Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Here are some of my favorite receipes for healthy snakes. Make sure you visit the links for more info and pictures. Enjoy!

Oatmeal Creame Pie Sandwich
This recipe comes from Kelly Booth.

1/3 Cup Oatmeal
2 Tbsp Stevia
1 Tbsp Cinnamon
3 Egg Whites

•Beat all together with fork (no water needed).
•Pour into hot non-stick pan.
•When cooked on side one, flip like a pancake. Cook until done

Center cream
1/2 Scoop Vanilla Protein.
2 Tbsp of Cold Water

•Cut pancake in half with cream in the middle for an on-the-go protein/carb sandwich.
•Place pudding on top as icing and eat like a cinnamon roll.

Oattie Cookies
Here's a recipe from Jen Keck:

**Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

3 cups of dry oats
1 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce OR pure canned pumpkin. I prefer the pumpkin!
3 egg whites
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
**Optional: add 1/8 cup Stevia to sweeten
**Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.
**Makes 24 cookies.

Sugar-free Pumpkin Pie
Here is Jen Grasso's sugar-free pumpkin pie recipe.

1 15 oz can Organic Pumpkin
1 14 oz can Unsweetened Coconut Milk (drained) or 8 oz Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
3/4 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp All Spice
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
1/4 tsp Cloves
¼ tsp Ginger
¾ tsp Stevia
½ tsp Salt
2 Eggs
½ tsp Coconut oil

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir well. Grease a 9” round Pyrex dish with coconut oil. Pour batter in dish and bake at 375 for 60 minutes. Remove when pie is firm but the center may still giggle as it will still cook upon settling. Can top pie with a sugar-free vanilla cocunut milk ice cream and spinkle with cinnamon.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Why Most People Fail to Reach Their Fitness Goals

In the movie "Troy", Achilles is about to fight a Thesselonian, a man much bigger than he. Before fighting the giant, he has a brief conversation with the messanger boy. The scene contains one of my favorite quotes.

Messanger Boy: "The Thesselonian you're fighting... he's the biggest man i've ever seen. I wouldn't want to fight him."
Achilles: "Thats why no-one will remember your name."

When you think about your fitnes goals, whether it is to lose 10, 50, 100+ pounds, compete in a bodybuilding show, squat 600 lbs, quit smoking, or eat healthier, are you like the messanger boy who sees the goals as insurmountable? Do you let fear paralyze your efforts? Or, are you like Achilles, full of confidence and ready to overcome the challenge no matter how great?

Achilles obviously knew how great the challenge would be. He could sense that many doubted he could survive his encounter with the great Thesselonian. Yet, he still tried. He "showed up". He knew that in order to be great, he would have to do great (and difficult) things.

I've seen so many people, men, women, athletes, start an exercise program and a clean diet only to fail miserably. Why? Because it's tough. It hurts. It's inconvenient. They all lacked the mental toughness needed to accomplish their fitness goals.

Let's get back to the movie. When Achilles arrives to fight the Thesselonian, he sees his oppponent, fixes his eyes on him, and begins to run towards his opponent. There is no hesitation. The Thesselonian screams! He makes a lot of noise. As Achilles gets closer to the giant, the giant starts his attack. Instead of slowing down, Achilles starts running faster (towardsd the very person no one else dared to fight). He never takes his eyes off the giant. Here's the scene:

As with Achilles, as we get nearer to the Thesselonian (our goals), the challenges will likely get greater and even louder. The challenges and obstacles may not be flying spears and giants with swords, but they will be harmful nonetheless. Whether it is self-doubt, impatience, laziness, injury, lack of a support system, all can impede us from being the type of person we want to become - a healthy strong individual. We need to first set goals, then have confidence we can accomplish them. We need to focus on the goals ignoring the naysayers and distractions. Mental toughness is required. As we get closer to our goals, we must not waiver, but run faster, deflecting the obstacles that are in our way, with our eyes fixed on what we want to accomplish.

So, my question to you is, will they remember your name?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

5 Recovery Techniques

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, or a physical therapist. This Post simply gives my personal opinion on some recovery techniques I implement in my own strength program. Additionally, this Post does not address injuries, but the general soreness and fatigue that comes from training hard and with intensity.

If you train and train the way you should, you will be sore. You even will feel some pain as you push yourself harder than you thought possible. Dave Tate recently spoke of this in his article "Under the Bar: How Strong is Your Pain". Dave stated that "Most of us will have we have a lot of pain to endure if we plan to reach our highest potential. The farther down the path you go, the more minor pain you find needs to be ignored. Throughout our journey we will be tested. As athletes, when we pulled our first muscle we felt it was the end of the world and were out of the sport for good. If our joints hurt we would run to the doctor because we “knew” it was major."
Here's the important part. Dave explained that "[t]he ones who figure out how to deal with the pain and keep moving forward are the ones who succeed. Let me rephrase that; the ones who know the difference between what is 'part of the game' and what is not are the ones who succeed. Simply put, they’re the ones who “ball up” move forward. The ones who bitch and complain that they can’t take the pain and look for excuses are the ones who stay put."

Now, while soreness and pain are part of the process, there are things you should be doing to minimize the pain and soreness, prevent injury, and expedite recovery so your ready for your next training session. Here are five techniques to recovery I implement in my own program:


It goes without saying that getting approximately 8 hours of sleep per night greatly aids your recovery. While you sleep your body releases growth hormone. The amount of growth hormone your body releases is largely dependent upon the quantity and quality of sleep. Growth hormone plays a large role in the repair and growth of muscle tissue. So, if you want to ensure adquate recovery, get an adeuqate night's rest.

Additionally, if you can, take a 20-30 minute nap each day. Getting 8 hours of sleep and a short nap each day will help ensure you have enough energy to push through even the hardest training session.


Proper nutrition provides your muscles the very thing they need to recover and grow. One of the most important macro-nutrients is protein. Simply put, our muscles use protein to rebuild and repair. I typically advise athletes and those who train hard to consume approximately .8 - 1 gram of protein per pound that the individual weighs. Typically, I recommend women take .6 - .8 grams per pound.

Another important macronutrient is carbohydrates. Carbs not only supply energy to the body, but they also help put the body into an "anabolic state" (i.e., muscle growing/building state). Carbs are converted into glucose. The rise in blood sugar subsequently results in the release of the anabolic hormone insulin. Insulin assists the body in the transfer of nutrients to the muscles needed for growth and repair. Obviously, most of your carbs should come from such sources as oats, brown rice, and whole wheat bread.

Additional nutritional principles for recovery include eating often (tpyically 5-6 times per day), with your protein intake spread throughout the day. Never skip breakfast. You can take supplements such as a multi-vitmain, fish oil, magnesium and zinc.


Self-Myofascial Release (SMR) is a technique one can use to help relax tense and sore muscles, decrease scar tissue, and improve mobility. One of the most common SMR tools is the foam roller (see picture above). The foam roller is nice because you can basically work every muscle group in your body. The position of the SMR tool and the duration of its use is largely dependent upon the targeted muscle group, the soreness of the muscle, and the condition/quality of the muscle. A great guide to foam folling is this video from Joe Hashey.

4. Rest

It goes without saying that you should schedule some days off. Currently, I do not lift weights on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. I use those days to rest and recover. Now, that does not mean I do no physical activity. I just refrain from lifting weights. On those days I perform intervals and mobility work.

Additionally, I never train the same muscle groups two days in a row. That gives my muscles enough time to recover before hitting them hard in the next session. Finally, I believe that you need to be willing to modify your program on a day-to-day basis. Some days I go into the gym just not feeling it. I'm either worn out or stressed out. I have no guilt on those days shortening my training or changing my routine (e.g., not going as heavy). This is no excuse to be lazy, but listen to your body. When it says rest, rest.


Additional techniques to help you recover and ease soreness include contrast showers, ice baths, massages, stretching, taking anti-inflammatory medicine, and ice and compression wraps. I have used all of these techniques with great success.


Friday, September 2, 2011

Bodybuilding Update

As many of you know, for the past several months I have been preparing for my first natural bodybuilding show. The show is scheduled for October 8. When I started training in April, my measurements were the following:

Bodyweight - 220
Bodyfat % - 14.7
Waist - 35"
Bicep - 16 1/2"
Chest - 43
Thigh - 26

Initially, I used a 5-day split. I also was strict on my diet. My diet consisted mainly of boiled chicken, brown rice, potatoes, eggs, whole wheat, and water. I also made the mistake, fortunately only for a short time, of consuming lots of milk; up to 1 gallon per day. I was following some old-school bodybuilding methods to bulk. Not good for me.

My program and diet worked and I started growing. I grew tired, however, of the five-day split. I soon plateaued. I then tested my strength and found that I had grown weaker. So, I changed my program and since June, have been on a 4-day split. Additionally, I added a max-effort upper and lower movement each week. My max-effort movement changes every three weeks. Generally speaking, the first movement each day I train like a powerlifter (i.e., heavier weight/fewer reps). The accessory movements I train like a bodybuilder (i.e., lighter weight/more reps). My strength shot back up and I grew some more. Currently, my training looks like this:

Monday - Chest, Shoulders and Triceps
Tuesday - Legs, Back and Biceps
Wednesday - Sprints
Thursday - Chest, Shoulders and Triceps
Friday - Legs, Back and Biceps

Around the same time (June-July) I began to cut. My goal was to lose weight but not muscle. So, I knew I had to drop weight slowly. If I cut to fast, I'd lose muscle. So, I gradually dropped my calories while increasing my interval sessions. Additionally, to help ensure I maintain my muscles, I increased my protein intake. It worked!! I dropped weight and any lose of muscle size was nominal. Currently, my measurements are as follows:

Bodyweight - 208
Bodyfat % - 12%
Waist - 32"
Bicep - 17 1/2"
Chest - 45
Thigh - 28

Here are some progress pics:

To be honest, I am starting to doubt that I will be ready for the October 8 show. While my size has increased, I still am not where I want to be. Additionally, from what I understand, I will need to be around 6% bodyfat for the show. A 7% drop in bodyfat in one month while maintaining my size doesn't seem realistic.

While I have made many mistakes in my preparation for my first bodybuilding show, I have learned a lot. I have decided I will seek out a mentor to help guide me, give me objective criticism and to let me know if I'm on the right path. I'll post soon whether I'll be doing the October show or if I will be postponing my first show. Thanks for your support!