Monday, June 28, 2010

Having Defined Roles is a Key to Success.

Anyone who has ever worked on a team whether for a job, athletics, or a family knows how valuable it is to have clearly defined roles.  When everyone does the job they are supposed to, there will be success.  For me it is easy to see this in sports, it's not always the most talented team that wins, but the team that works the best together. Much like my favorite baseball team the Minnesota Twins that won two World Championships while being heavy underdogs. If everyone has a role then everyone is important and everyone has a purpose.

I believe dieting is the same way, having great talent is like having great genetics, and only a few of us are born with this awesome gift. 

The rest of us if we want to lose weight and keep it off we need to give each day a role, and each workout, and every meal has a purpose. This is a big reason why the Spike Diet is so successful. The Spike Diet has a role for every day:
  1.  "High Days" , the purpose is to have a more calories available for an effective workout. 
  2. "Low Days" , The purpose is to create a larger deficit on days we don't workout to burn more body fat for energy.
  3. "Spike Day" The purpose is to reset or "trick" our mind and body, and at the same time enjoy the food we love guilt free.
On a day to day basis, when I am going to eat something, I ask myself "why am I eating this"
Is it for pleasure or is it to provide nutrients needed for exercise or recovery. On my Spike Day it's simply because I want it or I have been craving it.

Exercise is the same way, there's a reason we do certain exercises, it's not just for fun, the purpose is to break down muscle tissue to rebuild it stronger. So every set, every move has purpose. When you realize how important each set is, your intensity rises. Then you have much more effective workouts.  Don't just go through the motions when you exercise, but make each rep count.

A big tip to making "roles" work for you is to understand that losing and gaining weight all comes down to energy balance. Our body exerts energy all day long and food is our main energy source and when it's used up our body fat makes up the difference as our back-up energy source.

Next time you go to grab something you know you shouldn't ask yourself why? What's the purpose?
If it's simple pleasure, I choose to wait and have that and more on my Spike Day.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Great blog post from Jim Stoppani at Muscle and Fitness Rebutting Consumer Reports and Protein Drinks

I have read the Consumer Reports article on un-safe metals and contaminants. I admit when I first read it I was a bit worried and upset, but I just had a feeling this was not the full story. Enter Jim Stoppani who actually dug and did some real research on this report. True, Muscle and Fitness is not un-biased, most of their money comes from ad sales from these companies but he did find some real truths. Also Consumer Reports had a lot to gain by creating this story with sales and recognition, it's pure sensationalism

Right now there is a modern day witch hunt going on from the government and supplement companies. Yes I would like some regulation, for example companies should not be allowed to lie about the ingredients in FOOD and supplements, but what these law makers who know absolutely nothing about protein and supplements are trying to do is destroy the industry as we know it. A few bad apples are spoiling the bunch. and instead of going after the whole industry they should punish the companies who are unethical.  There are many companies who are creating products that improve our lifestyles and "supplement" our diets and exercise. USP Labs for example has created a few amazing new products, one called Pink Magic that if you haven't heard about it yet you will. The great thing about Pink Magic is it uses all natural ingredients. I personally have not tried or used it but I have some friends that I trust who swear by it, and tell me they had zero side effects from it. I have used other USP Labs products like the pre-workout supplement Jack3d, and in my opinion this is a company that is trying to create new and innovated products that do help a good diet and exercise program. 

I recommend you read both the Consumer Reports article and Jim Stoppani's and draw your own conclusions.  Personally I will not change my use of protein supplements.

Jim's blog

Consumer Reports

Article on the witch hunt

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Low Carb Protein Shake with Egg Beaters, yes Egg Beaters

Try it it's delicious.
Egg Beater Protein Shake

 I know what you are thinking, but it really is good. I got the idea from an uncle who used to add raw eggs(not good) to his shakes to give them more of a malt flavor.  For my chocolate shakes I use:

  • 1 Scoop of Chocolate Protein Powder(Myofusion is my favorite)
  • 1/4 Cup of Skim Milk
  • 3/4 Cup of Egg Beaters they are safe raw.
  • 1 serving of pure and natural fiber powder
  • 1 cup of  ice.
  • Blend them in a blender until smooth.
  • Then enjoy a high protein, low carb, and high fiber treat.

My shakes do taste more malt like, and the egg beaters are thicker than milk so they are also creamier with ice. In fact it almost tastes like I added ice cream.

The Nutritional breakdown:

285 Calories
    3 grams of fat
  16 grams of carbs
    6 grams of fiber
  45 grams of protein

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Glycogen the hidden key to fat burning and muscle building

What is Glycogen?

In Simple terms, it is stored energy in our muscles and liver for the purpose of muscle energy. In fact muscle glycogen doesn't even have to be converted to glucose to be used.
Glycogen is our body's Premium Workout Fuel.

Glycogen is extremely important to athletes, runners, and anyone trying to lose weight with diet and exercise. One of the tricks have have picked up over the years was training my body to be efficient at re-storing glycogen while dieting. Remember calories are energy, we input and output energy just like a machine. Calories are our fuel and they make us move just like the gas in your car. When we are in a constant calorie deficit our body will use up all of the calories we eat, then use up our glycogen, and burn our unwanted bodyfat.  This all sounds great, but having depleted glycogen makes for very inefficient workouts.

Enter the Spike Day,

There are many advantages to having a Spike Day, but one of my favorite benefits is my body is able to store the extra calories I eat that day back into my glycogen stores. I noticed early on that the day after my Spike Day I am a few reps stronger, and I have a lot more energy to get through a tough workout. Over the past year this has allowed me to make awesome strength and muscle gains while still burning bodyfat.

I think Glycogen can make or break a workout program, and because of that I will be spending a lot of time researching and blogging about this very important molecule.

  • Glycogen is the main reason we have drastic weight drops and weight gains. I'm talking like 2-5 pounds in a day. It's all water weight, a gram of glycogen is tied to 3-4 grams of water. So as you deplete glycogen you lose water weight, as when you re-store it you gain water weight. DON'T WORRY ABOUT WATER WEIGHT.
  • Remember it takes 3,500 calories of a surplus to gain one pound of bodyfat. 
  • Think about it, if you really gain 3 pounds in a day you would have to have had 9,500 calories above what you burned during the day. Or around 12,000 calories. 
  • A gallon of water weighs OVER 8 pounds.
  • If it makes you feel better weigh yourself only once a week, and on the same day and time.
  • Do not stop eating after 4pm, even 7pm. This is completely ridiculous. Do we forget we are about to be fasting for several hours while we sleep? If you are eating right, and sticking to a calorie limit it does NOT matter when you eat. I'd even say it's better to eat more later.  It provides energy through the night and the following day.
In conclusion don't worry about the scale, in the long term if you are eating right and exercising the weight will be coming off, BUT do not get too excited or too upset when you have those weeks when you gain a few pounds or lose several.

Water Weight is the King of the Scale.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Goal reached!

In the spirit of the World Cup, all I have to say is GOAL!!!

On Friday I reached my 215lb weight goal.  All in all I have now lost 115lbs and I have done it without depriving myself of donuts, pizza, ice cream, cheese cake, or really anything that I wanted. I could not be happier with my diet or the results. 

My next goal is not a weight goal, although I would like to weight around 205-210lbs someday.  I want to continue my body re-composition and build muscle, burn fat, and live the Spike Lifestyle.

I am focusing now on the most efficient way exercise, everything helps and everything works but just like my diet there is way to get great results without killing ourselves in a gym 7 days a week.  

I am a long way removed from my 330lb, morbidly obese self. I feel like it was a different person or that it wasn't really me. I see old pictures of myself and I can hardly believe it or remember what it was like to live that way. I know I will never go back to my old habits, and why would I? The Spike Lifestyle lets me it what I really want every weekend and I know I don't need it everyday.

Also exercising, not food is my new emotional crutch/addiction.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Simple and Delicious Low-Fat Mexican Cream Cheese Chicken Wrap

This is my new favorite snack/meal.

It's quick and easy. Plus it's low fat, high fiber, and high protein.

Most important it's delicious!


  •  Mission Low Carb Wraps 
  • 1.5 Servings of Hormel Chicken Breast Strips
  • 1 Serving of Fat-Free Cream Cheese
  • 2 Servings of Salsa


  1. Warm up the pre-cooked chicken breast in the microwave for approximately one minute.
  2. In a bowl, mix the salsa and cream cheese to get it as creamy as possible.
  3. Add cooked chicken to salsa and mix
  4. Top the tortilla with the chicken and wrap it, and warm it up for 15 seconds in the microwave and enjoy.
  5. Feel free to add spice, or sprinkle some low fat cheese on it. 

Nutrition Breakdown:

Calories:   260
Fat:          5 grams
Carbs:     26 grams
Fiber:      11 grams
Protein:   27 grams

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Full Body Home Circuit Workout

I have links to videos courtesy of

This workout is a 15-30 minute workout. You can start with one set which is one time through and work your way up to 4 full sets.  All exercises are done in succession without rest, and if you don't have dumbbells any thing with weight that you can hold in your hands will work.

Do 10-15 reps of each, and no rest in between.

1. Sumo Squats

2.Standing dumbbells shoulder press

3. Wall push-ups

4. Dumbbell Curls

5. Dumbbell triceps kickback

6. Lateral raises

7. Plank

8. Calf raise-can be done without the board, focus on squeezing your calf muscles.

9. Air Bike

10. Jog in place for 30 secs-1 minute

Rest 30 secs- one minute 

and repeat for 2-4 full sets

You will be resting each body part when you change exercises which allows you to get a lot done in short period of time.

You can do this workout once or twice a week, allow enough time for your body to recover. If you are sore you are not ready to do it again as your body is still rebuilding.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

How Exercise CAN Make You Thin.

How Exercise CAN Make You Thin. 
By Russell Branjord

When I first read the Time Magazine article called “Why Exercise Won't Make You Thin” ,by John Cloud, I was surprised that a mainstream magazine would go against the grain with an article that spoke a lot of truths but would also upset the fitness community.

The truth is, no matter how much we exercise, if we don’t eat right we will not lose weight.

This is a fact and the author is right that many people use exercise as a way to justify their unhealthy “treat”. The amount of calories we burn exercising pales in comparison to the amount of calories in most foods. For example, to burn off the calories in a typical “healthy” sub sandwich you would need to do aerobics for an hour. To burn off the calories in a typical fast food salad you would need to walk for a couple of hours, and to burn off the calories in a medium sized ice cream treat...get ready to run stairs for an hour! These are facts; the calories in food are far greater than the calories burned exercising. No one can argue against that but I think he is missing a few important thoughts.

I want to go against-against the grain as I believe exercise CAN make you thin.

Just remember-we do not have to reward ourselves with a treat for exercising

In my long history of dieting I was 100% more likely to follow my diet when exercise was a regular habit.


I did not want to waste my time, money, and effort working out with poor food choices. Every time my exercising stopped my diet would inevitably fail later.

Exercise has many weight loss benefits:

  1. Exercise can help us build and maintain lean muscle tissue which is the driving force for our basal metabolic rate or, simply put, our metabolism. 
  2.  Exercise enhances our mood by releasing good hormones and lowering our stress hormones. 
  3.  Exercise does burn calories! It may not be body fat calories but it burns what we eat therefore increasing the deficit gap. While we are resting we will then need to use even more body fat to make up the difference. For example; if you were to jog for 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week and eat the same amount of calories, that would be a difference of 22 pounds a year! 
  4. Exercise increases our blood oxygen level, which increases our energy level and our body needs oxygen to process fat into fuel. 

If we attempt to lose weight dieting without exercise we will lose muscle along with fat, and this will send our metabolism in a downward spiral- to the point where we need to eat less and less to even maintain a weight.

Exercise is not the only cause for us being hungrier; it’s just as simple to say dieting causes us to be hungry. BIG SHOCKER THERE! The truth is it’s all about energy balance. Our brain does not like us using body fat for energy for long periods of time.

When we have a negative calorie balance through diet or exercise for an extended period of time our metabolism will slow down and our CRAVINGS will increase in an attempt to get us to eat more.

Body fat is our “battery back-up” when it comes to calories/energy, and it’s our brain’s job to get the most life out of it in the name of survival.

Starvation Mode is a very real thing. If we had a food shortage it would help prolong our lives, but if we are trying to lose weight it is downright mean and nasty.

We should not eat more because of exercise, and it is a bad idea to try and calculate your daily calorie needs based on exercise and activities, because the numbers may be off. Remember a calorie deficit equals weight loss.

If you want to lose weight now and keep it off forever I recommend a lifestyle of having a daily calorie goal based off your basal metabolic rate. That way exercise is a “bonus” to your healthy eating.

My magic formula I followed in losing 100 pounds plus pounds and keeping it off:

  1.  Diet: Daily calorie goals based on basic metabolism. 6 days a week. 
  2.  Indulge: One day a week eat a surplus to keep Starvation Mode away, and satisfy all cravings. This way you won’t feel like you are depriving yourself, and it’s a fun, guilt free day of indulgent eating.
  3.  Exercise: 3-4 days a week. You don’t need to go extreme; you can get results with 30 minutes of lifting weights and 15-30 minutes of cardio. 
  4.  Be active, get up and move around. Take the stairs and go for walks. Every little bit counts and the calories you burn add up. 
A well planned diet along with exercise is the perfect match for true fitness. 

So don’t quit your gym membership just yet, exercise CAN help you be thin.

Russell Branjord, Certified Personal Trainer, Loser of 115lbs, and author of the Spike Diet.

The Spike Diet is available now on Amazon, but its official worldwide release will be November 4th, 2010.

Monday, June 7, 2010

You hate it and I hate it but logging calories is a must.

Think of it as your daily "health budget" 
If you don't log your food you may go into diet foreclosure!

I tell all of my clients that they need to track their calorie intake or they will never truly know how much they are eating.  We lose weight because of a calorie deficit but if we don't know how much we are eating how can we guarantee we have a deficit? 
I guess I thought this rule didn't apply to me. I have lost over 100lbs and I've been logging calories for years.  So I thought I didn't need to track my calories anymore.
I KNOW what I'm eating.. right?

This past week I went back to logging my calories and what I found out was humbling. I thought I new exactly how much I was eating from my years of experience and amazing math skills. What I found out was I was typically eating 500 calories more than I thought I was. No surprise, when I logged my intake and stuck to my calorie goals I lost 2lbs in the week. What I learned logging is a necessary evil, even for the most experienced dieters.

The good news is there are many cool phone apps that make logging food easy and fun. I have the Fat Secret app on my phone and it is a breeze. You can check out their site at