I wanted to post some personal experiences without going into detail (at the moment), so here are my top ten ways to get fat without even realizing it:
1. Having just one. One anything. Because not only does one lead to more, it leads to one more often.
2. Associating eating with other things. The most common example is eating while you watch tv, but there are others. Maybe you always have a snack when you get home from work, for example.
3. Sauce/Dressing. Way too often does a healthy salad or subway sandwich become unhealthy by adding ranch dressing, chipotle sauce, etc.
4. Not moving! Pretty simple, but important. Park further away from the store, walk to your colleague’s desk instead of calling, etc. All of those extra steps really do add up.
5. Social eating. How many times have you gotten a milkshake because your friend wanted one? This is a KILLER. It isn’t that one milkshake that kills you, it’s the fact that having one milkshake leads to craving something else sweet later on.
So there ya go, 5 quick n’ dirty tips. Well maybe not so much dirty, but they were quick!
Hey all, sorry for the delay in getting up a new article. Today, I want to talk about something that has been on my mind lately- and that’s motivation. We all need motivation on a daily basis, whether it be to exercise, go to work, or to simply get out of bed in the morning. So while this article does focus around exercise, I challenge you to apply these principles to other areas of your life and really find your inner motivation.
So what gets us motivated? Up-beat music? Energy drinks? Sure, that’s a good short-term solution, but what REALLY gets us motivated? ANSWER: Your deepest fears and desires. Intense, right? It should be. Your most intense thoughts lead to the most intense motivation. For me, as it relates to exercise, my deepest fear is being undesirable. You see, I grew up as the “fat kid” in class and had thick, dorky glasses. And in those days glasses were not a fashion statement like they are now. I was picked on, bullied, laughed at, you name it. Well, in 8th grade I hit a growth spurt, switched to contacts, started working out, and BAM I was popular. You wanna talk about shallow? The world is shallow, and teenagers are the worst of the bunch. The good news is that this drove me to develop healthier habits. Sure, it wasn’t a positive motivator, but who says motivation can ONLY come from positive sources? In fact, some of the best motivation comes from negative sources. Think about it… The athlete who was told he’ll never play in the big leagues (Dustin Pedroia or the Olympic runner above, anyone?), the girl who got her heart broken by her now ex-boyfriend, you get the idea. The point is, motivation can come from anywhere. You just have to be honest with yourself and really examine yourself to find it.
Let’s talk more about that. How do you examine yourself? Well, ask yourself this question. Why did I first decide to start exercising? Were you trying to lower your cholesterol, or did you just want to look good naked? Harness that emotion. Think about it. Every. Single. Day. Embrace that fear or desire. Romanticize it. If it is a health reason, embrace what you’re reward will be. Imagine watching your children and grandchildren grow up. If it is more… ahem, dark… Embrace the vengeance. Imagine the next time your ex sees you, and you look smoking hot. Imagine going to the tryout and blowing up the “so-called” studs on your team.
I’ll circle back to myself as an example. Like I said, I started because I wanted to be in the “cool” group. I wanted girls to like me. Then it shifted to a combination of that and the athletic advantage. I knew there were players out there more talented but me, but I knew I had a better work ethic. While the “studs” went out partying I was at the gym working. Bettering myself. And let me tell you… The gratification that came after the off-season was second to none. It was like they didn’t even know who I was. I don’t mean to ramble on, but this is very, very powerful stuff.
So what motivates you? I don’t want to hear the playlist on your iPod, I want to hear the feelings in your heart. What are your deepest fears, or your most sought desires? If you open up to yourself, you will find a whole new level of motivation.
Yours in health,
The thing I love about writing this blog is that the ideas come from every day activities in my life. This one came to me while making myself breakfast. I was sprinkling cinnamon into my oatmeal and it hit me that a lot of people don’t even know that cinnamon is a healthy food, much less how powerful it is. So this is going to be a relatively short post, but a VERY important one. Let’s dive in.
If I had to pick one food to be the most important thing you ARE NOT eating, it would be CINNAMON. As far as nutritional value goes I wouldn’t put it above leafy greens, but it’s a close number two. And for our goal of building a great body? Oh yeah, this bad boy is a MUST HAVE. Now let me make myself clear here… I’m not talking about cinnamon rolls, cinnamon scones, or any other sugar-covered junk. I’m talking about cinnamon in a jar that you find in the spice section of your grocery store. I know, I know, I just ruined all the fun ;) But keep reading, there are still tasty treats at the end!
So why is cinnamon so great? First of all, it tastes great and it’s extremely low-calorie. One spoonful has 15 calories, and 100% of those calories come from the 4 grams of fiber that you’ll get per spoonful. Can you believe that!? No sugar, no carbs, no fat.. Just pure fiber and deliciousness. Which leads to my next point, the fiber content. So many people turn to fiber bars and fiber supplements to meet their daily intake which is certainly a feasible option, but it is always better to get your nutrients from natural resources when possible.
Another thing that makes cinnamon great is the positive impact it has on insulin levels. I promise to write another article to discuss why insulin is important (it’s actually the most powerful hormone in your body), but for now let’s just keep it simple and say low-insulin is a good thing and high-insulin is a bad thing. There are certain times where you do want high-insulin (like right after your workout), but you usually want to keep it as low as possible. Cinnamon helps you do that. Adding cinnamon to anything INSTANTLY reduces the insulin spike from eating your meal. I cannot stress how incredibly powerful that is.
And the final reason you should be eating cinnamon is… IT’S EASY!! I titled this blog Simple Man Fitness because I wanted to show people that it’s not as hard as you think to live a healthier lifestyle. This is a PERFECT example. You can add it to so many foods to enhance not only the nutritional value, but the taste as well! Some foods I like to sprinkle cinnamon on include: Oatmeal, whole wheat toast, yogurt, protein shakes, bagels (slice a banana and add the cinnamon on top = heaven), and in my morning cup of coffee (if you haven’t tried putting a cinnamon stick in your coffee, you are seriously missing out).
So to what foods do you like to add cinnamon? I would love to hear your ideas and/or recipes!
I hope you find this information both enlightening and empowering. If you do, please show some love and spread the word. Let’s build a community that makes looking and feeling great simple. It is my firm belief that simplicity is the key to effectiveness. Together, we can do this.
Yours in health,
“So I’m doing this new workout…”
If I had a dime for every time I heard this phrase, I’d own an island with a private jet to fly me back and forth to civilization. Seriously! Some quick insight to my personal life- my dad says this phrase almost weekly. Every week he tells me, “Doug, I’ve got a new routine. Yep, I think I’m gonna stick to this one for a while”. Cut to a week later, “Well I went to a new workout…”. Not everyone changes THAT often, but my dad is the epitome of what I want to talk about in this article.
The biggest thing to remember when selecting a workout routine is that it doesn’t matter WHAT you do, it’s HOW you do it. This can actually be said for many things in life, but I digress. The diet rollercoaster gets a lot of publicity, but I guarantee you that the workout rollercoaster has just as many (if not more) visitors. The key to ANY workout routine is INTENSITY. Whether you’re doing bodyweight plyometrics or max-effort olympic lifts, you’re training must be INTENSE. You can have a workout drawn up by Mr. Olympia himself, follow it to an absolute “T” (exact sets, exact rest periods, blah, blah), eat exactly everything you’re supposed to… and get ZERO results. On the flipside, you can absolutely wing it and get AMAZING results. Want proof? Look at CrossFit. See any 3-day or 4-day splits? See any muscle groups being trained on specific days or even in a specific order? Nope. Yet people get amazing results. Why? It promotes INTENSITY. They force you to combine cardiovascular exercise and full body movements into every workout. These activities, by nature, are harder (read: more intense) than isolation exercises. Think about it… What makes you breathe harder- a dumbell curl, or a squat?
On a related note… Whatever exercise routine you decide to do, stick with it. If you change your routine every week you’re body will never have a chance to identify the challenge and get stronger. Yes, you should change up your routine every 6-8 weeks to give your body new challenges, but any sooner than that and you’re cheating yourself out of great gains. To give you a little insight into how the body works, it’s much like a college student. When a college student starts a new class, the first few weeks are confusing. The brain is strained harder, and the student feels more stressed than usual. In your workouts, this stress and strain comes in the form of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, or DOMS. The next phase is adaptation. The student starts to understand the material, and begins to absorb the information. In exercise, this comes in the form of GAINS. Whether it’s losing weight, gained muscle, or increased endurance. Towards the end of the quarter, the student starts to get really comfortable with the material and can handle assignments with relative ease. In exercise, think about the “end of the quarter” as weeks 6-8. Your mind and muscles have learned the new movements, and your body can “relax” a little more to complete the exercises you need it do.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen that analogy used, but hopefully it makes sense. The point is… DO SOMETHING. STICK WITH IT. HAVE INTENSITY. With the right intensity, you can actually stretch those 6-8 week periods to 10-12 week periods. I will be writing another post in the near future focusing more on increasing intensity, but for now just work hard. If you’re not straining at least a little bit, you are probably doing yourself a disservice. You’re going to be at the gym either way, you might as well get something out of it.
I’d like to extend a greeting to my readers to comment and get involved in the conversation. What are your thoughts and/or experiences? What questions do you have? What would you like to hear more about? Please leave a comment below, I’d love to hear from you!
Yours in health,
Simple Man’s Nutrition
The biggest complaint about eating healthy, is not having enough time. My answer to that is simple… Why do you need time? Yes, if you want to be an absolute nutrition rock star, you will have to prepare your meals in advance. But much like actual rock stars, we all can’t be one. So if you know that you have no intention of ever becoming a rock star, does that mean you shouldn’t learn how to play guitar? If you’re not going to compete against Michael Phelps in the Olympics, does that mean you shouldn’t learn how to swim? My point is, you don’t have to be perfect to live healthier.
With so many restaurants offering “lighter-fare” menus nowadays, it’s actually never been easier to eat healthy. Ideally you should choose a sandwich shop whenever possible, but even if you’re a fast-food junkie it can be done. And the choices are simple. Instead of driving through Wendy’s and ordering a triple cheeseburger with fries and a coke, order a grilled chicken sandwich with no dressing and an unsweet tea (you can sweeten it with splenda) – voila, you just saved about 800 calories. Maybe you didn’t hear me… EIGHT. HUNDRED. CALORIES. And you didn’t even have to die your hair green and put it in a Mohawk.
The rest of your choices really don’t need to be much more difficult than the above example. I’ve listed a few general tips below, and if you follow them, I guarantee you’ll realize that being healthy isn’t as difficult and time-consuming as you once thought.
- Dressings are diet-killers. Whenever you are eating out, ask for yellow mustard on your sandwich (calorie-free!). If you are having a salad or sauce covered-entrée, ask for dressing on the side and find out what type of “light” dressings they have. And when they do bring the sauce out, just pour half of the container instead of the whole thing.
- If you are addicted to Starbucks, it’s ok. I’m with you. Simply order your normal drink, but ask them to make it “skinny”. They will use skim milk and sugar-free syrup, saving you 300-400 calories depending on the size.
- Order lean meats whenever possible, and never anything breaded. Turkey and grilled chicken are the best choices, but if you’re in the mood for some red meat make it a sirloin steak instead of a greasy burger. Spend the extra $3, you’re worth it. You’ll be more satisfied, and you’ll save in the neighborhood of 40g of fat. FORTY GRAMS!!
- For the love of God… Give up soda. There is nothing good that can come of it. For every can you drink, it’s 180 empty calories and a lecture from your dentist about the damage it’s doing to your teeth. Opt for a sobe lifewater, vitamin water zero, powerade zero, or unsweet tea (with splenda, of course). They taste great, and they’re calorie – and cavity – free.
- Instead of candy bars when you need something sweet, try a protein or fiber bar. There are so many options out there, you’re bound to find something you like. A few of my personal favorites are kellog’s fiber plus bars, zone bars, and muscle milk RTD shakes.
These are just a few tidbits I use every day, I hope they help you as well. Remember, eating healthy is only as difficult as you make it. You don’t have to spend hours preparing meals or eat tasteless food. Make simple choices, and use common sense.
Yours in health,
Welcome to Simple Man Fitness.
I created this site to help people live a healthier lifestyle, and reach those “impossible” fitness goals. On a daily basis, I hear and see people struggle to make healthy choices and debate the latest diet and exercise trends. I could preach a sermon on this, but I want to keep this introductory post short and to the point. My goal with this blog is to make living a healthy lifestyle (and having the body you’ve always wanted) easy and achievable.
Join me, and I’ll prove to you it’s not as hard as you think.
Yours in health,