Wednesday, December 24, 2008

{Slow} Road to 405: Leg Day # 5

It has been pretty tough to try to get to the gym lately; the available time is low, the weather is cold and the egg-nog is tasting extra delicious!

But I took the extra time today and braved the traffic after work to get down the university for some good old fashioned squats.

Location: Gritty Grotto, 4:30-5:30 PM

Warmed-up with a little bit of cardio on the stationary bike for 5 minutes.  Followed it up with a couple of sets of leg extensions and leg curls to warm-up the thighs.

Tip-toed over to the squat rack for 4 Sets of Squats [135 lbs x 12; 225 lbs x 12; 255 lbs x 8; 275 lbs x 4] Feeling a bit smoother through the middle of the reps now, especially with the heavier weights on my back, which are also feeling lighter.

Barbell Lunges for 3 sets of 12 reps at 135 lbs. These created a super good pump!

To get out quicker I decided to super-set some hamstring curls [100 lbs x 12] with stiff-legged deadlifts [135 lbs x 12; 225 lbs x 12; 275 lbs x 12]

Finished up with some drop sets of standing calf raises with the stack,  ran right out of the gym to get home and enjoy some fine Christmas baking courtesy of my wife when I get home!

Nothing like cupcakes for some post-workout nutrition!

power cupcakes found here

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Homemade Sushi for Christmas?

My beautiful new bride and I are toying with the idea of our first Christmas dinner together as a homemade sushi party. Complete of course with my sister-in-law ;)

Perhaps some turkey-cranberry rolls?

Delicious, yes?


Yummy sushi pic found here

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Just Give me the Real Stuff

Well it looks like that there are some new phytochemicals that have been found that may help in the treatment of breast cancer...hooray?

These phytochemicals found mainly in extra-virgin olive oil or olives have been shown to inhibit some proteins that are involved in breast cancer.  Now, researchers want to extract them and hopefully apply them as breast cancer treatment drugs; putting them on the last line of defence as opposed to being on the preventative front-line.

Now if there is anything that we have learned from isolating nutrients, antioxidants and other phytochemicals from food, they just do not work the same way at preventing disease after being taken out of "context"! 

And I don't expect whatever trials that follow these isolated chemicals to be any different.

Luckily, these phytochemicals are still intact if you choose to use extra-virgin olive oil as it is not refined so severely as pure or virgin olive oil.

Therefore, please enjoy this quick and easy recipe for some delicious Greek salad that I made last week! (not my video)

It's loaded with all of the aforementioned nutrients and is also packed with extra-yummy tastiness particles.


Salad:How To Make Greek Salad

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Four Easy Ways to Enjoy Yourself These Holidays

Now I'm sure that there are a million blog posts and articles on how to prevent packing on those holiday pounds out right now, but...but...well, here is another one.


1) Take part in as many outdoor activities as you can (even if it is -40)

  • Get on that sleigh ride with the one horse that is open
  • Play some pond hockey or get down to the corner rink for some skating. If you don't know how, it's time to learn!
  • Go tobogganing, running back up that hill is sure to burn something off!

2) Walk. If you can walk to your Christmas Day or New Years feast, do it! Saves a buck or two on a cab fare if you are a little worse for wear after too much egg nog at Grandma's.

3) Eat those veggies! Most holiday feasts usually have many plates of veggies that largely ignored in favour of the mashed potatoes and gravy. Load up on those and you'll be feeling much better at the end of the night!

4) Don't deprive yourself! When those holiday treats come out, eat them! If you try to hold back you'll just end up wanting them more and when the levee breaks, you'll eat the whole [gingerbread] house!

That's it. Enjoy the holidays!

cool pic found here

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Road to 405: Leg Day #4

Quick workout today since it is getting nearer to the holiday season and time is really become a luxury. Decided to blast through some back, shoulders and biceps in about 35 minutes to make sure that I didn't miss them this weekend.

December 18th 2008 Hospital Gym 530 PM

Started things off by heading to the wobbly chin up bar for some wide grip chins: 3 Sets (Body Weight x 6; 25 lbs x 10; 35 lbs x 6)

Followed that up with the somewhat easier close grip chins for three sets of 12 at bodyweight.  Felt some good power in these by gripping the bar very tightly.

Next up, dumbbell rows: 3 Sets (65 lbs x 15; 85 lbs x 12; 95 lbs x 12)

Seated Overhead Dumbbell Press: 3  Sets (45 lbs x 12; 65 lbs x 12; 65 lbs x 7)

Seated Lateral Raises: 3 Sets (25 lbs x15)

Dumbbell Shrugs: 2 Sets (95 lbs x 20)

Standing Dumbbell Curls: 2 Sets (35 lbs x 12)

Standing Hammer Curls: 2 Sets (35 lbs x 12)

Reverse Cable Curls: 2 Sets (65 lbs x 12)

Good Pump. Glad it is all done for the day and I can go enjoy some more Festivus tidings!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Search Engine for Local and Organic Food

Recently stumbled across this nice little tool at the Eat Well Guide web site



This site is great because it allows you to find farmers, farmer's markets, food co-ops, or other stores that sell healthy beef, dairy, eggs, bison, chicken produce or anything else you are looking for. 

The beauty part is that you can screen through whatever sustainable production method you would like your food to have gone through.  Anything from no antibiotics, organic, non-certified organic, grass-fed to biodynamic farming where the animals are read bedtime stories and live in the house with the farmer!  Okay, I made that last one up, but overall a very useful search engine if you are looking for an alternative to the same old fare.


happy cow found here

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Road to 405: Leg Day #4

December 13th 2008; Gritty Grotto; 12 PM

Wasn't really feeling like training when I got to the gym today but by the time I had finished 5 minutes on the stationary bike my morning coffee had begun to find it's way to my muscles and I was ready to go!

Warmed up with 3 sets of Leg Extensions (50 lbs x 20; 80 lbs x 20; 120 lbs x 15) super-setted with Lying Hamstring Curls (80 lbs x 12; 120 lbs x 12; 150 lbs [stack] x 12)

Leg Presses: 4 sets (320 lbs x 15; 500 lbs x 20; 680 lbs x 15; 680 lbs x 12)

Back Squats: 3 sets (135 lbs x 12; 225 lbs x 10; 225 lbs x6)

Wide Stance Squats: 2 Sets (135 lbs x 12)

Deadlifts: 135 lbs x 12; 225 lbs x 12; 315 lbs x 8; 345 lbs x 6

Lying Hamstring Curls: 3 Sets (90 lbs x 20)

Finished it all off with some 3 sets of seated and standing calf raises respectively.

Great Workout, no pain in any joints either!

Sure to be quite sore tomorrow, .

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Fructose is Very Confusing

Fructose has made it into the news once again.  A new study is out that looked at the various genes that are up or down regulated after rats were fed a fructose rich diet.

It now appears that fructose triggers the up-regulation (increased expression) of both fed and fasted state genes.  Many more than the researchers were expecting to see increase.

Normally when you consume most types of carbohydrates the body is able to break them down and either burn them off or store them as glycogen.

When the body encounters fructose however it seems to get somewhat confused and triggers genes that are involved with both liver glycogen storage (normal way to store glucose in the fed state) as well as genes that lead to increased triglyceride storage in the liver.  Not a good thing, considering that a fatty liver is one of the components of the metabolic syndrome.

Now, don't go out and think that you have to avoid eating fruit because it has fructose in it.  Yes, fruit does have some fructose but it is very minimal.  Don't forget, fruits are rich in fibre, vitamins and many different antioxidants.  Stay away from the high-fructose corn syrup type stuff, no matter what these commercials may suggest:


Although I do like this one best:

What did you think of these ads?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Road To 405: Back Day #3

4 PM at Hospital Gym

No deadlifts today, only dumbbells and chin-up bars to work with.

Things started off with 4 long reps of wide-grip chins to warm-up, followed by three sets of weighted chins: 35 lbs x 7; 35 lbs x 5; 25 lbs x 8

3 Sets of Dumbbell Rows: 85 lbs x 12; 95 lbs x 12; 100 lbs x 12

Body weight close grip chins: 3 Sets of 12

Two-arm dumbbell rows lying face down on incline bench: 3 Sets (65 lbs x 12) -Kind of improvising at this point.

Seated Cable Rows: 4 sets (200 lbs x 20 reps)

Pretty good pump, nothing special though, it's pretty lousy not having barbells on back day.  Better than nothing though! As long as I got something done.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

How about ten bucks per pound? Hey, it's cheaper than steak!

A research team out of the University of Pennsylvania has recently published a study in JAMA that showed that financial incentives are very effective weight loss tools.

If being healthy isn't enough, cold hard cash better be!

57 healthy participants (aged 30-70) were randomly placed into one of three weight loss programs in which the goal was to lose 1 lb every week for 16 weeks.

The groups were laid out as follows:

1) Monthly Weigh-Ins: No reward

2) Lottery Incentive Program: if they met their goals they could win money!

3) Deposit Contract that the participants could match.

After the 16 weeks, the lottery incentive group lost  an average of 13.1 lbs while the deposit group and no money group lost 14 lbs and 3.9 lbs respectively. 

Interestingly, at the 7 month follow-up; both incentive groups had still kept a significant amount of the weight off!

9 lbs for the lottery while only 6 lbs for the deposit group and 4 lbs for the penniless folk

So how much did they all earn for their weight-loss endeavours?

Participants in the lottery group walked away with a cool $378.49 while the other reward group earned a handsome $272.80

The study concluded that it would be prudent to explore longer periods of incentives to see if a sustained weight loss could be achieved from this reward system.

Chasing that dollar!

These numbers are actually quite interesting because in a previous study in The American Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (2007), researchers showed that a mere $7 was enough to motivate workers to lose an average of 3 lbs in 3 months.  Not huge numbers but any amount of sustained, healthy weight loss is always a good thing.

It is well known that those who are obese spend far more on health care every year than those who are at a healthy weight, or even just overweight.

So where is the line? 

How much might it take for employers or health care programs to be able to offer cash or other incentives for weight loss in the workplace?  Obviously a very dicey issue, but something I am sure may be pursued further as companies look to cut health care costs by any means necessary in the coming years.

Do you think lottery weight loss systems, or Biggest Loser (The Office anyone?) type competitions might make their way into the workplace in the future?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Road to 405: Leg Day # 3

Normally leg day takes place on a Saturday morning, but a burst pipe in my basement put a little hold on my training for a few days. 

Got it done on Monday morning after invigilating a first year nutrition exam though.

Monday December 8th 2008, Gritty Grotto, 11 AM

Started off with a little ab work.  This consisted of a few sets of leg raises and crunches on the floor [otherwise I won't do them at all!]

Then to make sure I was good and warmed-up did 10 minutes on the stationary bike before getting in to the thick of leg day.

Did a couple of sets of leg extensions and leg curls to get some more blood in to my thighs.  This seems to helps me [mentally] push off the bottom of the range of motion on my squat

Moved over to the Squat Rack for 4 Sets of Squats [135 lbs x 12; 225 lbs x 8; 255 lbs x 6; 225 lbs x 8]

Front Squats: 3 Sets of 135 lbs x 12

Deadlifts: 135 lbs x 12; 225 lbs x 12; 325 lbs x 8 (No straps)

Leg Press: 3 Sets [320 lbs x 12; 410 lbs x15; 410 lbs x 15] Legs were pretty fried by this point.

Several sets of seated calf raises with 115 lbs finished it all off.

Also had a mini chin-up contest with my cousin, we each got to 21 this time. Nobody wins...

Did a some very light stretching at the end, followed by a large meal of left-over stew. Delicious.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

If you're feeling the economic pinch, eat some beans!

Now we all know that meat is expensive per pound due to the amount of energy, land and water that are required to mass produce it.

But there are many other ways to get the protein we need along with a hefty dose of fibre, loads of antioxidants and tonnes of vitamins and minerals.

The best replacements for meat out there are legumes, beans, pulses or whatever else you want to call them.  They are all readily available at your grocery store and at a cost substantially cheaper than most meat products.

So during these "tough economic times" here is a recipe I found in an old fitness magazine that we can all enjoy (except for anyone in sniffing distance while you digest the loads of healthy fibre):

Bean Salad:

1-Can of Whole Green Beans

1-Can Garbanzo Beans (chick peas)

1-Can Kidney Beans

1-Cup of Whole Kernel Corn (frozen or canned)

1-Medium Onion (Chopped)

1/2 Cup of Salad Dressing (Home made is best): Something southwestern like is ideal

1/2 Cup of Cheddar Cheese (Shredded)


Mix (stir) the beans, corn and onion in a bowl with the salad dressing in a large bowl and then refrigerate it.  You can eat it right away, but if you let it marinate over night it tastes so much better!

When ready to serve, spoon the bean mix onto some lettuce leaves and grate the cheddar cheese on top. You'll be amazed at how good it actually tastes and how full you are after wards.

And hopefully you're beans don't end up looking like this:

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Road to 405: Back Day # 2

Tuesday December 2nd 2008, 4 PM at Gritty Grotto

No warm-up today, just went straight to the chin-up/cable station for some wide-grip chin-ups:

4 Sets: 5 reps with no weight as a warm-up; Sets 2-3 were done with a dumbbell held between my calves (35 lbs x 10; 45 lbs x 7; 55 lbs x 4)

Next was 2 sets of extra wide grip chins for 12 reps and two more sets of narrow-grip chins for 2 sets of 12 reps.

3rd exercise:  Barbell Rows: 3 sets of 12 reps with 185 lbs.  Each set seemed to get easier, no explanation but I'll take it!

Power Cleans: 135 lbs x 6; 165 x 6; 185 lbs x 3

Deadlifts: 225 lbs x 12; 315 lbs x 10

Relaxed Stretching.

The workout ended rather quickly, the heavy chins were quite taxing so the workout was nice and efficient. 

All the equipment that I used was so close I don't think that I moved more than 5 feet throughout the entire workout!

Just one barbell and a chin-up bar.

Simple. And hopefully effective.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Challenge is on

It looks like I have added another goal to my training regime:

To be able to do a one-arm chin-up!

Now I realize this is probably not very feasible since I weigh around 190 lbs and most of that weight rests in my lower half. 

But, it is the goal of my training partner/cousin. He is not the strongest guy on the block but at a body weight of a buck thirty, he believes that he should be able to do it sometime in the next few months. He claims that only one out of ever million people can perform this feet, so only 6000 people in the world can do this?!  And since only 700 thousand people live in Winnipeg, he will probably be the only person here who can do it! Sound reasoning.

Pretty exclusive company don't you think?

Now I know I probably won't be able to achieve this feat, but he may due to his weight. But, I am going to train like I can and that will hopefully push him over the top!

Now this is how it's done!

From now on there will be a larger focus geared toward chin-ups in my Road to 405: Back day training.  Any suggestions for training for a max pull-up lift?  Other than just doing a lot of chin-ups of course.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Road To 405: Leg Day #2

Location: Gritty Grotto  Date: Nov. 29 2008 Time:10:15 AM

Started with a good long warm-up of 10 minutes on the stationary bike, got good and warmed up which is tough sometimes on a Saturday morning.

Warm-up Super Sets: 2 Sets of Leg Extensions and Lying Leg Curls (70 lbs x 20; 110 lbs x 12)

4 Sets of Leg Press (225 lbs x 20; 500 lbs x 20; 585 lbs x 20; 7; 675 lbs x 17)

3 Sets  of Back Squats (135 lbs x 12; 225 lbs x 12; 225 lbs x 10).  Felt very good, starting to get into the pack groove again, starting to feel easy again, hooray!

3 Sets of Stiff Legged Deadlifts (135 lbs x 12; 225 lbs x 12;  275 x 12).  Felt super easy, lower back is getting very strong, will help squats a lot in the coming months.

Barbell Lunges (2 sets: 135 lbs x 12)

3 sets of Seated Calf Raises (90 lbs x 20; 140 lbs x 15; 140 lbs x 12)

5 minutes of stretching. Helped myself to a tasty chocolate milk afterwards, delicious!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Question Period #1: Home Gym

Blogger Miss Shortcake said...

if you were trying to set up a home gym with very little $, what items would you recommend?

The truth is, all you really need is motivation!  Now you could go out and buy the latest bum, thigh or core blaster, and that is fine, they all do their job well enough.  But, just like how people get bored with their cell phones, they also get bored with their workout equipment.  We all need variety in our life, and that includes our workouts.

awesome picture found here

The key to building a home gym is getting good basic equipment that will allow you the widest variety of exercises with the least amount of clutter.

You also have to keep your goals in mind.  If you want to bulk up, an elliptical machine isn't going to help a whole lot.

Here is an example:

  • Depending on where you live, having some form of indoor cardio is nice if the weather is lousy or extremely cold in the winter (as it is in Winnipeg for the next 5 months!). 

I would recommend any sort of cardio equipment that:

  1. Is comfortable and doesn't aggravate chronic injuries (recumbent bikes are great if you have a bad back)
  2. You will actually use (some strange infomercial device isn't worth 3 easy payments of |$49.95 if you don't use it)
  3. Is effective (it actually gets your heart rate up and can get you sweating
  4. Affordable

Stationary Bikes, treadmills, even elliptical machines are fine as long as they suit your needs, and can give you a good workout when the weather outside is frightful.

As far as other equipment in your home gym, I would recommend:

  1. A yoga mat for stretching and numerous other exercises
  2. An exercise ball that is appropriate for your size. You can do many exercises that will require extra amounts balance and core strength when done on a ball.
  3. Some adjustable dumbbells and some plates that you can add-on as you progress.

With this equipment, you can work your entire body, with ease, get a some cardio and stretching in very minimal time!

  • If you live in a tropical environment, and you can get the majority of your cardiovascular exercise done outside, I say "go for it".  Ride your bike, walk the dog, go for a run, you're very lucky, so enjoy it!

Also, make sure you have some sweet tunes to listen to while you train, I recommend the following:


MixwitMixwit make a mixtapeMixwit mixtapes


I will provide a sample home workout next week. 

If you think anything else should rank higher in the first pieces of equipment to get, just let me know!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Road to 405: Back Day #1

I will only post about the two big workout days that make up the base of my routine: Back day and Leg day.  Mostly because they have the most meat and potatoes type exercises and are the most fun to talk about (for me anyway).

November 25th 2008 - 4 PM at the Gritty Grotto (University Gym)

Warm-up: 4 laps of 200m indoor track

Exercise Order:

Wide Grip Chins: 12 reps (BodyWeight); 25lbs(dumbbell between legs) x 8; 25 lbs x 6; 12 reps (BW)

Barbell Rows: 135 x12; 185 x 12; 185 x 12; 185 x 12

Power Cleans (From floor straight to shoulders): 135 x6, 155 x 6, 175 x 6, 185 x 3

Starting to really sweat at this point.

Deadlifts: 225 x 12; 225 x 12; 315 x10.  No straps this workout at all; although I did borrow someone's chalk for the last set of deadlifts.  Starting to feel a bit stronger in this lift again.

Dumbbell Rows: 3 sets of 85 lbs for 12 reps each.  Starting to fade at this point; good pump though.

T-Bar Rows: 2 sets of 90 lbs for 12 reps a piece.  Did this more for a finisher as I did not have very much energy left from the power cleans and deadlifts. 

Good workout overall, I am not going to be using straps or a belt anymore when I train to really build up my forearms strength.

Very glad tomorrow is a rest day. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Road to 405: Workout #1

As was mentioned on Monday, I have a goal of reaching a 405 lb squat within the next 12 months or doing 315 lbs for 12 reps, whichever comes first.

Here is my first leg workout on the way, kind of a bodybuilding style routine right now. Trying to build up the basic strength again, not going for power yet.

Workout was at 1pm on Sunday November 24th at the school gym.

The Leg extensions and hamstring curls were done as a non-stop superset to help take the edge off of trying to lift too heavy, too soon.

  Sets Weight Reps
Stationary Bike 5 Minutes Warm-up  
Leg Extensions 3 70, 110, 150 20
Hamstring Curls 3 70, 110, 150 12, 12, 10
Squats 4 135, 225, 225, 225 12, 12, 10, 8
Wide Stance Squats 1 135 12
Narrow Stance Squats 1 135 12
Stiff Legged Deadlifts on box 3 135 12
Lunges 2 135 12
Standing Calf Raise 3 300 20
Seated Calf Raise 3 90 20


No amazing feats of strength, but a good pump and I was sweating profusely.

All in all, quite good, did some stretching post workout, already a bit sore as write this 9 hours later.

Feel free to comment of this

Monday, November 24, 2008

Road to 405...or maybe 315 instead. No wait, make it 405!

Back the days when I was a young stallion back in my undergrad, it was nothing to go into the gym and squat 315 lbs for 8, 10, or even 12 reps good, deep reps!  But now, working hard in grad school (sometimes), married, living out on my own (sort of), it's much harder to find the time to get back in to shape and stay there for a long enough period of time.

Luckily, I do have one thing on my side...


Muscle memory is a fantastic thing.  As long as you have put in enough blood and guts at one point in the gym, you should have no problem getting back to where you once were.

Luckily, I am still a fairly young buck and this getting back to my so called "peak" should be no problem. So this time I am going to do it smart, and that requires about 4 things:

1) An Efficient Training Plan coupled with well placed intensity

2) Good Eats

3) Loads of Recovery

4) Staying Healthy

Number 4 is the most important and has been quite the thorn in my side for some from a lingual hernia surgery, dislocated shoulders and an inflamed (or elbow hampering me for the last several years. 

There is a fine balance between finding max strength while trying to avoid injury (at all costs)

So how do you do it?

At this point in my life there is no more room to get hurt, because it is those extended training periods that leads to those long term gains.

So how do I train hard, heavy and make gains without the inevitable injury?

There are a few tricks that I have adapted to my routine that seem to do the trick:

1) Warm-up thoroughly with mild stretching

2) Do several exercises before the heavy hitters (Squats, Deadlifts, Bench Press):

    • Leg Extensions, hamstring curls, leg presses and/or lunges before squats
    • Do deadlifts as one of your last exercises on back day
    • Do some incline dumbbell presses before heavy flat bench press

You'll still get a lot out the big three but the pre-exhaust exercises will take the edge off and will not tempt you to push yourself over the limit while still reaping all of the benefits that these exercises provide.

3) Make sure you stretch between sets and after you are done for a few minutes.

4) Include some light cardio on rest days to help speed recovery and keep blood and nutrients flowing to the muscles, because you are likely going to be much more sore after your workouts as you age.

With enough persistence you should be able to get back to your glory days, you'll just be a lot smarter about how you do it.

The beauty part is, you'll be able to do it faster too!  No more messing around with lousy exercise or supplement schemes that don't work, because with age comes wisdom....I hope.

Any other tricks that you know of for combining intensity with longevity, I would love to hear it!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Questions? I didn't know that there was going to be a test?!

Allo Allo,

If there is anyone out there reading this, and you have any questions regarding health, fitness, supplements or nutrition; feel free to fire me an e-mail at or leave a message or comment on the site. Every week I will post my answer to every question as they come.

Good Night!

The OddBod

dumbbells found here:

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

If you're a baseball fan

I have no idea who made this or who Steve Palowski is, but these are some awesome hitting techniques!

It also sounds like Hank Hill is doing the voice-over.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Mix Tape #1

What is your ultimate pump-up play list?

The songs that make you feel invincible and get you so fired up you could tear through a phone book!

The songs that you play before that heaviest set, before a job interview or the big game.

Here's a list as an excellent example:

MixwitMixwit make a mixtapeMixwit mixtapes

Think that you can beat it? Tell me your top 5 tracks if you dare to compare.

note: Rocky theme not allowed.

The funky fresh masters of the mix tape found here

Monday, November 10, 2008

You are what's wrong with the world!

I hate to say it, but while on my honeymoon in Hawaii during some down time, I got a chance to catch up on some good old fashioned American "Reality" TV!

I got to see everything from 30-year-olds who have never kissed a girl learn to be "Pick-up Artists" from a man calling himself "Mystery" (???!) to young mindless drones making fools of themselves in order to become Paris Hilton's new BFF!

But one such show caught my attention more than the others. Actually, it was just one sentence from a show; a passing comment made by a "charming" little 16-year-old girl. Previously, she had been featured on "My Super Sweet Sixteen;" a television program that showcases spoiled teenage girls and their over-indulgent parents ("but I wanted a BMW, not a mini cooper, Moooom!")

Her parents thought that it was time for someone to teach her a lesson...someone that wasn't them.

So, out she went, sent into some remote mountainous area. There, she was to spend time with people of a different culture; learning their ways, experiencing a different way of life. Scary? I know.

When they went to fetch the day's water, her caretaker told her that the water from this stream was some of the cleanest in the world. To which she replied, "I only drink bottled water".

{Image found here}

I could not believe my ears, granted she is 16, but wow...Are we that deluded to think that the only safe way to drink water is in a plastic container marked with some Spring or Glacier's name?

These bottles look good when we are drinking them. But they will not look very good 10, 000 years from now when they are filling up land fills.

This is without mentioning that many of these bottles leach harmful chemicals into the water that are now known to effect developing children [and probably adults too].

The highly publicized chemical in many plastic bottles BPA, breaks down very slowly and may even build up in our water supply over time. This could have some pretty lousy effects on those few remaining fish in the water.

{Image Available here}

Environmental trailblazers such as David Suzuki are quite outspoken about the detrimental effects of plastic bottles on both our health as well as the environment.

In fact, Mr. Suzuki will not even drink bottled water when it is offered to him at his many speaking engagements around the world. He insists on be served tap water, no matter where he is speaking.

Besides, bottled water doesn't usually taste any better than regular water. I have even heard that *gasp* it all comes from the same place!

This brings me to my next question, on a scale of 1 to 10, how awesome is David Suzuki?

{image found here}

Sunday, November 9, 2008

How aware are we?

[ image source here ]

Know what really irks me? Gets my goat? Fries my french fries in saturated fats?


Now, please don't misunderstand me. I am a huge believer in the importance of raising the public's awareness/donating to fund research/everything that goes into the prevention, detection, and treatment of breast cancer. I can "get" the pink water bottles, the pink velour sweat pants, the pink kitchenaid mixers (no way, shortcake, put the registry gun DO-OWN). However, the overwhelming pinkness of October just seems to be one pink fondue set short of commercialization without a purpose. Example? The other day, while shopping at a large chain store, I heard the following announcement of the P.A. system:

" Come to the cafeteria and help support breast cancer! Buy a BBQ pulled pork sandwich and one dollar goes to help the fight against breast cancer!"

[ image source here ]

Pulled pork, indeed. If the links between obesity, diet and cancer are true [more info available here]; isn't this ad a little counterintuitive?

You have to wonder...Who does the pulled pork money help most? Those in cancer ward or those in the board room?

I am optimistic though. While we may never fully cure cancer, people are living much longer and early identification programs are working extremely well, especially with breast cancer. I just wonder how many pulled pork sandwiches it will take? ; )

What do you think the best way to promote and support/help out in the fight against cancer?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Finally! This is amazing news!!! Man eats 23, 000 Big Macs!

With all of the lousy things going on in the world today I am glad that we can still find time to enjoy the awesomeness that is a McDonalds Big Mac.  Perhaps you have seen the movie Super Size Me, where Morgan Spurlock interviews a man who has eaten two Big Macs a day since 1972.  Amazingly, this man is not over weight, at all. He is 6'2'', weighs 185 lbs (a BMI of 24) and sometimes walks 16 km every day. He never eats the fries anymore, although he does keep a few Big Macs in his freezer just in case of an emergency.  This all just goes to show you how important it is to get out there and move, walk, do something...anything! Just don't sit around all day and fast food can be part of a healthy diet and lifestyle; as long as it isn't the main part.


If you could only eat one piece of fast food, every day for 35 years, what would it be?

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Ode to Recovery

I would just like to take a few minutes to let you all know about my favourite part about hard training...The rest and recovery days!  There is nothing like training hard all week, both at work and in the gym and then coming home to relax, get a few extra hours of sleep and a few more nutrient packed meals.  These are the days that you usually start to see the fruits of your labour, you body has a chance to rebuild, soreness starts to go away as your body begins to recharge for the next hard week of training.

Here are a few ways to make these rest days as productive as possible:

1) Do some light cardio.  By light, I mean very light, like going for a nice slow bike ride around the neighbourhood or walk with the dog.  Just enough to get the blood and nutrients flowing to help speed recovery and ease soreness without further breaking down the muscles any further.  Although if you are really sore it may be very tough to get moving but this is the best thing for you to do.

2) Some light stretching. This speaks for itself and some yoga would be perfect!  Perhaps go to that class that your girlfriend has been bugging you to go to for the last 10 months.

3)Get a massage.  If you get these regularly from a loved than you are in luck.  But if you have the extra cash or an excellent health plan; then having a therapeutic massage or some muscle therapy will do so much for any stress from the last week. Muscle soreness or any bad feelings at all that you have will be a thing of the past.  A bit of an exaggeration, but not really.


[This very gentle massage picture found here]

I recently received one of these as a birthday present and I must say: I do not think that I could have felt any better.  I could not wait to get back out and train because all sorts of little aches and pains that I had all over my body had been viciously worked out [although some parts were very sore from my very powerful masseuse! In a good way.]

4) Eat well. This doesn't mean that you have to forgo all of your favourite foods. Just make sure that you are getting enough nutrition and you can still enjoy some of the very tasty treats that tend to appear at BBQ's and other weekend functions, just don't go overboard.  Eat the good stuff first!

5) Don't party too hard. Get some sleep otherwise all the hard work you put in during the week is going to go down the drain.

Easy tips, the more of these you are able to add as part of your active recovery the more productive your workouts are going to be week in and week out. 

How do you like to relax after a hard week's training?

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Time for Some Super Pizza

Ever since I was a young boy I have been getting home made pizza every single Friday night.  This was until I moved out to go to University; where, obviously I ate pizza much more often than that!   Although it was not home made and not quite up to the calibre that I used to enjoy at home.  Now that I am totally out of the nest with my beautiful fiance (I'm pretty sure she might one day read this BLOG), we have also taken up the tradition of creating our own pizza masterpieces every Friday night when we get home from work and sit down to watch a movie or another couple episodes of 'Allo Allo' on DVD.  A nice little tradition that I am sure will be continued for some time to come!

image found here

Now to the nitty-gritty... This pizza is simple and I originally found the recipe for the dough here.  It takes an hour and a half until the dough is ready.  After that, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and begin the preparation of the goodies to throw on to the pizza! You spread out the dough on a circular cookie sheet for 8 massive pieces or use a large cookie sheet and you can get 15 nicely sized rectangular pieces.  As an added bonus: you now have several future meals taken care of [or two if you are like my fiance and I].

I usually like to use tomato sauce as the base of the pizza, but sometimes I like to spice it up with a little salsa.  I will throw on some oregano and crushed garlic into the tomato sauce so it smells extra delicious when it goes in to the oven.  I then place a layer of fresh uncooked spinach on to the tomato sauce to help bump up the nutritional punch.

As for toppings: I like to fry up some cubed pieces of two chicken breasts along with an onion and a handful of mushrooms.  Make sure that the chicken is not overcooked or it will become dry when it is baked in the oven.  Fry the onions in some oil with the mushrooms until they caramelize and then throw them all on the pizza with some sun-dried tomatoes, artichokes and cover them all in mozzarella cheese which is covered in parmesan.

Oh I can taste it now! When the oven has heated up, toss in the pizza, it should approximately 20 minutes to bake.  I like the cheese to be slightly browning with the crust nice and soft, a delectable combination!  Now, the beauty of pizza is that there are millions of combinations, the only complication is going to be deciding what movie to watch  and what type of wine will you be enjoying with it?

Bon Appetit!

image found here

Here is the nutritional information for the entire pizza: so you can divide the totals by however many slices you have chopped the pizza into.

superpizza nutritional info

Monday, August 18, 2008

Let's Get Motivated to be Bored

Now that I have begun a consistent cardio routine in order to get in shape for honeymoon time; I already find myself incredibly bored with it.  In order to crank up the effectiveness and efficiency of it all I have begun doing a nice light cardio session (ride the recumbent bike or light jog in the morning as soon as I wake up on an empty stomach. Weight training is done on it's  own in one session around noon at work (luckily I work at a hospital and school) followed by another cardio session before I go to bed (bike or jog [opposite activity that was done in the morning]).  I am only one day into it all but already I am feeling the intense boredom associated with cardio.  I could weight train all day, I love, it seems so much more manly.  But cardio is so mindless, so repetitive and also no fun!  It is all mental...and unfortunately it can make or break your physique [depending on how tight your diet is].  Since I enjoy eating too much to count calories and all that junk, cardio will have to suffice.  Hopefully I can make through the next 6 weeks because I know that it will be worth it. Not only due to the improved body look of less body fat and visible muscles; but I expect to feel better, healthier and be more full of energy.  Now, time to stop typing and get er' done!  Luckily, the Olympics are on; and seeing the best athletes on the planet every day is helping me get my butt off the couch [at least for the next 5 days].

How do you stay motivated on the cardio equipment when the head and body both say "Go home!"

image found here

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Pre Wedding/Hawaiian Honeymoon Weight Training Routine

Right now, I have put trying to attain strength gains from weight training on the back burner as I attempt to get into the best shape I've been in for quite some time. I am currently using a bodybuilding style of weight training and am basically training by instinct. By that, I mean that the exercises that I perform on any given day depends mostly on how I feel, what is or isn't sore and on the equipment available. I plan out my first couple of exercises and then wing it from then on and try to get as much as I can get done in as little time as possible. I try to get as good a pump ("The Pump"- explained here by Arnold) as possible without sitting around and picking my nose. Since the weight is not that heavy, the reps are little higher and the rest periods are also quite low (45-60 seconds).

Currently my split has a tendency to look like this:

Day 1: Chest, Triceps, Abs, Cardio

Day 2: Back, BicepsCardio

Day 3: Rest/Cardio

Day 4: Shoulders, Traps, Cardio

Day 5: Legs, No Cardio

Day6: Rest/Cardio

Day 7: Repeat Cycle

Flat Press (DB or BB)38-12
Incline Press (DB or BB)38-12
Dips or Decline Press312-20
Cable Pressdowns312-20
French Press310-12
Overhead Extensions (DB or BB312-15
Wide Grip Pull Ups or Pull downs315-20
BB Rows38-12
Close Grip Pull Ups or Pull Downs312-15
DB Rows 310-12
Deadlifts 312-6
Cable Rows312-15
BB or DB Curl310-12
Preacher Curl312-15
Hammer Curl310-12
Overhead Press (DB or BB)412-6
Seated Lateral Raises315-20
Bent Raises312-15
DB Shrugs315-20
Leg Extensions320+
Front or Back Squats412-8
Leg Press320+
Stiff Legged Deadlift315-20
Hamstring Curls312-15
Standing Calf Raise310-12
Seated Calf Raise320+

I Know that it looks like a lot [for legs and back]; but if I rest minimally my workouts never last any longer than 60 minutes and I'm usually sweating like a pig and am totally exhausted by the end. So far it is working quite well, one great thing about decreasing the weight and checking my ego at the door (as opposed to when I was a younger buck) I have avoided suffering any injuries over the last year (the first year since I began training by the way) and have been making fairly steady progress all year long!

How much does your training environment influence your exercise choices and workout intensity?

Friday, August 15, 2008

I Wish I Could Eat Like Michael Phelps

Pic found here

Well, it looks like I have found my new role model..Michael Phelps! And not because he has the most Olympic gold medals of any athlete ever. Not because he has a multi million dollar contract with Speedo (although a lifetime supply of Speedos would be nice[if my fiance were editor, I am sure she would disagree and say that a lifetime supply of Speedos would no be nice!]), or that he has a sweet Escalade with an XBOX 360. No, it is because he gets to eat upwards of 12, 000 calories a day! Not the recommended 2000 with an emphasis on 5-12 servings of fruits and vegetables or 5-10 servings of whole grain products. I am talking 12,000 calories of white bread, pasta, pizza, mayo, energy drinks, and whatever else he can probably get his hands on. Needless to say in order to be able to take in this amount of grub on a daily basis you not only have to train like a top tier, world class athlete and that involves non-stop training. Although I have heard that Phelps has not been much of a weight trainer and all his results come from simply being in the pool (or perhaps there is some tuna fish in his gene pool), a great rarity nowadays in these days of stringent sports all around training protocols. But I digress (or should say digest) by looking at such a fantastic athlete, who basically just throws whatever he can down his gullet; it begs the question...what is more important 1)super intense training with ridiculous caloric intake that has no regard for nutrient density (although he did claim to take a multi-vitamin) or 2) Intense training with a carefully planned diet that may have fewer calories but more nutrients/calorie? I think that the results speak for themselves.

source of image

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Who Needs to Diet!

So, apparently I have a wedding coming up and also quite importantly...a honeymoon on the beaches of Hawaii. I usually consider myself quite fit and strong but my love of eating almost everything in sight usually results in me being significantly less ripped than most people who grace the cover of grocery checkout magazines. In fact, every year since high school I have consistently put on 20lbs for the winter. Luckily, I promptly lose it when summer time comes around and I get to go outside again without having to hide from the rain or snow.

I do however tend to do significantly more cardio in the summer time, as most people do, running, biking and playing whatever pick-up sport I can get in to. While the winter is spent toiling away in the gym lifting heavy weights with minimal cardio and endless food. There is no denying the correlation between the best eating holidays of the year (Christmas, Thanksgiving, even Easter!) and the increased weight gain that accompanies them.

This year is going to be a little trickier, I am going to have to put off my usual weight gain a little longer (before married life sets in; although it is my goal to avoid the post-marital beer gut) and keep myself in the best shape for surfing and everything else that goes along with a honeymoon (that's right....taking pictures at the beach).

image source here

So far so good, this March I was sitting at about 205lbs (I am 5'11'') and am currently 185lbs give or take a burp. And it has all been relatively simple: I have kept weight training, increased my cardio slightly and my diet has barely changed at all. I still enjoy drinking beer and wine and going out for food as often as I can afford.

Stay tuned for the finer details regarding my actual weight training routine as well as my simple cardio and eating tips that make staying in shape quite easy.

How did you get in summer shape?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Slurpees? Really? That's Cool...

(image source here)

So I am happy to say that I live in the Slurpee capital of the world...Winnipeg.  Not that I have anything against this place (I love sunshine! And having snow for 6 months out of the year makes for a good healthy dose of reality).

I remember my friend telling me "hey man, Winnipeg, Slurpee capital of the world!" and saying "oh, that's cool, hah" and then thinking nothing of it.  But then I started noticing how much of this nuclear sweet goo my fellow Winnipeggers were actually drinking.  I would be walking home from a long day at school in the middle of January, wearing two pairs of pants, toque, two pairs of gloves, three shirts and a winter coat ( as a minimum, but I digress), then, I would see some high-schooler walking by me holding a giant ice cold slurpee in his bare hands!  Now, perhaps I'm just a big wuss when it comes to temperatures lower than minus forty degrees (celcius), but seriously, talk about dedication!  This city takes a large amount of pride in this triumph...and I wish them well. 

Unfortunately, the percentage of Manitobans who are over weight or obese is among the highest in Canada and a trip to any local mall will prove that they seem bent on catching up to our neighbours down south.  Coincidence? I think not.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Multivitamin Q & A at

A few months ago I did a question and answer segment on one of the web's most popular wedding planning sites, My fiancĂ© is a blogger there, and as per her request, I answered some questions the "bees" had about premarital health and fitness. The answers were targeted at brides, but are easily applicable to people of all genders. Because there were so many different questions, I chose to begin at the beginning - with the body’s building blocks - VITAMINS!

(reproduced from here)

jfs asks:

I’m trying to be more proactive about my vitamin supplements. I take the one a day plus prenatal and I thought I was doing fine until I read an article on Hillary Swank and she takes 45 plus vitamins a day! Call me crazy but is that a little excessive? Here is the link.Anyway- are brainwave, flax, aloe c ect worth looking into? Some of these supplements cost a fortune and I’m wondering if they are worth it. Thanks so much!

Patty asks:
I’ve been thinking lately of taking vitamin supplements. I know fruits and vegetables are instead the best way to get your nutrients, but let’s be honest I just don’t get 5/day. My skin is also prone to breaking out and I read somewhere that some vitamins can help clear it up. What you recommend a female age 27 who’s never taken vitamins before start with?

Well, you first have to understand that there are more ingredients that are important to our health in food (gasp) than any multivitamin or supplement could ever hope to contain! So unless you have numerous allergies or anything that requires you to limit your food intake (crash diets don’t count), food always comes first - don’t replace food with pills!

(homemade pizza has lots of vitamins. And cheese.)

Having said that, I do recommend that all bees should take a comprehensive multi-vitamin/multi-mineral complex - regardless of whether or not you are planning to get preggers any time soon. Make sure that the multi-vitamin you choose has at least 1 milligram (1000 micrograms) of folic acid to help prevent neural tube defects.
The best route is actually to find a really good prenatal multi-vitamin - then you get the added benefits of super shiny hair (this is according to Miss Shortcake, who does not have any degrees in anything food related, but does have way too many hair products)!


1 - Buy capsules, they are easier to take and might be better absorbed than some of the larger tablets
2 - Take a look at the non-medicinal ingredients - if the list of additives is longer than the list of vitamins and minerals ( ex. titanium dioxide -a possible carcinogen, red and yellow dyes, etc) DONT BUY THEM!

This usually happens in generic and no-name brands of multi-vitamins. Why would you want to add all of that extra junk to your body? Kind of defeats the purpose of trying to improve your health… hmmmm? (my miss would like to add that she bought a generic prenatal multi once and it listed SHELLAC as the coating! WTF!)

3 - Beware of multis that claim to be superior because of their added herbs, phytochemicals, CoQ10 or amino acids. While these ingredients may be good on their own, in a multi they are in such small doses that you get minimal benefits from the extra ingredients and maximum wallet drainage!


If it smells fishy and tastes bad, it’s probably omega 3, and that EPA and DHA is liquid marine love for your body. These supplements help with inflammation, improve heart health, and have many other benefits that I do not have room for here, but you can read about here. If you are pregnant, breast feeding, or thinking about getting pregnant, make sure you are taking extra DHA to help with the baby’s brain development so that you’re more likely to produce a young Einstein!

Make sure that your supplement is made by a high quality company that does ‘third party testing’ so that you are sure to get a pure product free of mercury or dioxins. Make sure that they are from wild fish as well. Liquid or pills, it’s really your preference.

If you find that you are consuming too few calories or do not drink dairy due to allergies, make sure you are taking an extra Calcium, magnesium and vitamin D supplement (they are usually all together), liquid forms are easiest to take, don’t take more than 500mg of calcium in one serving or you will be peeing out the rest!

( take your vitamins like theoddbod and then you too can provide structural support to crumbling ruins in a pinch!)

What vitamins and supplements do you take?


photo credit here:

What is the most intense weight lifting technique? Which exercise, that is a must in your routine, makes you go into each workout dreading those grueling several sets almost enough to make you not go to the gym in the first place!

For myself it is the deadlift. The straight up and down deadlift. The most neanderthal-like lift of them all! All you have to do is bend over and pick up the heaviest weight that you can muster for a few measly reps! And if you are doing them properly you are most likely going to end up with bloody shins at the end of the workout.

If you use straps you are missing out on some great forearm development, but the load that your legs and back can tolerate is going to overpower your forearms everytime. Chalk helps, but it is not always available in many gyms; especially those lousy classy ones with carpet on the floor! Plus, if the knurling is any good on the bar it will probably tear the skin right off of your hands as the reps accumulate and the poundages increase. If you choose to use a belt make sure that you are not using it all the time as it may turn into a crutch.

So yes the lift is mindless, it doesn't make you pretty and your significant other will probably complain about your massive calluses, but that's not why you do deadlifts...

You do them because they are the most ancient on all lifts, it was the first lift ever to be done and it is the most basic and functionally useful lift of them all. They might not make your biceps peak, chest explode or get you more noticed at the beach. But if you put in the time and effort into this lift, grind away week after week, you will no doubt see marked improvements in all of your lower and upper body exercises as well as your overall explosive power!

I have experimented with various rep schemes doing deadlifts; all the way from several sets of singles all the way up to 20 plus reps, lately I have found that you can get just as much done with 5 reps than with any amount of reps higher than that. I find that five is a nice efficient round number and very easy to get psyched up for. Pyramid up in weight for about 5 or 6 sets always sticking with 5 reps, this is great for both strength and bodybuilding. But hey, if your feeling up to it, be like Ronnie and pull a double or single on your last set to really build up your strength, along with your ego!

I won't bore you with the technique details, because there are tonnes of websites and books detailing the technique in plenty of detail. The best things to remember is to keep that bar along your body throught the entire lift, arms straight, lift with your legs and control the rep on the way down so that you don't bounce the weight off of the ground between reps. This should help keep the lift as safe as possible

The reps may come grudgingly and painfully slow at times, but don't quit your sets until you get your 5 reps, so pick your weight carefully and keep the form tight with your lower back arched through all of your reps.

Here is how not to do the lift:

In the end you may have a love-hate relationship with this lift, so learn to love the pain and make it the cornerstone of your routine!

What is the most intense part of your routine?

(not your average) small fry

Part of my job as a fiancé has turned out to be cooking more than my share of the meals in our house. Fortunately, I enjoy cooking! Here is a tasty recipe for a side dish that can be added to any high protein meal like chicken, steak or fish - I call them "yam fries," but they would be better titled "thebestdamfriesyou'veeverhadinyourlife."

(image source here)

Everyone likes fries, but they don't like the highly hydrogenated oil, fat and starchiness that is usually associated with eating them. Even if you make them at home and bake them, they aren't going to pack a very nutritious punch. If you want to 'up the ante' and get more nutritional 'bang for your buck,' opt for some sweet potatoes; they're loaded with the immune system boosters vitamin A (as Beta-Carotene) and vitamin C. They're also high in manganese, vitamin B6 and are a good source of fibre. They also have a lower Glycemic Index rating than regular potatoes so your blood sugar won't rise and fall as quickly. So they keep you fuller, longer and are far better if you're looking to take part in any physical activity later where you don't want your energy to fall off too soon.


  • super big ass sweet potatos
  • himalayan salt or sea salt
  • cajun spice
  • olive oil


  1. turn the over on to 350 F/175 C
  2. drizzle a baking sheet with olive oil
  3. wash the yams
  4. peel the yams if they're not organic
  5. chop your sweet potato in half, then again
  6. chop those quarters into strips
  7. sprinkle sea salt/or himalayan salt and cajun spices over those bad boys
  8. scatter them on the baking sheet and drizzle more olive oil over them, tossing them to coat thoroughly
  9. cook them on the middle rack for approximately 35 minutes.

Be careful - you don't want to cook them too hot or too quickly because they can burn quite easily. If cooked properly they'll get nice and crispy on the outside and will be bursting with colour and flavour on the inside. NOTE: the cooking time could vary depending how thick your fries were cut.

You won't even need ketchup with them (which is good if you're watching your sugar intake) because they're far more flavourful than any regular small fry!