Archive for Motivation

The Results of my December “No Meats” Challenge

For the month of December I challenged myself to a “No Meat, No Dairy” diet. You can see the original post here. Let me tell you….it wasn’t easy but I’m glad I followed through with it.

The first week was challenging. I had become accustomed to having some sort of dairy product or meat product with every meal. I was a carnivore who allotted only a certain amount of space on my plate for the “other stuff.”  Cutting meat, dairy, and eggs cold turkey made me want it even more.  That first week of the challenge I probably told my wife 100 times, “I can’t wait until this is over so I can have a big steak….pork chop….rack of lamb….whole rotisserie pig…..rhinoceros thigh….etc.”

However, after that first week things became easier. I started looking forward to preparing new and creative “Vegan” meals. I took pride in knowing that I had set a goal for myself and I was sticking to it. If you read my intro to this challenge you know that for the past few years I have been struggling with high cholesterol. Every meal started feeling like a step closer to victory rather than a step closer to heart disease.

This past Friday (December 30th) I went and had my blood drawn for updated lab work. I will receive the results this upcoming Tuesday. (January 2nd)

I will update this post with those results.

There is no doubt in my mind that the number will have come down. I feel better than I have felt in a long time. I am optimistic about my future. Having a family and dealing with high cholesterol problems always left me with thoughts of feeling that I would leave them sooner than I wanted to. I want to live a long life and be here for them in my later years.

This challenge has given me an appreciation for the “Vegan” diet and has made me realize that I can cut down or completely cut out what was a major staple in my diet. Will I remain a Vegan? Possibly. There are some things that I miss. Like Salmon!

If I do go back to eating meat I can assure you that it will be because I am treating myself or because I am having a cheat day. I do not want to go back to making it a necessity. I love life and my family more than I love food. I will miss them more and they will miss me more than I will miss meat. My body synthesizes cholesterol different than others so this is my solution to the issue. It may not be an issue for you. However, for those of you looking to lose a little weight, I can assure you that by cutting out or cutting down on foods high in saturated (which a lot of cuts of meat are) you will benefit from doing so. If you pair this with a “No Sweets” challenge you will be well on your way to your weight loss goals.

During the month of December I was relentless in sticking to both my “No Meats” challenge and Coach Demitrius’  “No Sweets” challenge.

I lost 11 pounds in 1 month.  I feel leaner and have more energy.

Here are my before and after pictures:

December 1st (Left) ---- December 31st (Right)

The month of December has now given me the inspiration to work hard towards obtaining my ideal physique. I have some substantial goals for myself now in 2012. There are subtle changes in my photos above that are separated by 31 days. Over the next few months I will hold myself accountable to my 2012 expectations by keeping you guys updated with photos.

Thank you for allowing me to share with you my personal journey, and as always, me and Demetrius will be here for you along yours!

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Succeed at Your 2012 Goals!

Did you know 85% of New Year’s Resolutions fail? That means if you were in aroom of 100 people who resolved to quit smoking only 15 will actually do it. Would you like to be one of the 15? Keep reading for Specifics on how to succeed at your 2012 goals!

Specific Goals!

“I’m going to lose weight this year,” isn’t a specific goal. I’m going to lose 2 pounds each week is specific, attainable and measurable in a short period of time. When goals are Specific benchmarks are easy to make and achieve. Don’t make goals that aren’t well thought out!

Specific Plan!

How will you lose the weight? I’m going to start going to the gym isn’t a specific plan. Being vague allows room for putting it off and completely failing. Remember when you said this last year? You went and paid for the membership but never actually went after the first week. You must be Specific and the first step must be taken TODAY! If you write a goal and don’t make a step toward accomplishing that goal immediately after, you probably don’t mean it. If this means going for a walk or run right now, you need to do it. You have to prove to yourself that you are serious about your goal.

Specific Records!

Do not lie to yourself, your friends, or your family! Keep a very specific food and exercise journal. Your journal will serve a few purposes. It will be a record of your successes and failures. It will be a reference that will help you make adjustments after weigh ins. It will also be another source of accountability. Be sure to revisit past entries in your journal and make necessary improvements to your diet and exercise regimen!

What are your 2012 goals and what are your plans to succeed?

 

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Shoe Review: Reebok EasyTone!

I have heard it all; ShapeUps really toned my glutes, Reebok Easytone’s are revolutionizing the fitness industry, and barefoot running will be the reason I run a sub 3 hour marathon.  Well recently I bought the Reebok Easytone’s and I have been wearing them for 2 weeks. Although they do feel as though I am constantly balancing on a stability ball which does engage my muscles, I don’t know if they are going to revolutionize the fitness industry.

Does this mean I don’t think they work? Of course not, however I do think it is important to buy them with realistic expectations. After reading the reviews I have found that unrealistic expectations causes most people to write a bad review. One person wrote, “I walk 45 minutes a day, 4 days a week and haven’t lost a pound. They are going in the garbage.”

That’s too bad as the shoes cost $80-$100 and never claimed they would magically cause one to lose weight. However they will engage your quads, shins, and glutes and can be a great addition to your workout regimen.

In short, if you are looking to lose significant weight or get fit, you will have to clean up your eating as well as exercise. You can’t depend on a shoe to solely do the job for you. On a positive note, the shoes do give me an extra inch of height which makes me 6’0 tall exactly!

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Are You Getting Enough “You” Time During Christmas?

Christmas time is a time when it seems there’s never enough time for “You.” You find time to wrap everyone’s gifts, clean up the mess you made, head back to the store for more bows, pick up a couple more gifts for nephews, and make it home in time to put dinner in the oven. As fun as the Christmas season is, it also seems to be a time when stress levels are at a code Red! Here are a few ideas on how to get a little “You” time during Christmas.

Plan Your Day and Schedule in a Break

We know this sounds difficult but it’s very important. You schedule everything except time for yourself. No one will remember a sloppy wrapped gift or a little late dinner, but they will remember your inevitable blow up if the stress gets to you. Take time for yourself even if it’s just 15 minutes.

Delegate Responsibilities to Your Children

Kids as young as 4 or 5 can help clean up or do laundry. Don’t be afraid to ask them to clean up after you. Tell them Santa is watching. That always seems to work during this time. Ask them to help wrap gifts and put their dishes away. Learning how to delegate can save you time and anxiety.

Visit a Store and Pick Something Out For Yourself

We know it sound selfish but it’s the season of giving and sometimes that means giving “You” a reward for being so awesome. You’ve been everyone’s “go to” person and sometimes you aren’t acknowledged for all you do. Acknowledge yourself by spending a little less on them in order to spend a little bit on you.

Sit at the Mall and People Watch

This is something I love to do. Grab a drink and a bag of popcorn and watch the best reality show ever. You’ll see grandmas racing around like teenagers trying to find the perfect gift. Watch as mall security fight through the crowd to keep order at the arcade. Count how many people walk by texting, facebooking, and tweeting while almost walking into walls and Christmas decorations.

Slow Down and Enjoy the Season

Most importantly you need to slow down and realize, It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year. It is not supposed to be a stressful time, rather a time to enjoy your family and friends. Don’t forget that. Enjoy the season.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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How To Lose Belly Fat!

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An Introduction To My December Challenge For PRODUCING A More FRUITFUL Life!

Challenge Time.  That’s right! December is going to be fun. Coach Demitrius is currently in his second month of the “Junk Food Challenge” and is doing exceptionally well. Along with over 100 of our fans he has made the commitment to better his diet and inspire others. I too have been inspired and have decided that it’s about time I challenge myself and battle one of my demons. My cholesterol!

Three years ago I saw my physician for a routine checkup.  He went through his normal routine and everything checked out o.k. Before I left they drew some blood to send off to the lab. It seemed routine and I was not worried about it one bit. Then I received a call a couple weeks later. He informed me that my cholesterol levels were “High” for someone my age. I was shocked. How was that possible? I have been an athlete all my life. I just spent nearly 5 years in the Marine Corps. (We exercised a lot!) I still sustain a moderate level of physical activity.  I’m only 26 years old and I maintain a fairly healthy diet.  It didn’t make any sense to me. My Doc suggested that I start attending “Heart Smart” classes. “I’m not doing that,” I told myself. I’ll cut out my rare and random trips to the fast food joints and that should be enough.

Well…… It wasn’t! About a year later I went into the lab for more blood work and guess what? Yep, you guessed it. Blood Cholesterol levels were still high. And to my amazement they actually went up. Let’s fast forward about 2 years to this past July. (5 months ago)

Different Doctor, same results! Except for this time the number was the highest it has been in the last 3 years. “Are you kidding me,” I told myself. I have cut out fast food, cut way back on fried foods, I’ll have an occasional steak, and I work out several days a week. I have also been supplementing with fiber tablets and fish oil (omega-3).  Well it wasn’t enough. The new Doctor informed me that the synthesis of cholesterol in my body was more than likely hereditary. Now the Doc is recommending that I take Lipitor (a cholesterol lowering medication) in order to get my levels in check.  Well, I refused. I don’t want to take some pill for the rest of my life. I’ll just do more to finally take care of this issue. Read more

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How to Say No to Holiday Food Dealers!

Drug Dealers, Car Dealers, and Great Aunts Are All the Same!

Sometimes saying “NO” to holiday temptations are comparable to saying, “NO” to peers in high school as the food dealers are as relentless as the drug dealers. You’ll hear more pitches than you have at a used car dealership and just as you’ve left them without a high interest rate on a lemon you need to leave the holidays without a high caloric set back on an extra piece of lemon meringue pie.

I know many of you are thinking, “Awe come on it’s the holidays,” but that makes you as bad as a dealer. Healthy diets are often ruined by “seldom” awe come on’s! Take a second and count the times you can give in to “Awe come on’s” and you’ll realize they are more frequent than you want to admit.

Count the following in the past few years: weddings, birthday parties, retirement parties/dinners, employment parties/dinners, office parties, girls nights, boys nights, lunch dates, baby showers, MMA fight parties, football parties, oh and the 5-7 holidays that are associated with parties, family get togethers, and eating.

Don’t kid yourself; the reason you’ve gained the weight is because you consistently and frequently cave to the biggest food dealer out there, yourself! Once you’re able to say, “NO” to your Aunt dealing more of her special holiday pastries, you’ll begin to find ways to say, “NO” to the dealer inside of you. Here are some common pitches by food dealers and respectable ways to turn them down!

Food Dealer: “Awe come on, it’s the holidays don’t tell me you’re on a diet again!”

What you want to say: “Nope, but after watching you eat so much today, maybe you should be.”

What you should say: “No, I’m not on a diet, I just don’t eat that anymore. It’s been so long I don’t even crave it.”

This works because there aren’t many answers to saying you don’t crave something anymore.

 

Food Dealer: “Everyone has to try my pumpkin pie.” Read more

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Start Smoking and End Caffeine Withdrawal Symptoms?

Have you kicked caffeine to the curb? Are you irritable? Do you have splitting headaches? Are you thinking, “Ouch Make Them Stop?”   Believe me we’ve heard it all; from “get pregnant” to “start smoking.” Getting pregnant will force you to eat and drink more responsibly and well a Nicotine addiction will get your mind off your Caffeine addiction.  But I’m thinking this is not the advice you were looking for right? Maybe these will be better:

1. YOUR body has been addicted to caffeine for years and now you’ve said, no more, cold turkey. Although this strategy is great, it does come with its downfalls. If you can, slowly wean yourself off by drinking tea and other drinks that include minimal caffeine and minimal calories. Don’t forget that you are weaning yourself off completely. Don’t be satisfied that you are drinking less caffeine if the goal is to have no caffeine!

2. EXERCISE can get you through many withdrawal symptoms. Doctors have prescribed exercise to relieve stress and irritability which are common among people on a caffeine detox. Often times the brain just craves stimulation. Why not quench the cravings with exercise endorphins? Relaxation techniques found in Yoga, Tai Chi, and Meditation are also known to help curb the caffeine crave.

3. START drinking more water. Sometimes your headaches are from dehydration due to the liquid deficit you’ve created by drinking less. Make sure you are having your 8-12 glasses spread throughout the day. This will also help speed up the detoxification process.

4. TAKE a pain killer minus the caffeine. Be sure to check the bottle as many pain relievers contain caffeine.

5. ALLOW time to rest. If you are getting off caffeine you’ll feel tired more often in the first 3 weeks. Having time to recuperate from a long day and take a short nap will help you through some of your weakest moments.

Hopefully these will help you kick caffeine to the curb. Understand that this won’t be easy and will take mental toughness as well. If all else fails, fight through but please Don’t Take Up Smoking!

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Beat The Sugar Cravings With These 8 Tips

So you have decided to jump into the No Junk Food challenge cold turkey and are starting to wonder how you will make it through the rest of the entire 2 months. Do you need a little guidance? Do you feel the cravings starting to get more and more frequent? Well don’t be alarmed. We’ve got you covered. Here are 8 ways to Beat the Sugar Cravings!

 

Plan Your Meals and Eat on Schedule
Often times we crave foods when we have gone too long without eating. Start by planning 3 meals and 2 snack times throughout the day. Meals should be well balanced and snacks should include fruits, vegetables, and nuts. We all have busy days. Work, school, sports, clubs, music, homework, making the kids lunches, and trying to find time to sneak in a workout are all issues faced by many people just like you. How will you find time to plan your meals? You will because you have to. It is critical to the challenge and critical to improving your health. When you are packing sandwiches, fruit, and snacks for your child, pack another for yourself. Also, make foods in large quantities that you can refrigerate or freeze and reheat throughout the week. Eat on a schedule. Don’t allow yourself to go more than 2 hours without a meal or a snack. If you do, you will find yourself going to the vending machine on a binge.

Get the Right Amount of Carbohydrates, Protein, and Fats
In general our diets should be made of 45-65% Carbohydrates, 10-35% Protein, and 20-35% Fat. Carbohydrates are the body’s main source for fuel and energy. Without it we crash, burn, and crave sugars, starches, and sodium. Carbohydrates are also essential to brain, central nervous system, kidney, and muscle functioning. Protein is essential to muscle tissue repair, growth, and immune functioning. It is also the next source of energy when Carbohydrates are not available. Fat has gotten a bad reputation but is needed for normal growth and development and energy. Fat also absorbs vitamins.

Don’t Shop While You’re Hungry
When you’re hungry, everything looks good. Your blood sugar levels are all out of whack and your body will crave unhealthy snacks. Don’t do it. It might seem silly but you should always eat before going shopping for groceries. This will not only keep you out of the cookie and ice cream aisles, it will also save you money.

Fuel Up Before Workouts
When you work out, you deplete your body of essential nutrients, electrolytes, and energy. When you are hungry before your work out, your hunger after the work out is enhanced. When you are hungry after work outs, you are more likely to grab something quick and convenient on your way home. Quick and convenient usually amounts to fast food or a high sugar sports bar. When you eat before work outs your body will be able to maintain a great work out and hold off eating until your scheduled next meal.

Be Mentally Tough and Say “NO”
At some point you have to learn to say “NO” to friends, family and most importantly, yourself. Often times giving into cravings comes down to mental toughness. Many people have had problems with cravings and many people have had the mental discipline to pass on the cravings. You are not the only one with a husband who always wants soda or a wife who always wants to bake cakes. At some point you have to decide what’s more important; your health or the instant, short term gratification of crappy food. Stop feeling sorry for yourself and start feeling the benefits of ridding yourself of quickie carbs. It may sound harsh but chances are the first 4 of my tips don’t apply to you. Chances are you have been mentally weak for a long time. Don’t think it’s ever too late to improve your mental toughness. It isn’t.

Don’t Buy It
If It’s in your house, it’ll be in your mouth. Don’t buy junk in hopes that at your weakest moment you won’t go for it. You will. Alternatively, if you have to get in the car and drive to buy junk, you probably won’t. Keep the house stocked up with healthy snacks that taste delicious as well.

Keep a Food Journal
Hold yourself accountable by keeping a journal of what you are eating each day. Refer to the journal daily if you need to. Take a victory lap each time you make it through a day. The journal can also help you realize patterns and help you see what got you through the cravings before.

Let Everyone Know
If you aren’t telling anyone, how does anyone know when you cheat? Make it your status update. Announce it at the next social event. It may seem weird at the time but you are going to inspire others which in turn will inspire you. People are more apt to helping you through when they know what you are up to. Don’t hide your goals. Don’t be ashamed of them either. Even if you have had difficulties in the past, this could be the start to success.

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Cramps, Cramps, Go Away!

Cramps, Cramps, Go Away!Recently my wife returned from a run and nearly stumped me with a question. “Why do I get cramps in my side when I run?” “Uhhhhh…….,” I responded back. “It’s probably because you are dehydrated. Drink more water!” She seemed content with my answer but I knew there was probably more to it. I have a fairly vast knowledge of Health and Fitness principles, but how is it that I’ve never explored this concept more in depth? Because I am a loving husband and couldn’t leave her with an educated guess, I knew I needed to do some research. The following is a brief summary of what I found regarding the dreaded Side Cramps & Muscle Cramps!

Why Do I Get Cramps?

Stomach Pain

Shallow breathing is a major cause of side cramps. You want to breathe deeply from your lower lungs. Your stomach should visibly rise and fall if you are breathing deeply. Also, be aware of what foods you consume prior to exercise. Your “cramp” feeling may just be an upset stomach. Try varying what you eat prior to exercising to see if that fixes the problem.

Muscle Pain (Usually in the lower legs)

Cramping in your lower legs can be caused by several factors. One of the main factors is often fatigue. Running for prolonged periods of time puts stress on the muscles. You can condition your legs for this type of vigorous activity by incorporating Plyometric Drills into your weekly workouts. Also, be sure to adequately hydrate prior to exercising. A lack of Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, or Sodium may also be the culprit.

Help Prevent Cramping

- Hydrate (Water / Sports Drinks with electrolytes)

- Maintain a Balanced Diet

- Consider taking a Multivitamin

- Breathe deeply with your lower lungs while running

- Incorporate Plyometrics into your weekly workouts (Here is a great example)

Most of us will experience a cramp sometime in our life. I know I have. Have you? Cramps can really be a pain in the butt! (Or in your side and lower legs) Hope this article helps. Don’t let cramping deter you from working out. Scratch it off your list of excuses. Try these techniques and let us know what you think! Now get off the computer and go for a run! J

 

 

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