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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Updates! Changes! News!

OK! So let me jump right in to this blog post.....lots of news and items to tackle for you all....

1. I am no longer doing the August 20th fitness contest as planned. I spoke long and hard with my "go to guy" who gives me an outside eye and no BS reply to my readiness for these shows. He feels I am about 8-10lbs too small in the upper body to be worthy of a top 5 placing in an NPC caliber level show that gets large turn outs every year in my class. I cannot argue his point. I now weigh 9lbs more then I did at my last contest prep at 8 weeks out so I figured I was sitting ahead of the game. Powerlifting has a funny way of making you stronger, denser but not bigger in a visual way I guess.

1.5. I want to make it clear how pricy this sport can be for newbies and others looking to compete. I ran the numbers for the show prep from now till show day and it came out to be right around $1800 for direct cost of 18 weeks of meals, supplements, my NPC card, show reg fee, hotel stay, tanning and gas to and from the venue. This is actually low in most cases. Add in additional hotel nights, flights, meal prep delivery service for an out of town or out of state show......$2k+ would be an easy bill. This is why sponsors and edorsers are SOO huge for athletes in this sport. Sponsors DO NOT make an athlete money! Not in 90% of cases beyond IFBB pros anyway. They simply help the athlete break even from show cost, nothing more. Many athletes aspiring for sponsors think they will make bank by landing one.....not the case folks!

That being said and accepting I need to do a later show this fall to have more time to add the 8-10lbs in my upper body, I am aiming for the Oct 29th Ferrigno Legacy NPC contest in Ranch Mirage, CA. This gives me about 8 weeks to gain some size, and 8 weeks to lean out by show day. Lofty goal, tight timeline but very possible if I don't let a single day slip by.

2. I just did my first obstacle course race in over a year which I love doing! I did about 5 of them prior to the year hiatus and loved each one. This one was the Gladiator Rock N Run 10k Super. I took 9th in my heat and 11th overall out of 93 men in the 10k division. Time was 1:07, not too shabby for a guy who does 0 long distance training. I teach spin and run track sprints a few times week and that is all! All the rest of my time as you all know by now is in the gym with the steel and iron! The funny part about doing that race is that after it finished about 12 noon, despite eating a big breakfast, a decent after run snack/shake, I was starving every 2-3 hours after that until I went to bed! I eat almost 4000 calories a day as is and even that was not enough to keep me full for long on race day! I was nearing supernova metabolism I swear!

3. Sunday I did my weigh in as I do every Sunday morning to gauge my progress and changes in weight. I was a shocking 191.4lbs! I was 195.4lbs last week! I ate more this past week since I went back to lean mass gaining objectives vice cutting down with the new show date change. How I lots 4lbs in a week when eating more blows my mind. I blame the darn race and my super sensitive ectomorph genes that respond to any endurance training x10 fold. This was not the direction I hoped to see the scale move lets say.

4. With prep going otherwise very well to this point and an new outcome to work for with the Oct show now starred on my calendar as well as a new gym to train at! Yes thats right! I for the first time in 3 years have decided to defer my default gym from 24 hour fitness and/or the base gyms which I still use weekly, to the mecca of physique athletes in San Diego....World Gym baby! I got myself a 3 month membership and after just a week of training their I am in LOVE! The vibe, the people, the equipment, the old schoolness, the trophies, posters, pictures all over the gym make you feel part of a cause, a movement, a lifestyle, a family of fitness and health, discipline and success. Hard to really explain but you feel it when your there, its something I have not seen or felt since I trained back at Fords Gym in Madison, WI years and years ago where all big time powerlifters of Bill Kazmair's day trained frequently.

These shots are from this Sunday morning where I am 191, 9.5% body fat (obtained via a 10 site SKULPT Chisel assessment)

Arms, traps and calves need to be bigger at my height and frame. Only way in hell I am going to be good enough to compete with physiques the other NPC caliber guys will bring to the stage as well. Getting leaner has NEVER been a problem for me.....this is as "fat" as I get all year. Gaining muscle size and KEEPING it are the hard part for me with my job, my build and my cursed fast metabolism.

One last thing for you all.....I am trying to and enjoying the new SnapChat thing quite a bit I must say, gives cool short daily insights and views to my life and what I do etc....feel free to follow me at username SDNAVYFITGUY to keep up with me.

And of course, I cannot end a post with out some awesome food shots so here are some homemade grubs from this weeks eats! Enjoy!

post workout pineapple teriyaki bowl

pre workout spiced chicken/rice/veg bowl and fruit

a way super grill out night! (mahi mahi)

my new favorite "triple threat" before bed muscle meal potion!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Lets Go Greek!

After the endless amount of fried food and calorie bomb stream of fair foods from the last blog post I figured it was a good idea to swing the pendulum back the other way with some content that was more on the healthy side of things. So today's Better Bite" feature deals with my one of my all time staple foods year round........Greek Yogurt!

I have been using Greek yogurt in my meals and in my baking recipes for a long time now. It is one of the most versatile food items one can have as I see it......considering the basic form, plain, non fat you can use it in any of the following ways:

  • Mix in spices like cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, cocoa, pumpkin pie spice etc
  • Mix in flavored drink mix like Crystal Lite, Mio, Sugar Free Kool-Aid etc...
  • Freeze it to semi-solid and eat like ice cream or pudding 
  • Blend it with other dairy based items like low fat cottage cheese and/or cream cheese to use as a sub in for traditional sugar laden frosting and icing.
  • Blend it with flavored protein powders to make a power packed protein pudding or again, freeze for a bit and have some healthy high protein ice cream ready to go!
The best part about Greek Yogurt is that when looking at the plain, non fat versions, you get 2x as much protein as you do carbs (lactose/sugar) flavored types can easily rack up 20+ grams sugar mind you so be weary. Non fat versions can push 8 grams of fat a serving as well so just be mindful of the labels when buying your preferred types. 

I was at the store and wanted to see for myself which of the most common brands I buy was the best one in a side by side head on taste test. Below is the 3 brands I used and the outcomes I can draw from the tasting.

No OIKOS you ask?! I know, I know, trust me, I wanted to and planned to have a 4th brand, that being Oikos. Sadly however both of my local Vons grocery stores were out of the plain, non fat version. The Sprouts near my place does not carry Oikos either so I was SOL on that selection which was unfortunate because Oikos would have easily been a contender for top spot in my opinion. Prices listed below are what was found at Vons on Midway Drive, Point Loma, CA.

Chobani was the most tangy/tart of the three brands tested. Also the softest. This would great for best for blending in with protein powders or to bake with as it will either thicken up from the powder added to it or add moister to the baked item your making like brownies, pancakes, waffles etc. Also best used for fruit smoothies as the tang will add a nice citrus tartness to balance the fruits sweetness. Good amount of protein per 150g serving too! Cost $1.25

 FAGE despite having a name many still struggle with.....was perhaps be a thin edge, very thin edge, the thickest and creamiest of the three brands. Had the highest protein content per serving (which was 170g or 20g more than the other two mind you) but also kept the lactose/carb content as low as the other two brands (7 grams). The tartness/tang was very subtle but it is their as more of an aftertaste. This brand would be best for adding spices to and eating on its own or adding dried fruit to and then freezing semi solid as a pesudo-dessert option. Also best for blending with other dairy items to make the above mentioned "icing/frosting" replacements due to its natural thickness. Cost $1.00

 Open Nature is a brand, organic brand carried by Vons. This is the only place I have ever seen it. This happens to be the brand I get most often. One because it only cost $0.89 for a 5.3oz serving making measures easy when I need 1-3 units worth pending meal or recipe. Protein content is high, lactose content low and Open Nature like the FAGE is very thick and creamy, almost a toss up for which one was thicker than the other. The tart/tang factor also about the same between the two as I found it. This brand would be best used just like the FAGE above. The slightly cheaper cost, protein/carb ratio, tartness and portion and ease of being found at either of my two local Vons stores makes this my go to Greek Yogurt by a small margin. Cost: $0.89

One major kudos factor for all 3 brands is that they all have a very short list of ingredients. This is as import as the nutrition facts label if not more. This tells you what is actually in the product vice just numbers. All of them are composed of nothing more than grade A pasteurized non fat milk and live and active cultures (probiotic strains) and because the Greek style yogurt unlike is regular yogurt cousin is treated with lactic acid, the lactose that is present is predigested and very easy on the gut. Making these 3 brands very lactose intolerant friendly for folks like me who just cant do most other dairy items.

So with that said, I hope you now have a new insight and/or motive to try some Greek Yogurt and find a new way to get yourself  "A Better Bite."

Monday, June 20, 2016

My San Diego County Fair Debut

I did it! I have now been to the SD County Fair! After over 3 years of being a resident of this great state and living here in San Diego I made it to the fair! Past 2 years I was out at sea for ship based deployment or training and missed the whole sha-bang sadly. Not this year!

As in my prior post this visit was to not only see the fair in the big picture of things but mainly to get some good shots for my blog and for you readers to see where the best bites at the fair are and what items new this year you cant miss out on!

I must say that after having lived in now my 4th state since 2010 when I left Wisconsin, I have been in MO, WA and now CA since. I have been to fairs multiple times in every state. They do an amazing job as well. But this one here in SD is massive! Its huge! The landmass this thing takes up is impressive to say the least! I can see why this thing goes a full month in length now! Just to much to do and see in 1 or even 2 trips even if you spent all day there.

Now I cant make any personal recommendations of the foods pictured below in the slideshow link as I did not actually try any of the foods shown. Downside to being in contest dieting mode but worth it 10x over in the end. You look the shots over and you decide (its not too hard) what looks good, great or to die for. I only wish the smells could be available to you readers as well because that alone was enough to make me feel like I gained 10lbs of amazing food alone!

Slide Show

This fair is the 6th largest in North America and has over 100 food vendors within it. Safe to say you will likely get your fill(and then some) here. Just leave time between your rides and your food please! Trust me!

Something about summer time, hot sunny days, fair foods, families, rides, food staples of cotton candy, corn dogs, ice cream sundaes just feels like pure American tradition. The sights, smells, energy, laughing etc....the joy of doing something you as a child did yourself and loved to do every year. Then as an adult with your own kids you get to go do the same thing with your kids just the same and share the experience, pass it on, expose them to what makes summers in America in every state so damn awesome and fun to be part of! Maybe having missed this for 2 years straight has me all sentimental now......but boy am I glad I came out and say this one. I hope you to can have the same experience and in the process......find yourself a better bite!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Festival Fever!

This post is bit of a continuation from the last post where I mentioned several of the local food themed festivals that San Diego is so very well known for throwing each year. Some of the best on the entire west coast pending you you talk to.

Having missed every single summer and fall food festival last year due to my 7 month deployment with the USS Essex, I am that much more keen on seeking out these festivals this time around.

I recently had to pass on the Taste of Little Italy this past week, then this weekends Oyster Fest also got bypassed. Work, sports coaching duties, my own contest prep and life itself just did not align well for me to attend.

Coming up right around the corner however are several more culinary festivals of epic proportions. Here is a small list of the ones I know of now......(dates I am attending)

  1. SD County Fair (6/18)
  2. Taste of Adam Ave (not attending)
  3. The Great American Foodie Fest (7/10)
  4. Latin Food Festival (8/13)

These 3 events I plan to attend specifically so that I can feature them as future blog posts with plenty of amazing pictures and possibly........event video! I have just invested in a GoPro4 Session of which I plan to use quite often for such events those listed above to truly capture more of the live essence these festivals tend to emit.

The hardest part of these festivals is that I (5 weeks down) continue into my contest prep training and dieting for my August 20th Men's Physique contest and the photo shoot taking place the day after that. That said, I will be staying the course now through then without deviation. Once I make the call to do these contests (this is my 5th) I simply flip the switch and make the call to go all in and nail it 100% commitment or don't ever bother with it at all.

So some may ask why even bother going to these events if your not even going to try any of it? Fair question. I am sure there will be some items I can try and sample out, certainly not all of them but as with any food festival I have ever been to in my 3 years in San Diego, there is always something that can fit into any diet. I will not let my passion for unique foods, culinary history, festivals, friends and summers in San Diego take a 3 month back seat to my simple choice, my own decision to step on stage for 1 day (2 if you count the shoot the day after).

My outcome to possibly win my class (men's physique tall class) is a goal in the fitness world I have had for a long time and it means allot to me. The outcome I have, the goal I have set right now means far more to me then blowing it all at a few half day food festivals so that is where my priority least until after the show and shoot dates come to pass. And that is the big picture aspect right there. This is not a lifetime restriction law for me, its 12 short weeks of my life after which I can then return to a more normal (normal for a fitness professional) diet with more flexibility allowed.

The nice part about men's physique division is that it is all based on height, not weight, so I have no weight class to make. I simply need to make sure I look the part of what the NPC criteria lists for the division scoring. My weight historically changes about 9-10lbs during a prep period of 12 weeks in length and that's just by simple adaptation to training and diet, not by intention. The single biggest changes I make in diet when I prep for a show is to eat a little less over time, than when I normally do in the non competition season. I control what it is I eat more closely and when I eat it. So meal timing and food sources become the more locked in factor while total amount eaten is still fairly high. I eat about 4200 calories on training days in off-season and right now about 3800 calories on training days at 5 weeks into prep. I drop out my weekly cheat meal I had been doing in the off-season and I add in just a hair more cardio in the form of sprint work on the track or the spin bike. Once ever 3rd day for 30 minutes does the trick for me. Too much more and I find that my recovery suffers.

OK well this has gone long enough for now, that's what I have for you all for now. Look for more to come soon regarding the events listed above. If you too are attending any of them let me know! I would love to say hello and see how your experiences go as well!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Checking in and forecasting out

Its been a little bit since my last post so I figured it was well due time to fill everyone in with where I am with things and what is to come.

I am now just over 4 weeks into my preperations for my August 20th mens physique contest here in San Diego. Again that being the NPC Pacific USA XXII.

I am at 10.5% bodyfat and 199lbs as of this weekends last weigh in. I plan to get down to about 5-6% in the next 9 weeks time. Weight does not matter as my division goes my height, not weight. How I look matters way more then what a scale says.

I should note that I had spent 4 days in Clearwater Beach Florida from last week Wedesday through Sunday afternoon just before getting back to town as I was attending the ISSN National Conference which in my opinion was one of the most informative and best networked conferences I have ever been to! Travel however can reak havoc on peoples training and diets in many cases but not this time, not for me. I still got my workouts in (and a barefoot beach run!) and stuck to my diet about 90% as planned. I even managed to indulge in some outstanding blackened grouper and some sushi that rivals what we have here in SD. Not too shabby hey?

So now that I am back in town and in the routine of things again I have found that the single hardest part of this diet and prep is not the day to day matters as that I have come to get very used to, it has little impact on me. What does have a big impact is what San Diego does oh so well every year! What is that you ask? FOOD FESTIVALS! All year San Diego County has endless food and beer festivals covering every corner of the culinary landscape. I have attended many of them already and found them to be a delicious fiesta of endless food and drink from the best venues SD has to offer. Talk about finding a better bite!

Looking ahead I see 2 major events I have been to before but missed last summer due to deployment and now looks like I will miss this summer as well. Those two events being.....

Taste of Little Italy and SD Bacon Fest

As you can see in the links above these two events are not and should not be missed if you can help it. GO! I urge you to go and see what these are all about. Bring the family and all your friends. Make a day of it. Your ticket price is easily worth the price of admission and then some.

Could I go yet if I really wanted to? Yes of course. But why tempt and tease oneself with an arena of amazing food when you cant really have much of anything there? Seems pointless to pay anything then not enjoy what you paid for ya know?

How I see it is simple however, if one single half a day of food samples means more to me in the short term them getting on stage at a national level NPC contest and possibly winning the division and moving on to bigger shows yet then I have my goals and priorities all wrong. The show never meant enough in the first place. And let me tell you......this show means the world to me right now. After a almost 3 year hiatus from the stage......I am clawing to get back up there!

So let me close out this post with a recent picture of a homemade breakfast I whipped up just today and man was it good! What we have here is a low carb Thai stir fry with zucchini noodles, cashews, chicken, onions, peppers, egg whites and carrot. Winner in my book!

Homemade breakfast grub!

Its a ways out yet but I am also looking at my first major food festival to attend after my show and it works out perfectly! 6 days after my show is the one and only Best Of San Diego Party! 

Best part of that is that its held directly across the street from me in Liberty Station! Its like they planned it right for me to attend! I hope to see many of you their as I can garuntee you, you will find many, many better bites!

Monday, June 6, 2016

A Waffle done Protein Style!

A real quick post for all of you to take home and "chew on" and try out yourself.

You can search Instagram and Pinterest right now and find 100's and 100's of protein waffle pictures and recipes yes I know. I have looked myself. Many good, some amazing and some not so good as well. Despite all the options I have found that in my now 8 years of doing fitness at a competitive level alongside my profession and lifestyle is that 1 staple recipe of just 4 ingredients is all you need to make a basic protein waffle that can then be adjust and spruced up however your pallet and nutritional needs demand.

As pictured below these are your 4 staples. The Cellucor Whey is a brand I use most often for baking needs. It just works well, does not dry out the end product and retains all its flavor. I use other brands for other needs but for baking.....Cellucor is the right stuff IMO. (Whipped Vanilla used here).

The base recipe I make also calls for vanilla, butter and maple extract as well as a nice pinch of cinnamon and stevia. All you do as grind your oats in a food processor and mix all the dry items, then add your wet and mix well. Throw a cups worth of the mix in an electric waffle iron (cooks way faster) and let them go for about 2 minutes, 3 tops. I like mine crispy outside, fluffy inside so I push the 3 minute mark.

My recipe for my needs as a pre workout or post workout meal are as follows:

2 cups ground oats
1 cup unsweet vanilla almond milk
1 cup egg whites
1 scoop Cellucor whey
1 pack stevia
1 tsp cinnamon
2-3 drops each vanilla, maple, butter extracts
pinch of salt

This makes for 2 large and thick Belgian style waffles on a 10" diameter waffle iron. So what ya waiting for?! A Better Bite is waiting for you right now in your own home. Get busy and wolf down a healthy protein waffle! Thank me later!

Friday, June 3, 2016

Two Local Favorites

Last week my younger brother Paul came into town for his debut visit to San Diego in which he spent 5 days in the greatest city although without much sunshine sadly, he was denied the full California experience with such limited solar love we come to know so well. Despite the May gray effect we had a blast and hit up beaches, trolley tours, museums, parks, restaurants and even nailed the gym together a few times which we both cant seem to get enough of.

During his stay we hit up two of my all time favorite San Diego restaurants that most should or at least will certainly know of after this blog post. Hash House A Go Go and Souplantation.

Based on my last look at I have 8 check ins for HH and 55 for Souplantation. Mind you I live a mile away from the Point Loma Souplantation store and even closer since I often go post training just 3 blocks from the Midway 24 Hour Fitness. Furthermore is the fact that for Club Veg members of Souplantation, you get a weekly email that gives you 4-6 coupons offering $9-10 lunch deals or $10-11 dinner deals pending beverage or no beverage. You cannot find a better deal in town for the all you can eat bread bar, salad bar, soup bar, pasta bar options! All made in house from scratch and its locally sourced organic produce at that! I literally stopped buying at least 3/4  of my produce at the store as I can get all of it prepared for me ready to go in any salad design I please right there on the corner of Point Loma Blvd. If you need proof to how good this looks and how much of a value/bargin this is with the Club Veg deal......please see below....

Yeah! No joke! All this for $9 at lunch with tax and only $11.11 at dinner with tax if you use the coupons they email you weekly. They also send a weekend Sunday brunch coupon on Friday's thats good for their OUTSTANDING brunch deal......$7 for all the normal offerings plus breakfast favorites made from scratch like Belgian waffles, homemade biscuits and gravy, oatmeal, french toast, scrambled eggs and lots more. Sadly being one who does not do the what/flour thing, I never get to indulge in those items often if at all.....but hey, leaves more for you right!?

I used to be a regular at the Mission Valley-Mission Gorge Rd. store before I moved to PL. That was the original and first Souplantation that ever opened mind you! I now have Dukedom status on Yelp with more check ins then anyone else in the area......lucky me! I say this now......if these guys ever need a Jarred like Subway had......I am there guy hands down!

Next up......Hash House! I would be at this place weekly if not more so if I lived closer and the lines were not so long on weekends, much more often! I have only done breakfast twice and that was take out, even so it was outstanding and impressive. Other visits usually bring me in on a week night or Sunday night for some massive portions of farm to table goodness. No lines, never super busy, same great menu. In my visits I have tried the pancakes, french toast (perhaps best in SD IMO), the famous bacon waffle tower, the chicken sausage skillet hash and thrice I have gotten the 22oz hand hammered breaded pork tenderloin entree which to this day puts me to work every time no matter what workout I did that day, or how hungry I was coming in.Its huge!.......need a it!

22oz crispy hand hammered breaded pork tenderloin dinner! meal fit for a king.......3 of them
Yes I did finish it all.....server has not seen 1 person do that before.....booya!

Tomato Salad

My favorite.....COBB salad.

So there you have it. A glimpse of 2 of my all time personal favorite San Diego locations to find a truly Better Bite in both value at Souplantation and their many SD locations. As well as portion of which I find unmatched by just about anyone else in town. Give them each a go and tell them Josh sent you!