Fitness Articles of the Week #56 – Bulking Do’s and Don’ts, Natural Pesticides, and Squatting to Poop

image by Benjamin Marshall (Public domain), via Wikimedia Commons

Here’s a recap of the best health and fitness articles I’ve read over the past week.

Warning: Do This & You WILL Get Fat

If you’re thinking about bulking and you’ve never done it before, I would highly suggest that you read this article. I’m victim of using the old school advice of eating tons of food to bulk, then trying to cut the weight to end up being the same size. I’m not actually the same size as before, but I’m not far off. If I had the chance to do it again, I would have taken it much more slowly.

How To Make Natural Garden Pesticides

I’ve been gardening for three years now and I’ve never used any types of pesticides. I don’t know if I had infestations of any kind, but I’m still too inexperienced to know. Maybe I’m just lucky. Either way, I’m using organic or all-natural pesticides this year to be safe.

The Myth of Sustainable Meat

I’m a big fan of Dave Asprey and the biohacking work that he does, but one of things he always mentions when someone asks him how to incorporate his “Bulletproof” diet into a vegan lifestyle, he provides a useless answer such as “Behind every vegan hot dog are dozens of fuzzy mice, cute bunnies, turtles, snakes, and bugs that were mowed down by tractors and farm equipment.” But that answer is nothing but an excuse to continue eating meat. I truly believe that his diet most likely excels any other diet around, but it’s selfish because it concerns only the person eating. This article from the New York Times explains exactly why his diet is not the answer.

Why You Should Squat To Poop

Ben Greenfield pooped out 8 pounds of waste while using the Squatty Potty. Crazy! It makes total sense after seeing the diagram on the page. I kinda want one of these now. The basic model is $29.95, the white wooden one costs $59.95 and the bamboo version is $79.95. I wish I could afford the bamboo version. Maybe I should try building my own 😀

Stovetop Popcorn: Best Snack Ever

I posted a tip a couple of weeks ago on how to easily pop popcorn in paper bags, which is a great method because it’s so simple and super quick (about 1:30 minutes for 1/4 cup of kernels), but this stovetop method is great if you want a little more flavor. I made a batch of popcorn immediately after reading the article. The directions here didn’t say how hot to set the burner, but I put it on medium. It took about 3-4 minutes before the pot was hot enough to pop the kernels, then about another 3-4 minutes for it to finish popping. When it was done, I sprinkled some sea salt on top, shook it up and poured it into a bowl. Tastes great!

Easy fast awesome non-dairy healthy raw food CRACKERS and CHEESE – YouTube

Markus obviously has the raw food thing down, because he barely even has to think about the foods he’s making. Here’s another recipe that makes me wish I had a Vitamix. I also wish that I would have held out to buy a nicer dehydrator. Mine will do though.

How to Grow Your Own Salad in a Box

I would love to eat a freshly picked salad every night. I didn’t realize that the veggies she mentions in the video grow back so quickly. I definitely need to get some seeds for these. For your cool weather box, grow radicchio, red mustard, and chicory. For a warm weather box, grow red or oak leaf lettuce, rocket arugula, and mizuna.

Top 50 Old School Hip Hop Workout Songs

This would make a great playlist for the gym. I’m going to try to build this into a playlist on my Spotify account.

Vegetarian Foods That Boost Your Brainpower

It doesn’t matter if you’re vegan, vegetarian or an omnivore, you can eat these foods to provide a mental boost during the day.

How To Do Pull Ups – Even If You Can’t Do A Single Rep

Here are two great ways you can build up your strength to do unassisted pull-ups. I actually had a recent comment on one of my posts from someone asking about an alternative to pull-ups because of a shoulder injury and I recommended the resistance band method mentioned here.

Top 10 Weight Training Exercises For Building Muscle

I think this article pretty much sums up everything you really need to know. These are absolutely the best exercises you can do to build muscle. I wish I had the equipment to do the farmers walk or the sled drag exercises.

Coach Mike Burgener Teaches the Snatch – YouTube

A fantastic training video on learning how to do the snatch exercise. Do these warm-ups everyday and I’m sure you’ll have great form.

Fitness Articles of the Week #55 – Endurance Lifting, Swimming Technique and Learning to Meditate

Here’s a recap of the best health and fitness articles I’ve read over the past week.

Build more muscle and experience better pumps with only one exercise

This is the type of workout that only the very dedicated would be able to stick with. I can only imagine how tired my body would be after training one body part for so long. It sounds very interesting though. I don’t know if I’ll ever try it, but I would like to if I had more time.

Keep Your Plants Warm Over a Chilly Night with a Bucket of Water

I just might have to try out this clever trick. For me, it depends on how expensive buckets are. At least it would be a one-time purchase though and then my garden would be good to go every year.

Swimming Technique: Animations & Articles From Experts Swim Smooth

If you need to work on your swimming technique, like I do, you should check out everything this site has to offer. You can choose the type of swimmer you are and get some great info on how you can swim better.

Fitocracy’s First App Makes Fitness Tracking Competitive

This sounds like a really cool iPhone app for tracking your fitness and staying motivated. You can track activities, and in turn earn points as you do them, which allows you to “level up” and compete against other users. It sounds really cool. I have a super-old iPhone that isn’t compatible with this app, but I hope to get a new iPhone later this year, so I’ll try it out then.

No-Bean Hummus, Flax Crackers, Cucumbers

I really wish I had a Vitamix blender, because I would make this immediately. Mmmm, looks like such a delicious snack.

Remove Deodorant Stains with a Foam Brick

This is a cool trick, but I’m even more surprised at how long it took for the girl to tell us to use a foam block on the fabric. The best tips here are the links at the end of the article that tell how to remove dried stains using aspirin or baking soda.

How to Meditate Daily

Meditation is something I’ve really been wanting to get in to, and starting at two minutes per day sounds like the best way for me to get into it. Lifehacker also has a great article containing things you can do while meditating.

The Most Difficult Dinner Guest Ever: And 5 Delicious Meals To Feed Them

This is something I’m sending to everyone in my family. Yes, I’m a difficult dinner guest, lol. Nobody ever has anything for me to eat. My aunt at least tries though and usually has some frozen Boca burgers, a vegetable tray and some hummus.

Triathlon Training Plan

This is a pretty good article for a beginner wanting to do a triathlon. This post starts from the very beginning of triathlon training and covers all of the basics. I want to do a triathlon some day, but I never learned to swim as a kid so I’m still working on that. Hopefully by the end of this summer I’ll be more confident in the water.

Inverted Rows – Build Your Back Without Weights

It would be so cool to have a set of TRX straps. They’re just too expensive though, especially when I already have pretty much all of the weights I need. It would be nice to switch up my routines by mixing in a few moves like the inverted rows in this article though.

Is Foam Rolling Bad for You?

Foam rolling is painful and in most cases, when something fitness related hurts, it’s not a a good thing, but as the author of this article points out, foam rolling is an exception to that rule. Read it and learn why.

Image attribution:
By derivative work: Rafaelgarcia (talk) StandingBarbellCurl.jpg: Scoobytrash (StandingBarbellCurl.jpg) [CC-BY-SA-2.5-2.0-1.0 (, GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Fitness Articles of the Week #54 – Microcycles, The Bowler Squat and 100 Cooking Tips

image courtesy of shioshvili

Here’s a recap of the best health and fitness articles I’ve read over the past week.

Jim Stoppani’s 12-Week Shortcut To Size: Microcycles Explained

This workout routine sounds really interesting and it makes a lot of sense – I know based on my own experience with these types of routines. I’ve never done both styles of lifting at the same time, so this would be a great experiment. I wish I had a cable machine at home.

Consumers misunderstand ‘cruelty-free’ labeled products

It’s dissapointing that some product manufacturers care only about making the sale and not about the strong beliefs of their customers. I hope that a legal definition of cruelty-free is determined soon and that companies are forced to abide by laws of using that label. I’m really surprised something isn’t already in place to protect consumers from things like this.

Mobility Exercise of the Week: Bowler Squat

This is an exercise you might be familiar with if you’ve done P90X. It’ll really put the burn in your legs. I might have to throw this one back into my routine. The pictures in this article of the tennis player and baseball player are crazy!

More than half of all cancer is preventable, experts say

If Americans would quit smoking and clean up their diets, there wouldn’t be so many people suffering and dying from cancer. The researchers of this study mention that one of the problems they see is that people are skeptical of cancer prevention. Hopefully our doctors can drive that skepticism away in the upcoming years. There are some other interesting points in this article made about the obstacles of implementing cancer prevention strategies.

How to Get Your Broken, Neglected Bike Ready for Spring (and Keep It in Shape for Next Year)

Lucky for me, the bike shop where I purchased my road bike will do maintenance for free for the lifetime of my bike, but these are still some great tips for me to know. I only want to lug my bike to the shop 1-2 times a year, so these are great tips for keeping my bike in tip-top shape in between maintenance visits.

Less than 1 in 6 Americans frequently washes grocery totes increasing risk for food poisoning

I was actually just thinking about this a few days ago. I’ve never washed any of my grocery totes since I’ve owned them. I don’t purchase raw meat, but that doesn’t mean germs can’t exist on my vegetables either. Maybe I’ll make a habit of throwing my totes in the washer at the end of the week.

How I got past my spinach-in-protein-shakes fear (and why you should too)

I still haven’t tried making a green smoothie and I really don’t know why. The author of this article mentions that even two cups of spinach is detectable in their smoothie. I’m not really afraid of the taste, especially after having juiced spinach, kale, cilantro and parsley and drinking it straight. You will taste that by the way 😉 I think I’ll make a green smoothie this weekend.

Super Simple Beginner’s Green Smoothie

Speak of the devil! Right after reading the article above about making green smoothies, this one showed up in my feed reader. Looks like this is the one I’ll be trying this weekend 😀

Skip the Knife Set and Buy A La Carte to Save Money and Get Better Knives

I’ve made the mistake of purchasing a knife set that rarely gets used, mostly because the knives suck! High quality knives are so expensive, but I’m sure they are worth every penny. My current crappy knives will have to do for now, but I plan on buying a really nice butcher knife soon – something that can slice through tomatoes and onions like nothing.

Exercises You Should Be Doing: Zercher Goodmornings

I’ve never been comfortable doing goodmornings because I can tell immediately that if my form isn’t good, injury is very possible. I always hear about how good this exercise is though. I’ve only done goodmornings with the bar on my shoulders, so this style sounds interesting. As soon as I saw this video I thought about the pain of holding a heavy bar on my arms to do this move, but I suppose I can try to deal with the pain 😉

Bake Tortillas Into Hard Taco Shells on Your Oven Rack

This is such a great tip! I always have tortillas but I never feel like buying hard taco shells because I don’t eat them often. There’s always the occasion where I wish I had some though, and now I can simply make my own easily.

100 Greatest Cooking Tips (of all time!)

There are a lot of fun cooking tips and tricks here. I wish they would’ve put all of the tips on one page instead of spreading it out over 10 pages, but it’s still a great resource.

Big Time Bench: Want To Turn Every Head In Your Gym? Give Us 12 Weeks

Another really fun looking workout from The chest is one of the hardest parts of my body to build, so I’m really considering giving this one a shot. I was seeing some good progress on my strength when I was doing the Stronglifts plan, so I’d kind of like to do some more heavy bench pressing again.

Sedentary Lifestyle Dangerous for Cancer Patients

This is a guest post from David Haas

With the stress of cancer diagnosis and treatment, exercise routines are often reduced or forgotten altogether. Though widely acknowledged by fitness enthusiasts as a powerful way to prevent most types of cancer, many patients or their doctors do still not recognize the research that conclusively shows exercise to be an effective complimentary treatment. The leading cancer research organizations are attempting to change this, yet change is slow. Patients are often left to their own devices, when it comes to gaining the benefits of exercise, with a minimum amount of input from their doctor.

Getting Started with Benefits

A huge amount of research has been performed to confirm the many holistic benefits of working out during cancer treatment. Holistic treatments are always preferable to allopathic ones, because holistic forms help by improving the general health status. The cascading benefits of exercise begin with strengthening the circulatory system. This allows an increased delivery of oxygen to the cells, as well as a more even distribution of hormones and nutrients.

The benefits continue with a stronger metabolism and the increased production of growth hormone by the pituitary gland. Growth hormone stimulates IGF-1 production. This secondary hormone is found in every cell of the body and is responsible for cell division and the repair of genetic material. IGF-1 is further necessary for growth in the muscles and other skeletal tissues. It is no surprise that exercise has been found to relieve a wide range of symptoms seen in cancer patients, including fatigue, digestive upset, insomnia, rapid weight change, and emotional disturbance. Exercise has further been found to speed recovery following surgery for breast and colorectal cancer, and increase quality of life for lung cancer patients.

Avoiding Physical Inactivity

It turns out that a sedentary lifestyle is just as dangerous for cancer patients and survivors as it is for otherwise healthy individuals. The call from cancer experts to avoid physical inactivity is recognition of this fact. Every patient will benefit from using some form of exercise. Those with advanced brain or mesothelioma cancer may seem to be in a special class that should rest and avoid exercise, but researchers are challenging these preconceptions.

Patients in special circumstances may face limitations on the amount or type of exercise that can be safely undertaken, but they will gain benefits from physical activity. Physical therapists are often employed for these patients, those recovering from surgery, and others with limited mobility. Experts trained in cancer care can help in any case, but the benefits of their services are often not recognized by doctors or insurance companies.

Never Go Alone

It may seem like patients using exercise as a complimentary treatment are left to go at it alone, yet this should never be the case. No matter the doctor’s feelings on the topic, patients should always share their routines and experiences with medical personnel. A personal trainer, family, and other loved ones can also be strong resources. Finding support is a critical part of exercising through cancer.