Stop Looking and Feeling Like an Old-Ass Man. Grab Your Nunchucks.

Slow down time…

We all wish we could, but it just ain’t gonna happen.

However, we may be able to slow the aging process a bit with antioxidants.

In recent years, fitness enthusiasts have started to take note of how antioxidants could be beneficial to health and performance. Antioxidants are nutrients and enzymes that fight free radicals, which are charged molecules that roam around like rogues.

We don’t like rogue molecules.

These stealth ninja’s circulate in your body-they basically go around screwing up the function of cells and other molecules that move in the blood.

Antioxidants Are Your Secret Nutritional Nunchucks

Some experts believe that free radicals are involved in numerous diseases such as cancer, arthritis, diabetes, and heart disease, and that they are associated with the aging process, even resulting in death.

Scientific research has indicated that strenuous exercise (the good stuff) increases the amount of free radicals; thus many sports nutrition experts are recommending increased antioxidant protection and a sweet pair of nunchucks for avid exercisers.

What Are These Prized Antioxidants?

Some examples of effective antioxidants include Vitamins C and E, carotenes (like beta-carotene), glutathione, CoQ10, N-acetyl-cysteine, selenium, and Alpha Lipoic Acid.

These antioxidants may help your body prevent free-radical damage that could ultimately lead to a decrease in performance as well as boost immune-system function to keep you going strong, strengthen collagen, and protect connective tissue cells.

On top of that, Alpha Lipoic Acid is a multi- faceted compound and may help you improve the action of insulin, safeguard cells against free-radical damage, increase energy production in your muscles and decrease fat storage in your body.

Where Do I Obtain These Antioxidant Foods Nutritional Nunchucks?

The best way to get them in your diet is through eating natural food sources such as broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, mushrooms, spinach, peppers and garlic.

On the sweet side, fruits and berries- blueberries, cranberries, plums, goji berries, and watermelon. These sources are more complete in that they often contain phytonutrients and other substances not contained in the isolated supplement types.

If you’re like me and get lazy sometimes with the prep of these fruits and vegetables, but still want to get the benefits, Trader Joe’s makes some pretty solid blends- Super Greens and Super Red powder. 1 scoop in water, tastes ok, benefits are great.

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Still Hiding Hairy Man Love Handles Under Your XXL T-Shirt?

She runs her fingers down past your chest past your belly and love handles.

She giggles and you push her hand away.

That is a bad sign.

Shit happens.

You get in a slump. You can’t get motivated.

You get tired and lazy.

You stop caring about the way you look.

You used to be rebellious and tenacious. Now the only thing that’s tenacious is the rumbling in your stomach from that questionable burrito at lunch.

The good news is, we’re here to help with our guide on:

How to Get Rid of Love Handles.

We all have a little imaginary thermostat in our brain that pings when you get a bit too close to “too fat”. It’s usually signaled when your pants get too tight or you see something extra you haven’t noticed before in the mirror.

At this point one of two scenarios usually play out. The first scenario is scrambling behavior. The second scenario is you buy bigger clothing.

Either way, you’re hiding a embarassing muffin-top under your XXL T-Shirt and you need to know…

how to lose love handles guide

I’ll deal with the second scenario first. This is where you acknowledge that you’re reaching the “too fat” point, but take on a mindset that says “it’s ok”. There are multiple versions of this mindset from “I’m ok with it, I’m a guy” to “it’s not that bad”; and you decide to buy bigger clothing.

losing love handles requires a higher standard and motivation

The “it’s ok” mindset is the worst possible mindset to have. It causes you lower your standards for yourself and takes the fight out of you. This is the mindset that greases the slide to gaining a lot of weight in a short period time. I’ve had many consultations where guys have shared stories of their weight truly spiraling out of control and when you finally wake up from the “it’s ok” state, you’re fifty or a hundred pounds overweight but you don’t know how you got there.

Adopting a mindset that says it’s ok undermines your internal drive. Not only do you find yourself down the river without a paddle in terms of having gained weight, but it fuels the demise of all your health markers. If you find yourself in the “it’s ok” mindset right now, it’s time to shake the foundation.

The Benefits and Drawbacks of Scrambling

The second and more common response to the “too fat” signal of your imaginary thermostat is scrambling behavior. This means that you will fight and scrap and do whatever it takes to lose a few pounds to get back to where you think you should be. This isn’t from statistics on your doctors chart. This is your internal feeling of where you should be in terms of your self image. You know when you feel and look good.

Scrambling is like a ball of energy that kicks you into gear to do whatever it takes to get back to where you want to be. Scrambling can be beneficial to getting rid of love handles when you channel the energy into a strategy following the triad of effective fat loss– nutrition, resistance training and cardio.

Unfortunately if you don’t have a proper game plan on hand, scrambling behavior can also open your mind up to some questionable tactics like the popular crash diet of the moment or over exercising.

What to do?

Scrambling is not a comfortable, pleasant feeling. It’s not necessarily a bad feeling, but it’s an urge to move. An urge to make something happen. As with so many other things (like when you’re starving, logic goes out the window and you eat that pizza), when you reach a scrambling point, you’re going to reach for whatever is available and will make the most impact.

The secret is to anticipate and make a better decision.

Look: the most important play in the waistline-slimming, love handle burning playbook is creating a caloric deficit.

a slimmer waistline requires creating a caloric deficit

You know, good ol’ taking in less calories than you burn each day. When you do this over the course of a week- to a month, everything changes. Your clothes feel loose, your waist shrinks, and you take the belt in a few notches.

You may even need to buy some new clothes. And send those over sized t-shirts she gives you crap about to the Salvation Army.

Most people report a simultaneous boost in energy levels as the weight starts to fall off. Is it the result of simply having less weight to carry around? Or is it the benefit if simply eating less junk?

Both.

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Michael Phelps Eats 12,000 Calories a Day and is Ripped!

Caution: 99.9% of the time you find me in a pool it’s because I’m cooling off on a hot day.

Usually with a cold beer in my hand.

Sometimes Corona. Sometimes a Sierra Nevada.

And some form of shenanigans are going on.

However, we get asked if swimming is the best exercise to tone up and lose weight quite a bit. So I will toss in my two cents.

Swimming has some phenomenal benefits. It’s great for increasing flexibility and flushing out the soreness from a tough workout. You also work the body through a broad range of motion in a very low impact way, which your joints will thank you for.

My favorite benefit of swimming is the relaxation and focus you get from the deep rhythmic breathing.

That being said, if you need to lose weight quickly, I wouldn’t swim as the sole exercise to get lose a few pounds. Your program should have a solid resistance training foundation, and then you can add swimming for cardio as an extra calorie burner.

Here’s why.

Your main goal is to lose weight and get lean. Assuming your diet (the biggest factor in getting lean) is dialed in, that leaves exercise.

The exercises that will crank your fat burning gauge to maximum speed; the ones that will increase your metabolic rate the most, are the resistance exercises.

The reason is that not only do you burn a great number of calories during the workout itself, but the metabolic changes that occur because of the workout (increased cell turnover, muscular recovery, hormonal spikes, etc) have your system churning and burning calories until the cows come home.

If they do indeed come home I hope you have a big lawn, I hear they eat a lot of grass.

Another bonus of resistance training is that the increased muscle mass gained from the rebuilding phase of resistance training raises your metabolism and keeps it up even when you’re done exercising.

For this reason, I’d make resistance exercise the backbone of your weight loss program.

Swimming is a fun, relaxing activity. If it’s your favorite form of cardio, then go for it- in addition to the big dogs (resistance exercises), not instead of them.

But… Michael Phelps eats 12,000 calories a day!

He was also training six days a week for five hours per day.

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Dieting Plans Gone Awry: The Road Has 21 Potholes and They’re F*cking Up The Wheels on Your Lamborghini

When I was a kid I wanted to build a body like Arnold.

Back then, we got our dieting plans and weight training info from magazines. My favorites were Muscle and Fitness, and IronMan.

I’d read cover to cover multiple times and couldn’t wait until the next issue came out.

Part motivation and part muscle building tips.

As most kids did I believed in Santa, WWF wrestling was real, and those bodybuilders on the cover got hyoooge from chicken and broccoli.

I hope I didn’t just burst anyone’s bubble. I just found out about the Santa thing myself.

A few years into my obsession, I remember picking up a new magazine called Muscle Media 2000. It was the hot new publication because it was different. I believe it was the first magazine to admit that these guy’s were on something besides “special protein powder”, and exposed the truth in the industry.

These magazines flew off the shelf. Everyone wanted to know what really went on- and you had more legit exercise and diet info to boot.

Then came the Lamborghini issue.

my original dieting plans were in the Muscle Media 2000 Lamborghini Issue

Muscle Media 2000 was running a 12 week “Physique Transformation” contest in which you could win a red Lamborghini Diablo. You’d send in before and after pictures along with an essay about why you should win, and the person with the biggest change in muscle and body fat would win it.

I entered. I didn’t win the contest, but still came out the other end of 12 weeks looking damn good.

I learned a lot about how to manipulate my body composition (building muscle/losing body fat) from the magazine and put it to good use.

 

Namely- treat your body like a $250,000 luxury sports car. Fuel it with nothing but the best, and regularly push it to the max.

 

And that brings me to the point of today’s piece: If you’re trying to get rid of that spare tire around your midsection, chances are your diet is riddled with dietary potholes.

lose those love handles

The winning philosophy is “most things in moderation”. Life wouldn’t be fun if we spent all our time avoiding stuff.  At the same time, if you’re eating junk more than occasionally, it can impact your health and put a big ol’ monkey wrench in your fat loss plans.

So let’s get rolling…

Here are 21 Diet Plan Potholes to Avoid

1) Eating processed foods- In order to extend shelf life and improve taste, processed foods are packed with chemicals and trans fats. They also tend to be loaded with sugar or sodium.

2) Overcooking or boiling vegetables- The nutritional value (key vitamins and minerals) are leeched out in the process.

3) Boxed snacks- They can cause insulin levels to skyrocket, making you hungrier and turning your fat-storing mechanisms on. They also decrease satiety, causing you to eat more to feel as full. Key tip- hunger can undermine any dieting plans you have in the bat of an eye.

4) Trans- fats- All the cookies, cheezy poofs, and potato chips on the shelves have trans-fats in them to make them last for months and months on the shelves of your local Kwikie Mart. Trans fats are a no- go for countless health reasons.

5) Eating high carb/ high fat foods- Foods such as fettuccine Alfredo or donuts stimulate large insulin spikes, virtually guaranteeing fat storage where you least like it.

6) Eating carbohydrates alone- Carbohydrate- only foods such as a bowl of pasta or rice without a protein component will cause insulin surges followed by hunger.

7) Meals devoid of protein- Get some protein in every meal. Proteins are the building blocks of muscle, which are the foundation of your metabolism. Higher metabolism = faster fat loss.

8) Skipping breakfast- This may be somewhat controversial, as there are actually some benefits to occasionally skipping meals. However, going too long between meals can potentially trigger binge eating later. Also, if low blood sugar interferes with concentration or being productive at work, you’re better off eating.

9) Alcoholic beverages- Alcohol contains empty calories and actually shuts off the bodies’ fat burning pathways.

10) Fried foods- Such as hash browns, and fried chicken. Another set of foods that screw up your digestion, and wreak havoc on your weight loss endeavors.

11) “Pretend” health foods such as the fruit smoothie. Commercially made smoothies typically contain chemicals and sweeteners that you simply don’t need. They also blast your blood sugar sky- high, then rebound, stimulating voracious hunger.

12) Foods or drinks containing High Fructose Corn Syrup

13) Excess sodium- salt is found in almost all foods you eat, even if you can’t taste it.

14) Sugar- laden soft drinks- Instead, opt for a refreshing green tea, seltzer with lemon or lime squeezed in it, or plain ol’ water.

15) Coffee with “dessert” toppings- Such as caramel, whipped cream and sugar. (Yes, even if it’s “natural” sugar). I don’t know how many people have failed dieting plans because they don’t take these calories into account. I also know people who’ve lost 10 pounds by eliminating them.

16) “Instant” foods- those convenient and easy to make instant oatmeal’s or rice. They’re instant because all the valuable nutrients and fiber have been eliminated. These foods can trigger hunger- especially if they’re not paired with a quality protein.

17) Sugar and calorie- laden dressings on salads- More calories = tougher to lose weight.

18) Flavored, salty snack chips- These things stimulate hunger and actually make you crave more. “You can’t eat just one”.

19) “TV dinners” and foods with baked crust like pot pies. These are loaded to the brim with calories and chemical junk.

20) Over- eating even good, healthy foods like nuts and seeds and fruit. They may be healthy, but those calories add up!

21) Reliance on synthetic vitamins and fat burning supplements. You’re much better off getting your nutrients from whole food, plus most fat burning supplements on the market simply make you shed water weight and get your heart cranking.

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What If You Could Move The Needle On Your Scale At Will?

The class reunion pool party reason to get naked in front of her is coming up soon.  While brushing your teeth this morning you noticed in the mirror some way too much belly jiggle. In fact, you had to wipe dripped toothpaste off that smuggled beach ball.

We need to turn this thing around, fast. Because lets be honest, is there ever a good reason not to get naked?

So how do we turn this negative into a positive?

By adding negative calorie foods into our diet.

(Sweet transition, right?)

A hot topic recently is the concept of eating negative calorie foods to lose weight. This quick article will tell you what they are, and how you can use them to… get ready for the shameless pluglose weight and gain energy.

“Negative calorie” as written about here, is a term used for foods that take more energy to digest and process than they provide the body.

negative calories take more energy to process

Lets take a bowl of fibrous vegetables for example. Let’s throw some spinach or romaine lettuce in a big bowl with some tomatoes, peppers, cucumber, sprouts, and some slices of fresh mushroom.

The calories contained in this bowl of vegetables may be around 150.

Since most of the contents have thick, fibrous bodies to break down and digest, your body will need a lot of energy to do the work. The energy (fuel) for the work of breaking down and digesting is the calories already stored in your body.

Eating the vegetables starts the process- chewing needs energy, swallowing needs energy, the processes of the stomach need energy. Lets say the sum total of the demand on the body is 250 calories.

And the Magic of Negative Calorie Foods…

This leaves you with negative 100 calories. Now, you have 100 calories less, stored in your body.

Can you see how this would help with fat loss?

We always recommend getting a moderate amount of fibrous vegetables in your diet*

add fibrous vegetables to your diet

Not only do they provide negative calories, but they make you feel full, resulting in less total calories eaten. They contain boatloads of nutrients (a pat of butter or a spoonful of olive oil actual help absorb these nutrients).

Of course, you can never count out the potential cancer protective properties!

* Potential embarrassment and grief disclaimer. Moderation is key and adding them in slowly over the course of days and weeks is advised. Eat these vegetables along with other foods. Chew them thoroughly and drink plenty of water. If you’re not used to eating much fiber or fibrous vegetables, it can be a shock to your digestive system. We want to avoid the gas, bloating and diarrhea that can happen if you’re overzealous.

My favorite negative calorie foods:

Broccoli, Cauliflower, Celery, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Endives, Garlic, Green beans, Green cabbage, Lettuce, Onions, Radishes, Spinach, Turnips, Zucchini.

Buy local and natural. Get vegetables as close to the source and as natural as possible. Shop at local farmers markets in your area or the outskirts of the grocery store and choose what is in- season. The next best choice would be frozen selections which actually don’t lose much nutrient wise.

Side note: The foods that are healthy and best for supporting weight loss are typically found on the outskirts of the grocery store. Fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, poultry, eggs and fish.

Negative calorie foods are a great way to amplify your caloric deficit in combination with our triad of fat burning- nutrition, resistance training and cardio.

Bonus Tip: Keep Some Green Apples On Hand. (The Green Apple Mini-Project)

I remember going to a Christmas Party a few years back in NYC. It was held at a friends house who I’ve given countless fitness tips to over the years.

Of course we ate, drank and had a good time.

The best part came when he went to the kitchen and pulled out a bag of green apples to show myself and the group. He went on to explain that he had read about how they can help quell cravings in black book of secrets. Awesome.

He told a story about how he tried it for the first time. He was going out with his wife for dinner at a fancy Italian restaurant- his favorite.

When he was getting dressed in his “going out gear”, he noticed his pants fit a bit tighter than before.

Needless to say this frustrated him.

But he turned that frustration against itself and made some wise choices.

He remembered what I had said, that if you eat a green apple or two before going for a meal, you’d have less desire to binge. So sure enough, on the way down town to the restaurant in the West Village, he picked up 2 green apples at the stand on the corner. He chomped them both down in the cab.

The Green Apple (mini) Project Begins…

Here’s what happened- not fully believing in the power of the green apple, he ended up ordering baked clams and a plate of Chicken Parmagiana that came with a huge plate of pasta, with sauce. (Not to mention the bucket of fresh bread on the table).

The Green Apple (mini) Project Results?

He ate all the clams, half of the Chicken Parmagiana plate, no pasta and no bread.

Now, here’s the best part…

He was excited that he had no desire for the rest of the food. He probably saved himself 800 calories!

Another benefit he (and his wife especially) enjoyed was that after dinner, he wasn’t full and bloated from an over log of carbs. They went out to a club and danced for a few hours.

Sounds like the Green Apple (mini) Project was a success to me.

This brings me to another moral of the story here. It doesn’t necessarily take a huge overhaul of your eating habits to create small consistent changes like adding in negative calorie foods.

Don’t go crazy changing your entire lifestyle in one day. There’s no need to decide you’re going to cut out EVERY bad food from here on out. You immediately put yourself in a position that is difficult to operate from.

The better way of going about losing weight is to change small factors of your diet each day. It could be something as small as an apple of two- like my friend has realized.

He saved himself a few hundred calories with one decision. If he were to implement one such decision each day, he’d be losing fat regularly- without a drastic lifestyle change.

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