PJ's Fitness Blog

A blog about a fitter you. Come find out what is on the cutting edge of fitness science and be a part of the ongoing conversation.

Finding Those “Gem” Restaurants on the Road

Travel nutrition can be difficult, but only if you think it should be.

It’s actually pretty easy with the right mindset and a web browser (smartphone or computer).

Last weekend, when I was traveling to Portland for a stair race with some friends, we asked the concierge at the hotel for a great healthy restaurant nearby. That’s usually a good first step, but in this case, he was worthless. He said he wasn’t from that area. What? A concierge who doesn’t know the area? Well, here’s an example of a hotel manager who doesn’t have the right people in the right seats on the bus.

So John and Casey got on their smartphones and Googled “grass fed beef restaurant.” This is a safe bet and certainly better than Googling something like, “healthy restaurant” because almost everyone tries to claim that in their keywords, hoping to snag some suckers. “Grass fed beef” on the other hand, is very specific and no one would put that in their keywords without running the risk of ticking people off and getting a bad online review. The search turned up several places, but the one we chose was called “Cultured Caveman” because we figured this would be legit paleo or primal style food. And it was. Check it out:

New Revolutionary Recipes

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Is Fresh or Frozen Best? 

One Pot Fitness Pasta!

Chinese Cabbage Club Taco Sammich!

Is Cardio Really Necessary?

I get asked all the time from doubtful clients whether cardio is necessary. The reason they ask is because the X Gym exercise system is based on two, 21 minute workouts per week, with no mention of cardio. We explain to our members that additional cardio is not part of our program because with the way our exercise system is designed, it’s not actually needed. This is, of course, hard for most people to believe, but as soon as they experience one workout, they understand because they can feel it for themselves.

While the X Gym workouts might look like strength training – and they certainly are – these workouts also produce cardio results, due to the high intensity interval nature of the training and what that does for the heart. When people do the X Gym style correctly, they reach complete muscle fatigue (CMF) at the end of each exercise. This causes the heart rate to spike and in most cases, approaches or even reaches maximal heart rate. Since there are 5 to 6 exercises in every session, that’s how many times the heart rate spikes in any given workout.

If you were to graph the heart rate response from and X Gym workout on a piece of paper, you would clearly see those spikes, but you would also see deep valleys in between. The valleys happen because once an exercise is finished, the heart rate starts coming down as the client makes their way to the next exercise (which really only takes 20 seconds or so). Then the heart rate continues to come down during the first few reps of the next exercise because since we are using light weights and controlled repetitions, those first few reps really aren’t that hard. Then as things start to get hard again and the intensity goes up along with the fatigue level, the heart rate goes up accordingly, until CMF is achieved again and the heart rate repeats another spike.


Everything in Moderation, Right?

©PJ-2014-Chocoholic-Fitness-Cake-sliced_crop_4260-720x489When I hear people say “Everything in Moderation”, it’s basically just an excuse to eat stuff they know is damaging to their health. Those people never look or feel like me either. They are paying the price for this philosophy and I’ll explain why here.

Is cyanide OK in moderation as long as it’s in something that tastes good? How about eating strychnine, as long as you are careful to space it out enough so it doesn’t kill you right away, or you build a tolerance to it over time, or you take antidotes every time you ingest it?

The food you eat either improves your health or damages your health. There is no “neutral” food. The “Everything in moderation” people are making an allowance for the foods that damage their health. Then, they are hanging on hope that the healthy foods they eat will act as an antidote to counteract the damage they just caused. Does this sound like a healthy lifestyle to you?

Then there’s the people who claim to eat healthy “most” of the time and only eat unhealthy “some” of the time, as part of a “balanced” diet. Dr. Mercola has a great answer to this one:

According to soda companies like Coca-Cola, sugary beverages can be safely enjoyed as part of a “balanced” diet and lifestyle. But what kind of “balance” are they really talking about? In essence, the “balance” referred to here is a balance between poison and nutrition. The idea they’re promoting is that if you eat a healthy diet, you can safely indulge in a little bit of poison every now and then. This is the only balance they can refer to, because when it comes to real foods and pure water — which is the only beverage your body cannot live without — maintaining balance is not really an issue. When you eat real food, it is beneficial and you don’t need to concern yourself with adverse effects like obesity and diabetes.”

The myth that “everything in moderation” is OK was recently busted through the publication of a study showing that eating only one junk food treat (aka poison dose) per day for just one month is enough to trigger metabolic syndrome in healthy people!

I submit that healthy foods can be just as “fun” and delicious and even more so, then unhealthy foods. In fact, I have found that all the healthy foods I eat and the recipes my friends and I have developed (many of them on HardBodCafe.com) are much more delicious than the unhealthy foods I used to eat. In fact, they are so much more delicious, I simply don’t crave any of those unhealthy foods anymore. Those poison food from my past don’t taste near as good as the healthy foods I eat now. Plus, I know that those poison foods would make me feel like crap, so  I just don’t touch them anymore. (more…)

The X Gym Resolution Revolution


Did you know that over 90% of the people who make New Year’s resolutions fail? It’s actually more like 95%, but about 5% of the ones counted in the “success group” are lying about it because they are too ashamed to come to grips with the fact that they failed, or they “tweaked” their original resolution along the way to make it more achievable. I call the 95% who fail, “Resolutionaries” because they tend to make the same unrealistic resolution over and over, year after year and keep failing. Maybe this is where Ben Franklin’s quote came from: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

Are you tired of being a Resolutionary? Are you ready to revolutionize your resolutions and try something new, instead of that same old thing that hasn’t been working for you? (more…)

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