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:

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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.

Short answer: No. Cardio is not necessary.

Unless you are a competitive athlete, you don’t need to do additional cardio workouts beyond the two, 21 minute workouts at the X Gym. 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.

Now, if you want the long answer, read on! It’s still “no – cardio isn’t necessary,” but here’s the Xplanation behind the X Gym philosophy and some of the research to back it up. There’s much more than is listed here in the hyperlinks, but to list them all would be ridiculous because the research proving that traditional cardio is boderline worthless, is simply overwhelming. Anyone who is still a fan of traditional cardio (whether that be for cardio improvement or for fat loss) over HIT or HIIT is simply misinformed and severely outdated. They just haven’t done their research.