Archive for May, 2011

5 SIMPLE Memorial Day Tips for a Guilt Free BBQ

Memorial Day is the unofficial commencement of BBQ season—but it doesn’t also have to be the end of your healthy eating strategy. We published this over at and wanted to get you the information as well for wherever your Memorial Day plans may take you.  

Use our tips to navigate a flavorful Memorial Day weekend, without any of the guilt.

Healthy Slaw
Coleslaw is a BBQ staple, but it’s usually loaded with fat and calories.  Instead, try a “naked” slaw: Rather than adding mayo, swap it out and go for a fresher recipe. Here’s what you do:
Shred about 4 cups of red and green cabbage (total), shred 1 cup carrots, added about 1-2 tsp fresh ginger, 2 TBS soy sauce, 2 TBS sesame oil, 2-3 TBS rice vinegar, a pinch of salt and cracked black pepper. Then add a dash of red pepper and voila! Sweet and spicy slaw without the heavy fat and calories.

The Low-Cal Burger
Swap out your burger bun for a portabello mushroom. Simply remove the “gills” from the mushroom, brush it lightly with canola oil, toss them on the grill to cook them down a bit and in about 3 minutes, remove them and use the mushrooms as your bun!  Loaded with nutrition, yet light on calories.

The Other Meat
Try grilling some chicken breasts instead of the traditional burgers and dogs. It’s a lot lower in fat and calories, yet high in protein and tasty!  And spice it up — rather than traditional BBQ, try marinating it in a balsamic vinaigrette! 

Go Green
Slice a variety of veggies, like squash, bell peppers, onions and any others you like — toss them with some vinaigrette and throw them on the grill. Just a few minutes each side and you’ll have a side that will surely be a crowd pleaser!

A Better Meat
Use leaner cuts of beef when making a hamburger. A 4 ounce patty of 80/20 “chuck” will pack in around 280 calories and 18 grams of fat, whereas a 95/5 ground meat slashes almost 100 calories and cuts that fat down to about 8. Just be careful when cooking. Leaner cut cook more quickly. For added flavor, toss on some spices, like a pinch of chili powder, crack blacked pepper and a pinch of salt to add more flavor since a lot of the fat is gone.

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Ditch These Common Diet Tips

The diet tips, tricks and strategies are coming fast and furious this time of year…

The official "start" of beach season is just days away.  I’ve heard some in the fitness industry refer to it as "Judgement Day."  The day when pools and beaches open and bathing suits come out.

Not to build too much around this time of year … but it is interesting how our blog and associated fat loss questions have been on fire lately.  Surely there’s a connection.

But what if the advice you’re reading is steering you in the wrong direction?

Here are 3 REALLY common diet tips that you need to ditch NOW.

  1. Losing fat means eating low fat.  This one couldn’t be further from the truth.  We’re not suggesting loading up on fat is the way to go in lieu of other foods, but focusing on QUALITY is the key.  Low fat diet does NOT equal low body fat. 

    Low junky fat (trans fat, processed saturated fat) should be drastically limited, but rather than just eliminating those types of fats, we suggest replacing them with much better alternatives, like fish and fish oil, olive oil, and canola oil.  Even mix in some coconut oil if you want a healthier saturated fat.  But remember that LOW fat eating doesn’t mean LOW body fat (or health)!

  2. Eating salads means you’ll lose weight.  Incorrect.  This too has gotten a bit out of control and we hear it ALL the time. 

    "Well, on another diet, so I guess I’m back to salads everyday." 

    Can salads be a great option?  Absolutely.  But, they can also literally destroy your goals.  Pick up a salad at Chilis, Olive Garden or most other restaurants and you could be topping the calorie scales at 1000+ calories.  Just like before, the key is quality.  Salads with croutons, cheese, bacon bits, and creamy dressing … not really a recipe for success.

  3. Nuts are too high in calories so are bad for "dieting."  Couldn’t be further from the truth.  In fact, research shows that eating 1-2 oz of nuts per day HELPS with weight loss!  The key is portion control and nuts are easy to overeat, so stick to just a handful a couple times per day and you’re good to go.  Here’s a better trick — stick with in shell pistachios because cracking off the shell slows down how quickly you can eat them, which automatically helps with portion control.

There you have it — 3 diet "tips" that need to be ditched immediately.

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Count Down to Fitness Success and Keep Your Motivation Drive Alive

Got another great article from our trusted friend, Tom Venuto … we loved this article he wrote, so wanted to share it with you…fantastic take home points for permanent success! 


Count Down To Fitness Success
And Keep Your Motivation Drive Alive
By Tom Venuto, NSCA-CPT, CSCS

There are many fantastic ways to get focused and motivated to begin a diet or exercise program, but often the most difficult thing to do is keep that drive and ambition alive for more than a few weeks and see your goal through to completion.

Within just weeks of starting, many people have already hit their first snag or setback, and as a result, have slipped backwards in the mental focus and motivation department. Setting goals in writing is an essential step to success, but how do you stay focused on them? One technique I have used ever since my very first bodybuilding competition 18 years ago, is…

The "contest countdown calendar."

I have used it ever since, through 28 competitions and it will work for you too, for any fitness goal.

I purchase a desk or wall calendar – the type that shows each week stretching horizontally across the page with an open block of space for each day.

After I set my goal and place a deadline on it, I do NOT stop there. I take out my calendar and start counting backwards from my target goal deadline to the present day.

T-minus 117 days….

T-minus 116 days…

T-minus 115 days….

I also fill in my workouts for the entire 3-4 month period, which is the typical length I allow for my mid-range goals like contest prep.

you would be shocked – pleasantly so – just how focused this keeps you. Even better still, you get MORE and MORE motivated with each passing day you countdown because the deadline is getting closer

Deadlines are absolutely critical to your success. Little gets done without deadlines.

There is a saying in management and psychology that "work will always expand to fill the time allowed for it’s completion."

Remember term papers in school? when you were given a term paper assignment and you had the entire semeseter to do it, did you run home that first night and get crankin on it?

How about after a week? two weeks? A month? TWO MONTHS?

probably not, eh?

If youre like most people, you put it off until the last minute and you barely got it turned in on time. In fact, there are always a few people who pull all nighters the night before!

Alas, the power of the deadline!

In your fitness endeavors, if you dont have IMPENDING deadlines that give you that twinge in your stomach that says "take action now, or else!" then you find it very easy to say to yourself, ‘ I have plenty of time so this one cheat meal doesnt matter… it doesnt make much difference at this point if I skip this one workout… I have time to make it up…"

And then, just like the term paper, you are scrambling at the last minute to reach your weight goal. But in the case of a your body, the consequences are more severe and painful than just a bad grade or late penalty.

Inevitably, you succumb to crash dieting and overtraining or other unhealthy fast-weight-loss madness, which eats up your own muscle like a hungry cannibal and sends you spiraling into the dark pit of metabolic damage and the inevitable plateau and weight gain that follow.

But the solution is so simple: Count your way down to success!

Don’t stop with setting goals. Put your goal countdown on paper, review your goals every single day, AND know, every single day, how many days there are until your target goal date. You will stay more consciously focused and even better, your unconscious mind will go to work for you in keeping you motivated, on track, and on schedule. You’ll come in for a landing on your goal deadline date like an F-16 landing on an aircraft carrier.

I just did my countdown calendar earlier this week… T minus 117 days til my next bodybuilding competition, and thanks to this simple but powerful technique, I’m already focused like a laser beam and have been making steady progress without so much as a hiccup…

Don’t under-estimate this simple technique… Give it an honest test… because it’s often the simplest motivational techniques that are the most powerful of all!

Check out Burn the Fat for more information on Tom’s bestselling program!


Kentucky Derby, Training, and YOUR Why

You may have heard that the Kentucky Derby is this weekend — Saturday, May 7th, to be exact.

This week in Louisville is crazy … parties, Gala events, parades … and of course horse racing.favorite horse at the Kentucky Derby

We took Ella to some events around Derby so she could enjoy the horses, Parade, etc.  And she even made her own Derby Hat. 

And of course we couldn’t help notice the size, musculature, and beauty of these elite horse that will be competing against one another…

But that brings me to my next point.

These horses are worth millions of dollars.  They costs millions to buy.  And they are treated like gold in hopes that they’ll win the event.

Being treated like gold means being fed the best food to fuel their bodies to perform and having the best trainers to make sure they are properly prepared to run their events.

And to think of treating the horses any other way would make people cringe.

OBVIOUSLY these horses will be fed the right performance foods and train properly.  They’re worth millions of dollars!

My question, then, is why doesn’t the same hold true for people?

Are we not worth taking care of our bodies — again, fueling to perform well (both physically and mentally) and also exercise regularly?

I think the question then is — what is your why? 

WHY do you treat your body like you do — positively or negatively? 

Here is just a short list of why I do what I do:

  • Look better (hey, I’m not going to lie, this of course plays a role)
  • Have more energy
  • Feel better
  • Be a great example for our daughter
  • Reduce the risk of disease

Leave a comment on the blog and let us know why YOU do what YOU do…

Whey Protein Boosts Metabolism?

I was reviewing some research for a project we’ve been plugging away at over here…

…and came across a very cool new study published just last month about boosting fat loss:

Protein choices targeting thermogenesis and metabolism. Am J Clin Nutr. 2011 Mar;93(3):525-34)

First, some background.

high protein diet for fat lossProtein increases metabolism more than carbohydrates and fat.  So you eat protein with a meal and what’s called the "thermic effect of feeding" increases more to digest, breakdown, and metabolism the food.  The higher the caloric burn, theoretically the greater the weight loss.

Combine that data with the fact that protein helps fill you up more and you’ve got a win win for weight loss.  Of course there’s more specifics to cover; we could go on about the quality of the protein as well and, in fact, this study did just that.

It measured the effects of supplemental proteins — whey, casein, or soy – on metabolism, satiety, and blood sugar.  These 3 were compared to an equal calorie carbohydrate feeding.

What did they find?  All proteins were "better" in this case than carbohydrate in terms of the metabolic increase.  Next, looking specifically at the different types of protein, the whey protein caused a significantly greater increase in metabolism than both casein and soy. 

On the flip side, casein and soy were reported as more satiating than the whey … but, more important than any of this scientific mumbo jumbo is that the whey was more "liked" compared to the others.

And at the end of the day, compliance is most important.  Regardless of how wonderful something may seem on paper, if it’s not going to be used, it’s not very effective anyhow.

Mohr Results Bottom Line: Protein should be part of every single meal.  Each type of protein has unique benefits and properties, but if you’re looking for that metabolic "boost" — whey seems to have the greatest punch in that department and it scores high in the ‘likeability’ scale.

Looking for a way to add whey protein to your diet?  Check out how I made over a Dairy Queen Blizzard in this video

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