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Monthly Archives: February 2013

Changing Atmosphere Can Give You The Edge That You Need

Xtreme Jeff CLay

Sometimes you need a change of atmosphere.  When I first started my transformation, I had already been working out.  My biggest change would be my nutrition.  But I really wanted to feel like I was starting over and wanted someone else’s input.  For that reason I decided on a change of atmosphere.  I wanted to make sure that everything around me was positive and that it was all about accomplishing goals and training.  My decision was to train at Emerge Fitness for my change of atmosphere.  Once I reached my goals I went back to my old gym.  I was revitalized and continued with a great workout routine and even incorporated some of the things that I picked up at Emerge into it.

Next I decided that I wanted to train at a higher level so I went to Xtreme Speed in Plainfield, IL.  I trained there for about 10 weeks 3 days a week.  The atmosphere definitely breeds success.  The opportunity to train with other people who work hard every day and train at a high level of intensity, not only motivated me but opened the door to a different style of training that I was not use too.  I thought that I knew what High Intensity was until I met these guys.  Trying out different types of training is great for developing the body and it is also a great way to stay engaged.

Around the holidays I ended up back at my gym and was incorporating Xtreme’s training methods into my own workouts at home.  A couple of weeks before the Super Bowl I was feeling like I was overtraining.  The overtraining was not due to what I was doing in the gym, it was due to the amount of cardio that I was doing.  I set a goal of running 1,000 miles this year.  I was running about 25 miles a week which wasn’t really something that I was use to.  It was close to 10 miles further than I had been running a week.  I got to the point in which my joints were sore, I was running slower, I was losing strength and my mind did not feel right.  My memory was not what it had been a few weeks before and I was feeling agitated.  I knew what was going on but I was hoping that I would work through it.  I finally smartened up and decided to take a break.  The way I finally saw it was that my Cortisol levels were too high and the only way that I could get them under control was to take off.  Initially it was going to be one week but I decided to take a second week off.  I listened to my body and it was telling me that I wasn’t ready.  I almost worked out at the end of the second week because I started to feel like I needed to be in the gym.  Kind of like I was getting withdrawals.

Two weeks off after a couple of weeks of lame workouts. Now what?  Do I start-up slow?  Nope, I left on Sunday for Plainfield, IL and would workout from Monday to Wednesday at Xtreme Speed.  Once again I wanted to fire it up again with the right atmosphere.  It’s not like I hadn’t fallen out of shape again so I felt great getting back in there.  They still kicked my ass.  First and third day are upper body days and the second day is a leg and cardio day.  After the second workout it felt like a fog had lifted.  I feel awesome and my thought process seems like it getting back to where I was before I was losing my mind.

Although I needed the rest, I also needed a change of atmosphere.  That atmosphere has to be positive.  It can be the physical place and it can be the people that you train with.  It can even be the workout.  Finding a group of people with a high level of intensity is what works best for me.

I also learned that if you set a goal that is not going the way that you wanted like I did then you better change it before it is too late.  Don’t let your pride get in the way of a mistake.

For me healthy life style is not an ongoing battle.  It is about getting in tune with your body, learning and reaching your goals.  I have a passion for this new phase of my life, so I choose to spend the time on myself and also on helping others figure out what works for them.


Avocado Chocolate Coconut Pudding

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I love guacamole, but I never thought that I would be eating avocado for dessert.

Try feeding it to someone who doesn’t like avocado and I bet they will tell you how good it tastes.
1 Avocado
4 Tablespoons Raw Honey
2 Tablespoons Raw Cacao
1/2 Cup Fresh Coconut
1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Place it all into a food processor and blend
Refrigerate for 20 minutes

Health Benefits

Lowers Cholesterol
Regulates Blood sugar
Contains Antioxidants
High in good Fats
Reduces risk of Heart Disease and  Stroke
Fights Cancer (Oral, Breast)
Good for the Eyes

Raw Cacao (Chocolate)
Known as a Super-Food
Claims to reduce cataracts, improve heart function and alleviate stress
High in antioxidant flavonoids
Claims to reduce free radicals in the body and in turn reducing risk of cancer
Vanilla Extract
The scent helps reduce stress

Raw Honey:
Increases natural energy
Used in treating allergies
Treats colds and sore throats (it coats the throat and reduces irritation)

May lower cholesterol
May help treat Type 2 Diabetes
Contains anti-fungal properties and may rid the body of Candida
May reduce proliferation of leukemia and lymphoma cancer cells
When added to food inhibits bacterial growth and is a natural food preservative
Boosts cognitive function and memory
Helps eliminate headaches and migraines
Helps stabilize blood sugar
Increases metabolism

Fresh Coconut
Helps Lower Blood Pressure
Promotes Weight Loss
Improves Production of Red Blood Cells
Contains Anti-Viral Properties
Fights Colds and Fevers (Viral)
Boosts Energy

Vanilla Extract
Antioxidant Properties
May fight Cancer
Boost Metabolism
Reduces Anxiety
May fight infections and fever in children
Reduces Nausea

Chicken Field Green Salad With Cinnamon Honey Vinaigrette Dressing


2 Chicken Breasts
4 Cups Organic Field Greens
1/2 Cup Basil
1/2 Cup Walnuts
1 Large Carrot
1/2 Cup Dried Cranberries
8 ounces Cherry Tomatoes
1/4 Red Onion
Ground Pepper
2 Table Spoon Coconut Oil

2 Teaspoons Cinnamon
1.5 Tablespoons Raw Honey
1/4 Cup Blueberry Infused Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Place frying pan on medium heat.  Add Coconut Oil.  Slice chicken into bite size pieces.  Put chicken into frying pan.  Cook for 20 minutes turning frequently.

Place Field Greens into bowl.  Cut up Carrots and Onions.  Add carrots, Onions, Tomatoes, Cranberries, and Walnuts to Bowl.  Add Cooked Chicken to bowl.  Add Ground Pepper.

Vinaigrette – Combine Vinegar, Olive Oil, Honey and Cinnamon.  Mix up. Add to salad.

Health Benefits:

Coconut Oil:
New research claiming that it has been helping Alzheimer’s patients improve and even reverse effects.
Positive results for people affected with Type 1 and 2 diabetes.
Increases thyroid health by raising body temperature.
It increases metabolism (increases body temp)
Increases energy
Coconut oil on the body can promote healthy skin and hair.

Raw Honey:
Increases natural energy
Used in treating allergies
Treats colds and sore throats (it coats the throat and reduces irritation)

Walnuts Benefits:
Contains minerals, antioxidants and vitamins
Contains good fats including omega-3’s
Helps lower Cholesterol
Helps prevent heart disease and high blood pressure
Helps prevent certain cancers
Promotes Anti Aging
Helps remove free radicals from the body

May lower cholesterol
May help treat Type 2 Diabetes
Contains anti-fungal properties and may rid the body of candida
May reduce proliferation of leukemia and lymphoma cancer cells
When added to food inhibits bacterial growth and is a natural food preservative
Boosts cognitive function and memory
Helps eliminate headaches and migraines
Helps stabilize blood sugar
Increases metabolism

Red Onions
Contains Antioxidants
Fights Cancer
Fights Free Radicals
Fights Colds
Reduces High Blood Pressure
Low Glycemic – Suppresses Blood Sugar Spikes

Contains antioxidants
Fights Cancer (prostate, cervical, stomach, rectum, breast and mouth)
Lowers Cholesterol
Helps keep digestive system healthy
Detoxify body
Alleviates Type 2 Diabetes
Good for Healthy skin, hair, nails, teeth and bones
Fights urinary tract infections and bladder cancer
Prevents Gallstones

Black Pepper
Fights fat by breaking down the fat cells
Relief from respiratory problems
Antibacterial and Anti-Inflammatory
Helps with Digestion

Olive Oil
Contains Antioxidants
Contains probiotics
Improves Blood Vessel Function
Boosts the immune system
Fights Cancer
Fights Heart Disease
Regulates Blood Pressure
Fights Diabetes
May help fight Obesity
Fights Arthritis
Fights Osteoporosis

Great Source of Iron
Contains Antioxidants
Protects Against Free Radicals
Great for the Eyes
Supports Blood Pressure
Anti-Aging Properties
Good for Bones

Contains Antioxidants and Antibacterial properties
Great for the Urinary Tract
Lowers risk for cancer (Breast and Colon)
Good for the heart
Good for the Eyes

Improves Vision
Reduce Risk of Cancer
Good for Skin
Good for Teeth
Reduces Risk of Heart Disease
Anti Aging
Reduces the Risk of Cancer (Lung, Breast, Colon)

Balsamic Vinegar
Contains Antioxidants
Supports Digestion
Helps regulate Blood Sugar

Field Greens
High in Vitamins and Nutrients
High in Antioxidants
Great for Alkalinity
Aids in Digestion

Living A Healthy Lifestyle Is The Fountain Of Youth

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One of the benefits of dropping 40 pounds was that now I look younger.  Instead of being embarrassed about sharing my Before Picture, I now have something that makes me proud.  It’s almost surreal looking back at that before picture.  I love it when people claim that my Before and After pictures are two totally different people.  I almost agree with them.  I don’t even feel like my former self.

I feel 10 years younger and think that I look 10 years younger.  I’m sure that a big part of it is that I guess I must have had a lot of fat in my face, because it is a lot thinner.   But when you live a healthy lifestyle it can make a huge difference with the aging process.

When Oxidation takes place in the body it creates Free Radicals (Damaged Cells).  When metal Oxidizes it turns to rust.  The human body has a similar effect.   Oxidation is part of the aging process and can be sped up by having an unhealthy lifestyle.  Smoking, Alcohol, Stress and other factors will speed Oxidation.  Not only will the body age quicker, but a person can be at an increased risk of heart disease, cancer and other heath related problems.

I’m sure you’ve heard people say, “Eat blueberries they have Antioxidants in them.”
Ok so what do they do?  Antioxidants prevent and reduce free radicals (damaged cells caused by oxidation).  In comparison if the body were rusting like metal than the body would prevent the body from rusting.  They are in a wide range of foods and each of them do different things.  This is another reason why you want to eat a balanced diet.  (Examples of some Antioxidants: Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Beta-carotene and Selenium)  One of the best sources of antioxidants comes from Blueberries, raspberries and other berries.  They also show up in fruits, vegetables, nuts (almonds, walnuts), Spices (cloves, cinnamon, ginger, black pepper, oregano).

I try to add certain things to my nutrition each day that provide antioxidants as well as other benefits.  I probably add cinnamon to 3 or 4 of my meals a day.  I add different types of fruit to my shakes.  I use a lot of black pepper and garlic.

A healthy balanced diet will do a lot more for you than just help you drop weight.

Some People Believe That The More Time In The Gym, The More Muscle That They Gain.

Couldn’t Be More Wrong.

Working out too much or to long could lead to overtraining.  The body releases Cortisol (a hormone) which increases glucose release from the tissue into the bloodstream.  In turn it generates energy.  Cortisol reduces physical and mental stress and also prevents the release of substances that cause inflammation in the body.

If someone has chronically elevated levels of Cortisol, it can cause muscle loss as well as an increase in body fat, fatigue, degenerate bone, cause joint problems, affect brain and kidney function.  Elevated levels of Cortisol are caused by stress.  Both physical and mental. To much exercise will result in overtraining and will elevate Cortisol levels.  The same goes in dealing with work related stress or even the loss of a loved one.  On the other hand working out in general can reduce mental stress due to a normal release of Cortisol.

I laugh every time someone tells me that they don’t have time to train as much as I do.  They assume that I spend all day in the gym.  My response is, “You don’t have an hour to spend at the gym?”  Honestly, you can get everything that you need out of your workout in 25 or 30 minutes.

Signs of over-training include: fatigue, loss of power, loss of strength, loss of speed.  Some people can train for longer periods of time than others.  Listen to your body.  Train  smart.

Cortisol is needed for normal body functions but with elevated levels could cause problems.  Ways to help reduce this are:

Don’t overtrain.  (Both aerobic and anaerobic training do help control Cortisol levels).                                                                                                                                               Don’t overdo Caffeine (It can spike Cortisol).                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Stay away from low caloric diets (they increase Cortisol).                                                                                                                                                                                                       Eat low Glycemic Carbohydrates (Oatmeal).  Take EFA’s (essential fatty acids), vitamins and minerals (through food – fruits and vegetables).                                                                                                                                      Get enough sleep (7 or 8 hours).  It is needed for recovery.                                                                                                                                                                                             Reduce Stress (Yoga and meditation may help.  So will laughter).                                                                                                                                                                              Consume simple carbohydrates (Fruits, Raw Honey) immediately after a resistance workout.  This will spike insulin levels and may minimize excessive cortisol levels.  

You can also try taking the following:
Green Tea

Remember that it’s not how long you work out but how efficient you are combining both resistance training and cardio training.  Your nutrition is a huge part of transforming your body.  Rest is another important factor.  Train smart.

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