The Best Health and Fitness Articles of the Week #105 – How to Test Your Own Blood, Choosing the Right Oils for Cooking and Sculpting Your Abs


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

How To Test Your Blood, Anytime, Anywhere In The World

Blood tests can tell you about your cholesterol levels, vitamin deficiencies, indicators of disease, and give you insight into organ function. Talking20 is offering three years worth of blood tests, 36 tests in total, for $1200.00. That’s an awesome deal. Too expensive for me, but it definitely seems worth it. One day we’ll be able to order a test like this for under $20. I can’t wait for that day.

7 Ways to Squat Pain Free

Some really simple, but very effective tips. This is a quick read. I have knee pain problems myself, one knee in particular so I plan to incorporate at least two of these tips – a wider stance and a greater depth.

5 Considerations for Creating a Home Gym

The points made in this article makes a lot of sense and everything this writer talks about is exactly why I built my own home gym. It saves me a ton of money, I can take my equipment with me if I move and I don’t have to wait for someone to finish using the equipment before I can use it. It’s one of the best investments I’ve ever made.

Running Guide – Hybrid Athlete Running and Training Guide

If you’re a beginner runner and you’re looking for a place to learn the basics to get started, read this article. This post covers everything – what cardio is, how to start running, warming up and cooling down, developing a plan, tracking progress, and recovering. The article also talks about the different types of running workouts and includes a progressive plan on how to become an advance runner.

Why You Should Have More than One Oil In Your Kitchen (and How to Choose The Best Ones)

This list doesn’t go into the health benefits or drawbacks of certain oils, but it goes into great detail on which oils you should be using based on the temperatures they will be exposed to. My personal choices would be coconut oil for medium heat cooking and avocado oil for high heat cooking.

The Fat-Burning Fat: The Coconut Is Nature’s Premier Thermogenic!

Coconut oil is all the craze right now and for many good reasons. It’s stable at high temperatures so it’s great for cooking. It helps increase metabolism. It can help regulate blood-sugar levels. Coconut oil doesn’t circulate in the blood stream nor stored in the body like other fats and is instead converted directly into energy by the liver. There are many other health benefits, but you need to make sure that you’re using virgin coconut oil. Any other type of coconut oil is probably a waste of money and might even be unhealthy.

What You See in the Toilet Says Something About Your Health

I’ve seen this infographic before but I can’t remember the original source and I don’t think I’ve ever linked to it, so here you go. Here’s a handy chart showing you what your poop should and shouldn’t look like, along with a lot of other really good information about diagnosing health problems based on your stool.

Remembering Joe Weider: The Science Of The Weider Principles

The king of bodybuilding passed away on March 23, 2013. I can’t say that I know a lot about Joe Weider but I know he’s a role model to many and is the reason bodybuilding is the well-known sport it is today. He did a lot of good for the industry, which is evidenced in this post. Check out Weider’s Principles and try them in your own routines.

Physical Activity Does Not Slow Muscle Aging

It’s been long believed that exercise could reduce the effects of muscle aging, but according to new research, it seems that’s not exactly true. For some people, building muscle is impossible. It looks like muscle aging is entirely dependent on your genes.

Herbal Green Smoothie: Cilantro

When I bought a juicer, I made the mistake of making my very first juice a straight green juice. Not only that, it contained an entire bunch of cilantro. There were lots of other greens too but the cilantro overpowered all the other flavors. Ever since then I’ve had a hard time eating cilantro, but I have tried using it small amounts on some foods recently. I want to try this smoothie, but I’m scared!

Sculpt A 6-Pack With Just 3 Moves!

I don’t know if I will ever have abs of steel because I hate all of these exercises. Sigh. I guess I’ll add them to my routine. I’ve been avoiding ab work, but I know I should be doing it.

The Best Health and Fitness Articles of the Week #104 – Coffee and Tea Lowers Stroke Risk, How to Poop Right and a Bodyweight Gym Made of PVC


Coffee, green tea, may help lower stroke risk, research shows

Coffee and green tea each have properties that can reduce the chance of having a stroke and drinking both is likely to protect your body even more. I would recommend drinking only high quality coffee and organic tea (in last week’s update I mentioned the dangers of toxins contained in most non-organic tea)

Stability Is Your Problem…You Just Don’t Know It Yet

I’ve never used anti-movement exercises to practice stability. I wonder if there’s some way to use perturbations (the disturbance of motion) without a training partner.

How To Poop The Right Way

Digestive health is important and pooping is a big part of that. I still don’t own a Squatty Potty, but I plan on buying one soon. I might give some of the supplements in this post a try too. Check out the video at the end of the post of the guy having a breakdown trying to do everything he learned at the SuperHuman conference. That was hilarious.

2 Bodybuilding Podcasts Worth Listening

I listen to several health and fitness podcasts already, but I’m always on the lookout for more. I’ve actually listened to BioJacked radio once before but I didn’t realize that they were a regular podcast listed in iTunes. I’ve subscribed! I’ve also subscribed to Marc David’s podcast and the other one he recommended, Muscle College.

Vitamin D replacement improves muscle efficiency

Most people are deficient in vitamin D. Unless you supplement, you probably are too. This new study shows that by fixing deficiencies, people can fix muscle fatigue and possibly even increase muscle efficiency in non-deficient people. Take your vitamin D!

Things To Do Before Running

This is a great simple list of things to keep in mind before going for a run or a jog. The problem that I have is that cardio isn’t really a part of my training routine, so when I do run, it’s because I have the random urge. It’s usually totally unplanned. The main thing from this list that I never have and always wish I did is a playlist to listen to. I should just put some stuff on my phone right now.

How to Gain Muscle Fast – Geek to Freak: 34 lbs of Muscle in 4 Weeks

This is an old one, and I might have already linked to this before, but I came across it again and I’m so amazed at how much mass Tim Ferris put on, that I couldn’t resist posting it again. I’m in the middle of my Stronglifts program, but I think I want to do this one when I come to a plateau or a point where I need a break.

Black Iron Beast – 5/3/1 Calculator

This is a really cool tool. It pretty much lays out your workout program for you based on your rep/max numbers and the calculator also gives you the option to choose from 16 different templates (or workout programs). I love how it takes into account how many pairs of plates you have.

Falling in Love with the Safety Squat (Yoke) Bar

Sounds like there are quite a few benefits to using a safety squat bar. It’s good for beginners, it’s good for swimmers, good for tennis players and rugby players, and it’s great for people who have shoulder injuries. I’ve never used one myself but I would really like to try one out.

How to Build the Ultimate Bodyweight Gym (Using Only PVC Pipe)

This. is. awesome. I don’t have the space at home to build something like this, but if I did, I definitely would. There’s a three-month workout schedule and a great video at the end of the post showing all the ways to use this too. Very cool!

DO YOU EVEN LIFT? – Parkour and Freerunning – YouTube

Parkour is a lot of fun to watch and it’s amazing thinking about how much strength and control it takes to do. I wish I could do it. I wouldn’t even dare to try it though, because I know I’d smack my head on something.

The Best Health and Fitness Articles of the Week #103 – Toxic Tea, Maintaining Tightness When Squatting and Living to the Age of 150


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

Is the Tea You Drink Making You Sick?

The gist of this one is that if you aren’t drinking organic tea, you’re probably consuming harmful pesticides. The majority of tea crops from India, China, South America and other countries use a known carcinogenic insecticide called endosulfun. A Greenpeace investigation discovered that 7 of China’s top 10 sellers are using banned pesticides. And to make matters worse, Teavana lies about their teas being pesticide free and tests show that the pesticides found in their teas exceed U.S and EU regulatory limits. Noooooo! Teavana teas are so good! They’ve lost me as a customer until they confirm that they really are pesticide free.

Seniors Who Play Video Games Report Better Sense of Emotional Well-Being

As a video game nerd, I couldn’t be happier to read this article. πŸ˜‰ I love to play video games as a way to relax and relieve stress, especially if I’ve had a hard day at work. I can totally see how playing games can make seniors happier.

Squat Technique: Maintaining Tightness

The tip on taking two big breaths before descending in the squat is very interesting. Tony Gentilcore says doing this is crucial, and he also says that both Mike Robertson and Jim Smith recommend it. I’m going to try it.

Big Reddit Protein Powder Measurement Results

The author of this study makes an excellent point – he is one of few people actually doing studies like this. Why is nobody else testing these supplements? Although the study has a large margin of error, it’s clear that there are some problems with various protein powders currently on the market.

New drug being developed using compound found in red wine ‘could help humans live until they are 150’

GlaxoSmithKline is creating a drug containing concentrated amounts of synthetic resveratrol. The drugs are 100 times stronger than 1 glass of red wine. Soon we’ll be able to get the anti-aging benefits of resveratrol without suffering the damaging effects of alcohol.

The Best Health and Fitness Articles of the Week #102 – Bone Injury From Running in Barefoot Shoes, Losing Weight With Cold Exposure and a Possible Cure for World Hunger


Study: Vibram FiveFingers Lead to Greater Risk of Foot Bone Injury

If you’re a runner and plan on transitioning to barefoot shoes such as the Vibram FiveFingers, you may want to give yourself plenty of time to become acclimated to them. A 10-week study of 19 people running in Vibrams resulted in 10 of the runners getting foot bone injuries, two of which suffering full-blown stress factures. If you want to prevent the same from happening to you, consider taking loger than 10 weeks and focusing on low intensity runs.

Aftershokz: Bone Conduction Headphones

These are sweet! I always wear only one headphone when I’m doing things like riding my bicycle, sitting at my desk working or mowing the lawn because I don’t like not being able to hear surrounding sounds. These headphones look like the perfect fix. I would love to try these out.

The 17 Weirdest Things I Do Now That I’m Vegan

I do most of these things too, and a lot of them started after going vegan. I might be even more weird than Matt. I grow my own sprouts, I juice and make smoothies out of leftovers, I dehydrate foods, I make my own nutbutters and vegan milks, I wear Vibram FiveFinger shoes and I even brew my own kombucha. πŸ˜‰

Hot Trend: Tapping the Power of Cold to Lose Weight

Tim Ferris’ book, The Four Hour Body, mentioned that Ron Cronise lost 27 lbs. in six weeks using cold exposure. This is when I started playing around with the idea too. I didn’t take cold baths, but I did take only cold showers for two months in the summer. I didn’t any significant weight loss during that time, but I did notice that I felt great all the time. I had more energy and I slept well. I do believe cold exposure had something to do with that.

Training Calves and Traps

Josh McMillan answers two questions related to why he trains calves and traps. Both are great answers. He trains calves because his calves don’t grow well. Many people don’t have to train calves when they’re doing deadlifts and squats, but I’m just like Josh. I need to do additional work on mine to get them to grow. And he does shrugs because his traps respond well to them. I really like his follow-up comment on that about never doing an exercise just to do it.

Improving Squat Power Out of the Hole

Chad Wesley Smith is a strongman champion, physical preparation coach and founder of Juggernaut Training Systems. Here he provides tips on improving squat power. He offers three types of squat variations to improve explosiveness – pause squats (pause in lower squat position for 5-7 sec. before exploding up), slow eccentric (7 seconds down, explode up), and dead squats (start at parallel, pick up bar from pins in power rack). He provides a lot more tips on each of these lifts in the video.

Lack of sleep ‘switches off’ genes

If you’re having problems getting enough sleep at night, you better learn to fix it or you could be deactivating genes that repair and replenish the body. Some of these genes effect metabolism, stress, inflammation and immunity. Just one week of bad sleep can turn these genes off. Imagine the damage you could be doing to your body if you have regular sleep problems.

How I Stopped Eating Food

Could you imagine a world where nobody had to worry about finding food and where sustenance could be obtained entirely from a drink? A man named Rob Rhinehart is trying to make that a reality. He created a drink, which he’s calling “Soylent,” that contains every essential nutrient that body needs. He tested it for an entire 30 days, the whole time never eating a thing. He felt great, had tons of energy, noticed an increase in cognitive function and all for the price of only $50 a month. He’s looking for people to participate in a study for Soylent right now. Is this real or are we being trolled?

Planting Calendar for the Colorado Front Range

I saw this postcard while I was waiting for my order at Watercourse Foods the other day and I scanned it for a friend of mine. Then I thought other Coloradans would find this useful too so I decided to post it on my blog. The calendar lists the fruits and veggies that are best to grow in Colorado and the right times to start them indoors, when to plant and when to harvest.

Click the image to see the large version.

Thanks to Breathe Yoga and Cycling Studios for putting this together.


The Best Health and Fitness Articles of the Week #101 – Gluten Free Vegan Pancakes, How to Squat and Strength Training Tips for Women


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

How to Make Gluten-Free, Vegan Pancakes and Waffles

In last weeks update I linked to a blueberry pancake syrup recipe that I hadn’t tried yet. Well, earlier this week I worked from home because I didn’t want to go out on icy roads and since I was at home, I decided to make pancakes and that syrup recipe. I’ve been wanting to go gluten-free so I recently purchased a couple bags of Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Flour from Costco. I decided to do a search for a gluten free pancake recipe using Bob’s Red Mill flour and this is what I found. It was delicious!

6 Minute Microwave Brownies

Need a recipe for a cheat meal? This one only takes 6 minutes! I haven’t made it yet, but I will πŸ˜‰

How To Squat

This article goes through hand position, un-racking the bar, stance, foot position, head position, how to descend and lots more info. Read this and I’m sure you’ll have something to take away and incorporate into your own squat routine.

What to Do If You Can’t Squat Deep

I’ve had trouble with squatting deep and now I’m currently working on it by resetting myself by squatting with very light weight and progressing back up to really heavy weight again. I understand this is a bit different than what this article is talking about though, so if deep squats are impossible for you for other reasons, check out all of the exercises listed here to get nearly the same benefits of deep squatting.

120 Tips on Strength Training for Women

These are all things that Bret Contreras has gathered over the last 6 months while working with his female clients. I should warn you, some of these observations may be offensive and/or misogynistic to some of you, but there are some very helpful tips here that I think everyone should read.

Limit protein to 20g per meal?

I’ve never heard anyone ever promote the idea of consuming a minimum amount of protein before, so this idea is new to me. As this article shows though, there are actually a lot of great benefits of consuming protein, aside from simply building muscle. Of course you don’t want to overdue it, but the suggestions here for each meal every few hours are 20-30g for women and 40-60g for men.

Restaurant Guide – Vegetarian Resource Group

Why have I not heard about this until now? I mean, I’ve been vegan for nearly two years! I found a whole bunch of restaurants I’ve never heard about. I can’t wait to visit some of these.

Your Brain On Porn

The purpose of this site is to inform people about the dangers of Internet porn and how regular exposure can negatively alter the brain, one example being that it can damage a libido. There’s a lot of interesting stuff here. I know it sounds a little crazy, but they claim to be a non-commercial website focused primarily on science-based research.

6 Year Old Asian Kid Has Amazing Strength

I don’t know if that’s an olympic sized bar, but if it is, that kid is way strong. That would be about 55-65 lbs! Even if it’s not a 45 lb. bar, that’s still a strong kid. Most fitness professionals recommend only bodyweight training until around mid-teens, so hopefully heavy weight training doesn’t do serious damage to this kid’s body before he fully matures.

Excessive Alcohol Use When You’re Young Could Have Lasting Impacts on Your Brain

I grew up in a bit of a troubled neighborhood and had many friends of bad influence. I started drinking somewhere around the age of 15-16. Like real drinking. Binge drinking. I’ve always regretted it. Even before reading this study, I knew that the way I treated my body as a youth has probably had quite the negative effect on my body. But the rest of my life is dedicated to good health and hopefully repairing the damage I’ve done, at least as much as is possible.