Getting High on Fruits and Vegetables: Real Juice & Food

You want the juice? We GOT the juice!

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What’s REAL Juice & Food?

 REAL Juice & Food emerged, because people in the community asked for it, and are continuing to support it. I, Taylor Norris, REAL Juice & Food Co-Creator, am committed to making healthy food and drinks more accessible and enjoyable in the Monroe area. I am very open to y’all’s feedback, preferences, wants, and needs in developing this brand.

Who am I?

I’m Taylor Norris, born and raised in Monroe, Louisiana. I am a holistic health coach, cleanse specialist, juice creator, raw foods chef, educator, writer, yogi, and light worker. I am currently studying at the largest nutrition school in the world, the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, to obtain certification as an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach.  You can view their Facebook page here:  Institute for Integrative Nutrition if you would like more information!

As a health coach, I guide and support clients along their health journeys by assisting them in balancing their primary foods – spirituality, career, relationships, and exercise – with their secondary food, the food that we eat. It’s wonderful, transformative, healing work. Interested in a consultation? Check out my website tayloranorris.com

How did I get into all this healthy stuff?

I grew up in Monroe, LA eating all the normal stuff. I was blessed with a momma who loves to cook, so many of my meals were prepared with fresh ingredients. That being said, I ate my fair share of pizza, ice cream, fried chicken, burgers, and French fries.

I initially got into juicing after transitioning to a vegan diet at age 22 while I was living in Johns Island, South Carolina. I was at an emotional and spiritual rock bottom, feeling depressed, hopeless, stuck, confused, and very pessimistic about life. I didn’t feel good in my body, and I had no idea how to care for it.

In 2012, I transitioned to a fully plant-based diet. I committed myself to living clean and sober, running and yoga, and began talking about my emotional problems with a wonderful therapist. At first, the results were fantastic. I lost all my excess weight, my skin cleared up, my mood improved, I was super energetic, and I felt more like myself than I had in over a decade.

But then, my life turned. At a higher level of consciousness and health, I could no longer tolerate my dysfunctional relationship and nonexistent career. A traumatic break-up and a rocky reunion with my family of origin compelled me to stuff my painful feelings. I had given up alcohol and drugs earlier in the year, so I refused to use those to cope. I turned to heavy vegan foods and was prescribed psychotropic meditation to medicate my pain.

Fortunately, I was able to step out of my misery enough to volunteer at a therapeutic horsemanship facility in Scottsdale, AZ. A man there made me a glass of fresh carrot and apple juice with his Jack LaLanne juicer. I was immediately hooked. The next day I went to Costco to buy a juicer, and began making juice just about every day.

I took my daily juicing habit to the next level after watching Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead. It’s a highly inspirational documentary on Netflix about Joe Cross, an Australian man who was obese, lethargic, and suffering from a handful of chronic illnesses. Joe only consumed fresh fruit and vegetable juice for 30 days, while touring the West to learn about the public’s eating habits. He experienced a number of health miracles and disease reversals, and I wanted a piece of that too!

I had gained a ton of weight while emotional eating and wallowing in my own psych med coma, and I knew the juice cleanse would help me reset my unhealthy habits and detox all the drugs I had been on.

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I did a 30-day juice cleanse in the summer of 2013 while working full-time as a lifeguard and camp counselor in Colorado. I was working out and running every day. I felt AMAZING and UNSTOPPABLE!

During the cleanse, I took it upon myself to learn how to eat properly once I finished the cleanse, because I wanted to retain all the amazing health benefits I had worked so hard for. I studied the work of Dr. Joel Fuhrman and other leading nutritional experts. I watched every health and food documentary I could get my eyes on.

The information I learned on my first cleanse helped set the foundation for learning to feed myself properly. I am constantly studying nutrition, holistic health, and experimenting on myself to find what works best for me. That means eating in a way that has been scientifically shown to prevent chronic illnesses and reverse the top killers of humankind, including cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s.

I’ve learned how to cleanse, and transform my habits so that the results stick and launch me into a whole new level of health and radiance!

I tweak my whole foods plant-based diet from time to time to adjust to changes in my body and my larger energetic context. I now eat a lowfat raw food diet, composed of fresh fruits and vegetables. I have never been more satisfied with a way of eating in my life! My cravings are pretty much nonexistent. I do crave okra and dark leafy greens sometimes, but there are no late night trips to the store to buy vegan ice cream, French fries, or chocolate. I have more energy than ever in my life!

I love juicing for y’all because that means there will be juice for me too, and it helps me stay on track in order to look and feel my very best so that I can be of service to the community.

I am committed to cultivating health, inspiration, and vitality in this town! Let’s transform together!

What’s in REAL Juice?

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Exclusively awesome ingredients, love, and high vibes! REAL Juice is made with fresh fruits and vegetables that are sourced from local, organic farmers as much as possible.

What do you mean by REAL?

REAL Juice is real in the sense that it’s only nature’s goodness packaged in such a way as to deliver you with the highest quality, real, living foods that the human body thrives on. This stands in contrast to the processed, engineered food-like substances that line the shelves of most grocery retailers and are served in many restaurants.

On a deeper level, this brand is about remembering who you are. Remembering and realizing your full, limitless, and infinite potential!

It’s about recognizing our inherent nature as spiritual beings. Embodying our innate capacity for empathy, that is, compassion for oneself, others, animals, and all beings. Accepting oneself, others, the world, and what is. And, loving God/the Universe/the Cosmos/one’s Higher Power, oneself, life, and all beings. Yeah, it’s pretty deep, but that’s how I roll.

Why organic?

I choose organic whenever possible to ensure the highest quality drink. Organic fruits and vegetables have been shown to be more nutritious and have greater enzyme activity, compared to conventional produce.

When a plant is grown organically, it must defend itself from bugs and other harsh conditions (e.g. dryness, too much rain, etc.). The defense mechanisms the plant uses to survive are the very same mechanisms that fight cancer and other diseases in our bodies. We call these compounds antioxidants.

Organic produce is also free from insecticides, herbicides, synthetic fertilizers, and other chemicals. The herbicide Roundup is one of the most toxic substances you can put in your body. Concentrating a chemical like Roundup in a juice is extremely harmful.

Environmentally, organic farming is more natural and sustainable for planetary balance, harmony, and cooperation.\

As you all probably know, organic costs more at the store. It is unfortunate that organic farmers have to go to great lengths to obtain certification and are in no way assisted by subsidies and government bodies to provide their produce at a competitive cost.

From a long-term perspective, spending extra money to buy organic is worth it, when you consider the likelihood of spending thousands of dollars on health expenses later.

Why local?

 We’ve got an awesome Monroe Farmers Market with some awesome farmers! The majority of the produce is purchased from Ken and Kathryn Huff who grow all their food organically in Oak Grove. Additional melons have been coming from Charles Holley and Ms. White. Herbs are grown organically by Cindy Kennedy in the Garden District, and by other loving friends who donate or trade with me.

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It is extremely important to support local farmers. They are working their tails off to provide an amazing service to the community. They are kind people who are doing things the natural way, largely unsupported by corporate interests and government subsidies. We have the chance every time we buy food to vote with our dollars for what we would like to be available and affordable. I want local, fresh, organic produce at a low cost!! How about you?

Speaking of cost, the price is a lot better when buying seasonally and locally. I can get bags and bags of food and a car full of melons at the market. Spending the same amount of money at the grocery store on organic translates to a couple bags of food.

There are health benefits too! When we buy local produce we are also consuming local microorganisms that will help us thrive in our environment. Eating food from the Monroe area while living in the Monroe area will help protect us from pathogens, allergens, and other influences specific to this area. It will align our bodies with the natural rhythms of the environment and help shape our gut flora and microorganisms that are responsible for our immunity, digestion, and many other processes. These little guys and gals outnumber human cells 10 to 1. Are we human or are we bacteria? That’s another article entirely!

Eating food from California while in Monroe might help us out if we were to take a trip to California. This is essential for parts of the year, but right now we have more options. Go befriend local farmers, and you will receive more than you can imagine!

What about REAL Food?

Prepare for blast off! This party just got started. More yummy delicious creations are on the way. Be sure to check out my page on Facebook, REAL Food & Juice, to learn how to get your fix the healthy, happy way!

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TABATA Training

If you saw the title and had no idea what I am talking about, don’t feel like an outlier.  Most people have never heard of Tabata training.  Even I didn’t hear about this style of exercise until somewhat recently.  I am glad that I did, though.  I believe this is one of the most amazing ways to challenge your body, increase endurance, and light the fat burning furnace.  If things have grown stale on your pursuit of physical excellence or you’re looking for a great way to kick start your weight management program, this type of exercise training is as powerful as any out there.  Plus, when you’re short on time, this is the perfect method to crush then carry on with your day.

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I don’t want to bore you with the exact statistics or any fancy mumbo jumbo.  Here’s the basic rundown:  Tabata training is named after a Doctor who studied the effects of 8 sets of an exercise broken into 20 seconds of all out effort and 10 seconds of rest.  This equals 4 minutes of total work that will leave you completely drained.  This Doctor tested this type of training against regular bouts of exercise and found a significant increase in aerobic capacity in the Tabata group.  The point is, if you incorporate this style of training into your weekly regimen, you will spice up your workouts, keep things fresh and interesting, challenge your body in a different capacity, and improve your overall body function.

This type of workout is not for the faint of heart.  It can be the most grueling 4 minutes of your life.  Each second can tick by slower than the one before it.  By the end of your 8 sets, you will gasp for air and beg for a nap.  It is a supreme challenge that forces your brain to push your body through pain.  It is as much a mental exercise as a physical one.  Tabata is one of my favorite ways to end a weight workout or simply hit a quick sweat session, if I am on the go.

Here is a sample list of some exercises that can be done in a Tabata format. 

  • Kettlebell Swings
  • Battle Rope Slams
  • Jump Rope
  • Jumping Jacks
  • Goblet Squats
  • Lunges
  • Burpees
  • Bench Step Ups
  • Dumbbell Power Cleans
  • Push-Ups
  • Squat Jumps
  • Sprints
  • Mountain Climbers
  • Pull-Ups
  • Deadlifts
  • Rowing Machine

You’re only limited by your imagination when it comes to incorporating Tabata training.  It can be done with virtually any exercise on the planet.  I challenge you to add two Tabata sessions a week into your training plan.  After two weeks, add one more session for the next two weeks. See how your body reacts to the new style!  I have no doubt that this will improve your total body performance and help you blast some stubborn fat.  Let us know if you have any questions or tell us how you felt after a Tabata session!  Get out there and Wreck It Every Day!

 

Slump City: Stuck in Our Own Misery

How often do we get amped up to make big changes and fix our flaws for good? How many times have we decided that we will break free of our bad habits and achieve the happiness of our dreams? The number, in my experience, is incalculable. Typically, I move strong, full speed ahead, for a week or two. My discipline is on point and nothing gets in the way of my well thought out plan of success. Then I give in to a banned temptation or I indulge one of my vices.

The mental twists return in full force and, before I know it, I am repeating the same errors that I recently repented against. I find myself searching over and over again for the strength to bypass my hardwired laziness, negative outlook, and deeply ingrained self-sabotaging behavior. Where did I go wrong?

Like most humans, I suffer from being too hard on myself. I also tend to bite off way more then I can chew when it comes to changing my behaviors. I make great progress then the weight of my challenge becomes too much for my will to bear and I buckle. Like concrete, one crack quickly leads to another fissure that ripples through the foundation. Once I give in to one vice, it becomes so much easier to allow another slip until I am right back at square one.

I was a “dry drunk”, as they say. I had to come to terms with my flawed thinking and make a decision to do something about it.

I call this “slump city”. I get to a state of stalemate. I know I need to get back on the horse but each day that goes by the horse gets taller and the saddle becomes harder to reach. I begin to loathe myself for giving in and the shame of my decisions keeps me grounded in misery. I want to achieve my dreams but I can’t bring my butt off the couch.

In order to break the cycle of shame, we must accept our current situation. We have to be completely honest with ourselves about what we want and what needs to be done to get there. Everyone makes mistakes and that is okay. It’s time to stop crying and rolling in our pain.  The cure is Action. The only way to complete a journey is to put our heads down, focus, and take a step forward. Each step builds on the one before until we look up and see our destination in sight.

Every time that I get depressed or stunted it is always because of inaction.  I let my outside circumstances take president over my spiritual serenity.  I get overwhelmed by my job, my house projects, my relationship, or my family issues.  This pushes me into a shock like state where I feel incapable of completing the tasks at hand.  It is so much easier to curl up in the bed, put on a t.v. show and pretend that my problems will melt away.  This always leads to a building of tension.  A rational person would prioritize the issues and work through them systematically like a “to-do” list or ask someone for a little help. Unfortunately, I am far from rational and I require a significant amount of emotional pain before I make a move.

I went through this slump for a few weeks this past month.  I didn’t want to post anything, workout, go to work, eat right, or deal with my problems.  I made excuses for each one of my crappy behaviors and it was absolutely miserable. My selfishness had caused me to neglect my responsibilities and obligations.  I was a “dry drunk”, as they say.  I had to come to terms with my flawed thinking and make a decision to do something about it.

The turning point is when I asked for help.  I prayed for guidance in my life, called someone with an objective opinion, and tried to help someone else like me.  I got out of my own skin and remembered how amazing my life is today compared to how it was two years ago.  Once I finally started doing the work required of me, my mental road blocks began to disintegrate.  Through action, I was able to combat fear, remorse, resentment, selfishness, dishonesty, and pain.

This can be true for anyone, even if you’re not an alcoholic or drug addict.  Don’t be too afraid or too proud to ask for help, from God or another human being, because we all need a hand fighting our demons.  Start taking some steps towards a better life by actually working through the plan that you have set.  Most importantly, be grateful for the life you have now and the opportunity you have been given to be the best you possible.  Live your life with love and fulfillment.  When you get into Slump City, remember stop sulking and start working.  You will be back to normal in no time!

Regret: The Poison We Drink Willingly

We tend to spend a large portion of our time and mental power focused on the events of the past.  We constantly ask ourselves, “If I had done X, would Y be any different?”  We repeatedly visit moments in our memories that have hurt, wronged, or injured our psyche.  I have found myself, many times, sifting through the wreckage of my past like a gold miner during the rush.  I pour over each detail with extreme scrutiny and attempt to point out the flaws in a previous conversation, action, or decision.

This introspective review usually occurs at night, before bed and tends to happen almost automatically.  It’s like I have programmed my brain to digest everything I did that day, that week, that year, or even 15 years ago and then analyze my mistakes and shortcomings.  My brain doesn’t seem to recognize time lines and blends all these painful memories or subpar judgement calls into one horror film that I sit through time and time again, without popcorn.  This is mind numbing ridiculousness.  These repeated self-critiques lead to unnecessary anxiety, low self-esteem, depression, and guilt.

I feel this is a cycle that most people are caught, destined to continuously regurgitate past experiences in a negative arena that stunts growth and inhibits one’s ability to truly learn.  When all we focus on is what we should have done instead of what can be done now, we lose out on multiple opportunities to become who we are meant to be.  The mental anguish of constantly reliving painful experiences is a completely insane thing to do.

We can’t change anything that has occurred anymore than we can reason with a wasp about its stinging escapades.  We must resist the urge to finely comb our past for discrepancies and, instead, turn our attention to the lessons learned from these “sub-par” performances.  Life, for me, is a collection of lessons.  Each lesson is meant to show me a part of myself that I didn’t know existed or was afraid to understand.  Every hardship, problem, uncomfortable moment, or difficult situation is another opportunity to gain insight into who I am.

When I approach my past from the perspective of opportunity, I don’t feel the same anxiety, fear, and shame that I once did.  I make note of the lessons life taught me in these memories and strive to correct my behavior for future “tests”.  After I have done my objective critique, I release the experience.  I don’t dwell, ponder, or beat myself up over things that should have been done differently.  I remember that the moment is now past and time machines aren’t working yet.  The only thing I can do NOW is to fix what I found lacking and try again tomorrow.

The mental anguish of constantly reliving painful experiences is a completely insane thing to do.

As an example:  Not too long ago, I botched a sales opportunity.  I thought I had everything taken care of and the decision would end in my favor.  It came down to the wire and the prospect wound up staying with the current company.  Why?  I had not expelled all doubt in the program I offered him and didn’t completely understand his exact motives behind his decisions.  At first, I blamed the customer for not accepting my “brilliant” proposal.  I went through every detail for days, making myself sick over the reasons why I lost the account.  I should have been of done A, B, C, etc.  I finally stopped, pulled out a piece of paper, and wrote the words, “What I learned” at the top of the page.  I made a list of my faults, my assumptions, and my mistakes.  I read the list aloud and saw what I had done wrong.  After the reading, I threw the page in the garbage.  What’s past is past.  I now know what I need to do for the next proposal with this client and with any other client in the future.  I chose to take my lesson and let the “should have been pain” go.  The only thing I can influence is the progress I make today.

Let go of the past hardships and poor decisions that you have made.  Take note of how you can improve from the experiences of yesterday and convert those points into actions.  Nothing good every comes from exhausting all the options that could have been taken.  The event has come and gone.  It is time to free yourself from the constraints of the you from yesterday, last week, or last year.  Make a commitment to filing away the person you used to be and the decisions that keep you up at night.  Strive to learn from your mistakes and grow out of those uncomfortable moments.  Focus on today and you will find that life is beautiful when you live for now instead of yesterday.

How Not to Ruin Your Relationship: A Quick Guide for Couples and Fitness

There is a fine line between pushing each other towards a fitness goal and pushing each other towards the open arms of another lover.  Couple’s tend to struggle most when there is a gap in weight or physical fitness levels between the two partners.  All too often, couples find it incredibly frustrating to motivate one another in their quest for a healthier lifestyle.  We get angry, upset, jealous, sad, depressed, and discouraged by our partner’s insistence on health or our lack of progress.  We often feel inferior to our spouse, especially if he or she has made substantially more progress than us.

In turn, said spouse can find it difficult to convey their love, appreciation, affection, and encouragement without coming off as disappointed or demanding.  For the most part, we all want to be better for our significant other physically, mentally, and emotionally.  The physical part seems to be the hardest portion to nail down.  Our society places so much emphasis on our outside appearance that we, not only feel pressure from the outside world, but also from the person we love most in it.

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I have had my fair share of knock-down, drag out brawls with my girlfriend over the concept of health and fitness.  I have experienced the helplessness and frustration of attempting to instill my drive, motivation, and knowledge of physical fitness in her.  Often times, we have argued over exercises at the gym, fought over our meal choices, and thrown our fair share of metaphorical punches while setting goals for each other.  I would spend hours cultivating new ways to communicate my feelings and intentions, but I continually came up short.  Every plausible solution I attempted created more anger, resentment, and caused a breakdown of communication. I simply could not understand why she didn’t grasp how much I wanted to help or how hard I was working to make her fitness dreams a reality.  I blamed her for not understanding, for not wanting to follow directions, and for always battling me on the concepts that I knew to be true.  I imagined shaking sense into her and screaming at the top of my lungs, “JUST LISTEN TO ME!”

Obviously, this bared no fruit.  I had been approaching the problem with the wrong perspective and the wrong agenda.  I was attempting to force her to find “my fitness”.  I had forgotten the years of consistent training, countless hours spent on health research, and the many, many failures that helped me define my drive.  I also realized that I have a deep passion for how the body works and how best to shape it.  I wanted to fast track her fitness and clone myself in a matter of days.  I was coming off as brutish, disappointed, and impatient.  I had complete tunnel vision.

I was treating her as if she were a regular client not the love of my life.  My clients do not have a vested interest in my happiness.  They are trying to change their physical life to be better for their own motivations, not for my approval.  All my girlfriend wanted was to make me proud and feel good about herself.  Yet, there I was attempting to train her like she was any other person.

There is a particular strain that can be put on a relationship when it comes to physical health and appearance. We want to impress our lover with an amazing body. We yearn for his or her approval. We need to feel confident that we are the only thing that he or she is looking at. If, at any time, these desires and needs do not get fulfilled, we become self-loathing creatures. This sadness and sour attitude bleeds into our work, our social life, and our relationships like poison. It infects our conversations and mental attitudes. If left untreated, these feelings will calcify and become a part of our mentality. This has ruined more than a few relationships and I would be damned if I let it happen to mine.

I forced myself to refocus my messages and rethink my communication.  I observed that, often times, my words were misconstrued and digested by her brain the complete opposite way that I meant them.  If I asked, “Have you hit the gym yet?”, she was hearing, “Why haven’t you worked out already?  How can you be this lazy?  I thought you loved me?”  All I wanted to know is if she had already worked out so I can structure my afternoon.  This simple disconnect in communication is linked to her thoughts, feelings, and emotions towards me, as well as her own self-confidence and perceived fitness level.  She is effectively projecting her insecurities onto my words, which creates a poisonous potion of disaster.

This happens with all relationships all over the world.  Both parties are at fault but the responsibility rests on the partner wishing to instill change in the relationship and lifestyle.  We must alter our communication to avoid accidental offenses and breed an environment of encouragement.  We must set an example for our loved one, not stand on a pedestal and shout down directions from on high.  We are in this together and we must do our best to support one another through, not just fitness goals, but life in general.

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Here are some tips and tricks to help you convey support, affection, and motivation to your significant other, that can prevent having to change your relationship status on Facebook:

1. Never Force Anything:  If your partner doesn’t feel like working out today, don’t ever tell them that their progress will suffer or that they “need” to get some exercise.  This puts distance between the two of you and makes him or her feel like a failure.  It also makes you come off like a disappointed parent who is upset about a subpar test result.  Let them know it is ok to rest and that they are making great progress.  Suggest a couple’s walk instead.  If they still don’t bite, cook dinner together and let it go.

2. Be Patient:  When we catch the fitness bug, we tend to shout from the roof tops and encourage everyone to jump on board the health boat.  That is all well and good but many people will not adopt your passion for weights or good food as quickly as you might like.  If your partner is a slow adapter, take your time!  Don’t push too hard or too fast.  Let him or her figure things out for themselves and grasp this new lifestyle at a pace that is comfortable.  Once your spouse sees progress or begins to feel better, he or she will naturally ramp up the volume.  Sit back and encourage, never push for performance or deadlines.

3. Let a Slip Slide:  There will be inevitable deviations from the path.  Your partner will veer off into sugar town or skip a few workouts in a row.  It’s going to happen.  Accept it and move on.  Don’t pout, give judgmental looks, or tell your lover that they’re falling off the wagon.  These life adjustments are hard and require a learned set of skills and mental toughness.  Not everyone is born with an ironclad will that helps to say no to cheese cake!  Let them have their cheat cake and workout break.  All you can do is be there for them when they wish to return and encourage their fitness voyage.

4. Set Couple Goals:  This can bring you both together and intertwine your fitness agendas.  Set a goal sheet for the week that has things like:  miles walked, workouts done, desserts skipped, or number of squats completed.  It can be anything that is measured in reps or distances but, keep the list simple, number oriented and, most of all, combined.  Do not set a column for your name and your partner’s, at least in the beginning.  When you each look at the goal list, you will see a combined total of work from both parties.  This will keep your spouse from feeling discouraged if he or she slacks on certain items.  If the two of you reach your target number have a reward set, such as: a couple’s dinner, back massage and pampering session, or small trip for the weekend.  Be creative and enjoy the work!

5. Love Unconditionally:  No matter if your spouse is failing to progress or quits entirely, love him or her.  You chose to be with this person for more than physical qualities.  A person is worth more than their weight.  Remember that the only thing you can truly do is be the best person you can be for your significant other.  The only control you have is over yourself and yourself alone.  You can’t make someone into something he or she isn’t.  You can only love that person for who he or she actually is.

My 2 Months without Carbs, Sugar, or Supplements

I have always been of the belief that I had this “diet” thing figured out.  I read research, gobbled up multiple sources of food literature, and rooted out as many pieces of information that I possibly could on how the body processes the foods we eat.  I got locked into the idea that my brain was full of all the possibilities that laid before me in the spectrum of nutrition.  Of course, this is not the case.  There is always room to expand my knowledge base, learn something new, and apply different mechanics to my ever evolving search for physical performance.  I was shocked at the results that I experienced through a two month journey into a different diet/nutrient model.

My good friend, Dr. Edward Adams of STAYRXFIT, LLC and the GeneRXations Podcast, set forth a challenge to me and my cohorts.  One day, I happened to show him my supplement cabinet and his face contorted into a mass of panic, concern, and terror.  In his well educated mind, there was no reason for a human being to be consuming so many manufactured supplements.  I was flooding my body, on a daily basis, with a multitude of non regulated ingredients, some of which haven’t undergone the stringent testing necessary to evaluate their true effectiveness.

I was taking these products on the basis of what I had read and researched, as well as what top fitness professional had recommended.  I lived and breathed supplementation.  These products had been such a large portion of my regimen that I didn’t think to question their validity.  I saw results and these supplements aided in my performance, endurance, and recovery.  I was religious in my consumption and held strong to the idea that, without these ingredients, my workout gains would falter.  I didn’t once consider any ramifications of this habitual supplementation or if I was, in fact, doing more harm to my body then good.  Pros take them; so, I must take them too was my motto.

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Here’s a quick run down of my routine:

Morning:

  1. Whey Protein
  2. Multi-vitamin
  3. Green Tea Extract
  4. L-Carnitine 
  5. CLA
  6. Caffeine 
  7. Yohimbe Root Extract
  8. Omega 3/Fish oil

Pre-Workout:

  1. Whey Protein
  2. Pre-workout Supplement
  3. Green Tea Extract
  4. Yohimbe Root Extract

During Workout:

  1. Amino Acid Mix

Post-Workout:

  1. Whey/Casein Protein
  2. Creatine
  3. Candy

Bed Time:

  1. Casein Protein
  2. CLA
  3. Omega 3/Fish oil

Dr. E made a few things quite clear to me.

A)  There was no way my body could use everything I was taking in.

B) I was spending hundreds of dollars a month on supplements.

C) I could be causing lasting damage in my pursuit of momentary gains.

He set forth a challenge that inspired me and the Wreck It Crew to figure out how our bodies naturally functioned and if we truly needed all these supplements.  He measured our sizes and weights and then told us to steer clear of any type of supplementation, including protein, for a few months.  We were tasked with collecting all of our nutrients from the foods we ingested.  I also decided to try a different diet that restricted grains, breads, processed carbs and all sugars.  Double whammy!  Needless to say, the first week was brutal.  My mental resolve was challenged every morning and I found myself salivating over a tub of half used whey protein.  My routine was so deeply ingrained that I could barely make it through my first few workouts off the supplement train.  My lack of sugar and carbs didn’t make anything easier.  I went through small “withdrawals” that gave me headaches, low energy, and a decreased mental capacity.  I was in a serious funk and, for an addict, that can be a real dark place to be.

Luckily, I had encouragement and support through the guys going through the same experiment as me.  Their resolve strengthened mine and helped me over the first week hump.  By week two, my supplement cravings had diminished and I found working out without them to be quite enjoyable.  My new diet had begun to take effect and I no longer experienced the sugar pains.  On week three, things took a miraculous turn.  I wasn’t hungry as often, I had regular amounts of energy throughout the day, and I crushed intense workouts with ease.  I felt great and had a new perspective on my fitness game.

Towards the end of my 60 day no supplement and diet overhaul, I had lost 15 pounds and had the lowest fat percentage I have ever experienced on my body.  I no longer planned my day around when my next dose of miracle grow was coming and had complete freedom over my appetite.  The freedom was the most amazing part to me.  Before, I had time frames for when I had to workout or ingest a particular ingredient that would cut into my schedule.  Now I base my day on how I feel and what will be best for me in the moment.

This “free-form” approach to fitness was foreign to me but became one of the greatest lessons I gathered from this experience.  Now, I am able to hit a workout on a whim, without having to run through a supplement checklist before I am ready to wreck shop.  I have the insight to craft the supplement and meal plan that best fits my body and my needs.  There is no cookie cutter approach to diet and exercise.  It is a lifestyle that is ever changing.

With a clear goal in mind, I can build the plan that will put me in the best position for success.  There are no supplements that I absolutely have to incorporate for my dreams to manifest.  You can’t buy supplements for hard work, dedication, passion, and happiness.  Those things don’t come in pill form.  Trust me I have tried that route!

Everyone has a different chemical make up that responds differently to the food and supplements we ingest.  I know my body better through this experience and I thank Dr. Ed for showing me the light.  I challenge you to try a natural approach to your lifestyle.  Focus on the foods and nutrients that your body requires.  Once you have a base line, add in the supplements that will best help you reach your goals and don’t go overboard!  We are here to help.  Email us at wreckognizefitness@gmail.com if you have questions or just want to have a personal conversation about your fitness.  Get out there and Wreck It!

Free Ebooks: The Total Human Cleanse & The Definitive Guide to Detoxing Your Body

Yoga is for Men

manyoga1

“Please God.  Let this end.  I swear I’ll be good from now on!”  This was my exact thought the first time I took a Yoga class.  I was bargaining with my creator 45 minutes into the 75 minute class the same way I used to after I got in trouble when I was younger.  I kept checking my watch as the seconds dragged on and the torture continued.  My body had never bent, contorted, strained, or sweated like it did on that first day of Yoga.  I couldn’t breathe.  My legs were shaking.  I had to hold on to the wall next to me so I didn’t fall on to the nice ladies calmly performing the flow next to me.  It was a humbling, ego deflating experience.  The crazy thing about all this unbearable abuse was: I loved it.

I had never been challenged in that particular way before.  My body was built from the iron in the gym.  I could lift heavy and lift often because that was how my body was trained.  Yet, all this physical fitness and constant gym attendance didn’t prepare me for an hour and 15 minutes of holding my body in a sequence of hardcore stretches.  There were times in that Yoga class that I just sat down while all the women around me held perfect alignments.  I, with all my strength, endurance, and knowledge, was defeated by a hot room and some body weight holding positions.  I was stunned by the difficulty and intrigued by the proposed benefits of incorporating a regular Yoga class into my fitness regimen.

There is a misconception that surrounds the art of Yoga.  When I mention a Yoga class, I often hear responses like: it’s “just for women”, its “girly”, “go do a man’s” workout”, or “where’s your sports bra?”  This is so sad because all those guys who knock the art as being beneath them or something that is gender specific are missing an amazing piece of the fitness puzzle.  Growth, in all forms, requires an open mind and a willingness to try new things!  Yoga has the ability to enhance your flexibility, core strength, joint strength, and mental toughness.  An hour long class can make you activate your hips like never before, hold planks way longer than you ever dreamed possible, or force you to perform a hand stand against a wall.  All this while your brain is screaming at you to stop the carnage.

mel gibson yoga

“I hope that silent rip wasn’t deadly..”

Yoga is not just for housewives or board college girls.  It is for everyone.  It is an art form that can improve your mental and physical functions in and out of the gym.  The more flexible you are, the more dynamic your lifts can be and the risk of injury from weight training decreases substantially.  The stronger your joints get, the more weight you can hold.  Just by knowing you can make it through an hour of warrior poses and constant leg tension, prepares you to handle the strain of a crazy intense cardio session or long day at the office.  Yoga is a way to build a more effective body that can perform at a more optimal level.  It is a simple addition that might just be the missing link in your fitness regimen.

Stop being such a girl!  Get a Yoga mat, learn some awesome stretches and how to breathe, test your body, and gain insight into what strain your brain, as well as your body, can truly handle.  I have come to believe that the way to becoming a completely fit individual is through a diverse array of stress.  Putting yourself through a variety of different workouts and physical disciplines is the best way to build a holistic, functionally fit body.  I dare you to try just one Yoga class.  I am willing to bet that your perspective will be much different when you crawl out of the studio!

Total Human Optimization

There is a gross misconception that there is one holy grail answer to all of life’s mysteries.  There is one ultimate solution to all issues.  Whether it is fitness, nutrition, religion, child rearing, education, taxes, government, or any other issue that brings warring sides to battle, each person has his or her own version of the truth.  Here lies the rub.  We live in a world that is ever evolving, changing, and growing, whether we like it or not.  New discoveries are made, an alternative view point on a problem is presented, and questions come faster than answers.  People are quick to choose a side and fight, tooth and nail, to prove that their opinion is fact.  This type of thinking and behavior causes a short circuit in the growth process and inhibits our natural ability to adapt to new information.  When we close our minds to alternative options, opinions, and critiques, we become stale, fragmented, and disconnected.
I view the world in a much less “black and white” fashion.  I try to see all sides of the board when I am playing a game and do my best to understand opposing views.  My reality is a fusion of multiple ideas that converge on one another to create a beautiful mess of information that I can sift through.  I attempt to find new and different ways to expand my thinking and evolve my methods to become the most well rounded human possible.

Lyle Tire

I used to think that weight training was the be all end all form of exercise.  If a person wanted to get strong, lean, and fit, he or she had to lift weights and the gym was my sanctuary.  Eventually, I couldn’t touch my toes or recover from injury quick enough.  I took incredible amounts of supplements to improve my training edge but neglected the natural ingredients from fruits and vegetables.  Protein was my only objective.  I built a body that looked good on paper, but, when put to the test, it crumbled in the functionality department.  I began to wonder if my version of truth was the “whole” truth.

I timidly began to reach out of my comfort zone.  I attended a hot yoga class and added more vegetables to my diet.  I rearranged my supplement intake and focused more on total body movements in the gym.  I started sprinting periodically, as well as researching the benefits of saunas and cryotherapy.  I quickly realized that I was missing a gigantic chunk of the puzzle.  I had been locked in a one sided mentality that caused me to have unnecessary negative ideals about other forms of fitness.  I was instantly humbled in that yoga class, immediately felt the benefits of adjusting my diet, and started to feel more mental clarity after long sauna sits.  The true benefits of health began to manifest once I started playing with all the pieces on the board.  The one size fits all mentality simply does not exist.  It takes a collection of different stressors and an open mind to reach the full potential your
body has locked inside.
Are Optimized Towards Your Health & Fitness Goals? Get Your Free Personalized Assessment From Onnit Now.Total Human Optimization is my goal.  I want to be functionally fit from as many angles as possible.  The world is full of different and exciting ways to test my grit, endurance, strength, speed, and mental focus.  The only way that I can build the body that can handle the world around me is to incorporate an ever expanding list of differing disciplines.  It took me years to realize this irrefutable fact.  You can begin by seeing the whole picture and start placing the pieces that form the best picture of health imaginable.  Don’t get bogged down in one sided views, stereotypes, biases, and ignorance like I did.  Bring together the most holistic fitness approach you can and your body will certainly reward you for it.

If you have a certain goal in mind, like getting big and strong, then focus on the tools needed to reach that goal.  But, don’t neglect the wide array of disciplines that can help bring your fitness to the next level.  Attend that yoga class, check out martial arts training, sit in a sauna, go for a swim, eat a piece of fruit, or take a day off.  Listen to your body.  Expand your mental boundaries.  Explore the wide and wonderful world of fitness.  Find what fits you and Wreck It!

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A Man with No Arms

Its always easy to assume that my situation is intolerable, especially when I have a less than stellar day.  I get lost in my own “pity party” and find excuses for my sub-par attitude.  I often blame everything and everyone else for my string of bad luck.  I forget that 99.9% of my problems are caused by my own dumbassery.  I forget about how amazing my life is and how lucky I am to have the things that I do.  Sometimes I need a little shock therapy to give me some perspective on how privileged I truly am.

bouncy pit

I had the opportunity to enjoy a day at a trampoline park with my brother, girlfriend, and friends.  The entire floor was made of trampolines.  There was a foam diving pit and a jumping dodge ball arena.  It was a child’s dream.  Yet, here we were, a group of grown adults, waiting in line behind an endless sea of 10 year olds for a chance to run, jump, and flip into a bottomless foam pool.  It was amazing.  We found ourselves in the dodge ball course slinging bullets at a string of adolescents.  This was even better.

Eventually, a middle aged black man walked into the arena with his children.  He took his position across from us and prepared for battle.  There was one issue.  This man had no arms.  We looked at each other, rather dumbfounded by the situation.  How were we supposed to proceed?  Do we aim for him?  Of course not!  This dude was missing both of his arms.  No decent human would conceive of throwing a dodge ball at a man missing the key components to actually participate!  I glanced over at the employee supervising this shindig.  He seemed unfazed by this insane scenario unfolding before us.  In the midst of this confusion, the whistle blew.  Game on.

It was truly something out of a movie, or a whacky dream.

Balls began whizzing by as we jumped to avoid the onslaught from the children on the other side.  I jumped closer to my friends to try and figure out this ridiculous scenario.  As I ducked under another foam projectile, I noticed something.  The man without arms was bouncing lightly across from me with his right foot clenching a dodgeball.  I paused for a few seconds for my very slow brain to process the image before me.  SMACK! I was out in an instant.  A ball had crash landed onto the side of my face with some pretty significant force. As I jumped to the exit of the arena, I realized that the man without arms had kick/thrown his dodgeball directly at my head.  He had used some sort of Randy Johnson side pitch form with his leg that propelled the ball violently towards his victims.  It was truly something out of a movie, or a whacky dream.

The armless agent’s team won the round and we all piled in to take our places at the restart.  The whistle blew and one of my friends immediately launched his ball at the two limbed warrior across from us.  The ball landed and the guy seemed shocked that the first ball was thrown his way.  I don’t think too many people throw dodge balls at people missing limbs all too often.  My buddy’s excuse was simple:  the guy was good and the guy had gotten him out last time. #revenge.  With the other teams ace on the sidelines, we easily took the win.

dogeball

We ended up playing for many more rounds.  Sometimes we won, other times the fingerless destroyer’s team triumphed.  After our bouts concluded, we got a chance to meet the zero ten toed gladiator that had kicked multiple balls into all of our faces.  He was a truly remarkable human.  This man gets dressed, works, makes phone calls, drives, takes care of his children, and brings these kids to the trampoline arena on a weekly basis.  The guy literally didn’t stop smiling the whole time he was playing with us.  I have never seen such a display of positivity, determination, and happiness from someone who had every reason to be miserable and depressed.  He was making the most of the life he was given and the cards he was dealt.  One of my friends even went for a fist bump, out of pure habit, and the guy reached his foot up and gave a strong “foot bump”.  This guy was the epitome of what the word “man” stands for and a true testament to the capacity for a human being to overcome any obstacle life throws in the way.

My worst days are still days that I was able to breathe oxygen, eat food, run a mile, or use my hands.

Whenever I get into a slump, I think back to that dodgeball arena and the armless man that had pegged me on multiple occasions.  I think about his children and the example he shows them every day of how to work through life’s difficulties.  I realize that my life is one of joy, wonder, blessing, and bliss.  My worst days are still days that I was able to breathe oxygen, eat food, run a mile, or use my hands.  Selfishness is own of my major character defects.  My natural tendency is to worry about myself and only myself no matter what is going on around me.  I have to work on a constant basis to train my brain to think of others and put my situation in perspective.  What ever I am dealing with is irrelevant, because there is always someone out there in the world that is doing a lot more with much less than me.  If this no armed man can bring his kids to a trampoline dodgeball arena every week, then there is nothing I, or YOU, can’t do.