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Tag: Lose the Belly not the Beer

QnA: Rowing Machine vs Treadmill and Carb Cycling

Friday QnA with Strength Coach Drew Jamieson

Question: A buddy keeps telling me to carb cycle. Says I should only be eating carbs on days I workout to avoid getting fat and gain muscle. What is he talking about?

Jim Salter, Cleveland, Ohio

Carb CyclingAnswer: Carb cycling is a fancy term for tapering back carbs on certain days of the week and then consuming lots on other days to help maximize fat burning and muscle building.

While I agree that consuming more carbs on days you workout is a good idea this will come naturally if you follow the guidelines laid out in the 3BG System. During your pre and post workout window you are consuming carbs that you normally wouldn’t be eating on your off days because you aren’t hitting the gym.

In a way the 3BG System has some carb cycling built in, albeit a very basic and dummed down version.

Carb cycling has proven very useful for bodybuilders and figure athletes that are looking to get rid or the last 5-10 pounds. It’s a very analytic approach to getting your measurements and body fat exactly where you want them.

Having said that, for a beginner who’s looking to put on some muscle, gain strength and lose fat, tinkering with exact numbers, calories and percentages of your macro-nutrients would not be a good use of time. Carb cycling is tailored more for intermediate and advanced athletes that have been serious about working out for at least 2 years.

In summary: Eat good whole foods with a balance of carbs, fats and proteins and hit the gym hard with compound multi-joint exercises. Develop a solid consistency and show commitment to a plan that helps improve your physique. Then when you are ready to take things to the next level we can talk numbers.


Question: Rowing machine or treadmill? What’s the best for total body fat loss?

Fred Muse, Freeport, Maine

Rowing machine vs treadmillAnswer: When it comes to cardio you always want to look at total body involvement when possible. Unless you need to train a specific movement that is directly related to your sport (a sprinter would have no business rowing or swimming for example when he should be running) you should look at getting the best bang for your time- this is found by incorporating your whole body and movements with full range of motion when you train cardio.

This means that although jogging is a nice challenge for your legs, it doesn’t do much to involve your upper body.

Rowing is a better hybrid of upper and lower body movements and with the right tension and intensity I would put it ahead of a slow boring jog.

However, if you really want a good cardio workout you’ll involve both upper and lower forms of exercise that are both; fast and challenging. Things like explosive push ups, jumping jacks, burpees, shadowing boxing, swimming, rowing, medicine ball slams, medicine ball throws, and mountain climbers are all great full body cardio exercises that offer an intense challenge along with a total body effect.

The reason these are better is they give you an after-burn effect which allows you to burn fat hours after you have stopped working out. Movements like these also teach you to be more athletic, not to mention are more enjoyable (mentally at least) than a boring, monotonous steady form of cardio.

Instead of jogging on the treadmill, here’s a quick workout you can do:

Pick 2 to 3 of the above exercises and repeat each in a circuit for 20-40 seconds before moving onto the next exercise. Rest briefly between each exercise and complete 2-4 rounds, totaling approximately 10-15 minutes of work combined with the minor rest periods.

Even though this workout will take you a third of the time you would normally spend running on the treadmill, you’ll burn more fat, challenge your heart and save a ton time. Sounds good to me.


The questions, as always, were great again this week. Looking forward to it next Friday.

Stay Strong,


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Birreria - A New York City Beer Garden Review


BIRRERIA and the Gang Aft Agley

Beer Review Birreria

  • Fifth Avenue & 23rd Street, New York City
  • On top of Super Chef Mario Batali’s Eataly

Instead of reviewing just one beer, this week the Thirsty Thursday Beer Review will focus on a New York City beer garden. A must see hot spot for locals and tourists in my books.

BIRRERIA is a modern take on an old world Italian craft brewery and beer garden located atop a Manhattan office building. With a retractable roof this beauty of a place is ready for action year round; come rain or shine, winter or summer.

Although I prefer the summer months as BIRRERIA boasts beautiful views of both the Empire State Building and Madison Square Park. The winter months offer some beautiful indoor scenery if you catch my drift.

Aside from one of the best selections of beer in the city Birreria offers a wide variety of Italian food but I’ll refrain from comment as I have yet to sample any of the dishes. I’m guessing the food doesn’t stray far from Mario Batali’s Eataly which is located on the ground floor and offers some great varieties. Each section of the Italian style market restaurant offers a different taste- I might be mistaken but I think it goes Pizza and Pasta, Meat and Cheese, and Vegetables and Bakery.

Apparently the opening of the restaurant was delayed several months as they had trouble getting the large copper clad brewing system up 14 floors. A crane eventually came to the rescue and got the job done.

A relatively new addition to the NYC craft brew scene, Birreria and the Eataly were inspired by the best of Italy and America. Brewers Teo Musso of Baladin and Lurisia, Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head and Leornardo di Vicenzo of Del Borgo put their knowledge together along with Eataly’s very own brewmaster Brooks Carretta to create three exclusive cask ales only available at the beer garden.

What is Cask Ale?

Thirsty Thursday Beer Review BirreriaIt is my understanding that Cask Ale is much like someone would make as a home brew (if you didn’t use bottles that is). It is beer served from the same cask in which it was conditioned. The beer is naturally carbonated, unfiltered, and served at a traditional cellar room temperature of 50 – 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

According to the Eataly Website here are the details to the House Brewed Ales:

An American Amber wheat brewed with dried fig and mustard seed.

Chestnut mild ale. Chestnuts are a unique brewing ingredient in Italy. Eataly Birreria’s Wanda is a moderate dark traditional mild ale with hints of roasted chestnuts.

Thyme Pale Ale. A traditional American Pale Ale with fresh thyme from the hills of Borgorose, Italy. A twist on a classic.

Beer Prices

The house cask beers are reasonably priced for a New York pub at $10, and the draft choices range from $6-10. On the high end there are a few imported bottles that range from $6-40. Some of the bottles serve 2-3 people but I think I still might need to try a couple on my next visit.

Beer I had: Gang Aft Agley

This time around I couldn’t stay long (probably a good thing) as I was off to meet friends at another local hot spot and only had time to sample one beer. Seeing as how I recently wrote about Scottish Ales I decided to give another a try and went with the Gang Aft Agley from Sly Fox Brewing Company.

According to the Sly Fox website the beer is described as,

“A Scottish Wee Heavy brewed with roasted barley and pale malts. A full-bodied malt lover’s dream beer: mellow, rich and filled with flavor. Gang aft agley translates “go oft astray,” as in Robert Burn’s famous line about “the best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men…””

Birreria Beer ReviewMaybe it’s the lights… maybe the energy, but there is something about being in New York City that makes beer taste better. I really enjoyed this beer and as I alluded to in last weeks beer blog- I am growing fond of the malt brew.

If you have not yet visited the big city- do so. And while you’re here do not let the tall buildings and shiny lights distract you from giving Birreria a try.

I Look forward to trying other Micro Brews in and around the city but will surely keep this gem as one of my go to establishments. If you know of any other hot spots with local micro brews, by all means let me know!



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20 Minute Ladder Workout

3BG Ladder WorkoutThis month’s 20 Minute Fat Blasting Circuit is called the 3BG Ladder Workout. It involves 3 total body exercises and all you need is a pull-up bar. So if you have one at home- it can be done there or get outside to your local park and use the monkey bars.

You’re going to perform the exercises one after the other in a circuit. You will start with one rep of each, then two, then three and so on until you reach 10 reps of each of the 3 exercises. You’ll go up the ladder but you won’t be coming down… not yet anyway.

Watch below as I struggle to complete this months 20 Minute Fat Blasting Circuit:

3BG Ladder Workout


Perform the following 3 exercises in circuit:

  • Drop Squat
  • Push-up
  • Pull-up**

**If you cannot perform a pull-up, do a body-weight row.

Complete all 3 exercises in circuit for 1 rep, then 2, then 3 all the up the ladder until you reach 10. Use proper form when completing each exercise and rest as needed.

In the video you’ll see me take my share of rest periods as I struggle through this months circuit. It took me 9 minutes and 53 seconds form start to finish. I did however just finish a workout of weighted dips, chin-ups and deadlifts right before, so my arms were pretty shot.

Regardless, see if you can beat my time.

Yours in health,


PS. Follow the link for more free workouts.

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Cooking with Beer - Beer Chili Con Carne

Beer Chili Con CarneWith the Super Bowl this Sunday what better time to not only introduce the new series (Cooking with Beer) but also share my all-time favorite recipe- Beer Chili Con Carne.

This easy to make recipe is packed so full of flavor you won’t even realize it is one of the healthiest Chili recipes on the planet.

When you combine the fiber from the veges and legumes (black and kidney beans) with the mouth watering spice concoction… you get a heart healthy, beer belly reducing bowl of glorious-ness.

Watch below as I show you how it’s done:

Chili Con Carne and Beer



Here’s 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 Extra Lean Ground Carne/Beef (Turkey or Chicken)
  • 1 Can of your favorite Beer
  • 2 table spoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 heaping tablespoons of Chili Powder
  • 2 table spoons of Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 heaping teaspoon of Ground Cumin
  • 1 heaping teaspoon of Cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of Red Chili Flakes (more or less depending how spicy you like it)
  • Sea Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper

How to put it all together:

Crack open the can of Beer and sip slowly making sure to save half of it for later.

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 8-10 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. With your wooden spoon slowly stir in and break apart the Ground Carne (allowing it to cook in the chili).

Stir in the 2 tablespoons 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 freshly chopped cilantro. Sooooo Good. Makes about 6 – 8 servings.


Yours in health,


PS. Stay tuned for another one of my favourites – Beef and Guinness Stew.

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Flash Fans: 2012 Budweiser Official Big Game Commercial


Flash Fan Budweiser Commercial?

Most have heard of these Flash Mob things where all of a sudden you’re walking through Times Square and hundreds of people break into some elaborate choreographed dance around you.

In their upcoming Superbowl commercial Budweiser puts a spin on that idea and has a Flash Mob of Fans show up at a local rec league hockey game in Port Credit, Ontario.

Imagine showing up with your buddies for your Monday night beer league game and thousands of fans walk in before the puck drops to cheer you on. Priceless.

One of the best commercials I’ve seen in awhile.


If that inspires you to lace up the skates, make sure you’re ready by checking out the Beer League Hockey Workout below.

Men’s Beer League Hockey Workout





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