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Archive for August 2011

Never miss a Monday

Finding that groove when it comes to working out is often the hardest thing to do. There are ups and downs that come with starting a new routine- even more so if it has been awhile since you’ve exercised.

The truth is the most fit people in the world struggle with the same issues. Personally, with all the weddings, work, travel and long weekends this summer it has been a mental battle for me with regards to my health and fitness. Here are some simple tips I use to keep myself on track.

Never miss a Monday: Making sure you get a great training session in on Monday will set the tone for the rest of the week. Seriously, never miss a Monday.

Find a partner: Social support is the best way to make sure you stick to your game plan. Surround yourself with people that support your goals. Having someone to train with will greatly impact your success. They can motivate you on days when you don’t feel like training and even add a bit of friendly competition.

Join a team: Working out is only one aspect to a healthy lifestyle. Join a pick-up sports league; there are tons of options out there, look around your local community for various sports teams or athletic groups. Figure out whatever it is you like doing and get out and meet some like-minded people that enjoy playing sports. You’ll make some new friends in the process and have fun all the while improving your health. If you can’t join an organized league or group, start something with a group of your friends such as pick-up basketball, soccer, running, biking, or surfing groups. You can do anything, just get up and do it.

Don’t waste your time: One of your key partners in the gym should be your watch. Have a good timer on your wristwatch so you can keep your rest periods to the prescribed time limit.

Keep moving: If you get to the gym and it’s crowded and someone’s performing the exact exercise that you need, ask to work in with them or pick another exercise that targets the same muscles. Just stay positive and keep moving.

Forget to plan and plan to fail: You need a master plan like the one outlined in the 3BG System in order to be successful in your body/life transformation. Write down your goals, how you plan on achieving them and your progress along the way. Seeing all the work you have done written on paper will help keep you motivated.

Nobody’s perfect: Things are bound to come up in your lives that will prevent you from sticking to the exact plan. If you hit a bump in the road, such as missing a Monday, that’s life and it happens. Just acknowledge that you’ve fallen off track and get back at it. You’re going to mess up and we want you to know that it’s ok. Fitness and healthy living are for life.

By implementing these helpful strategies into your routine, you’ll be able to pull through when life gets hectic and your feeling overwhelmed.

If you are committed to regaining your health and getting in the best shape ever than know that there will be some struggles along the way. Nothing worthwhile is ever achieved without a little adversity. It is those things in life that we have to work for that afford us the greatest rewards.

Starting a new workout program for the first time in years (or ever) isn’t the easiest thing to do but if you are committed, you stay at it and use some of the tips you’ve just read about- the pay off will be huge.

Yours in health,


Click Here and Start Earning Your Beer

August 26, 2011 Posted by Drew in Body

How to Get Rid of "Beer" Belly Fat

When you ask people what they associate beer with you get a mixed bitter-sweet response. On one hand it reminds people of the amazing taste that water, barley, yeast and hops make when they come together and hit your lips. And on the other hand they think of the dreaded beer belly, beer gut and belly fat associated with drinking beer.

For the record- I have and always will drink beer. Regardless of the reputation floating around that beer is bad and will make you fat, I know from experience and my clients experiences that it is possible to drink beer and still lose the beer gut, beer belly and belly fat. I’ve seen countless people lose fat, get stronger and still enjoy the wonderful taste of beer.

The reason it worked for these people (and can work for you) is because they adopted an attitude we call the “Earn Your Beer” mentality. The mentality states that if you want to enjoy beer guilt free and never worry about how it might expand your waistline, you have to EARN it.

Start implementing the following steps and you’ll be on your way to Earning Your Beer and torching off the “beer” belly fat from your midsection.

1. Beer Intake Control- The Beauty of Moderation

Depending on what kind of beer you drink the calories per bottle vary. Light beers range from 65-100 calories per bottle while a standard bottle of beer has around 150 calories.

Moderation is key. If you want to enjoy beer you must consume no more than 2 in a 24 hour period and keep it to under 5-7 drinks total per week. In moderate amounts beer has even been shown to be good for your heart and reduced the risk of cardio-vascular disease.

When in doubt choose darker beers. They are often more rich, contain anti-oxidants and are more nutrient dense. This in turn will fill you up faster so you’ll avoid over drinking.

The real culprit is the food you eat while you enjoy your beer. Fried, fatty and salty foods are the worst offenders and can do much more damage than 2 beers ever could. Don’t let the enjoyment of beer turn into a days worth of calories all in one sitting.

2. What to eat and your new shopping list

Beer bellies should really be called the sugar belly or the processed carb belly. If you truly want to get rid of that beer belly you must take nutrition seriously and look at getting all the fast convenient processed foods out of your kitchen. There are so many misconceptions out there regarding which foods are good for you and which ones are bad.

Typical foods that people think are OK to eat but are low in nutrients are:

  • Breads, pastas, white rice.
  • Boxed cereals even if they are whole grain or fortified they are low in nutrients.
  • Slim or diet shakes.
  • Prepackaged microwavable TV dinners.
  • Ketchup, BBQ sauce, & most common condiments.
  • Rice cakes, crackers and cookies.
  • Salad with Creamy Dressings.
    The easiest way to avoid pre-packaged, processed and refined foods is to shop around the outside of a supermarket and avoid going down the middle aisles. Sticking to the perimeter of the store guarantees that you will hit mostly fresh foods that come with an expiry date. The goal is to remove clutter from your shopping cart, kitchen and body.

    The shopping list that follows has been stripped down to the basics. Strive to eat good quality food that is nutrient dense and works with your body rather than against it. The following foods will keep you energized, lean, strong and keep the fat off your belly effortlessly.

    Items for your cupboards or pantry

  • Potatoes (red potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, the occasional white)
  • Sugar free oatmeal (steel cut oats)
  • Quinoa
  • Mixed nuts (almonds, walnuts, cashews, macadamia, pecans, etc…)
  • All natural peanut butter or almond butter
  • Sunflower & pumpkin seeds
  • Olive oil (for salads)
  • Coconut oil (for cooking or stir frying at high temp)
  • Vinegar (white, red, balsamic)
  • Green tea, black teas, herbals teas, organic coffee (black)
  • Spices (various)
  • Kidney beans, Black beans
    Items for your refrigerator or freezer

  • Vegetables (all kinds)
  • Fruit (all kinds)
  • Lean meat (cow, bison, buffalo)
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Fish
  • Deep water shellfish
  • Eggs
  • Plain Greek Yogurt (No sugar added)
  • Cheese
  • Cottage Cheese

    3. How and when to eat carbs

    Burning fat from your midsection depends on your body’s ability to regulate cortisol and insulin. If you have chronic high levels of both you will likely have more belly fat than you need. Cortisol is best controlled by keeping your stress levels down and getting adequate sleep.

    Whenever you eat a carbohydrate- insulin is released to remove the calories from your blood stream. When this hormone is released in excess (by eating processed carbs) it will take those calories and stuff them in your fat cells. End result- a rapidly expanding waist line and beer belly.

    The best time to have carbs and not worry about this boost in insulin is when you first wake up and immediately after an intense workout. Otherwise if you are going to eat carbs in a meal make sure they are eaten last. Always start with a salad and plenty of vegetables, then your protein source (eggs, meat, fish, poultry, shellfish, dairy) and follow it up with your carb. Eating vegetables and protein first will ensure your stomach is better suited to digest and break down carbohydrates (yams, sweet potato, wild rice, quinoa), as well as shunt any potential spike in blood sugar.

    Do not mistake this as an open invitation to eat all the carbs you want. Much like step #1, moderation is key. If you have a sweet tooth stick to mixed berries with a piece of dark chocolate (85% or higher) for dessert.

    4. Sleep your way to a leaner waistline

    You’ve heard it before and no one likes being told the same thing over and over again. So I’m going to lay it out for you in a different way, one that will help you realize that if you’re falling short on sleep- you might be expanding your waistline as a result. Aim to get 7-8 hours of sleep every night.

    Inadequate sleep has been shown to:

  • interfere with metabolism and digestion of carbohydrates causing high blood glucose levels, which then increases insulin levels and leads to fat storage.
  • down regulate the hormone leptin. Leptin signals your brain when you are full, and you stop eating. Without adequate levels of leptin you will crave more food and carbohydrates.
  • reduce levels of growth hormone. Growth hormone has been linked to fat loss and is found in higher quantities in lean people.
  • lead to insulin resistance, contributing to an increased risk of diabetes
  • increase blood pressure
  • increase the risk of cardiovascular disease
  • increase cortisol levels
    Hormones are the common theme. Without proper sleep good hormone levels drop and bad hormone levels rise. Chronic elevated levels of cortisol can lead to brain cell deterioration, decreased function and belly fat.

    5. Exercise

    Mention cardio and people generally think of going for a jog or sitting down on an exercise bike. Whatever the exercise you choose, it is then done at a steady pace for a set amount of time. The longer the session the more calories you burn, right?

    While that isn’t necessarily a wrong statement, it’s just not the best way to burn fat. Would you rather workout for 40 minutes or 15? Studies show you can burn more fat and save more time with shorter, more intense cardio sessions.

    A long jog at a slow to medium pace does not elevate your metabolism enough to generate exercise post oxygen consumption (EPOC). EPOC can keep your metabolism elevated for 15-25 hours after you stop exercising. The beautiful thing about generating EPOC is that it can be done in a high intensity interval session lasting as little as 12-20 minutes. The same can not be said for a 40 minute jog where oxygen consumption falls 30 minutes after completion.

    Also of note, a large percentage of exercise options for cardio only target the lower body. Making use of your entire body when performing cardio/interval training involves more muscle mass and will burn more calories by creating a bigger oxygen deficit.

    High intensity interval training (HIIT) incorporates both aerobic (oxygen dependent – walking/jogging) and anaerobic (non oxygen dependent – sprinting) training into one brief, but intense workout. This type of training will strengthen your heart more than aerobic (long slow boring cardio) training due to the strain involved with an all out effort. The increased pressure constricts your artery walls and forces your heart to work harder with each beat to maintain proper blood flow throughout the body.

    Typical cardio prescription

    Type: Running
    Total time: 45 Minutes
    Pace: 5-7 mph

    The New HIIT prescription

    Type: Flat sprint or uphill sprints with 4-6 push ups between each sprint
    Total time: 15 minutes
    Pace: top speed sprint for 8-10 seconds (uphill or flat) walk 40 seconds then drop down and complete 4-6 push-ups. Repeat process for 15 minutes.

    In order to get rid of a beer belly, beer gut or belly fat you need to be determined, willing and patient. Healthy fat loss of 1-2 pounds per week can be expected. Think of it as a long term goal rather than an overnight fix and I guarantee you will get there.

    Stay Strong,


    Click Here and Start Earning Your Beer

    Thirsty Thursdays: A Beer Review.

    Bet I can guess what you are thinking- these guys are going to start writing beer reviews so that they can drink them. You know what? You’re right!

    With the recent surge of craft beer and microbreweries across North America we want to share with you our passion and personal opinion on the many beers out there. The weekly review will encourage you to get out of your comfort zone and try something new. Hopefully you’ll be more adventurous when it comes to making beer choices. The “winos” can’t have all the fun.

    Last night Sean and I hit up a local restaurant walking distance from his apartment. The resto of choice was made thanks to Sean’s Entertainment book which gave us $16 off the bill (highly recommend grabbing one of these booklets if you don’t have it already).

    Before sitting down we were scoping out what beers they had on tap. As the waitress guided us through the list of the usual Canadian suspects she finished with the special of the night- “Keith’s Ambrosia Blonde”. It was a very reasonable $4.50 for a pint of beer. A steal of a deal in terms of Vancouver’s inflated beer prices. We had to give it a try.

    Keith’s Ambrosia Blonde is brewed by Alexander Keith’s. The brewery was founded in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1820. It has been producing beer in Canada for over two centuries and only recently made the jump across the border into the United States. Operated by Labatt, a subsidiary of Anheuser Busch-Inbev, Keith’s brand is produced throughout Canada. It is best known for it’s India Pale Ale but also has dark, light, amber and premium white varieties.

    The Keith’s Ambrosia Blonde is one of the their seasonal brews. The brew-master refers to the beer as a deep gold and medium body brew which delivers captivating aroma, a distinct flavorful taste, slightly hoppy and hint of caramel, aged longer for a crisp finish that is perfect for warmer days. The Ambrosia Blonde taps out at 5.2% alcohol by vol.

    Our initial reaction of this all malt brew was that it was much darker than your typical blonde. The beer had a full head which tried to hang around for a little while but eventually ran out of steam and faded away. There was no visible carbonation, but as Sean postulated, it might have been because they were serving us the bottom of the keg and the very reason behind the beer being on special. As I stared at Sean’s ugly mug through the pint I noted the clarity and golden color with a slight reddish tinge, which can most likely be attributed to the hint of caramel.

    The verdict:

    The Ambrosia attempted to keep a microbrew feel and taste. I was reminded of the Scottish beer Tennant’s I used to drink while playing hockey over there, which wouldn’t be too far off as the company’s roots come from Scotland. Keeping with the Keith’s novelty the Ambrosia Blonde offered a hint of hops without any bitterness. It was a crisp and dry finish.

    As a rookie beer connoisseur this beer was tasty but easily forgotten.

    If you have access to this brew-masters special in your home town, don’t just take my word for it- give it a try and see for yourself.

    Stay thirsty,


    Click Here and Start Earning Your Beer

    Pre Workout Fuel & Post Workout Nutrition

    Whether you are looking to lose fat or build muscle… if you don’t give your body the right nutrients (pre & post workout), it won’t happen fast enough.

    There is a misconception out there that to lose fat it is best to workout on an empty stomach. The idea behind this is that by not eating before a workout your body will be forced to burn energy in the form of fat, ie. from your beer gut, love handles or back. It then becomes easy to convince yourself that eating before a workout isn’t worth it if you want to tap into your fat stores.

    So if you eat something before a workout you would be wasting your time right?

    Not quite.

    Let’s take a closer look. When you break it down, our bodies number one priority is survival. Because of this, we need to give it a good reason to lose fat, and this only happens when we keep our metabolism high by constantly providing it nutrients (this is where quality counts and NOT quantity).

    Going into a workout with an empty stomach, tells your body that it doesn’t know when or where the next feeding will come from. At this point you risk entering starvation mode and not only will your body fat become more stubborn and harder to burn off, you will also run the risk of breaking down your hard earned muscle. Exactly what you do not want!

    The easiest way around this is to have a little protein prior to exercise. This will provide easy to use energy and stabilize blood sugar levels without breaking down muscle because there will plenty of protein shuttling around for your body to pull from.

    If your goal is fat loss, use the following protocol:

    10-15 minutes before a workout:

    100-140 pounds: 0.5 – 0.75 scoop of protein powder
    140-180 pounds: 1 scoop of protein powder
    180-230+ pounds: 1.5 scoops protein powder

    Note: You want to ensure that your protein powder contains little to no fat. Without going into too much detail, directly before and directly after your workout is the one time of day you do not want to consume any fat. The best choices for protein are whey isolate, casein, and rice.

    Our favorite choice for whey protein is Prograde Protein

    And for those of that might be sensitive to whey we found an awesome rice protein you should check out called Sun Warrior Protein

    Now we’ll tackle what to eat following an intense workout.

    Research tells us that the hour immediately following a workout is a window for nutrient timing that we must not miss.

    Consuming protein and carbohydrates right after or during a workout will assist in recovery, muscle building and allow you to keep the intensity high during future training sessions.




    Aim to consume the following 5-60 minutes after a workout:

    100-140 pounds: 0.5 – 0.75 scoop of protein powder + carbohydrate
    140-180 pounds: 1 scoop of protein powder + carbohydrate
    180-230+ pounds: 1.5 scoops protein powder + carbohydrate

    Carbohydrate options:

    - Dried fruit (raisins – handful, apricots – handful, dates 2-4 regular sized)

    - Banana (1/2 to full)

    - 12- 16 oz low fat chocolate or skim milk (note: since milk contains protein you have to adjust your powder down if you choose this option)

    - 1-1.5 cups of your favorite breakfast cereal (note: we don’t suggest eating the typical breakfast cereals as part of your daily diet, however, during the post workout window they are highly effective and easy to bring with you wherever you train)

    - Blend ice, water, protein powder and mixed berries or a banana for an awesome post workout shake. Be creative.

    - Just eat something – if you don’t have access to any of the above options, consuming something is better than nothing!


    Whatever time of day you workout begin to implement proper pre and post workout nutrition. If you feel you have hit a wall when it comes to fat loss this is likely the jump start your metabolism needs.

    On the other hand, if you are struggling to put on lean muscle mass, consuming extra calories around your workout will ensure they end up in the right place- your muscles and not your gut.

    Whatever your goals- remember, no more cardio sessions at 6 am on a empty stomach!

    Stay Strong,


    August 18, 2011 Posted by Sean in Body

    How to warm up properly: Static Stretching vs. Dynamic Warm Up

    I went to school with a guy that would pick me up in his car before the gym with a coffee in hand and the heat blaring. No joke- getting in his car was like stepping into a sweat lodge.

    “Gotta get the blood flowing man,” was all he’d say as I toweled off my forehead.

    My buddy was onto something about getting your blood flowing before an intense workout, and although he did get his body temp elevated, his pre-workout routine was far from perfect.

    We get a ton of questions regarding the topic of how to warm up properly before a workout and here’s what I have to say on the subject:

    Warming up prepares your muscles, ligaments and joints for the disruption caused by a intense workout. If you don’t take the time to warm up before a workout, you will eventually experience a strain, pull or tear injury that can keep you out of the gym for days or even months.

    A general warm up involves 3-5 minutes of light cardio followed by a dynamic (moving) warm up that involves pairing stretching with movement. The purpose is to prepare the muscles and joints for movements similar to those in your upcoming workout. You should always be under control with dynamic stretching and ensure a full range of motion.

    Static (still) stretching should always be done after weight or interval training session and never before. Static stretching before a workout can make joints too limber and actually decrease the force potential of your muscles. While you workout, the continuous contractions cause your muscles to shorten. Stretching for a period of 5-10 minutes at the end of your workout will help reset muscle length and enhance recovery.

    If you don’t stretch at the end of a workout, your contracted muscles stay short and the next time you try to work them they have less power and you are less efficient. These shortened “tense” muscles are those that we get worked on by a massage therapist, physiotherapist or osteopath to help them “loosen up.”

    Taking the time to stretch after your workout will not only save you injury time and increase the efficiency of your next workout, it might save you a ton of money on pain relief.

    Remember, as your age increases so should the amount of time spent on flexibility.

    Here’s an example of a general and dynamic warm up to be performed before a workout:

  • 3-5 minutes of cardio: jumping rope, stationary bike, walking, light jog, rowing machine, etc…
  • Dynamic warm up: Cat Camel, Prisoner Squats, Leg Swings and Shoulder Dislocations, etc… Perform 8-10 repetitions of each exercise in sequence for 2-3 sets and your ready to move onto your workout.
    Here’s an example of static stretching to be performed following a workout:

  • 5-10 minutes of static stretching focusing on major muscle groups: Hip Flexor, Glute, Calf, Hamstring, Chest, etc… Hold for 15 seconds (without bouncing), 2-3 times per side.
    A quick recap:

    The rules are as follows; if you’re cold you need to warm up with some dynamic movements. Once you finish a workout you need to cool down and re-set muscle length with some static stretching. Not too complicated.

    Add these simple pre (dynamic warm up) and post (static stretching) workout routines before working out and you’ll be able to workout harder, recover faster and stay injury free.

    Stay strong,


    PS. Check out this link of Drew performing a simple version of a dynamic warm up in this 20 Minute Fat Blasting Circuit.

    The Best Chili Recipe

    Not gonna lie. I’ve been a chili lover my entire life.

    It’s a simple meal that you can make on a Sunday for example, and then store the leftovers in the fridge or freezer for the balance of the week. The next time you get home and don’t feel like cooking you’ll only need a few minutes to reheat the chili and dig in.

    Growing up my major influence in the kitchen was my mom. Most can agree that nobody cooks as well as their mothers do. Splice in a few tricks I’ve learned along the way from my favorite celebrity chef Jaime Oliver and I’ve become pretty good in the kitchen.

    Over the years I’ve messed around with a few different recipes until I finally settled on this one:

    What you need:

  • 2 Medium Yellow Onions, 2 Cloves of Garlic, 2 Carrots, 2 Celery Stalks, 2 Red (Green, Yellow or Orange) Bell Peppers, Big Handful of Mushrooms, 1 Small Zucchini, 1 – 24 oz Can of Diced Tomatoes, 1 – 12 oz Can of Chick Peas (Garbanzo Beans), 1 – 12 oz Can of Black Beans, 1 – 12 oz Can of Kidney Beans, 1 pound of Ground Turkey (Chicken or Beef) and a 1/2 Can of your favorite Beer.
  • 2 table spoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 2 heaping table spoons of Chili Powder, 2 table spoons of Balsamic Vinegar, 1 heaping tea spoon of Ground Cumin (or Coriander), 1 heaping tea spoon of Cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of Red Chili Flakes (more or less depending how spicy you like it), Sea Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper.
    Whip it up:

  • Chop up all the veggies, pour 2 tablespoons of olive or coconut oil into a large pot and turn to medium/high heat.
  • Toss in all the chopped veggies and add in the following spices: 2 heaping table spoons of Chili Powder, 1 heaping tea spoon of Ground Cumin (or Coriander), 1 heaping tea spoon of Cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of Red Chili Flakes (more or less depending how spicy you like it) and a pinch of salt and pepper.
  • Stir every 30-45 seconds for about 6-8 minutes.
  • Add the entire can of Diced Tomatoes.
  • Drain and Rinse the Chick Peas, Black and Kidney Beans and stir them into the pot.
  • Pour in the 1/2 Can of your favorite Beer (drink the other half).
  • With your wooden spoon slowly stir in and break apart the Ground Turkey (allowing it to cook in the chili).
  • Stir in the 2 table spoons of Balsamic Vinegar, and add another pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • Reduce heat, cover and allow to simmer for about an hour or more, stirring occasionally.
    Serve garnished with a scoop of plain greek yogurt, some grated cheddar cheese and fresh cilantro. Sooooo Good.

    Keep this healthy Chili recipe in your back pocket to use whenever you are stumped for ideas on what to cook or when you feel like a nice warm meal. It makes approximately 6 – 8 servings and is easy enough to store in the fridge or freezer to be eaten at a later time. Enjoy.

    Yours in health,


    PS. Beer and cinnamon are the secret ingredients in this recipe. What “secret ingredients” do you add to your chili to set it apart from the rest?

    August 9, 2011 Posted by Jon in Workouts

    How to improve your drive by 10 yards

    The family is in town this week for my cousins wedding. Even with all the running around, family barbecues and get-togethers the boys and I managed to squeeze in 18 holes early Sunday morning.

    The setting was beautiful Nicklaus North Golf Course 2 minutes north of Whistler Village and the weather was perfect.

    Between the black bears and brew-skis we got to talking about how fit the guys on the PGA tour were these days.

    With the exception of a few the game of golf is being played more and more by athletes. It’s becoming a sport where the mental game melds into the physical. To be able to compete on tour these days you need to have both- distance and control.

    Unfortunately for all of us weekend warriors we don’t have the skill to hone our short game to PGA standards. What we can do is invest a little time in our conditioning and in doing so impress the lads with drives into the 3-hundreds.

    Before you dust off the irons this weekend check out the Golf Specific 20 Minute Exercise Circuit below.

    The circuit utilizes elements of strength, power, balance and flexibility that when combined can improve your distance off the tee by at least ten yards or more.

    Who couldn’t use a little extra length?

    Here’s the best part- with the extra distance, your mates will be buying the beer on the 19th hole!



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