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How Paul Walker Trains to Stay Fit

I know this is from March, but I haven’t really been reading my Men’s Health magazines lately. In March, however, Paul Walker made his umpteenth appearance in Men’s Health. From a fitness perspective, his article wasn’t super inspiring. Titled, “Find your Balance”, Paul talks about how to do just that. Turns out that although Paul’s movie roles typically require him to be fit, he doesn’t necessarily train at a gym. Instead Paul will “dive or stand-up paddle or canoe-surf or swim, or even do pullups from tree branches if I have to. And of course, there’s surfing.”

If the last few days in Southern Ontario are any indication of what kind of weather the Summer holds, I’m down with those suggestions as well.  The point is, a gym isn’t a necessity to stay in shape.  Get active in many ways.  The more you do or try out, the more you will discover that you absolutely love and the less “lopsided” you will become.  Life is short – get out there and, for lack of a better word at the moment, do stuff.


It’s no secret that metabolism plays a huge role in weight maintenance and muscle building.  But first things first, what is metabolism?  And what does it mean to say metabolic rate?

A person’s metabolism is the chemical pathways that take molecules in one form and convert them to some other form for the body to use.  From oxygen to glucose, a person’s metabolism is the chemical processes that make your body do what it does.  In a sense, metabolism is a very broad term, accounting for many key bodily functions.

Metabolic Rate is a term specifically used to describe the rate at which energy is used to maintain the body’s state.  Resting metabolic rate is the energy expended to maintain body state while the body is at rest.  Energy expenditure, of course, is just another way of saying burning calories.  In some metabolic pathways, these calories come in the form of glucose (sugar).  In other pathways, lipids or fat.

The two main metabolic modes that a dieter or body builder would be interested in are anabolism and catabolism.  In anabolism, molecules are combined to form larger molecules.  Muscle building, for example, is an anabolic process.  Conversely, catabolism involves the breakdown of larger molecules into smaller ones, releasing energy.  Oxydation of glucose to produce ATP which is a form of energy for movement, is an example of a catabolic process.

Now that the basics are out of the way, think about this – at rest, how much is going on in your body?  How many functions to keep your body working, to keep you alive?  Think about it for a second – heart functions, lung functions, muscle maintenance processes, brain processing, temperature regulation, oxygen movement, liver function… the list is incredibly long.  Now how much energy do you think that takes?  Lots.  And remember that the energy requirements generally come from the burning of calories.  In fact, an average male could burn around 2000 calories in a day, doing absolutely nothing but watching tv!  So think about this some more…  Next time you are running on a treadmill and look down and see that you’ve burned a measly 200 calories, that’s just a tenth of what you can burn doing nothing!  Why even bother working to burn calories at the gym!?  Doesn’t tt really seems like a waste of time?

Truth is, working out with the intention to burn calories is a waste of time.  Sure you can spend an hour on the elliptical machine and leave the gym with a 400 calorie deficit, but is that really an effective use of time?  Wouldn’t it be great if you could spend just a half hour at the gym, burn 200 calories while there, but actually perform training that raises your metabolic rate for the next 24 hours, increasing your calorie deficit through the rest of the day?  Wouldn’t it also be great to incorporate other techniques to boost your metabolism and let it do the work for you for your weight loss?

If you intend to lose weight, you need to train your metabolism.  You need your metabolism operating in the most effective way possible to help you reach your weight loss goals.

This is the first of a series of articles, in which I will be presenting some techniques to help boost metabolic rate and increase fat loss.


I’ve been making this killer combo a part of my weekly routine lately.  I have no doubt that this exercise is one of the single best full body exercises out there.

The Bear Complex is a combination of several Olympic style lifts, done in succession without letting the barbell touch the ground.  To begin, clean the barbell, then perform a front squat, then a jerk to bring the bar back, followed by a back squat, then another jerk and finally bringing the bar back to the front and to the ground.

If the measure of an exercise truly is the power in which that exercise elicits, then the Bear Complex would be right up there at the top.


How to Lose Weight Fast

“How can I fit into this dress in just a couple of weeks?”
“How can I lose 5 lbs before I go down South?”
“Reunion next month. Can I lose 10 lbs?”

These are questions that I hear all the time. And testimonials can be found all over the Internet and Television suggesting that it’s actually possible to lose obscene amounts of weight quickly and easily.

Well, is it true?  Can you lose weight fast?  Yes you can! As unbelievable as it may be, you can lose weight quickly and astonishingly enough, without sacrificing  hours per day and without starving yourself.

Unfortunately there are such things as unrealistic goals.  Those testimonials where people lose 10 lbs in one week are either extreme cases or incredibly exaggerated.  But, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t strive to lose the weight or inches that you want to lose in order to meet a short term goal.

Here are some tips to lose weight quickly.

Increase your metabolism.  Amazing things can happen when you simply spread your eating out through the day.  Eat 5 to 6 times during the day instead of your usual three.  Keep feeding yourself and your metabolism will work harder to keep up.  Many people find that simply eating the same types of food that they usually do but spreading it out into 5 to 6 smaller meals throughout the day causes their metabolism to increase and fat is lost.

A good suggestion is to eat 6 times per day, every 3 hours.  Maybe at 6am, 9am, 12pm, 3pm, 6pm and 9pm.  Even if not hungry, it’s important to eat.  Not eating and instead starving yourself will cause your body to go into a starvation mode in which your body may attempt to hold on to fat, rather than lose it.

Work large muscle groups.  Do squats or lunges which impact your quads.  If you don’t feel comfortable with barbell squats, do dumbbell squats or even air squats.  Leg presses are also useful for working the hamstrings and quadriceps muscles. Core exercises – leg lifts, sit-ups, planks also work large sets of muscles.  Working larger muscle groups will burn more calories.  It also enables greater caloric burn in less time, helping to maximize the effectiveness of a single workout.

Perform circuits.  Put 2 or three different exercises together and do them back to back with a medium to high intensity.  This sort of high intensity circuit training will cause increase caloric burn during the workout, enable you to get in and out of the gym quickly and an abundance of evidence exists suggesting that your metabolic rate increases and remains high for hours after your workout, well into a resting state.

Eat a balanced diet.  Many suggest to focus on protein, but ultimately, that can cause unbalanced hormones and can lead to feeling pretty blah.  Skip the sugar completely.  And skip foods that easily turn into sugar.  Sugar causes insulin to rise and as such an unbalanced hormonal state in which fat is easily stored and held.  skip out on simple breads.  Whole wheat if anything.  Eat lots of veggies and small amounts of protein at every meal.  Chicken or fish preferably.  Stay away from super high fat foods simply because of the high calories that come with them.  But don’t shy away from fat all together.  Fat from things like nuts and olives are very healthy and can help give you a feeling of satiety during a meal.

Personally, I try to avoid eating out as much as possible and I have some staple meals that take virtually no time to prepare.  Salads can be purchased pre-made at most grocery stores in a variety of various styles.  I also like to get pre-cooked chicken strips.  Nitrate and preservative free packages have also recently come out on the market.  Apples and berries also help supplement my morning Kashi cereal with low fat milk.  Egg whites, hard boiled eggs and lots and lots of frozen veggies. Did I already mention the frozen veggies?  Having apples close at hand are good for the inevitable snack craving.

Get your sleep!  An often overlooked but essential part of dieting is sleeping.  Evidence exists that suggests poor sleeping patterns or inefficient amounts of sleep can lead to complications in weight loss.  Get at least 7 hours of sleep and if you sleep in til 9am on Sunday, you’re actually doing your body good.

With these tips and a good exercise program, losing weight quickly may not actually be that out of your reach.


Combined Pushup and Dip on Parallettes

I did this little exercise in a gymnastics certification last year. It’s a great parallette workout combining both pushups and dips on the parallettes, with some additional core and cardio effort.

Check out a related post for making your own parallettes here.


Make the Most of your Box Jump

Box jumps – one heck of a plyometric exercise that can be added into virtually any circuit or interval workout. However, technique plays a huge role in affecting the level of effectiveness of this wonderful (and wonderfully simple) exercise.

Many people who do box jumps cheat a little bit. One of the fundamental components of the box jump is the hip extension and here’s where the cheaters cut the corner.

Take a look at the following sequence:

Box Jumps without a Full Hip Extension

If you notice, the person doing the box jump doesn’t do a full hip extension when he lands on the box. A full extension can be reached either through completely standing up (hips over feet) at the top of the box or through a powerful leg/hip explosion off the box that causes the legs and hips to straighten out and extend.

To illustrate, take a look at another sequence:

Box Jumps with a Full Hip Extension

The full hip extension is one of the most powerful movements that the human body is capable of. Many compound movements, such as the squat, deadlift, clean, or simply standing up or moving into a sprint from the starters position – all are based on the hip extension. As such, it is important to complete a box jump with a full hip extension and work those muscles to the max. Doing so will work the quads, hamstrings and glutes all that much more while increasing the energy requirements of the movement and causing increased cardiovascular stress.


WOD Timer Has a New Home!

WOD Timer Website

Everyone’s favourite iPhone interval timer, WOD Timer, now has a new home on the web! Go on and take a peek at the site in all its Web 2.0 glory. We spared no expense at getting this setup. Well, actually I did it myself over the weekend. I’m still fairly proud of it though. And please, as always, I’m looking for feedback. And if you want some promo codes for the iPhone version, let me know as I’ve been known to give a few away.

Check the site out at www.wodtimer.com.


Muscle Up Sequence from December 2008

Here’s a muscle-up sequence from December 2008. Just found it buried in a folder. Thought I did a pretty good job of putting this sequence together. Not entirely sure why I never published it before. Think the music does a nice job of adding an ominous feel. I mean, filming myself doing muscle ups in my ghetto basement gym at night in the middle of December isn’t creepy enough.


WOD Timer v1.1 Now Available

Well, in all truthfulness, WOD Timer v1.1 was actually available several days ago.  It’s true, I finally fixed most of the glaring bugs and added a couple new features.

Some of the new features include vocal audio cues, interval time progress bar, UI updates and changes and additional settings.

For more information, check out the video below.  And please, if (or when) you download the app, leave some feedback in the app store!


Make your own Parallettes

What are parallettes? Parallettes are essentially a pair of bars used to simulate the muck larger parallel bars used in gymnastics.   Parallettes are also a great piece of equipment that can be made easily and very inexpensively.  Parallettes can be used for a variety of bodyweight exercises that are perfect for strengthening the upper body and core and will help develop better balance.  They are similar to pushup bars but generally a little bit longer.

You can, of course, purchase parallettes, but they can easily be made with some PVC pipe and a tiny bit of time.

To start, you will need the following items from the local hardware store (I purchased mine at Home Depot).

  • About 6 feet of PVC pipe about 1 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter.  I used 1 1/2 for mine and the size is perfect for my grip.
  • 4 x PVC  T joints
  • 4 x PVC  pipe caps
  • 4 x PVC  90 degree joints
  • PVC glue (please use in a well ventilated area as this stuff is really smelly)

Instructions for one parallette:

  1. Cut a section of PVC about 14 to 16 inches
  2. Glue a 90 degree joint to each end of the section
  3. Cut two sections of PVC about 4 to 6 inches
  4. Glue one small section to each of the 90 degree joints
  5. Glue a T joint onto each of the ends
  6. Cut 4 4 inch sections of PVC
  7. Glue one 4 inch section to both sides of each T joint
  8. Glue on caps at each end of the 4 inch section

That’s it!  Here’s a diagram of the sections of the parallette

Parallettes build diagram

Parallettes build diagram

And here is one of my parallettes:

my parallettes