Monday, January 25, 2010

Jerry Stackhouse P90X endorsement

Case Against Cardio

I've been reading a great post by Mark Sisson entitled, "The Case Against Cardio."

I thought I'd share it here.

Here is the link to the original article over at

I have to say its making me definitely rethink some of my workouts. Not that I'm stopping P90X by any means, but I may modify some of the routines and add some different activities.

Its also making me think that my thoughts of running the Chicago Marathon might be a bit misguided.

I declared that a goal when I was a bit "fed up" with the fact that I had put some pounds back on. I thought to myself, "I know how I'll lose fat, I'll run like crazy."

Thing was, I watched a movie on Netflix called "The Spirit of the Marathon." I was a bit amazed how many fat marathoners there are out there. Overall, yes, very aerobically fit folks, but there are plenty of runners that don't epitomize the image of fitness.

So, I may be sticking to a primal plan for my fitness regimen. I'll keep you all posted.


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Primal Eating, So easy a caveman can do it.

As I mentioned a few weeks back I've been reading a book called "The Primal Blueprint" by Mark Sisson. While I'm hardly the first blogger to write about "Paleo" diets I just wanted to add my perspective.

For one, I'm a guy who believes in evolution. Clearly Mark does as well. The overall point of the book is that for millions of year humans have evolved eating a diet of a hunter-gatherer. They ate lean meats from wild game, fish, fowl etc. They also ate fruits and vegetables.

Then, 10,000 years ago humans decided they were tired of working all day to get food. They discovered farming. We started to eat crops that we never ate in the 1.99 million years prior in our evolutionary history. We started to heat up grains and discovered that after heating, we could eat them. So, our diet shifted overnight. We ate grains, lots of them. It was at that time our population started to explode, but as a consequence, so did our waist lines.

So, the thought behind the Primal Blueprint is to align your diet with what our ancestors had. Focus on lean meat, fruits, vegetables. Avoid grains (yes, even whole grains), processed sugars etc.

For the past 3 weeks I've been giving it a go. Let me first say I haven't been perfect. I've had a couple Subway subs in the middle of my day (And of course the piece of peanut butter pie Monica and I split for our 7-year anniversary dinner.) However I've been eating clean with at least 80% success.

The one thing about me is that I'm cheap. I've got a pantry full of whole grain pasta and brown rice. It pains me to not eat it. However, I'll probably have some now and then, but I'm not buying more.

The results of this new diet? I'm down 6-7 lbs since starting. True I'm doing P90X along with it, but my energy levels have been great. Another part of Mark's philosophy I like is that he throws the conventional wisdom of 3 square meals, or the more recent 6 small meals a day on its head. Cavemen didn't know when their next meal was coming. Occasional fasting periods are good for you. To me, this fits. There are some mornings I wake up and I'm not even hungry. In the past I'd force down a bowl of oatmeal or cereal. Now, I just go until I'm hungry. This fits my personality rather well.

Another aspect is that Monica and I have been using the LoseIt app to track our calories. It's amazing how full you can feel on a rather limited amount of calories if you're eating a Primal Diet. There have been days where I've only hit 1300 calories in, and I'm not the least bit hungry. I'll have a big piece of grilled chicken, pile on fresh steamed veggies on the plate and go to town.

So, I think I'll be continuing this eating philosophy for the indefinite future. His book also deals with the misguided approach to what he calls, "Chronic Cardio." I think I may look into this closer as I'm second guessing my goal of running the Chicago marathon this year. But I'll write more about that later.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

P90X, 10 Days in!

Wow, I've got a lot to catch up on.

I started P90X again on the 9th of January. Now, this time I'm easing myself into it. Having done P90X before, I know what I may be capable of. However my strength levels aren't where they were 10 months ago when I had done P90X twice. So, I have to consciously hold back on some of the weight and reps I attempt.

Things have been going well. It's just funny how different your posture is when you're working out. I don't know what it is, whether it's the muscle soreness, or something else. I just know that when I'm doing strength training, I walk taller, my posture is different. It's a good feeling.

Now, things haven't been perfect. I've had a few really busy days. For example, this last Saturday, I didn't have the time for all of Chest and Back. So, I just BROUGHT IT, all out full speed on the first half of Chest and Back. To be frank, I was more sore from this than I was the week prior where I did both rounds of exercises but held back a bit. So, this s a good option for you now and then if you're crunched for time.

My diet has been great. I've been trying to follow "The Primal Blueprint" by Mark Sisson I've been eating very clean and other than the slice of peanut butter pie Monica and I shared for our anniversary dinner, my diet has been spot on.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

LoseIt App for iPhone. I love it!

I downloaded the LoseIt app for the iPhone last year. Its a great tool. However, through the recent updates, its been made absolutely great.

To give a quick overview, LoseIt tracks your calories in and exercise. When you download the app, you'll first want to set up your profile. That will include your age, height, weight and your fitness goal. I put in my current weight of 207 lbs and my goal weight of 188. I wanted to lose 1.5 lbs a week (a bit aggressive) and it gave me a daily calorie budget of 2112 calories.

Now, you can easily enter every meal. You can even create some of your custom foods. For example; last night I made stuffed green peppers. Monica carefully calculated all the ingredients calorie counts and came up with 252 calories per stuffed pepper. I found in the app a frozen dinner version of a stuffed green pepper and put it at 1 3/4 servings to indicate the same 510 calories I took in by eating 2 of the peppers. (They were damn good, I'll share the recipe later.)

The cool part of the app is the "Friends" section. If you have a spouse or workout partner you are using to keep you accountable, you can set them up as your "Friend." Then you can peek in on them and see if they're using the app. If they don't log in their intake for over a day the app shows them with a red icon under their name. This can help you check in on your friends to keep them accountable and vice versa.

Lastly you can input your exercise. The estimates are a little on the low side. However if you have a heart rate monitor or body bugg you can go in and enter custom exercise numbers. Its a great app.