What day is it? FRIDAY! You know what that means. It’s time for another episode of Friday’s With The Ferret!
This week, I want to talk about vegetables and how to get them inside of you.
Of course, before we dive head long into the topic, I’d like to spin an anecdote for you.
Today (and most days) I eat 1 big helping of green vegetables (broccoli, brussel sprouts, asparagus, kale etc.) and 1 helping of another vegetable that is anything but green (this changes based on the season and what’s on sale that week.) Raw, or steamed is my preferred method and I rarely put anything on them for seasonings or flavoring. If you can believe this … I actually enjoy the taste!
By adding in these servings of vegetables and keeping my diet colorful, I am able to maximize my nutrition intake and find that many macro and micro nutrients I once was severely lacking in, I have ample supply of. In having ample supply, I find my energy levels through the roof ((Most days for me start at 5am, a few clients in the morning, followed by tree work (yes, I am a lumber jack on the side) my own hour long workout, more clients to train, and finally home by 930pm. This increase in energy is vital to my survival!)) My recovery time from working out and from work is dramatically reduced, my skin looks and feels healthier, and my body fat % has been the lowest it has ever been in my entire life.
Now here’s the shocker … I spent 24 years of my life HATING vegetables (and I don’t throw that word around lightly!) I would go out of my way to avoid them, couldn’t stand the taste, the texture, or anything about them. ANY OF THEM. The only way I could ever choke them down was drenched in ranch dressing.
So needless to say, my diet was composed mostly of carbohydrates, sugars, and protein. I was missing many essential nutrients; my body and mind suffered because of this.
Today friends, I want to share with you my secret on how I started not only eating, but actually enjoying my vegetables.
It was a long and arduous road, but in the grand scheme has paid off ten-fold and will continue to pay off as long as I draw breath.
This is the miracle of Juicing.
When I first decided it was time to add some more color to the palate that was my diet, I needed a way I could choke down those veggies fast so my body could get its nutrition, but I wouldn’t have to taste them or cover them in something unhealthy.
An IV drip was out of the question. Too bulky to carry around.
So the next quickest method? Turn them into a puree and slurp it down.
I invested in a good blender (although a great juicer or food processor works just as well) and began making my vegetable concoctions.
Initially, they tasted horrendous, but since they were liquid, they went down quick and easy.
After a while, I started to experiment a bit. I started adding fruits, yogurts, a little bit of milk, crushed nuts.
These magical shakes, started to taste AMAZING! By adding in the sweet flavor of the fruits and thinning the mixture down with yogurts and milk, these disgusting looking concoctions (note: they still sometimes look disgusting) took on an aroma and flavor that can only be described as divine.
I started pounding one of these bad boys every day, making sure I had at least 1 fruit and 1 vegetable in each shake. I experimented with different combinations and found the ones that I liked best.
After a while, I started adding in protein powder and drinking these shakes as a post workout, or an appetite suppressor mid-day.
Then … something terrible happened. My blender jumped off the counter and broke.
Having been on a vegetable and fruit kick for so long, my body quickly noticed it was no longer getting its nutrients, and I started to feel like crap. Granted, it was the kind of crap I had felt like for 24 years, but being accustomed to such a poor diet I had never noticed it.
So, with my intestines best interest in mind, I bit the bullet, and chowed down on some vegetables.
Were they as awful and tasteless and gross as I had remembered them being?
In fact, it was just the opposite.
I COULD actually taste them, and you know what? They weren’t half bad!
From there, the rest is history. I started eating my veggies whole and have been constantly experimenting with new ways to cook and prepare them.
So do you need more veggies in your life but don’t know how to start incorporating them into your diet?
Hello all and welcome to the next segment in Friday’s with The Ferret. Today’s topic will discuss pre and post workout routines, what’s best, and why. Join us for our little adventure, won’t you?
I want to start this post off by informing you that there is a lot of conflicting science on pre and post workout dogmas, be it stretching, how long you should warm up, the after workout shake, or even the timing of all of this.
That being said, you must understand that the world of fitness science is still relatively new and has been receiving more and more attention as the years go on. What is fact today could possibly be disproven tomorrow! As educated human beings, we must remember to reserve the right to change our mind based on the body of knowledge we currently possess.
So let’s get down to the skinny …
For a long time, it has been thought that stretching pre workout was not only the best way to warm up the muscles and body for activity but also had the benefit of deterring muscle injury during your workout.
Post Workout Stretching
Stretching post workout was thought to be an ideal way to cool the body down after vigorous activity. Allowing the muscle fibers to continue moving and contracting while in a warm state (thus increasing range of motion)
Muscle fibers that had been knotted and compacted could be stretched back out, giving added benefit to our workouts.
As well, post workout stretching was thought to be the best way to ensure extra nutrient delivery to the muscle tissues.
What the facts are:
Stretching is beneficial to any routine in general. It allows us to stretch out any stressed fibers and help the muscle return to a full range of motion while simultaneously helping us increase our range of motion. Stretching warms up muscles tissue through movement and assists the process of blood vessel dilation and nutrient delivery.
Warm and pliable muscle tissue is less likely to be injured.
So, will the timing of your stretching make or break your routine? No. Will not stretching at all absolutely destroy your hopes of having the body you want? No.
It is my recommendation that you find a way to work stretching into your routine, because it does have benefits that will assist you in your journey.
Personally, I am a fan of stretching during my routine. During my rest phases I actively stretch the tissues I am working. I have found from personal experience that this mode of stretching has allowed me to push out 1 or 2 extra reps sometimes, which is always an added bonus for trying to build gains.
As a side note, stretching to warm up is great. Especially if you don’t utilize any other means to warm up, but, regardless, warming the body up by working the active tissue is all that is necessary to avoid injury.
Pre-Workout Supplements and Nutrition
Supplements? The market is absolutely flooded with supplements that scream at you how amazing they are and how you will become superman!
Creatine will make your muscles explode!
This muscle pump will make you pump extra reps!
Rabble Rabble Buy Our Product Rabble Rabble!
Nutrition must be done in a certain window to see the ultimate gains or you may as well throw your workout out the window.
Post Workout Supplements and Nutrition
Supplements! PUT THIS IN YOUR BODY NOW! YOU NEED IT!
This supplement will speed up your post workout recovery and have you feeling like a million bucks!
Ever heard of the anabolic window? You’ve only got 30 – 45 minutes following a workout to pound that protein shake bro! Bro!? You hear me Bro!? If you don’t feed that monster RIGHT NOW you are missing out!
What the facts are:
There is a lot of science and pseudoscience that has long pointed to things such as the anabolic window following a workout. What researchers are starting to agree upon more and more, is that this supposed window, is a lot bigger than originally thought. More like, 3 to 6 hours.
That in mind, and thinking of supplements, you have to understand that many supplements aren’t backed up by hard scientific evidence and the industry itself is barely regulated (Which is why you see the statement: “Has not been tested or approved by the FDA”) and the success of them selling is solely based on creating the notion that you actually need them.
I used to be a proponent of hitting that anabolic window post workout and would religiously chug my protein shake thinking that it was the only way to maximize my gains from my routines.
This just isn’t the case. I can tell you from my own personal experience and other trainers I have worked with, that clean eating and eating the right foods is far superior to relying on a supplement. Not only that, but you actually know where your food came from and what’s in it!
Looking at pre-workout supplements, I must also confess I was a user of several of those as well be it creatine to explode muscle growth or pumps to force those extra reps. From all of this I gained a little. But here’s the kicker … Sans pre-workout and post workout supplements and just eating clean, again, I have surpassed any of my old benchmarks. I won’t knock anyone for conducting their own experiments in pursuit of their goals, but from my own experience, I’ve had better results from a foundation of solid nutrition.
To finish up though, I want to talk about pre and post workout nutrition from a food standpoint. Regardless of how big the anabolic window post workout is for nutrition, it is still important that you feed your body after thrashing it in a fitness routine. Equally, it is important to properly fuel your machine before putting it into the aforementioned gambit. My best advice? If you are really concerned with meal timing and trying to get the most out of it (though the differences are small) eating 2 – 3 hours prior to exercise (protein, carbs, nutrient dense food) will allow it to metabolize and be in your blood during your workout which is when your muscles will start the process of demanding those goodies.
The take away ladies and gentlemen, is that there is no magic pill. There is no perfect regimen or routine (that we have identified yet.) But what we are finding out is that everyone’s body is different, and you will see your best results by listening to your body and responding to it accordingly.
Feed your body well, train hard, and watch it take flight.
Hey ho, whaddaya know? It’s Friday, fo sho! Welcome back everyone and thanks for tuning in. This week’s topic, while titled towards businessmen (and women!) it really addresses one major concern that many people have with fitness and nutrition. Time.
This post was inspired by a client and friend of mine, who works between 60 and 70 hours every week. Wowzers! That’s a lot of time to crunch, and doesn’t leave much free time left over for fitness and healthy choices, especially when those aren’t necessarily the top priorities in our mind before, during, or after the daily grind. So let’s crunch some numbers here for just a tick.
In a 5 day work week, there are 120 hours.
If we get a full 8 hours sleep each night, there go 40 of those hours.
120 – 40 = 80
Take away 65 hours as an average for someone cranking out a ton of work hours …
80 – 65 = 15
Let’s then figure 30 minutes on average to “wake up and get ready to hit the day” taking up another 2.5 hours over the week.
15 – 2.5 = 12.5
Factor in an hour of drive time to and from work each day for 5 more hours.
12.5 – 5 = 7.5
Let’s then give us a grace of 2.5 hours split up over the week for errands, chores, and other general maintenance things.
7.5 – 2.5 = 5
So, in a 5 day work week, that leaves 5 hours of personal time.
Phew. So as you can see, we don’t have a lot to work with, which makes the challenge of using those 5 hours for personal betterment through cooking or exercising instead of decompressing and unwinding in front of a TV.
Before I continue, I want to stress, that IS possible to use that time to get in quality workouts, and meal prep.
2 or 3 hour long workouts in those 5 days, still leaves 3 to 2 hours for meal planning and prepping; while 5, 30 minute exercise sessions also allow 30 minutes of meal prep every day.
But, the REAL objective of this post is to offer up ways in which we can combine exercise and ease of making healthy nutritious choices without dipping into those coveted hours of personal time.
Hang on for the ride folks! Some of these suggestions are so incredibly simple that their benefit may blow your mind.
1.) Invest In A Cooler
A cooler? But I’m not going to the beach! Hear me out. By investing in a cooler you have the option to cart around more healthy food choices and snacks for you that might need to be kept cold, or just contained in general. Consider the following. Lunch rolls around, and you are busy owning life at work. The most convenient thing to do would be to order out to save you those precious minutes. But what if, instead, you could reach over, crack open your cooler, and pull out a piece of fruit, or a vegetable, or sandwich you prepared yourself?
Also! Not only does the cooler act as a portable portal of nutritional goodness, it also provides you with an exercise you perform simply by walking from one destination to the next! You will be actively doing an exercise known as a suitcase carry. By having a weighted object in one arm, you must use stabilizing muscles to keep yourself upright, and statically activate muscles in your arms and back. Just don’t forget to switch sides on your next trip to balance out the work!
2.) Stairs or Elevator?
When faced with this question, the elevator is always the easiest route. But, by taking the elevator, you are passing up on a free workout that is 100% a part of your day and in no way would be cutting into your precious free time. Suck it up buttercup, and master those stairs for an awesome cardio workout and strength training for all the musculature of your legs!
3.) Park Further Away
Always, anywhere, wherever. Choose a spot further away from your destination. You’ll get extra steps in and really, is the 30 seconds to a minute it will save you worth more than your overall health and those precious precious hours at the end of the day?
4.) Portion Control
In the end, there are situations that you sometimes just won’t be able to control when it comes to choosing whether or not to eat out or pack your own lunch. Be it a business lunch, or last resort convenience you should also be prepared to deal with these encounters. Restaurants are notorious for delivering you unrealistic portions. Your mission is to eat slowly. Savor the meal, enjoy it and taste every flavor. By eating slower and registering the meal with your brain, you will be less likely to over eat, and guess what, those left overs? Will make an awesome second meal later! Of course, it never hurts to be cognoscente of the nutrition factors of the meals you order while out as well.
5.) Back Pack It
This one may not be conducive to everyone. But, if you have many things to carry around with you, investing in a good backpack may be pertinent. I can tell you that I always carry a backpack where I go. It will always have a notebook in it and other useful doodads that anyone might need in a given day, like pens, pencils, business cards, iPod, gym shoes, a shirt and pair of shorts, computer, and the book I am currently reading. The computer doesn’t always travel with me, but when it does, it’s a nice added weight (not that without it the pack is unnoticeably light.)
Make sure to strap your arms through both loops. Carrying this bad boy around with you wherever you may have to walk to will give some added resistance to stairs, and walking in general for a little added exercise.
6.) Find Little Increments Of Time
Dedicate waking up 5 minutes earlier to get in a quick powerful workout prior to showering and starting your morning routine. Grab another 5 – 10 minutes around lunch time when you feel your focus fading and need a break anyways (not only will a quick bout of activity re-juice your energy levels, it will be another increment of healthy activity for you.) Just got home? Take 5 more minutes before you start your winding down regimen. Doing that 5 days a week will provide you with 20 minutes of vigorous activity per day, more than enough to develop fitness wise!
7.) Weekend Prep
Notice, I did not include the weekends in this plan? Chances are with the rest of your busy life style, your weekends are also filled with plans and other “get-it-done” activities. But, if you dedicate an hour of your time on Sunday, or even Saturday, you can prepare an entire week’s worth of meals in one fell swoop. Eat a single portion and partition the rest off into freezer bags or Tupperware. Put the ones for later in the week in the freezer and the ones that will be eaten soon in the refrigerator. There are lots of great meal ideas out there on the internet, accessible at the click of a mouse. All you have to do is prepare enough servings of it to last the week. So what are you waiting for??
So at the end of the day, the take away is this. There is always time. Finding it is the difficult part. But nothing in life worth having is ever easily attained. You owe it to yourself, to search for that time to treat yourself right.
Have any other tips that work well for you in your busy schedule? Please feel free to comment here and tell us all about them!
Knowledge is best served with a side of discussion.
Howdy ho neighbors! Thanks for joining us on yet another Friday’s With The Ferret.
Today, I would like to discuss with you the importance of having direction.
Direction is structure that can be given, and just as well created to offer us a means of discovering new things, adapting skills, and otherwise upgrading our selves.
We receive direction from a teacher to learn.
We create direction to reach our goals.
We receive direction when following in a mentors foot-steps.
We create direction when we wish to teach another.
I could go on and on with ambiguity, but for today, let’s focus on why it is important for direction to be a part of your fitness and nutrition routine for the greatest success!
Whether you create the direction yourself, or get it from a trainer you will find your goals not only attainable, but easier to achieve.
Before going into battle, a general has strategy. So why shouldn’t you?
Before hitting the gym, have your own strategy. Decide which muscles you want to work, how you’re going to do the work, and what your time frame is.
By following this rule, you will maximize the results you can get, out of the time you spend.
This can all easily be done in just a few or as many steps as you want (depending on how much time you are willing to invest in yourself.)
1.) Start a workout Journal
Use your workout journal to plan your workouts for each session and to track your progress for future planning! With a plan, you will be efficient and can be certain your workouts touch on all aspects you want to hit. As well, with easy tracking right in front of you, adjusting regimens and planning future sessions by understanding the past you can prevent plateaus and gain a deeper physical understanding of your own body and its development.
2.) Understand your mode
Is today’s workout cardio based? Are you trying to keep your rests short and your heart rate up?
Is your workout geared towards strength? Better make sure you are lifting heavy!
Understanding your mode will help you determine the exercises that are best suited for delivering the results you are chasing.
3.) Do some research
Research exercises, modalities, techniques. Knowledge is power, and in the gym your brain is a muscle that’s just as powerful as the rest. There are many reputable sources out there that provide quality video, aural, and written instruction on how to perform various exercises as well as literature on why and what you should be doing for achieving certain goals (just be sure your source is in fact reputable!)
4.) Hire a trainer
There is a reason people go to school to get an education when they could in theory educate themselves. Learning from another’s wisdom, experience, and knowledge on a given topic allows us to save time on research we would otherwise have to conduct and learn ourselves, and with an active figure there to engage our learning process, we can draw more from the subject by combining minds and energy. A good trainer, like a teacher, will help prepare you for the road ahead with a solid background of education and the experience of application.
Like fitness and direction, nutrition is very similar.
1.) Start a food journal
Having a food journal will allow you to track your eating habits and more easily make adjustments as it becomes a “schedule.”
2.) Understand your body
You are your own best scientist in this department. Nutrition involves a lot of listening to your bodies responses to how you feed it. Monitor your gassiness, time periods of greatest hunger, what makes you feel the fullest longest, and your energy levels. With these notes added to your food journal, you will begin to paint a very clear picture of your insides and gain an understanding of your biomechanics.
3.) Do some research
Knowledge is power! I can’t say this enough! Read about nutrition and food. Watch documentaries. Gain an understanding of how food reacts inside our bodies and it will become easier to make better choices due to understanding the pros and cons.
4.) Hire a trainer
Or in this case, a nutrition expert! Hiring a professional who knows food will take all the grunt work of research and understanding out of the process for you, so all you have to do is follow the direction. However, like any teacher a good one will help educate you along the way.
So why spend another minute in the gym, staring at equipment, or jumping around from various exercise to exercise without direction. You are cheating yourself out of time. You are cheating yourself out of progress.
Don’t look at your food wondering what’s in it and how it will fuel you. Kerosene is fuel, but you don’t just put that into your body!
So the big take away from this folks, is that direction is your friend. I know being organized can be scary, and a lot of work (trust me, if being disorganized really is a sign of genius then certain aspects of my own life classify me as the next Einstein) but this is one area you should not pass up having a strategy for. Consider it your cheat sheet for the exam; your ace up your sleeve. Or more realistically, your north star: guiding you home and to where you belong.
Dan "The Fit Ferret": An avid enthusiast of life and seeking out adventure wherever it may lie. ACSM certified Personal Trainer and Spartan OCR Competitor.