Thursday, May 28, 2009

Fat Loss Basics

Here are some tips on losing unwanted bodyfat as Alwyn Cosgrove discusses in his blog (

The goal is to achieve that sculpted look by Indpendence Day, that's right 4th Of July! That's only 5 weeks away. With a combination of a kick start plan, a solid workout and nutritional support program and a healthy dose of motivation - you could easily be 10-15 lbs leaner by then. Check it out:

  1. You need to create a caloric deficit - no two ways about it - you must burn more than you consume.
  2. The most effective way to create that deficit is to use a combination of diet and exercise.
  3. Your diet should consist of lean proteins, fruits and vegetables. Keep starches and refined carbs to a minimum. Keep your fluid intake high (water only), and try to eat at least 4-5 small meals per day. This will help maintain blood sugar levels and keep you from blowing your diet.
  4. Exercise - interval training and metabolic resistance training will provide the most bang-for-your buck. Steady state aerobic training just doesn't burn enough calories for your goals right now, and a bodypart training split will be less effective than total body training for fat loss.
  5. Try to exercise at least six days per week - three days of interval based cardio and three days of resistance training.
  6. Supplements: there is almost nothing that will make a difference. Sorry. Certain supplements can boost metabolism, or increase your energy somewhat and these may be useful - but in terms of real world "pounds of fat lost" I have yet to see anything that really made a difference. A multivitamin and a fish oil supplement are vital though - but more for your overall health. A protein shake or meal replacement powder can be useful for convenience but are nothing more than high quality food.


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Suburban Workout

The "Suburban Workout" - meeting the fitness needs for those just above the poverty line. Funny stuff! Enjoy!
(If you don't understand the premise of this video, check out the "24 Hour Ghetto Workout" video as shown on YouTube. WARNING: The "24 Hour Ghetto Workout" video contains adult language. Don't say I didn't warn you!)


Friday, May 15, 2009

MMA Madness Workout

Here's my buddy Todd Durkin, CSCS - Owner of Fitness Quest 10 in San Diego, CA., going to work on Sean Croxton of Underground Wellness. Enjoy!


Monday, May 11, 2009

Nutrition - Food Choices

As mentioned in my previous post (Nutrition Basics), while making food choices we should aim at getting full proteins in every meal as well as fruits & vegetables.

Here are some foods that you should eat and others which you should avoid. I call these "The Best and Worst Foods (and Everything In Between)"



  • Oils & sprays: Canola oil, canola spray, Enova oil, fish oil, flaxseed oil, I Can't Believe It's Not Butter spray, olive oil (extra virgin), olive oil spray (extra virgin), Benecol Spread
  • Vegetables: Avocadoes
  • Seeds: Pumpkin, sunflower
  • Nuts: Almonds, cashews, macadamias, pecans, soy nuts, walnuts


  • Nuts: Natural peanut butter, peanuts


  • Dairy products: Butter, cream, ice cream (regular, full-fat), margarine, milk (whole);
  • Oils: Lard (Crisco, etc.)



  • Fish: Anchovies, calamari, cod, flounder, halibut, mahi mahi, salmon (wild over farm-raised), sardines, swordfish, tuna (canned in water)m tune steak or sushi
  • Shellfish: Clams/mussels, crab, lobster, oysters, shrimp/prawns
  • Meat: Buffalo, filet mignon, flank steak, ground beef (93% lean), ham (96% fat-free), London broil, pork loin (lean), top and bottom round, venison
  • Legumes: Black beans, soybeans (edamame)
  • Dairy products: Cheeses (less than 2% fat), Egg beaters, egg whites, milk (fat-free - skim), yogurt (low-fat, low-sugar)


  • Poultry: Chicken (dark meat, skinless), ground turkey (85-90% lean)
  • Meat: Ground beef (85-90% lean), roast beef
  • Legumes (eaten alone): Chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils, pinto beans
  • Dairy products: Cottage cheese (1% and 2% fat), frozen yogurt (low-fat, low-sugar), ice cream (low-fat/fat-free, low-sugar), milk (1% and 2% fat), whole eggs, yogurt (whole milk)


  • Meat: Beef (heavily marbled), ground beef (regular fat), NY strip, T-bone, chicken (w/ skin or fried)
  • Dairy products: Cheeses (double or triple-cream, such as Brie and Camembert), milk (whole)


  • Breads: Pumpernickel, rye, sourdough
  • Cereals: Cheerios, Kashi, oatmeal (slow-cooked, not instant)
  • Starches: Brown rice, couscous, quinoa
  • Root vegetables: Asparagus, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cucumber, field greens, green beans, romaine lettuce, snap peas, spinach
  • Other vegetables: Bell peppers, carrots, celery, eggplant, mushrooms, soybeans, squash, tomatoes
  • Fruit: Apples (green), blackberries, cantaloupe, cherries, grapefruit, grapes (red), honeydew, kiwi, mangoes, oranges (whole), papaya, peaches, plums, pomegranates, raspberries, strawberries, watermelon


  • Breads and baked goods: Bread (whole wheat), muffins (oat or whole wheat), tortillas (whole wheat)
  • Cereals: Corn-based cereals (all), rice-based cereals (all)
  • Starches: Egg noodles, pancakes (nonenriched/whole wheat, buckwheat, or sourdough - no/low-sugar syrup), pasta (whole wheat or vegetable)
  • Other vegetables: Iceberg lettuce, yellow squash, zucchini
  • Fruit: dates
  • Snacks: English muffins (sourdough), rice cakes, wheat crackers


  • Baked goods: cakes, cookies, doughnuts, English muffins (most types), white bread
  • Cereals: Sugary cereals
  • Dairy products: Frozen yogurt (with sugar), ice cream
  • Snacks/treats: Dried fruit, french fries, granola bars, potato chips, trail mix
  • Salads: Coleslaw, creamy seafood salad, potato salad

  • Red wine (2-6 glasses per week), tea (decaffeinated - green, black, or white), water (at least 64 oz. per day)


  • Coffee (decaf or regular), diet soft drinks, fruit juices (unsweetened), orange juice (diluted), teas (caffeinated), white wine


  • Beer, fruit juice (sweetened), hard liquor, Kool-Aid, mixed drinks (especially fruity bar drinks), smoothies, soft drinks, wine coolers



  • Balsamic vinegar, Benecol spread, cayenne pepper, fruit spreads, garlic, herbs/spices, horseradish, hummus, mayonnaise (fat-free), Mrs. Dash seasoning, mustard, pesto, salad dressing (fat-free), salsa, seasonings, Take Control spread


  • BBQ sauce, ketchup, salad dressing (low-fat), syrup (light)


  • Mayonnaise, Miracle Whip, salad dressing (regular), sugar


Nutrition Basics

Here are some Nutrition tips to start with. Most of these are from John Berardi's website article - The 7 Rules of Good Nutrition.

1. Eat every 2-3 hours, which comes to about 6 meals per day.

2. Eat complete meals containing all the essential amino acids. Try and have lean protein with each meal.

3. Eat fruits and/or vegetables with each food meal but try to avoid fruits in the evening due to the high natural sugars (fructose).

4. Ensure that your carbohydrate intake comes from fruits and vegetables, with the exception of pre & post-workout meals.

5. Ensure that 25%-35% of your energy intake comes from fat with equal quantity from saturates (e.g. animal fat), monounsaturates (e.g., olive oil), and polyunsaturates (e.g. fish oil). Fish oil can very vital and is recommended to every one no matter what there goal is.

6. Drink no-calorie beverages, avoid all sodas and artificial juices. The best choices being water and green tea.

7. Eat whole foods (except pre and post-workout drinks).

8. Try to follow this routine at least 90% of the time which means you can have a cheat meal 10% time. On a basis of 6 meals per day, it comes to around 4 cheat meals per week. You can have what you want but still watch what you are eating.

9. Try to prepare each meal at home to avoid eating outside. Preparing your meals in advance is always helpful as this saves you time and money!

10. Start today!


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

What's your excuse?

So what's your excuse for missing your workout today ?

Just Say NO to Crunches

Why crunches are bad

According to research from Dr. Stuart McGill ( and his book "Ultimate Back Fitness and Performance" – crunches produce very high levels of intra-disc pressure and do not train the abdominals to produce spinal stability. Your abdominals are meant to be stabilizers not movers. The rectus abdominus (the 6 pack muscle) is not really a flexor anyway. It's actually there to provide increased "hoop tension". If possible read anything that's related to 'resistance to twisting motions'.

In simple terms, our abs are not meant to provide flexion but to stabilize. With this in mind, how many real life activities can you think of which requires you to do a crunch? Doing lots of crunches can lead to overuse injuries of the spine.

The better alternate

Planks are far better exercise for abs when compared to crunches.

Front plank

Side plank

To perform a plank:

  1. Get down into a prone positon on your elbows and toes and make your whole body tight while squeezing your abs and glutes. The goal is to make a straight line from head to toe while holding this position for a predetermined amount of time. Do note that you need to do side plank on both the right and left sides.

  2. Aim for holding each position for at least 30-45 seconds and work your way up to 1-2 minutes. Further progression can be made adding external load or lifting one limb in the air creating further imbalance.

  3. Holding for 1-2 mins would be very tough if you are trying for first time. This is one exercise that looks simple enough to perform but its a lot difficult then what it may seem.

Here are 2 videos on how to do a plank:

Other factors

  • If you want visible abs then get your body fat down, no matter how much ab work you do your abs would not be visible until the fat covering it is gone

  • Abs are "made in kitchen", so keep what you put in your mouth at check

  • You can not go wrong with heavy squats, deadlifts, or overhead lifting

  • Overhead squat is the best strength training exercise that you can do for your core