What Is The Conductivity Diet?

tonicsI’m not one to recommend something unless I’ve done it, used it, or otherwise personally experienced it.

Barefoot running, a whole-food plant-based diet, Vibram Fivefingers – all of these things have made my life more enjoyable, healthier.. overall just better.

About  2 months ago I came across a “new to me” approach to health.  Tavis Bradley had done a video on youtube with Dan “The LifeRegenerator” McDonald.  It’s a lengthy video, but I watched the entire thing and was immediately intrigued.

A little background on myself – I’ve been on a vegan diet for about 3 1/2 years now, and I’ve experienced many benefits, as well as an overall feeling of more energy and better health.  And I’m always on the lookout for the latest health trends, as fitness and diet are my main areas of interest.  Basically, if it helps me win more matches on the tennis court, I’m interested.

Anyhow, I’m not going to attempt to explain Tavis Bradley’s Conductivity Diet in detail here.  If you want to learn more about it, I highly recommend that you visit his website and youtube channel.  In a nutshell, the diet consists of raw fruits and vegetables, healthy oils, nuts, seeds, and a series of 4 tonics that you drink every day to set your body up for optimal health.  I’ve been following the “diet” for about 6 weeks now, and I feel really good.  It’s tough to articulate exactly, but everything feels more – more energy, more alert, more running/less recovery time.  My family thinks I’ve gone a little wacky, but they are used to that by now.

I eat as much food as I want.  I’m not hungry, and I’ve lost most of my attraction to junk foods,  although those Red Hot Blues Tortilla Chips from Whole Foods are hard to stay away from.  It seems that the healthier I eat, the more my body wants healthy foods.  Junk foods are not as appealing as they used to be.  Very strange how this all happened over the course of a couple of months, but I’m really loving it.

I’ll be adding to this blog in the upcoming weeks.  Please feel free to ask me any questions about this or any of my other blogs, as I am more than happy to discuss my favorite topics with anyone who wants to listen.

–RG

Off-The-Couch Workout Log – Week 7

Rich aka Ninja RichThe first week of the year saw some extremely frigid temperatures.  But as you can see, Rich and I strapped on our GladSoles, suited up and went out in the elements.

 

Monday 12/31/12

Not-run – 30 minutes

Random thoughts:

So, what’s up with the no pushups and wall squats? Hard to say exactly what I’m doing here. I’m glad I made it outside in the brutal cold, though… and after the first 10 minutes it wasn’t even cold anymore. So all good!

 

Tuesday 1/1/13

What a way to start the year! We went to brunch and I got up early to soak cashews for a special scalloped potato and eggplant dish I was making. I was exhausted ALL DAY!! Tomorrow is the official start to the resolutions thing… My lovely friend Amanda is going Paleo, and I’m gonna get back in the swing of wall squats, perfect pushups and runs…

 

Wednesday 1/2/13

Perfect Pushups on knees 6-5-4-3 regular, wide, narrow

Wall squats x2 @ 1:15 each

Random thoughts:

Well, I did the other stuff but didn’t make it out for the run for various reasons… ho hum. Glad that I was still able to do the pushup/wall squat routine, despite having slacked off so much with it.

 

Thursday 1/3/13

Not-run – 30 minutes nose breathing

Perfect Pushups on knees 6-5-4-3 regular, wide, narrow

Wall squats x2 @ 1:15 each

Random thoughts:

While doing my first wall squat I could see Rich running, because our window looks out onto Richmond Ave. I was half watching him, and half watching Nigella make Puttanesca sauce. Nigella is more fun to watch. The weather today was really cold. I wore: running tights, a long-sleeve merino shirt, a short-sleeve merino shirt, a fleece sweatshirt, a running jacket, a pair of toe sox, a pair of sol socks, my GladSoles, 2 hats, 1 pair of gloves, and a Buff scarf thing around my neck. I felt perfect!

Jennie's Winter Running Gear List

Friday 1/4/13

Nothing – but I knew that going in – I had to take Max & Mia to the orthodontist at UMDNJ for diagnostics – fun times!

 

Saturday 1/5/13

Not-run – 30 minutes nose breathing

Perfect Pushups on knees 6-5-4-3 regular, wide, narrow

Wall squats x2 @ 1:15 each

Random thoughts:

Glad to be out here – I have to run today and tomorrow because although I don’t want to be a hard-ass about this workout thing, I do want to do at least 4 days a week…

 

Sunday 1/6/13

Not-run – 30 minutes nose breathing

Perfect Pushups on knees 6-5-4-3 regular, wide, narrow

Wall squats x2 @ 1:15 each

Random thoughts:

Really glad that I fit this in. We were going out to lunch and I’m so bad about mobilizing in the morning. It was really nice, and I took a different route as I get SO BORED when I do the same route day in and day out.

–J

Nice Going Al Roker, But Check This Out…

This morning, Al Roker was all over every hour of The Today Show plugging his new book Never Goin’ Back: Winning the Weight-Loss Battle For Good.

I love Al, he just seems like an all around good guy, and I’m thrilled for his success. However, looking at him I can’t help but notice that he’s not the slimmest of individuals, so I’m not sure if he’s the right role-model for everyone.

It got me thinking about someone very close to me who, seven years ago, decided to do his own battle against creeping weight-gain. My very own partner-in-crime Rich Gladstone. He was very slim when we first met – about 180lbs on a 6’2” frame. Bad eating habits and a sedentary lifestyle took their toll over time, and his weight slowly crept up to 217lbs. The funny thing is he never seemed like a fat person – it’s only when you compare old pictures to more recent ones that you see the dramatic change.

Over the past 7 years, Rich has successfully maintained a healthy weight, and become even stronger and leaner than when we first met. He’s now holding steady at 170lbs – his high-school weight. Not bad for a 43-year-old suburban dad!

Let’s check in with him and get some words of wisdom.

Rich, before the fitness

 

What motivated you to make the change?

I was 35 years old and sick and tired of being a fat-ass.  (see picture directly above)

 

What was the first step?

I stopped finishing my kids’ food – whereas before I would finish anything left on their plates.

 

What were your old eating habits?

I ate a lot of food, a lot of healthy foods, unhealthy foods, mainly large quantities.

 

What were your old exercise habits?

I was a weekend warrior, basketball once or twice a week, tennis once or twice a week. I didn’t have a steady workout regimen. I would go all out a couple times a week playing one of the two above mentioned sports.

 

What was the toughest thing to give up?

Food-wise, nothing really because there are so many options out there to keep me satisfied. One thing I did learn was to fill up on healthy foods before going to the junk – for instance, if I was really hungry I would eat an apple, or a banana, maybe a glass of water – and if I still wanted the chips I would eat them too, but not as many because I was already filled up with the healthier options first.

 

Tell us a little about your current daily exercise routine.

Mostly running – on average about 5 times a week over the last 12 months. Tennis 1 or 2 times a week in the warmer months. Yoga 2 days a week during the colder months. Basically I’m doing something 7 days a week – usually less than an hour per day, unless it’s a tennis match.

 

What do you eat on a daily basis?

Vegetarian – I enjoy tortilla wraps for breakfast, usually with humus or avocado, granola, yogurt, fruits, etc. Lots of salad with seeds, nuts (sunflower seeds and pistachio nuts are 2 of my favorites). Sweet potatoes, most veggies, tempeh, tofu, etc. pasta (gluten-free like corn pasta or buckwheat, brown rice, etc.) quinoa, farro.

 

How do you stay motivated?

It feels really good fitting into my old clothes, more so than being a fat-ass.

 

Do you ever feel unmotivated? If so, what do you do to re-commit?

Yes, but I get over it by sticking to my daily routine. Running is the easiest, very little prep, just get out the door, enjoy the fresh air and move a little – less than an hour is more than sufficient for me.

 

If someone’s interested in making their own lifestyle change, what do you recommend they do to start?  

Do something physical everyday, doesn’t have to be hard, walking for 30 minutes outdoors, yoga, pick a sport you like, etc. The main thing is to create a daily habit – it’s tough at first, but if you stick with it for a few weeks, it becomes second nature.

rg looking good

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There you have it – some tips for a successful 2013!

–J

A COUCH POTATO NO MORE…?

November 2012 - Before ShotLet’s face it, there can be a flip side to all this workout stuff. It’s a bad part of my character that I tend to be contrarian. Watching Rich get fitter and fitter has the reverse motivating effect on me, in that it motivates me to want to flab out on the couch with chips, and leave the fitness to my better half.

So in the past couple of months I’ve kind of let myself go, and the results are not pretty: a growing Buddha belly; low energy; a nagging backache and a weird urge to grunt when bending down to pick something up off the floor. At 46 am I finally reaching middle age?

I haven’t always been this pathetic. In the past I’ve seen pretty good results from the amazing Cathe Friedrich – and I will always remain a fan. I’ve had a love-hate relationship with running, done a good amount of yoga, and worked on my swimming in the summers. But something has always stopped me from reaching that next level of fitness, and the instant I stopped working out I completely lost all the fitness gains. Perhaps I never had true fitness. Perhaps true fitness is completely unattainable, and is this just a fact of life that the fitness industry banks on to keep people on those treadmills trying to get to a place that doesn’t exist.

For this round I’m going back to basics, and building my fitness layer by layer from the ground up. When I’ve achieved goals in the past it’s always felt like “oh, I can do this # of pushups, or I can run this # of miles” but somehow it felt like a trick and not real. I could run faster and further, but I was huffing and puffing and in pain. I could do more pushups, but was I doing it right or taking a shortcut with bad form?

I look at Rich, and his fitness routine is simple: pushups and running. Sometimes he mixes it up with tennis or yoga, but his go-to is pushups and running, pretty much every day. He’s looking great these days, and this fitness requires very minimal equipment and no gym membership.

But here’s the trick: when he runs he nose breathes, and when he does pushups they’re “Perfect Pushups.” Both of these take the simple acts of running and push-ups to new heights of challenging. If you don’t believe me, try it for yourself! Run a lap breathing through your mouth, and follow it with a lap breathing through your nose. Not easy!

I’m going to break my fitness plateau by following his lead… screw my contrarian nature! As the months go by I’ll update you weekly on my progress, and I’ll be honest each day with how the workouts go.

J

Tennis in KomodoSport Barefoot Shoes – Customized to Fit GladSoles Style

KomodoSport LS with the GladSoles Modification

KomodoSport LS with the GladSoles Modification

Last month I complained about being a little too busy to workout. Not so this month, as I’m happy to report that I only took 4 rest days the entire month of May! That means, more running, more yoga and my first tennis match of the season. Unfortunately, my lack of court time showed, and I was handily beaten by my friend Alex. On the positive side, I finally got to wear my new Vibram KomodoSport LS shoes out on the tennis court for some real match play.

Overall, I was happy with the performance of the newer KomodoSport LS model. Good traction, very lightweight, and no blistering. I did wear Injinji Performance Series Lightweight toesocks just in case, but I could probably get away going completely barefoot, as the interior of the KomodoSports is very smooth and comfortable.

My feet are pretty wide, and I found it much easier to get into the LS model because the lacing system allows for a larger opening on the top of the shoe. However, I wasn’t too impressed with the actual lacing and locking system that Vibram chose for this shoe. The locks didn’t work very well, and the laces had a little too much give to them. So, being the tinkerer that I am, I simply replaced Vibram’s system with the GladSoles laces and locks. I chose our neon yellow laces and pastel purple locks to match my sunny personality. The shoes felt much more stable with the new laces and locks installed, and it is now much easier to customize the fit. Plus, once the desired snugness is set, the new laces and locks actually stay put, even after a couple of hours on the tennis court.

With the weather getting warmer here in the Northeast, things are starting to get pretty busy in the sandal business. As long as I keep my fitness a top priority, get my workouts in, as well as  a few more meditations, hopefully I’ll be able to win some tennis matches in June. And, I’ll look good doing it in my custom-made Vibram KomodoSport LS / GladSoles combination tennis shoes!

Here are my exercise stats for May: (April stats here)

Running (in my GladSoles, Ultra-Minimal Tying Method): 19 times for a total of 148.29 km
Yoga:  7 sessions
Tennis:  1 match – not my best effort, but it’s good to be back on the court
Rest Days:  4

RG

Too Busy to Workout, Not Really But…

Rich at the Yoga Journal Conference in NYC 2012

At the Yoga Journal Conference in NYC 2012

April was a busy month.

Besides all of my piano and guitar teaching, we also did a lot of trunk shows – at Jivamukti Yoga in NYC, Shakti Yoga & Baker Street Yoga in Maplewood, as well as Be Evolution Yoga in Montclair. We also had a booth at the Yoga Journal Conference in New York City for 3 days.

The reason why I mention all this is because I need an excuse to explain all of the “rest” days that I took in April. Normally I workout 6 to 7 times a week. Last year it was 98 percent running, 2 percent tennis. Since January, I’ve been trying to be a bit more balanced in my fitness approach, so I have incorporated yoga into my weekly routine. Anyway, what that means is that I usually run 3 to 4 times a week, and practice yoga 2 to 3 times. However, with all the GladSoles events going on in April, I was thrown out of my normal daily routine. Thus all of the “rest” days in this month’s totals.

It’s not all bad though, for instance, on the 3 days that I commuted to NYC for the Yoga Journal Conference, I took the stairs instead of elevators to and from Penn Station. I walked from Penn Station to and from the NY Hilton (which is on 53rd and 6th Avenue), so that’s a pretty decent walk. I also tried to eat very clean – not too much sugar, lots of salads, fruit, nuts, etc.

So all in all, even though I would have liked to get in a few more workouts, I still managed to be active and hopefully I’ll be able to get back on track in May.

Here are my exercise stats for April: (March stats here)

Running (in my GladSoles when not barefoot): 12 times for a total of 95.6 km
Yoga: 10 sessions
Tennis: 0 matches – almost had my first match, but cancelled last minute
Rest Days: 8

RG

Barefoot in Hong Kong V – The Greatest Race The World Has Never Seen

Bowen Road Hong Kong

Bowen Road Hong Kong

3 Runners, 1 Plodder, 4 Different Experiences

One of the most famous places to run in Hong Kong is Bowen Road. It’s an 8K stretch that winds its way through the Mid-Levels of Hong Kong. In a mountain-city that puts San Francisco’s hills to shame, Bowen Road’s relative flatness is very appealing.

There were four of us – all very different runners: Jeremy has been running his entire adult life. He’s very dedicated, determined and competitive. Yoni is 25 years old, speedy and graceful. On that day he was training for a 10k charity run and this was his first time doing more than 5 kilometers. Rich, you know all about – over 2000 miles logged last year, fleet of foot as he speeds along in his GladSoles minimal sandals. And me: sloooow, attempting lightness and ease in my own GladSoles, and not used to the 8k distance.

Here’s how we all felt about it:

WHAT DID YOU SEE?
Jeremy: Buildings and jungle!
Yoni: Bowen road was half way up to the peak, so when you ran the stretch it was like running along sky-scrapers. I saw high-rise buildings by my side and a magnificent bay.
Rich: Beautiful views of the Hong Kong skyline.
Jennie: Skyscrapers wrapped in fabric and bamboo scaffolding.

HOW FAST DID YOU GO?
Jeremy: 38 mins for 5 miles (whatever that is)
Yoni: I ran an average of 4.5min a Km.
Rich: Fast enough to stay comfortably ahead of Jeremy & Yonatan, and my lovely wife.
Jennie: Ridiculously slow.

WHAT DID YOU LIKE BEST ABOUT IT?
Jeremy: Being together running en famille.
Yoni: The best bit was the height of the road, so the view was breathtaking.
Rich: No traffic, relatively flat, perfect weather, lots to like.
Jennie: The fresh air, the views, the company.

WHAT WAS THE WORST PART?
Jeremy: Nothing bad – during summer the heat is crazy but wasn’t relevant in February.
Yoni: The worst part was the heat and humidity – I’m not used to running in these conditions – I’m used to British cold and rainy weather.
Rich: There was no worst part.
Jennie: Getting a mouthful of dust when we went past a building site.

HOW DID YOU FEEL WHEN YOU WERE DONE?
Jeremy: Satisfied!
Yoni: I felt brilliant when I’d finished because I’d beaten my best time.
RG: Great!
Jennie: Accomplished!

HOW OFTEN DO YOU DO THIS RUN?
Jeremy: Two or three times per week.
Yoni: At the time I was training for a 10k… so I ran often leading up to the event. Unfortunately I’ve stopped running for a bit because my university exams are looming. Though I look forward to get back on it fairly soon!
RG: Every time I go to Hong Kong (once).
Jennie: As often as possible (so far, once…)

Exercising in 2012 – February Summary

Hong Kong Running Action Shot

Hong Kong Running Action Shot

Just wanted to update you all with my exercise stats for the past month. February was a little challenging as we were traveling to and from Hong Kong. That’s a 16 hour flight each way from our lovely home base here in New Jersey. So with that as an excuse, I didn’t exercise on those two travel days, plus I took off another two days while we were in Hong Kong. Not too bad considering I still managed to get in some sort of exercise 25 out of the 29 days during this leap year February.

The highlight(s) this month were definitely the spectacular views that I encountered during my running exploits while in Hong Kong. The steep hills and crazy drivers kept me on my toes, while providing some pretty challenging training runs. The hills of South Orange, New Jersey seem a little bit more manageable now that I’ve experienced the Mid-Levels of Hong Kong. I got in a total of five runs for 44.54 km while there, for an average of 8.91 km per run. Not too shabby considering the elevation that I was dealing with while navigating the peaks and valleys. (Here’s a link to my longest training run in Hong Kong)

Some of you might be wondering how I know that I ran precisely 44.54 km in Hong Kong. It’s one of my best motivating tools that I own – my trusty Garmin Forerunner 210 GPS watch. It might be a little frivolous, but I really look forward to the statistics after every run. This watch basically links up with the satellites in the sky and tracks my every step, giving me a remarkably accurate account of the distance, speed, elevation gain, and calories burned during every training run. I can compare my results with other training days to see how I am progressing, or regressing on occasion. I’m a bit of a gadget freak, and this GPS watch is one really cool piece of equipment. I think that having all of these statistics helps keep me motivated, and makes it even more fun to run.

Anyway, here are my totals for February: (January stats here)

Running (in my GladSoles of course): 16 times for a total of 143.90 km
Yoga: 9 sessions
Tennis: 0 matches – still a little too cold outside :(
Travel Days: 2 (it’s tough to exercise when you’re on a plane for 16 hours)
Rest Days: 2

RG

Running and Fitness – A Little Advice

Running in 5K Race

Running in 5K Race

Occasionally people ask me for advice on running and/or fitness in general. Whether they’ve heard about my running exploits of 2000 miles in 2011, or have seen my new and improved slender physique :), they seem to think that I have some expertise on the subject. I usually feel a little uncomfortable talking about myself, but I do have a couple of tips that I think could benefit many.

First of all, I am not an exercise junkie. I do not look forward to spending hours and hours working out. As a matter of fact, the reason that I run so much, is because it is so easy to do. I don’t need any special equipment and as soon as I step outside my front door, I’m there, ready to go. If I spend 30 to 45 minutes running outside, I am guaranteed a great workout and some fresh air. Plus, if I add in some hills, it really turns into a full body workout.

I have discovered over the last few years that it does not take a lot of hours in order to get into shape and stay fit. It’s all about consistency. I used to be a weekend warrior. I’d play basketball or tennis, my two favorite sports, maybe once or twice a week. I’m talking about 2 solid hours on the court, maybe three depending on the game or match. I’d be really sore for a few days after, but I felt that I was getting a lot accomplished in the one or two contests/struggles a week. Looking back on those days, I also had a bit of a gut, and spent a lot of my time limping around, recovering the rest of the week from my “athletic” events. Not a good way to be.

Now, I run just about every day. And if I’m not running, I practice yoga. I no longer carry any extra weight, and I have more energy than ever. I am very rarely sore. I attribute this to the length and intensity of my workouts. I try to keep my runs to under an hour, usually 45 minutes or less. When I practice yoga, its also done in under an hour, including the warm-up and meditation/relaxation at the end. That’s it, pretty simple in theory, but not always so easy to do.

So, if I had to sum it up in one word, it would be consistency. Not long, hard workouts. No painful recovery times. Just find something you like to do, and do it everyday. For me, running and yoga are very enjoyable. The key is to do something that makes you happy for at least 30 minutes a day. Nothing less, and nothing more is necessary to stay fit and healthy, at least in my experience.