Fitness & Diet

I am often asked what I eat and how I exercise. Here are some guidelines to consider. Prior to undertaking any kind of exercise or diet, you should consult with health professionals who can analyze your current health status and offer feedback about what will benefit you.

Example blog entry #1: Sculpture: A Long Term Process.

Example blog entry #2: The Metamorphosis

Example blog entry #3: Fat Burning Stack (includes a link describing High Intensity Interval Training)

Example blog entry #4: Cool Sculpting & Intermittent Fasting

Example blog entry #5: My detailed regimen

Exercise Tips:

  • When lifting weights or doing calisthenics, exhale on the exertion, inhale when you come back to rest
  • When performing repetitious cardio activity, take the same number of reps to inhale as to exhale
  • Maintain proper alignment for the given activity, and be certain all equipment and clothing is in good condition
  • For building mass, add more weight while performing fewer reps (2-3 sets of 6-8 reps for each exercise, 2-3 exercises for each body part) (NOTE: Reps 1-2 should make you feel powerful, reps 3-5 should be intensely challenging, reps 6-8 should genuinely exhaust you. You should need 60-90 seconds rest before performing the next set. If you could have gone past 8 reps, you should have used more weight/resistance.)
  • For encouraging tone, keep the weight lighter while performing more reps (3-4 sets of 12-15 reps for each exercise, 2-3 exercises for each body part)(NOTE: Reps 1-5 should make you feel energized, reps 6-11 should require more effort, reps 12-15 should genuinely exhaust you. You should need 45-60 seconds rest before performing the next set. If you could have gone past 15 reps, you should have used more weight/resistance.)
  • Your workouts should last about 45-60 minutes, and should not have any rest periods longer than 2 minutes. You want your body to recover, but you don’t want it to get cold. If you work at the intensity described, you should not be able to go past an hour.
  • Do not exercise the same muscles more than once every 7 days for building mass, every 3 days for toning. Split the body into sections.
  • VARIETY!!!

Eating Tips:

  • Diet is 75% of success in fitness: You are what you eat!
  • If you know you won’t get to eat anything else on a particular day, at least try to eat breakfast within 45-90 minutes of waking up. Breakfast can positively affect your body’s use of food more than any other meal. If you’re going to splurge on junkie foods, do it at breakfast – this will not only give you the whole day to burn off the crap, it will also lessen your yearning for it throughout the day.
  • To gain mass: Rather than eating 3 large meals spaced every 6 or so hours, cut each meal in half. Make the same amount of food you normally would, but divvy it into 2 portions. Eat 6 “snack sized” meals spaced every 3 hours or so. This keeps the metabolism in storage mode by keeping insulin in the blood stream at all times. Please note that there is no such reality as “famine mode.” That is total bullshit. When the metabolism finally drops 10% (which can take up to 72 or 96 hours without food to happen), it clings to everything the next time you eat (since it doesn’t know when it will eat again). This is why starvation diets do not work, and is the reason you will, eventually, regain all the weight you lost, plus some.
  • To maintain mass while losing fat: Educate yourself about Intermittent Fasting, which allows time for the insulin in your blood to be absorbed/removed/metabolized. Once the insulin is out of your system, its opposite – glucagon – is released, and it tells your body to release the fat it has stored. You cannot burn fat while there is insulin in your system, so set aside 16 hours to fast and eat all your day’s calories within an 8-hour window. You can select whatever window works for you. I eat all my calories between noon and 8 pm each day. Half of those fasting hours you will be asleep, so don’t fret. You adjust very quickly to the new schedule, and the results are gratifying over the course of 90 days. Note: The benefits of fasting start around 8 hours after your last meal and increase up to 18-hour mark and level off until the 24-hour mark. After that the benefits are diminished. Try to avoid going too far in your fasting, and if you do,  be sure to break your fast with something simple to avoid nausea and diarrhea.
  • To lose fat without being terribly dedicated to maintaining muscle mass: Read this article and use its Calorie Calculator, then subtract out 500 calories per day to lose 1 pound in 1 week.
  • Focus on whole foods as much as possible. Whole foods contain ingredients that are easily recognizable (e.g. salad: greens, veggies, oil, vinegar, grilled chicken), and do not contain lots of chemical ingredients. An example of whole ketchup would have the ingredients: tomatoes, vinegar, (salt), and spices. Whole peanut butter would have the ingredients: peanuts, (salt). Whole butter: milk, (salt). Whole cheese: milk, (salt), enzymes. Whole bread: whole grains, molasses, (salt), (sugar), yeast. Avoid foods that are heavily processed and/or preserved and/or colored. Avoid ingredients that you can’t pronounce. (My aunt taught her children to know what whole foods are by telling them to talk to their food. “Ask your food what it’s made of. If it can’t tell you, then it’s probably not whole.”)
  • Get your protein from lean meats and whole eggs. Keep the yolk in your eggs: It has been found that the cholesterol in eggs isn’t a problem. In fact, you need that cholesterol to build testosterone to build muscles. Debate is split on whether whole organic milk, 2% organic milk, 1% organic milk, or skim organic milk/cheese/yogurt is best. Those who favor whole milk argue it is a whole food (but it’s still pasteurized, so that isn’t entirely true), whereas those who push for reduced/low/no fat milk make arguments about the health problems associated with the fat in dairy products. If you cannot afford to get anything else organic, make it a priority to get organic eggs and dairy products – the chemicals in the mothers’ bodies get concentrated in their milk and eggs.
  • Focus on carbohydrates that come from unrefined grains (whole grains) and fresh vegetables. Unrefined grains will be high in fiber. Check the nutrition info on a food to see if it has 2-3 or more grams of fiber per serving.
  • Keep fruits, fruit juices, refined (white) sugars/carbs, salt, hydrogenated oils, trans fatty acids, and saturated fats (animal fat, coconut oil, palm oil) to a minimum.
  • Make sure to include unsaturated fats, but keep them to about 3-4 servings each day (e.g. nuts, seeds, grape seed oil for cooking, olive oil for room temperature preparations, and avocado).
  • If you crave fruit or fruit juice, know that it has as many calories as candy or soda. Keep their intake to only 2 servings a day!
  • If you crave chocolate, use dark chocolate (60% or higher cocoa). Use sparingly. (Update: Chocolate may keep you lean!)
  • Avoid spending money on lots of vitamins. Use a good multi-vitamin once a day. Be sure it is in a form that is rapidly delivered (i.e. dissolves within 30 minutes once in the digestive tract). Otherwise you will not get any of the nutrients. To test whether or not a vitamin is rapid delivery, place one of the vitamins in an 8-ounce glass of water. It should start to fall apart within 30 minutes. If it comes out of the water unchanged, you will probably not be able to absorb that type of pill in your body.

Rest Tips:

  • Your body heals, recovers, and grows ONLY WHEN YOU SLEEP. Get adequate rest or you will not experience optimum gains.
  • 7-8 hours is generally regarded as optimal for most people. If you need less sleep at once, try to take cat naps during your waking hours.
  • Keep your joints in alignment by NOT SLEEPING ON YOUR BELLY. This torques the neck completely out of alignment. Sleep on your back as much as possible, and prop yourself with pillows as needed. If you sleep on your side, use a body pillow and wrap your arms and legs around it.
  • Use a pillow that comfortably holds your head in alignment with your neck.
  • A light snack about 10 minutes before bed (i.e. a glass of milk, a handful of nuts, or a serving of yogurt) will keep you from starving in the night, and will not generally upset your sleep.
  • Rotate and/or flip your mattress every 90 days.
  • Get a new mattress every 7-10 years.
  • Avoid mattresses that offer little separation between you and springs. Memory pads can be placed under the sheets if necessary. There are also brands that avoid springs altogether.