Chapter 2 – Eat right, be tight

by Bryan Balandowich

It seemed fitting that with the first chapter being about starting the New Year right, and hint: this writing is full of many metaphors, a New year is not just Dec.31st, but can be any day, only you can tell yourself what day it is so to speak. Time in the grand universe is relative.

Body Back Guarantees

One of the biggest topics during this time of year is getting in or back into shape. Gym memberships sell hard and customers go for broke to get that beach body. Problem is that unless you’re living in the tropics, summer isn’t coming around the corner for a few months and therein lays our first predicament. Just as smokers keep on smoking even though the stats couldn’t be more clear, put a chimney in your body and you become the chimney and drinkers keep on drinking, drink too much vodka and you’ll become the vodka. Not that it’s a fact that all smokers get lung cancer and all drinkers experience liver failure, game set match, but if you don’t play with fire you won’t get burned in the first place, right?

Shaken Not Stirred

conneryThe reason? Psychologist’s attribute it to time. Like Pavlov’s experiments, the dog is only trained if the conditioned stimuli and response sets are timed in close proximity to one another. Smoking a cigarette and sipping a martini feels good today, but could have dire consequences down the line. So yes, doctors cannot say smoking or drinking definitely gave you your unfortunate situation, but by logical conclusions, it must have been a contributing factor.

Location Location Location

In real estate, it’s location, location, location, in movies its about the actors and actresses and distribution, when it comes to getting that six pack, it’s all about the diet. In fact, no matter how many sit ups you do, if you don’t count your calorie input and output ratio, then tough luck, it isn’t going to happen no matter how hard you try. A

general consensus is 10-12% body fat ratio to see your abs. Once you’re at that body fat ratio they pop naturally, the more crunches you do the more defined and sculpted they get. It’s also up to genetics; everyone’s different, so again, one person who has an eight pack does not mean that he is stronger than the one pack.

Mr Olympia

Tip, never underestimate the one pack. Like an idiot savant, weakness in one area usually implies strength in another, usually, not always, my digression is more towards yin-yang and the idea of opposites and more specifically a balance of energy. So let’s use your energy right.

“Frank Zane, three time Mr. Olympia did 1,000 abdominal reps pre competition, so once you get your body weight down, you chisel your body, with the chisel being hard work, sets and reps.”

frank-zane

Tight shorts and a fitbit

Most people when they first start to want to get in shape, run over to the local fitness store and load up on the latest fashions, trends, supplements and so on. However, when you see the big guy at your local gym, he’s usually wearing clothes that look like they desperately need a wash, however not always the case, but to make my point, they don’t care about the clothes, in fact these guys are usually more than happy to take their shirts off. They have painfully learned the truth, which is that it’s all about sets and reps and hitting the gym week in and week out. It’s about going when you don’t feel like going, getting in that extra training session, that’s what it’s all about. That’s when you see results and feel good about yourself and your achievements.

An Ongoing Quest

So in the ongoing quest of creating good habits I encourage you not to buy anything. Instead, try a new approach. Throw out all the crap, the sugars, the chips, carbonated beverages; all the stuff you know is bad for you. Now once the foundation has been set, you can start to build and stock your shelves. With minimalism comes the idea of a bottom up approach, the problem we have herein discussed is that most people want to start from the top from day one, and hence buy all the clothes to “look good and look in shape”. Spanx makes a lot of money let me tell you. So instead of wasting your time and money, drink water, eat lots of fruits and vegetables and the river will run its course. And the great news is that once you look and feel good, you don’t want to go back to the old you. Habits build habits. You are what you eat, we all know that, it’s time to stop knowing and start doing.

7-star-wars-quotes

Do or do not, there is no try

When I first started training there was this man at the gym with crazy arms, I mean fully ripped, cut, lean and muscularly massive. I asked him how long he’s been working out for, and he said casually, as he chatted to the cute girl on the treadmill, 16 years. Hannibal the calisthenics king has been at it for about the same length of time, which draws us back to the first article regarding habits and the 10, 000 hour rule, which is approximately ten years. This is why most athletes become legendary at one point in their career, their “hey day”, a combination of being at the top of their craft, both mentally and physically in addition to little bit of luck, and opportunity.

So you say, some athletes are amazing at 16 or 18 years old. I reply to that, they probably started practicing around 2-4 years of age. The point here is this, whether it’s Martial Arts, Body Building, Calisthenics, or any kind of training, as Bruce Lee once intimated, a punch is first a punch then not a punch then a punch again. An exercise starts out easy, gets hard, then it becomes easy again.

Socratic Method

Socrates would start philosophical inquiry with inducing doubt, not knowing, accepting one’s ignorance. Socrates would for example, approach and ask a poet on the streets of ancient Athens, what is beauty? The poet would answer quickly, “beauty is a baby asleep in their mothers arms, the daily dance of the sunrise and set, a flower in bloom, and so on . . .” Then Socrates would point out that these are examples of beauty and not answering the question, begging the question fallaciously in fact.

Thus the poet realizes that they do not truly understand what beauty is. They sit in quiet meditation on the edge of a cliff overlooking the vast blue oceans of the Agean sea. Only then do they realize that no words can express beauty, because of its breathless connotation, and only then does the dentation become clear in their heart.

Relevantly speaking, you get muscles fast when you start working out, then it lags after a year, the gains are less visible, then after 10 years of day in and day out exercises like sit ups and push ups start paying off. Start with the basics, pull-ups, dips, pushups, both horizontal and vertical plane to work chest and shoulders. Add some squats for your legs and your set.

healthy-eating

Eat Right, be Tight

Back to diet. Another thing to keep in mind is portion size and not eating until one feels fully satiated. Raisins and Chia seeds are great for tricking the body to feeling full because they absorb water and expand in your stomach. This will mask the hunger, so it’s a good snack idea.

Snacking in general is a good idea. Eating 6 meals, 3 staples and 3 snacks is the best way to dance all day. It keeps your metabolism busy. Therefore, eating more often is better than eating less and less often. A lot of people like to skip meals and replace them with feasts later on. Remember, your body is a habitual routine based machine. It also has a memory, muscle memory. This has an inherent pro and con.

10,000 hour rule

The more you do an exercise, the better you get at it and the better your muscles adapt to it. You get used to it, as with anything else in life. This is why having desires and needs for material possessions having fleeting happiness, we get used to the new house, car, wife and husband. Because the muscles get used to the exercise and they don’t tear and fatigue as easily, if your goals are strength and growth, you need to trick your body and throw some curve balls, workout at different times, different lengths, conditioning vs heavy weights, and the same goes for Martial Arts. The goal is to get super conditioned automatic reflexes, but there’s a reason that there are multiple training drills, forms, and exercises to strengthen the same muscles . . . My friends and I once discovered a Martial Arts group run by a lady and all they do is kick trees. One move. That’s it. You must imagine how many kicks thrown and broken forests lay in the wake of 10 years, 10, 000 hours of shin kicking practice. Treat your body as a temple and a weapon and the forces of ying and yang and the river will steer you clear.

Have you eaten?

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The problem for most people starts with how they eat and what they eat. Starting the day with a coffee and bagel, salad for lunch and then a big t-bone with fries for dinner is not the way to get it done.

The first time I came to this realization that diets were a very cultural and arbitrary thing was when I went to my Korean friend’s house in Toronto for breakfast.

His mom asked me what I wanted for breakfast and I replied some cereal or the usual bacon and eggs would suffice. She said, “we don’t no this stuff”. How about some kimchi, with fried beef and rice? I was excited, authentic Asian food at 8 am, I didn’t have to wait for dinner!

For 20 years I had only eaten the usual, yogurt, cereal, bagels, croissants, bacon and eggs, the staples, sandwiches, fruits, pancakes and so on. This was the first time I was eating dinner food for breakfast and I felt normal about it because it seemed normal to them. I even put hot sauce on it to be compliant with the house culture. Now, you don’t have to have steak for breakfast everyday, because too much red meat is not the best coronary medicine, but you might want to have it before a rugby match like my Korean friend used to do.

Whose ready to tackle in the morning scrimmage, oatmeal or t-bone?

The lesson here is not forgoing pancakes and all that stuff, but to realize that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Food is really about calories, which is literally energy. There is thermal energy, electrical energy and so forth and all forms of energy can be measured in Jules. A calorie is X Jules. So in essence, as far as science and your body is concerned, all energy is energy, 1+1=1, if it smells like water, and tastes like water, then it must be water.

The average person needs around 2,000 calories a day to get by. The guys and girls who look like they belong on a magazine cover have figured it out. After years of not caring about math, they can count calories upside down and inside out. It’s not that hard. After all, just like we wear the same t-shirts over and over while we keep the others in the closet, we usually eat the same brand of cereal since we were 5 and as pointed out, we are habitual creatures, some much more than others. Some people eat exactly the same thing everyday. And there is nothing wrong with that.

messyfridge

A lot of people are trying to be healthy but they buy way too much

Chlorella, algae, is said to be the one food you can eat, nothing else, and be totally healthy. As one of the first simple forms of life, it contains all of life, only life can give life to life, 1+1=1. Now, nobody wants to eat algae everyday, but the point is valid. Again, a lot of people are trying to be healthy but they buy way too much at the grocery store and then throw most of it out. I need to eat this because I saw it on this show, and my friend says this is good for you, and oh, this is great for my new yoga class, etc . . . but truth is, there are no superfoods, no be it all.

First off, if you’re happy eating algae everyday, do not read on. For all others who enjoy life and live to eat, foodie or not, and you want to be in shape, first off you don’t need to eat anything special. Just like the neighbour who is always inviting you over for dinner and they use 20 spices to prove they are a chef and then it tastes like ass. A true chef, can create a dish of beauty and simplicity. The perfectly poached egg, the filet of sole fried to perfection, the spaghetti, al dente, not to hard and not to soft, just right to the taste.

You don’t have to eat concentrated foods

Goji berries, kiwi fruits, lemons, grapefruits, oranges all have vitamin C, so does spinach and broccoli. You don’t have to eat the one with the highest concentration; they all got what you need. Buy seasonal so that it’s fresh and budget friendly. So not only is it important to keep it simple in terms of ingredients, it’s also important to keep it local and fresh. If it’s about nutrients, crops begin to transpire the second they are harvested. Farm to table is what it’s all about. So if you live in New Zealand eat Kiwis, if you live in Florida, have an orange, if you’re in China, have a goji berry, and have the others when available and when you can. The superfood buying health nut is not going to have a better body or mind frame, just a smaller bank account at the end of the month.

quackeryWebMD

When you get sick, people always have suggestions for you, you should do this or eat this or eat that, my cousin or friend swears by this and so forth. Sometimes there is merit to what they are saying but other times it is folklore passed down from the stone age. Our concern here is to strictly speak in reference to studies and their link to advice. Everyone knows that the above fruits have lots of vitamin C, etc . . . First off, its because these fruits have had a lot of studies conducted, secondly they have had a lot of studies about that particular vitamin and other fruits and vegetables are not being studied, or studied less or in different ways.

This means, what’s good today may not be good tomorrow and what’s bad now may no be good later. Just look at prohibition laws and one will see the absurdity. And the funny thing is, adults are just like little children and Eve in the Garden of Eden, everyone wants to bite the forbidden fruit and everyone knows that the snake in the apple will bite them as recourse. Just like you know that the fast food option was not the best course of action, it was your choice, you’re the idiot, no one else to blame. Unless drugs or aliens are controlling your mind, you always have a choice which movie you want to watch.

Don’t give up on life to have a six-packscreen-shot-2017-02-15-at-12-00-05-am

You don’t have to give up on life to have a six-pack. Most athletes have a cheat day, and the more habitual your training, the more cheat days you can have. So the chocolate cake is not the problem. Ask Hannibal from YouTube what’s up? The man is absolutely shredded and admitted on YouTube that he eats whatever the hell he wants. He however also does his Calisthenics for 3 hours a day (morning and night), 7 days a week!

Happy Rooster!

 

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I love Lemons..here are some different reasons why…

The Incredible health benefits and uses for lemons.

  • If you are a lemon lover and use it daily, be happy! The juice of one lemon gives you one-third of your day’s total quota of Vitamin C.
  • Olive oil + lemon juice = strong nails! Rub the concoction on your nails for a few days and see the results—your nails will shine with good health.
  • Rub the cut half of a lemon on your lips at night, and wash off in the morning. No more chapped lips!
  • Squeeze lemon juice into plain yogurt and massage the back of your hands and your arms with it for a smoother, brighter complexion. Lemon is also a natural cleanser, so it gets rid of bacteria and germs lurking on the surface of the skin.
  • Lemon juice mixed with rose water and a little honey can be applied to acne-affected skin twice daily. The solution clears up acne and brings radiance to skin.
  • Feeling anxious or unhappy? Sprinkle a few drops of lemon oil on to a clean handkerchief, and inhale. The oil will quickly replace the negative energy with positive feelings and fresh focus.
  • Got a sore in your mouth? Squeeze some lemon juice into a glass of warm water and swirl this around in your mouth for about a minute. Repeat twice daily for at least three to four days. The antibacterial properties of lemon will heal the sore.  You can also use this water for gargling if you have a sore throat.
  • Lemon’s incredible benefits for your oral health don’t end here! If you have garlic or spicy breath, drink lemon-spiked water for instant fresh breath.
  • Lemon tea calms an upset stomach, flushes out toxins, and rejuvenates body and mind.

Summer Supplements

With Beijing’s hottest summer months, July and August upon us I thought I’d devote this blog entry to getting the most out of training during the summer.

Two things I’ll focus on that will help you to reach optimum performance during this time are the following.

  • Magnesium
  • Digestive Enzymes

These supplements are great for those spending long hours out in the sun training and who wish to improve their performance as well as aid their digestion. The perfect combination for kungfu students that will be susceptible to tummy bugs and long rigours training schedules.

So here’s why:

1. Magnesium

Magnesium is important for maintaining and improving sports performance, as magnesium plays a pivotal role in energy production and the maintenance of health. This mineral is often poorly supplied by diet. And you will especially find this when your diet is mostly made up of cabbage, conge, rice, tofu and a few other vegetables which make up the average kung fu school meal here in China.

There are a selection of these products that you can choose from. – Other ways you can get magnesium into the body include effervescent tablets. There are plenty of products on the market to choose from.

Modern research actually suggests that even small shortfalls in magnesium intake can seriously impair athletic performance. This mineral should become your new friend as a supplement or by naturally adding magnesium rich foods to your diet.

So why is magnesium important?

Magnesium is important because it is required for the activation of crucial enzymes known as ATPases, which are required for the generation of ATP, the body’s ‘energy currency’ used for all muscular contraction. It reduces heart rate, ventilation rate, oxygen uptake and carbon dioxide production. Where there is a magnesium shortfall the efficiency of muscle relaxation is reduced, which accounts for an important fraction of total energy needs during exercise. Additionally, magnesium reduces the accumulation of fatiguing lactic acid during intense exercise. Don’t take my word for it click the link to find out more. http://wwww.pponline.co.uk/encyc/using-magnesium-to-improve-your-exercise-performance-39415

2. Digestive Enzymes

Digestive enzymes help with: Allergies by minimizing the absorption of allergy-triggering, incompletely digested “foreign proteins” (antigens) in foods that cause allergies. Back Pain, as the enzymes chymotrypsin and trypsin have been found to successfully treat the sciatica (leg pain) that occurs in some patients with back pain. Digestion and flatulence, as they add to your body’s natural digestive enzymes reserves. This little benefit maybe much needed for students practicing qigong. The combination qigong and poorly digested food leads to the release of more than a little how shall we say bad qi into the training environment. Other benefits of these enzymes include gallbladder health, as one of the enzymes in digestive enzyme supplements (named lipase) facilitates the digestion of dietary fats in the gallbladder so take a little strain of this organ. Rosacea patients have been found to have lower than normal levels of pancreatic lipase (an enzyme involved in the digestion of fat). Therefore, insufficient lipase production could be responsible, at least partly, for the symptoms of rosacea.  If this is the case, supplemental lipases may be useful for rosacea patients while sciatica may also be alleviated as a combination of the enzymes chymotrypsin and trypsin have been found to successfully treat the sciatica (leg pain) that occurs in some patients with back pain. 

Look into which product best suits you. I’ve not looked into every product but whatever supplement go for trusted and quality brands.

Finally, and maybe more relevantly to most sports injuries can be helped by taking this supplement as certain digestive enzymes (either alone or in combination) have been demonstrated in several clinical trials to accelerate the healing of sports injuries that involve soft tissue damage (sprains and strains), leading them to heal up to twice as fast as normal. This is a great benefit for those with knocks and niggling injuries. This benefit has been studied in injuries from karate, ice hockey, soccer, football, boxing, judo, running and more. The most noticeable effects of enzyme therapy include reduced pain, blood clotting, swelling, heat, edema and inflammation.  These effects occur via improved blood circulation, accelerated tissue repair, delivery of nutrients to damaged areas, removal of debris from the injured area and direct anti-inflammatory effects.

For the month of June to July I studied at Master Chen Fusheng’s Traditional Martial Arts School on the outskirts of Beijng. Here’s a link www.Bajizhandao.com. The usual training day began at 5am with standing meditation followed by drills and basics. After breakfast forms and applications. Then lunch and conditioning, qigong and applications. After dinner we then practice forms, do various workouts for strength, power and conditioning, finishing the evening training with more standing meditation. During this time I took magnesium and enzyme supplements and felt the benefits in my training for doing so.

I’ve No I Deer About These Supplements? Can you help?

deer_1Recently, I received an email about Deer Antler Velvet. Intrigued I decided to find out a little more.

Deer antler velvet has been used here in China for at least 2000 years and is a mainstay of traditional Chinese medicine. It is second only to ginseng in importance to TCM and herbal specialists.  Said to be effective anti-inflammatory, anticancer, immune stimulant, and progrowth agent. It contains calcium, magnesium, zinc and a full spectrum of amino acids and anti-inflammatory prostaglandins. Significantly, it is a natural source of glucosamine, chondroitin collagen as well as male and female hormones, including Insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-1) – a hormone that’s produced in the liver as a response to growth hormone (HGH) stimulation. For these reasons this age old remedy is being increasingly used as a performance enhancer.

Traditional Chinese medicine has used Deer antler velvet to  as a treatment for infertility, joint inflammation, hypertension to improve mental alertness and memory, boost immune system function, speed wound healing and recovery, slow aging, balance iron levels, improve libido in both sexes, and restore joint health.

In what might be the most important study done in the United States to date, a group of scientists took 32 male weight lifters and gave half of them New Zealand Deer Antler Velvet and half of them a placebo for 10 weeks. While the placebo group didn’t show any difference in bench or squat tests, those given deer antler velvet saw an increase of 4 percent on the bench press and 10.1 percent on the squat test as compared to the placebo group. The scientists also reported that there was a “significant improvement in aerobic capacity” with the group that was taking deer antler velvet. – (CNBC Report)

Deer antler velvet usually comes as a power, extract or as a spray. I normally only get access to it in its raw state as antler shavings in TCM stores. I know that’s not the same thing. 

What this post is all about is finding out the positives & negatives are about using this as a supplement in what form and also how you use it.

If you’ve had any experience using deer antler please comment and share your experience.

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For information on Martial Arts in China and Thailand. http://www.StudyMartialArts.Org