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My Book Reading

Lou Reed: A Life by Anthony DeCurtis

   (in progress)

The Night Trade - Barry Eisler (revew published)

The Woman in the Window - A.J. Finn - (review published; just get your hands on this and read it!)

The Kremlin's Candidate by Jason Matthews - (review published)

Into the Black Nowhere - Meg Gardiner - (review just published; superb)

Agent in Place - Mark Greaney (Gray Man thriller, review up)

The Saboteur - Paul Kix (review up)

The Escape Artist by Brad Meltzer (review published)

Operator Down - Brad Taylor (done, great book)

Robicheaux - James Lee Burke (in progress - outstanding, of course)

Podcast Favorites

Joe Rogan Experience #1058 Dec. 28 2017 . Nina Teicholz


Enhancing Performance with Healthy Food 

I love to eat, and bet most of you do too. If you’re the type who actually likes preparing meat and cutting up vegetables, know how to use more than just a blender, you’ll get a great deal from John Berardi’s Precision Nutrition newsletter, blog, and Gourmet Nutrition cookbooks. Berardi is an old friend, dating back to my Testosterone magazine days, and is one of the most effective trainers in the world. This guy knows how to combine nutrition with exercise to gain increased performance.

Periodically on his site he offers interesting recipes, all based on his principles of “gourmet nutrition.” Simply put, he presents ways to help us enjoy food that tastes great, contains lean, complete protein, is low in sugar and processed carbs, has much more healthy fat than bad fat, isn’t too calorically dense, and additive-free ingredients. Easy claims to make, difficult to follow through on. But Berardi does.

Setting himself apart from many other smart foodies in the exercise world, Berardi makes certain his recipes distinguish between “post-workout” and “anytime.” In my mind, an important distinction and one people always ask about.

Check out for all manner of insightful commentary, essays, and news about nutrition applied to athletics and healthy life. Many people issue newsletters and blogs, but Berardi speaks the truth and knows how to apply his knowledge to real people.


Why I Love the Arnold Classic

Arnold Schwarzenneger began promoting bodybuilding contests in Columbus, Ohio, in the 1970s, while still competing. Back then the contest was called “Mr. International,” and the first event was held in a downtown Columbus movie theater. Several friends and I drove down from Michigan; we were bodybuilding enthusiasts and had seen the recently released movie “Pumping Iron” in the theater, but hadn’t seen live bodybuilders, other than on a local level. I don’t remember much about the actual contest, but I’ll never forget Arnold, Franco Columbo, Ed Corney, and most of the rest of the cast of “Pumping Iron” hanging out in the lobby behind card tables, selling 8x10 photos, and waiting (hoping?) for people to come up and talk to them. I wish I still had the autographed photo of Arnold I bought from him and he signed to me (I wonder what it would bring on eBay today?).

Flash forward 30 years. The Arnold Sports Festival is the largest multi-sports event in the United States; over 17,000 athletes compete in more than 40 sports over three days. Last year 170,000 people attended. What took place in the lobby of the theater at the beginning has morphed into a 700-booth Expo filled with every fitness, weight training, supplement and related business set up. Hundreds of the best strength athletes in the world are working the booths, handing out samples, literature, selling product, posing for pics, and generally enjoying the largest gathering in one place of the fitness world.

I still attend, as does one of those original buddies from Michigan. We learn, meet old friends, buy supplements cheaply, watch amazing athletes do crazy things, and generally enjoy a three-day immersion in the world of fitness and strength and supplements. The Expo is my home; I have worked the show for different companies, and attended and written about it for magazines and websites. This is where I buy some of the “interesting” workout gear and supplements you’ll read about in this column. 

For years the original Gold’s Gym in Venice Beach has been called “The Mecca,” but to me and many others, the Arnold Classic is indeed The Mecca!   March 3-6, 2011


Hanging Out with Blast Straps

Bodyweight exercise comes to the gym in the form of Blast Straps. After you’ve taken half a minute to set these up in a squat rack, you’ll realize the benefits and fun of performing pushups, rows, and tricep extensions in such an unstable and challenging way. If the first try is too easy for you, lower the handles closer to the floor and do pushups, maintaining stability with your body while those handles want to wander all over the place. You’ll feel the stress in your pecs and triceps, while simultaneously your abdominal and low back muscles (known as your core) will fire. 

Of course, the first couple of times you use Blast Straps you’ll wonder why you fail after such a small number of reps, but keep going back for more sets. You’ll recover easily. Tate says you can do the movements more often, or do more sets per workout, and you won’t have to worry about overtraining. I’ve found this to be true, and for pushups and rows, often include ten sets in a workout. Blast Straps provide a great opportunity to change your routine, good for both your mind and your body. 

Next time someone wises off to you in the gym about their strength, get them onto the Blast Straps and watch ‘em struggle! It’s a wake-up call for many.

This is a rugged, heavy-duty product. The nylon is tough, thick, and isn’t going to stretch  or come apart, no matter how heavy or strong you are (they’re rated to 600 lbs.) You won’t be able to bend the handles if you try, and your squat rack won’t be scratched by set-up. Dave thought of that, as well. These are cool, they’re effective, and not at all a gimmick., $50


Fried Butter Balls and Deep-Fried Jelly Beans - Not Just at the State Fair

Thanks to Dan Lambert for this latest sign of the coming food Apocalypse.... unbelievable.


Building Your Own Food Pyramid

It's pretty commonly held that the FDA-approved food pyramid is upside down. At least in my world it's backwards. Believing this and knowing what to do about it are different things. Create your own food pyramid for better health and fitness. Read Adam Dachis' opinions about what the food pyramid is all about, and how to use it for your own purposes, and you'll be less confused and happier.