Product Review: Dymatize Nutrition Elite Protein Powder

white powder of whey protein

For awhile now, and especially that I now have clients, people have been asking me what supplements to take, or if they should take them at all. And while I do recommend most people get their vitamins, minerals, and the like from food, I also realize not everyone can do that. So, without much more of a conversation about why or why not supplements should be taken, I am going to start recommending supplements I use and/or think would be useful if you are not able to get all your nutrients with foods.

My first recommendation might not be for everyone, as it is probably more sexy to the bodybuilding crowd, but that being said, it isn’t just for guys who want to get muscles in the gym. Protein powders have become the new and fast way (you’ll be seeing puns to that word in a minute) to build muscle and get the necessary protein intake for your activity and fat burning needs.

 My Whey Protein Recommendation

Most protein powders out there these days are full of crap. Being someone with a background in holistic health, I can tell you that at the end of the day, you can pull just about any protein powder off the shelve and I’ll probably tell you it is garbage. That is why I thought it was important to do some research, mostly for myself now that I use protein powder again, to find one that isn’t full of unnecessary, potentially harmful chemicals. After a couple of weeks, I finally found one that I like and also recommend to anyone looking to add additional protein sources to their eating lifestyle. I first bought this whey protein from Amazon because it had the lowest price, and now I continually buy from them because the price is always the lowest I can find. Here is the one I buy Dymatize Nutrition Elite Gourmet Protein, French Vanilla, 5 Pound. If the 5lb one is just too much for you, and for beginners it probably is, you can find the smaller 2lb version here Dymatize Nutrition Elite Whey Shake, Gourmet Vanilla, 2 Pound.

Scale of Awesomeness

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Overall:4/5

When it comes to what you are going to spend on protein powder, which if you are new is not much, you really can’t go wrong with Dymatize. There are very few protein powders you can get for less than $30 that are not full of crap and eventually really bad for you. The flavor is great and really accurate, especially vanilla. The texture can be a bit chalky if you don’t blend it, but that goes away with a good blend in your post workout shake (or if you are like me you are just used to it and it isn’t a big deal).

Taste: 4/5

Dymatize really nail their flavors down pat. When it comes to the vanilla, it really can’t be beat. I’ve tried a lot of vanilla flavors (8 to be exact) and this is the best one I have had that doesn’t have a load of processed, artificial flavors.

Texture: 3/5

This is the lowest rating on the review, but it has nothing to do with how I like the texture. When I do texture ratings, I let my girlfriend do it because she has the most sensitive tongue known to man. I love the texture of this protein powder, but if it doesn’t pass her nazi like rating scale, I don’t think it would be fair to rate it high.

Value: 5/5

There are very few protein powders you can get for less than $30 that are not full of crap and eventually really bad for you. Most protein powders with this ingrident list would cost much, much more. I like to think I found a steal, as most protein powders use soy lectin to bind their powders. The fact that Dymatize doesn’t made me an instant buyer.

The Names Facts, Supplements Facts

5lb Version

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So Why Vanilla?

As you have probably noticed, both the flavors I recommend are vanilla. Why is that? Am I just a flavor nazi who is bland and, well, vanilla? I wish it was that easy. Actually the reason I recommend vanilla is because vanilla flavors tend to have less artificial crap in them, as a lot of flavoring enhancers are made with stuff I wouldn’t like to put in my body. I’m sure if you are aware about dyes and the like, you know that in the long run it is probably better to stay away from them. That being said, I couldn’t resist the cinnamon flavor they had in stock the first time I ordered from Amazon. I do order it from time to time because I am addicted to cinnamon rolls.

A Little History on Whey Protein in Case You are Curious

Whey protein used to be a byproduct of cheese manufacturing. Yep, it used to be waste aka thrown to the pig feed. But after farmers started noticing the effects it had on the pigs physique (most notably the muscle tone), some scientists came out and asked what they were feeding their pigs. Turned out that the whey (or whaste. See I told you I would make puns) proteins were excellent sources of easily digestible protein and aided in muscle tone and growth. Within a few years, when sports nutrition came onto the scene, marketers went hog wide (geez, I am full of these today). Literally every supplement company started selling whey and it boomed.Thing is, it is often over hyped. Yes, it aids in muscle building, and yes it is great post workout. But it isn;t going to turn you into the Hulk, and no ladies it isn’t going to turn you into a chunky, block looking creature with huge traps. Just wanted to settle that.

Here are links to the products mentioned above if you are interested in purchasing them

Dymatize Nutrition Elite Whey Protein Powder, Gourmet Vanilla, 5 Pound
Dymatize Nutrition Elite Whey Shake, Gourmet Vanilla, 2 Pound

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Update and News for the Future of CCH

Howdy Folks,

In the coming days, I will be moving my blog to an official website. Yes, I have grown up and discovered the world of owning your own website. While wordpress has been great, I really need more customizable features, plugins, and the like to use this for business. That being said, I will still have a page on my site for my blog until everything is transferred over correctly. Be ready for the site by next week, September 10th. You can view it here (dont go there yet though cause it is a black hole)

In the meantime of all that, I have started doing interviews and the like about health and wellness on a site called Blab. It is really new and exciting and a lot of fun. You can check it out here.

For those of you who want to listen to my interviews and all but don’t want to sit at your computer, or have the inability to watch video, I saved the audio and uploaded it to Soundcloud. See below

Alright, now that all the news stuff is out of the way, I got to go eat and be productive. Till next time!

Mr. Busy

 

Beyond the Numbers: Why Diet & Exercise isn’t Enough

For a long time now my viewpoint on health has been relatively simple: eat better, move more, lose weight. Not very interesting. That idea isn’t new anymore, nor is it that impressive either. If you already know diet and exercise will help you lose weight, raise your hand (waits for everyone’s hand to go up). See, you already knew. I realized that this piece of advice wasn’t impressive after meeting with two new clients in a day and evaluating their diet journals respectively. Yes, there were some foods on there I wouldn’t recommend eating daily, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t eat out on Friday’s or have desserts from time to time myself. So what did they need me for? They know what they “should” be eating, and they know they should be moving more. Why did they hire me?

Accountability and structure.

This was new to me. It was an aspect of health I didn’t have much experience in because I never had that problem during my own journey. To me not making progress was enough motivation to “follow procedure” and stay on my plan. Very quickly I learned that making an investment in something, both financially and personally, for a lot of people meant they would adhere more to the plan. So I shifted my focus on making people accountable. That was pretty easy after the first weeks because people like me. They want to do good by me. So that wasn’t enough. And for some, they needed more. Very quickly I jumped even further into the psychology beyond the numbers. What I started to realize shocked me. I mean, I knew it existed, but to the extent it exist was something, at the time, I didn’t really know. People really don’t need a personal trainer as much as they need a psychologist, and they don’t an exercise plan as much as they need a massage. And that isn’t a slight at them, it is my honest opinion as someone who has been there to a degree.as well. Currently, this is psychological component is beyond my scope. And that is exciting. In fact, it is beyond exciting. It means there is more to learn (though I already knew this) and now I have a focus on what that learning should be.

Tweet: People really don’t need an exercise plan as much as they need a massage.

But don’t get me wrong. Exercise and proper nutrition is still very important. It is the road we want to be on 80% of the time. That being said, a lot of people do not know how to get to that road. They know it exists, they know they want to be on it, but they need guidance and support on getting there. The personal trainer of the 21st century will need more than a library of exercises and nutrition plans, however customized, to be successful long term in the fitness industry. While these skills are very useful, and still very much needed, the understanding of psychology, or in other words how to get people on the right path and keep them there, is much more useful, and much more valuable in my personal opinion, than what workout or nutrition plan they can provide.

In the coming weeks, I will be doing a series of posts more related to the psychology of eating and exercise, and how these steps are much more critical to long term success in health and wellness.

Liebster Award

Thank you to Scarlet, who blogs at 28 and Counting…, for nominating me. I was pleasantly surprised to learn about the Liebster Award by receiving it! My understanding of the award is that it helps new bloggers (with under 200 followers or so) connect and promote each other. It also adds a bit of fun, motivation, and encouragement for newbies.

The Liebster Award Rules

Link back to the person who nominated you
Answer the questions given to you by the nominator
Nominate up to 11 other bloggers with less than 200 followers
Create 11 questions for the nominees
Notify all nominees via social media/blogs
My Answers to Kaitlynn’s Questions

What is your ultimate motivation to living a healthy, balanced lifestyle?

Honestly, it was not to be fat when I was younger. In my high school years I had the idea that my girlfriend broke up with me because I was fat (I really wasn’t), because she ended up dating a skinner guy after me. That’s where it all started. Current day though, it is to live a happier and fuller life.

What is the best advice you have ever received about something that was incredibly important to you/or just about life in general?

The best advice that comes to might is to not let your head (mind) drag you too far into anything. Most the time our minds try to reason with us with rational. But the nature of the mind is fleeting. It is smarter to listen to your gut and heart.

What do you hope to achieve with your blog?

Bring people together, honestly. I feel like my blog is more a platform for my unique voice. With that as a guiding light, I hope to bring people together and make them more aware of the importance of their health and how to make a better life for themselves

What is one thing your readers don’t know about you?

I’m pretty stubborn. I want things a certain way for me, but you can do whatever you want haha. To some that comes off as selfish. But if you really knew me, you’d know I care more for other people than I care about myself sometimes. So the stubbornness comes from a place of passion, not hatred.

Who would you say your role model is and why?

Since I knew about him, my role model has been Paul Chek. He has taught me so much, even outside the scope of health and wellness. I still compare what I do with my life to his lessons. I use his teachings more as a guideline than a measuring tool. That being said, I consider him to be the highest level of “health” and a true leader in all things health and wellness.

What is your favorite Disney movie?

God, just one!? Probably Alladin

If you had to make a new years resolution for 2016 right now, what would it be?

Be self employed and making twice, if not three times, what I am making now.

What has been your toughest obstacle you had to overcome and how did you conquer it?

It is kind of two fold. But first, being myself. Allowing myself to fail, look stupid, be wrong, and not let it affect my overall mindset. Second is socializing. I still have a hard time in groups, or speaking in front of people, but I see progress daily and thats what I focus on.

What is your greatest fear?

Public Speaking, hands down. It will probably be my greatest strength one day too. Just watch.

How many times do you hit the snooze button?

Never. If I do, I lose a client. If that isn’t motivation enough then you might as well give up now.

What’s your favorite quote?

I can’t remember the exact quote, but it goes like “Everything you want in life is sitting on the other side of fear.”

I Nominate…

Gains Lifestyle

emmaascherfitness

Lizzie Carver

Truthseeker247

My Questions for my Nominees

What age did you realize your dream job/purpose in life?

Have you ever been laid off and what lesson did it teach you?

What is one book you could read the rest of your life?

Name one moment you will always remember?

Name three things you would do with a million dollar

If you could change one thing about the world forever going forward, what would it be?

Unsaturated Oils: Are Vegetable Oils the Hidden Cause of Diabetes?

Are vegetable oils bad for us? Contrary to popular belief, and what we have been told over the last 30 years, vegetable oils are actually harmful to our bodies.

If this is true, what’s the reason behind it? “Give me a history lesson.” Okay, I will.

During World War II, when all of the tropics was considered enemy territory, the U.S. was cut off completely from products bought in those countries, most notably coconuts. Up until then, coconut oil was used heavily as a cooking oil due to how easy it was to use, and how it seemed to be able to withstanded high heat. This made it really easy to use in frying food, or in cooking foods like vegetables to soften them and add them to a nice steak dinner. Well, with that option eliminated for the time being, the US had to find a way to keep the demand for cooking oils high while supply was low. So scientists set out to come up with an alternative oil. Thus, vegetable oils were invented. What companies that used to coconut oil realized was that it was much cheaper to produce these vegetable oils than to important and use coconut oil, making the profit much higher than before. When World War II ended, the U.S. did not go back to importing and using as much of coconut oil as before. Why would they? They had found a more profitable option.

Time travel 50 years from then, and we are now finding out that vegetable oils, in the quantity we use today, are actually pretty harmful to our body. Vegetable oils become rancid at high temperatures. Considering a high temperature for vegetable oil is anything higher than around 80 degrees, this includes cooking in just about any capacity, and especially in the human body (which runs somewhere between 96-98 degrees). When rancidity takes place, it damages our cells. This eventually leads to cells that cannot perform normal tasks, including processing glucose. If glucose cannot be processed at the cell level, all other tissues suffer, thus leading to immune damage and inflammation.

How does this tie into diabetes? If a cell is damaged and cannot process glucose in the body, that glucose stays free floating in the bloodstream, prolonging circulation and thus keeping insulin spiked for longer. This puts a lot of stress on the cells and the body to find a way to deal with the excess of glucose in the body (again, because the cell could not process glucose efficiently).

So how do we correct this condition? Simple, balance out your Omega 6 (unsaturated fat) to Omega 3 (saturated fat) ratio.

Other than vegetable oils, other sources of unsaturated fat are: nuts, seeds, peanuts, safflower oil, soy and soybean oils. Sources of saturated fats are: coconuts, coconut oil, most dairy, butter, eggs,
cheese and meat.

Why Depression is Important: Understanding the Why and Taking Action

Watch on Youtube: Why Depression is Important…

I have viewed depression differently for some time now. By differently, I mean I don’t see acute depression as a bad thing. And chronic depression is really just prolonged acute depression. So at the end of the day they are the same. But my viewpoint wasn’t always this way. For a long time, I saw my depression as a symptom of inadequacy. Through my teen years, and even into my early twenties, I felt out of place in society, and that fueled my depression for many years. I am sure many of you have also felt this way at some time or another.

So What Changed?

How did I go from someone who was depressed constantly to how I view it now?

For about ten years now, I have sought out different mentors. Some came from connections of other mentors, and some came from research. As a whole, what those mentors taught me was two important ideas, if I had to boil them down. They are:

  1. Depression is not a permanent condition. It can be changed.
  2. Depression is rarely viewed as a form of guidance, and instead a viewed as a nuisance .

To capitalize on those two ideas, depression is also your friend. That is right, you read that correctly. I’ll put it to you this way. Imagine you couldn’t feel physical pain. So someone could cut you with a knife, and you wouldn’t feel anything.  Now imagine someone stabs you in the gut. Eventually, you are going to bleed out. But if you don’t feel it, how will you know you were stabbed (I know you probably would know, since a stabbing is usually pretty violent, but go a long with me here). The pain felt is used there so you know, “I need to fix this or I could die.”

Depression Works in the Same Way

When you are depressed, that is your soul and heart telling you, “I need to fix this, this is not good.” The difference with the two scenarios is you can’t last very long if you are bleeding out, whereas you can be depressed for years, even decades, before it kills you. If depression was like being stabbed, more people would pay attention to it.

The best way to view depression is as a warning sign. Most the time, even when the issue is addressed, depression can last for a good week. Let is ride it’s way out. Don’t try to fight depression. By trying to fight depression, you are effectively wasting time being mad with it instead of trying to understand the why of the depression.

The last time I was depressed, I quickly uncovered the reason. It had nothing to do with any secret yoga, spiritual mind stuff. I just simply didn’t fight it. Instead, I focused on what was causing my depression, and did the best I could knowing what I did at that time to address it. Sometimes depression is hard to take care of, and sometimes it takes months and years (my most recent depressive episode took 6 years to finally make sense). But it can always be addressed. And addressing the issue is 10x better than leaving it unknown, even if there is little you can do right away to fix the problem.

To recap, depression is natural. It happens to all of us. Listen to how depression makes you feel and find the “why” in what makes you depressed. Understand that depression is a teacher. It is created by a part of yourself that cares about you so much that it needs to get your attention in this way. Focus on addressing the reason behind the depression. Once addressed, take small steps toward correcting the issue. If your job makes you depressed, work slowly to find a better job. If a relationship is causing you stress and causes you to feel depressed, move out of it or work on it with your partner. Address and act. Learn from what depression teaches you. If you listen, it will guide you away from chronic sadness and anxiety.

Cheating: Why There is Nothing Wrong With Having Multiple Partners

Main Points:

  • The concept of cheating in a relationship is more an issue of willpower than anything else
  • “Your spouse drove you to cheat,” is a childish way to look at your own shortcomings
  • There is nothing wrong with having multiple partners when done respectfully
  • Criticizing women for sleeping around while letting men have a free pass is close minded

Don’t Blame Your Spouse for Cheating

When it comes to cheating, men probably do it more than women. That’s my guess, cause I’m not really in the mood to look up statistics.  That being said, in the past I have purposefully avoided relationships because of how limiting they are in regard to meeting new women (that includes flirting). So, I get it. And as someone who has never cheated, but felt the full effect of the desire to want to do so, I can safely say that cheating is not about being driven to do so by your spouse. And if that is your excuse, you are pathetic.

There really is nothing wrong with having multiple partners. The negative connotation comes from consequences, such as disease and pregnancy. But that doesn’t make having multiple partners is inherently bad. If you have ever heard the comment, “she is a whore,” or “he sleeps with everyone,” you probably thought negatively about that person. But it likely wasn’t cause you were worried he/she would get a disease. Maybe for women you are worried she might get pregnant if you are a friend. But with birth control and all these other contraceptives now, that is hardly an issue that can’t be taken care of even after the fact with something like Plan B. The real reason you are shaming said person for having multiple partners is an insignificant notion that sleeping with multiple people is wrong. And that is simply your own ideology, not a fact of life. And that is because there are really no rules to how you should live your life. If you have multiple partners, and are respectful about it (like getting STDs screenings, and the like), you really aren’t doing anyone any harm.

Bandaids Don’t Mend Bullet Holes (Thanks Taylor Swift)

So by now the more emotionally driven people, and I am one of them, are probably screaming inside their heads, “But what about hurting the people you are “dating.” Believe me, I hear you. This has happened to me before. You get to know someone. You really like spending time with them, and finally you sleep together. You start wondering what this is now. A few weeks later you ask the person out, and by “out” I mean to be in a relationship, and they break the news that they don’t date, or some other untrue, heartbreaking comment. You start questioning your life. You wonder if you are attractive, maybe it was your breath, or maybe they didn’t like your stuffed animal collection, who knows. Point is, you are hurt and it sucks. But the reality of something not working, and it ending so terribly, is not a reflection of your short comings. 9 times out of 10, it just didn’t workout, and that is okay. Not everyone you find attractive, get along with, or sleep with is going to turn into a relationship of a specific dating caliber. Sometimes all anything amounts to is a one night stand. That applies to jobs, friends, food and the like. Just because it isn’t a long process doesn’t mean it was a failure. The minute you get that out of your head, the better off your mindset will be.

Willpower is something I am starting to realize a lot of people lack. When you work in the health industry, and specifically in exercise and nutrition, you realize that many people are paralyzed by donuts. I’m serious. All willpower goes right out the door. I should start bringing donuts to sales meetings. I don’t know what it is about them. To a guy, a hot woman is like a donut. I’m sure it is similar to women, but I have no way of knowing. But is that the only reason men and women cheat? No. I can’t really say why men and women cheat. I think most men and women know that cheating is wrong, in that they are going to hurt someone they made a commitment to. If anything, cheating hurts because you are essentially breaking a social and emotional contract. And if you are in love with the person, you break the trust you had built with him or her. So why do people cheat if they know this? That’s a good question, which is why I am going to leave it open to interpretation. Leave a comment telling me why you think people cheat. Let’s see what we can come up with.

Exercises for Better Sex: Become a Beast or Beastette in the Bedroom

It is Best Not to Hesitate

When I first thought of writing an article about exercises for better sex, I was scared my mom would disown me. She can be sensitive to this kind of stuff, and she often reads my blog. I can just see her little face cringing as she reads the title.

But yeah, f*** that, I really want to do this, so it is being done.

Up until now, you probably thought exercise and sex weren’t related, other than the act itself. You probably thought the Kama Sutra was the tip of the iceberg. And while I’m sure the Kama Sutra can give you more ideas for positions than you know what to do with, it likely won’t improve your movement, endurance, or strength when carrying out positions such as the Erotic V. (don’t worry, I’m not going to post graphic sex position images. You’re imagination will do a better job anyway).

If you think about the basic role of the male during sex, as only I can experience it, the idea is to generate and execute force for the pleasures of both parties. So, with your imagination, think about a couple of body regions that are used to do this (que Jeopardy music here). Ding! If you guessed anything but the nose, you are right! (if you can think of something fun to do with the nose though, contact me).

Alright, probably a little too general. More specifically, the hips, legs, and most the upper body is used during sex (long way of saying the whole body). To break it down even further, the hips are what generate the force, and the arms and legs are what stabilize the movement (as well as the core, more on that later). Okay, so we got that down. But how do we train in the gym to make sex better?

Understand What Needs to be Worked

Essentially, we want to focus on exercises that increase strength and force production of the hips, as well as increase strength and stabilization of the core, arms, and legs (seeing a pattern yet?). Nothing too fancy here. These exercises require a bit of mobility, but you don’t have to be Yoga Jones to do this workout. Proper warm ups (and by that I mean doing light weight versions of the exercises listed, or just about anything increasing your body temperature), are necessary. That being said, don’t run on the treadmill to warm up. For the love of god.

The Exercises of Sexual Glory

So, there are basically two categories here, with a fun little third thrown in: Strength, Power, and Stability. Most the strength and power exercises will be done with our hips and legs. I only put one exercise for core here because most people do plenty of core work on their own. And to boot, I didn’t put any upper body exercises cause like core, you probably do plenty of that already. Can you tell I have a leg bias? I’ll be sure to include cool pictures so you don’t have to read much.  Hint: The text highlighted in blue are links to videos

Deadlift

If you have ever worked out with me, you know deadlifts are my favorite. They can be cruel though, like the time I took them for granted. Proper heavy deadlift lifts will not only improve your hip hinge, but also strengthen your low back and hamstrings. Other than the kettlebell swing, there is no single better exercise than deadlifts for better thrusting power.

Kettlebell Swings

I like to think of kettlebell swings as the single most important exercise for improving hip power, thus, for our purposes, improving sex. It makes sense. Watch this video and you will probably have a good idea why.

Plank Variations

For the longest time, it has been a feat of pure core stability to hold a plank for a minute. While this is impressive, I don’t see the real world application. Are you creating a human bridge for a school of ducks? Are you applying to be a table at Chilli’s? If not, then a single isolated plank for minutes on end is not useful. It is much better to vary your plank with different types of movements to increase the demand on your stabilizers. Try just a few of these at a time. There are 100. Stick with what you can do and move up gradually.

Barbell Glute Bridge

The Father of Glutes Bret Contreras really turned me on to these. As the name implies, you will be thrusting in what is commonly known as a floor bridge…only you will be thrusting with a barbell. Make sure that you have a towel or something soft wrapped around the part of the bar your hips will be in contact with, as the weight from the bar on your pelvic bone can be uncomfortable.

Single Leg RDLs

I saved my favorite unilateral exercise for last. These can be challenging if you don’t have good balance. Focus less on the amount of weight you use and more on the movement. Some people might be better off, or as a warm up, doing single leg toe touches and progress up to the RDLs.

Top 10 Fitness Mistakes of 2015

You’ve seen it a hundred times, “Top 10 Reasons You Need A Dog,” “5 Reasons Your Relationship Isn’t Working,” “Top 3 Ways to Fall in Love.” I take it you’re thinking, “Great! Finally, someone has the answers,” only to find the information would have been obvious to anyone with half a brain. Thankfully, I am pretty tired of those articles too, which is why I have written actual mistakes people make with fitness, nutrition, and health in general. 

#1 Theory is More Fun Than Practice

Nothing gets you more amped than a new idea. It’s like the first breath of air after being underwater for longer than you expected. You get that rush, it is almost orgasmic. But then what happens– don’t make me pry it out of you– you don’t actually follow through. There is nothing sexy about the mundane, but when it comes to fitness and changing your health, that’s the hard truth. You actually have to get up off your butt and move. Start with a walk, it is better than nothing. Point is get moving.

#2 All Aboard the Hype Train!

I used to do it waaaay back in the day. “Oh cool, a new diet where you eat the twigs of cherry trees after 9:00 pm and that activates fat loss.” Every year someone is grabbed by master marketers and duped into buying some fancy thing that really doesn’t do anything, and for more money than a standard gym membership. Don’t get sold on new ideas. Health is a very old science, and it is basically set in stone. At the end of the day, nutrition and exercise are still the most effective and cost-effective methods for improving your health, period.

#3 The Top of the Fridge is Full of Supplements

I really have nothing against supplements. What I do think is stupid is having 10 different supplements lined up on the top of your fridge like some kind of parade march. No one person needs that many supplements. Food alone could replace half of the supplements people are taking. They are called supplements for a reason, they are to be used in addition to food. I have a protein powder (cause I’m not eating 9 chicken breasts a day), and a greens product (cause I’m not a rabbit), that I use in addition to my nutrition plan. That’s all you really need.

#4 You Aren’t Using Big Muscle Groups

I am happy to say that I am seeing less and less people go to the gym just to do bicep curls. That being said, it still happens. I have no beef with having nice biceps, but they aren’t the cornerstone of a workout plan. At most, you want to do isolation exercises at the end of your workout. Pump out some squats or lunges, then at the end, when you can’t feel the rest of your body, throw in some wide grip bicep curls. Trust me, you’ll be doing the world a huge favor and the pump gods will smile down at you.

#5 Cardio is Your Religion of Choice

Onetime I walked into a gym and had to go back outside to read the sign because I thought I had accidentally walked into a Petco. That’s how many people were on the treadmill. The other day, when I returned to my old gym after 3 years, I saw a guy there who spent an hour and a half on the elliptical 5 days a week. Guess what, he didn’t look any different. Chances are he actually gained more fat. While I am sure some of you are trying to interrupt me through the computer, talking about, “Cardio burns a lot of calories,” what you don’t understand is while cardio does burns a lot of calories while you are doing it, typical cardio only exercises stop burning calories the second you step off the machine. Muscle on the other hand, which is built by resistance training, burns calories around the clock. Would you rather burn more calories with less effort? I know I would! That being said, cardio in addition to weight training is great. Cardio as the cornerstone of your workout routine is not going to get the results you want.

#6 Your Food Quality is S**t

You don’t have to be a liberal bay area loving hippie to have good quality food. The food also doesn’t need to be organic (but if you can afford it, and on top of that find a local farmer, by all means, do it!). The dirt in your front lawn, barring mouth feel, is better than any fast food joint you have for lunch most days. A homemade hamburger is 10x better than one made by that guy working at SaidBurgerJoint who failed P.E. in high school. Point being, if you can make it yourself, it is going to be better than buying it somewhere. Do the best you can to buy whole foods, make them yourself the majority of the time, and you will be on the right track.

#7 You Under Estimate Stability Training

If you are a guy, the only reason you went to yoga class was for the girls in yoga pants. No guy brags to his buddies that he can balance his body weight or hold a twisting squirrel pose for 1 minute. Stability isn’t sexy, unless it is wearing yoga pants, so most people  (especially guys) don’t estimate it’s value very high. Unfortunately for them, we live in a world where the need for stability is important. Most of us sit down all day and have very little use for our stabilizers for hours on end. I’m not saying we all need to do yoga, but once a week, work on stability. It is worth the effort in your down time or off days.

#8 Your Ab Workout Alone is Not Going to Result in A Six Pack

If you haven’t heard the phrase, “Abs are made in the kitchen,” you are hearing it now. Truth of the matter is, while ab exercises feel good, doing an abundance of them is not going to make the last two-pack come out of the woodwork (or flesh work in this case). The precision it takes to get to a body fat level that not only reveals our abdominal wall, but defines it, takes much more work than you probably realize. If you don’t believe me, check out this article by Precision Nutrition about fat loss and what it takes to get to low levels. Kiss your social life goodbye.

#9 Not Finding Motivation

Everyone knows nutrition and exercise are the building blocks for better health. It’s not new science, we get it. So if all the information is out there, why are we, speaking about America specifically here, still so overweight? Motivation. People need a motive. They need a reason. Once a day I see an ad that paints in red, “Smoking causes cancer in X amount of the population,” and yet on my drive to work, I see at least 3 people smoking. The information alone isn’t going to get people to change. We need motivation. If you want to get pumped up, check out this video from YouTube. If you  are not pumped from this, you have no soul.

#10 Giving Up

Anything worth achieving is going to be hard. Don’t pay attention to time frames. You know how many times Steve Jobs overshot a deadline? You think he cared? Of course not, because he knew the only way his products were going to be the best was if he gave them the time they deserved. Keep going, move forward. People and life events are going to constantly try to grab you and take them with you. Don’t let them. You have to be like tile to a dog, slippery. Let things role off you. Keep focused on your vision, and you will make it happen. You have a lifetime, don’t give up.

How to Make Thoroughly Cooked, Crispy Bacon on a Stove or in the Oven

IMG_6530We’ve all been there. You go to your favorite breakfast food joint, you get your favorite dish, and all you can think about is the bacon that comes on the side. The bacon is thoroughly cooked, crispy– it is perfect. Fast forward a weekend down the road. You try and duplicate that bacon only to find that somewhere along the road you got lost. Sometimes you burn it, sometimes it is not all the way cooked on the sides that flare up, sometimes the fat is undercooked. It just isn’t the same as Tim’s Bomb Breakfast combo.

So you want to know how to make perfect bacon every time using a stove or oven? I’m going to show you how.

The steps are pretty straight forward. The secret lies in low heat cooking.That’s right, you are going to have to wait longer for your bacon, but is perfect bacon worth it? You bet your sweet ass it is!

The first thing you want to do is put the raw bacon on a cooking sheet (if using the oven), or in a pan on the stove.

Stove Instructions:

IMG_6528

These are little half bacons. It’s just regular bacon cut in half. I like my bacon cute, okay.

Put the pan on the stove with the raw bacon inside. Turn the heat up as high as you can. When you hear it start to sizzle, and see the fat melting off, turn it to the second to lowest setting. For many stoves, this is still too high (like my devil stove), so I recommend putting it on the lowest setting possible. Then just wait. I usually go do something for about 5 minutes. When you come back, flip the bacon over. Pay close attention to how flat each strip of bacon is. If there is flaring in the middle, sides. or otherwise, the heat needs to be turned even lower. Flaring occurs from the heat being so high that the bacon is basically like. “Get away from me,” and that is why it flairs upward.. After you have flipped it once, monitor the bacon every 2 minutes. This is important. Bacon this late in the game can easily be burned. Unless you like that, make sure you look over it. Flip it one more time to cripsy the last side, then turn off the heat and let it sit for a minute. This last minute will help cooked the bacon thoroughly. Remove the bacon and let cool.

Oven Instructions:

I don’t have oven pictures 😦

Pretend it is right here though

Preheat your oven for 400 degrees. Meanwhile, do some chores or, my favorite, play Plants Vs Zombies. I think I’ve replayed that game 3 times now. I have a problem. Alright, back to the bacon. When your oven gets to 400, put the bacon on the top rack. I have no scientific explanation for this, it has just produced good results for me so I’m sticking too it. Set a timer (the iPhone one works perfect) for 10  minutes. When the timer goes off, check the bacon. Is it flaring up? If so, turn the heat down to 375. All ovens are different. My old one cooked best at 375. But it was old. My new one cooks a little more accurate, so 400 works well. After you have checked on it, set the timer for 10 minutes again. The oven cooking method is best for those who don’t want to worry about the heat changing, and generally less of a hassle. It is slower though. Expect to be waiting around close to 20 minutes or so. Okay, so after your second timer goes off, the bacon should be about done. If it isn’t quite to your crispiness, set the timer for another 5 minutes. Take the bacon out and let it cool in the grease. Take out, let dry, and then consume.