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Death by Cardio

Tomorrow, Friday and Saturday I will suffer death by cardio – 16 hours of spin. At least my suffering is for a good cause!

A few of the riders from last year!

I have three comments to make about this death by cardio though.

One….

BLEHHHHHHHHH! Have I mentioned before I hate cardio?!?

Two…

I’m prepared for my body to hurt after all of the hours. Not my muscles necessarily, but my butt and my knees. Because I knew I would be in enough pain, I didn’t want to be sitting on the bike super sore from heavy lifts this week.

I did lift heavy Monday (my butt and hamstrings are still sore) and I did lift yesterday (my shoulders, triceps and chest were brutalized), but today I chose to do a short and killer cardio bodyweight workout. It is bad enough being sore when I teach two classes let alone ride for 16 hours!!!

So if you are looking for a great cardio, bodyweight workout, try this workout of the week!

10 rounds:

10 Ab roller
20 Box Jumps
30 Double Unders

Shoot for under 20 minutes!

Three….

Mark Sisson had an interesting post the other day about trying your own little self experiment.

I’m going to be trying my own little experiment the next couple of days. I’m going to prove that you don’t need to eat all those crap gels and simple carbohydrates to survive such an intense workout session.

While everyone else will be drinking Gatorade and chowing down on crap carbs, I will be eating my delicious Primal meals and snacks. Nuts, fruits, all sorts of protein and some veggies. I may even throw in some potatoes on Friday after 7 hours of spinning tomorrow. BUT we will see!

I’m betting I will feel better than everyone else…What do you think?

Also, thank you to all of those who donated! A special thanks goes out to our mystery donor who made our day today!!!

Thank you all! Wish the Man Bicep Team good luck! I hope my butt survives!!!

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Diets around the world – Is the U.S. behind?

We have a fat-phobia here in the U.S. We are so afraid of fat that we would rather eat processed crap food than whole foods with saturated fat. And we think our low-fat diet is healthiest even though we are the most obese country.

So what are other countries doing that we aren’t? How are other nations staying lean?

Yahoo.com had an article about what we could learn from other countries’ diets called “The Secrets of the World’s Healthiest Women.” And while I don’t agree with all of what they wrote, I do think they bring up a great topic for discussion.

And I think the most important thing we can learn from studying other countries, is that eating whole, natural foods is key and that fat…really doesn’t make you fat.

In the article, the author states that French women stay thin because of portion control. And while yes they do use portion control to stay slim while eating butter and cream, I think something more important is being overlooked. It isn’t the small portion that keeps them slim…it is actually the fatty rich foods that do! Butter and cream are minimally processed and low in carbs (check out this article by Mark Sisson about why grass-fed butter is good for you)! And with the full-fat cheese, cream and butter, they consume fresh foods and antioxidant rich wine! Even the baked goods they consume are FRESH…made from FRESH, minimally processed ingredients. And on top of that, they burn the carbs they eat unlike 90% of Americans out there. They walk everywhere!

The article then mentions that “Scandinavians eat farm to table.” This is definitely something we, Americans, don’t do. It is also more proof of how important it is to eat organic, free-range, grass-fed livestock and produce. So shouldn’t we be eating any and all whole foods instead of buying processed low-fat crap? Isn’t a grass-fed steak with some saturated fat better than whole wheat bread which is PROCESSED!?!

Anyway, moving on…The article then highlights the Japanese diet. It states they are so healthy because “they practice hara hachi bu, or eating until 80% full.” And people think I’m crazy when I fast? How is fasting any different from calorie restriction by eating till only 80% full? UHM…IT ISN’T!! Also, again what are these people eating? WHOLE, NATURAL FOODS! They are getting a great ratio of omega-3s to omega-6s unlike 90% of Americans. And yes, they are eating carbs…but NO GLUTEN! AND they have “the highest concentration of centenarians (people aged 100 or older) in the world.”

So now onto the section that both makes me happy and a tad bit angry…the Mediterranean diet.

The article states:

The much-heralded Mediterranean diet has been linked to a longer life and a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s. As we’ve heard before, this diet includes good fats (olive oil, nuts, fish), lean proteins, antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, and a moderate amount of wine.

What people interpret this as…”I can eat chicken and fish ONLY.” EH! WRONG! Grass-fed, naturally raised beef is LEAN! It is way leaner than its grain-fed counterpart. So if you buy naturally raised animals, you will be eating LEAN meat…so you CAN eat steak!!!

Anyway, this is definitely food for thought (pun!). I also actually do like the article’s 7 tips at the bottom – especially “learn to love the foods that love you back.”

What do you think? Are Americans behind in their dietary beliefs? Do we have a lot to learn from other countries?

Oh the things you will see

You will never believe who Ryan and I saw in the Boston airport….

MARK SISSON!

He is so nice and stood and chatted with us for a moment and Ryan took a picture with him! It was super exciting and just may be the highlight of our trip!

Another not as exciting thing that I saw the moment we left the airport in LA was a billboard for “cool sculpting” (you freeze off your fat). And then two seconds later, I saw another one for lap-band surgery. Within like 50 feet of one another were two billboards for quick weight loss.

BOOOOOOOOOO!

Only in LA right?

 

The Tortise and the Hare

When I was little I was never really a fan of the Tortise and the Hare story, but lately I’ve realized just how applicable that story is to fitness and weight loss goals.

Today more than ever, people want instant results. We want the quick fix. We want to lose 30lbs in 30 days. We want speedy results – we want things to move like the Hare not like the Tortise!

So to get speed results we choose a crash diet. We drop weight quickly and it doesn’t take long to see the finish line. But once we start getting the great results, we can’t maintain them…We can’t keep up that pace or we get complacent knowing that we quickly got so close to our goal. Plus, we don’t really have the tools to keep the weight off because the crash diet we did isn’t something realistic that we can keep up for any extended period of time.

BUT if we had chosen a healthy diet that didn’t promise quick results but instead promised life-long health, we would eventually see the results we wanted. With this type of diet, we won’t see quick results, but if we are consistent and patient will we reach our goal. And the best part is…we will be able to maintain our results!!!

So while a crash diet may get you there quickly, you won’t be able to maintain the results for long, which will just lead to a cycle of crash dieting. If you are instead consistent and patient and allow the results to occur slowly, you will reach your goal and be able to maintain it. Slow and steady does in fact win the race!!!!

Being patient and giving yourself time to reach your diet and fitness goals isn’t easy. I’m right there with you in terms of wanting quick results.

I’ve tried crash diets. I’ve done a low-fat, low-carb diet and lost a ton of weight very quickly, BUT the diet wasn’t something I could maintain. It was just about the blandest food you could eat. So eventually I couldn’t control my cravings and ate terrible, horrible no good, very bad food and gained the weight back.

Once I’d gained the weight back, I knew I had to do something different the next time. I didn’t want to keep up the crash diet cycle. That is when Ryan and I started Primal.

Mark Sisson and his Primal diet don’t promise you quick weight loss or six-pack abs. They do promise you that you will quickly feel better and more energetic. And if you follow his guidelines for weight loss, you will slowly but steadily lose weight! His diet also makes it easy to lose fat WHILE gaining muscle, which I found was near impossible on a low-fat, low-carb diet.

I’ve been following some variation of the Primal diet now since January 2010. And I’ve seen results…slowly. BUT I also enjoy eating primally. I don’t dread meals or constantly dream about pizza. And I feel healthier and more energetic than I have on any other diet. I used to ride the carb wave and have energy spikes and dips, but since starting Primal I only suffer those spikes on cheat days.

And the same slow and steady approach that you need to have with your diet plan, you need to apply to your fitness program. Don’t think that you can just go from 0-60 and get great results that you can maintain. I’ve seen people try. And usually they get great results and then get injured. Bye Bye great results.

So be patient. It isn’t easy, I know. But if you really want great results…Slow and steady wins the race!! 🙂

 

Being Primal – Easier in Warm Weather?

So Mark Sisson in his Primal Blueprint recommends that you “play” a certain amount each day. And he defines play as something active aka not watching TV. He wants you to get outside and do something that is defined as “active leisure.”

Which in theory is great.

BUT that isn’t easy in a place that doesn’t stay warm for more than two months especially if you aren’t that fond of the cold. At least I haven’t found it that easy to be extra active during the winter time, which means active play (especially outdoors) is usually restricted to the warm weather (which in Boston is about two months out of the year).

You can go skiing and try to do some indoor sports, but these things aren’t necessarily readily available in Boston nor are they necessarily easily affordable for everyone. They aren’t near as accessible as say outdoor activities are in California all year around.

Which makes me want to move to California because it is sooooo freaking easy to live an active, primal lifestyle. You can go bike riding and swimming and paddle boarding (which I’m obsessed with). You can play basketball or baseball or Ultimate (which Mark is obsessed with). Or you can simply go for a stroll outside all year around!

So I ask myself…if I love the Primal lifestyle, “Do I need to move some place that is warm all year around?” How can I be more active during the cold winters here other than just working out a ton, which I already do?

Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus

Men and women may seem like they are from different planets at some times but we are all the same species. And since we are all the same species don’t we all have the same basic physiological make up? If our bodies still basically work the same shouldn’t we both need to exercise them in basically the same way? I found a great article about this on Mark Sisson’s blog. I suggest anyone who thinks women shouldn’t lift weights click here.

Paddle Boarding

Mark Sisson –  you would be proud!

Mark Sisson (author of the Primal Blueprint) - our inspiration to go paddle boarding.

Ryan and I went paddle boarding yesterday which was AMAZING! We went to Kendall Square in Cambridge and rented two boards and paddles. I was a bit nervous about trying paddle boarding since it looked like it would be difficult to stand up and balance on the board (and I definitely had no desire to go swimming in the Charles River!).

To start, we both had to be on our knees to get out of the channel. Once out of the channel we had to cross over to the other bank of the river. We both stayed down on our knees to get across the river. Paddling and balancing from my knees wasn’t easy so I was super nervous about standing up . I was even more nervous because the guy at the rental place said that most people didn’t stand up till their second or third time out!

Once across we had to maneuver around the sailboats – sailboats steered by children learning to sail. YIKES! This made me even more nervous about the whole situation.

Once we had made it past the first sailboats, Ryan decided to stand up. He managed it easily and started paddling on. Since he stood up, I knew I had to try.

My heart started racing as I tried to push myself up. I felt the boat rock and I went right back onto my knees. I looked up at Ryan and said, “I can’t do it. I’m too nervous.” We both kept paddling on.

I passed a few more sailboats and looked at him standing up on his board and decided I had to stop being a chicken. Again I put my hands down in front of me and slowly pushed up. I stood up!!! Of course my board was then heading toward land and a flock of geese so I frantically had to start steering away from the shore.

Trying to balance and turn quickly wasn’t an easy task and I managed to chase the flock of geese a short distance and almost run into one. Sorry again about that mr. goose!

Finally though I made it away from the rocks and the geese and started cruising. It wasn’t easy though. You could feel all the little muscles in your legs working to keep you balanced as you went over the small waves. You could also feel your back, shoulders and core working as you paddled through the water.

It was wonderful though. So much fun and such a challenge. Paddle boarding ended up being both easier and harder than I expected.

I’m both surprised and not surprised that people don’t stand up their first time. THIS IS THE REASON TO WORKOUT PEOPLE!!! You workout so you will be awesome at any activity/sport the FIRST time you try it!

I can’t wait to go again or maybe even go kayaking next time! YAY for summer!

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