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My Book Reading

Lou Reed: A Life by Anthony DeCurtis

   (in progress)

Double Agent Celery: MI5's Crooked Hero by Carolinda Witt (pen-and-sword books) completed 12-4

The Take by Christopher Reich (Mulholland Books)

Tom Clancy Power & Empire by Marc Cameron

Fools and Mortals by Bernard Cornwell

Munich by Robert Harris

Dead on Arrival by Matt Richtel

Direct Fire by A.J. Tata (completed 12-5)

The Night Trade - Barry Eisler (12-10, review soon)

The Woman in the Window - A.J. Finn (12-11, amazing book, review shortly)

The Kremlin's Candidate by Jason Matthews (reading now, fabulous)

Podcast Favorites

Kara Swisher's Recode Decode this week is an interesting conversation with Tina Brown. Using the publication of her new Vanity Fair Diaries as a starting point, they examine Brown's publishing career, notably her wonderful runs with Vanity Fair and The New Yorker. Then they dive into the internet age, how it's changing the publishing world, Brown's start-up of The Daily Beast, followed by venting about Facebook today. Swisher puts together the best intervierw/talk with Brown I've heard since her book was published. Brown was consistently creating some of the best magazines in the world, at a time when that mattered.

Rich Roll's podcast is one I've discovered recently, and I'm working to catch up. Here are two don't-miss episodes:

Fogel is the star of, the producer of, the man behind Icarus. If you've not watched this documentary, exclusively streaming on Netflix, get to it! Of all the interviews I've read and heard with Fogel, Roll brings out the most interesting perspective. It's a fabulous listening experience.


Lance Armstrong needs no introduction. I don't care whether you admire or dislike him, his wealth of experience and new perspective on many matters is worth listening to. Me, I think he's one of the finest athletes ever.


Simply Keto by Suzanne Ryan


With the bland subtitle “A Practical Approach to Health & Weight Loss with 100+ easy low-carb recipes”, Simply Keto at a glance seems to be another in a line of similar, well-meaning books. Happily, it’s not.

Turns out author Suzanne Ryan was quite overweight only a few years ago, struggled with food and her weight for a long time, and learned to use the ketogenic diet to heal herself. People, she lost 120 pounds and kept it off! Ryan’s found a sustainable, healthy, lower bodyweight, and along the way learned how to maintain it, just as she taught herself how to achieve it. Let her tell you how she did it so you can apply her lessons to yourself.

In a nutshell, that’s what I like about Simply Keto. Most of the book is recipes, none of which I’ve tried yet. But the Greek Salad with Salmon is calling me!

Of note is Ryan’s guide to navigating coffee shops. Good advice I’ve not seen in a keto book before.

Suzanne Ryan is passionate about reaching people and teaching them how to help themselves with the ketogenic diet. That mission alone is a good reason to buy a copy of Simply Keto.

@victorybeltinc, @ketokarma, #simplyketo


Simple Meal Prep Today

Today I spent less than two hours putting together a dozen meals for the coming week. Nothing new, but I have new clients and readers who ask questions about the process.  Here's how I did it today:

I had a half dozen chicken breasts, thawed. And eight pork chops. Pounding the chicken so the pieces were relatively flat and consistent in depth is easy. Trimming excess fat off the pork chops, even though they are from organic pigs, is something I do. 

Select seasonings of choice for the meat. I dip into my Penzy's selection, grab a few, and hit the meat hard on both sides. 

I drop all of it onto my fabulous grill, outside in the rain. Here's a key: buy an inexpensive meat thermometer, something with an alarm. Grilling chicken properly so it's done but not dry, remaining juicy, was a mystery to me until investing in this trusty tool. 

So I don't screw up the grilling, I wait to work on vegetables until the meat is done. Bring it all inside and let it cool at room temperature. My house is kept cool so no big deal.

I cooked a pound of ground pork I had on hand (from the same organic pig). Chopped it up and added 1.5 ounces of the cooked pork to food containers. The pork isn't anything magic or special; I have it on hand and want to use it. The difference in texture and flavor with meat and vegetables is interesting. I spiced it with garlic and some chipotle seasoning.

In two big frying pans, on low heat, to each I added a couple tablespoons of organic lard. Then, in this order, I choppped and added to the pans:  asparagus, mushrooms, cauliflower crumbles, broccoli slaw, red pepper, broccoli, sundried tomato, and artichoke hearts. I used what I had on hand. Sometimes I cut up kalmata olives and add them. When I remember to buy capers I always add those. But this is what I had so it's what I used. Inbetween adding each vegetable I use two utinsels to stir and mix and scoop to everything is slowly heating, but not cooking too much. I want the vegetables to turn bright in color but not get soft and droopy.

Set out a bunch of food containers. Add a nice layer of vegetables to each (I no longer weigh the vegetables - it's about 2/3 of a cup in each. Then, using kitchen scissors and a food scale, I add five ounces of meat to each container. Today, those already with some ground pork received four ounces.

Bingo. A dozen meals, all with the same macronutrient numbers, each impossibly healthy, ready to go into the fridge. I'll carry three each day to work at the gym, along with a protein shake for when my schedule get crazy. Each day I'll also carry 50-60 grams of either sweet potato or white rice to add to my post-workout meal, unless I'm using rice cakes instead.

Simple. The biggest issue for me is the crazy mess I make in the kitchen, but since I actually enjoy doing dishes - no big deal.


Precision Nutrition Certification is Underway!

Today is a big day in my professional life. I'm beginning the process of certification with Precision Nutrition! My old friend and co-worker John Berardi has created what is regarded by many in the field as the premier nutritional schooling and certification. I've invested a bunch of money, not to mention years of my career as a personal trainer, in constantly upgrading my knowledge base. 

Precision Nutrition is the big step, one of the pinnacles in the field. I'm excited and ready to dive in!

@johnberardi, #johnberardi, @precisionnutrition, #precisionnutrition


The Best Tool For Losing Bodyfat

Many secrets exist for losing weight. Just watch the ads popping up on your Facebook feed if you ever do a search. Scroll Amazon or for thermogenics or pre-workout or fat loss products and quickly all your social media will be dominated by such ads. Do they work? Some can be helpful, and a few can make a difference, but that's a different topic.

I've lost 20 pounds in the last three or four months. Based on 9-site caliper readings done by one of my fellow personal trainers, I've lost only a miniscule amount of lean tissue, if any. My body-fat level is 8%, and was only 10-11% when I started this phase. At 62 years of age, this is a dramatic success. At any age, it's a good thing. I'm strong in the gym, feel great, and look forward to my next jeans and shorts purchases!

Most people wouldn't have thought I had 20 pounds to lose. By nobody's standards was I considered overweight. Most people who know me consider me pretty lean and muscular. I enjoy the discipline of self-experimentation, constantly learning how varying foods and supplements do and don't work for me, and have the patience to give a protocol enough time to know whether it's truly effective.

My secret weapon has been the food scale!

I've used these, and more, varied pre-workout and thermogenic products during these few months. Yes, they're fun and interesting and help my Blender Bottles full of water taste better (most of the time). 

All my real progress has come from setting macronutrient goals, hitting them as closely as possible every day, only eating food I can track reasonably well, and making no excuses. As a personal trainer by trade, believe me, I hear all the excuses, all the time.

I've accomplished this using real food, daily exercise, and adopting the mindset that I'll put nothing into my body I cannot weigh and measure. The Stronger U nutrition community has played an important role for me, from support to knowledge, on a daily basis via social media. You don't have to go this alone; fine people with similar perspectives and outlooks and learn from each other, help each other.

#noexcuses, #strongerufitnutrition, #mikedoehla


Kettlebell Kitchen Helping With My Meal Prep

Kettlebell Kitchen saved our bacon a couple of times at the CrossFit Games. Their booth was a welcome respite from long lines at the food trucks, not to mention the presence of chicken breast, sweet potato, broccoli and kale!

Available at the show were their small-sized containers, with a medium-sized amount of food. Two different meals were on hand: Roasted Chicken Salad (435 calories, 34g protein, 12g fat, 48g carbs) and Tumeric Spiced Chicken (420 cal, 33g protein, 12g fat, 45g carbs).

Meant to be enjoyed cold, I found the Tumeric Chicken meal to be tasty and fresh. This one includes bacon, the spiced chicken of course, sweet potato and yucca crumbles.

Anne had the Roasted Chicken Salad; in addition to the chicken this selection is packed with white rice, kale, cranberries, celery and walnuts. Delicious!

Today for the first time I'll taste a Kettlebell Kitchen meal warm from a microwave. Looking forward to that. I'll let you know how it compares.

I don't have all the details on Kettlebell Kitchen's business model yet, but I'm impressed with the food quality and taste, and their vision to move beyond CrossFit boxes to corporate and individual customers. 

On our way out of Vendor Village at the Games, with only a two-hour drive ahead of us, we loaded up on a couple days of meals. Getting home late, with an early morning wake-up ahead, it's pretty damn nice to have a couple of days headstart on meal prep. Thanks, Kettlebell Kitchen!

@kettlebellKMCR, @carleyjones1, #kettlebellkitchen, #crossfitgames2017