You’re Using The Elliptical Wrong.

elliptical-machine-2302Oh, the elliptical.

I don’t want to crap on such a beloved piece of gym equipment. After all, it’s a great, low-impact option particularly for people with knee injuries or issues. And it’s certainly a better option than sitting on your couch eating potato chips. But when we talk about workout efficiency and effectiveness, most people aren’t using the elliptical to it’s full potential.

You’re probably using the elliptical wrong if:

  1. You think it’s easy.
  2. You can have a conversation while using it.
  3. You can easily read a book or follow a TV show while on it.
  4. You spend more than 30 minutes using the elliptical.
  5. You don’t break a sweat during your workout.

Unlike the treadmill (where you can set a speed and force yourself to push hard), the elliptical is more self-motivated. You may start out hard on the elliptical, but there are no consequences for slowing down or slacking off. With a treadmill, on the other hand, if you slack off – you fall off.

This isn’t to say that you can’t have an amazing, efficient workout on an elliptical. It’s possible. But it requires being extremely focused and strategic. Here’s how to use the elliptical properly:

  1. Crank up the resistance. You only get out of your workout what you put into your workout – and resistance will increase the intensity of your elliptical session. Use it!
  2. Monitor RPMs. Though you can’t set speeds like a treadmill, monitoring your RPMs is the second best. Pick an RPM level that you find challenging – and stick to it. Keep pushing yourself to stay above it.
  3. Shut up and crank up. If you’re chatting with your neighbor, this is an indication that you have additional untapped lung capacity. In other words, you’re not working out to your potential. Stop chatting and work out harder.
  4. Increase resistance and RPM level over time. The idea isn’t to do the same workout each day, unless you already have the body of your dreams. The idea is to constantly challenge your body by progressing to higher and higher levels. Keep besting your previous records.
  5. Keep workout time short. Efficient but effective workouts are key. If you’re able to maintain your elliptical workout for 40 or more minutes, your workout intensity is too low and your sabotaging your results. Keep your workouts under 30 minutes by using strategies like high intensity interval training.

 

If you’d like to challenge yourself with another low-impact cardio exercise, try rowing. It’s good on the knees and can be an effective alternative to the elliptical. Swimming can be another option.

The moral of the story is that it is AWESOME that you are working out. But it would be even more awesome if you got the most out of your workout.

P.S. Want stronger abs? Download Davey’s Six Pack Workout for 5, professionally filmed ab workouts that will change your body forever!

 

Is Chipotle Healthy? 6 Tips To Upgrade Your Order.

Hey Davey,

I know that you’re not a fan of fast food but I love eating at Chipotle. To me, it is a step above McDonald’s or Burger King and the food seems to be more nutritious. I was wondering if Chipotle is actually healthy?

From,
Beth

chipotle-burritoHey Beth,

Like any restaurant, it really depends on what you order.

Last week, The New York Times did a great feature on Chipotle and how many calories most people actually consume.

As it turns out, many burritos and burrito bowls end up being calorie bombs that are loaded with sodium. After reviewing data from 3,000 Chipotle orders, researchers determined that the typical Chipotle order has about 1,070 calories, nearly 2,400 mg of sodium and 15 grams of saturated fat. For many adults, that’s more than half a day’s worth of calories, a full day’s worth of sodium and about 75% of your daily recommended saturated fat.

Screen Shot 2015-02-24 at 10.54.04 AMSo how can you upgrade your order at Chipotle? Use these tips:

  1. Ditch the tortilla. Eliminating the tortilla (and opting for a burrito bowl) cuts 300 calories.
  2. No sour cream. By cutting sour cream, you eliminate 115 calories and 7 grams of saturated fat.
  3. Light on the cheese. Cheese adds another 100 calories and 5 grams of saturated fat to your meal. Go light.
  4. Pass on the chips and guacamole. Be strong! Chips and guacamole add a staggering 770 calories to your meal. While guacamole is nutrient dense and may be worth the calorie splurge, the chips have no redemptive qualities.
  5. Get brown rice. While switching from white rice to brown rice won’t cut calories, it will add fiber to your meal and slow down digestion. You won’t get the same spike in blood sugar that you might otherwise get from white rice.
  6. Drink water. A 20-ounce can of coke adds 240 calories to your meal – and heaps of sugar. Ask for a cup of water. It’s also free.

Do you have any tips for eating healthy at Chipotle? Share them in the comments below!

P.S. If you want to burn off your burrito, give my professionally-filmed bootcamp workout a try.

Does Tabata Work?

six pack absYou may have heard some chatter about Tabata workouts. But what are they? Do they work? And how can you use them?

Back in the mid-1990s, Tabata workouts were created by coaches of the Japanese speed skating team. Based on research around high intensity interval training, Tabata workouts consist of eight, 20-second high intensity rounds followed by 10 seconds of rest. In total, the workout is just four minutes long.

Here’s what an example Tabata workout could look like:

  • 20 seconds push-ups
  • 10 seconds rest
  • 20 seconds squat-jumps
  • 10 seconds rest
  • 20 seconds plank
  • 10 seconds rest
  • 20 seconds burpees
  • 10 seconds rest
  • Repeat x2

Short but intense, these four-minute, ultra-efficient workouts have become increasingly popular and widespread – especially in CrossFit and group exercise classes.

But does Tabata actually work?

The American Council on Exercise studied Tabata-style workouts and concluded that they meet or exceed established guidelines for improving cardiovascular fitness and modifying body composition. In terms of calorie burn, Tabata met guidelines for calorie expenditure for improving health and facilitating weight loss. In other words, Tabata workouts can provide some great benefits – especially for individuals with tight schedules.

So how can you use Tabata workouts?

If you don’t have a lot of time, doing a 4-minute Tabata workout is certainly better than nothing. Keep in mind, the idea is to crank up the intensity and power through the 20-second intervals. Even with just 4 minutes, you should feel significantly challenged.

If you want something more, many people perform 4 Tabata workouts in a row, with 1 minute of rest in between. In all, the workout will take just 20 minutes. And you’ll certainly feel it.

Personally, I like to use Tabata workouts as a finisher. In other words, I like putting a 4-minute Tabata workout at the end of my cardio and strength training program. If I worked my leg muscles, I might end the workout with a 4-minute Tabata workout that focuses on my lower body. It really can give your workout that extra oomph.

So, give it a spin. Try the above Tabata workout or put together your own routine.

P.S. Crunched for time and want to try a high intensity interval workout? Download Davey Wavey’s Bootcamp Workout and get started right now.

And The Best Workout Is…

27-must-read-motivation-tips-from-team-bodybuildingcom-graphic-8Today, I’m thrilled to share with you the best, most effective workout in the world.

If you hate morning bootcamp classes, no problem. Don’t like yoga? That’s fine, too. Not interested in performing sprint intervals on the treadmill? That’s okay. Not into burpees? Join the club.

Drum roll, please.

The best workout is… a workout you enjoy.

Working out shouldn’t be miserable. It’s not something that you need to dread each day. On the contrary, exercise can be a wonderful time to de-stress, give your body the gift of movement and work toward your fitness goals.

Sure, some exercise types produce faster or more dramatic results than others – but that’s only if you stick with them over time. And if you don’t like working out, it’s going to be difficult to create an exercise habit and the subsequent results. The best workout is one that is sustainable and that can be incorporated into your everyday life.

On your fitness journey, you’ll try some workouts that you love and some that you hate. You may make a few mistakes or learn a few things along the way. It’s all part of the process. But exercise need not be miserable or painful, so move in the direction of what you enjoy – whether that’s rock climbing, dancing, running, strength training, crossfit or anything else.

The best workout is one that’s sustainable. And the best predictive indicator of sustainability is how much you enjoy it. Do what you love. Even when it comes to exercise.

In the comments below, share your favorite type of workout. Why do you love it?

P.S. If you’re looking to try a new type of workout, download Davey Wavey’s Bootcamp Workout. You can get started right now, without any equipment.

The Detox Secret You Didn’t Know.

Hey Davey,

I’ve seen a lot about detox diets and was looking at a few different options. I was wondering if you have a recommendation or any advice?

From,
Earl

Get-Lean-DietHey Earl,

As someone who lives in southern California, it seems like everyone and their mother is on a detox diet of some sort or the other. Though there are many types of these detox diets (some running upwards of $200 or $300 for just a few days), they all come with a similar promise: To counteract your busy lifestyle by removing the built up toxins in your body.

For detox-lovers, I have some good news and some bad news. Plain and simple, the bad news is that these diets don’t deliver on their promise. The good news is that your body does an excellent job of removing toxins on its own – so there’s no need for these products in the first place.

So let’s dig a little deeper.

As it turns out, there’s no scientifically-valid evidence to substantiate these products’ claims. In fact, many of these claims about how the body works are wrong – and, in some cases, the recommendations are dangerous. According to Dr. Michael Smith of Web MD:

If your goal is to detox your system, don’t waste your time or money. Your body is an expert at getting rid of toxins no matter what you eat. Toxins don’t build up in your liver, kidneys, or any other part of your body, and you’re not going to get rid of them with the latest detox wonder. Especially avoid diets that promise to detox your liver with supplements or “cleanse” whatever the diet determines needs washing out.

And though some of these detox diets may result in minor weight loss through calorie restriction, the weight will likely be regained at the conclusion of the diet. These diets are not sustainable, healthy or recommended.

But there is a healthy way to actually detox your body. It’s a secret that can radically transform the quality of your life. And it’s free.

Many of the same people that I see on detox diets routinely fill their bodies with alcohol, processed foods, sugars and other unhealthy substances. Some of them even smoke.

So here’s the secret: If you don’t want toxins in your body, don’t put them there in the first place.

Eat more fruits and veggies. Select lean meats. Opt for whole grains. Eliminate processed foods and sugars. Don’t get shitfaced at the club or do drugs. How beautiful is that?

And if you do over indulge, treat yourself to plenty of water, a good night’s sleep and a balanced diet. Your body will do the rest. No $300 detox diet needed.

Love,
Davey

P.S. If you’re looking to lose excess body fat with a science-based and time-tested strategy that works, download Davey Wavey’s Weight Loss Program to get started today.

Friday Workout: Can You Beat My Time?

tumblr_myhrg90ghT1rbvfj1o1_500It’s Friday and a solid workout is a great start to your weekend.

Because I’m a big fan of efficient workouts that don’t waste time, I’ve got a challenge for you. Below, I’ve put together a kick-ass workout that I’d like you to try. You can do it at home, in your dorm or even in your office during a lunch break. Time yourself with a stopwatch and complete each exercise. Then, post your time in the comments below.

In case you don’t know how to perform any of the exercises, I’ve linked to an instructional video on YouTube for each.

Here’s the workout:

Remember, you’re doing this for time! So move quickly through the workout – but don’t compromise your form.

My time was 4:32. What did you get? Let me know in the comments below.

P.S. For guided, 15-minute workouts that you can do at home and without any equipment, download Davey Wavey’s Bootcamp Workout.

Is Eating Cholesterol Bad For You?

men-guys-food-naked-shirtless-cooking-apron-ass-gay-TMI-muscle-bulge-cleaning-hot-sexy-cuteCholesterol is one of those things that gets a pretty bad rap. And, in some regards, rightfully so. If you have high levels of LDL cholesterol in your blood (i.e., the bad cholesterol), you’re at increased risk for heart disease.

As such, it only seems logical to think that eating lots of high cholesterol foods would lead to higher levels of blood cholesterol. Conversely, it would make sense that limiting dietary cholesterol would lower blood cholesterol. But, over the years, we’ve discovered that it doesn’t always work like that – just as low fat diets didn’t make us any less fat.

Eggs are a perfect example. In a previously referenced study by the University of Connecticut’s Department of Nutritional Sciences, the consumption of 2-3 eggs per day was found to have little or no impact on blood cholesterol levels in 2/3 of participants. For the other 1/3 of participants, blood cholesterol levels did rise. But the levels of so-called “good” cholesterol increased in proportion to the levels of “bad” cholesterol, so the ratio of good to bad cholesterol stayed the same.

Studies like these have prompted the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, the nation’s top nutrition panel, to no longer consider cholesterol as a nutrient of concern. The decision, which took place in December, will likely impact everything from dietary guidelines to school lunches. In other words, this decision has some serious balls.

According to an article in The Washington Post:

The new view on cholesterol in food does not reverse warnings about high levels of “bad” cholesterol in the blood, which have been linked to heart disease. Moreover, some experts warned that people with particular health problems, such as diabetes, should continue to avoid cholesterol-rich diets.

And now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to celebrate with an omelet.

P.S. For a simple, easy guide to transforming the way you look and feel through the foods you eat, download Davey Wavey’s Insanely Easy Guide to Eating Smarter.

10 Commandments of Building Muscle.

davey wavey gymLike many gym goers, you’re probably looking to add some bulk in the form of muscle.

It’s true that all of us have different bodies and have experienced different fitness journeys – but there are some common threads that can help create an effective foundation for building muscle.

  1. Thou shalt perform 8 – 12 repetitions of each exercise. Different repetition ranges target different goals; for purposes of building size and strength, most trainers recommend a rep range of between 8 and 12. Lower ranges target strength and higher ranges target endurance.
  2. Thou shalt perform each set until failure. Simply put, this means that you’d be unable to perform an additional repetition at that resistance level without compromising form. If you are targeting 10 repetitions, this would mean that you couldn’t do an 11th. If you can, increase the resistance.
  3. Thou shalt use an overloading stimulus. This means subjecting the muscles to more than they’re capable of handling. When you do that, you’ll be creating tiny tears in your muscles, which then must be rebuilt back up stronger than they were before.
  4. Thou shalt progressively overload. Keep in mind, your overloading stimulus won’t be so overloading after a few weeks or a month. As your muscles grow, you’ll need to up the resistance to keep your muscles growing. You’ll need to continue doing this until you reach your goal.
  5. Thou shalt use free weights. If you’re just getting started with building muscle, you can get great results with your body weight (i.e., push-ups at home) or by using machines. But to really progress to create athletic-level muscle size and strength, you’ll need to hit the free weights. They allow you to progress to higher levels of resistance without the balancing assistance and limitations of strength training machines.
  6. Thou shalt eat before and after exercise. Before your workout, consume some sort of complex carbohydrate to ensure a steady release of energy during your workout. It will help you power through the routine. After your workout, consume simple carbohydrates (the resulting spike in your blood sugar will quickly get the glucose from the carbohydrates into your muscle cells where they’re needed) and protein.
  7. Honor thy body with rest and recovery. After you’ve created the tiny tears in your muscle, you must back off and allow your body a chance to rebuild them. This process makes the muscles stronger and bigger.
  8. Thou shall still do cardio. The truth is, cardiovascular exercise is great for all people, regardless of their goals. Because you don’t need the additional calorie burn, you’re doing cardio for the overall health benefits; as such, limit cardio to a handful of sessions per week that last less than 30 minutes. High intensity interval training is best-suited for individuals looking to retain and/or build muscle.
  9. Thou shalt consume sufficient calories, protein, carbohydrates and fat. Remember, you can’t build something out of nothing! To add any type of mass, you must consume more calories than required to maintain your body weight. Most trainers recommend a calorie surplus of 250 – 500 calories per day. Proteins provide the amino acids that muscles need to generate new tissue. Carbohydrates and dietary fats, on the other hand, provide the energy for the process to occur. Without these in place, your results will be hampered.
  10. Thou shalt assess progress. Every few weeks or perhaps once a month, look at your progress. Take measurements including muscle size, waist size and so on. Compare pictures. And then adjust your program accordingly. If you notice that you’re gaining fat, for example, decrease your calorie surplus accordingly.

Do you have any additional commandments for building muscle size? Share them in the comments below.

P.S. If you’re looking to add muscle mass, download Davey Wavey’s Foolproof Guide to Building Muscle. It’s a guaranteed, step-by-step guide to achieving your size and strength goals.

How Much Sugar Did You Have For Breakfast Today? Hint: A Lot!

sugar2Sugar everywhere!

The first thing you need to know is that most of us eat way too much sugar. According to estimates, the average American eats 130 pounds of sugar each year. That’s a lot of sugar.

The second thing you need to know is that most of us are really, really awful about estimating where our sugar comes from. That’s because many of the seemingly innocuous foods we eat are secretly high in sugar. Foods like barbeque sauce. Or milk. Or ketchup.

Breakfast is no exception. And to eliminate all ignorance, let’s do some math and figure out how much sugar you ate this morning.

Maybe you had a cup and a half of raisin bran cereal, one cup of skim milk and a glass of orange juice. It all seems so innocent, doesn’t it? Until you do the math.

According to the nutrition information, a cup and a half of raisin bran has 27 grams of sugar. Add that to the 12 grams in a cup of milk. And the 21 grams in a cup of orange juice. Your breakfast total is 60 grams of sugar.

Here’s where it gets really gross.

We know that four grams of sugar is equivalent to one teaspoon. So if we divide 60 grams by 4 grams per teaspoon, we’re left with 15 teaspoons of sugar for breakfast. While most of us find grams hard to understand, 15 teaspoons of sugar is a much clearer (and more disgusting) metric.

Not to single out raisin bran, most cereals are loaded in added sugars. In many breakfast cereals, sugar is the second ingredient. Sometimes it’s the first. As such, it’s important to read the nutrition information and ingredients carefully. In fact, I’ve written an entire article about buying healthy cereal.

Rather than cow’s milk, I also recommend opting for unsweetened almond milk. It’s rich, creamy and delicious. And it has exactly zero grams of sugar – making it an awesome upgrade to your diet.

Beyond milk and cereal, be suspicious of other breakfast foods with lots of sugar. These include energy bars, yogurts (especially with fruit on the bottom), muffins, certain smoothies and many frozen waffles/pancakes.

And instead of drinking orange juice, apple juice or other sugary beverages, consume the whole fruit. You’ll still get some sugar – but with lots of fiber and other important nutrients. You’ll feel fuller and experience less of a spike in your blood sugar.

So… how many teaspoons of sugar did you consume for breakfast this morning? What’s your number? Let me know in the comments below.

P.S. If you’re looking to lose weight, it takes more than cutting sugar. Download The Davey Wavey Weight Loss Program to get started today!

Having These 5 Things On Your Counter Makes You Fat (or Skinny).

Tomek-Batko-FastFood-Adam-Cekiera-Dailymalemodels-03As it turns out, our environment plays an important role in supporting (or not supporting) our health and fitness goals.

Keeping an exercise ball by the television, for example, can be a great reminder to exercise during commercial breaks. And having the exercise ball nearby makes things easier; you don’t have to get up, dig around the closet and find it.

Food can work in a similar way, according to a book by Brian Wansink, the director of the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University. In particular, Wansink focuses on food left out on the counter for storage. Even though it’s easy to resist foods once or twice, we eventually cave to the constant reminders and easy access.

Here are five examples:

  1. Cookies. When individuals leave cookies out on the counter, they tend to weigh 10 pounds more than their cookie-less counterparts.
  2. Chips. Much like cookies, leaving chips on the counter is associated with an extra 10 pounds of weight.
  3. Cereal. While many people perceive cereal to be a healthy choice, most of us buy cereals that are packed with added sugar. As such, keeping cereal on the counter is associated with an additional 20 pounds of weight.
  4. Fruit. Good news here. Keeping fruit on the counter can be a reminder to snack healthy. If you have a fruit bowl on your counter, you likely weigh 8 pounds less.
  5. Candy. Surprisingly, candy is only associated with a 3 pound increase in weight versus people who don’t store candy on their counter.

Of course, it’s hard to prove causation. Does having a fruit bowl cause you to eat healthier and weigh less, or are healthy eaters more likely to have a fruit bowl. It’s probably a little of both. But in either case, hiding unhealthy foods away (or, better yet, not buying them in the first place) and stocking your kitchen with readily available healthy options is a smart decision.

P.S. If you’d like to transform your body and health through an improved nutritional plan, download Davey Wavey’s Insanely Easy Guide to Eating Smarter.