Archive for the 'Health' Category

Collective Fitness Wisdom

Collective Fitness Wisdom from people I have trained with who are in great shape naturally! zentofitness.com

Father and Son

Scott Ableman

This list of bullet points is compiled from tips and advice I have picked up over the years from people I have met at gym’s or while training who were in great shape without being obsessed with their training. It was a mind opening experience digging these up from my memory, hope you find a few things you can put to use.

-All the people I know who are in great shape, with athletic and muscular physiques do not pay much attention to eating regularly. They eat when they are hungry and usually have about 3 meals a day. Most even skip breakfast.

-They all do  heavy compound exercises like Squats, Bench Presses, and Military Presses

-Most go running or jogging

-Body weight exercises like dips, chins and pushups are staples of their training regimes

-Eating wholefoods is important to them. They may not know much about nutrition, but they know enough to stay away from McDonalds and other junk.

-Most don’t use any supplements except for a Multi-Vitamin and the occasional scoop of Whey

Coffee is pre-workout and morning fuel

-Bananas are good in their opinion, and most seemed to eat lots

-Nearly all participated in a sport regularly whether it be soccer, tennis or martial arts

-All the bigger guys did body part splits and demolished each body part once or twice a week

-The guys is the best shape trained for 4-5 hours a week in total

-None were vegetarians but most did not care about their intake of protein

-The bigger guys were all fairly strong but nothing extraordinary

-They all lived life with training thrown in, not training with life thrown in

-Most go out and drink/eat socially a few times a week

-At least 5 people have told me their best fat loss has come from jogging on an empty stomach with going to bed slightly hungry

While I know some people who look great may have good genetics to thank but I think they all have value worth taking out of what they do. Remeber this site has officially moved to:

http://zentofitness.com

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5 reasons to take your Coffee black

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Black as the devil, hot as hell, pure as an angel, sweet as love.

Charles Maurice de Talleyrand 

Its a rare sight to see someone drinking their coffee black these days especially with all the Starbucks on every corner people tend to lean towards cappa and frappa cino’s!

Here are five reasons to drink your coffee black

1. Learn the taste of real coffee.

When you have a milk based coffee it is hard to appreciate and recognize the notes of the actual coffee bean all that can be tasted is the slight bitterness of the coffee. Drinking coffee black allows you to pickup of the subtle differences from bean to bean and different roasts. You will be surprised how diverse the flavors can be from fruity and chocolate to oaky and floral.

It is a nice thing to be able to appreciate coffee for what it really. You will find that once you enjoy drinking black coffee you will take pleasure in picking and choosing your own blends in supermarkets or specialist coffee shops.

2. Do it for your health;

Black coffee is calorie and sugar free, it contains fiber and we know that regular consumption of coffee decreases the risk of type II diabetes:

Scientists tracked 41,934 men from 1986 to 1998 and 84,276 women from 1980 to 1998. These were free of diabetes, cancer, or cardiovascular disease at baseline. Coffee consumption was assessed every 2 to 4 years through validated questionnaires. What did they find?

These investigators documented 1333 new cases of type 2 diabetes in men and 4085 new cases in women. The authors found an inverse association between coffee intake and type 2 diabetes after adjustment for age, body mass index, and other risk factors. In other words, those who drank the most coffee tended to have the least risk of diabetes. Even more intriguing, total caffeine intake from coffee and other sources was associated with a statistically significantly lower risk for diabetes in both men and women; meaning that decaffeinated coffee may not be as good for you as the caffeine-filled. The author’s concluded that the “data suggest that long-term coffee consumption is associated with a statistically significantly lower risk for type 2 diabetes.”

What more could you ask for? when drinking your coffee black you get all this with no excess calories.

3. Mental and Physical Energy

By drinking Americano’s, Expresso’s and other black coffee you will get the energizing effect and mental clarity far quicker as there is no milk/cream/soy in the coffee to slow its absorption and dull down the effects. This makes Black coffee before exercise work as a great performance enhancer as has been proven in several studies.

Caffeine is the most versatile and effective ergogenic aid (i.e. something that enhances exercise performance). A prominent exercise physiologist, David Costill, Ph.D., performed the ground-breaking study on caffeine and exercise 26 years ago! He took nine competitive cyclists (two females and seven males) and had them bike until exhaustion at 80% of V02 max. (Note: V02 max, also known as maximal oxygen uptake, is a measure of how well you cardiopulmonary system functions).

Each subject consumed coffee containing 330 mg of caffeine 60 min before the exercise or a placebo (decaffeinated coffee). Following the ingestion of caffeine, the subjects were able to perform an average of 90 minutes of cycling as compared to an average of 76 minutes in the placebo trial. This reflects an 18% increase! They also found that subjects burned more fat (aka lipolysis) as shown by measurements of plasma free fatty acids, glycerol and respiratory exchange ratios. In fact, fat oxidation or burning was significantly higher (107% greater) during the caffeine trial (118 g or 1.31 g/min) than in the placebo trial (57 g or 0.75 g/min). Also, the perception of effort was much less in subjects after consuming subjects indicating that exercise felt easier.

4. Its Easy to Make

All you need is some ground coffee and a french press or a stovetop percolator and you are good to go, leaving you flexible to brew up a great coffee before a workout or during your mid afternoon slump.

Great post on using a French Press

How to brew with a StoveTop Expresso Maker

Or if your feeling adventurous and want a strong coffee look into brewing Turkish Coffee.

You will soon find that brewing your own coffee is a very relaxing and rewarding experience and look forward to brewing up a fresh coffee for breakfast or before a workout.

5. Its CHEAP

Ever had a look at what the cheapest coffee at Starbucks is, you guessed it Black Coffee. This is the case at any coffee shop. As well as this brewing a good cup of straight coffee will be your cheapest option at home so you will save money in all walks of life. I can get a small bag of freshly ground beans at my local wholefoods for around $2-3 which will last me about 8 coffee’s in a french press thats about 3 coffee’s for $1 and that’s 3 of the best!

So to stay in great shape learn to appreciate your coffee the way we are meant to, start drinking black coffee.

Practicing what I preach: How I stayed fit on Holiday

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After my recent blog post on staying fit while traveling or working I had to put it to good use on a holiday to the south of France in which I indulged in wine, expresso’s and the french Riviera lifestyle, whilst keeping/improving my physical shape.

Workouts

I decided the best plan of action was to do a short fasted (Check out my post on fasted workouts) workout most mornings, the views in the cote d’azur were stunning so jogging was a must but I worked in some crossfit style WOD’s to improve time efficiency and keep my muscles toned. The mornings were the best time to workout as it was still relatively cool and gave me the whole day to do as I pleased. Some examples of my workouts;

  • 10 minute run- Stopped by the sea did pushups/lifted rocks and went for a swim (10 minutes) – 10 minute run back to the hotel.
  • Warm-up run 5-10 minutes – Circuit of Pushups/ Pullups (on a tree branch)/ jumping squats – Cool down walk back to hotel (10 minutes)
  • Run 400m/15 Burpees and 15 Dips (on handrails) repeat 3 times
These were all done fasted with an expresso before hand. On days when my legs were feeling tired I would do the less running based workouts and days I indulged too much the night before I would go for more slow paced running workouts to sweat it out. They also allowed me to take in the beautiful scenery and inhale the fresh sea air, I managed to work out most mornings but on occasions I listened to my body and took a day off.
I also managed to keep active at the beach by playing volley ball, swimming and walking a lot, this definitely helped me keep burning fat and pushed my energy flux up while having fun at the beach.
Motivation
I’ll admit it some morning the last thing I wanted to do was exercise, but sometimes you just got to hit the road, trust me you will always feel better after your done. Here are some great resources for inspiration and motivation to workout:
Diet
Sticking to a good wholesome diet was not hard in the south of France, in fact if you enjoy good food its pretty simple there was abundance of fresh fruit from the region including amazing local apricots/figs and plums. The diet in France is similar to that of Italy with less of an influence on pasta and pizza.
  • Most mornings I would break my fast with provincial fruit and a small piece of local cheese with coffee. This was a perfect breakfast as it kept me light but allowed me to enjoy the local fresh food offerings.
  • Lunch would usually be a salad from the region usually a Nicoise which is full of good stuff like olives, anchovies, eggs and tuna. This would be complimented with a glass or two of wine and washed down with an expresso.
  • Dinner was when I would usually indulge as I was usually in a social environment and also wanted to enjoy what the restaurants had to offer, this included anything from excellent pizza’s some nights to superb grilled meat and roasted vegetables other nights. Other nights I would enjoy the local/fresh  baguette with a selection of cheese’s and charcuterie with wine which has various benefits or a few beers.
  • Snacks would usually be an apple or few apricots.
Dining on holiday should never be a time to deprive yourself, just make good choices enjoy what the culture has to offer and eat well.
Supplements
This was pretty simple I packed some good multi-vitamins and some magnesium citrate and took them daily. Although I didn’t take fish oil I tried to eat oily fish daily which seemed to keep me supple. I also used Vitamin C and Rhodiola Rosea for times I had been out late and drunk a few too many glasses of wine and woke up feeling tired.
Oh and some sun screen!
In a Nut Shell
Doing these simple things allowed me to keep in great shape throughout my holiday while having an awesome time socializing with friends and family, don’t forget this is the most important thing about holidays and it can easily be merged with your lifestyle without depriving yourself of what your surroundings have to offer. In fact I found my healthy habits allowed me to experience and get the most out of the local culture.

Magnesium Supplementation

Magnesium is essential and the fourth most abundant mineral in our body, it helps maintain normal muscle and nerve function in our bodies. I have found it to be an essential supplement in order for myself to feel calm and relaxed it cured anxiety for me and I feel it is an essential supplement everyone should take. Continue reading ‘Magnesium Supplementation’

How to keep fit while Traveling/Working

How to keep fit while Traveling/Working

Fitness and Nutrition while on Holiday/Travelling harder than we come to expect, staying in shape during these times can be a test of will and dedication. I have picked up the following tips that helped me keep in shape during my busiest periods;

-Eat a light breakfast or fast if you do not exercise that morning. Usually I will get up and get going picking up a black coffee en route followed by some fresh fruit/nuts and cold water. This normally keeps me full until midday time if I haven’t exercised. Plus it keeps me mentally sharp and feeling light. If I do exercise that morning I will have a more substantial breakfast around 1 hour after the workout something along the lines of some eggs/bacon and fruit or a high fiber breakfast like yoghurt, nuts and berries.

-If I go out for a big dinner where I overeat I will normally skip breakfast and just drink water especially if I had substantial fats and red meat in the evening meal. Our bodies are very efficient at conserving proteins and therefore we are fine to cleanse in the morning. This depends of course on how you feel in the morning just listen to your hunger.

Drink Coffee this stuff is amazing it helps me keep focused whilst giving me a mood boost. Not to mention its health benefits and cleansing properties. Make it black and have it while your on an empty stomach. First thing in the morning is a great time as it will boost your metabolism and get you feeling good for the day.

Improvise with your workouts; Go for short runs with sprints and jumping squats mixed in, do pull-ups in playgrounds and do loads of pushups (Put some books in a backpack to add weight to these), Use your suitcase as a weight. Keep your workouts short and intense and play as much as you can.

Want a $10 (or less) gym? Buy a used backpack. Now do sets of 10 reps for 3 sets of pushups, pullups, lunges (up a hill), 1 legged squats and put weights/sand/water/books in the backpack. No excuse not to workout, adjust weights as needed….and if you really want some fun, hold the weighted backpack over your head while you lunge up a hill (disclaimer – my version of fun may be different from yours).

Try to explore by renting bike’s or going for Jog’s if your in a new city.

Don’t get too tied up with what you eat! often its out of control we need to socialize and that may mean eating pizza, ice cream, cake whatever. Just try to eat wholesome foods 80% of the time and eat what life throws at you for the other 20%. If you feel guilty about eating something DON’T just workout a little bit harder the next day, to burn off the extra glycogen stores you built up. I usually find after an evening of bad eating my will to eat well and exercise is far stronger.

Enjoy the Fresh Local things. I always find that when traveling the best foods are always things like the local fruits and vegetables or cheese’s so enjoy these things. They are great for you and are something you won’t be able to get again at home.

Eat when your hungry. I mean really hungry not at a small hunger pang. Stick to whole foods when possible, a great post about this is at the modern forager.

-Take a good Multi-vitamin and and Cod Liver Oil. Also keep Zinc Lozenges (Gluconate) at hand for times when your tired or starting to feel run down. These are essential supplements and are needed to bolster the immune system while traveling.

-If you have a big dinner with drinks (wine/beer) etc and over indulge go for a quick run fasted in the morning, this will help flush the toxins out of your body and burn up last nights food. This is a great time to exercise while traveling as it leaves you with the rest of the day to do what you want.

-Remember to keep your brain fit. When travelling you have less distractions and more time to read. Don’t let this oppurtunity slip, remember;

This time next year the only things that will change are the books you read and the people you meet 

Finally Enjoy the journey have fun, try new things and keep fit. At times it will seem hard to go for a workout or run but you will always feel better afterwards.

Great Article on Nutrition and recovery

From the New York Times a must read:

NY Times on Recovery Nutrition

Also a superb article from Project Fit IF Life Blog just cropped up. Important lessons for living simply!

What I’ve been reading this week….

Some really good stuff on the net check it out;

5 Things your missing

Am I a Food Elitist? are you?

Q&A with Dalai Lama

Best way to cook your veggies?

Enjoy!