Archive for September, 2007

Michelle Ryan is the Bionic Woman

Sunday, September 30th, 2007

In an effort to capitalize on the super hero phenomenon that’s sweeping TV land these days, NBC has resurrected the 70’s era television show, the Bionic Woman. I caught a rerun of the premiere episode today. Similar to other prime time hits, over the last couple of years, the Bionic Woman has a fairly high production value. The effects and cinematography are pretty good and the acting isn’t half bad. Perhaps I had low expectations, but I enjoyed it.

The lead character, Jamie Sommers, aka the Bionic Woman, is played by 23 year old Brit, Michelle Ryan. Like other heroines before her (think Alias), an unsuspected and near fatal event lands her caught in a sort of double life. Unlike Jennifer Garner, however, Ryan ends up with millions of dollars of robotic body parts and some super bionic strength. Not only does she end up being able to outrun a SUV and bound effortlessly from one rooftop to another, she does a killer one handed pull-up.

Michelle Ryan One Handed Pullup

Now, I know its all smoke and mirrors here. I seriously have doubts that Michelle Ryan is able to pull off one armed pull-ups (as much as one would like to believe). However, according to a recent interview with Men’s Health (their October 2007 issue), Michelle is working hard on making the Bionic Woman as close to a reality as possible.

In order to get her bionic body in shape, Michelle has been working out “90 minutes every morning, and three times a week she does 2 hours of Krav Maga (Israeli self-defense). ” There’s also her diet which is supplemented with “smoothies, nuts, and healthy food.” Filming in Vancouver, Michelle is also able to take advantage of the great mountain biking offered by great B.C. terrain. “It’s really intense, but mentally it feels so good having to get in shape and trek up mountains. I love it.”

The CIBC Run for the Cure

Sunday, September 30th, 2007

 This morning, I woke up nice and early and headed downtown Guelph for the CIBC Run for the Cure 5k. Apparently about 1500 people showed up for the event. This is nearly the same number of runners that took part in the Guelph race in 2006.

Overall, the run was well organized. A super quick registration and lots of food on hand. Frank D’Angelo provided the music with his Steelback Music band.

My goal was to break the 25 minute mark for 5km and I’m pleased to report that my goal was not only successfully completed, I broke 25 minutes by nearly 1:30. It must have been the new shoes

Poll - Do You Incorporate Pull-ups in Your Workout?

Saturday, September 29th, 2007

As you may know from my frequent posts about them, I’m a big fan of pull-ups. I add them to every workout, as part of a warm up or as part of a simple circuit. Pull-ups work the arms like no other exercise and the multitude of variations make them a very scalable exercise.

However, I rarely see others at the gym doing them and I think its unfortunate. If you don’t already do them, I encourage you to give them a go. If you already do them in one form or another, that’s great. But I’d like to get an idea of how many people actually do pull-ups so I thought I’d create The Fit Blog’s first poll to try and get an idea.

Jamie’s Got a New Pair of Shoes

Saturday, September 29th, 2007

Got back from Greece to find out that the next day I was flying down to Sunnyvale California for work.  Nothing like some last minute notice and an extra 3 hours added to the already brutalizing jet lag.  But I’m now finally home for the foreseeable future and can get back into routine.

Tomorrow is the CIBC Run for the Cure.  I’m participating in the 5k run.  As I posted in the past, my shoes are completely worn out.  I figured that I should invest in a new pair before the run.  So I hit up a local shoe shop, Running Works.  The two guys there helped me a great deal.  They analyzed my walk and gave me a good variety of shoes to try on.  After walking and running around the store for awhile, I finally settled on a pair of New Balance 767’s.

I wore them to the gym today to try them out.  Although I didn’t actually do any running as I’m saving my legs for tomorrow’s race, I’m fairly confident that I’ll enjoy these bad boys significantly - especially since lately I’ve been running in what would be equivalent to a piece of rubber with laces.

Hopefully tomorrow’s race will be good.  Wish me luck - I’m hoping to finish in less that 25 minutes and break the 5 minute km mark.

Men’s Health Urbanathalon and Festival

Tuesday, September 25th, 2007

Men’s Health is hosting their second annual Urbanathalon this month on Sept 29 in NYC and on October 20 in Chicago.

The Urbanathalon is a grueling run through the city, encountering obstacles along the way including a 52 stair climb, marine hurdles, barricade jumping, wall climbing, taxi hurdling and others. It’s a truly urban race.

The event was held in 2006 in New York City. Nearly 1000 participants from all over the World took part in the race.

Following the race, Men’s Health will host a free festival where the public can enjoy music, food and events throughout the day.

It all sounds like a good time. Check out some of the photos and videos from the 2006 race at the Men’s Health Urbanathalon website, here.

More Evidence that Lack of Sleep Kills

Monday, September 24th, 2007

I’ve blogged about the importance of sleep numerous times now.  In my last sleep related post, I talked about a Tokyo based study which looked at how the lack of sleep could increase one’s risk of cardiovascular disease.

Today, an article from Reuters says that findings from a study lead by Francesco Cappuccio, a professor of cardiovascular medicine at the University of Warwick’s medical school found the same thing.  According to Reuters, the “17-year analysis of 10,000 government workers showed those who cut their sleep from seven hours a night to five or less faced a 1.7-fold increased risk of death from all causes and more than double the risk of cardiovascular death.”

With our increasingly stressful lives these days, we sometimes attempt to reduce our sleep time in an effort to complete the things we need or want to do.  Is there really anything that can be done about this?  In the face of the franticness of modern day life, is there a way to find enough time to sleep?  With all the technology available these days, one would suspect that our lives would be easier, giving us more leisure time and ultimately allowing us to get the rest we need.  So why, then, are people staying up later and later into the evening in order to get everything accomplished?

Double Unders

Saturday, September 22nd, 2007

As I’ve mentioned before, Crossfit is a great program to follow if you’re looking to get fit. The workouts are hard, but they’re supposed to be. Crossfit is also a wonderful community of lots of helpful advice and inspiration. If you’ve never done a crossfit workout, give it a go and try out the WOD (workout of the day).

From the crossfit WOD video archive, here’s a great one of some double unders.

Back Home and Tired as Hell

Saturday, September 22nd, 2007

I’m back from the big Greece adventure.  Sleep cycle is out of whack and I’ve been eating like crap for 10 days.  But it’s called vacation and once in a while, it’s needed.  Yes, vacation even from working out and eating healthy can be a great thing.

However, for those who have been to the Acropolis or Santorini before can understand how much we may take for granted our ability to walk up or down a set of stairs.  My wife and I do plenty of squats and lunges but walking up and down hundreds of tiny steep stairs daily caused both of us to wince a little at the burning in our thighs.  Needless to say, we also did a lot… a lot of walking.

But if you’ve ever been thinking of taking a trip to Greece or to the Greek Islands, do it.  It’s definitely a beautiful country and combine its beauty with its magnificent history and you’ve got yourself a great European adventure.

Build a Better Back

Friday, September 21st, 2007

The often neglected back is a very important group of muscles. It helps us in many functional movements, from pulling to lifting and supports our upper bodies all day long. Don’t neglect it any longer. Make it stronger with the following medley of exercises.

  • The barbell bent-over row. Remember to keep your back straight with this one. Otherwise, injury can result.
  • Rear pull-up. Yes, pull-ups are a great exercise for your back, specifically the lats. The rear pull-up, where your head goes under the bar is a little more difficult and requires a little more work. Perform them assisted, if necessary.
  • One arm dumbbell bent-over row. Knee on bench, bend over and pull the dumbbell up. Really attempt to flex the traps as you perform this exercise.
  • Dumbbell shrug. Again - more traps work. Shoulders go straight up and straight down. Bend over slightly and again, focus on flexing your traps as you come up.
  • Deadlift. Working the large bundle of muscles along the spine, the erector spinae, the deadlift also targets the abdominals, shoulders and leg muscles. Functionally, the deadlift movement is very important.
  • Back extensions. More erector spinae work, also targeting the lower back or waist. Don’t hyperextend too much. Like the other back work, focus on the muscles as they flex.

Top 10 Snacks

Thursday, September 20th, 2007

Let’s face it. We all need the occasional snack. But what to snack on? For fit sake, here’s a list of the top 10 snacks to keep you going when the going gets tough.

  1. Almonds. High in monounsaturated fats - the good kind. A handful of almonds a day has also been shown to lower cholesterol and keep off the lbs.
  2. Berries. Fresh berries are nature’s antioxidants. Low in calories, they’re a good snack as well.
  3. Multigrain baked nacho chips and guacomole. Again - more of the good fats. Plus, avocado is super high in protein.
  4. Pickles. Low in calories. Super low in calories. Some jars will even go as far as saying 0 calories. However, watch for the high sodium. Be choosy and look for a jar of low sodium pickles.
  5. Fat free yogurt. I know a girl who says that men eating yogurt out of the little containers is unmanly. She’s probably right, but yogurt is so damn good, it’s worth it to look like a sissy boy sometimes. High in protein and vitamins, fat free yogurt is a great snack. Probiotic yogurts are even better, helping the digestive system.
  6. Beef jerky. It looks disgusting, but smells great and tastes even better. Super low in calories. Super high in protein. Again, however, just like the pickles, watch out for the salt.
  7. An apple. Apples are simple. You can pick one up and eat it without any preparation. Apples contain no cholesterol, no fat and are fairly low in calories.
  8. A protein shake. No, don’t be fooled by the smoothies sold at the coffee pub - they’re generally loaded with calories. I’m talking about your own protein powder and water\milk shakes. They’ll kill the hunger pangs while giving your muscles the protein boost they deserve.
  9. Turkey bacon. Much lower in fat than the oinking alternative, turkey bacon can be a decent high protein snack. Cook up a bunch of strips on the weekend and keep them in some tupperware in the fridge. Need a snack? Just grab a couple strips - it tastes great cold.
  10. Carrots. High in dietary fiber, vitamin A and other nutrients, carrots are easy to pack in a ziplock for the road or to munch on while watching the tube.

Benedikt Magnusson

Tuesday, September 18th, 2007

I think this video is great. Benedikt deadlifts 426kg (that’s over 939lbs!). He’s somewhat spastic about it, which makes it all the more entertaining, but man is he strong.

The Fit Blog - The Best Of

Monday, September 17th, 2007

Best of albums are… well… the best (assuming decent artists, that is).  Actually, they’re more of filler, I think.  So, while I’m away in Greece, lounging on the black sand of Santorini, here’s a collection of my fav posts - a sort of “Best of the Fit Blog”, if you will, to tide you over until I return with some new content.

The Fit Blog Tip #4

Sunday, September 16th, 2007

The other day at work, I learned that many of my coworkers don’t eat breakfast! I was really quite amazed. One of them said that he did eat in the morning, but then later admitted that his breakfast consisted of a simple cup of coffee. I couldn’t believe it. So here’s a fit tip that probably won’t get read by anyone who should read it. Eat your breakfast. Even just a slice of whole grain toast with some peanut butter and a glass of milk would be better than nothing. But if you have the time, have a bowl of oatmeal or bran flakes and maybe a yogurt and some fresh fruit. Of course, some foods are way better than others, but at least eat something. When it comes to a healthy diet, skipping out on breakfast is an avoidable mistake.

Trans 333 - the 333km Run

Saturday, September 15th, 2007

I’ve been running 5km twice a week. I haven’t done a race in 2 years, but plan on attending the Run for the Cure on September 30th in Guelph and possibly another race in October. On a good day, 5km will take me just over 21 minutes to complete. Certainly not an olympic time, but for me it gets my heart rate up significantly enough that I wouldn’t even be able to fathom a 333km run across the desert!

That’s right, the Trans 333 is a grueling 333km “run”. It is the longest non-stop desert footrace in the World. Although it is usually held in different locations every year, in November, 2007, the race is scheduled to take place in the white Sahara desert of Egypt for the second time.

In 2006, the race was held in Niger, Africa. An interesting first hand account of the race can be found here, from one of the runners, Mark Cockbain. From what he says, simply getting to the start of the race, “The Tree of Tenere”, was a hardship. Mark then tells about his 81 and a half hour extreme run, how he trudged through the sand and rocks, with blisters and swollen feet, to cross the finish line in second place with an Austrian he was running with. His tale is definitely worth a read.