More Wii Fitness

Recently, I blogged about the Nintendo Wii and Wii Sports and how that’s changing the lives of some individuals as they use the motion sensing game, combined with a healthy diet to lose weight. Last week, Nintendo announced at the 2007 Electronics and Entertainment Expo a new product called Wii Fit. This latest game may not even be considered a game for some, as it is more a workout video on steroids than the traditional shoot-em-up. Over the last couple of years, the big N has been shifting focus slightly, and while continuing to produce the Mario and Metroid games that so many gamers adore, Nintendo has been putting out a few nice products in the “casual gamer” genre. Initially with their “Brain Training” game for the DS and more recently with “Wii Sports” and “Big Brain Academy” for the Wii. “Wii Sports” has been garnered with praise because of its ability to be enjoyed by people of all ages while getting them off the couch and actually getting the heart rate up. “Wii Fit” takes this to the next level by introducing a “pressure sensitive balance board” into the mix. The board looks much like a scale and also like a scale, measures weight. However, it measures the distribution of weight across the board and can guage how much a person standing on it is leaning in any direction. This allows for what seems to be an interesting experience. Take a look at the Wii Fit trailer below.

Great Reasons to Drink Water

Dumb Little Man has a good little article giving some good reasons why drinking enough water throughout your day is important and discusses some valuable tips to help make water drinking a habit. For most of us, water isn’t the greatest tasting drink around and when faced with the options, more than not, we will choose pop, coffee, tea or juices instead of the clear natural H2O. However, there are many health benefits to choosing water as your fave beverage. The article cites weight loss, heart health, clear skin and cancer risk reduction as just a few of them.

Wii Weight Loss

Back in November, this neat toy came out - you may have heard of it - the Nintento Wii. In the Americas it came bundled with a game called Wii Sports. Using the unique Wii controller, the game allowed players to participate in bouts of tennis, bowling, golf and boxing using gestures that mimicked the real life action. Generally, video gaming means sitting on your butt, with the game controller, feet up and a bag of cheesies at the ready. The advent of the Wii has given a breath of fresh air to video game “laziness” as players no longer necessarily sit on their behind and can now get right into the action and actually work up a sweat in the process.

Some bright minded individuals actually put the Wii to the weight loss test and are using it as part of their plan to shed some bulge and attempt to get lean. Take Mickey DeLorenzo, for example, who in December 2006 decided to pick up the Wii controller and see how well it could be used as a fitness tool in his Wii sports experiment. Mickey lost an astounding 2% body fat, getting him to a “fitness” level according to the American Council on Exercise.

Another gamer on the Wii weight loss plan is J.R. Cook, who wants to lose 80 lbs! J.R. is documenting his quest on his blog and has made some amazing progress, losing on average 10 lbs per month over the last 4 months.

The 6 Pack Ab Secret has a few articles on attaining perfect abs. Their latest, 4 Exercises For A Fabulous Core breaks down 4 simple exercises that will no doubt produce some results.

However, according to many other articles found all over the net, overdoing the ab exercises will do nothing to make those muscles protrude like a true 6 pack. Flip over to one of their earlier posts, How to Get Great Abs and scroll down a bit to read the few tips that they have.

1) Spot reduction doesn’t work,

2) Don’t work your abs every day and

3)Follow a balance, reduced-calorie diet. The 6 pack ab secret is that there is no secret. It takes dedication and effort and much, much more than a simple situp routine.


Although I’ve had my fair share of protein and nutrition bars, I have never had a Zone Perfect bar. However, the ZonePerfect Nutrition Company claims that their bars “contain an ideal balance of carbohydrate, protein and fat to keep you satisfied longer.” They seem to mimic the Zone diet philosophy. Coincidentally they’ve named their brand after the diet. Beyond the usual product claims and boasting that can be found on one’s own company website, the ZonePerfect site offers a bunch of other neat fitness and nutrition related things… for free… They have a healthy living page and a nutrition program page that both offer some nice bits of info. In particular, I found their recipes to be worthy of an actual attempt to be made by me. Perhaps not all companies are about the bottom line after all. Ok. Sure they are. ZonePerfect also has shakes in case you’re on the liquid diet.

Feats of Strength - A Strong Old Man

I’m not sure how old this guy is, but when I’m his age, I’d like to also be able to pull this off. I can’t do it now though, so I’d better start practicing.

How to get a good six pack

The six pack - a quest to achieve the ultimate look in the mid section. Unfortunately, also probably very very difficult for most of us and probably impossible for some. Truth is that we all have a six pack in there somewhere. And if you incorporate some amount of abdominal exercises into your weekly workout, it’s probably near as good as it gets. However, you can perform zillions of crunches and hanging leg raises and still have nary a one pack. Like most muscle definition, the six pack comes through diet. In order to get that muscle out from hiding, you will have to lose the fat surrounding it. Plain and simple… er… perhaps not so simple. But take it from Tom Venuto, author of “Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle”. He says,

It takes training to increase strength, build endurance and DEVELOP the abdominals, but to SEE the definition in your abdominals - or any other muscle group for that matter - is almost entirely the result of low body fat levels.

And if you’re concerned about his credibility, just take a gander at the pic above.

Buff up the Backside Like a Celebrity

It just goes to show how good incorporating squats and lunges into your exercise routine can be. Mike Alexander, the personal trainer for Jessica Simpson for her role in Dukes of Hazard, wanted Jessica to get a “lean, toned look” in her Daisy Dukes. Sure it may not have been difficult for someone like Jessica Simpson to look good in short shorts, but what exercises did Mike employ to help shape up her rear? Lower body exercises, like lunges and squats. Brilliant. Gina Lombardi, the host for Discovery channel

No Gym Mini-Workout

No gym? No excuse to not get a little workout in. And by little, I mean fat burning, sweat inducing, heart racing exercising.

Bodyweight exercises are incredibly good. Done at a high intensity, you can push yourself to the limit and experience the full effects for days afterwards.

Perform several exercises in a circuit. That is, do a number of repetitions of one exercise, followed by another and another and repeat with little or no rest in between sets.

I’ve outlined the number of reps that I think would be pretty good, but definitely scale as necessary. If you start feeling light headed or hurt badly, stop. And keep a bottle of water close by - you will need it.


Quinoa, pronounced keen-wa, has been gaining in popularity lately as a more healthy grain substitute. Similar to other grains, quinoa has a long history. For thousands of years it has been a staple food in South America. According to wikipedia, “the Incas, who held the crop to be sacred, referred to quinoa as “chisaya mama” or “mother of all grains”, and it was the Inca emperor who would traditionally sow the first seeds of the season.”

Unlike ordinary rice and wheat however, quinoa has more essential fatty acids and much more protein (12%

The Runner’s Nod

The run. Making the commitment to get outside and go for another 5km personal best. Once the shoes go on, there’s no turning back. I turn to my wife as I step outside and let her know that she should see me in half an hour and if not, to come looking.

Focused, starting to breathe deeply without having yet even taken my first stride, I do the final checks. Shoes - yes. Matching shorts and t-shirt - check. Ipod on and volume is reasonable - yep. I take a glance at my reflection in the window. Hair seems to be in place - good stuff. Then I’m off.

At first it feels great. I’ve got a bounce that makes me feel like I’m barely touching the ground. Practically running on my toes, I fly down my street, feeling the neighbors’ stares of what I suspect is admiration of my effortless gliding. I’ll impress them even more - I’ll push harder until I’m out of site.

Around the first corner - the first bead of sweat begins forming on my forehead. The setting sun beats down and I notice the shadows of passing cars and assume that the drivers are also watching me as I blaze down the hill at top speed and they must also want to join me because I make it look so easy.

I’ve been running 15 minutes now. Starting to really feel it in my shins and ankles. Man… I shouldn’t have been bouncing and running on my toes so much at first. Should have kept it a little slower - paced myself a bit.

The sweat’s really dripping now. Have to wipe my brow with my t-shirt. I’m slowing down and the only thing left ahead of me is to go all the way back and all the way up the hill from where I came.

20 minutes pass. Really feeling it. Everything in my perifery is blurred. At this point, I’m strictly focusing on getting to the next point in front of me - that next tree, that next stop sign, that next intersection.

In the distance, I see what looks to be someone coming my way - coming towards me - looks like they’re also running. Yes, yes… they are running. As he approaches, I realize that he’s quite a bit older than me. Man he’s sweaty. I wonder if he’s just started or he’s nearing the end of his route like me. Regardless, we get closer.

We can see each other’s faces clearly. I look into his eyes. He looks into mine. We know what each other is going through right now. We know that our pain and our goals are both the same. We both pull our chests up a bit as we each edge to the side of the sidewalk to let the other easily get by. As we pass, we take that last stare and then almost as if an instinctive right of passage, we do the nod.

In a swift motion - two synchronous head bobs to acknowledge the other’s willingness to put them through the same torture. We nod as a salute - knowing that each of us is putting up the good fight and will be victorious in due time. Yes, we perform the runner’s nod. And we pass and keep running.

The Overhead Squat

I was practicing overhead squats today. It seems that I’m always practicing them and never really trying max weight.

My wife watches sometimes and never fails to find faults in my technique. “You’re too far over on your toes!”, she’ll tell me. Sometimes we argue about it. She usually wins though, as usual. Regardless, she’s right. Perhaps I am too far on my toes, but no matter how hard I try, it never feels right. I’m just going to face it - the overhead squat is hard. It’s damn hard.

There are some great articles and videos available on the net discussing the overhead squat, but today, during my search for another article to maybe help me get my technique right, I found this article. It’s by Dan John, the Strength Coach and Head Track and Field Coach at Juan Diego Catholic High School in Draper, Utah. Not the most auspicious title ever, but nothing to be ashamed of either.

John can lift a tonne and according to his articles, he seems to have had much success coaching others to lift heavy as well. In his article on overhead squats, John talks about how damn hard they are, but also discusses how overhead squats create, in his words, Dad strength.

I guess I’m not the only one who struggles with this.

Fish Oils and Omega 3 Fatty Acids

For some, the phrase, “take your cod liver oil”, may bring back disturbing memories of a mother feeding them a spoonful of some of the most vile tasting liquid known to man. I never had to deal with it, but I can only imagine how evil it must have felt as a child - almost punishing. However, what may have once seemed absolutely disgusting beyond words has only recently had a light shone on it, showing why taking your cod liver oil may, in fact, be something that we all should continue to do on a daily basis.

Once upon a couple generations ago, fish oil was a daily given. It was thought that because of the rich vitamin A and D found in it, fish oil helped keep people healthy and prevent the contraction of some diseases. More recently, it has been discovered that it’s not necessarily the vitamins that help, it’s long chain the omega-3 fatty acids that are the wonder component. You may have noticed how grocery stores are getting stocked with milk, juices, eggs, all fortified with omega-3, but why? What is it about omega-3 that is so important?

There are two omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish oil in particular, that are key - eicospentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

EPA is important to controling insulin levels. EPA is also beneficial in reducing the risk of cancer, arthritis and other chronic diseases. In March 2007, Dr. Mitsuhiro Yokoyama at Kobe University Graduate School of Medicine performed a study that showed that “long-term use of EPA at therapeutic doses is effective for prevention of major coronary events in high cholesterol patients.”

DHA may be even more beneficial than EPA for the human body. DHA is a major fatty acid found in the retina, sperm and brain. DHA can reduce the levels of blood triglycerides in humans and may reduce the risk of heart disease. Low levels of DHA have also been associated with Alzheimer’s, depression and ADHD. Most importantly, however, is the effect that DHA may have on the brain. No other organ in the body has as high a concentration of DHA than the brain. The fact that human breast milk is loaded with DHA may account for why one study indicated that children fed breast milk tended to score 10 percent higher on IQ tests.

Nutrition expert, Udo Erasmus includes omega-3 fatty acids as an essential part of his “Udo’s Choice Food Pyramids”, saying that omega-3 fatty acids (and slightly omega-6) “help reduce fat production in the body” and “increase fat burning and heat production, and shift the body from burning glucose to burning fats.”(*)

Fish oil may taste nasty, but fortunately no longer needs to be taken in the putrid liquid form. The supplement section of the local grocery or health food store or pharmacy will contain a whack of fish oils in capsule form. Dr. Barry Sears, the creator of the Zone diet, suggests a daily intake of 5 grams of fish oil.

Major inspiration - Can World’s Strongest Dad

Years ago, I would read various short stories from Chicken Soup for the Soul and feel all inspired and such. This is truly that kind of story.

It’s about a guy who is no doubt the World’s Strongest Dad - Dick Hoyt, a 63 year old father of a disabled son, who goes the extra mile (around 26 of them usually) with his son to help both of them have the most fulfilling lives possible. Fantastic story that I just had to share.

Hit the link here: