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January 11th, 2008

Well, hello 2008! Got your new years resolutions on track?

What’s new?

Steve Pavlina starts up a diet 100% raw (vegan) for 30 days. It sure is interesting to follow. Some great meal ideas + photos/entertainment in there.

Gyminee provides free work-out ideas, nutrition facts & sheets + some sort of social network.

The fit show is on Joost!

Reduced fat vs. Low fat. Something you should know.

Low fat means a product contains 3g of fat or less per serving, and 30% or less of total calories.

Reduced fat, on the other hand, refers to a product’s claim to contain at least 25% less fat than the original version. This does not mean that the reduced fat version is low fat.


Tips to get a lovely 6 pack

August 30th, 2007

Here are a few tips to get the lovely 6 pack abdominals.

I personally had it for about 3 weeks then decided that it was impacting too much on my lifestyle. So I let go. Later on, I found a consistent way to get it back. It takes about 3 weeks to get there and it’s tough to maintain, but doable. That you’re planning a pool party or beach days, having a goal is a great motivational help.

There are basically two things to work on to get the six pack. I think that the gut is the hardest part to keep at the top. It’s easy to bulk up shoulders, chest or arms, but much harder to define them. The six pack requires both muscle growth and chiseling. That’s tough. You could do heaps of abs work-out and never see them, because of that constant layer around your belly.

Here is my way of getting it. Please note that it works for me, and certainly can help you. However you might have adjustments to do based on your age, your body type, your activity, etc.

Increase cardio exercises

In order to reduce body fat percentage, I will switch my normal 3 times a week weight-training to a 1 time a week weight, 2 times cardio+abs training.

I’m between ectomorph and mesomorph, so I don’t require a lot of cardio.

Increase water and green tea intake

Green tea is known to help fat loss, so for 3 week I just forget about coffee or other types of drinks and I only have green tea and water. Heaps of water. At work I have a 1.5L bottle that I refill twice a day, that gives me 3L of water (plus the tea) down the pipe during my 8 hours at work. It’s easy to condition myself to drink while working, much harder at home. I notice that I drink less during week-ends for example.

Drinking more suddenly bulks up the belly a bit, but it’s all good.

I drop carbs to once a day

This is radical and as the title says “I” drop carbs. I don’t recommend it. Please, pretty please, note that dropping carbs is not a long term solution, it’s a short term one. Applied to a long period, it might lead to health problems. Issues can be lack of energy, bones/joints issues at older age, and muscles reducing themselves to survive that period. Yes you look leaner, no it’s not a good solution. Dropping carbs in my previous articles, even with warning, always brought a lot of comments. This explains why I put a massive warning sign.

I drop carbs to once a day for 3 weeks. I do feel a bit shaky at times, I just drink more water and eat some cashew nuts. We have a chicken shop nearby (I want to emphasize FREE-RANGE) so I get a quarter of a chicken for lunch, take the skin off and eat with a bit of french mustard, for the taste. No carbs at dinner, much more fruits during the day and protein shakes to boost the ratio protein vs. carbs. Tuna salad is also a great lunch.

Remember that fat level is lowered as well, and if I eat a fatter meal, it’s at lunch.

Reduce meal size

Split lunch and dinner into two meals each. From 3 meals that gives you 5. The reason for doing this is to get the stomach less bulky, also will have to work less, but most of the time. If you keep feeding it at slow pace all day, the stomach will reduce size accordingly and adapt to this new regime. I feel hungry the first few days of doing this, and I use ical to remind me to eat. I just hang in there with water and eat the same amount, spread out.

Sleep longer

Sleeping in every day that I can helps reduce fat. It’s been written in many articles that sleeping 10+ hours stretch gets you leaner. It’s true, at least for me. Because you don’t have any intake for 10-12 hours, your body still functioning (yes, differently), it consumes much more. This is debatable as an actual reason of getting leaner, but having a nasty lifestyle and rhythm sure don’t help!

You have to be motivated and consistent to get it. It is harder the first time simply because you are not convinced that you can achieve it! The second time is much easier. Self-discipline, as for everything you get into, is the key.

Having build up muscles previously helps a lot. Because your body muscle mass is bigger, the idle consumption of calories on a daily basis is much higher from the start. The lower your muscle mass (and it’s lower than you think), the less calories you should eat! That can be pretty hard. That’s why I can’t do anything but recommend weight training. It changed my life. I will talk more about that in the future.

I hope this helps. Now I wonder, what are your tips?

Geek living: the two secrets and 4 steps to a successful diet

August 15th, 2007

Coming up with a diet is easy. You will find plenty of diets around the web, in magazines. Some of them are soft, radical, easy or hard to follow, etc.

But really, the hard part is sticking to this change. Change is good, but most of us fight against it, even subconsciously.

I remember trying to achieve my goals about 5 years ago. I was totally convinced that my body was genetically written one way and I was doomed for the rest of my life.

Enters self-convincing and self-discipline.


So the first key is: accept change. Tell yourself, I don’t like it the way it is now, and this is going to change.

The same way that you talk to yourself, we all do it. So just affirm it, vocally. Everyday. Constantly remember it.

This sort of new-age crap-o-scary stuff is hard to believe but it does work. Most people who are overweight see themselves as fat. Believe it or not, they might lose 5 pounds in a week, but they will just gain it all back! Why? Because they see themselves fat! Only that fact works against them.

The same way that you end up where you look on a motorbike, you end up as you see yourself. You are basically reaffirming to your subconscious the direction to take. Who do you think powers your arms, legs, lungs repeatedly while you are busy thinking? Yes, your subconscious runs most of your body.

So a big key to success is changing your own image, from yourself. You have to see yourself better, literally. It’s hard for someone overweight to picture him/herself fit, but it’s not that hard to picture improvement and visualize it.

First you need to believe in yourself that you are going to change and you are doing to do it, one way.


The second part is self-discipline. You need to stick to the plan. Surely, you are going to have hard days ahead, but that’s when you need to reaffirm yourself this very simple fact: things have changed and you are different now.

We all have these moments: “oh yes but it has been such a hard day, I deserve a treat”. No! Why? Because that doesn’t help you, rather the opposite. It’s self-agravation.

Self-discipline comes from within. You can teach it to yourself. It’s basically: how much do you really want to change? Because if you’re not serious about it, forget it. Get serious. Time to do it. Now. Today is better than yesterday, and tomorrow will be better than today.

So, how to stick to the plan?

Time to put the abstract in real life.

This apply to nearly everything that you are trying to achieve.


Every time you go to bed, just remember what your goals are and reaffirm them. Don’t focus on the non-resulting “now”, stay positive and focus ahead. Read the work of Émile Coué if you need a little help. His theories are great.


Set up reminders in ical or google calendar or your phone to constantly remind you to stick to the plan and stay on track.

I used to have that to stick to my 6 meals a day plan. It brings you back on track. Having a strong routine and sticking to it helps the body regulate the input/output much better.

So when it pops up, just don’t think: act, right away.


Allow cheating! This might sound like counter-effective, but in fact it helps.

You see, the body works with momentum, if you have 6 great days and a 7th terrible one, it won’t affect the direction your body is taking. That’s the beauty.

So yes, once a week, feel free to go totally backwards and enjoy yourself. Be sure to stick to self-discipline to not do it more than once a week!

I found out that if go full-on on a diet as of ‘now’, it’s really sad. First, it’s like giving up all the things you like, you get that good-bye feeling, horrible. Second, it’s not a long term plan. You will be on it for about 2 months, maybe a bit more if you are strong, and then boom, jumping backwards. Too hard. And you’re right, it is!

Yes, it’s not as efficient as sticking to it 100% of the time, but realistically, you’ve got to be HAPPY. I prefer a 85% working diet than a 100% failing one.


To be successful you have to bargain on the diet you are getting on. It’s like a gym program. Your first one is always easy and boring. But when you get started, it’s hard!

So adapt the ultimate plan you are after to something more livable in the first day. Adaptation is a key. If you are used to have coke everyday, you can’t just drop it tomorrow. Gradually drop it, count down. Keep some kind of agenda if it helps you.


You will be on a successful diet:

  • by reaffirming it constantly, you change yourself inside-out
  • by remembering, you help yourself to stick to the plan
  • by allowing cheats, you go easy on yourself - you are who you are for many reason
  • by making it work for you, because a lifestyle that doesn’t work is hell

I am nothing about a magic diet, I am all about change. Diet has an important part in life, whatever the medias make you think. But a diet, is not part of life, it’s a fashion. You get on a diet, and you drop off it. It just won’t work.

What works is not dieting, but it’s changing your habits. It’s about working towards an efficient lifestyle that is healthy, that keeps you social and happy. That’s what it’s about. It requires knowledge, discipline and belief.

So, Changing lifestyle habits: yes. Super-awesome-magazine diet: NO.

I haven’t covered the “knowledge” part in this post, but I will definitely get on to it in the future. Many websites already provide valuable information about healthy food, right? So it’s not my biggest priority.

Geek living: 4 Healthy snacks to have in front of your screen (and a drink)

August 12th, 2007

TV and computers aren’t the reason for obesity. It’s the lack of physical activity and nutrition that cause it.

Snacking is natural. You’ve got to eat a bit between meals. Eating 3 massive meals a day is far worse than smaller meals and smart snacking.

Here are my 4 healthy snacks that I have in front of my screen(s).

Go Nuts

Nuts are a great source of energy. You can snack them during the day, they don’t get your hands dirty and they taste lovely.

Pros of nuts:

  • boost energy and immune system
  • work against heart diseases (as much as 35% improvement)
  • puts your brain in a more relaxed state
  • thus, work against depression

Cons of nuts:

  • only have a handful a day. You don’t need to swallow them by the dozen, take your time and enjoy their taste.
  • avoid peanuts. They’re the fattest nuts and they really are not worth it. I usually have cashew nuts. Toasted, unsalted, that’s the way I love them. Also walnuts, pecans…

Too many nuts will convert to fat. They are however, an excellent source of protein and good fat.

Yes, nuts are high in fat but they contain high levels of healthy fats that are known to have heart-protective benefits.

Rice crackers

Rice crackers are healthy (assuming you pick the right ones),

Pros of rice crackers:

  • 10% or more dietary fibre.
  • they are really light, yet they cut hunger
  • they taste delicious?

They’re those slices of inflated corn or rice, like a galette of popcorn. You find them stacked in a cylinder bag.

Always watch the ingredients when buying them, and as everything, don’t be afraid of comparing with similar products. I usually get the multigrain ones and the light ones, which are yummy.

You can put low-fat slices of cheese on them. Personally, I prefer them naked. It’s instant to eat that way.

Make sure you get them gluten free (GMO free), with the minimum of ingredients. Stay away from taste improvers or such…

Tea to replace coffee

Coffee addiction has been for me a real issue. I had about 4-5 a day, sometimes more if I had tight deadlines. It helps you focus and gets you going, there is also something about the taste right? Yum… need coffee… need moo…re.

Note that coffee is great for you. If you have it strong, black, with no sugar. The caffein will not only boost your brain, but as most people don’t know, it also boosts all the organs in the body. What do you think that fat burners are made of? (= incredible amounts of caffein).

As I know it’s not all that good, I wanted to switch for something like green tea. Green tea has its advantages such as antioxidants and protects against cancers such as lung cancer. My first approach to green tea was disgusting, it was like hot water with sour taste. That won’t work!

Anyway, over time I learnt to cut the addiction by having one coffee in the morning, as it’s the best of the day right? In the afternoon, I’d have 2 teas.

I tried many different types of teas, and really the ones that have worked for me are the non-english ones. Aka. Camomile tea imported from India, green tea from Japan, and Oolong Tea from China. Getting the import ones is vital. That’s when you really get to taste different tea.

Camomile tea in the afternoon/evening is a bliss, it really relaxes me and helps me focus.


I think fruits reputation is not to be rewritten. We all know they are a great source of vitamins, reduces risk of cardiovascular diseases, cancer and cholesterol. It also helps slow down the aging process!

Avoid grape fruits as it’s more sugary than all the others. Stuff like banana is just great, you can keep it next to your screen, you look healthier already. Also it’s a great fruit because it doesn’t get your hands dirty. Your keyboard will thank you.

To pick great fruits, go to the nearby market. Supermarket fruits are always too old, too modified. I usually rock up at the market at the last hour, that way you get all the clearance and get bananas at 50 cents a kilo. They often unroll their last boxes as well so you definitely get the freshest!

Also get orange juice that is 100% natural: ie. ‘ingredients’ says: 100% orange juice. That’s great for breakfast on the go.


Olives is the reason why I live. I am totally addict of great olives, like some would be of great wines. I have about 500g a week. Seriously.

Anyway, I worked out over time that olives are the perfect replacements for biscuits or chips, even in front of the screen. Olive oil is one of the healthiest fat, also one of the best source of monounsaturated fat, antioxidants and helps against the heart diseases.. Stomach loves it. Spanish research also shown that it helps against certain types of cancer, such as colon cancer.

That’s it for now.

Oh, and if you really crave for your nasty snack, just make sure you have it, but have only ONE. One cookie, one chips, one anything. Research show that it’s the taste and the smell that drives us to bad food. So just satisfy your needs, and move on!

Preventing yourself from anything you like will eventually fail you. At some point, you are going to dive backwards into what-you-miss-so-much. This tip is a million dollar tip: just have one, and put the bag away before you eat it!

Shoot what you think are healthy snacks as comments! (And please, don’t say dried fruits, or sultanas!)

Geek living: 8 easy things you can do to lose fat

August 5th, 2007

As I discussed this in my (upcoming) manifesto: “geek living”, here are direct steps you can take to get leaner quickly.

  • Drop sodas forever
    Sodas are the enemy number one of this society. Drop it and your GI will get lower instantly. This will change the direction your body is taking and will reduce the amount of food converted to fat. If you are addicted to soda or have cravings, make sure you have only one in the morning, and once every two days. Gradually drop to once a week until you are happy without them. They are the pest of our century and are the main reason of people looking unhealthy.

  • Drop fast-food forever
    Fast food are bloody expensive! They are the typical solution to an unorganized geek. Get organized at your next shopping day and make sure you don’t need it anymore. If you really like the taste and are addicted. Make sure you get what you like once a week only, and at lunch! That way, your addiction will fade away softly.

  • Drop sugary food to only once a week
    Cakes, chocolate bars and such are also raising your GI and making your flubber shine. Don’t cut them off entirely of your life. For starters, it’s nearly impossible to do, second you will find that once a week is just enough!

  • Drop carbs at dinner
    Carbs are easily put to use by the body during the day. At night, they sit in your stomach and as you go asleep they will be more likely to be converted to fat. Carbs are converted to energy, which is used in your daily life. Unlike models, don’t drop carbs entirely or you will have serious issues at 50. Instead, reduce the carbs intake at dinner, as it won’t sit in your stomach all night. Carbs include pasta, potatoes, rice and bread. Also check the labels of whatever you’re eating at dinner to find out how much carbs it contains.

  • Eat dinner earlier
    This simple fact will allow you to digest better, and sleep better. If your body is able to process dinner before bed time, much less will sit there all night and turn into fat.

  • Get physically active twice a week
    Sport is good. Any sport. From boxing to table-tennis. It makes you move, and that’s good for you. We live in a society that doesn’t make good use of our bodies. We’ve never moved so little. We travel by sitting, we work by sitting, we relax by sitting. This is just bad and it’s only getting worse. Find what you like and get involved.

  • Sleep more
    In our fast paced life, sleep is a very underestimated asset. Good sleep makes you more focussed. It also helps the body recover and then get to work on itself. It takes about 7-8 hours for the body to recover, then after that it only starts to build and focus on what needs improvement. You can’t really get any better if you don’t sleep properly. Why do you think that babies sleep so much?

  • Increase protein intake
    Imagine a balance. To lose weight or get leaner, you will need to raise the amount of protein intake. It’s a very simple ratio: more protein than carbs in a day, and you get leaner. As bloody simple as it sounds. However, this is a hard task as carbs are everywhere, but decent intakes of protein are rare.

Finally: WHY should you bother?

Well it’s really simple. By looking better, you also get more lovable. People like someone who looks good. You can fight society or choose to be come a part of it. Your body is this interface that you carry around and it represents YOU. Whatever you do, it’s you. It’s time to take a hard look in the mirror and face the fact that you need to be living in society as a part of it. A leaner body will also increase your confidence and therefor your chances of success in whatever you’re trying to achieve. And finally, you will feel better.

Subscribe to this blog as we will explore all that can be done to improve your health and your physique, the geeky way.