Happy 2013 and I’m back!

Hello friends. It’s been more than a few since I last blogged. First and foremost, my apologies for just kind of disappearing. I had been posting daily after every single workout throughout my P90X journey and beyond. After doing this for about 7 months, I honestly got a bit burned out. My workout routine was continuously changing as I was seeking the best combination of P90X, gym, and outdoor workouts. By the end I was finding my blogs to be forced and my inspiration to write them was certainly not the same. It’s not that I wanted to inspire any less or be any less accountable, but rather that if I was sharing, I wanted it to be true and worthy. And once I stopped blogging, it was that much harder to start back up. Then I hit a pretty big set-back. On October 31st, Mary and I headed up to Seattle for a week of visiting her family and on the first night there, I got really ill. I’m still not sure if it was a bug or food poisoning or what, but all I know is that I have never projectile vomited like that ever before in my life. I was pretty much down and out for the entire week that we were there and I was barely able to eat. When we got back, I had lost 6 lbs and my muscles were definitely deflated. I was very frustrated and immediately got back in the gym to try and put the size back on. Well… that proved to backfire. I was doing incline chest press with 75 lb dumbbells… a weight that I can normally do a good set of… but not this time. I was still too weak coming off my illness and in an attempt to lift the weights above my head, found I could not do it. My back overcompensated and lifted off the bench and that was it. Disc injury. 😦

It was barely the second week of November and I couldn’t do much more than lie on a yoga mat on the floor. I tried to still get work done on my laptop, but that was even difficult. I was basically disabled for the next 4 weeks. Sitting was too painful, so I could only drive a little bit. I hit pretty bad depression as I was not only stuck on the floor, but I was not able to earn money, work out, play drums… not really able to do much at all. Meanwhile, my muscles were disappearing on me as I could do no physical activity. On week 5 I got on the scale and I was down to 144 lbs. I can’t even remember the last time I weighed that little. My back was feeling a bit better and I decided it was time to get back into it, even though I should have probably waited longer. But I started slow and have been working my way up since.

In the past 3 weeks I have been doing a combination of P90X workouts and Turbo Fire cardio workouts. I’m not following any program exactly, but I am doing a good job of putting together a solid routine for now. It will be a while before I am back in the gym, so for now this is perfect. I know there is still an issue with my back that was there since before the injury and eventually I will have to look further into that. Unless of course my body heals itself… and that is always a possibility.

We are now in the possession of P90X 1 & 2, Turbo Fire, and Insanity. I am focused on mostly the traditional weightlifting routines of P90X and mixing in some Turbo Fire cardio workouts. I will soon expand more, but this is good for right now. I am in the process of setting my goals for the year and they are bigger and better than ever before. I’m excited to continue on this journey and to share it with you in hopes of inspiring you to be the best you can be. And that brings me to my next blog which you will see later today. Here’s a hint… juice cleanse!

Have a great day and I’ll be back soon!

“You can’t change your genetics, but you can change your attitude, your persistence, your environment, the people you listen to and hang around with, and the things you do. You can change, so if you want to, just get started.” -Craig Ballantyne

Genetic Roulette Film… a MUST watch!

Happy 1st Day of Fall!

I posted this on my facebook/twitter the other day but forgot to blog it as well.  This is so very important for us all to know and understand.  GMO foods are BAD.  Simple as that.  This film is really good at breaking down the dangers to our health and what we need to do.  It is currently free to view online, but only through midnight tonight.  So please… take a few minutes and give this a watch.  And if you live in California, remember to Vote YES on PROP 37 this November.  Our future depends on it.  Thank you.


P90X – Round 2, Day 23!

Busy day and ended it the right way…

P90X – Yoga X
Total Time = 98 Minutes

I was up and at em at the crack of dawn today.  I went to the All Cities Professional Resources networking group this morning… at 7am.  It was a great meeting as I was promoting my merchant services business and met some great people today.  When I got home, it was right to work.  I did that up until about 4pm when I had to take a little break for a much needed nap.  After that… more work and then finally… time to workout.  Yoga X was on the clock today and I jumped on in.

To be honest, I really was not in the mood to do yoga today.  It is a hard and long workout and I was pretty spent.  But I started the DVD and went for it.  For about the first 10 minutes, I was having trouble concentrating as I was still being resistant to the practice.  But about 20 minutes in, I finally settled into my groove and was in the zone.  I worked through the entire workout and I was sweating hard.  My poses were strong and my flexibility was good.  I got to the end, did a quick meditation, and officially wrapped up my day.

I just finished cooking dinner… a delicious, all-plant based Italian sauce with lots of veggies to be served over basmati rice.  And there will be plenty of leftovers too.  🙂  Time to eat and relax.  I hope you all had a productive and happy day and I bid you a sweet goodnight.

But not without a little inspirational quote first…
“Hard work has made it easy. That is my secret. That is why I win.” -Nadia Comaneci

P90X – Round 2, Day 18!

Productive day already!

P90X – Kenpo X
Total Time = 64 Minutes

Up and at em and back to work!  I got 2 hours of work in and then took a break for my workout.  I entered my Dojo… aka, my living room, and launched into my Kenpo X workout.  I woke up this morning feeling good with extreme soreness in my legs from yesterday’s leg workout.  I mean every muscle in my legs are super sore… the sign of an effective workout yesterday.  I took a few extra minutes to get warmed up before starting today because my legs were tight and I needed to loosen up.  But I got into it and despite the soreness, I was able to go hard.  My kicks are definitely getting higher and that makes me happy.  I am also bringing the intensity on this workout more as I was going faster than the cadence on many of the punch and block combos and just bringing more heat overall.  Gotta say, feeling great today.  Having my traditional post-workout, plant-based protein shake now and then it’s back to work.  I wish you all a beautiful afternoon. And the quote of the day…

In honor of the birthday of the one and only Mr. James Brown, I share a quote of his that actually has some deeper meaning if you think about it.
“I only got seventh-grade education, but I have a doctorate in funk, and I like to put that to good use.” -James Brown


P90X – Round 2, Day 17!

Hittin’ it hard on hump day!

P90X – Legs and Back
P90X – Ab Ripper X
Total Time = 80 Minutes

Yesterday was a long day for me which ended with a band rehearsal and more work.  By the time I wrapped all up my day, I was out of time and out of steam to get in my Yoga workout.  So, I am pushing it until later in the calendar.  If you’re keeping score at home, I now owe 1 X Stretch workout and 1 Yoga X workout.  I will make those up along the way.

In the meantime, however, I wanted to get back to the weights today.  These last 2 days have been crazy busy and a little stressful.  Plus I have not gotten much sleep over the past 2 nights for various reasons.  But, I still pulled it together this morning and got to work before 9am.  After getting some work done, I took a break to power through legs, back, and abs.  It was a good workout today.  I had to dig deep though and I did get pretty winded at one point.  But, my leg exercises were solid and my pullups continue to improve.  By the time I hit abs I was pretty wasted.  But I stuck with it.  I did mix up a few of the moves again today just to keep it fresh.  Now that I am wrapped and enjoying my plant-based protein shake, it’s time to shower up and get back on the clock.  Big busy day continues ahead.  I hope you’re all having a great week so far.  Here is today’s inspirational quote…

“There’s nothing like biting off more than you can chew, and then chewing anyway.” -Mark Burnett

My Breakfast Quinoa Recipe!

I have been meaning to share this one for a while.  As I sit here gobbling down a big bowl of my breakfast quinoa on a Sunday afternoon with some free time on my hands, I have finally committed to sharing this recipe with you.

First, what is Quinoa?
Quinoa is an amino acid-rich (protein) seed that has a fluffy, creamy, slightly crunchy texture and a somewhat nutty flavor when cooked.  Most commonly considered a grain, quinoa is actually a relative of leafy green vegetables like spinach and Swiss chard. The leaves of the quinoa plant are edible, with a taste similar to its green-leafed relatives.
It is a recently rediscovered ancient “grain” once considered “the gold of the Incas” who recognized its value in increasing the stamina of their warriors.
We usually think of quinoa as a grain, but it is actually the seed of a plant with the scientific name Chenopodium quinoa.  Not only is quinoa high in protein, but the protein it supplies is a complete protein, meaning that it includes all nine essential amino acids. Not only is quinoa’s amino acid profile well-balanced, making it a good choice for vegans concerned about adequate protein intake, but quinoa is especially well-endowed with the amino acid lysine, which is essential for tissue growth and repair. In addition to protein, quinoa features a host of other health-building nutrients. Because quinoa is a very good source of manganese as well as a good source of magnesium, folate, and phosphorus, this “grain” may be especially valuable for persons with migraine headaches, diabetes and atherosclerosis.  There are many other health benefits that quinoa offers including helping with the prevention of cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, gallstones, and childhood asthma as well as increasing antioxidant protection.

Ok… now that we know it’s one of the good guys… how do we cook this stuff?

Well, there are many types of quinoa out there.  While the most popular type of quinoa is a transparent yellow color, other varieties feature colors such as orange, pink, red, purple or black.  Stores like Trader Joes & Whole Foods also have a tri-color quinoa consisting of yellow, red, and black.  I feel the taste of the yellow works best as a side dish with a lunch or dinner meal.  When I make the breakfast version, I prefer the red, black, or tri-color.  But you use whatever you like best.  The great thing about this recipe is that there are many variations and you can make it how you like.

Before you cook any quinoa, it is recommended to rinse it.  While the processing methods used in the commercial cultivation remove much of the soapy saponins that coats quinoa seeds, it is still a good idea to thoroughly wash the seeds to remove any remaining saponin residue. An effective method is to run cold water over quinoa that has been placed in a fine-meshed strainer, gently rubbing the seeds together with your hands.

While you may serve your quinoa however suits your fancy, the following recipe is how I make my breakfast quinoa.  I really make this a power packed breakfast by adding flax seed and hemp seed.
Flax Seed is one of the most powerful plant foods on the planet and is very high in Omega-3 essential fatty acids, Lignans, & Fiber.
Hemp Seed is considered to be the most nutritionally complete food source in the world containing all of the essential amino acids and essential fatty acids necessary to maintain healthy human life. No other single plant source has the essential amino acids in such an easily digestible form, nor has the essential fatty acids in as perfect a ratio to meet human nutritional needs.
Therefore, this recipe packs a punch!

Justin’s Breakfast Quinoa Recipe:
1 cup of rinsed organic quinoa (whatever kind you like… again I prefer red, black, or tri)
2 cups filtered water
8 tablespoons of organic ground flax seed meal
4 tablespoons of organic hemp seed
Organic Cinnamon
Organic Stevia (can also use organic agave or organic maple syrup)
Organic Raisins
An organic plant-based milk such as Rice Milk, Coconut Milk, Flax Milk, Hemp Milk, etc.

Always start by fully cooking the quinoa on it’s own.  Add the 2 cups of water and the quinoa to a pot and cook on high flame until it starts to boil.  Then, lower flame to a simmer, cover, and cook for 15 minutes.  After 15 minutes, all of the water should be absorbed while you will notice that the grains have become translucent, and the white germ has partially detached itself, appearing like a white-spiraled tail.  Remove the lid and keep a very low flame on, but you must start adding other ingredients immediately to prevent the quiona from burning into the bottom of the pot.  Add the flax seed and hemp seed and then splash on some rice milk.  I really have no idea of what the measurements are that I use for the rice milk.  I just kind of pour it around and then stir.  As we are adding these additional ingredients, it is the rice milk that helps bind everything together as well as give the dish the extra needed moisture.  I then shake in the cinnamon.  Again, I have no idea how much… I just shake it in very generously as it is quite healthy and tastes great too.  Add as much or as little as you like.  Next, a little bit of sweetener.  This is optional and you can do to taste.  I like to add just a slight amount of the stevia… just enough to bring out the cinnamon.  Be careful not to over-sweeten though.  Lastly, I shake in some raisins.  Again this is optional.  Raisins are healthy, but they do add sugar to the overall recipe.  Therefore, depending on your dietary needs you may want to hold off on the raisins or just shake in a few for flavor.  Again at this point you’re gonna want to splash in some more of your rice milk.  Continue to do so while stirring this masterpiece all together until you reach the desired consistency.  We are basically creating a porridge here, so add rice milk, stir, and repeat until it suits your fancy.  If all looks good, you are done!  Remove from heat and serve!  Personally, I like to throw a spoon or two of organic crunchy peanut butter into mine.  I love the taste and I need the extra calories in my diet.  My wife likes to add organic unsweetened applesauce.  You can have it plain as it is quite good all alone, or add whatever you like.  I have also added walnuts and really liked that as well.  With all of the extra good stuff added to this recipe, you should have about 5 servings worth. (the 1 cup of dry quinoa = 4 servings)

Here’s how it should look.  Enjoy!!!

Healthy Salad Recipe!

I’ve been a bit slacking in the sharing of recipes and such, so I figured to get on track with this one, especially since I have already been asked for the recipe!

What’s interesting about this, is that the ‘recipe’ can have a million variables.  The best thing about making a salad like this is that you can use so many different combinations of veggies to suit your tastes… depending on what you buy or just what happens to be in the fridge.  The guidelines with my recipe is that it must be all plant based, high in protein and nutrients, organic and clean, and lean and mean. haha.  Ok yummy too!

Having said that, here are the ingredients that I used:
* ALL Organic
– Herb Mix Salad
– Spinach
– Kale
– Cucumbers
– Sugar Plum Tomatoes
– Mushrooms
– Onions
– Green Pepper
– Shredded Carrots
– Garbanzo Beans
– Kidney Beans
– Raw Sunflower Seeds
– Ground Hemp seed
– 1 package of firm tofu
– 1 avocado
– Seasoning and/or salad dressing of your choice

First I sliced the tofu into small cubes and then sauteed them in coconut oil.  I didn’t use any seasoning.  The tofu is an optional ingredient.  Sometimes I will use it and sometimes I will not.  I prepare it separately, however, and leave it on the side so that it may be added or not.  After it was cooked, I placed it in a bowl and put it in the fridge to cool off.  I served it on the side, but wanted it to be the same temperature as the salad.

Then I washed and sliced all of the veggies.  I added the herb mix, kale, and spinach to my big ‘ole salad bowl and mixed them up a bit.  I then got a little artistic as I do sometimes with food and began placing the sliced veggies in a circular pattern and then distributed the diced veggies all around.  You may make your own design.  🙂  After that, I spread the kidney and garbanzo beans around.  Lastly, I sprinkled the sunflower seeds and a few spoons of the hemp seed around the top.  That’s it!  Once we served the salad in bowls and added our dressings of choice, I added the sliced avocado on top.  And as far as dressings, you may use whatever suits your fancy.  I go with a homemade dressing that I make on the spot.  I first add oregano, basil, black pepper, crushed red pepper, and a dash of salt (optional on the salt).  I then drizzle a little olive oil on top along with apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar, and sometimes a balsamic vinegar, and then I finish it off with a little fresh lemon juice.

This is delicious and of course nutritious.  Aside from the obvious benefits of eating all of those veggies, the beans are a great source of fiber and protein, the sunflower seeds and avocado provide healthy fats, and the hemp seed is loaded with protein and omega 3!  The tofu, if you so desire to use it, will provide even more protein.  But my feelings on tofu is that it should be used sparingly in your diet… a little is great, but too much can have negative effects.

What’s great about this meal, is that you can eat as much of it as you want!  Feel free to fill up, cuz this will provide you with everything you need and it will burn off quick.  I recommend making a BIG salad so that you can save the leftovers for a quick and healthy lunch or snack the next day.


Workout Day 15!

Day 1 of Week 3!

P90X – Chest and Back
P90X – Ab Ripper X
Total time = 74 minutes

Chest, Back, and Abs and boy I am toast right now!  But feeling great and full of energy.  It was a hard one today… not that there have been any easy ones. Haha.  But I will say I had a few struggles.  Like Tony says on the DVD, “Don’t let your EGO get in the way!”  Today I had to let ego go because I had to stop short on a few of the push-up exercises.  My wrists and especially my elbows were feeling a little tweeked.  It was not the good kind of pain and when I felt that, I had to take breaks.  I think part of it has to do with the fact that I’ve been pushing myself hard in working out for 14 days straight PLUS playing drums in band rehearsals.  I wanted to push myself further but not at the expense of injury.  And let that be a lesson to all of you… especially the newbies at the workout game…  nothing is worth an injury.  Because then you will truly lose out on time and there is nothing more frustrating than that.  The other lesson… to myself as well… is FORM FORM FORM!  I started to notice that as my chest was tiring out, that is when I felt more pain in my elbows.  That means I was relying to much on my arms rather than my chest and that defeats the point.  So always keep your eye on form… it is key!  The other ego check I had was during the diamond pushups.  I have a lot of trouble with those because my tendons and elbows just creak and crack too much.  That is from several years of abuse in the weight room and at this time, I don’t feel like the diamond pushups are healthy for me.  So instead of getting frustrated, I grabbed some dumbbells, leaned back on a chair, and just did some nice controlled chest flyes.  So if you are doing P90X or any workout program for that matter, feel free to adapt to your body.  Your body knows best, so do what feels good.  Just keep doing!

And with that… I am going to go stuff my face with a nice healthy and hearty plant based lunch.  🙂  And then back to work it is.  Have a beautiful day… Happy Friday the 13th… and I wish you all a fantastic and productive weekend!  But I’ll see ya tomorrow.  😉