Recipe of The Week: Buffalo Chicken Pizza

5 06 2012

I’m a sucker for Mellow Mushroom, a pizza “chain” (only because they have a few locations in the south) with great beer selection AND great pizza.  I actually just took my brother and sister there when they were visiting Orlando.  Good times were had, since I hadn’t touched pizza in months (and hadn’t seen the siblings for just as long)!

One of my favorites is their Buffalo Chicken pizza.  The problem with that is, like most Buffalo Chicken pizzas, is the amounts of sodium-laden sauce and blue cheese dressing in the recipe.  Those two things are deathtraps in the war against obesity, for sure!

That’s why I’m glad Muscle & Fitness came up with this healthier version.  Basically, it replaces the usual suspects with their lower sodium/fat counterparts.  The only thing I’d change is maybe making the pizza a thing-crust and use a low-carb tortilla or naan bread to control portion size.

If you’re feeling SUPER creative,  here a link that teaches how to make a pizza crust out of quinoa, which will give a boost of protein.

Happy cooking!





Your “Serenity Sunday” Primer (6/3/12)

3 06 2012

Sorry for the delay, GymGeeks!  Needed to buy a new power cord for the laptop.  It died on me last night at the health fair…GymGeek problems, right?

Speaking of the Winter Park Health Fair, it was an absolute success!  I had a great time talking with the other vendors and presenters, who ranged anywhere from testicular cancer testing to mental health screenings.  The funniest moment came from the girls from Winter Park Memorial Hospital, who were doing breast cancer screenings (or at least teaching women how to check for lumps).  They flipped out over the pictures for quite some time!  I think I got some new fans 🙂

I tried to donate blood, but unfortunately, the day job needed me to take my MMR vaccination and I’m not eligible until I get back from my trip to Kentucky.  Rest assured I’ll be back!

The greatest part (aside from promoting healthy living) was my impromptu interview with WIRP, an internet-based radio station here in Winter Park.  I was able to tape my talk with them and post it here and on YouTube:

In other news,  things may be running a bit slowly over here on the site.  Since GymGeeks are coming in droves,  I’m moving the site to a better server that’ll allow me to be a little more hands-on with content management instead of just being able to post/tag/repeat.  I’ll still be pretty active on Twitter and Facebook, though!  It’ll just be a minor setback, but completely worth it!

Anyways, go enjoy the day…since tomorrow we get back to work!





How To Build Your Own Workout (With a Little Help From Men’s Fitness…)

30 05 2012

The #1 question I’ve been asked by beginning is “How do I start a workout routine?”  Luckily, it’s really not any sort of rocket science.  You don’t need phenomenal genetics or a high-tech gym to be in shape!

A great place to build your own workout is with this article from “Men’s Fitness.”  Basically, the idea is to create a routine that:

  1. Is goal-oriented
  2. Doesn’t stick you in a gym for more time than necessary (efficiency is key)
  3. Is built around a main lift, with secondary lifts to complement

I went into a little bit of detail about the “Big Three” earlier today with the deadlifts.  That would be considered a main lift.  If you’re working back and biceps (an all-pulling exercise day), you’d start with the deadlift, then go into your secondary lifts (i.e. lat pulldowns, bicep curls) that complement it.

A push press is a “main lift,” since it involves more than just your shoulders.

With your goal in mind (weight loss, muscle building), you basically determine how many repetitions and sets you’re going to do for each lift (and how much weight you’re going to use).  If your goal is fat loss, you’re going to go high repetition (12-15 range) at a lighter weight.  If it’s muscle building, you’re going to go low repetition (4-6 range) and higher weight.  Remember, though: no matter what your goal is, you aren’t going to get anywhere with poor form!

Now, we all don’t have hours to spend at the gym like professional athletes or fitness models.  I personally have only an hour, hour and a half tops, to get my work in daily.  That means no jerking around!  There’s no reason to do ten different exercises for your chest.  At a certain point, the muscles will be fatigued and won’t be able to take the beating and recovery will be brutal.  Keep it to three or four exercises per muscle group.

Another great resource that I’ve recommended to GymGeeks is Bodybuilding.com, where they have a “Find A Plan” option that makes it simple for you.  They have a great database of exercises (all with video instructions), so you can go into the gym more informed next time!

(Also remember, GymGeeks.  A healthy lifestyle is 20% gym, 80% nutrition.  You can bench press a Hyundai, but if you’re eating like it’s your last meal EVERY meal, you’re not going to see results.)

Now get your butt back in the gym! No excuses, no surrender!





Your “Workout Wednesday” Primer (5/30/12)

30 05 2012

“My name is Jonathan.  My alter ego is Nerdy Gym Rat, with the superpower of visible abs and a hulk-smash expression.” – A text message to a friend of mine yesterday

While this is (mildly) a paraphrase from a conversation I had with a friend of mine, it did lead to the wish, on their part, of wanting the same superpowers (well…at least the abs part…the hulk smash thing would be a little scary).

Frankly, I didn’t think this was necessary for this particular friend, but I digress.  It did get me to thinking this morning during my cardio session, though.  Every person strives for that amazingly ripped/cut look, but more often than not, they go about it the wrong way.  Whether it’s by doing a million crunches five times a week or starving themselves, hoping to see results,  the true formula comes from what you do in the kitchen and a ton of dedication.

Since I’m not one to pull punches about my past, I’ll use myself as an example.  Coming straight out of college, the first few weeks at the gym got me at least a mildly visible “V” (as they say).  This was pretty cool…but let’s keep in mind this was almost four years ago (and there’s an obvious bubba keg in the middle of that V).  It’s taken me that long to get to where I am now and there’s still room for improvement, in my opinion.

Me at 22…a work in progress

My point in today’s primer is this:  there is no such thing as spot-fixing in the journey to a healthier lifestyle.  There’s no magic pill that’s going to burn away pesky fat.  I assure you, if you put in the time and effort (both in the gym and in what you put into your body), the results will come.  Don’t get discouraged just because it’s not happening on your time frame.

With that said,  today’s posts will focus on some important exercises that focus on those core muscles (not just your abs; that’s just one piece of the puzzle).  On Twitter, I’ll be posting some tips that you can do, even just sitting at your desk during your 9-to-5 grind.

Also, thanks to a suggestion by a reader (who I’ll keep anonymous, but REALLY appreciated their input via e-mail),  I’ll curate a workout routine that I have used.  I only have one thing to say about any routine that will be discussed in this forum:  if you don’t find it fun or challenging and you quit on it after only a couple of weeks, it’s obviously not right for you.  Don’t be discouraged!  There is more than one way to skin a cat on this road to a better you.

With that being said…let’s get to work, GymGeeks!





Recipe of The Week: Breakfast On-The-Go

29 05 2012

Ok, here’s a scenario I’m sure we’ve all been through…

You haven’t gone shopping in over a week and you’re down to protein powders, water and maybe some oatmeal or a couple of eggs.  You need a quick breafast before working out.  What do you do?

You improvise!

This is the easiest thing to make.  I’ve done it many times, even if it’s just to eat something before going shopping (or out of town and don’t want to shop for the week):

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of Oatmeal (always choose the tub over the packets!)
  • 1 scoop Vanilla Whey Protein (I find Dymatize cooks the best)
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 egg whites

Directions

  1. Place oatmeal and protein powder into a bowl and mix
  2. Add water to mixture and let sit for a minute to soak in
  3. Place two egg whites into bowl and mix again
  4. Put bowl in the microwave and cook on high for 2 1/2 minutes.
  5. Let cool for a minute and enjoy!

If you like it a little bit sweeter, feel free to throw in some stevia extract or any berries you may have left over in the fridge.  The great part about the egg whites is that you don’t get the savory taste profile, which would conflict with the sweetness of the protein powder.

Remember: the idea is to make the best of what you have lying around.

Bon Apetit!





Your “Tasty Tuesday” Primer (5/29/12)

29 05 2012

Happy “Tasty Tuesday,” GymGeeks!

I don’t know about you guys,  but I’m always on-the-go.  Because of this,  I plan at LEAST three meals ahead of the one that’s coming up.  Perfect example:  knowing I’d be on the road for at least three hours on the way back from Fort Lauderdale to Orlando, I had the perfect plan in place for my lunch, my mid-day snack and my dinner (knowing I had zero food in my fridge, so nothing could spoil while I was out of town).

For that reason,  I actually took a long-winded route using the Florida Turnpike, since the choices at the service stations sure beat the hell out of pulling over at a random exit on I-95 and having the choice of McDonalds, Wendy’s, Burger King or all three at a truck stop.  I was able to run in, grab a turkey wrap from the “healthy choices” kiosk, a bottle of water and get back on the road.  Also, knowing that I’d be going shopping almost the recond I got back into town,  I had one of my homemade protein bars ready so I wouldn’t shop hungry.  This stopped me from taking advantage of the special on a whole turkey sub at the Publix deli and allowed for a more sensible dinner instead of carb loading.

With that in mind,  the posts and tweets today will revolve around how to survive (nutritionally speaking) on-the-go or in a pinch for something to eat.  I have a great recipe (if you want to call it that, since it’s so freakin’ simple) for your mornings, as well as how to survive a vacation.  Having spent the last few days down in South Florida catching a Miami Marlins game, going out to dinner with my parents (not to mention dinner on Friday with my brother & sister), I know I was able to avoid some pitfalls, so I want to share that knowledge with my GymGeeks.

Hope everyone had a great weekend…now let’s get back to work!





Your “Friday Eve Fit Tips” Primer (5/24/12)

24 05 2012

I have to start this week’s primer with a bit of a mea culpa…

As you may or may not know, last week’s “Gym Pet Peeve” was one that I had encountered while in the gym working through my Shoulders/Traps/Calves day in the Jim Stoppani “Shortcut To Size” program.  The mayor of the machines, as I came to call him, was back in form this morning.  At first, my initial thought was “FML” (want to keep it safe for the younger crowd reading) and that I’d be stuck waiting or modifying my routine AGAIN.

You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry…

Instead, I was on such a rush from a new high in leg press machine calf raises (20 reps at 630 lbs.) that I just simply went over and asked the guy how many sets he had left.  Truth be told…he was actually a really nice guy!  He asked if he could knock out one more set at the seated calf raises before I jumped in, mentioning that he noticed I was “killing it” and didn’t want to “mess with my groove.”

I was in total shock and awe.  We even ended up chatting after our workouts about how much leg presses suck and how we both believe in stretching prior to lifting (he’s a couple years older than me…I’d say mid-30s).  It just goes to show you to never judge a book by it’s cover, GymGeeks.  While it’s still a total pet peeve of mine, don’t be afraid to ask or talk to someone if what they’re doing is really in the way of your routine.  You might even make a new friend.

And that’s only the FIRST of your Friday Eve Fit Tips!  Expect to see more posted all over Twitter and Facebook (and even Google+, as I start getting that profile running).  If you have any you want to share, don’t hesitate to use the hashtag (#FridayEveFitTips).  I’ll get a notification in my e-mail and you’ll be re-tweeted to all my followers.  As I always bash over your head, it’s a group effort to get everyone into a healthy lifestyle.  I refuse to let us get to that 40% obesity rate by 2030!

Have a great morning, GymGeeks!

Jonathan








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