Archive for December, 2007.

Fitness Plan Fundamentals: Four ways to find what works for YOU.

Written by Philip Walter on Dec 16 at 6:52 pm.

Fin the right fitness plan for you with these for easy tips.

Does it feel like finding the right diet and exercise plan is like trying to find the proverbial needle in a haystack? Are you well aware that there are no quick fixes, but can’t seem to get through the clutter of so-called expert advice and find a starting point? Well, you’re not alone. Finding a clear answer to your health questions is nearly impossible these days. There seems to be a study to corroborate just about any claim, and if there’s not really sound research behind an idea, somebody often claims there is anyway.

So which plan will work for you? Which is best for what you’re trying to do? More importantly, which plans are healthy and which are possibly harmful? Unfortunately there aren’t any cut and dry answers to these questions. Truth is, there are probably ten different diet and exercise combinations that will get you where you want to go.

When attempting to find a fitness plan to help you achieve your goals, I would suggest forgetting about the details of caloric intake, cardio training, strength training, low weight high rep, high weight low rep, and the like. Start with some more fundamental questions that will help you narrow the possibilities to a more manageable and tailored-to-you set of options:

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The Search: An Introduction

Written by Philip Walter on Dec 16 at 5:10 pm.

Live life to the fullest through personal spiritual transformations.

Now, what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. … No, the word is very near to you; it is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you may obey it.

Deuteronomy 30: 11, 14 NIV

I feel as though I am at the edge of a cliff. Jumping off would mean actually saying the word that is already viscerally in my mouth and in my heart. Turning back would mean remaining confused, being unauthentic. It would signify a failure to heed Bob Marley’s advice: “Get up. Stand up. Stand up for your right.” But just what are your rights? And even more difficult to answer, Just what is right?

William James spoke of a higher mind and a lower mind. For him, the aim of spiritual practice, and the pinnacle of spiritual or religious experience, was found in letting the higher mind win the war over the lower mind.

The higher mind is like your conscience. It is the presence that observes the world and your activity in it, knowing, in some mystical Jimminy Cricket way, what is best for you. It will forever reflect what you’ve been taught is right, always saying, in the tradition of Spike Lee, “Do The Right Thing.” The lower mind, however, is ruled by reptilian instincts and always prescribes to the instant gratification plan. Read the rest of this entry »

The Tale of the Scale – Weight Loss Ups and Downs

Written by Philip Walter on Dec 11 at 4:25 am.

If you’re like me, you need accountability and you need feedback. Both are indispensable when tracking and maintaining progress … when working, driving from point A to point B, training in the gym, and especially when trying to lose weight. Sometimes we can get by with watching inches fall off, or feeling our pants get looser with time. Often loved ones, friends, or members of a weight loss group can be great motivators. But the truth is, when it comes to weight loss, nothing kicks your ass like stepping on the scale and weighing your body on a regular basis. It can be as helpful on the road to a healthy body as it can be depressing.

Just remember that as your fitness improves and your inertia shifts from couch potato to go-getter, your weight will fluctuate – as much as 4-6 pounds from one day to the next. What I try to do is watch the weight range.

By watching a range of pounds as you weigh in instead of a specific target weight, you won’t be so upset if one day you weigh four pounds more than the previous day, especially if on the whole your 4-6 pound fluctuation range is moving down the scale.

What’s more, you may want to experiment with weighing in just one day a week, the same day every week. Here it’s important to remember it takes a good two weeks for your inertia to change if your body’s not used to working out. Also, please keep in mind that healthy, sustainable weight loss only happens at 2 pounds per week max. 1 to 1.5 consistently is really quite good!

Check out some of my favorite recipes, and don’t forget to enjoy the roller coaster!

Toning a Trim Tummy and Finding Your Six Pack Abs

Written by Philip Walter on Dec 11 at 12:14 am.

 It seems that the physical fitness Holy Grail for the majority people I work with is a killer core. If you’re a guy, you want ripped, 6-pack abs. If you’re a girl, you want a sleek and sexy, well toned midsection. Problem is, most people don’t employ an effective strategy for toning their core muscles and bringing out their latent 6-pack. Crunches alone aren’t going to do the job. Neither will starving yourself and running 5 miles a day.

The first step is dropping the ego a bit and mentally preparing yourself for the fact that the perfect body doesn’t really exist, and that for most of us, simply having a flat stomach is sexier than, and just as good for our long-term health as a ripped-to-shreds six pack. Having established that, the best way to pull every bit of sex appeal you can from your midsection is to take a two-pronged approach to your workout routine. This means regularly performing exercises that build and tone the abdominals, obliques, and other muscles of the core while at the same time adopting a cardio program that effectively burns fat from your tummy. The former without the latter only serves to increase the pooch above your belt buckle, while the latter without the former only turns you into a skinny waif. Of course, diet figures heavily into this equation, but for the purposes of this article, we’ll focus on the combination of toning your core and getting cardio designed to burn fat in order to unleash those sexy abdominals.

Effective Core Strengthening Exercises

First off, rid your mind of the two following myths:

  1. Since the rectus abdominus (down the center of your stomach), is what we actually see as the “six pack,” I should concentrate on bulking it up and forget about the transversus abdominis, obliques, and other core muscles. Not true – a tight, sexy abdomen has as much to do with these other, more behind-the-scenes muscles as it does with the star of the show.
  2. I should keep a running tally of how many crunches I can do while I watch American Idol, and shoot for doing more in a row each night. Again, not true – you’re better served performing fewer, more concentrated exercises if achieving the 6-pack is your goal.

Okay, so now that you’ve purged your mind of this nonsense, let’s talk about the single greatest piece of workout equipment ever devised for increasing core muscle strength and tone: the ab wheel. That’s right, this cheap, simple, unassuming little gadget will do more for your midsection than anything, ever. How can this be true, you might ask?

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Chakras and Such – The Anatomy of Consciousness

Written by Philip Walter on Dec 8 at 9:09 pm.

The majority of people I know have a skewed concept of what the chakras are. To speak in most public circles about chakras is like going to the deer woods with a presentation on veganism. It’s like this – people in most public circles have heard of chakras, and they think they know enough about them to consider you at least a hair crazy for even mentioning them. Of course, unlike the poor vegan in the deer woods, you’re not likely to be shot, skinned, and skewered for it.

The point is, chakras and the ancient energy system in which they are the mainstay, are widely misunderstood in the West, and I’d like to do my part to set the record straight.

The great sages of ancient India posited that there are three primary sheaths (also called koshas; there are five total, counting the physical, the three subtle, and the bliss) covering the soul:

  1. the physical body – comprised of the various physical systems that allow us to interact with the world
  2. the subtle body – comprised of the intellectual body, the vital body, and the emotional body
  3. the bliss body – the final, most intimate covering over the soul

Though their understanding of the physical body was great, as evidenced by the Ayurvedic health care system, their understanding of the subtle body was even greater. In the modern world, we of course have a ridiculously complex understanding of the various systems of the physical body, but it is in the realm of Spirit that we have much to learn from these ancient geniuses.

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