Monthly Archives for May 2011

Archives for May 2011

12 Words to Avoid on Restaurant Menus (And Healthier Alternatives)!

A moment on the lips... forever on the hips!

The National Restaurant Association claims that Americans eat almost 24% of their meals in restaurants. Those restaurant meals are often loaded with sodium, unhealthy fats, sugary sauces and and an enormous amount of calories.

By making small changes in the ways we order restaurant foods, we can make a big change in our overall health and wellness.

Pay attention to a meal’s description for clues into its possible nutritional value (or lack thereof). It’s generally best to avoid foods described with the following words on a menu:

  1. Alfredo
  2. Pan-fried
  3. Crispy, crunchy
  4. Battered
  5. Au gratin
  6. A la mode (topped with ice cream)
  7. Scalloped
  8. Loaded/covered
  9. Cheesy
  10. Buttered
  11. Creamed
  12. Fried/deep fried

Instead, opt for food items described as:

  1. Steamed
  2. Broiled
  3. Grilled
  4. Baked
  5. Seasoned
  6. Stir-fried
  7. Poached
  8. Roasted

Using these guidelines, you might order steamed dumplings instead of the pan-fried alternative. Or broiled fish instead of a deep fried option. Likewise, seasoned veggies make for a wiser choice than vegetables in a butter or cream sauce. You get the point.

In general, these healthier adjectives can help point conscious restaurant eaters in a better direction.

And remember, lots of little changes add up to big changes over the course of months and years!

Also, thank you to everyone who snagged my brand-new Jock Workout fitness program and exercise videos during yesterday’s launch! It was my most successful product launch ever! Check out The Jock Workout today to see what all the fuss is about (and to watch a free preview). Remember to use discount code “blog” to save 25% before June 7!

The Jock Workout is HERE!

For the last month, I’ve been hinting at the launch of my brand-new workout program. Today, it’s finally here! I’m thrilled to announce The Jock Workout.

Just in time for summer, The Jock Workout is a hugely powerful fitness program complete with three 20-minute exercise videos (starring yours truly!), an e-book, exercise and nutrition guides, recipes and much, much more.

The Jock Workout:

  • Includes three professionally filmed workout videos that target every muscle in your body!
  • Requires absolutely no fitness equipment – there is nothing else to buy!
  • Is designed for all levels of fitness – from beginners to advanced exercise enthusiasts.
  • Is mobile. As a special bonus, you’ll receive a mobile-friendly version of the videos to add to your smartphone or tablet.
  • Includes a comprehensive nutrition program that is customized to your objectives and needs.

Best of all, I’ll show you how to connect The Jock Workout to your unique fitness goals. Whether you are trying to release extra body fat, build muscle, increase definition or just improve overall health – The Jock Workout is for you.

Since I know you’ll love it, and because you’re such a loyal blog buddy, I have a special discount for you:

  1. Get 25% off The Jock Workout. Use discount code “blog” during checkout. This discount code expires June 7th at midnight, so be sure to snag The Jock Workout before then. AND, if you order before June 7th at midnight, you’ll also receive my Ultimate Guide to Working Out program (a $59 value) as a free gift!

(Already have my Ultimate Guide to Working Out and don’t want another copy? Send me an email at davey@daveywaveyfitness.com, and I’ll give you a special code for a 50% discount on The Jock Workout.)

The Jock Workout is going to help transform your body and your life. And I can’t wait to hear your success story.

Learn more about The Jock Workout, watch a free preview and snag your copy today!

What Are Giant Sets?

Giant sets are a great way to save time, build muscle and burn fat.

Losing body fat – and keeping it off long term – is about more than just nutrition and aerobic exercise. As any trainer will tell you, strength training is absolutely crucial is sustained fat loss. Muscles are like fat-burning incinerators, and the more muscle you add – the more calories your body will burn each day. Adding muscle is one of the best ways to lose fat and keep it off.

Enter giant sets. Though their name sounds a bit intimidating, giant sets are great for people looking to burn extra body fat in a short amount of time. I’ve always said that going to the gym is about quality of the workout and not quantity of time spent exercising – and giant sets hold my philosophy to task.

A giant set really consists of four sets (usually of 10-ish reps) of four different exercises working the same muscle group. For example, a chest giant set might consists of 10 reps on a flat bench press, 10 reps of dumbbell pec flies, 10 reps on an decline bench press and 10 reps of incline dumbbell presses. You can tailor the giant set to whatever muscle group you’d like to work (i.e., back, legs, arms, etc.), and you can create any combination of four corresponding exercises.

When performing a giant set, quickly move from exercise to exercise. Your rest period should not exceed 10 seconds. It’s fast. And it’s not easy. It may take a bit of adjusting to figure out how much resistance you should be using in each exercise, as you will certainly be fatigued from the previous exercise. Nonetheless, you’ll really need to push yourself! When you finish a giant set of the four exercises, rest for 60 – 120 seconds.

Then, perform two more giant sets. When you are done, you will have performed three giant sets in total – which is really 12 sets of exercises. It’s a great, high-intensity workout packed into a short amount of time.

Beyond providing some amazing strength training benefits, giant sets get your heart pumping and your metabolism racing. Since there is very little time for rest, giant sets actually provide some decent cardiovascular benefits, too. All in all, giant sets are extremely effective at building muscle and burning fat; I’d encourage you to try ’em in your next workout routine.

How to Break Through a Weight Loss Plateau.

Hi Davey,

I’ve been working out regularly for the about two months now (an hour of cardio and about half an hour of strength training 5 days a week), and at first I lost weight. The goal I set for myself was to get down to 195lbs by the end of June. But recently I’ve noticed that I’ve hit a weight plateau at around 206lbs.

Do you have any idea what might be happening?

From,
Ian

Congratulations on releasing weight and coming so close to your goal!

First, it’s important to ask yourself: Why 195lbs? It’s always important to reassess our fitness goals. Maybe 206 lbs is a good and healthy weight for you. If it’s not – and if you have the will and motivation to break through the plateau – it comes down to two things: Modifying your diet and/or modifying your fitness plan.

Modifying Diet

Obviously, proper diet is essential to a comprehensive fitness plan. Hitting the gym isn’t everything. Take a critical look at your diet – and compare it to your recommended caloric intake. It’s possible that you may need to further reduce the number of calories you are eating, or even shift the types of foods that you are eating. You may find it advantageous to move away from high-carbohydrate or processed foods and more toward fresh foods and high-protein options.

Modifying Workout

There are a few ways to increase the effectiveness of your workout:

  1. Increase workout duration and frequency. For people exercising for 30 or 45 minutes, it may be advisable to hit the gym for an extra 15 minutes. Since you’re already exercising for 90 minutes, working out longer won’t help. In fact, long workouts tend to backfire. 90 minutes is enough and, for weight loss, I’d recommend splitting your time evenly between cardio and strength training. In addition, exercisers may see enhanced results from adding another workout day into their schedule if such a commitment is sustainable. Remember to take off at least one day per week.
  2. Increase intensity. Just being at the gym isn’t enough. Workouts aren’t just about quantity – they’re really about quality. How you use your time is critically important. If you want to break through a plateau, you may need to add some gusto to your workout. Instead of doing conventional cardio workouts, for example, try some gut-busting interval training. For strength training, adjust your rest times so that you are taking shorter breaks. Increase the amount of resistance that you are using. In short, put your workout in high gear.
  3. Try new exercises. Sometimes introducing new exercises can help move your workout forward. Our bodies grow accustomed to the same old routine, so don’t be afraid to change things up. You can find a number of great, effective and challenging exercises online. Or, you could even join a class or hire a personal trainer. Even as a certified personal trainer, I still occasionally hire another trainer to help introduce new workouts into my vernacular.

If your weight loss goal seems necessary and achievable, these tips should help you break through your plateau and take your results to the next level.

Love,
Davey

Why Low-Fat/Fat-Free Means Very Little.

Swedish fish: A fat-free food that's likely to make you fat.

Yesterday, a package of those sugary, chewy “Swedish Fish” candies caught my eye. On the product’s package was a banner that exclaimed, “A fat free food.” And while this bag of candy may be devoid of fat, do not be tricked by this treat – there is nothing healthy about it.

Of course, Swedish Fish candies aren’t alone – countless products try to position themselves as attractive options for dieters by touting their low-fat or fat-free nutritional content. But really, that one characteristic tells a very incomplete story about the product’s nutritional value (or lack thereof).

Firstly, fat isn’t necessarily a bad thing. As we all know, there are bad fats (like those found in fried foods) and good fats (like those found in nuts, olive oil and avocados). Getting those essential healthy fats is important. If you had to pick between a package of Swedish Fish and a handful of unsalted nuts, opting for the fat-free option would be a big misstep. There are many higher-fat food products that are healthy and nourishing.

Secondly, a fat-free label says nothing about the rest of the nutritional content. Like sodium, carbs, calories and sugars. While Swedish Fish may have no fat content, it’s made out of sugar! Sugar is absolutely terrible for the human body – especially if you are looking to release or maintain your body weight. Sugar is flushed with empty calories, has been linked to a number of debilitating and deadly diseases and is quite possibly addictive. In addition, many fat-free salad dressings, for example, cut out the fat but add in extra sugar to enhance the flavoring. The same is often done with salt. Clearly, the fat-free label isn’t telling the full story.

So get the whole truth. Ignore the so-called healthy benefits touted on a product’s packaging. Look at the complete nutritional information (usually found on the side of the packaging) and make an informed decision from there.

6 Foods Secretly High in Sugar.

Carbohydrates are your body’s primary source of energy, but not all carbs are created equal. For a lot of people looking to release some extra weight or increase definition, reducing the intake of simple carbohydrates – like table sugar – is common practice.

Food products like candy, chocolate bars and soda are obviously loaded with sugar. But there are a number of unlikely foods that are shockingly high in sugar. Here are my top 6:

  1. Some dried fruit. Dried fruit sounds like a healthy and nutritious snack, right? It can be. Except that many dried fruits are loaded with added sugar to enhance the sweetness. It’s totally unnecessary. When buying dried fruits, read the ingredients carefully. If you see any other ingredients beyond the fruit (like corn syrup, etc.), then put it back!
  2. Fruity drinks. A Pina Colada, for example, has more calories than a Big Mac and as much as 60 grams of sugar. That’s a shockingly high number – and the equivalent of more than 70 Skittles!
  3. Barbeque sauce. It might be lip smacking delicious, but barbeque sauce is packed with sugar. Two tablespoons of BBQ sauce has 12 – 15 grams of sugar. And let’s be real, who uses just two tablespoons? And BBQ sauce isn’t alone – many sauces and glazes are secretly high in sugar, so pay extra attention to both the nutrition information and the listed serving size.
  4. Chocolate milk. Milk, which contains lactose, already has its fair share of sugar. But add in some chocolate syrup, and a sugar buzz is almost unavoidable. A single 16 ounce container of Nesquick Fat Free Milk has a mind-numbing 54 grams of sugar.
  5. Tomato Sauce. Believe it or not, one cup of tomato sauce has as much as SIX teaspoons of sugar! Pasta is high in carbs to begin with, but tomato sauce can be a real diet killer. 100 of the sauce’s calories come from pure sugar.
  6. Vitamin Water. Last but not least, most people think of Vitamin Water as a healthy alternative to soda. Not so fast. A single bottle (they claim a bottle is 2.5 servings) contains 32 grams of sugar. And really, not that many vitamins.

Not on the list but runners up: fruity yogurt, smoothies (many have added sugar and/or honey), granola bars, cereal and ketchup (yes, seriously).

The bottom line is that if sugars – or carbs in general – are of concern to you, it’s important to read the nutrition information carefully… even for those foods that are unlikely suspects.

Fitness Advice for a Newbie.

Hey Davey,

So finally I made up my mind to go to the gym and get bulked. I’m here asking you for help in making a full body gym routine for me. I have a few questions:

  1. I’ve been thinking about hitting the gym 5 times a week minimum. Is this a good amount?
  2. How much weight should I add on when weightlifting per week?
  3. As I want to lower my body fat percentage, should I go low on carbs and high on protein?
  4. And since I want to add bulk, should I not focus on cardio exercise?

Best regards,
Josimir

Hey Josimir,

Congratulations on your commitment to a healthier and stronger you!

You have four basic questions about frequency of exercise, progression, diet and ratio of cardio to strength training. I’ll do my best to answer these questions in a general way, but you’ll need to customize my advice for your individual goals, circumstances and situation.

Frequency of exercise is huge. Your commitment to 5x per week is noble, but it’s something I’d advise against. Yes, going to the gym more frequently does help accelerate results – but it also increases burnout rates for new exercisers. I advise newbies to hit the gym 3x per week for 30 – 45 minutes. It doesn’t sound like much, but it’s really about making your gym commitment sustainable. Once this minimal workout schedule feels doable, add in another day – or extend your workout times by 15 minutes. Gradually build up to a schedule that is more in line with the results you want.

Since you’re looking to increase muscle mass, progressing to heavier levels of resistance is a must. You ask about adding resistance per week, but it doesn’t really work like that. Progression is different for each person and each body, but I generally recommend following the “2 for 2 Rule.” When you can do 2 extra repetitions on your last set of a given exercise for workouts in a row, it’s time to add more weight. If you are new to working out, you may be able to increase resistance by 5% – 10%. If you are more advanced, 2% – 5% may be more appropriate. This usually amounts to 2.5 – 5 pounds for smaller muscle groups and 5 – 10 pounds for larger muscle groups. If you have questions about the number of repetitions that you should be performing, read more about it here.

Regarding diet, a low-carb and high-protein diet is in line with your fitness goal of increasing muscle size and definition. Just remember that your body does need both protein and carbs after you complete a workout. It’s important not to eliminate carbs entirely.

Lastly, you do need to perform both cardio and strength training. Cardio provides a number of great benefits that will help improve your lifting – and life. For people looking to add muscle, I recommend 30% cardio to 70% strength training. In other words, if you exercise for 45 minutes, you’d spend just under 15 minutes doing some type of cardio – preferably interval training. The rest of your time would go to strength training. For people looking to release weight, I recommend a cardio/strength training ratio of 50/50. For definition or general health, a cardio/strength training ratio of 40/60.

I hope all that helps! And again, congratulations on your commitment!

Love,
Davey

P.S. For detailed step-by-step help building a routine that is customized to your goals, I can’t help but plug my Ultimate Guide to Working Out. It essentially hires me as your personal trainer – together, we create a complete and comprehensive program that works for you.

Is Grass-Fed Meat Any Healthier?

Where's the beef? Here's the beef.

A few months ago, we looked at a number of studies that compared organic and conventional produce. The term “organic food” refers to food grown without most artificial fertilizers or pesticides and in a way that emphasizes crop rotation. Organic farming makes the most of natural fertilizers and ensures that the life of the soil is maintained.

The studies suggest that organic produce is not any richer in nutrients than conventional produce. Moreover, and somewhat surprisingly, the studies don’t show any longer-term health benefits including reduced cancer risk. While organic produce may not be healthier for the human body, it is unarguably much better for our extended body: Planet earth.

Today, let’s switch gears and look at grass-fed beef.

First things first, grass-fed and organic are not interchangeable terms. Not all organic beef is grass-fed, and not all grass-fed beef is organic. For one, grass-fed cows could graze on land that has been treated with fertilizers or pesticides. So, check the label if it’s important to you.

Decades ago, all beef was grass-fed. But industrial farmers discovered that grain-based diets could improve the efficiency of their farms. Cows that are fed diets of grass grow slowly; it may take 4 – 5 years until the animal is ready for slaughter. By feeding cows a diet of corn, antibiotics (cows can’t consume corn without them), hormones and protein, today’s conventional cows are slaughtered after just 14 – 16 months. Holding ethical questions aside for a moment, are there any research-supported differences in the nutrient content of grass-fed vs. grain-fed meats?

Yes. According to a report in the Nutrition Journal, it turns out that there are a number of differences:

  • Lower fat content. Grass-fed meat is lower in overall fat and saturated fat. A sirloin steak tested from grain-fed cows, for example, had more than double the total amount of fat compared to a grass-fed cut.
  • Higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids. These healthy and essential fatty acids are more prevalent in grass-fed beef. Grain-fed cows have only 15% – 50% of the omega-3 fatty acids found in grass-feed beef. It’s worth noting, however, that omega-3 fatty acids in grass-fed beef are still much lower than some other foods like salmon.
  • Lower dietary cholesterol. Though dietary cholesterol has a relatively small impact on blood cholesterol, individuals with cholesterol concerns should take notice.
  • Increased vitamins A, E and antioxidants. Grass-fed beef is a better source of these important nutrients.

Grass-fed beef has other benefits, too. For one, it has a greener environmental impact. Growing corn requires a tremendous amount of fossil fuel. In addition, grass-fed beef is also less polluting as the animal dung is used as fertilizer for the grass.

In my opinion, grass-fed beef also tastes better. It has a different, more authentic flavor that I’ve come to enjoy and appreciate.

And of course, the ethical implications of industrial farms vs. pasture-centered farms can’t be ignored to a conscious eater. If you are what you eat, I’d much prefer an animal that lived its life on a real farm – and didn’t spend its existence pumped full of drugs and knee-deep in its own feces. But that’s just my two cents.

When I shop, I generally only buy grass-fed beef. The price is significantly higher – but I think it is worth it – even it means eating meat less frequently.

But what do you think? Have you ever tried grass-fed beef? Do you prefer it? Do you think it’s worth the difference in price?

Do Artificial Sweeteners Cause Weight Gain?

Back in 1987, 70 million Americans consumed products made with artificial sweeteners. By 2000, that number had skyrocketed to more than 160 million. Clearly, the allure of sweet but calorie-free eating is alive and well. But is it all too good to be true?

In a surprising study, researchers from Purdue University tell us that artificial sweeteners may, in fact, be a contributing factor to obesity.

Researchers hypothesized that the body learns a relationship between the taste and texture of foods and the number of calories those foods contain. This information is then used by the body to signal hunger, fullness and to regulate the food we consume.

Sweetness, for example, is a signal to the body that calorie-rich food is being consumed. And in a world without artificial sweeteners, this is true; sugar is high in calories. But when you drink a can of diet coke, which is devoid of calories but still very sweet, this calorie-sweetness relationship is broken. Over time, the body will learn that it can’t trust sweetness to gauge calories, and the body loses its ability to regulate food consumption.

The hypothesis was supported by research with rats:

The rats that had experienced the inconsistent relationship between sweet taste and calories were less able to compensate for the calories contained in the snack and ate more than the rats that had experienced the consistent relationship between sweetness and caloric intake.

The same is believed to happen with humans. The body is unable to keep track of the calories we consume, and thus overeating ensues.

Researchers don’t believe that the breakdown of the sweetness-calorie relationship is the cause of obesity. Indeed, the obesity epidemic is far more complicated than that – and reasons can vary from individual to individual. But for a lot of people, it’s believed that artificial sweeteners could be a piece of the puzzle.

This doesn’t mean you should switch from diet beverages or sugar-free products back to the real thing. I think the real takeaway is the importance of eating healthy and nutritional foods – at least, most of the time. Instead of selecting between diet soda and traditional soda, why not opt for some ice water with a splash of lemon?

Can You Handle the “Ultimate” Push-up?

Here, an execiser performs a variation of the "ultimate" push-up by placing her feet on a bench.

I’m a big fan of push-ups. You can do them anywhere and they’re hugely effective. In fact, I love push-ups so much that I made a YouTube video with 17 variations.

But today, I discovered the ULTIMATE push-up; it builds strength, increases coordination and improves balance. It also totally kicked my butt – and I hope it kicks yours, too.

Here’s how you do it:

  1. Get into the starting push-up position while gripping a weight plate in each hand. I prefer using 10 lb weight plates.
  2. Brace your core and balance the free weight on its side (see the woman in the picture – though you won’t need to put your feet on a bench if you’re using small weights). You’re essentially balancing yourself on a weight plate.
  3. Hold this position for 30 – 60 seconds. It’s no small feat.
  4. Then, perform push-ups. Try for sets of 10 reps.

If it’s too hard to find your balance, you could use medicine balls instead of the weight plates. If it’s too easy, you can introduce some variations like lifting one leg at a time or using bigger weight plates and placing your feet on a bench.

Either way, it’s super challenging – and super effective. Enjoy!

Cortisol And Lifting: Limit Your Workout Time.

Think you need to spend 10 hours a day in the gym to look like this? Think again. Longer workouts may have the opposite effect.

When you exercise, your body releases hormones. We generally think of hormones like testosterone, growth hormone and insulin. These three hormones are anabolic because they help build tissue.

But there is another hormone that the body releases during exercise. It’s called cortisol. Unlike the previously mentioned anabolic hormones, cortisol is catabolic – meaning it breaks tissue down. Therefore, it’s crucial to understand cortisol and the role it plays in your workout.

The hormone cortisol has the following effects:

  • Reduces protein synthesis.
  • Facilitates the conversion of protein to glucose.
  • Stops tissue growth.

In other words, the effects of cortisol on anyone looking to build muscle are very much undesirable. So, here are some tips you can use to control cortisol:

  1. Shorter training sessions. While we might think more is more when it comes to hitting the gym, keeping workouts short is one of the best ways to control cortisol. Cortisol is released by the body in response to stress, and strength training sessions shorter than 45 – 60 minutes have been demonstrated to minimize this. Similarly, cortisol is best controlled by cardio sessions shorter than 30 – 45 minutes. Going to the gym should be part of your day – not the whole day.
  2. Eat carbs when it counts. When it comes to nutrition, it’s important to recognize the inverse relationship between glycogen and cortisol. As glycogen levels go down, cortisol goes up. When your body runs out of glycogen – which it uses for energy – the increase in cortisol triggers a breakdown of protein (stored as muscle) to be converted to fuel. It’s not a good thing for people trying to build muscle, but it can be avoided by eating first thing in the morning and consuming carbs immediately after a workout. When taking your post-workout protein shake, ensure that you are also getting some simple carbohydrates that can be absorbed quickly.
  3. Manage stress. Since cortisol is released in response to stress, managing your stress levels outside of the gym will be helpful. This may mean setting aside time for meditation, bubble baths or even a massage.
  4. Get enough sleep. Cortisol levels are lowest (and growth hormone levels are highest) in the deepest phase of sleep. Get your required 7 – 8 hours, and do your best to ensure that it’s uninterrupted (i.e., put your phone on silent).
  5. Supplement. A 2001 study by Peters, Anderson & Theron concluded that getting 3 grams of Vitamin C a day helps lower cortisol levels. It’s also believed that supplementing with glutamine may help. If you’re concerned, you may wish to consider these options.

The biggest takeaway is the importance of quality vs. quantity when it comes to your gym time. Spending more time at the gym may actually have the opposite effect that you intend, so keep your workouts shorter, efficient and effective.

7 Ways to Freshen Your Workout!

I just joined a new gym and I can’t believe the effect it has had on my workout. It’s different equipment, different machines, different people and different classes – and quite frankly, it has all been a breath of fresh air.

We human beings are creatures of habit, but our workouts crave change. Our muscles and bodies adjust to the same old – and more of the same always produces more of the same. Here are a few tips for breathing new life into your old and stale workout:

  1. Fresh environment. Changing gyms can make a HUGE difference. I think I was getting a bit too comfortable at my old gym; much of my workout was spent chatting it up with familiar faces. I don’t yet have friends at my new gym, and it keeps me to the task at hand. You can also freshen up the environment by taking your workout outside. Outdoor cardio is very challenging, and you can get a good strength training workout using your body weight as resistance. Bike. Hike. Or play sports with your family and friends.
  2. Fresh tunes. Did you know that numerous studies have concluded people burn more calories during exercise while listening to music? I’ll be honest – I think my iPod is more of a hassle than it’s worth (with all the wires, batteries and cords with which to deal). But many people love exercising to music – and what better way to breathe new life into your workout than creating a new playlist? Our brains become bored with the same old music, and that can create negative energy energy that translates to our routines. Get some new beats!
  3. Fresh exercises. Our bodies adjust to, and become comfortable with, the exercises that we perform. If you normally do the pec fly machine, for example, try dumbbell pec flies instead. Just switching up a few exercises makes a big difference that you’ll really feel.
  4. Fresh kicks. Running sneakers should be replaced every 400 – 500 miles. Wearing sneakers beyond their life expectancy increases the risk of injury. Consider investing in a new pair – it will feel great, and give you some extra “umph” at the gym. Calculate how long your shoes will last and write the expiration date inside the sneaker.
  5. Fresh order. This is the simplest thing you can do! Reverse the order of the exercises for each muscle group. If you normally do dead lifts, squats, calf raises and lunges, try doing lunges, calf raises, squats and then dead lifts. Your body will thank you.
  6. Fresh classes. My new gym has a slew of classes that I’ve never taken, like “yogalates” and kickboxing. While trying a new class can be intimidating, it’s a great way to work your muscles in new ways – and to learn new exercises. And if you’ve already taken everything that your gym has to offer, expand your horizons. Sign up at a rock-climbing gym, take karate – or, if you’re feeling ambitious, download my yoga program.
  7. Fresh foods. If local produce is in season, treat your body to some delicious fresh fruits and vegetables. Going to a farmer’s market is much more fun than a giant supermarket, and it’s good to support the growers in your community. While eating fresh foods isn’t part of your workout per se, it does help support a healthy and balanced diet which will make you feel great!

Try these tips to add new life to your old routine – and if you have any additional ideas, please share them in the comments below.

It’s Called Balance – Not Cheating!

An equally delicious country boy special of a different sort.

Yesterday, before filming a BlogTV show with my friend Mike, we hit up one of the local diners. The menu was pretty much devoid of healthy options – and I decided to embrace it. I opted for the “Country Boy Special” complete with 2 eggs, 2 slices of toast, 2 strips of bacon, 2 sausages, 2 pancakes and home fries. I think it might more appropriately have been called the the “Coronary Carbohydrate Conundrum.”

As someone who generally eats healthy – and does my best to adhere to a lower carbohydrate nutrition plan – some might think that my indulgence was cheating. I hear people use that term all the time when talking about their diets. Every cupcake or milkshake or bacon cheeseburger is viewed as a deep betrayal. And while I understand where the idea comes from, I have to disagree.

When I eat something that’s unhealthy, I don’t look at it as cheating. For me, it’s balance.

And truth be told, when it comes to nutrition and fitness, no one individual choice has much of an impact. It’s the cumulative effect of many choices – made over and over again – that add up. Like going to the gym every other day for a year. Or eliminating ice cream as a dessert for six month. One “Country Boy Special” every now and again isn’t going to have much of a measurable impact.

Moreover, balance makes nutrition sustainable. If I had to go through life without ever eating a pancake, I’d be a very miserable and cranky human being. I don’t need a pancake every day, and when I do eat one, I don’t need to consume six. But a pancake every now and then – if that’s why you crave and enjoy – can be a very good thing. Especially if helps make your larger nutrition plan more sustainable, and helps keep you on track.

I refuse to feel guilt or shame about my eating choices and I encourage you to do the same. I think those negative emotions drag down our bodies and our spirits, and tend to backfire. I’m quite content with my “Country Boy Special” and the balance that it helped me strike.

Submit a Davey Wavey Testimonial: Win “Eating for Fitness!”

Hey Blog Buddies,

I have a favor to ask!

I am putting together the sales materials for my upcoming “The Jock Workout” program release. And I’m looking for a handful of testimonials about the quality and integrity of my Davey Wavey Fitness work.

Here’s a great example:

Davey Wavey embodies the spirit and mind-body connection which I believe is vital to the achievement and maintenance of an exercise lifestyle change.
– James L.

Or:

I have seen changes in my own body that I didn’t think possible—it has given me my confidence back and makes me feel great. Thank you for your professional approach and keep up the good work!
– Gaz

If you feel inspired or moved, please submit a testimonial to davey@daveywaveyfitness.com. If I use your testimonial, I will give you a free copy of “Eating for Fitness” as a thank you for your time and effort.

Thanks so much – and I can’t wait to share “The Jock Workout” with you!

Love,
Davey

6 Tips to Run Longer!

Hey Davey,

I’ve always loved running but I tire out quickly. How can I run longer distances (more than a mile) without slowing to take a break?

From,
John

Hey John,

As an avid runner myself, I do have some advice for you! Try these 6 tips to boost your running endurance.

  1. Create a goal. First things first, it’s helpful to set a goal. Since it sounds like your goal is distance-based, you may want to target something like 1.25 miles.
  2. Slow down. Reaching your goal may require that you slow down a bit. It’s very difficult to maintain a sprint pace, for example, but much easier to maintain a jog. So, if you’re overexerting yourself – it may be beneficial to take your pace down a few notches.
  3. Decrease breaks. Even after slowing the pace, you may still find that you need to take a break to catch your breath. That’s fine. But once you catch your breath, start running or jogging again. Get back up to your pace speed. Over time, slowly try to take shorter breaks – and eventually eliminated them altogether.
  4. Train regularly. Most importantly, you’ll need to stick with it. Running endurance can be built fairly quickly – but it also fads fast. Make running part of your routine, and you’ll notice that you’re able to build on your gains.
  5. Mix it up. Every now and then, switch up your distance-based cardio workout with something different – like interval training.
  6. Modify goal. Eventually – once you reach your distance goal of 1.25 miles – you may want to work on slowly increasing your pace. Or, you may want to extend the distance to 1.5 miles and go from there. Set a new goal for yourself.

If anyone else has any tips to run longer distances, I’d love to hear them in the comments below!

I hope that helps!

Love,
Davey

Yonanas Product Review.

Yonanas: Worth the hype?

Last week, I made my first infomercial purchase and ordered the dessert-making sensation known as Yonanas.

Basically, it’s supposed to work like this: Put frozen bananas (along with other fruit) in the top of the Yonanas machine, and a soft-serve, ice cream-like substance comes out the bottom. You don’t add any milk, sugar, etc. – it’s an entirely banana-based dessert. And as such, it’s obviously much healthier than the ice cream or frozen yogurt alternatives.

Yesterday, my Yonanas machine arrived and I put it to the test.

While it does look and feel pretty cheap (it is only $50 plus shipping – what do you expect?), it does work. I was a bit surprised to see that an ice cream-like substance was, in fact, produced; I didn’t have high hopes.

I did discover that it takes A LOT of bananas to fill a heaping bowl as shown in the infomercials. It took 2.5 bananas to produce the amount of dessert in the photo attached to this post.

Turns out, unlike ice cream, the banana-based substance produced is very thick and dense. It’s heavy – and a half bowl is more than enough. In fact, I’m feeling something of a banana hangover today.

As far as taste goes, it’s pretty good. It does taste quite a bit like a very thick serving of frozen yogurt. And since you can add other fruits, chocolates, peanut butters, etc., into the mix – the flavor combinations are pretty much endless.

Cleanup wasn’t as simple as they’d like you to believe, but it wasn’t awful either. It took a few minutes to get everything disassembled and cleaned. It’s also dishwasher safe.

The best thing about Yonanas is saying the name. But the product does deliver, and I’m pretty content with my purchase. I won’t be eating Yonanas every night, but I think I’ll be getting some good use out of the machine.

Disclaimer: Davey Wavey was not compensated in any way, shape or form by Yonanas or their affiliates to write this product review.

4 Tips to Bust Your Beer Belly!

Hi Davey Wavey,

I was on your website because my dad has been trying to get fit and I thought your website would be great for him! The biggest issue he has is a beer belly. How can he get rid of it?

Thanks,
Samantha

Hey Samantha,

Thanks for the email and for spreading word about Davey Wavey Fitness!

First things first, the term “beer belly” is a bit of a misnomer. The real issue isn’t necessarily beer so much as it is calories. Weight gain occurs when you consume more calories than you burn – and in men, those extra calories are most often stored as belly fat. It’s the first place we men gain the weight, and often the last place we lose it.

Moreover, the so called beer belly is thought to increase the likelihood of diabetes, high blood pressure and sleep apnea. In other words, there’s plenty of good reasons for you dad to drop the gut.

Unfortunately, you can’t target weight loss in just one area. We can’t target just the belly; instead, we can incorporate general weight loss tips that will help your dad release his extra weight, wherever it may be.

    1. Eat smarter. Sure, beer has empty calories. But so do many of the other unhealthy foods we eat. Eating smarter means shifting from fried, processed and/or sugary foods to things like nuts, berries, lean meats, fruits and veggies. High fiber foods, in particular, will help your dad feel full. But fear not – it doesn’t mean that your dad needs to be put on a dramatic diet. Even making small dietary changes add up over time. My dad, for example, replaced his nightly snack of ice cream with a handful of peanuts. He lost 10 pounds in a few month’s time. Eating smarter will help reduce the number of calories your dad takes in.
    2. Exercise. Hitting the gym – or practicing with a workout video – will help your father increase the number of calories he burns. And again, it doesn’t mean he needs to hit the gym each and every day. I’d recommend starting out with 2 – 3 days for 30 – 45 minutes each, and possibly slowly moving up from there. I’d advise that he splits his time evenly between both cardio and strength training, as each have tremendous weight loss benefits.
    3. Get active! It’s important to keep moving. Maybe your dad can incorporate nightly walks or weekend hikes into his schedule. Or maybe there is a sports league he can join. My dad, for example, plays volleyball on Monday nights through our town’s recreation department.
    4. Visit a nutritionist. Or, a physician. Sometimes we need a little extra motivation to get us on the right track. Visiting a physician and getting a check-up can be a real wake-up call, especially if elevated blood pressure or other signs of heart disease are present. And consulting with a nutritionist can be a great way to build a meal plan that works for your dad, his habits and preferences. It’s definitely a worthwhile investment; it will yield huge returns in the quality (and possibility longevity) of your father’s life.

      Samantha, good luck with your father! You can certainly give him a little kick in the butt – but ultimately it is he who must take control of his life. You can’t run on the treadmill for him – but you can help steer him in the right direction. And it sounds like you’re doing just that. Kudos!

      Love,
      Davey

      How to Reduce Carbs.

      Instead of sandwiching your meat between a bun, replace the bread with lettuce

      I’m absolutely in love with this simple and easy trick to reduce carbohydrate intake.

      To make a long story short, I spent the month leading up to the filming of my upcoming “Jock Workout” video series leaning down. To do that, I eliminated a good portion of the carbs – especially simple carbs like sugar, white breads, pasta, rice, etc. – from my diet. It wasn’t anything too dramatic.

      But here’s the thing: I love burgers. And eating a burger without a bun is kinda like eating a hunk of meatloaf. It’s just not that exciting. And then my friend Matt told me to try lettuce wraps.

      Instead of sandwiching your meat between a bun (pun intended), place it between two slices or two hunks of lettuce. It’s still totally satisfying – and it adds a nice little crunch. I absolutely love it. In fact, I just ate some lettuce wrap sliders for lunch (actual meal pictured above)!

      Now that I’m done filming, I’m going to increase my carbohydrate intake. While eating fewer carbs did give my body more definition, I enjoy eating carbohydrates way too much. For me, it’s not worth the tradeoff. But my love for lettuce wraps is here to stay.

      Give ’em a try – especially if you’re opting for a low-carb diet.

      11 Tips to Stay Motivated at the Gym! [Video]

      This morning, I received an email from a blog buddy named Gio. While Gio loves going to the gym, he said he wants some help to stay motivated. I decided to record my answer as a quick video on my Davey Wavey Fitness YouTube channel. Click below to watch:

      TONIGHT: Davey Wavey LIVE for a Fitness-Themed BlogTV Show.

      Join Davey Wavey LIVE tonight on BlogTV at 9:00 PM ET!

      You asked for it, and now you’ve got it!

      Each and every Monday night, I do a LIVE BlogTV show at 9PM ET (NYC time zone). The topics vary from week to week, but – by popular demand – tonight’s show will be all about fitness. I’ll share some of my fitness routine, give tips and answer some of your fitness-related questions.

      The show starts promptly at 9PM, but the chat room only holds 150 people. Everyone else gets placed in a waiting room queue. So, you’ll want to get to the show early if you’d like to ask questions or participate in the chat room. Blog buddies in the waiting room are still able to watch the show – they just can’t chat.

      To watch tonight’s LIVE show (or to see previous recorded episodes), click on over to my Davey Wavey BlogTV channel. I hope to see you there! And bring plenty of questions!