Well said Crossfit girl. Those skinny fitness mag cover models have never seen this kind of sweat, this level of intensity or even a weight bigger than a padded pink Barbie dumbell. No flat-a** Pippas here (a huge FB Ass Appreciation Society for her, seriously?!? Even though that dress was FANTASTIC, sadly looking at her makes me wish my own butt wasn’t wider than my shoulders, *sigh*…) This is women pushing themselves to their physical limits with the purpose of getting stronger, fitter, and healthier. The skinny part? Just an added bonus, like finding the lick-on tattoo at the bottom of the Cracker Jack box.
This video motivates me, it makes me want to drop right now and do burpees in my slippers. I know how hard those pull-ups are to do, and these women are STRONG! It’s hard core and kick-ass and just what I needed to see right now to get me moving. I don’t need the ‘drop 20 pounds in time for a bikini-ready body.’ Well, I do, but that’s not my real motivator. My real goal is to be strong, muscle up, and impress my kids by doing more pullups than they can count. It will show my little one that girls are strong, and part of being a girl is being proud of what her body can do. In fact, I see a mother-daugther crossfit challenge coming on. How many push-ups, pull-ups, squats to overhead presses, dips and burpees can we do? Just hope my little 9-year old doesn’t leave me in the dust!
Does it bother you too, to see an ad for a fitness product or gym with a model who’s arms are the size of pipe cleaners, with no muscle tone even with well-focused dramatic lighting? What motivates you to get stronger and fitter?
Andrew: This is like jumping off a mountain, I swear to gosh. It’s like parachuting. Sometimes you just have to say ready, set, go.
– Andrew Zimmern, Bizzare Foods host, before biting into a crunchy, grilled, jungle rodent
Every week, I love to watch Zimmern’s new level of crazy. People in all corners of the globe routinely eat squirrel brains, bull tails, deep fried tarantulas, crocodile eggs, mutton bones, fried pig ears, raw horse, bull’s blood, octopus tentacles, crispy crickets and other seasoned eccentricities. Not necessarily because they can’t afford anything else, but often because they’re considered delicacies. But we’re not talking about eating any rats here, just a common pig. The Boston Globe has reported that a resurgence of nose-to-tail diners have thrust the pig roast into the restaurant spotlight. More and more people are opening up to the idea of seeing and eating the entire animal. Yay! But why does the idea of eating something tail to trotters still make most of us queezy and knock-kneed?
My mother will absolutely not eat meat that hasn’t been cleaned, trimmed, removed from any identifying carcass and packed into pretty yellow styrofoam packaging. She doesn’t want to see any nasty throwaway bits, and would freak at the sight of an eyeball looking back at her. Yet she tells me stories of her grandmother wrapping her arm around a chicken, effortlessly snapping it’s neck and gracefully plucking its feathers right there in the kitchen, all while talking to her about her day at school. Wow, how times have changed. And even though I grew up on molded meat, I now not only try to avoid processed foods, but I’m also working on eating a way that would make great-gran proud. Her generation knew potatoes and bread made them fat, they knew fermented foods kept them healthy, and they knew how to eat the whole animal, icky bits and all.
That nose-to-tail cooking thing for the frugal? The omnivorous? The sustainably-minded? How about for the primal among us who are intrinsically sensing that eating the way our great-grandparents did really is the way to go.
As I read more on Mark’s Daily Apple or any of Sally Fallon’s writings, and talk to some of my uber-intelligent and already enlightened friends, the benefits of the whole animal, especially the organ meat is beyond debate. So I tread, sometimes reluctantly, ever deeper into the land of offal. Hearts, livers, brains, oh my! I’m not totally there yet, because let’s face it, it’s different and a little gross at first, but I am getting better. And because I know they all pack a nutritional superpunch, I’ll keep taking my baby steps. I now cook up calf’s liver (disguised in spicy chili because I still don’t like the taste), dig out beef marrow and coddle chicken feet into a gelatinous, nutrient-dense chicken stock. I haven’t attempted brains or heart yet, but it’s only a matter of time.
Our standard american diet (SAD, very sad) wants only the nice, tidy bits of the animal and discards everything else. We opt for the low-fat, homogeneous-looking chicken breast when the rest of the world knows the harder you have to work to get the meat off the bone, the better it tastes. We eat extra-lean ground beef and pretty steaks, but those in the know salivate over the marbling because all the goodness and yumminess hides in the fat. We throw our beef bones to our dogs instead of savoring the creamy marrow ourselves, what the…? So are we having a renaissance of our palates? I like to think it’s America waking up to what generations have known before us, that real food keeps us happy, healthy…and alive.
What’s your experience? Are you venturing into nose-to-tail dining? Have your ever been to a pig roast? Are you a ‘ready, set, go’ type of eater?
With all the commotion of me and my kiddos running around the house like squirrels every morning trying to get ready for school, there’s no way I can make myself my ideal brekky within an hour of waking. Well there is, but it would involve me getting my own behind out of bed an hour earlier so I could slip on my apron, make my eggs, veggies and beans and enjoy the sublime silence while peacefully preparing for the day ahead. But…that ain’t gonna happen. I’m too lazy. And I love my sleep too much. Like possibly even more than my kids. Kidding…really. I could get to sleep earlier to compensate, but this night owl’s body doesn’t even produce melatonin before 11pm.
So my answer is to whip up a protein smoothie and drink it on the 59th minute of waking. It’s a compromise because I would prefer getting my 30g of morning protein from whole food sources, but the protein powder I do buy (currently from Whole Foods, but I’ll be looking online b/c it’s way too pricey) is by Whey Factors, and it’s a 100% natural, non-denatured, whey protein with no added anything. I mix in my Garden of Life raw green superfood (when this runs out I may buy Athletic Greens, but that too, is way spendy), about a tablespoon of bee pollen, and either a handful of crispy almonds or a ¼ avocado for some healthy fats. Honestly, it tastes like it looks, but I suck it down and it holds me well until lunch.
Then I make my scrambled eggs with spinach, homemade lacto-fermented salsa, and some variation of legume for lunch…everyday. I love breakfast and can eat it anytime (some of my favorite restaurants are the all-day breakfast joints). On the days I feel all fancypants, I’ll throw a tomato or some mushrooms into the mix. Otherwise that’s it, my wonderfully predictable, easy-to-shop-for morning and afternoon meals.
For dinner, I try to be a little more creative. I really do enjoy cooking and serving up good, nutritious food for my family (still, much to the chagrin of my 8-year old). The past couple of nights it’s been Three-Bean and Beef Chili with homemade gauc, and Sausage Stew, a la Mark Sisson’s Primal Blueprint Cookbook.
The chili is always a big hit. I usually modify it here and there. This time I used 80% grass-fed ground beef, ½ lb. grass-fed beef liver, 2 chipotles and 3 tsp. of adobo sauce (I needed the extra kick to disguise the liver taste, which I’m not a big fan of, but I eat it because I know it’s good for me…). Anyway you choose to doctor this one up, it’s bound to be good.
And the sausage stew hit the spot around here on the snowy, first full day of spring. Damn New England weather. I love this meal because it’s a clean out your fridge type of stew. I used pork sausage, leftover meatballs, chicken sausage, cauliflower almost headed for the composter, kale and swiss chard, all tossed into homemade chicken stock from a pastured bird. Yum.
What are some of your 4HB meals? Do you need variety or do you depend on some standbys?
Yesterday I binged. Not like pulling a Charlie Sheen and getting all crazy wasted. This was the good kind of bingeing, more like a really great day of shopping….
Tim Ferriss, in his book 4-Hour Body, avocates one day out of the slow-carb diet week as your necessary cheat day. It resets the metabolism by increasing leptin levels and lets your body know it’s not starving, there’s no impending famine, and there’s no need to lock down those fat deposits.
Here’s how my binge day looked:
9am: started the day with a good high-protein meal with legumes
Warm water with lemon
3 pastured scrambled eggs with spinach and mushrooms, black beans and lacto-fermented salsa (soooo good, thanks Cheeseslave!)
6, yes 6 chocolate-chip + blueberry pumpkin pancakes with real maple syrup
Coffee with cinnamon
50 air squats and 25 wall presses
French toast bagel
California Crunch bagel with honey walnut cream cheese
Tons of strawberries
Coffee with cinnamon
Half a pizza – whole wheat crust, artichokes, meatballs, mushrooms and tons of mozzarella
40 air squats
Kombucha – 16 oz
Raw milk – 1 c
I found the cheat day both fulfilling and a bit of a letdown at the same time. I was really only craving the pancakes and pizza. The other stuff I just ate because I could. Even pushing in the croissant at 9pm…I didn’t really want it, or even enjoy it that much, but I could, so I did. What a hugely liberating feeling that’s become. To know that I can binge on anything within days has been completely removing the cravings for me. In fact, the one thing I thought about including during my binge, homemade chocolate chip cookies, I completely forgot about. I didn’t crave them during the week and I didn’t crave them on my binge day either (to my incredible disbelief). I guess once the candy is no longer denied, it’s no longer really desired. Must see if that little gem of wisdom will work with the kids. Don’t get me wrong though, come next Saturday, I will still unapologetically snarf down that warm gooeylicious croissant oozing with melting chocolate, whether I like it or not.
What do you think about the binge day idea? Do you think it would make it easier to stay true to a diet with a built-in binge day? What would you include on your binge days?
No that’s not me…yet. But by the hallelujah sung by Timothy Ferriss in his 4-Hour Body book, kettlebells are the Holy Grail. And I’m Indy. I did some reading over the weekend – the 4-Hour Body, Primal Blueprint Fitness, and P90X and I’ve come up with a workout routine that I’ll not only stick with consistently, but also enjoy more than picking fleas off my dog. Sorry my dear P90X, but it’s time I see other people, it’s not you, it’s me, really… I’m trying something new this time and my new lusts are Mark and Tim. They both can’t seem to emphasize enough the importance of not overtraining. Chronic cardio stimulates and raises cortisol, which reduces muscle mass and signals the body to store fat. That ‘more is better’ exercise trap is filled with quicksand I tell ya.
Both 4HB and PBF have similar strength training agendas, with about five core movements, performed twice a week for about 30 minutes each. That leaves plenty of time for some low-intensity walking, hiking, biking, swimming, skipping…for 3-5 hours during the rest of the week, and one day devoted to 10 minutes of run-for-your-life sprinting. Doesn’t sound bad at all does it? It’s the low-key approach that I’m finding so refreshing.
Here is my 4HB/PBF hybrid workout routine going into Week 1. I may tweak this a bit after trying it out to see if the strength exercises work for me. I had lower back surgery a few years ago so I try not to overstress that area. Here it goes:
Tuesday: Workout A - perform 10 reps each for 2 sets:
Glute elevation raises – 20 reps
Dumbell Front Squat to Press
One-arm one-leg Dumbell Row
Walking Lunges w/ Knee Raises
Push Ups – Wide, Uneven
Hip Flexor Stretch – 1 minute
Two-arm Kettlebell Swings – 20-25 reps
Cat Vomit exercise (for real)
Friday:Workout B - perform 10 reps each for 2 sets:
Glute elevation raises – 20 reps
One-leg Romanian Deadlift
Reverse Pull-ups / Chin-ups
One-leg Hamstring Curl on Stability Ball
Plank – Front, Sides – 90 seconds
Reverse Hyper on Stability Ball – 20 reps
Hip Flexor Stretch – 1 minute
Two-arm Kettlebell Swings – 20-25 reps
Cat Vomit exercise
Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday:
Walking, Biking, Hiking for 3-5 hours total at 55-75% max HR
All out Sprinting for 10 minutes
I don’t have kettlebells yet, so I’ll somehow need to wing that one until I get some. Otherwise, I’m really looking forward to this 4HB/PBF workout! It’s going to be a great threesome! Are you ready to try the ‘less is better’ approach?
So while I really enjoyed stuffing one too many ooey, gooey sugar-laced cinnamon buns into my already glowing belly, I now cannot fit into anything in my closet. It’s diet time.I just got back from an extended family vacation (ahh, I miss you already warm sun) and my belly and behind are packing at least 15 extra pounds of cinnamon buns, apple fritters, french toast, chocolate brownie sundaes, muffins, and nightly dinner dessert specials… I do love my simple carbs.
But the fun is over and it’s time for some serious commitment. Not only do I need to shed some pounds, but also make some hard out of the soft. I graduated from my first round of P90X a year ago and felt great, but have since let the exercising slide, and my body right along with it.While on vacation, I picked up the ‘4 Hour Body’ by Timothy Ferriss.I haven’t finished reading it all, like he says it’s big enough to club a baby seal, but I did peruse the sections I’d need for quick fat blasting and butt remolding.It’s an interesting read.Very much like Mark Sisson’s Primal Blueprint Diet and the paleo genre, but heavily incorporating legumes and completely eschewing fruit and dairy. I’m attracted to the simplicity of the ingredients and the permission to eat the same thing every day.I’m a fan of simple.And easy.I don’t mind planning dinners for the week, but I have no problem eating eggs, spinach and beans for brekky every single morning.And I hit paydirt when I read that an entire CHEAT DAY is not only recommended but mandatory for success, woo hoo bring it on!
I’ll prep and plan and shop over the weekend, take some goodbye photos and measurements (which I will post), and come Monday morning, welcome to Beantown.And that’s not a reference to my Boston location, either, this diet is very heavy on the beans.
But I also need to exercise.And not just to explode my imminent fat burning potential but more to get healthy.So I’m unsure if Tim’s idea of losing ‘3% bodyfat in one hour a month’ is right for me.I want to get my heart rate up there long enough so I can mountain bike with my kids and not have to stop on the little hill.So for now, I may just go with what I know works for me, my good old standby, P90X.I may alter the intensity after reading so much on Mark Sisson’s site about overtraining. I fondly remember how working out for 60 minutes a day, six days a week, can easily lead to burnout, counterproductivity and a lot of hurling. Tim’s 4-Hour Body also warns against the woes of overtraining, and in the spirit of experimentation, I may end up with a sort of hybrid P90X/4HB/Primal Blueprint exercise routine come Monday morning.I hope you’ll be back here to join me!
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