Jason Statham - Men’s Health Guy

Jason Statham Men’s Health

The October Men’s Health guy is Jason Statham. If you don’t know the name, he’s the guy who stars in two great action movies, both called the Transporter (#1 and #2, anyway). His slickness is only second to his great action presence in the films - he has an air about him that says, “don’t mess with me”.Well, it turns out that you wouldn’t want to mess with him in real life either. You can read more about him, his workout and his eating plan here, at the Men’s Health website.

Highlights of the article include how he approaches his workout and his diet. Jason does the bulk of his workout in a circuit style which resembles an extended crossfit session. He never repeats a workout and always pits himself against time. He says, “Every single thing we do is against the closk. That way you’ll always know how good you are and if you’re slacking off.”

His eating plan is basically your no bread, no booze, plain yogurt kind of thing but he writes everything he eats down on paper in order to make it difficult to “muck up” the diet.

Read the full article, here.

Developing Flexibility

Flexibility Training

Flexibility is so important to fitness. Unfortunately not many people actually pay attention to it enough. I’m guilty as any at forgoing a daily stretch or not appropriately warming up with some stretches before a workout.

Increasing flexibility will not only help reduce injury when working out, as you get older it is important to maintain muscle suppleness in order to help avoid injury in every day activities from tying shoelaces to reaching for the seatbelt. But how does one increase their flexibility? Again, thanks to this wonderous technology called the Internet, a fantastic guide can be found here.

The tutorial is written by a guy named Jon Call, better known as Jujimufu. If you do a quick search on youtube, you will no doubt see countless videos of him. He practices tricking, or what he describes as “an aesthetic blend of flips, twists, and kicks”. It’s essentially gymnastics. His stretching tutorial is really detailed and full of great exercises.

The Last One Standing

Tonight, The Last One Standing premiers on the Discovery Channel. As the title implies, the show, which seems rooted in the Survivor camp, has a survivor-esque premise. Unlike other reality shows like Survivor, however, the Last One Standing really means the last one standing.

The show, which takes place in all sorts of exotic locations, pits contestants against one another in a variety of competitions that require extreme levels of endurance or ability. Training alongside the indiginous people of the various remote parts of the World, three American and three British individuals take part in events from stick fighting and wrestling to log and canoe racing.

Each of the contestants excel individually in their own niche. The six athletes include Rajko, an all-rounder and former world record holder; Jason, the 2006 Florida State BMX Champion; Richard, who is an Oxford University sportsman (think cricket, rugby and croquet); Brad, a strongman; Mark, a British salsa dancer and kickboxer; and Corey, who is a hiker and endurance athlete.

The first episode which appears on the Discovery channel tonight at 9pm EST, starts in Brazil will determine which of the contestants excels most at the age old combat sport of wrestling.

Staying Fit While On Business Trips

I recently had to make a 3 day trip down to Sunnyvale California for work. It was a pretty good trip, as far as business goes (although the weather was oddly cooler than here at home in Canada).

Heading out of town for any length of time breaks up the normal routine. Sleeping, eating and exercising are all completely disturbed by meetings, work and jet lag. But with some effort, the potential damage to these three essential pieces of the fitness pie can minimized.

As I’ve mentioned in many previous posts, sleep is very important, not only for staying healthy and keeping your brain active, but for building muscle and weight loss.

Flying outside of your timezone will modify your sleep cycles enough to totally cause a run down. I find that flying East and gaining time is the most difficult. Regardless, catching some Z’s on the plane will help. Especially if you’re flying an all nighter. But there’s nothing worse than trying to sleep on the plane.

Bring on the plane:

  • a neck support
  • some ear plugs
  • a blind fold

as soon as the first meal and movie is finished, plug your ears, support your neck, blind yourself and wrap up in a blanket. This will help get some necessary shut eye.

When you get to your hotel and your first night arrives, try to push yourself through to your normal sleep time. Otherwise, you might find yourself going to bed super early and waking up at 4am.

When it comes to eating while away, restaurants and fast food are unfortunately on the meal plan. But even when faced with double cheeseburgers and heaping piles of mashed potatoes, there are always ways of maintaining a healthy diet.

Always try to keep the Zone mentality in mind when getting a meal. Make sure to balance the protein to carb ratio, 30:40.

If you’re getting breakfast in the hotel restaurant, bacon, eggs and some fresh fruit would be ideal. Hold off on the potatoes and toast. Lunch or dinner requires something quick? Go ahead and burger it up, but skip the fries and toss the top of the bun. If a salad is offered as a side, always go that route instead of something fried.

Dinner portions at restaurants are generally huge (especially when paid for by the company) so know your limit. Just because there’s food on the plate doesn’t mean you need to eat it all. Try to skip out on the alcohol. It may be difficult, but at least stay away from the beer. Beer may taste great but we all know what it means to the bellies.

Working out, on the other hand, may be easier to accomplish during a business trip than while at home. The distractions of family life are not present and most hotels have at least some form of exercise room available.

Check when you arrive to see what time the hotel gym opens at. If you’re flying from New York to Santa Clara, you will probably be up before the sun rises so take advantage of the early morning and charge yourself up with a workout.

Most likely, however, the hotel’s exercise room will contain mostly treadmills and possibly one or two universal machines. You’ll be lucky if there are dumbbells or any other equipment. Make the most of what is available and improvise. Remember that no matter what kind of lack of equipment you’re faced with, you will always have pushups, situps, leg raises, squats and dips.

While away on business, you will be faced with all sorts of obstacles to your normal routine. The key is to try and keep up with your daily activity and manage to eat healthy.

Don’t give up and pretend that you will just continue with your routine when you get back. More likely than not it won’t happen. Once you get distracted from your workout schedule and eating plan, it is really difficult to get back on top of it.

WTF - No, Not That - Women’s Tri Fit

On November 10 - 11, Tampa Florida will hold the 4th annual Women’s Tri-Fit Fall Classic. The competition will include physique modeling, fitness routines and an all out obstacle course.

Earlier this year, in July, WTF held their World Challenge in Las Vegas for it’s 10th anniversary. The competition included a 10-foot wall climb and a struggle through 15 feet of cargo netting in a 160 yard obstacle course. Participants also had to perform a multitude of box jumps and bench presses in order to rise to the top of the competition. The usual physique modeling and fitness routines were also a part of the challenge.

For a better understanding of the event, check out the highlights from the 2007 Spring Classic, courtesy of trifittv.com:

For more information, point your browser to www.womenstrifitness.com.

Great Upper Body Circuit

On Saturday, nearly two days ago, I did a great upper body circuit, from which I’m still feeling a little sore.  The great thing about circuits is the ability to expend yourself at one exercise but be able to quickly move to another exercise that targets different muscles.   The beauty being that a great workout can be completed in little time while bringing up the heart rate due to the constant movement between exercises.  In a sense, a weightlifting circuit can act as a high intensity training session while at the same time contributing to muscle growth.

In this instance, the circuit is completely upper body - primarily lats, triceps and chest - a great combo IMHO.

  • Start with a set of bench presses at about 70% effort.  Do 8 - 10 reps.
  • Move immediately to pull-ups.  If you can, do wide grip.  If you can’t, no problem.  Do what you can - jumping pull-ups, gravitron, whatever.  Do 8 - 10 reps.
  • Finally, do a set of 10 body weight dips.  After the presses and pull-ups, this will be difficult, so do what you can.  Try for another 8 - 10 reps.

Take a deep breath, rest for a couple of minutes and then hit the circuit again.  Try for 4 runs through the circuit.  You’ll feel good afterwards :)

Michelle Ryan is the Bionic Woman

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

 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?

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

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

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

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

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

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.