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.