Archive | October, 2011

Whole 30 Finale

31 Oct

Congratulations Guys!
We made it through the 30 days.  For those of you that started early, extra congratulations; and those who started late and are still working their way through their 30 days, good luck with the final days!  I just wanted to give you all some helpful tips for how to proceed now that your 30 days are up.  I have heard a lot of great success stories from some of you, which is awesome and very inspiring.  Some of you, though,  report being a little nervous to dive back into other foods.  Remember that the contention is that there is no reason to reintroduce those foods in the first place.  There is NO REASON to ever go back to eating grains.  All of the nutrition that you need is provided in the foods that you have been eating for the last 30 days.
If, however, that is unrealistic in your life, there are a few things to keep in mind when you step out of the Whole 30.  First, and foremost, don’t just start reintroducing foods back in after your 30 days – this last month was a chance for you to reset your digestive system and learn how you react to foods.  Don’t just discount all that by opening the flood gates right away.  If you feel good without adding anything in for the rest of the week, then don’t.  There’s no sense in trying to rush the reintroduction of potentially insulting foods back into your system.
Second, only introduce one food at a time back into your eating plan.  This will allow you to know if that particular food is itself insulting to YOU.  Eat regularly for the rest of the day to see how your body responds to the new intake.  Give yourself a day in-between, then try again with another new food.  If you feel that there are other foods that you want to try and reintroduce, keep following this pattern.  Remember though, there is no rush to bring foods back in.
Like we have said many times, EVERYTHING you eat should move you in the direction of better health.  Be honest with your food choices.

Hopefully you all have had an enjoyable, eye-opening experience on this journey – I know I am continually inspired and impressed by the tenacity and positive improvements that some have you have relayed to me.  Keep them coming!  I would love to hear from all of you – either privately (email, conversation, text) or through the forum – about your obstacles and successes with the Whole 30.  Thanks.

Recipe Updates

28 Oct

Sorry for the lack of posting, but as many of you know, I recently moved, and have been inundated with trying to unpack and make my new home all my own.  So…here are a few recipes from recent Wednesday night meetings.

Pre- & Post-Workout Snacks


Smoked Salmon with Avocado on Veggie Rounds

2-3 oz. Smoked Alaskan Salmon (most likely will find Sockeye at the grocery store)

Make sure that the only ingredients are salmon, salt, and smoke

1/4 avocado

Sliced eggplant or cucumber

To assemble, smear some of the avocado onto the veggie round and place salmon on top.

These can be made in advance, or just put together as you need them.  Remember that a pre-workout snack should be mostly protein and/or fat, but in smaller portions than a full meal.  It is really intended to prepare the body for exercise with a hormonal stimulus freeing up fatty acids to fuel your workout.


Quick Pickled Curry Carrots

Slice carrots into coins or sticks and place in a sealable container.  In a separate bowl, mix together salt, curry powder, fresh ground black pepper, powdered ginger, and mustard powder.  The exact amounts you use depend on your tastes, but make sure that you have plenty of salt.  This is what produces the “pickling” of the carrots.  Mix 3 parts vinegar (I like to use apple cider vinegar) and 1 part water together in the bowl with the spices.  Pour mixture over the carrots, enough to cover them.  Seal the container and refrigerate for at least an hour.  The longer the carrots stay in the refrigerator, the more pickled they will become.  Other firm vegetables – beets, cauliflower – can be used in place of carrots.

Sweet Potato Chips

Wash and peel sweet potatoes.  Slice as thinly as possible – a mandolin works really well here.  Grease a sheet pan with coconut oil and spread potato chips out on the tray.  In a small dish, heat coconut oil until it is melted.  Pour over the potato chips just enough to coat.  Sprinkle any seasonings (MSG-free) on the chips that you like.  Place tray in a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees and cook until desired doneness, about 30-40 minutes.  If you like, you can flip the chips halfway through and season again.  This will make them crispier as well.

Post-workout snacks should be a combination of carbohydrate and protein, with minimal fat.  These two options can be combined with more of the smoked salmon (no avocado this time) or with other protein on hand.  


And in case you were on the fence about choosing organics, here is a great article from the Organic Consumers Association.

Best take away: Organic foods are nutritionally dense compared to foods produced with toxic chemicals, chemical fertilizers, and GMO seeds.

Why You Don’t Need Machines in Your Workout

28 Oct

The contestants on The Biggest Loser work hard. They spend the majority of their day in the gym working with very talented personal trainers. For a brief period their life is focused around losing weight. We all know that just isn’t how it works in the real world though.

Even if we could have access to such a phenomenal gym and experienced trainers, sometimes exercise machines just do not translate well into real world fitness. And honestly, you do not need machines to complete an effective workout. The Biggest Loser actually proved that in season 11 when they brought in two new trainers who had more experience with mixed martial arts, CrossFit, and boxing than they did with fancy treadmills and cable equipment. The teams who worked in the non-traditional, no machines setting actually seemed to have better weight loss and strength results than those who stuck with treadmills and machines.

There are several reasons machines don’t translate well into real world fitness. First, they are designed to isolate muscle groups rather than work the body as a unit.  This can lead to muscle imbalances and potential injuries if agonist and antagonist muscle groups are worked evenly.

Second, exercise machines rarely allow you to move at a speed that motions occur in the real world.  Upper slow movements have low carryover to activities of daily living.

Third, exercise machines typically lock you into one movement plane. For example, leg extensions allow you to lift your leg at the knee up and down. That may be fine as part of a rehab program, but for real world fitness you’d perform walking lunges with trunk rotation side to side.  This would give you a more dynamic multi-plane movement.

Other limitations of exercise machines are:

Complete home gyms can cost several hundred to a few thousand dollars. The alternatives to home exercise equipment are much less expensive.

Exercise machines take up a lot of space. This is especially important factor to consider if you live in a small place. Even models that slide under the bed need to be slid out and set up somewhere. While we can all dream, not everyone’s “real world” includes an extra room in their house dedicated to fitness equipment.

Exercise machines don’t travel well. You can’t just pop your Buff Body 3000 into your suitcase and head out on a business trip. Real world fitness needs to work for you, not against you. Since you can’t take your machine with you, you might not work out. There’s no reason to make travel harder than it has to be. Creating and keeping fitness routine that can go on the road with you will make it more likely you actually follow through on it when you are out of town. Many people who travel regularly prefer to use bands and sneakers to get their workouts in. Even the hand weights get left at home in these days of overweight luggage fees. Exercise bands are extremely light weight, come in several different levels of resistance, and can even be tucked into your sneakers to save space in your luggage.

Finally, if you are short on time, exercise machines won’t help you get through your workout as quickly as other types of fitness equipment. You will need to stop between each exercise to reconfigure your machine. These pauses in your workout every 1-2 minutes really kill the effectiveness of your workout. The ideal workout keeps going and never lets you bring your heart rate below your personal baseline. You just can’t accomplish this with an exercise machine.

If you want an effective workout that is easy to duplicate whether you are home or traveling, then ditch the machines and look for fitness tools that actually work in real world fitness.

Want Faster Results – Hire a Personal Trainer

28 Oct

Note: If you are working out at FIT in Los Altos, I realize you already have a personal trainer or you are participating in CrossFit. This post is meant for the individuals interesting in hiring a personal trainer that may have found us online.

Faster Results

Personal trainers are certified fitness personnel trained to work with clients for faster results in achieving their fitness goals. Personal trainers can work as instructors, but they are much more than just that as they have the ability to create personalized workout routines for the client from that client’s health report, physical assessment, and personal goals.

If you want to lose weight or just trim down a little and stay fit, it is possible to do so working on your own. But if you are looking for faster results, hiring a personal trainer would be the best course of action for you. Aside from creating a personalized workout routine for you, a personal trainer will also teach you how to correctly do the exercises in the routine. This is really important because many times, doing the exercises the right way can be challenging unless you are first shown how to.

If a personal trainer gives you cookie cutter exercise and leaves you to your own devices, it is time to change personal trainers. A personal trainer should help you travel the fastest and healthiest route to the results that you are seeking. This is possible because they have been trained to know what specific exercises will work on your problem areas. Therefore if you have particular challenges when it comes to achieving your fitness goals, your personal trainer should be able to find a quick solution to those challenges and coach you towards faster results.

Another advantage of a personal trainer is that they can work on your motivation. Regardless of what anyone tells you, you are the only person capable of meeting your fitness goals. You need to have the right motivation to keep on working if you are to achieve the kind of results you want to achieve and that is where a personal trainer comes in. it is very easy to lose motivation when you have to stick to the same thing consistently; a personal trainer will encourage you and help you find the motivation you need to keep at it. There are several ways through which personal trainers motivate their clients and one of those is through constant progress monitoring. There is nothing that can motivate a person as completely as seeing real progress made through your effort.

If you are wondering why it is taking you so long to see the results you desire, it is probably because you have been training on your own. Although that is not a problem in itself, the truth is that you might be spending valuable time doing exercises that are wrong for you. Hiring a personal trainer will ensure that any time you spend working out is directly targeted towards getting those results you want to see, and at a faster rate.

Group Personal Training

28 Oct

There is something about sharing an experience which makes it special. This applies to everyday life and to special occasions but it also applies to your fitness training. Sharing the experience with a few people makes your fitness training something you can look forward to each week and has a way of building relationships. There are many reasons why group personal training is all the rage amongst fitness enthusiasts. It has become the perfect solution for a lot of fitness needs and comes with a lot of advantages.

Although visiting your local gym and health club to use the equipments is beneficial to your health, working out solo comes with a lot of challenges. One of the challenges associated with working out on your own is that it is very easy to hit a plateau and lose motivation. The best way to workout efficiently is to have a workout routine that is customized for you through the help of a personal trainer. That way you are sure that each workout is designed to get you closer to your fitness goals. The problem with this is that for many people, affording a personal trainer is not that easy as the fee for a personal trainer can be a bit on the high side. The solution to this is group personal training.

Group personal training allows you to train with the benefit of a personal trainer but without shouldering the cost of one. This is because the cost is split by all the members of the group. So you get the attention from a personal trainer and individualized instructions as well while paying a fraction of what you might have paid had you engaged that personal trainer all on your own.

Another advantage is that with group personal training, you get the added motivation from the energy which comes from a group of likeminded people. Seeing others with similar goals as you regularly encourages you to keep working out. When working out solo there are expectations you might have pertaining your progress which when they do not occur can kill your enthusiasm. One problem most people have when working out is setting unrealistic goals. What a group personal training experience will do for you is that you will see people like you progressing at the same of a similar rate to you and this will help keep you grounded. You can measure your progress against the progress of others in the group and know that you are progressing naturally.

If you have a large group of friends and family, you can persuade them to make up your group and that way, you are amongst people whom you feel comfortable with. This gives you an emotional support group as you move towards achieving your fitness goals.

Deciding on group personal training is good for your emotional, physical and economical wellbeing. You get to save money while achieving your fitness goals in an environment of support and encouragement. It is therefore not a surprise that group personal training is all the rage.

November Event Updates

26 Oct

As November inches closer, we want to first wish everyone a very happy (or scary) and safe Halloween!  Stop by FIT on Monday for a bit of a fright (or good laugh) as your trainers attempt to join in on the halloween fun.

By now, you have probably received an email, viewed a post, or have seen a poster smiling back at you at FIT – Mark your calendars for Thursday, November 10th @ 6:30pm for a screening of the movie, HAPPY. Don’t forget to RSVP to so we can be sure to have a seat for you!

SIGN UP NOW for the workshop,  Play As A Mindfulness Practice, presented by Mushtaq Ali Al Ansari onSaturday, November 5. Details below.

Play As A Mindfulness Practice: Break a Sweat, Have Fun, and Experience Reality!  Presented by Mushtaq Ali Al Ansari

Throughout most of humanity’s history we did not learn our most essential skills in a formal environment. We learned from watching the people with the skills we needed, we learned from stories passed down through the generations, and we learned through play. Play is perhaps the most universal form of learning we have.

This workshop will address play as learning in the service of mindfulness. Mindfulness means being awake and present to what is given in this moment. Through the use of simple, traditional games of pre-Columbian origin we will work to recreate an environment that supports full body learning. We will attempt to create together an environment that is reflective of our hunter-gatherer ancestors and use the games they played to learn to be in the world.

Interwoven with the games will be breath practice, awareness techniques, and mindfulness practice that will elevate the game play to a new level for the participants.

Come prepared to sweat, run, jump, learn to use the lance as a game tool, cooperate, compete and generally have a blast exploring a very active form of practice.

Prerequisites: 1+ month(s) of prior physical training.  Can run without pain or injury.  Adults and mature youth open to learning and having fun!

Perfect for:

  • a fun and engaging way to stay looking sexy and healthy
  • learning to meditate for stress relief but don’t have the patience or desire to sit quietly for long periods
  • exercising without having it feel like exercise (using games to play and be active)
  • active way to play/spend time with friends and/or family members

Date and Location:

Sat., Nov. 5, 2011

10 AM-12 PM

McKenzie Park (Grass field. Follow signs for playground/restrooms.  Parking and Restrooms available.)

707 Fremont Ave, Los Altos, CA 94024


About the Presenter: Mushtaq Ali Al Ansari

Mushtaq has lived a varied and fascinating life of martial adventure, forays of fitness and earthquakes of awakening. He has a background in Martial Arts, being the senior-most instructor of Pencak Silat Satria Naga. He is expert in Ericksonian Model Hypnosis having taught the modality for many years. He has trained extensively in Abhedha Trika, Advaita Vedanta and Sufism. He is considered one of the more innovative commentators on the Yoga Sutras. He runs popular functional fitness programs, including classes in minimalist/barefoot running, based on his experience with martial arts and indigenous cultures.

His skill in working both in groups and one on one, makes him a popular instructor in the physical, emotional and spiritual arenas. From spiritual and philosophical counseling to training with kettlebells, sticks and knives, Mushtaq keeps things interesting, and is an effective agent for those seeking greater well-being and encounters with reality.

Privates or Semi-Privates:

On a limited first come first serve basis Mushtaq will be conducting privates or semi-privates during his trip to the SF Bay Area from Sat.,Oct.29-Sun.,Nov.6 at a sliding scale cost of $90-110 per 60 min. session for 1:1 privates and $65-75 for 1:2 semi-privates per hour. Mushtaq can conduct privates on any of the subject matters mentioned in his bio.

Almost to the End

25 Oct

While we’re getting ready for the end of the Whole 30, I wanted to remind everybody about our final meeting this Wednesday evening at 7pm.

Where: 1133 Miguel Avenue Los Altos (off of Fremont)

When: 7pm

What: Please bring a Whole 30 approved dish that can serve 4-6.  This can be a main dish, side, salad, or even appetizer; just something for all of us to share and enjoy.


Also, I came across this article about how to get your children to eat more vegetables.  Big tips from the article:

  • Set a good example for your kids.  “…they are watching us and learning all the time, although they’ll never admit it.”
  • Have your kids get involved in the preparing of veggie casseroles, side dishes, main dishes, salads, etc. Have them flip through a vegetable cookbook and a recipe that looks appetizing.
Hope that helps in this last week, and don’t forget to come share a meal with us this Wednesday.

Whole 30 Dinner Meeting

23 Oct

I hope things are going well for everybody so far; 3+ weeks through the Whole 30!  How is everyone feeling?  Just wanted to shoot everybody a quick reminder that our last weekly meeting will be this Wednesday, October 26th, at 7pm.  We will be discussing dinner options, as well as other questions that have come up through the last several weeks.

For this week, though, we are asking that everyone bring one of their favorite dishes.  This could be something that was a go-to quick fix on a busy week night, or something more elaborate that you experimented with.  Either way, whatever you fix will surely be delicious.  Keep on the lookout for another announcement about where this dinner will be held.

Good luck heading into the last week.  And don’t forget to share your experiences for others to read.

It is the little things that make us happy…

19 Oct

In light of the upcoming screening of the movie Happy on Thursday, November 10th @ FIT,  I’ll be sharing a weekly “happy post”….observations, definitions and/or happy experiences.

Many are on a lifelong quest to find happiness – I believe instead of searching and hunting, we need to do more creating.

We often try to define what makes us happy – Not everything needs a concrete definition – it can place constrictions and restraints on something that has potential to constantly change.

Instead of searching and hunting, describing and defining – STOP – look in front of you, around you, maybe even behind you because as you are searching, hunting, describing and defining you could be missing out on some of the littlest things that can and would lead to that happy feeling you are on the hunt for.

FITBuddies’ is a group that constantly reminds me that it’s the little things that can make you happy.  They remind me that we all can have our own definition and ideas of what makes us happy but together we can create a entirely different kind of happy.

Kristen completes her warm up and cheers like she has won an olympic gold medal.

Jeremy says his goal is to make people happy every day at starbucks as he greets them at the door.

If you are really in need of a definition of happiness, come meet Spencer!

But it’s the little things, like Bowling on a Tuesday as a group, that make us all happy….

Weekly Whole 30

19 Oct

Come one, come all!  To the Whole 30 Weekly Meeting!

This week we will be discussing what and when to eat with regards to your workout.  We will have some pre-workout, as well as post-workout snacks.  Come armed with questions and a hungry appetite.