Uhh…Random/Interesting Stuff?

Filed under: General Health, Training

A CP client sent me a link to a Harvard website all about running. As I am sure you know, running is certainly not my favorite thing to do, and I am quite fond of the Mike Boyle quote “You have to be fit to run, not run to be fit”.

That being said, this website is quite fascinating. It is looking at the history of human evolution, and the fact that humans have been running for millions of years without the aid of the modern running shoe. It looks at the running mechanics of people who have never worn shoes in their lives, compared to the running mechanics of people in shoes.

It shows the different ground reaction forces, feet angles, and the resulting differences in the way our bodies absorb these forces and changes. It is really interesting, and really expands on the topics covered in Born to Run (which I reviewed HERE, awesome book by the way). I highly recommend you check this site out, especially if you are a runner.

This may sound dry and boring, but it is written for the lay population, and has lots of videos and charts to show the data, and it is very eye-opening and makes me even more certain that for most people, getting out of your shoes as often as possible is a fantastic idea.

On another note, Tony, Pete and I just completed a month of Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 program, and I must say, I came away impressed with the results. All three of us have set some PR’s after finishing this program, and that is quite a feat.

Pete increased his box squat by a whopping 50lbs (granted, his max had probably gone up some before this program, he just hadn’t tested it), his bench went up by 20lbs, his trap bar deadlift went up 40lbs and his 3-rep max chinup went up 12lbs. These are some remarkable gains. I will also note that since July I have helped Pete put on 18lbs, so that has certainly helped his gains.

Tony finally pulled 600lbs on the trap bar, which was a 25lb PR for him, improved his 3-rep max chinup by 6lbs, and was able to up his bench by 5lbs as well. He didn’t test his back squat because his knees would probably explode. For someone with over 12 years of training experience, this is incredible progress for 1 month of training.

Now my testing was a little hit or miss. With Tony pulling 600, that meant he was now 5lbs ahead of me on the staff leaderboard. This was unacceptable. I attempted my bench, but after a night where I had to get up at 1 and at 5:30 to take the puppy out to pee (she is only 15 weeks, she can’t hold it that long), I bombed out miserably.

Considering I am also about 20lbs lighter than I was when I set my bench PR of 345, it probably wasn’t going to happen anyway. My trap bar was a different story, and since the video evidence of me dominating Tony needs some formatting, you will just have to wait until next week to see me setting a PR pull. I also plan on testing at least my chinup next week, as I can’t be the only guy on staff who’s total weight is under 300lbs, and possibly my box squat as well, so stay tuned!

Have a great weekend everybody!

Posted on January 29th, 2010 by Brian St. Pierre

No Comments »

Vanilla & Berries Delight

Filed under: General Health, Nutrition, Recipes

As many of you know I used to eat cottage cheese like it was my job, often twice per day. I had a recipe that I ate nearly every single day, and I loved it. Now that I have cut back on my dairy consumption, and no longer really eat cottage cheese, this delicious meal was no longer an option.

So I have decided to do something about it. I have created a non-cottage cheese smoothie version, which I personally think is absolutely delicious. If you love vanilla and you love berries, you will absolutely love this smoothie.

Vanilla & Berries Delight

  • 6-8oz unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein
  • 1/2 cup wild frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 cup frozen raspberries
  • 1 tbsp milled flax seed
  • 2 tbsp chopped walnuts
  • ice cubes as desired

Now if you are a guy who needs a few more calories than this provides, then I would add in 6oz vanilla Greek yogurt, and maybe bump the flax to 2 tbsp and the walnuts to 1/4 cup, or you can just do any one of those things, depending on your needs. You could also add in some old-fashioned oats or quinoa flakes if you needed to bump up the carbs.

If you are a woman, or anyone looking to keep calories lower, you could keep it as is since it is only about 360 calories, or you could cut walnuts down to 1 tbsp and berries down to 1/4 cup each if you really needed to.

The point is, do not be afraid to make changes or experiment based on your needs and desires. Enjoy!

PS – A lot of you have requested that I add a Recipe Categories feature. Well take a quick peek to your right, as it is finally here. As I continue to blog I will add old recipes to that category as well, so that way all of my recipes will be much more easily found!

Posted on January 25th, 2010 by Brian St. Pierre

7 Comments »

A Day In The Life: Take 4?

Filed under: General Health, Nutrition

With my recent decrease in dairy intake and other dietary changes, I have had some requests for another Day In The Life installment, showing my personal food intake. One thing I want to remind everyone is that these are example days, not every day is the same. Feel free to use my exact meals, or experiment with your own, as food is one of the great joys of life, eating should be a pleasure, not a mindless feeding.

Wake @ 6 – take puppy out to walk/pee

Breakfast @ 6:30

Omelet

  • 1/2 tbsp Barlean’s coconut oil
  • 5 whole omega-3 eggs
  • 1 cup mixed frozen peppers (red, yellow, green) and onions
  • dash Redmond Real Salt
  • 1-2 tbsp black bean & corn salsa

Oatmeal

  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup Wyman’s wild frozen blueberries
  • 1 tbsp milled flax seed
  • 1 scoop Biotest Superfood
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Beverages

  • 3oz POM Wonderful pomegranate juice
  • 12oz water
  • 1 cup black coffee

Supplements

  • 1 multi-vitamin
  • 3 fish oil pills (1.8 grams EPA/DHA)
  • 2 borage oil pills (600mg GLA)
  • 4,000 IU vitamin D
  • 500mg Curcumin
  • 1 probiotic

Pre-Training @ 9:45 (while driving to CP)

Smoothie

  • 6-8oz unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 scoop chocolate whey protein
  • 5 grams creatine
  • 1 cup frozen dark cherries
  • 1 tbsp milled flax seed
  • 1 tbsp raw cacao nibs
  • 2 tbsp walnuts
  • 1/3 cup old-fashioned oats

Beverage

  • 12oz white, green or black tea

Train @ 11-12 – lots of water

Post-Training Lunch @ 1

Dinner @ 5

Greek Yogurt Special

  • 16oz 2% Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 1/2 cup Wyman’s wild frozen blueberries
  • 1/4 cup frozen raspberries
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 2 tbsp almonds and pecans
  • 1 packet Truvia

Late Dinner @ 9ish

Stir-Fry

  • 1 chopped chicken breast
  • 2 cups mixed frozen veggies (broccoli, mushrooms, carrots, onions, red pepper, corn)
  • 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, sprayed with the Misto
  • seasoned to taste

Beverages

  • 8oz water
  • 4oz Red Wine

Supplements

  • 3 ZMA before bed

That is an example day, though half the time at breakfast I replace the oats with 1/2 Ezekiel English muffin with 1/2 tbsp Manitoba Harvest hemp seed butter and 1 tsp organic fruit spread, with a banana. I also eat a lot of Ezekiel wraps after training when we haven’t made chili. I have a bunch of tasty recipes, and I have one with a piece of fruit like an apple or an orange. I also drink a ton of water throughout the day, along with another 2-3 cups of white, green or black tea.

I hope this helps some of you find some good recipes, and see that eating healthy is also delicious!

Posted on January 25th, 2010 by Brian St. Pierre

6 Comments »

Reading Without Reading

Filed under: General Health

Now that we are truly in the midst of the busy season at CP, downtime is a scarce commodity. I love to read, in fact it is one of my favorite leisure activities, been that way since I was a wee lad. Unfortunately these days there is little to no time whatsoever to sit down and enjoy a nice book.

On the bright side however, is the fact that I spend approximately 2.5 hours per day in my car. The first impression of that statement may not seem like such a bright side, but we can make those hours mighty productive if we chose to. I use that time to dictate some of these here blogs on my Dragon Naturally Speaking, I listen to sports talk radio and most recently I have been listening to audiobooks. This has been awesome.

My queue of books seems like it grows daily, and I am barely able to even chip away, so this has been more or less life-changing. This all started a while back when I listened to EC’s copy of Born to Run, which I reviewed HERE.

That book really got me interested in pursuing this route further, and I have finally come around to making it happen. I have found that the best way to do this is to join Audible.com. You can download the mp3 versions of these books rather than on multiple cd’s. This allows you to download it straight to your iPod, and it goes in as one file, rather than 15 tracks per cd. There is also no waiting for the product to ship, and you have less “things” lying around your house. For the final touch, it costs significantly less.

Tony has been trying for over a year to read some of Malcolm Gladwell’s stuff. I have really wanted to, they were just stuck behing other books on the list that I just could not seem to finish, so audible.com came to the rescue. In the past few weeks I have listened to Blink and Outliers, and plan on getting the Tipping Point soon as well. Blink was very good, but I thought Outliers was fantastic, definitely a must-read (or listen) and both books are read by Mr. Gladwell himself.

I am about to start working on Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer. Tony is loving it, so I thought I would give it a listen. I have to head up to Bangor, Maine tomorrow so needless to say I will probably finish the book by this weekend.

To wrap up here is a quote I borrowed from Mike Boyle’s post about listening to audio books during your commute:

“A study at USC has shown that if a person drives at least 12,000 miles a year ( as likely someone would in any metropolitan city) and uses this method of education (audio books), in a matter of three years he or she would have the equivalent of two years of college education”.

That’s pretty sweet considering I drive 750-900+ miles per week!

Posted on January 21st, 2010 by Brian St. Pierre

4 Comments »

Omelets Made Easy

Filed under: General Health, Nutrition

Anyone who knows me knows that I absolutely love my omelet for breakfast. I eat the same omelet usually about 6 mornings per week for breakfast, I just love it that much. I have mastered my technique for rapid omelet making, and I am also known for eating quite rapidly when I am hungry, so overall I make and eat my omelet within 15-20 minutes (this also includes an Ezekiel English muffin with natural peanut butter and a banana).

Now I have always made the time in my morning preparation to eat this omelet. I did this even in college. A lot of people though, aren’t willing to sacrifice 10 measly minutes of sleep to make and eat this omelet rather than a bowl of cereal or a Pop-tart. Fortunately for those of you, a client of mine has come up with a brilliant solution.

We will call this client “Pete”. Pete is notorious for being one of the world’s slowest eaters, and he isn’t much of a cook either, so making and consuming an omelet traditionally-made took him roughly an hour every morning. Which is ridiculous. So Pete decided to do something about it.

Using his Magic Bullet, Pete blended up his 5 omega-3 eggs and 1 cup of mixed frozen peppers and onions and a tablespoon or two of salsa while his pan was heating. He then tossed the blended concoction onto the pan, which cooked much faster now that it didn’t have to heat full chunks of frozen veggies. He was able to cut his cooking time in half.

Now that his omelet was nice and smooth with minimal veggie chunks to chew, Pete was able to eat his omelet much faster as well. His new cooking and eating time was now about 25-30 minutes (including an Ezekiel English muffin with natural peanut butter and a banana, yes he eats the same breakfast as me), which for Pete is practically a world record.

This has been a huge morning saver for him, allowing those few extra minutes of sleep he craves, as well as giving him more time to make the rest of his meals for the day before heading off to work. With a little dedication, even the least likely of us can succeed.

Posted on January 19th, 2010 by Brian St. Pierre

3 Comments »

Saturated Fat and Chocolate Cherry Bliss

Filed under: General Health, Nutrition, Recipes

An interesting tidbit came across my path today, as one of my favorite bloggers announced the release of a meta-analysis by one of the most prominent lipid researchers in the entire world, Dr. Ronald Krauss. The meta-analysis looked at the observational studies evaluating the link between saturated fat intake and cardiovascular disease. Surprise, surprise they found absolutely no link between the two, quoting:

“A meta-analysis of prospective epidemiologic studies showed that there is no significant evidence for concluding that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of CHD or CVD.”

To check out the study for yourself, click HERE.

After 40 years of bullshit advice, is the medical community finally going to come around? We shall see.

Finally, I want to leave you guys with a nice smoothie recipe for the weekend. I “borrowed” and modified this from the new Warp Speed Fat Loss diet template, so if you are a cherry fan, take note!

Chocolate Cherry Bliss

  • 6oz unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or unsweetened chocolate if you can find it, or water)
  • 1/2-1 cup frozen dark cherries
  • 1 scoop chocolate protein powder
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 2 tbsp walnuts
  • ice as desired

This is absolutely delicious, and is a great treat if you are craving something a little sweet at the end of the day. You could spice it up even more and add 1 tbsp raw cacao nibs as well.

Have a great weekend everybody!

Posted on January 15th, 2010 by Brian St. Pierre

6 Comments »

Steaz: Ready-to-Drink Green Tea

Filed under: General Health, Nutrition

While in the midst of Warp Speed a CP client came across a gem of a product at Whole Foods and sent me a picture (oddly enough, this is the same product that another client had asked me about, but this was the first time I actually saw it).

Thank You Danny & Chris

Steaz is a naturally sweetened (stevia and erythritol – the sweeteners in Truvia), calorie-free sparkling organic green tea. It is delicious. It is especially delicious if you are on a lower-carb diet for a New Years resolution.

It is certified organic, and was just introduced to market in October. After receiving that picture I headed off to Stop & Shop as planned on Sunday. As I was perusing the “natural food aisle”, as is my wont, I just happened to spot this exact drink sitting in the refrigerator: jackpot!

We tried the blueberry pomegranate, and it is excellent, and I have been told (but have not tried personally) that the orange is to die for.

Steaz sparkling green tea has received two Best of 2009 awards from BevNET, the leading online community website for the beverage industry. It won Best New Organic Product of 2009 and Best New Carbonated Beverage of 2009.

Most calorie-free green teas are artificially sweetened with health-poor aspartame or sucralose (Splenda) and actually have very little green tea or antioxidants in them. Steaz sparkling green tea has 120mg of green tea antioxidants per bottle, which is very good as a normal cup of fresh brewed green tea has about 195mg.

The Healthy Beverage Company (www.steaz.com) is the maker of USDA Certified Organic and Fair Trade Certified Steaz Iced Teaz, Steaz Sparkling Green Teas and Steaz Energy drinks and shots. According to SPINSscan Natural, Steaz is the best-selling natural Energy Drink brand in the U.S., based on total dollar and unit sales. Steaz beverages are sold nationally in natural, specialty, gourmet and club stores, as well as food service outlets. Steaz is also sold in retail grocery stores such as Whole Foods Markets, Safeway, Stop n Shop, Wegmans, and Shaw’s supermarkets. Recently, Steaz Organic Iced Teaz were launched in all Target Stores nationwide.

So if you are interested in some calorie-free sparkling certified organic green tea that is ready-to-drink, while also supporting a good company that sources from fair-trade farmers, then give this one a shot. Enjoy!

Posted on January 13th, 2010 by Brian St. Pierre

6 Comments »

Grocery Shopping 101

Filed under: General Health, Nutrition

On my last blog post of 2009, I asked you the readers to give me feedback on what you were looking for in 2010. What questions you had, or what topics you wanted covered, stuff like that. I had a tremendous response, and I thank you for that. A few people in particular asked me to elucidate my grocery shopping habits, and help them figure out what theirs should be.

When it comes to grocery stores, most are set up the same way. The good stuff on the outside, the dangerous shit in the middle. If you stick to the perimeter of the store you will find the fruits and vegetables, the fresh seafood, the fresh beef and poultry, the eggs, the yogurt and usually the nuts. That is the vast majority of your needs right there!

Now you will have to make foray’s into the middle aisles to get stuff like beans, frozen fruit, frozen vegetables, quinoa, oats, milled flax, tuna, salsa, natural peanut butter and more, but the trick is to make a list and stick to it! That is a key point right there, do not stray off of your list, that is when you get into trouble.

Now these same people also asked how I differentiate my shopping. Meaning, where do I buy some stuff, where do I buy others, since not everything I eat is available at one grocery store, or at least isn’t the most reasonably priced at every store. If you have the means, you could probably purchase everything I list below at Whole Foods, if like me that is well outside of your budget, then you should consider splitting up your shopping.

I do the vast majority of my shopping at a local Stop & Shop, with some Whole Foods mixed in and a dash of Amazon.com. Here is exactly how I do it:

Stop & Shop (purchased weekly or bi-weeekly)

Produce

  • gala apples
  • navel oranges
  • bananas
  • random fruit selection here: strawberries, pineapple, etc
  • baby carrots
  • cucumber
  • spinach
  • sweet onion
  • green pepper
  • sweet potatoes
  • wild frozen blueberries
  • frozen raspberries
  • frozen strawberries
  • frozen mixed peppers and onions (for omelets)
  • frozen mixed vegetables (a few varieties for late-night stir-fry)
  • veggie wash (especially for foods on Dirty Dozen List)

Nuts & Meat

  • almonds
  • walnuts
  • pecans
  • wild salmon
  • buffalo
  • chicken breast family pack (when on sale)
  • tuna, chunk light
  • natural peanut butter

Eggs & Dairy

  • omega-3 eggs
  • 2% plain Greek yogurt

Grains

  • organic beans (kidney, garbanzo, black)
  • quinoa
  • old-fashioned oats
  • buckwheat

Misc.

  • salsa, black bean and corn
  • pesto, extra virgin olive oil and basil
  • hummus, original tahini
  • guacamole
  • POM Wonderful pomegranate juice

Whole Foods (purchased monthly)

  • unsweetened vanilla almond milk (cheaper than Stop & Shop)
  • Ezekiel sprouted grain tortillas
  • Ezekiel sprouted grain English muffins
  • Ezekiel sprouted grain bread
  • milled flax (Barlean’s Forti-Flax)
  • raw cheese
  • pasture butter
  • grass-fed beef – sirloin strips and ground
  • coconut, shredded unsweetened
  • Tazo Tea (green, black, white)
  • Rooibos Tea (Republic of Tea Good Hope Vanilla)

Amazon (purchased as needed)

Now this is my shopping list, and it might not be the same as yours, and that is ok. I didn’t put the amounts that I buy because it isn’t always set in stone, but when I go to Whole Foods I generally stock up enough to last me at least one month, usually more, since it is a 20+ minute drive. Hopefully this gives you an idea of how to set up your own grocery shopping, and remember stick to the list!

Posted on January 11th, 2010 by Brian St. Pierre

13 Comments »

Smooth Strawberry Dream

Filed under: General Health, Nutrition, Recipes

Recently a few CP clients have been experimenting with the new Warp Speed Fat Loss protocol. I of course have been helping them with the dietary portion, and with one client in particular completely creating my own version of the diet for her, to better suit her needs.

Looking over the new protocol is always fun because Mike Roussell always comes up with some simple, convenient and tasty recipes that nicely fit a lower-carb diet. Mike did not disappoint (he was also the inspiration for my pumpkin pie smoothie). Here is a new, smooth and incredibly easy recipe Mike put together, lightly modified by me (I can’t help myself, I put my modifications and optional add-ons in the gray font, depending on needs/desires/calories).

Smooth Strawberry Dream

  • 1 cup plain 2% Greek yogurt (he wanted non-fat, but I prefer the 2%)
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen strawberries
  • 3 tbsp organic coconut milk
  • 1-2 tbsp chia seeds (works better than flax here, more neutral taste)
  • 1 scoop vanilla or strawberry protein powder
  • 1 packet Truvia if desired
  • ice cubes

Here are the Nutrition Facts for the Smoothie in its original form: Calories 335  Fat 16.5 grams  Carbs 22.5 grams  Fiber 4 grams  Protein 24 grams.

For my modified version with the protein and chia seeds: Calories 524  Fat 22 grams  Carbs 34.5 grams  Fiber 10 grams  Protein 47 grams.

You can modify the original as needed or desired. Maybe you just want to bump protein up, so you just add in 1/2 scoop of protein, which also provides a nice flavor boost. Maybe you just want to add a packet of Truvia to the original to sweeten it up a little. Whatever the case may be, this smoothie gives you a delicious and nutritious starting point, that can be taken in a number of directions to meet your goals and desires. Enjoy!

Posted on January 8th, 2010 by Brian St. Pierre

2 Comments »

Healthy and Hearty Hemp

Filed under: General Health, Nutrition

My good friend Cassandra Forsythe has blogged quite a bit recently about the greatness of hemp. For those of you new to this wondrous food, it has many fascinating properties. Obviously we know about some illegal ones, but I am certainly not talking about that today. It is one of the earliest domesticated plant and it is environmentally friendly due to the fact that it “requires” little pesticides and no herbicides.

It is a tremendously versatile little plant that contains all the essential amino acids and fatty acids, which is quite a remarkable combination. It has a perfect 4:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 polyunsaturated fats, while also being a solid source of the very beneficial and anti-inflammatory omega-6 GLA. Omega-6 fats tend to get a bad rap because they are pro-inflammatory, but what people fail to realize is that inflammation is necessary to a degree. It is an essential component to the healing process, and while it needs to be kept in check, it should not be utterly eliminated. To read more about omega-6′s and GLA, I wrote about it HERE.

Hemp’s fatty acid combination is fascinating, as it contains not only GLA, but it is also a good source of the omega-3 ALA (like in flax, chia, walnuts) and is a source of an omega-3 fat that is garnering some attention (SDA, or stearidonic acic). SDA is interesting for it converts to the better known EPA (one of the omega-3′s in fish). ALA also converts, but poorly. When consumed in high amounts (like from flax oil, which I don’t recommend, eat the seeds) it can accumulate in blood lipids, which is problematic. SDA also converts to EPA, though at a better conversion rate, and does not accumulate in blood lipids. This is amazing, since it boosts the important EPA levels without having to consume as much fish oil, without causing any other problems.

Hemp is also rich in vitamin E, carotenes, chlorophyll, phosphorus, magnesium, and zinc while also being gluten-free.

For the protein side of things, hemp is a pretty solid choice, especially for those of you who can’t do whey. It is better than soy since it contains more cysteine (which boosts immunity) and other essential amino acids. It contains all the essential amino acids, is hypo-allergenic, and highly absorbed. Hemp is also a tremendous source of fiber, which is never a bad thing.

Manitoba Harvest is a great company out of Canada that produces top-notch hemp products that are certified organic, and sustainable. They make the incredible Hemp Pro 70, a hemp protein that is 70% protein, which is very high for a plant-based source, as well as hemp butter, oil, milk and a lot more. I encourage you to check them out.

Posted on January 7th, 2010 by Brian St. Pierre

4 Comments »

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