Monday, May 31, 2010

Wasting time at 24 hour fitness

Today, my training partner and I decided to try out the 24 hour fitness gym in Sunnyvale, CA to workout with two other friends. Our experience was horrible! We expected to workout with a guest membership pass, but they insisted we had to either pay $ 15 to workout or print out guest passes online. So, our friend who luckily lived closeby had to print it out for us. Plus, this wasted an hour of our time, so I bought a Muscle Milk protein shake which costs about $3 everywhere, but they charge almost 5 dollars here! Ridiculous!!
Next they took forever to process the guest passes, and all the trainer's looked like they had never lifted anything heavier than a 5 lb pink dumbell. After a long painful wait(1.5 hours!), we start working out and realize the benches were all so old and unstable, so we could not train heavy. Very poorly maintained equipment to say the least. Finally, the place was packed with 80 year old men and women, which was just plain odd.

Having heard some positive things about the 24 hour fitness gyms, this was a big let down and I hope I never have to go back to one again. I have trained in some gyms where the equipment was poor, but no one deserves to put up with useless fitness trainers who neither respect people's time nor care for the business 24 hour fitness loses because of them. 24 hour fitness just lost a potential member.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Time to get beach ready!

April is here! This means if your body's not beach ready, its time to get on it! As of today, I'm about 198 lbs at 12 % body fat. In my opinion, you need to be below 10 % to be beach ready, which for me means losing 5-6 lbs. However, I prefer keeping my body fat percentage very low, so this means I have about 10 lbs to lose over the next 2 months and having done this many times before, this is easy.

However, to make this easier on myself, I usually switch to a carbohydrate cycling based diet called Ultimate Diet 2.0 by Lyle McDonald, the famous founder of the ketogenic diet system. Why is this diet easier?
  • The athlete stays on a very low carbohydrate, high protein diet from Monday to Thursday.
  • Thursday night(after the workout) until Sunday afternoon, he gets to go on a High carbohydrate, high protein diet, which means eating all you want(keep it healthy though).
  • Workouts are 3-4 days a week(Mon-Tue-Thu-Sat or Mon-Thu-Sat).

This means, you still get to have fun and eat out with friends and family over the weekend. This is usually such a big problem to most people on a diet. They tend to feel miserable during social occasions where they constantly have to worry about breaking their diet. No more of that! Again, the low  carbohydrate + high protein diet during the weekdays are not so hard if you stick to a meat + egg + fibrous vegetables based diet as they tend to leave you satiated.

I highly recommend people read the Ultimate Diet 2.0 book, I read it once every time right before I go on the diet as it helps me plan my program.

So thats as far as my training and diet go, now onto the question which I get asked the most. What supplements will I use over the next 2 months?

1. Pro Complex protein - Why? Because its a perfect mix of high quality, slow digesting protein which means the body has a continous supply of amino acids. This is good because the body will not lose muscle.

2. Carlson's Fish oil: This is an important part of the Ultimate Diet. I use about 5-10 grams of fish oil per day.

3. NO-Xplode: I use NO-Xplode before my workout because its a good mix of creatine, Nitric Oxide and stimulants(fat burners) so its much easier to train hard on a low calorie diet.

4. ZMA: ZMA is combination of Zinc, Magnesium and Vitamin B6. I use this before I sleep as it helps maintain a healthy immune system, tissue repair and promote sleep quality. It also helps increasing testosterone levels.

5. I also recommend using a good multi-vitamin. I use this one.

Thats it! I hope everyone has a plan to get beach ready! Remember, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Leave the ego at the door please.

Just got back from a short but intense leg workout. Rush hour traffic for almost an hour in each direction and a long day at the office, its time to train legs at 9 PM!

It wasn't going to be a simple workout either, my plan was to follow Charles Poliquin's functional hypertrophy workout for legs as written here. Basically, the workout is:

Lower Body Functional Hypertrophy Workout
Front Squat, 5 x 3-4 reps, rest 10 seconds super set with Back Squat, 5 x max reps (probably 1-4 reps), rest 120 seconds
Leg Curl, 5 x 4-6, rest 120 seconds

Finish with calf training and abs.

Into my second set, I realized I have hurt my left knee a little bit from a hike in the mountains on Saturday, so I slowed down my repetition tempo to keep things in control, but kept the weights the same, so it made it all the more harder, but safer nonetheless. Oh and did I mention this workout was after I deadlifted 315 lbs for 12 reps yesterday? Working out with a very sore back, maintaining strict form and doing supersets is a different kind of challenge indeed.

Funny incident from the gym today, as soon as we walked in, my training partner and I noticed a squat bar loaded with 12 plates(thats 685 lbs), and a guy ready to get under it. We were really intruiged and wanted to see if someone can really squat 65 lbs, and then I noticed the pin was set 6 inches below the bar, which means it was going to be the shortest range of motion possible on a squat. And then the guy got under the bar and unracked the weight...I have to say its probably the ugliest lift I have seen in the gym. The guy's back almost buckled under the weight, but his friends kept pushing him to do quarter reps with it and I was hoping to god he'd kill himself and end my misery in looking at this. However, that didnt happen. Pity.
Note to you guys, leave the ego out when you walk into a gym. Its not about how much you can prove to others you can lift, its about proving to yourself that this is one place in your life you can do something and be completely honest with yourself.

Back home after the workout, sipping on a nice protein shake from all they whey, I also cut into a pecan cobbler which a colleague sold us all on, which tasted great! Its nice to indulge a little since i've been eating really clean lately. However, if you ever want to indulge your tastebuds a little, the post workout window is the right time to do it. So after a great workout and a nice post workout meal, I'm going to bed with happy thoughts on my mind. Good night!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Want to lose weight? Eat more often.

Here's a secret few people know - If you want to lose fat and keep the weight off, try eating more meals(but smaller portions) instead of trying to eat less.

Why does this work? Combine an increased meal frequency with an increased protein and fiber intake, and you'll see your body transform at an amazing rate.

For example: Eating three times a day and trying to lose weight? Try to spread the same amount of food over 5 meals, every 3-4 hours and see the results for yourself.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Plyometric Workouts - fastest way to getting in shape

The company I work for has a personal trainer come in three times a week and train employees. My colleagues all had positive things to say about this trainer(used to train the San Francisco 49ers at one point), so I decided to go check it out.
Friday's are plyometric workouts in this trainer's routine. Plyometrics is a type of exercise training designed to produce fast, powerful movements, and improve the functions of the nervous system, generally for the purpose of improving functional performance.

Plyometric workouts are a favorite of mine because of their effect on fat loss and overall physical conditioning. Moreover, they are fun, intense and are unlikely to over-train the central nervous system after 3 heavy workouts during the week.
Friday's Lower body based plyometric workout routine:

1 minute static holds in the squat position (leaning against a wall) - 3 sets

1 Giant set of - Jumping jacks, Jumping split squats and running in place - 30 secs per exercise - 3 sets

1 minute Walking lunges - 3 sets

1 minute Walking sideways in a squat position - 3 sets

Dumbell squats - 3 sets - 20, 15, 15 reps per set

Bulgarian Split Squats - 3 sets of 12 reps each

You can imagine how spent I was at the end of this! Great workout!

If you are interested in such fat loss specific workouts, try Turbulence Training. It is an incredible plyometric based system aimed at conditioning and fat loss in the fastest, easiest way.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

4 Nutrition Tips for Fat Loss

This is always tough to admit, but nutrition is more important than your workouts when it comes to fat loss. Here are 5 tips to help you plan your daily eating habit.

1) Your nutrition program doesn't have to be extreme.

Make sure you do not make any extreme diet changes. Most people's diets fail because they are not sustainable. Simple diet changes go a lot farther than you might think.

While I do prefer a low carbohydrate diet for myself, I achieve it by trying to eat more whole, natural foods which make me feel satiated. Isnt that easier than going on an impossible-to-stick-to ultra-low carb extreme plan?

2) Get the junk out of the house.

If it's in your house, you'll eat it...and trust me, this goes for me too. That's why I keep the junk out of my house. The occassional treat is OK, but if you find yourself eating junk food on a daily basis, its clearly time to rethink your shopping habits.
So whatever your weakness is, keep it out of your home. Success is that simple.

3) Fill in the "diet-killing" gap.

For some folks, the diet-killing gap is between work and dinner. For others, it's between dinner and bedtime, but for almost everyone, there is a point in the day when we suffer from mindless eating.

Have some meat ready to cook before you come home, thaw meat in the fridge, cook food over the weekend.  If you crave dessert after dinner, if you need something sweet, stir up chocolate protein powder into a small bit of plain yogurt. There are always healthy snacking options.

4) Chew your food 5-10 times before swallowing.

Most people eat so fast they only about 1-2 times. You'll really notice a difference and you'll slow your eating so you feel full.

5) Eat some veggies with your meal.

American researcher Barbara Roll has published a lot of studies showing that this will help you reduce the food you eat. Surprisingly, consuming just water doesn't seem to do the same trick.

Finally, remember to exercise! Working out blunts appetite, and goes a long way in keeping you health and diet conscious. Remember, the summer is almost here, so its time to look great naked!(or semi naked).

One really great workout program I often recommend to people short of time but need a program with WORKS is Turbulence Training. Check it out here.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

New year resolutions

Its the time for new year resolutions, so here's mine! I know words without actions do not mean much, but listing out one's goals goes a long way in pushing oneself towards achieving them.

  1. Graduate - Need to complete my Master's program and do it well.
  2. Add 15 lbs of muscle - That's about 1.25 lbs a month which should not be that hard if I plan right. 
  3. Write 150 Blog posts here - That's right! You'll be reading a lot more of what I have to say.
  4. Read 20 books - I love reading about philosophy, self-help and any other book which is meaningful enough to add value to my life.
  5. Visit New York, Japan and India - These are my three trips for 2010. 
  6. Save some money - I have a number in mind but that's private!

What are your new year resolutions?