Great calorie burning exercise

19 06 2012

Yesterday I ended up eating 2x as much as I should have for dinner (triple patty in n out burger, 2 pieces of bacon, bread and cheese, veggies, big slice of costco pizza), so I wanted to do a quick workout to burn some calories about thirty minutes afterwards to help manage the insulin spike.  I remembered this great workout to burn calories quickly: burpees.


  1. Start in pushup position
  2. Do a pushup
  3. When you return to pushup position, pop your legs forward between your hands so you’re in a crouched position
  4. Jump
  5. Land, absorbing the impact of the jump and returning to a crouch
  6. Pop your legs back so that you are in the pushup position again.  That’s 1 rep

You can do these to really stress your cardio-vascular system quickly.  I was winded after 10 reps!  Speed is important, as it is an explosive exercise.  Video below.

A hypothesis about dieting and exercise

25 04 2012

My hypothesis

“The most important part of a diet is what you’re not eating.  There is no such thing as a “healthy food” which will cancel out crap food.  Exercising also does not cancel out crap food.”

The basic idea is that if you eat something good, it doesn’t mean you can also drink a soda.  If you go to the gym and jog for 15 minutes, it doesn’t mean you get to eat a candy bar.  Currently I have no real evidence except for observation, but it is something to consider if you are trying to lose weight and are unsuccessful.  If you really want to lose weight, go all out and drop all the crap.  If you need your crappy food fix, check out Tim Ferriss’s book Four Hour Body.  The diet is available for free on Gizmodo.

A little bit of evidence

People with celieac’s disease cannot eat something to “cancel out” gluten.  Gluten is crap for you, attacking your insides.  Eating a bowl of vegetables won’t cancel out that bowl of pasta.

Have you ever read about athletes having heart attacks?  I see at least one every 3 months.  All their exercise isn’t canceling out their crappy eating.  That or they’re on some form of drug, which is why this is a poor piece of evidence.



Three useless words for getting healthy

31 03 2012

Diet and exercise.  How I hate those words.  Although true, they are 100% useless.  Here’s a similarly useless answer to the question, how do I run faster?  Turn your legs over faster.  Again, while true, this is not useful advice to someone who wants to run faster.


Healthy or unhealthy?

There are a million diets out there, so telling someone to diet is pointless.  Most people have no clue about the most effective diets, but assume stupid things the mass media tells them are true.  If I were to guess what the typical American thinks a healthy diet is, I would say the only thing they think they know is that they should eat more salad, which by the way is not going to help much.  To the right is an image of my breakfast: two eggs cooked in real butter, three slices of bacon, a fistful of frozen spinach and flax seed.  I consider this to be a healthy breakfast.  Most people probably think that oatmeal and fruit would be a healthy breakfast, but I think that is an average breakfast.  Telling someone “you should diet” doesn’t help them choose a breakfast.

My above complaint addresses the idea that if someone says “diet and exercise,” they mean you should get on a diet.  However, if by diet they mean “eat less,” then they are a complete idiot who is probably naturally thin and knows nothing.  No one keeps weight off simply by eating less.  It may work for a short while, but eventually they cave and regain the weight.  There is one scenario in which losing weight by eating less could work: if they are overweight because they have been purposefully over eating, such as me doing GOMAD.


Exercise can mean anything.  When most people want to start exercise they go out and do the most useless things: super slow jogging at minimal distances and workouts like light weights and lifts such as bicep curls.  Again, useless.  Contrary to what you may believe, there is a correct way to run, and if you’re not doing it, you’re likely destroying your joints, which is why something like 70% of runners get injured every year (citation required).  Lifting light weights does just about nothing for you, unless you’re doing it all day, which you’re not.  To give you an idea of the intensity you need, below are two examples of me in my prime, in two different ways, running and lifting.

Below are a couple of videos of me, spaced 9 years apart.  The first is me in my last two mile track and field event in 2002, I was probably 16 years old, 5’7″ tall, and weighed 130 pounds.  I’m the one in yellow and green passing the two other guys in the final stretch and I believe my time was about 11:54, meaning I ran two miles sub 6 minutes.  The second is me deadlifting 360 pounds, the most I’ve ever done.  I was 25 year old, 5’10” tall, and weighed about 185 pounds.

I’ll try to give you an idea of the workouts I was doing leading up to both videos.

For cross country we ran 6 days a week, during training season it was like this: Monday 3 miles average pace, Tuesday 2 miles of sprinting (16 back to back 100’s, 16 200’s, or 8 400’s) with a mile warm up, Wednesday was 3 miles average pace, Thursday sprints again, Friday 3 miles again, Saturday 10 miles.  Race season was similar but Thursdays were meets and Saturdays were lighter or off.

For lifting I did 3 months of stronglifts followed by a 6 weeks of Madcow.  You can download my Madcow Excel sheet if you want to see how much I was lifting.

So now I have two questions for you.  First, would you rather have a skinny build or a strong/athletic build?  I ask because when most people think of “exercise” to lose weight, they think of jogging, and are thus aiming for a lame skinny build like me in CC.  However, I think most people would agree that an athletic build is better, so they should be lifting weights instead of jogging.  Second, are your workouts anywhere near as intense as the workouts I listed above?  If not, don’t expect to see the same kind of results.  People who jog/run don’t see much results because A: they don’t do enough mileage and B: they don’t do hard sprints.

Useful advice for you

You might be thinking to yourself, “well smartass, if telling people to diet and exercise is useless, and doing crazy training like what you did is out of my league, what is helpful?”  The best advice I can think of off the top of my head: research healthy living/weight loss programs and then experiment with different programs with 3 month commitments.  My suggestions are:, paleo, primal blueprint, and Tim Ferriss’s Four Hour Body.  This method involves (at least) 3 things you’re not doing.

1: Researching different programs that have worked for others.

2: Committing to a program for at least 3 months.

3: Experimenting with different programs.

Are you operating on this level, or are you just trying the latest fad diet and taking advice from coworkers?

Quora 1

27 03 2012

Spent some time answering a question on Quora to start my day creating instead of consuming (recommended by Seth Godin), check it out here.

The only core workout you’ll ever need

14 03 2012

Torture twists, and believe me the name is apt.

Torture twists are easiest to describe with a video:

You can see I’m shaking like crazy, that’s because it’s hard!  If you think it looks easy, try it!

The basics are:

  1. Set a bench up next to a solid bar you can hook your legs under
  2. Get a metronome and set it at 60 beats per minute (aka 1 beat per second)
  3. Sit down, hook your legs under the bar, and lean back  so your body is straight like a board, or as straight as you can get it
  4. Tilt from the midriff to your left.  Count 3 beats
  5. During the 4th beat, turn over to your right.
  6. Count 3 beats.  You’ve just completed 1 rep.  Repeat steps 4 through 6 until you’ve completed 3 reps.
  7. You’ve completed 1 set.  Take a 2 minute break, then repeat for 3 sets.
  8. Once you can do a whole workout, add 1 beat to your count.  So after you can do 3 beats for 3 sets of 3 reps completely, try to do 4 beats.  Once you can do that, do 5, then 6, etc.
If you can do 7 seconds like me, that’d be 7 seconds*6 per set=42 seconds per set, 126 seconds for the whole workout, add 2 2 minute breaks and the whole workout is 6 minutes and 6 seconds.  How’s that for 6 minute abs?
Why are they so torturous?  A couple of reasons.  One, all you can do is lay back and take it.  You’re not pushing or pulling, the pain is in your face and you just have to grit your teeth and finish it out.  Two, every time you finish the workout, you know the next time will be harder because you’re just going to add 1 second the next time you step up to the plate.

Just for fun, find someone at your gym that “works on their core” a lot and see how many seconds they can do of this.