Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Do Cheat Meals Really Work?

My stomach is turning. Not because I'm nervous or anxious or anything like that...although, I have every reason to be freaking out.

No, my stomach is literally turning, because I had a cheat meal last night - Penne a la Vodka from a small Ma & Pa Italian eatery around the corner. They use really fresh ingredients - flavorful olive oil, ripe red tomatoes and fresh cream...YES, CREAM.

Big deal right? Well for me, yes it is a big deal. I'm lactose intolerant (so if you see me on the street today, it's best not to come within a 5ft radius...if you know what I'm sayin').

Anyway, back to my point...As far as cheat meals are concerned when it comes to getting a strong and lean body, I think they're very necessary.

There are physiological benefits to cheat/REWARD meals (which I'll get to in a second), but for me, it's all MENTAL. It's a HUGE mental strain for anybody to be dieting and cutting your calories for long periods of time (even the most pleasant of folks can get a little cranky on 12-weeks of calorie restriction). So allowing a cheat meal of some food that I enjoy once per week really allows me to mentally reset my efforts in staying clean with my diet. (And by clean, I mean fresh fruits & veggies, healthy fats, lean protein and minimal, if any, grains, dairy & crap food products).

Mind you after years & years of eating healthy fresh food - I was telling AJ this yesterday - my body can really tell when I'm eating crap by giving me really bad stomach pains and indigestion.

So even on my cheat meals, I still eat relatively well opting for a grass-fed beef burger & some fresh cut sweet potato fries from my favorite burger shop (ironically called "The Burger Shoppe"), rather than something from a big chain fast food restaurant.

As far as the physiological benefits go, I received an article from my buddy, Joel Marion, a nutrition expert in New Jersey, explaining the physiological benefits of cheat meals. Please take a few minutes to read on and listen to what Joel has to say about the benefits of cheat meals and how they affect your hormones...

The Most Important Hormone You Never Heard Of By Joel Marion, CISSN, NSCA-CPT

It’s name is Leptin (derived from the Greek word leptos, meaning “thin”), and it’s without a doubt the most important hormone you probably never heard of.

You see, leptin was only first discovered just over 10 years ago, and as far as weight loss is concerned, that’s extremely recent.

Leptin’s function? To communicate your nutritional status to your body and brain.
Leptin levels are mediated by two things. One is your level of body fat. All else being equal, people with higher levels of body fat will have higher leptin levels than those with lower levels of body fat and vice versa.

Because leptin is secreted by fat cells, it makes sense that under normal conditions there is a direct correlation between leptin levels and the amount of fat you are carrying.

Unfortunately, when you’re attempting to lose fat and begin to restrict calories, conditions are anything but “normal” and the body responds accordingly by lowering leptin levels.

This is because the second mediator of blood leptin levels is your calorie intake. Lower your calorie intake and leptin will fall, independent of body fat.

So, yes, you can be overweight and still suffer from low leptin levels – just go on a diet.

So what happens when leptin levels fall and why the heck does it matter?

Again, under normal conditions leptin levels are normal and the brain gets the signal loud and clear that nutrition intake is adequate. Metabolism is high and the internal environment of the body is one very conducive to fat burning.

Until you start dieting.

Go on a diet and leptin levels quickly plummet (by 50% or more after only one week), sending a signal to the body that you’re semi-starved and not consuming enough calories.

This puts the breaks on metabolism and creates a hormonal environment extremely conducive to fat storage. Thyroid hormones (hormones extremely important to metabolism) respond by taking a dive and the abdominal fat-storing stress hormone cortisol skyrockets measurably.

HELLO belly fat.

And if that wasn’t bad enough, the appetite stimulating hormones ghrelin, neuropeptide-Y, and anandamide all hop on board to make your life even more miserable.

You don’t have to remember any of those names, just remember that when leptin drops, you get seriously hungry.

Despite having a pretty good reason for its reaction, it’s pretty ironic that our bodies are primed for fat loss at every other time except when we are trying to burn fat.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could maintain high leptin levels and a body primed for fat burning while dieting? It would seemingly solve all of our problems.

But in order to do this, we’d have to somehow keep leptin levels high as we attempt to lose those extra pounds.


A couple of problems here: First, leptin is a protein based hormone, which means that it can not be taken orally (otherwise, it would simply be digested). So that rules out a leptin pill.

This leaves the method of “supplemental” leptin administration to injection. And leptin injections DO indeed work, reversing the metabolic adaptations to dieting and “starvation” even while continuing to restrict calories.

In 1996, Ahima et al. used leptin injections to reverse starvation-induced neuroendrocrine adaptations in mice.

“Well, that’s nice and all, but I’m human.” Point taken; research with rodents doesn’t always correlate to similar findings in humans, however…

In 1999, Heymsfield et al. performed a double-blind placebo controlled study analyzing weight loss over a 24-week period in 73 obese humans. Subjects either injected daily with leptin or a placebo (i.e. bogus alternative). At the end of the 24-week period, the leptin group lost significantly more weight than the placebo and a higher percentage of fat vs. muscle.

In 2002, Rosenbaum et al. administered low-dose leptin to subjects (male and female) who had dieted to a 10% decrease in body weight. During the diet period, thyroid hormone levels, 24-hr energy expenditure, and other metabolic markers substantially decreased. The result of the leptin replacement therapy?

“All of these endocrine changes were reversed…”Thyroid output and daily calorie burn increased back to pre-diet levels.

In 2003, Fogteloo et al. showed that leptin injections “tended to reduce the decline of energy expenditure associated with energy restriction, whereas the tendency of energy intake to increase back to baseline levels in placebo-treated subjects was largely prevented in subjects treated with leptin.”

Yeah, that’s a mouthful. Let me put in simple terms: not only did the leptin group experience less of a decline in metabolism, but they were also less hungry, allowing them to more easily stick to the prescribed diet.

In 2004, Welt et al. reported that leptin given to a group of women with thyroid disorder immediately raised circulating concentrations of the thyroid hormones T3 and T4.

In 2005, Rosenbaum and company were at it again, again showing that energy expenditure and circulating concentrations of T3 and T4 all returned to pre-weight-loss levels with regular leptin injections.

So, as theorized, keeping leptin levels high during a diet does indeed solve our dilemma by avoiding the negative metabolic (and perhaps behavioral) adaptations that calorie restriction perpetuates.

The problem?

Daily leptin injections are far too expensive, costing thousands and thousands of dollars per week. So, we can pretty much forget about supplemental leptin as a solution (which is probably moot anyway considering that not too many people are going to voluntarily plunge a needle into their skin daily).

A REAL Solution

Now that we know that leptin injections aren’t going to save us, let’s talk about the possibility of manipulating your body’s natural leptin production.

And I’ve got good news – this can indeed be done, and without involving needles or thousands of dollars. In fact, we’ll swap the injections and mounds of cash out for two things I can guarantee you’re absolutely going to love: more calories and more carbs.

We know that leptin levels decrease by about 50% after only one week of dieting, but fortunately, it doesn’t take nearly that long for leptin to bump back up with a substantial increase in caloric intake.

In fact, research has shown that it only takes about 12-24 hours.

So, the answer to the fat loss catch-22? Strategic high-calorie, high-carb CHEATING.

By strategically cheating with high calorie foods (and yes, even stuff like pizza, ice cream, wings, cookies, burgers, fries, etc), you can give leptin and metabolism a major boost mid-diet which sets you up for plenty of subsequent fat loss when you resume your reduced calorie eating regimen.

This means greater net fat loss week after week, and ultimately, a much more realistic, maintainable way to bring you to the body you truly want and deserve.

So what’s so special about carbs?

Well, leptin, carbohydrate and insulin have been shown to have very strong ties.

Calories alone don’t get the job done, as research shows that overfeeding on protein and fat has little effect on leptin.

In order to get a strong leptin response from overfeeding, there needs to be plenty of carbs in the mix. In fact, the relationship is SO strong that research conducted by Boden et al. at the Temple University School of Medicine shows that leptin levels will not fall even in response to all-out fasting so long as insulin and blood sugar are maintained via IV drip. That’s CRAZY.

Because of this carbohydrate/insulin-leptin relationship, it makes sense that foods combining both carbs and fat (like pizza, burgers, cookies, ice cream, etc) work best for reversing the negative adaptations caused by dieting because of the BIG-TIME insulin response they produce.

THIS is why strategic cheating with your favorite foods is so powerful. THIS is why you truly can use your favorite foods to lose fat faster than you ever could with restrictive dieting. THIS is freedom.

Essentially, it’s everything “typical” dieting isn’t.

With regular dieting, come week two, you’re screwed.

With strategic cheating, you can literally use ANY food you want to *ensure* that you never go a single day without a body primed for fat loss.

The cheat or not to cheat? I think the choice is clear.

To learn more about how to strategically use cheat/reward meals to your advantage and lose weight, you should DEFINITELY check out Joel's Cheat Your Way Thin program.

In fact, it's available for 1/2 price until tonight at midnight!

=>Joel Marion's Cheat Your Way Thin Program

If you haven't used cheat/reward meals yet, you may want to consider it.

Who knows? This could be the game changer in your quest to lose those last 10-15lbs.

The FitAndBusyDad

7th Heaven

People said we were crazy.

They said it couldn't be done.

They said that our house was too small, that we couldn't afford it, that life was already nuts and that we weren't thinking things through.

Great advice from a business coach and mentor immediately came to mind...

"To be successful, find out what the general population is doing right now AND DO THE OPPOSITE".

OK, so we didn't do it to spite people. And as complete as we were already feeling, we still felt like something was missing. We both wanted to be done by 30, but big deal, we'll be 32 and 31 respectively.

Our family mantra has always been: WE'LL FIND A WAY.

And now, we'll have to find a way to fit another little baby into our hearts, lives and mini-van!

Yes, Rozanne & Chris Lopez are expecting #5....

In November, the Lopez Family 6 will be THE LOPEZ FAMILY 7.

That's right, we're expecting our 5th (and FINAL) installment.

Truthfully , I had a vasectomy booked last summer...3 TIMES! And I'm proud to say that I didn't chicken out at all, for any one of those times...

Booking #1: My Dr. cancels last minute because he has to go to Japan to speak at a Urology conference (they actually have those?).

Booking #2: Rozanne ends up with some crazy skin infection that has her in the hospital for 4 days being pumped full of anti-biotics through IV!

Booking #3: The infamous plumbing fiasco in our basement where we got flooded and needed to call in Butt Crack the plumber himself to tear up our basement and reinforce the sewage pipes. Lovely.

So this time around, I'm definitely getting snipped...and have absolutely no issues about it at all!

I'll book it for some time late this summer when the schedules start to die down and I can afford to take a weekend off work and full week off training.

It might make for an interesting/funny video series..."The FitAndBusy-BlankShooting-Dad" or something like that.

Truthfully, after the initial SHOCK of it all, we're really quite excited. Frankie is busy thinking up names for the new addition...I think her last suggestion was "Rainbow Cupboard Espresso Machine Lopez"...I think we'll have to sit on that one for a bit.

Happy Times.

the FitAndBusyDad

P.S. Maybe it'll even be a boy.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Are You Doing This Yet?

Well, it seems the post from yesterday struck a bit of a nerve for some folks, huh?

If you have an opinion, make sure to leave a comment after you read yesterday's post HERE.

Now, back to some fat burning advice.

I filmed this video this past Saturday @ about 630am just before Rozanne and I took the kids to Canada's Wonderland for the day.

It was early in the morning so please excuse my 1/2 open eyes and swollen lips...

...And here's a video of the dinner we had the night before!

The FitAndBusyDad

P.S. Let me know if there are any other exercise/health/fitness/nutrition videos you'd like me to film! Hit me up at info(at)fitandbusydad(dot)com!!!

PPS You can also do interval training using kettlebells or just your bodyweight! Click HERE to find out how and to get started with FitAndBusyDad workouts!

=>FitAndBusyDad Interval Training For Fat Loss Workouts

Monday, April 27, 2009

The 3 Foods Busy Dads Should Never Eat. EVER.

I got into a heated discussion with some of my clients after one of my bootcamps last week. The topic of "discussion" was healthy food OR what one perceives to be healthy food.

Big business does a great job of running genius marketing campaigns telling you what you should eat and what you shouldn't eat. As a result, we've relied less on logic and more on commercialism to decide what we put in our bodies.

It makes you wonder if the goal of some of these food companies is to really provide us with the best quality nutrition (probably not) or to just push mass amounts of FOOD PRODUCT on us by telling us we need it so that we can pad the wallets of their share holders (most likely).

The next time I see a commercial that says that some boxed, preservative-laden, high-fructose-corn-syrup cereal has "7 Essential Nutrients" and is "part of a daily healthy diet", I think I'm going to puke!

In saying that, I've outlined below the 3 Foods that us Dads should NEVER, EVER consume. EVER. (Oh yeah, and DON'T feed your kids this stuff either!)

1. Soy. Soy is a phyto-estrogen ("phyto" meaning plant based) and can be found in pretty much EVERYTHING - hot dogs, breakfast cereal, processed cheese, cookies. In ancient Japan, soy was used as fertilizer before big business got a hold of the stuff and started turning it into food products. Now it's found everywhere and, next to coffee, is the most sprayed and chemically treated crop.

The problem with soy is that if consumed excessively, strapping virile men like you and I start to turn ESTROGENIC - both from the natural estrogen from the bean itself and from the reaction that our bodies go through when we consume the food products with all the chemicals it's been treated with.

And when I say ESTROGENIC, I mean Man-Boobs and Belly Fat and a prescription for little blue pills because certain things don't function properly.

Now I don't know about you, but with a wife and 4 daughters there's already enough estrogen in my house and I don't need any more.

Let me make a point here to emphasize that this isn't a knock against vegetarianism. Quite the contrary, I've recently been learning the benefits of consuming a plant-based protein diet and supplementing with animal protein here and there. However, many vegetarians believe that soy is one of the ONLY ways to get protein in their diets. Not true, as there are many legumes, vegetables & nuts that contain adequate amounts of protein for our diet.

Also, there has been some speculation as to HOW MUCH PROTEIN we actually really need...long story short...WE DON'T NEED AS MUCH AS SUPPLEMENT COMPANIES & BODYBUILDING MAGAZINES LEAD US TO BELIEVE (surprise, surprise).

2. Commercially raised meat. If you've been reading my blog, you probably know how and why I feel this way already, so let's look to Dr. Johnny Bowden, Author of "The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth", and see what he has to say....

"The hormones in factory-farmed (feedlot) meat can have all sorts of effects on the body, none of them fully understood and almost certainly none of them good. And it's not just the hormones. These miserably treated animals are shot full of antibiotics and fed an unnatural diet of grain, which makes them sick and tilts the balance of their fat towards inflammatory omega-6's."

OK, I understand that with the state of the economy more people than less are struggling financially and when regular meat goes on sale at your local supermarket you probably stock-up because it's cheap. Just remember, it's cheap for a reason.

Cheap meat = cheap (low quality, mass produced) meat.

Cows were meant to graze in a pasture and eat grass, not be cooped up in a barn and fed saw dust and grain fillers to fatten them up. Even beef that claims to be organic usually means that the cows were fed some type of organic grain/feed. When choosing your beef, choose GRASS-FED CATTLE.

Same goes for chicken & their eggs. Chicken were also meant to run around and get some exercise and lay their eggs wherever they darn-well please. When buying chicken or eggs, FREE RANGE is best.

For fish, go for the WILD/CAUGHT variety and not farmed fish that get fed grains and anti-biotics and live in closed tanks no larger than the size of my bathtub with 5000 other fish.

3. NON-organic Coffee. (You know I HAD to have coffee in here somewhere). As mentioned above, coffee is THE MOST COMMERCIALLY PRODUCED SPRAYED CROP in the world. The coffee industry is a booming business and the pressure is on for farmers to produce, produce, produce!!! But at what cost? Our health?

It's reality that 3 out of 5 North Amercians drink coffee daily. So for me to tell you to give up your daily cup of joe wouldn't be very realistic. Heck, I enjoy my daily double espresso more than most people.

My tips?

Try to get your coffee ORGANIC from a specialty shop where the baristas (the cool folks behind the bar who make the drinks) actually CARE about what they do. Have you ever tasted the difference between freshly pulled coffee that comes right from the bean and coffee from the corner store that's been sitting on a burner for 1/2 an hour? You can actually taste hints of caramel or blueberries in finely pulled espresso by people who know what they're doing.


Buy ORGANIC coffee beans yourself and brew your own coffee at home. Everyone is trying to save money these days, so buying a 1/2lb bag of good organic coffee beans and then grinding them and brewing them at home will actually save you about $25-$35 a week if you usually indulge in a Venti-1/2 caf-no foam-2 raw sugar-latte at the local big chain coffee place.

My point to all of this is that we should be demanding better, high-QUALITY, REAL FOOD for ourselves and our families. I'm not saying that we shouldn't indulge here and there and be so anal about what we eat that we end up driving ourselves crazy...BUT, I just think that our primary focus should be on eating REAL FOOD the way Mother Nature preservative, no pesticides, no anti-biotics, no crap.

The FitAndBusyDad

P.S. Are there any foods that you feel strongly about that I should have put on this list? Weigh-in, leave a comment and let me know please!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Who's Got Your Back?

If you're a busy parent then you can understand the importance of having a great support system.

We have 4 kids. All are relatively low-maintenance in that they enjoy playing with each other, are independent in their own little ways and each is incredibly self-sufficient.

***Case in point...When my 18-month-old, Mikey, is hungry she has now taught herself how to get a bowl (our dishes are in a low cupboard), open the door to the pantry and grab herself a snack of Whole Grain Cheerios. And she is able to do that with minimal collateral damage.***

Back to my point....Sometimes, trying to do everything can really take it out of you and you'll need a break. You'll need to go into the bullpen because your starters are getting banged around or are just on short on fuel from having to pitch on minimal days rest (how's that for a baseball analogy!?!).

If that's the case, then we go to our support system (our bullpen, if you will) - my parents and in-laws.

This weekend, the kids stayed over at my parents house and that gave Rozanne and I time to catch-up on laundry, housework, reading, sleep and R&R. So now today, we feel refreshed, rejuvinated and ready to take on the organized chaos that has become our lives!

So let's apply this support system to your fat loss goals and take a look at its importance.

Who do you have in your bullpen?

Days will (or have) come when you don't feel like getting out of bed 30-minutes earlier to do your workout.

Or when the kids the don't finish their chicken nuggets and you're tempted to not wrap them up for later but to eat them all yourself.

Sure, we're grown adults and we make our own decisions. But it helps us that much more when we're accountable to another person (or people) whose goals are congruent with ours.

Fat loss is easier in a household when both partners are involved in the process. When both you and your wife have each other's back.

Fat loss for dads is a lot easier when you can share your experiences with other dads who also want to lose weight.

So with summer right around the corner, isn't it about time that you took control and made sure all your stars are aligned?

Get your fat loss workouts together and know what you're doing in the gym today.

Plan your meals and snacks for the week so that your better prepared if you get thrown a curve ball.


KNOW who your support system is and don't be afraid to call on them for help if you feel you're getting knocked around too much.

We've got 2 months left until the official FIRST DAY OF SUMMER.

That's more than enough time to get your butt in gear and be confident when you take your shirt off at the beach.

Need help, encouragement and support?

We can be your bullpen....

=>Sign-up for the FR*EE FitAndBusyDad Community on Ning

Chris Lopez
The FitAndBusyDad

p.s. With 2 months left until summer, do you have your workouts all lined-up?

=>Get started with FitAndBusyDad workouts

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Lower Body Workout

I'm going to be doing this weight gaining/muscle building workout until the end of the month and then switch gears and really amp up the fat loss workouts with some fun stuff outside - running hills, pulling a sled, doing some wave training (w/an old tug-of-war rope that my dad used to bring to family picnics), Blast Straps, kettlebells and SANDBAGS!

My buddy from Arizona, Josh Henkin who runs, just sent me one of his famous sandbags. I'm going to Home Depot tomorrow to get it filled and I'm adding to my arsenal of unconventional equipment that I'll be using over the spring and summer to get super lean.

In the meantime, here's what went down with my workout today...

1) Front Squat - (5 @ 175, 5 @ 185, 20 @ 110)

2a) DB Shrug - (12 x 80lbs, 12 x 85lbs)
2b) Pistols (see left) - (12, 13, 10 per leg)

3) 150 KB Swings w/a 72lb Kettlebell

I hope you enjoyed your day.

We're doing homemade pizzas for dinner tonight. I'll have a video for you tomorrow with how they turned out!

Chris Lopez
The FitAndBusyDad

Monday, April 13, 2009

4 Reasons Why You Will NOT Experience a Set-Back If You Ate Too Much This Weekend

I hope you enjoyed the Easter/Passover Break.

It seemed like the girls, Rozanne and I were everywhere over the past 3 days spending time with family and friends and enjoying the fresh air and sunshine...after all, that's what a long weekend is about isn't it?
(To the right is a picture of my protein-junkie 18-month-old, Mikey, enjoying a hard-boiled egg...don't worry, she had about 6 chocolate eggs after!)

Amidst all the pizza, pasta, ham, dessert and all the little chocolate eggs that I ate, I still managed to get to the gym couple of times and stayed on track with my workouts.

Even though there was a lot of distraction (my in-laws have this knack for breaking out the poker chips at just the right time), I stuck to my schedule and was disciplined enough to cut out from the family stuff for a quick 45 minutes (traveling time included) to get to the local YMCA.

And even though I got kicked off the Smith Machine while I was doing Blast Strap Push-Ups because a trainer wanted their 40-something-out-of-shape-female-client to do some Smith Machine bench presses (!?!?!), I was still able to get a great muscle building workout in...

1a) 3 sets of weighted Chin-Ups
1b) 3 sets of Standing Military Presses

2a) 3 sets of DB Rows
2b) 3 sets of Blast Strap Push-Ups

Holiday eating can really throw you off your stride if you can't quickly get back on the horse. I’ve seen many a client just throw away all their fat loss efforts and completely fall off the wagon because of one indulgent weekend.

But that’s not going to happen to YOU (or to me)…

4 Reasons Why This Past Long Will NOT Set You Back From Your Fat Loss Goals
1. The weather is getting better. It's spring time and that means more family bike rides, hikes, playing in the park and NO STUFFY GYMS that make you feel trapped and clausterphobic. Being outdoors and doing your fat loss workouts outdoors will make you feel vibrant and alive. Your body relishes the Vitamin D that it's been missing over the winter. So get outside, take a kettlebell and and head over to the playground and do some chin-ups with your kids! ***Remember, no kettlebell swings while the little ones are around.
2. You will stick to your plan. The best part about your FitAndBusyDad workouts is that it allows for flexibility. If you miss a workout, it's not that big a deal because you can stack the missed component onto the end of another workout. And with each workout only being 20-minutes of less, you won't be caught in the gym or away from the family for very long at all.

3. Your diet could use the break. Chances are, if you've been eating well for the past few weeks, you're body could be reaching a plateau. Just like how our workouts need to be changed every few weeks to give our body a different stimulus to change, the same holds true for our diets. If you've been eating a lot less than normal lately, then a sudden "re-feed" could be just what your body needs to say, "whoa, what the HE** was that?" and restart your fat loss metabolism! Just make sure to go back to your clean eating ways starting today.

4. Don't sweat the small stuff. Truthfully, if you enjoyed yourself this weekend - spending time with the kids and your friends, family and loved ones - then in the big picture of things, if you ate a little too much this weekend, IS IT REALLY THAT BIG OF A DEAL? The answer of course is NO. We just need to jump back on course and continue with the healthy lifestyle that we've been living and teaching our kids. One long weekend of indulgent eating will not hinder our results if we've committed a lifetime of healthy habits to ourselves and our family. Now, it's just a matter of getting back on track and continuing what we started.

I hope you guys had as enjoyable weekend as I did. I'm off to the farm now (it's my day off) for a children's birthday party. Then it's off to the gym.

Enjoy your day!

Chris Lopez
The FitAndBusyDad

P.S. Speaking of indulgent eating, my good friend and fellow author Joel Marion just finished recording some REALLY eye opening videos on the pitfalls of dieting and how you can actually use your favorite foods to lose fat *faster*. I'll be sending you a direct link to check out these powerful videos tomorrow, so make sure to keep a close eye out on your email. Believe me when I say you're definitely NOT going to want to miss these!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The ONE Change I Made In My Workouts To Lose An Inch Around My Belly in 10 Days

I've been on a muscle-building quest for the past 3 weeks.

I've been recording my workouts and have been getting better and lifting heavier EACH AND EVERY TIME!

It's been great and I feel like I have more energy, I feel better about myself and, from an esthetic standpoint, I look a lot better and I've gained 3lbs.

The biggest surprise is that in 10 days, I've dropped an inch off my waist...without doing ANY cardio at all and not really watching what I eat.

My current muscle building program is based on Jason Ferruggia's Muscle Gaining Secrets Program (with a few tweaks).

The major tweak that I made was to try to be even more efficient and to add a small metabolic element to my workout. Truthfully, I thought the grip-work aspect was boring and didn't want to do wrist curls, so instead, I substituted heavy kettlebell swings.

The truth is, swings with a 72lb kettlebell is really tough on my grip AND it gives me the added metabolic effect that was probably responsible for me losing that inch of fat around my waist.

I finished each lower body workout (either a squat or a deadlift was the main movement) with 100KB swings. The goal was to do 100 in as little sets as possible. Once I reached the goal of doing 100 in a row without stopping, I upped the rep goal by 25.

Well guess what? In addition to working my grip (because it's damn hard holding on to a 72lb KB when you're swinging it 100 times), I was also out of breath and sweating like I had been running hills.

A double whammy. Fat loss & muscle building. Who said that it couldn't be done simultaneously?

I love Jason's approach to building muscle and his philosophy towards training is similar to mine - low volume, using only bang-for-your-buck exercises, break records, work hard, eat clean and get enough rest & recovery.

Plain. Simple. Uncomplicated.

In fact, the 2 Big Daddy Muscle Building Programs that I've written were based on those principles above. You can get those workouts HERE.

=>Get Big Daddy v1.0 & v2.0

So I've got 3 more weeks on this muscle building quest. Hopefully by then this last hit of winter in Toronto would have cleared up and I can start taking my kettlebells & sled outside for some workouts!

Have a great day guys!

The FitAndBusyDad

P.S. For more information on the muscle building programs that I've been using, check out Jason Ferruggia's Muscle Gaining Secrets program at

Friday, April 3, 2009


Eleven years ago I was a 21-year-old junior in university about to embark on a journey that could only be described as "scary as %#@*!"

Still baby-faced and pimply, I had no idea the road ahead me and what it would entail.

The sacrifices that would have to be made.

The sleepless nights.

The shift in thinking - from "me" to "we" - that would prove to make or break our success.

Eleven years ago today, I became a father for the very first time.

Eleven years ago, with minimal support, Rozanne and I were living in student family housing as an unwed couple. I was working full-time, she was a new full-time mom and we were both trying to finish school.

With no real sense of "how" to do things and all these obstacles and stereotypes to overcome, the one thing that pulled us through, the one thing that remained constant, the one thing that made us stronger was our newborn baby daughter - Angelica Jordan.

It is no doubt that I am a young father and that I will always be THE young father.

I listen to 90's hip-hop music.

I wear hoodies & jeans.

A fitted "Abercrombie & Fitch" T-shirt doesn't look ridiculous on me.

I don't look like the other dads standing on the sideline of the soccer pitch.


Being a young and fit dad allows me keep up my athletic daughter. It allows me to somewhat relate to what she's going through because I can recall what I went through. It's allowed to forge a really close relationship with her.

The most amazing thing that I've noticed in my 11 years of fatherhood is being able to recognize little pieces of me in HER.

Her DRIVE in wanting to master any physical task.

Her COMPASSION & SENSITIVITY towards others.

Her willingness to GIVE as much as she can to those she loves.

So to all DADS out there...

Soak up everything you can with your children.

Be there as often as you can.

Work isn't that important. Money isn't that important. The latest in toys and gadgets aren't that important.

Happy 11th Birthday, AJ.

Daddy Loves You.

The FitAndBusyDad

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Wednesday Workout & The Problem That I Have With Training Child Athletes

I survived a crazy-busy day yesterday.

Morning clients, some writing and then taking the remainder of the afternoon off to take Joey, my 5-year-old, to the dentist.

Joey had to get 3 cavities filled. After a brief discussion, it was determined between myself and her dentist, Dr. Laurel, that the best route to go to help Joey through the agony of getting cavities filled was LAUGHING GAS.

After it all, she felt nothing and just remembered feeling like she was floating on a cloud. Too bad :-), I had brought my Flip Camera hoping that the experience would be something like this...

After the dentist we headed home and then my night really began.

I whipped up dinner in about 30-minutes and then AJ and I headed over to her soccer practice. I stuck around for a little bit only to watch her coach make the team run around a 400m track several times.

It was painful to watch. Partly because I can remember my old high school basketball coach force laps on us in the gym (more for punishment than for conditioning), but mainly because I don't think running around a track at sub-maximal effort for 20-minutes is congruent to the demands of soccer.

Soccer, and any other team sport for that matter, is a series of sprints and start-stop actions. You don't just run straight. You go forward, backward, side to side and every other direction.

The duration of these MAXIMAL EFFORT activities lasts only a matter of seconds. So, to force your athletes to run at slogging pace for 20-minutes is teaching them nothing.

The whole "building a cardio base" theory is a bunch of crap.

Sometimes I wish coaches would use logic when they put their practices together. Young athletes should be focusing on short sprints and agility drills to build power and speed.

Practice SPECIFICALLY to the demands of your sport.

After having enough of watching my daughter kill-off her fast twitch muscle fibers by jogging away, I hopped over to the gym for my own workout.

Here's what went down...

1a) Pull-ups (5 x 230, 6 x 230, 15 x bodyweight)*
1b) Standing BB Military Press (5 x 135, 6 x 135, 15 x 95)

2a) DB Rows (12 x 80, 15 x 80, 25 x 60)
2b) Blast Strap Push-ups (27, 22)

3) Dips (15, 12)

***I weigh 175lbs, so for the pull-ups, 230lbs = 175 (my bodyweight) + 55lbs on a weight belt

A good workout. But, I'm not used ot training at night, so I felt that my energy was relatively low. I find that mid-afternoon is my ideal/optimal time for training.

After the workout, I headed back to the soccer pitch to pick AJ up. We got home and started to bake some cupcakes for the kids in her class.

It's her birthday tomorrow!

Have a great day,
The FitAndBusyDad