Archive | January, 2010

The Silver Oak Made me do it . . .

25 Jan

It is a well known fact that alcohol decreases your inhibitions and I have to admit, I fell prey.  All has been going well, I’d successfully navigated dinners out, childrens birthday parties and my life in general without feeling deprived or unsettled.  Had friends over for dinner on Friday night and served fresh baked challah, pulled pork, salad, black beans and rice.  I was perfectly fine with the pulled pork, salad and a single bite of challah – the rest enjoyed the meal in full.  The problem came after consuming a few glasses of wine.  Each child had been given a small homemade chocolate chip cookie (yep, even managed the baking of those without feeling the need to help myself to a spoonful of dough:)) – Emma didn’t eat hers and it just sat there at the table calling out to me.  I barely put up a fight, ate the cookie and chose not to feel bad about it.  This is life, it involves being strong and being weak with both being okay so long as they are appropriately weighted.  Was it worth it?  There was no negative consequence and it didn’t change my resolve to follow this program for some 40+ more days.  Having said that, it also didn’t do anything for me either.


breakfast most days: eggs/bacon/avocado (in varying combinations)

lunch: meats and veg

snacks: fruit, nuts, seeds

dinner: meat, salad, veg

fave ‘creations’ of the week:

Pan fried Halibut: dipped in egg, ‘breaded’ with coconut flour, curry powder and cumin, pan fried in canola

Cajun Chicken: 1/2 thick chicken breast, ‘breaded’ in almond flour and cajun seasoning, pan fried in rendered bacon fat

Week 2: Tracey’s Paleo update

21 Jan

Prior to starting this experiment, Johnny mentioned that sweets would eventually taste different and that eventually I would crave a bowl of strawberries in place of dessert.  Well, I’d say he’s a little right so far:)  Yesterday I had a taste of Emma’s chocolate cookie from starbucks – one of my favorite treats . . .Solely for the sake of testing the above statement, I had a small bite.  It definitely tasted different.  It tasted very sweet and very buttery.  Previously this indulgence simply tasted good.  I wouldn’t have allowed myself to have any more of it anyway but don’t think I can say that the difference in taste would have prevented me from doing so.  Anyway, I consider this progress as I believe my body is beginning to adapt to the decrease in sugar in my life.  My other self reflection now that I’m actually spending time thinking about what to eat is that I crave food kind of for something to do.  I don’t eat a lot but I definitely eat more frequently than my body probably requires.  For the time being, I’m simply noting this as an observation but may add to my experiment down the road to address this behavior. Water consumption is still hit or miss so will be working on that.  Oh, and I’ve actually come to enjoy my americano – who’d of thought . . .


grilled grass fed ribeye + 1/2 avocado (no eggs in the house -can’t say I was psyched about steak alone for breakfast)

americano+raw milk


mandarin orange

med paleo kit


grilled pork tenderloin+cauliflower mash


2 scrambled eggs + ribeye

americano+raw milk


freeze dried pears

halibut ‘breaded’ with coconut flour, curry powder, cumin – fried+steamed cauliflower

1 lb dungeness crab + mixed salad – romaine, mache, tomatoes, mushrooms, pepper and roasted sunflower and pumpkin seeds, balsamic vinagrette

1/2 apple with almond butter


2 hard boiled eggs + americano with raw milk


bowl vegetable soup

med paleo kit

nuts, seeds, freeze dried tropical mix


poached king salmon +peas

1/2 apple with almond butter

1/2 avocado

VitaMoves Class with Angelo

18 Jan
By Angelo Dela Cruz
Greetings, All!
As you may know, my movement class, VitaMoves, is now being held at Marti’s Dance Studio across the street. The days and times are the same:  MWF @ 8:15am (45 min. class).  Thank you all for letting your clients know about it.
The cost for each class is

Drop-in – $20/ class
8 sessions/ month- $17/ class
Unlimited/ month – $15/ class

Space is limited to 10 participants each class and currently there are about 6 or 7 spaces left.
Those that attend before Jan. 31 will receive a complimentary 25 min. massage session with me (valued at $80).

The class is designed to help

  • refine motor control
  • build efficiency in movement/ posture (biomechanical/ structural balance)
  • increase normal glide of nerves, blood vessels, connective tissue
  • decrease viscosity (increase fluidity) in the extracellular matrix
  • stimulate synovial fluid for “dried-out,” chronically compressed joints (especially the spine)
  • decompress joints
  • resuscitate “choked off” areas due to tightness/ stiffness
  • build tissue integrity
  • develop coordination, balance, agility, & spatial awareness

The movements are a recombinant mix derived from martial arts, yoga, acrobatics/ gymnastics, breakdancing, parkour.  Principles used in the class stem from such concepts as Sherrington’s Law of reciprocal innervation, muscle energy techniques, Feldenkrais, cross-crawl patterning, fascial meridians, Wolff’s Law (applied to soft tissue), quadrupedal movement, psychoneuroimmunology, neural plasticity.

We accomplish and apply the aforementioned with slow, controlled, dynamic ranges of motion and isometrics described with verbal cues that use the imagination and concentrated awareness to bring out the desired posture/ movement.

In addition to the movements, we also employ breathing techniques to infuse the body and brain with more oxygen, eye muscle “stretching”, vital organ massage, and lymphatic stimulation.

It’s pretty much like taking the massage and bodywork that I do and putting it in motion.

Every session is customized to address any issues that the participants are experiencing.  We can address common problem areas like tight hams, calves, and upper trap. and encourage stability in shoulder girdle.

Analisa has noticed more flexibility and faster warm-ups with Erica Vener who regularly participates.  Here’s what Jean Swanson has to say:

“Angelo’s unique blend of dynamic conscious movement is both energizing and fun. I feel lighter and more aware of the ways in which I move in day-to-day life. Angelo has a clear and patient teaching style and his demonstrations are truly inspirational.”

To sum up, the class is aimed to create an upbeat physiological state and develop higher cohesive function and adaptability of the body and mind through low impact yet challenging activity that breaks them out-of-the-box of unconscious “linear” motions.  By using focus and concentration and engaging in new experiences, we exercise the higher functions of our mind and help add to a stronger foundation for long-term health.

If you’re free any Monday, Wednesday, or Friday at 8:15am, you’re always welcome to come join in.  If you know anyone that may benefit from this, please pass on the info.

Wish you all an exciting, mind-blowing 2010!


First Week Completed -Tracey’s Paleo Experiment

18 Jan

Friday through Sunday – definitely  more challenging.  Friday: started work at 6:30 and had few breaks till leaving at 4:30.

2 Hard boiled egg and 1/2 an avocado

peppers and sugar snap peas

Almond butter

Steamed green beans and broccoli

Medium Paleokit

Roast Chicken and Green Beans

1 bite of Challah after Shabbat blessing

Saturday: equally busy.  Up with kids at 6, into work for 9 a.m. class and stayed till 11:30.  Ran errands most of mid-day until more time with kids then off to our ‘Holiday Party’.

Bacon and eggs

americano+raw milk x 2




Walnuts with a few raisins

Holiday Party:


skirt steak

broccolini and cauliflower – roasted

brussel sprouts with bacon and toasted almonds

mashed sweet potatoes and yams (mmmmm)

one bite of apple upside down cake

champagne and chardonnay

Sunday: Up with kids, spent day with my sisters family at their house, went to the mall, went out to dinner at Bucks of all places!  Haven’t had a chance to go shopping, running low on fruit.

scrambled eggs

half avocado

americano+raw milk

couple of blueberries

couple of grapes

1 bite of cheese off pizza delivered for everyone else:)

grilled chicken



Chicken picatta, broccoli, carrots and green beans


toasted almonds

All in all, I don’t think it has been as difficult as I thought it would be.  I flared up an old injury on Monday so haven’t trained but am a bit glad because I feel like if there has been an improvement in performance, it will be more notable having had a few more days under my belt.  At this point I would say improvements are more attributable to behavior modification than to the effects of eating clean.  Having said that, either way, I’m happy I’ve undertaken this challenge as I do feel I needed to bring consciousness back to my consumption.

Upcoming Weightlifting Meet in Sacramento

18 Jan
  • What: PWA Championships
  • Where: Sacramento High School – Sacramento, CA
  • When: January 20, 2010
  • Who: Contact  Dave Swanson – (916) 768 – 9616



Day 3 and 4 of my Paleo Experiment

15 Jan

Encountered a few predictable challenges over the past couple of days – a typical day with my 2 year old (read not much thought given to my needs), cravings for comfort food and dinner out.  In terms of a typical day, we were out of the house but no where that I have ‘food stores’ so I found myself hungry and without a paleo option.  So, from now on, my car will be stocked with paleokits (now for sale at FIT) or something like them so I don’t find myself in that predicament again.  The comfort food craving is interesting to be conscious of – I had a tough morning with my 2 and 4 year old and kept thinking how good my nonfat vanilla latte would taste (I refer to the first sip as my ‘calgon moment’ of the day for those that are old enough to recall the “Calgon, take me away” campaign) or how much I’d enjoy a pumpkin scone.  As an alternative, I thoroughly enjoyed my trail mix a bit later in the morning and it didn’t satisfy the sweet/crunchy craving which was encouraging.  Dinner was pretty easy.  Have to admit that I stared down the bread basket on more than one occasion but it never got the better of me.  I think I was probably interested in eating it out of habit or more to have something to do than because I really wanted it.  On a positive note, it does feel good to have a reason not to eat junky stuff I wasn’t paying much attention to prior – a bite of Emma’s muffin, the remainder of her chocolate milk . . .things I wouldn’t purchase for myself but seeing as it’s there, wasn’t as mindful of choosing it.  I am nervous about the weekend as there’s less structure to those days, we have our holiday party on Saturday, taking 2 kids to the hockey game who will be having treats, plus its a long one as my kids are off from school on Monday and Tuesday, so tonight I’m going to put together my plan for the weekend and hope it’s super easy to stick with.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

Day 3:

Bacon and Eggs

Americano+raw milk

Satsuma orange

nuts, seeds, dried fruit

raw pepper and cauliflower

chicken and cauliflower mash

nuts, seeds, dried fruit

skirt steak and cauliflower mash


Day 4:

scrabled eggs

roasted veg: red onion, eggplant, zucchini, 2 pieces butternut squash (yum:))

nuts, seeds, dried fruit

Medium Paleo Kit

1/2 apple

ahi sashimi

new york steak + sauteed green beans

FITKick January Session

15 Jan

Another Energizing Session of FITKick will begin This Sunday (Jan 10)!

There will be four Sunday sessions for January

Where: FIT

When: Sunday Jan 10th, Jan 17th, Jan 24th, and Jan 31st.

Time: 8:30-9:30AM

Cost: Members $40 for all four sessions or $12 drop in

Non-Members $48 for all four sessions or $15 drop in

I look forward to Kicking in the New Year with you!

60 Days and 60 Nights

15 Jan

Where to start…We have many conversations in the back office at FIT about work, training, life, and of course nutrition.  My philosophy about nutrition has always been that I can out work and out train any and all of my poor eating habits.  But in this industry, and frankly in life, you can’t just talk the talk.  Your actions define you.  So, with a little shove from my friends and the desire to improve my health, my performance and my life, I’ve taken on the challenge to eat using the Paleo Diet for 60 days.

While I’m excited for a challenge, I have a few reservations.  Culturally I eat a lot of corn, beans and rice.  As you know that’s not part of the diet, so Sunday dinners at Mom’s will have to be modified.  I’m also concerned about weekends.  We like to eat out at least once on the weekends, trying new foods and restaurants.  But I’m determined and I will succeed, especially since I’ll be recording my journey and be held accountable by you.

Getting Bigger Arms

15 Jan

Read time: 1 minute

People often advise doing  just big and heavy lifts like pull-ups if you want bigger biceps, and heavy dips if you want bigger triceps. Many even recommend heavy lifts like back squats. They say to forget about direct (isolated) work, like biceps curls and triceps press-downs.

This advice is based on the anabolic hormonal responses triggered by big lifts — specifically that of endogenous testosterone.

While hormones do contribute to muscular hypertrophy, they alone don’t trigger maximum peripheral growth.

During lifting, muscular recruitment patterns can differ significantly from person to person. For example, EMG studies show that two people performing the same exercise may activate muscles to very differing degrees, or may recruit different muscle groups entirely.

Perhaps the advice to use just the big lifts comes from people who are able to activate a larger percentage of arm muscles during pull-ups or dips. This is certainly not the case in all people.

If you’re after the aesthetics of muscular arms, you should probably include direct arm-work. This is because muscle growth relies more on just hormones; it depends also (if not more so) on direct mechanical stress.

As an example, several years ago my friend broke his arm, but continued doing big lifts like back squats, one-arm pull-ups (assisted), and dips (also assisted). He also continued doing direct arm-work with his healthy arm, while his other was mostly rested in a sling.

After 8 weeks of this, you could see that his rested arm was significantly atrophied. His good arm retained equal muscle mass, if not slightly bigger. And this atrophy was while still doing the big lifts.

So, the big lifts are great, but for many people seeking more muscular arms, direct arm work should be included.

I’m all for functional strength training, but who wouldn’t want great-looking muscular arms?

Maintain Don’t Gain FIT Challenge wrap up!

15 Jan

Thank you for your enthusiastic participation in the Maintain Don’t Gain Challenge. Congratulations to all of you for making healthy choices part of your holiday celebration. Throughout the challenge I sent tips for encouragement and motivation. Here is a recap of the tips:

Commit to your exercise program – It’s easy to postpone our exercise sessions when schedules get hectic. However, exercise provides valuable benefits, such as stress reduction, and improved mental outlook. This year, remember to treat your exercise session as an important appointment on your schedule, even if you need to make adjustments to exercise routine to accommodate holiday festivities (or other events). For example:

  • Keep the intensity and frequency of your regular workout the same and shorten the duration.
  • Increase the intensity of your regular workout, keep the frequency the same, and shorten the duration.
  • Increase the intensity, keep the same duration, and adjust the frequency.

Plan – formulate a plan for maintaining physical activity and employing smart eating strategies when things get hectic and/or during tempting situations.

  1. The first step to developing an Action Plan is to identify the behavioral goal and the obstacle.  For example, “I make smart eating choices at home, however when I am at a social event I tend to gravitate to the dessert table and camp for the evening.” The goal is to maintain smart eating at social events and the obstacle is the dessert table.
  2. The second step is to develop a strategy for dealing with the dessert table.  A possible solution may be to allow yourself one of your favorite sweet treats and then engage in activities that keep you away from the dessert table for the rest of the evening.  For example socializing in another room, or initiating a game.

Finding a strategy that works best for you may take some brainstorming as well as trial and error.  If the strategy doesn’t work, take time to examine where the weak link is and re-work it.

Make activity part of the celebration.

  • Plan before and after meal walks.
  • Add activity to the next party, for example a treasure hunt, or Ice-skating.
  • Plan to participate in local outdoor events, such as turkey trots and cycling groups.
  • Make a new holiday tradition of playing a ball game, hiking, or a family bike ride.
  • Post Thanksgiving shopping, make a day of it and walk all over San Francisco.

Challenges – sometimes a little friendly competition can stimulate motivation. Set some activity challenges for yourself or with a friend. For example, complete a series of scheduled fitness classes, planned workouts, or physical activity events within a specific time period.

Here is a challenge to get you started: in addition to your regular workout routine, find one additional opportunity to be physically active this week.

Don’t give into the all-or-nothing attitude – Attitude is a powerful tool. The all-or-nothing attitude demands perfection and focuses on what is not being done rather than what has been done. This can result in feelings of disappointment, failure and frustration. Habits are difficult to change and slips ups will happen. When smart eating and exercise habits have declined during the holidays, there are three steps to getting back on track: 1) Identify triggers that lead to the slip, 2) recognize barriers to success and take steps to overcome these obstacles, and 3) reaffirm goals and commitment to change.

Although these tips are geared toward the holidays, the basic ideas can be applied to your year round efforts. Here’s to a happy and healthy New Year.