have told the truth, is working to make personal amends, and has a good perspective on his career. Love him or hate him, this is gripping and interesting.

I've met Louie Simmons a few times over the years, been around him at powerlifting events, and read and followed his teachings and writing for decades. He's undeniably smart, perhaps brilliant, and unquestionably as good as anyone, ever, at implimenting training methods to generate results. That being said, Simmons is a tough interview, and Rogan has to work hard in this episode to get in his questions and keep Simmons on track. Louie Simmons has given so many interviews in is life and is so practiced with much of his philosophy, it's difficult to tell when he's really answering a question or using the opportunity to keep hitting his message. The world of powerlifting owes a great deal to Simmons, and the opportunity to hear him with Joe Rogan is special.

Marcus Filly is a veteran Crossfit Games competitor, both on teams and as an individual. He's a great athlete with an interesting perspective. I enjoyed his refreshing attitude, learnng the truth about which top level CrossFit athletes eat Paleo (none!), and learnng more about the price paid by professional CrossFit athletes when each day contains four or five workouts. How to prepare and eat food around these sessions, the immense value of coaches (Filly hasn't gone through a workout in five plus years that wasn't written for him by his coach) - Filly covers many topics of interest to weight trainers and competitive athletes from many sports. Hosts Lachy Rowston and Raph Freedman live and podcast in Australia, and do an unusually good job of staying out of the way of their guests. Mind Muscle Project has quickly become one of my favorite sports podcasts.

Mark Bell's Powercast with Layne Norton - The Common Denominator is You - Powercast #194
Listen to Layne Norton, in my opinion one of the smarter coaches and trainers in the world of strength training, make a good case for why he thinks Gary Taubes is wrong about his views on the dangers of sugar. I'd enjoy listening to a debate between Taubes and Norton!

Charles Poliquin, acclaimed as one of the premier strength coaches of all time, is the guest of two consecutive episodes. #181 and #182 from January of this year are compelling and educational. Always be prepared to learn from others, and be open-minded about science and training protocol. Poliquin is one of the greats, and a legend for good reason.
Thursday
Feb022017

Arnold Classic Bodybuilding Titles Up For Grabs

A couple of the biggest names (no pun intended) in professional bodybuilding are notably absent from the 2017 Arnold Classic competitor list. Kai Greene has apparently set his sights on movie stardom, and is concentrating his time and energy right now into shooting a movie in Asia, and kickstarting his new supplement line, Dynamik Muscle.

Branch Warren, a perennial Arnold competitor and crowd favorite, isn't on the list this year, either. Warren will be 42 by the Arnold event, placed sixth last year, and may have decided to hang up his posing trunks. I've not read anything to that effect, but the significant injuries Branch has worked through the past few years would have long ago put many another competitor onto the couch. Dallas McCarver

Looking at the list of 11 open competitors, it's easy to predict that either Dallas McCarver or Cedric McMillan will run. Cedric was second last year; McCarver could win any contest at any time. He's young, growing and still developing, clearly a rising star in the sport. McMillan was in superb shape in 2016, big and ripped, but ran up hard against Kai Greene.

This year's Arnold Classic 212 should be ultra-competitive. Guy Cisternino wants the title badly, as do David Henry and Jose Raymond. Not to take anything away from the other 8 competitors in the 212 (Charles Dixon and Hidetada Yamagshi are always ready to pounce), but there is something special about Cisternino, Henry and Raymond. I'm anticipating close competition and lots of energy on the stage. Guy Cisternino

There's a hell of a lot of money and prestige assocated with an Arnold Classic crown. I'll be there, watching closely, March 2-5.