Tuesday, July 30, 2013

arnold's 6 rules of success

in honor of his 66th birthday, today, i wanted to share with you arnold's 6 rules of success.  i absolutely love this video and find his story and transformation amazing.  regardless of his human errors in life and poor movie choices here and there, he has literally been a huge inspiration and advocate for so many of us fit beasts.  i hope you watch and learn a little bit.

eat clean.  live lean.  live better.  live longer.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

bring on the waterworks

i'm leaving utah for a little bit and heading to my childhood home in arizona for a little r&r.  i'm starting a new job in a few weeks and won't have much time off for vacations and definitely won't be making it home for the holidays (sorry, mom) for the second year in a row, so i'm getting it in now!  besides the obvious perks of spending time with my family in arizona, i get to deal with the excessive summer heat by camping out in the swimming pool!

since i'll definitely be testing out their newly refurbished pool on a daily basis, i wanted to find some great exercises that i could do while working on my tan.  the mermaid in me will probably give up on these after a few minutes and swim laps until i turn into a shriveled and puckered up raisin though.  if you have access to a pool, give these a try!

eat clean.  live lean.  live better.  live longer.

Monday, July 22, 2013

if it were easy, everyone would be doing it

it's called "working out".  it's called "exercise".  it's called "strength training".  it's called "bodybuilding".  it's not called "sit there, think about it, want it, wish for it, but not do anything about it".  anyone in the fitness world, whether they're a fitness competitor, professional athlete, fitness professional, or the every-day gym rat, will tell you that it is hard work to transform you body, life, diet, and mind.  

they'll tell you that watching each beaded drop of sweat fall to the ground is one of the most beautiful sights they've ever seen.  

they'll tell you how it was really hard and frustrating, at first, to stay on track with their nutrition and how the old habits are hard to break.

they'll tell you about the joy and rush they feel every time they exceed their own personal best with a weight or rep amount.  

they'll tell you about how many hours a week they spend training and doing food prep.

they'll tell you how magical the transformation is when you begin to see muscle definition pop up where flat, flabby, soft, and weak skin used to me.

they'll tell you about the aches and pains, the soreness and the strains.

honestly, even among all of the good endorphins and progress, there is frustration, pain, moments of weakness and temptation, retrogressing, and time away from doing what everyone else is doing.  it's hard work.  it's not easy.  if it were, everyone would be doing it and nobody would be overweight or making unhealthy choices.  it's not easy.  it never will be.  it never should be.  if it is easy, it's not challenging you.  if it's not challenging you, you're not learning, you're not progressing, you're not growing, and you're not excelling.  just as a gorgeous diamond emerges after exposure to excessive amounts of heat and pressure, so will your results.

it most definitely will not be easy.  it most definitely will be worth it.

eat clean.  live lean.  live better.  live longer.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

the fit beast feasts: roasted brussels sprouts with balsamic vinaigrette

it seriously annoys me that my spell check flags brussels sprouts.  the "s" at the end is correct!  gosh.  anyway.  i am such a fan of these little nuggets of love and think it's funny to see them portrayed as being disgusting and disliked.

i guess the haters have just been eating them wrong all this time and should probably try my recipe!  before i get to the recipe, i wanted to share with you a few reasons why you should be eating brussels sprouts:

  • brussels sprouts can provide you with some special cholesterol-lowering benefits if you will use a steaming method when cooking them. the fiber-related components in brussels sprouts do a better job of binding together with bile acids in your digestive tract when they've been steamed. when this binding process takes place, it's easier for bile acids to be excreted, and the result is a lowering of your cholesterol levels. raw brussels sprouts still have cholesterol-lowering ability — just not as much as steamed brussels sprouts.
  • brussels sprouts may have unique health benefits in the area of dna protection. a recent study has shown improved stability of dna inside of our white blood cells after daily consumption of brussels sprouts in the amount of 1.25 cups. interestingly, it's the ability of certain compounds in brussels sprouts to block the activity of sulphotransferase enzymes that researchers believe to be responsible for these dna-protective benefits.
  • for total glucosinolate content, brussels sprouts are now known to top the list of commonly eaten cruciferous vegetables. their total glucosinolate content has been shown to be greater than the amount found in mustard greens, turnip greens, cabbage, kale, cauliflower, or broccoli. in germany, brussels sprouts account for more glucosinolate intake than any other food except broccoli. glucosinolates are important phytonutrients for our health because they are the chemical starting points for a variety of cancer-protective substances. all cruciferous vegetables contain glucosinolates and have great health benefits for this reason. but it's recent research that's made us realize how especially valuable brussels sprouts are in this regard.
  • the cancer protection we get from brussels sprouts is largely related to four specific glucosinolates found in this cruciferous vegetable: glucoraphanin, glucobrassicin, sinigrin, and gluconasturtiian. research has shown that brussels sprouts offer these cancer-preventive components in special combination.
  • brussels sprouts have been used to determine the potential impact of cruciferous vegetables on thyroid function. in a recent study, 5 ounces of brussels sprouts were consumed on a daily basis for 4 consecutive weeks by a small group of healthy adults and not found to have an unwanted impact on their thyroid function. although follow-up studies are needed, this study puts at least one large stamp of approval on brussels sprouts as a food that can provide fantastic health benefits without putting the thyroid gland at risk.
    found ::here::
they're actually pretty cool.  i mean, have you seen how they grow?  the little sprouts form first on the bottom of the trunk and then spread upwards.  eventually the cabbage-like leaves fall off to make way as the sprouts migrate.  when a sprout is picked, another will never grow in its place.  

i buy my sprouts in bulk, but if you purchase them and pick them by hand, make sure you find firm sprouts.  any that are limp and flimsy are likely to taste bitter as it's a sign that they were grown in too hot of a climate.  the best sprouts come from the "fog belt" in the pacific northwest.  

there, now you know a little more about these little creatures and you are one step closer to the recipe.

the old me loved to eat these in a naughty way.  the fit beast me actually enjoys them more in a healthier format.  i hope you will, too.

first, preheat your oven to 375 degrees and get out your best roasting pan.  there's no need to grease or line it.  

prepare your sprouts by washing them and removing any damaged and nasty outer leaves.  cut off the hardened bottom.  i don't cut off too much, just enough to still keep the leaves intact and attached to one another.

cut the sprouts in half.  if you have some bigger sprouts, cut them in quarters or at least until they're a similar size to the smaller sprouts.  you'll want to do this to ensure that your sprouts all cook at the same rate.

next, in a small container, mix up a simple balsamic vinaigrette.  i probably shouldn't give you my recipe because i don't do it the correct way.  i like more vinegar than oil when i make dressings so i usually do 2 parts balsamic vinegar to 1 part olive oil.  season with salt and pepper.

arrange your sprouts cut side up on your roasting pan.  equally drizzle the vinaigrette over the sprouts, ensuring they all are covered in a yummy goodness.  only use about 3/4 of the dressing.

when your oven is heated, place the roasting pan on the middle rack and let the sprouts roast for about 18-20 minutes, or until they're gorgeously browned.

remove the pan from the oven and carefully place the sprouts cut-side down on the roasting pan.  drizzle with just a little bit of the dressing and then place back in the oven.  i've found that the uncut side of the sprout takes less time to roast, so i only leave them in the oven for about 12-15 minutes.

i can never wait until they cool and am fine burning my mouth to eat these.  i don't suggest that you endure any amount of pain, so wait for these to cool a little bit and then devour them.

give them a shot and let me know what you think!!!

eat clean.  live lean.  live better.  live longer.

20 scariest food facts

when it comes to what i'm putting in my body, i rely heavily on facts and studies to keep me informed.  this recent article on menshealth.com shocked me:

there's a scene in the 1973 movie soylent green where food shortages cause people to riot in the street, and the throng becomes so unruly that front-loading construction machines roll in and begin shoveling people up into big metal buckets. these people are hungry—no, ravenous—for a food called soylent green. but here's the twist: they know that they love soylent green, but they have no clue what it's made from. sound familiar? it should. that's basically how we eat today. okay, we're not rioting in the streets, but it's rare that we fully understand what's in the food we're eating. pick up a random package in the supermarket and look at the ingredient list. chances are you won't know half the ingredients. of course, soylent green is just a movie, and we eventually learn that the food that people are rioting for is made from dead humans. fortunately, no food company has yet to put the deceased into our cornflakes or pop-tarts, but that doesn't mean we're completely safe from the dangers of mystery. take a look at the gross, disturbing, and downright frightening facts eat this, not that! 2013 has uncovered. tou may never look at food the same way.

1. tour food can legally contain maggots, rodent hair, and insect eggs.
•    canned pineapple can pack in up to 20% moldy fruit.
•    berries can harbor up to 4 larvae per 100 grams.
•    oregano can legally contain up to 1,250 insect fragments per 10 grams.
•    cinnamon can carry up to 1 milligram of animal excrement per pound.
•    ocean perch can harbor small numbers of copepods, parasites that create pus pockets.

2. nutritious food costs 10 times as much as junk food.
university of washington researchers calculated the cost discrepancy between healthy food and junk foods and found that 2,000 calories of junk food rings up at a measly $3.52 a day. yet for 2,000 calories of nutritious grub, the researchers plunked down $36. to add insult to fiscal injury, out of every dollar you spend on food, only 19 cents goes toward the stuff you eat. the other 81 percent goes toward marketing, manufacturing, and packaging. think about that the next time your grocery bill jumps into triple-digit dollars.

3. grocers don’t have to tell you where your salad comes from.
with fresh fruits and vegetables, supermarkets must tell you the country of origin, but with dried fruit and mixed produce, the law isn't so strict. that means a mixed bag of salads isn't required to disclose its location, and that can create problems if there's a bacterial outbreak. news reports might warn you about e. coli-tainted spinach coming from a certain country, but if your spinach is packaged with other greens, you'll have no way of knowing if it's in your bag. that's a huge problem considering leafy greens top the cdc's list of foods most commonly associated with food borne illness.

4. fruits and vegetables are losing their nutrients.according to the usda, the fruits and vegetables we eat today may contain significantly fewer nutrients than those our grandparents ate. researchers looked at 43 produce items and discovered drops in protein (6 percent), calcium (16 percent), iron (15 percent), riboflavin (38 percent), and vitamin c (20 percent). your move: eat more fruits and vegetables.

5. calorie counts on nutrition fact labels aren’t accurate.
researchers at tufts university recently analyzed 269 food items from 42 national sit-down and fast-food restaurant chains, and they found that nearly 20 percent of samples contained 100 or more calories than reported by the restaurants. think about it like this: if every meal you eat has 100 more calories than you need, you’ll gain more than 30 pounds this year.

6. chicken today contains 266 percent more fat than it did 40 years ago.
what’s more, today’s chicken also has 33 percent less protein, according to a study from the institute of brain chemistry and human nutrition at london metropolitan university. the problem is modern farming practices. cramped environments and unnatural diets produce birds that have the same weight problems as the humans who eat them.

7. milk contains hormones that may cause cancer.

in 1970, a typical dairy cow could produce about 10,000 pounds of milk per year. today, that same cow produces roughly 20,000 pounds. so did cows change? nope. it’s their feed that’s different. today’s cows are routinely fed a hormone called recombinant bovine somatotropin, or rbst. problem is, studies have linked rbst to a multitude of cancers, including those of the prostate, breast, and colon. and while milk from rbst-treated cows is ubiquitous in america’s supermarkets, some of the biggest players are getting wise. Stores like whole foods, wal-mart, and kroger only carry rbst-free dairy.

8. conventional supermarket peaches can be coated with as many as nine different pesticides.
because peaches are prone to bruising, blemishing, and insect takeover, they’re routinely soaked in chemicals in the weeks before being shipped off to the supermarket. that’s why the environmental working group rates peaches among the dirtiest conventional fruits in america. also on that list: apples, celery, strawberries, and spinach. as a general rule, unless the produce has a thick, impermeable skin, assume it’s soaked in pesticides. now wash it with water and mild soap before you eat it.

9. you’re probably eating trans fat without knowing it.
slack fda regulations allow food processors to claim zero trans fats even if the food contains .49 grams. to be clear, that’s .49 grams per serving. that means by the time you finish, say, an entire bag of cheetos, you might be ingesting nearly 5 grams of trans fat. Sure the bag says “0 GRAMS TRANS FAT” right on the front, but if you look at the ingredient statement, you’ll see partially hydrogenated oil, the primary source of trans fat.

10. the number of daily calories available to each American has increased by 500 over the last 40 years.
usda data shows that the food industry supplies 2,700 calories to every man, woman and child in america. in 1970, that number was 2,200. that increase translates into 52 extra pounds of fat per person, per year

11. commonly used food dyes can alter your kids’ behavior.
researchers at the university of southampton found that colors such as yellow #5, yellow #6, and red #40 could cause hyperactivity in children. ironically, foods marketed to children are often the most heavily dyed foods in the supermarket.

12. your stomach bug is likely food poisoning.
the centers for disease control and prevention estimates that every year, 48,000 americans receives food poisoning from contaminated food, and that puts a $152 billion strain on the economy. what’s worse, an astonishing 3,000 of those people die. where’s the problem? keep reading to find out.

13. forty-two percent of raw supermarket chicken is contaminated.
in a study by consumers union, the driving force behind consumer reports, 12 percent of tested chickens were infected with salmonella, and nearly half carried campylobacter. campylobacteriosis is one of the most common causes of food poisoning in america.

14. gulf coast oysters carry e. coli.
when researchers from arizona tested gulf shore oysters, they found e. coli in every single sample. as filter-feeders, oysters naturally sift through the pollutants in the water, increasing their risk of contamination by pathogens. if you’re buying oysters from anything less than a highly trusted source, make sure you cook them through. 

15. The usda is allowing your meat to be “cleaned” with ammonia—and they’re hiding it from you.
the typical fast-food burger is made with slaughterhouse trimmings, fatty cuts of beef typically reserved for pet food and cooking oil. what’s more, these burgers contain pieces of hundreds, potentially even thousands, of different cows. this creates an environment where bacteria thrive, so to clean the meat, the usda allows a company called beef products to pipe the raw beef through pipes and expose it to ammonia gas. never mind that ammonia is a poison or that evidence suggests the process may not be fully effective. the usda deems it safe enough, and it allows the meat to be sold without any indication that it received the gas treatment.

16. aluminum cans are lined with a hormone-disrupting toxin.
bisphenol a, or bpa, is the chemical found in plastic bottles, glass jar lids, and the lining of food-containing tins and cans. in your body, bpa acts similar to estrogen, and it has been linked to behavioral problems, reproductive issues, and obesity. the industry has been slow to find a replacement, so limit exposure by switching to glass containers or plastic bottles labeled bpa-free.

17. roughly two-thirds of bottled water doesn’t comply with fda standards.
when the food and drug administration set bottled-water regulations, it left in one gaping loophole: the regulations apply only to bottled waters sold across state or country borders. bottles packaged and sold within a single state don’t have to comply with national standards. although many states do have their own set of (nationally unregulated and unrecognized) regulations in place, one in five have none. furthermore, government and industry estimates figure that 25 percent of water bottles sold in the us contain mere tap water. you should be so lucky as to end up with one of those; the fda’s rules are far more lax than the tap water standards set by the epa.

18. we drink twice as many calories today as we did 30 years ago.
the average american drinks 450 liquid calories every day, according to a study from the university of north carolina. and booze isn’t the problem. blame the bigger bottles of soda, the sugar-loaded coffee drinks, and the barrel-sized smoothies.

19. fast food signs alter your behavior
a study published last year in psychological science reveals that the mere sight of a fast-food sign on the side of the road is enough to make people feel rushed, which can lead to impulsive decisions—and dangerous nutritional choices. sidestep your impulses the next time you eat out: plan your order before you walk through the door and then stick with it.

20. there are crushed bugs in your food.
carmine, a vibrant red food colorant, is actually the crushed abdomen of the female dactylopius coccus, a beetle-like african insect. not only is the thought of eating bug juice gross, but it also poses an ethical issue for some vegetarians and vegans. look for it in red-colored candies and juices.

eat clean.  live lean.  live better.  live longer.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

speak now or forever hold your peace...and then get 10% off your order!

my favorite web based resource for all things nutrition wants to hear who and what you love.  the 2013 supplement awards are upon us and you have a great opportunity to vote for everything from the best apparel company, best amino supplement, best pre-workout, best brand, and a few more categories.

besides helping these great companies get recognized for their contributions to the bodybuilding and fitness community, you'll get a nice reward at the end of it all:  a code for 10% off your order!

so go to bodybuilding.com, make your voice heard, vote for your favorites, and then get a discount to restock your shelves!

eat clean.  live lean.  live better.  live longer.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

do it right or don't do it at all

one of the most important tips you will ever learn, when it comes to exercise, is quality over quantity.  i can't tell you the number of times i've stood in my gym with some of my fitness expert friends and looked in massive confusion as we try to figure out what a particular individual is trying to accomplish and what muscle group they think they're working.  it's baffling.  and funny, at times.  in all seriousness though, you should always exercise proper form when training to maximize your results and to avoid injury.

hopefully your gym has trainers that you can ask questions of, so take advantage and ask one of them to spare 2 or 3 minutes to show you the proper form for your favorite exercises.  if you want to get really in depth and access a ton of information, pictures, tips, videos, and articles about injury free training and proper technique, try my tried and true resource bodybuilding.com.  The awesome staff at bodybuilding.com not only supply everyone with great products, supplements, clothing, and fitness gear, but they've gone so far as to document workouts by muscle groups with the accompanied description, photos, and/or video on how to properly and safely perform it.

go check them out to make sure you're training properly and injury free, but use this little cheat sheet, too!

eat clean.  live lean.  live better.  live longer.

Friday, July 12, 2013

don't forget to eat your vitamins!!!

let it be known that this fit beast hated taking vitamins as a child.  i hated it so much that when my mom would give me chewable vitamin c, i would often hide them in the ashes of the fire place or outside in the dirt and rocks next to the house.  today, i am a huge advocate for taking your vitamins and other supplements that you might not be getting from your diet.  recent studies argue that you might not need to take a pill.  then again, you might need to.  whether or not you should be popping vitamins is not a clear-cut yes or no type of answer.  so, i guess the real answer should be this:  "what are you eating?".

taking vitamins and supplements is a personal decision that should be based on an individual's knowledge of their needs, their diet, and their lifestyle.  it should also be a decision that involves a health care professional....which i most certainly am not, but am just as opinionated as one...so i highly suggest that you make an appointment to review your diet with one such trained professional to check for any deficiencies that may exist.

if deficiencies are identified, for example, the person's vitamin e intake is lower than what is recommended, before recommending vitamin e supplements, this professional may advise adding spinach, sunflower seeds, almonds, and other vitamin e-rich foods to their diet.  you see, adding foods with high targeted nutrients, rather than supplements, also provides the protein, fiber, and other nutrients that our bodies need.  there is no tablet or capsule that contains all of that.

i'm not suggesting or even hinting that you should stop taking the pills in your cabinets.  remember, i'm not a professional.  please don't do anything radical, but at the same time, please do take the steps necessary to ensure that you are eating a nutrient rich diet that supports your needs and lifestyle.  look into company wellness programs for any connections to nutritionists or dietitians.  inquire at your gym about nutritional resources they have with their trained professionals.  hit up google for local professionals.  heck, call your doctor!  i can guarantee that what you would pay for a consultation may wind up providing you with information that can help you from paying for bottles of unnecessary pills.

i found the following resources online and they may help you understand what vitamins are found in which foods.  i hope that you'll find them helpful, but i also hope that you follow my advice and get some nutritional support from a professional.

eat clean.  live lean.  live better.  live longer.

*side note
i wrote this up about a week ago and had this in my publishing queue earlier this week.  coincidence or not, last night i watched a news report on nbc nightly news about almost this specific thing.  they ran a story about a recent study that shows that men who took too much fish oil were more likely to develop prostate cancer.  all of the physicians and specialists in the story all said the same thing: eat a nutritionally diverse diet that will provide you with the vitamins you need.  moral of the story, too much of a thing can be a bad thing.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

happy 7-11 day

please don't get mad at me for posting this.  i don't want to burst the fun summer bubble of slurpee heaven on this "holiday" but i did want to at least share this information that i found.  i, myself, was a huge fan of these drinks as a kid.  actually, we drank icees as kids and i loved combining my flavors.  #1 pick:  cherry + coke.  so dang good.  but back to the matter at hand.  i read the following article on shape.comshape.com and found the ingredient list most surprising, especially for their new sugar free slurpee.  read on.

today and every july 11, 7-eleven stores give out free small slurpees. guess it isn’t surprising that a company with that name would want to do something for its customers on the date of 7/11, right?
if you're interested in an icy treat, you may think a slurpee lite, which debuted in may of 2012 and has half the calories of the classic slurpee, is a healthy option. let's take a closer look at an eight-ounce slurpee lite fanta sugar free mango lemonade flavor, a drink that claims to be "naturally flavored" and  "0% juice," and its 13 ingredients. (confession: i had to look many of these up since i had no idea what they were.)
1. water. this is an easy one, and it's not surprising that it is the first ingredient, since i would expect that from a slurpee. unfortunately, it goes down hill from here.
2. dextrin. a starch usually made from corn, potato, arrowroot, rice, or tapioca, this is typically used as an additive to hold ingredients together or as a thickening agent. right off the bat, this makes you wonder what needs holding together.
3. erythritol. while this sugar alcohol/sweetener does not provide as many calories as sugar because it is not completely absorbed into the body, a high intake of sugar alcohol in general has been found to cause gastrointestinal distress in many people.
4. glycerin. you may be familiar with this ingredient in soap, but it's actually used as a fat emulsifier, preservative, sweetener, or thickener in many manufactured foods. i am clueless to its exact purpose in this slurpee.
5. citric acid. since this is a “natural” preservative that's used to add an acidic or sour taste to foods and soft drinks, i wonder if this where the taste comes from?
6. potassium benzoate. i'm curious as to why they needed yet another preservative, this time one that inhibits the growth of mold, yeast, and some bacteria.
7. gum acacia. this is used as a stabilizer. (interesting that we still haven’t gotten to any "real" foods on this ingredients list so far.)
8. quillaia extract. an absorbent substance/food additive used in baked goods, frozen dairy products, and puddings, and as a foaming agent in soft drinks. i never realized that a slurpee "foamed."
9. natural flavors. listed this way, i'm not even sure at all where they are from.
10. sucralose. also know as splenda, obviously this is one of the many ways of which they were able to decrease the calories from the original version.
11. sugar extract. i have no idea what this is besides being a form of sugar.
12. glycerol ester of wood rosin. yet another food additive used as an emulsifier and stabilizer, simply, i don’t even like the sound of this one
13. yellow 6. this commonly used food coloring is very controversial as to its relationship with increasing the risk of cancer.
i don’t know about you, but sometimes a free food or drink just isn’t worth it. today (and every day), i am going to stick my straw in a cold glass of water with lemon instead.
article found ::here::
eat clean.  live lean.  live better.  live longer.

a picture is worth a thousand.....calories

take a picture, it'll last longer.  no, really, take a picture, whichever one(s) motivates you, save it, print in, pin it on your fitness board on pinterest, put it up on instagram, tweet it, put it on your facebook wall, just do something to make it visible so it will motivate you!!!

eat clean.  live lean.  live better.  live longer.