Eat Fiber, Live Longer

I’m currently reading Dr. Walter Willet’s, Eat, Drink and Be Healthy classic and am amazed at all the nuggets he shares. I’m a performance guy, who loves to train hard and lives an active lifestyle, but reading this book has awakened me to many things, specifically eating to prevent disease. (ha, what a novel, yet simple concept)

I train my clients from the inside out, from the core so to speak, and I eat and talk about eating healthful foods. My usual point of view on nutrition is geared towards performance or cosmetic reasons, but this book takes it to another level. Disease prevention.

I’m from huge families and we’ve experienced our share of death and disease over the years while living an American lifestyle. To know how my family eats and lives and then to be a health professional and read this book is, uh…life changing. Most everyone knows that eating certain foods in excess are going to make you fat (or maybe they really don’t know), but imagine knowing that eating certain foods was going to kill you (as in ashes to ashes, dust to dust), require you to stick your body with needles everyday, require you to take pills so you could go #2 more easily and regularly, give you the opportunity to rave about your triple bypass surgery instead of your triple double in basketball or let you shave your head bald so you can drink nauseating chemical cocktails while feeling green without envy. Sounds exciting, right? Where do you sign up? NOT.

So, I just read about fiber and thought I’d share 4 great things fiber can do for you.

  1. Fiber regulates blood sugar by slowing digestion (helps control hunger & weight gain).
  2. High Fiber foods help prevent diabetes (no needle sticking).
  3. Fiber reduces your risk of heart disease by about 30% (no Armani Pace Makers or Louis Vitton Stents).
  4. Fiber prevents constipation and diverticular disease. (Screw the laxatives).

So basically, eat a bowl of rolled or steel cut oatmeal each day to lose weight, have high energy without the lulls, which stablizes your blood sugar so you don’t go into food coma, so you don’t get hungry again, overeat and become fat which leads to more problems, so you don’t become insulin sensitive, which would lead to a fun life of sticking yourself with needles because you have type 2 diabetes (not), so you reduce your cholesterol level which keeps your heart pumping strong for fun active living (think sports, adventures and “adult” activities) and maybe best of all because you take this for granted the most, you’ll have quick, painless and regular bathroom trips instead of taking pills or going to the hospital because you “gotta go” and you can’t.

Yours living the active life,

Your health & fitness expert,

Your ace,

Your coach,

Mike Alves

Newton Personal Trainer

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You ever feel like your day is totally packed, you have no time to breathe or think or god forbid eat, drink or exercise?

Really!?!? What’s that like, I’ve never experienced that? Joke, I’m just kidding.

Today one of my clients was off. I decided after watching her struggle through her outdoor conditioning, that I would cut out 5 minutes and use it for something special.

I asked if she had a picnic table in her back yard. “Yes”, was her reply. I say, “O.K., we’re going to finish in the back with some stretching. Does that sound cool?” “Yes” was her reply”

I lead her through 5 minutes of body weight stretching and then I ask her to lie on her back on her picnic table with her knees bent & feet on the bench.

I tell her, “O.K., here’s what you’re going to do. You’re going to lie on your back, with your eyes closed and we’re going to spend 5 minutes relaxing. 1 minute on each of the 5 senses. Ready?”

“Yes!,” she said.

Minute 1: Hear

“O.K. Eyes closed. I want you to listen. Listen to all the sounds around you. Listen to the birds, listen to the air, your breathing, my voice, the traffic off in a distance. Separate each sound and listen to all the different sounds.”

Minute 2: Smell

“Now smell the air. Can you smell the grass, the flowers, the trees? Can you smell yourself, your hair, your clothes, your scent? Can you smell your breath? Take a big breath.”

Minute 3: Touch

“Now feel your body. Feel your feet. Feel your sneakers, the foam insulation, the treads, the wooden bench. Feel the picnic table. Feel your shirt, your shorts. Feel hair, just hanging. Feel your knees, your butt, and your shoulders. Feel the air as you breathe. Take a big breath. Feel the limitless air you can consume.”

Minute 4: Taste

“Taste your mouth. Imagine how water tastes when you’re thirsty. Imagine today’s workout, when you asked for a water break. How did the water taste. The coldness, frost on the glass. The ice. Was it refreshing? Taste how clear & pure it was. How satisfying. Now imagine your favorite food. How does it taste. How does it taste as you roll it around in your mouth. What does it taste like? Is it hot, cold, hard, soft, squishy or crunchy? Is it sweet or salty?”

Minute 5: See

“Now visualize something beautiful. Imagine your favorite place. Is it the beach, is it home. Is it a country or a resort? Are you with people, your husband, your daughter, and your friends? Are you by yourself? What’s the weather like? Is it warm or cool? What are you doing? What are you wearing? Are you laughing? Why is this beautiful? Why is this a favorite place?”

“O.K., now wake up. How do you feel?”

Silence and a foggy smile. “C’mon, let’s go back inside”, I say”

“Where did you learn that?” she softly says, while still awakening.

“In a relaxation class in college, different books, conferences, here & there.”

“That was great!” she says.

“Thank you! I figured you were a little beat up today and could use something special. So, I subtracted 5 minutes from something important (conditioning) to give you 5 minutes, to reboot & recover. Was it good?”

“Yes, it was great!” was her reply.

I said, “Sometimes your day is so packed, you’re tired and you need energy, but coffee isn’t doing the trick. You decide, f’ it, I need to reboot and take 5 minutes for myself. You can nap or do relaxing meditation like you did today. I often use this trick. I’ll sleep in my car, at my desk, in a park, on the sofa, or I’ll go for a walk, lie on a foam roller, anything. Just 5 minutes to slow things down, clear my head & reboot my system. It’s amazing how 5 minutes can feel so long and powerful. It doesn’t recover you completely, but it sure makes you feel better or more able to conquer what lies ahead. Do you agree?”

“Yes!” she replied still groggy.

5 Minutes. Because you’re worth it!

Yours in living the active life,

Mike Alves

Newton Personal Trainer and Newton Fitness Boot Camps


I once worked in a grocery store and had 2 different managers. One was Dave, who always had what customers needed in stock and resulted in a loaded back room full of semi-perishable inventory.

The second manager, Tony, almost always had what customers needed in stock, but had a back room that was nearly empty except for weekly specials and some other popular items.

What did I learn? It’s not good to have stock going bad sitting on shelves and it’s far better to keep only very common items in stock and order less common items as needed.

How does this relate to health & fitness?

Today I ran sprints, ate a starchy carb breakfast. Trained a couple of clients and caught for a client (he punched & kicked, I caught). Then had a Krav Maga class. 2 Hours of total exercise, soaking wet hair, shirt, everything. I was hungry and low on energy.

Came home & realized this is bleed the cabinets, fridge and freezer week (like my manager Tony would do) from items that have been sitting for a while.

So…what do you do when you have low body fat, weight loss is not the issue & weight maintenance is and you need instant energy otherwise you’re going to bonk?

You make a shake. Liquid calories, simple carbs and protein = instant energy.

So I poured in 2 cups of water, 2 cups of frozen berries , 1 frozen banana, 2 tablespoons of wheat germ and needed only to add the protein. Uh…hmmm…er….shoot, I’m out. No egg whites, no protein powder, what to do? Well, to keep it simple I could go with legumes, nuts or canned protein. Well I’ve got enough carbs from the fruit & wheat germ so I don’t need legumes; I don’t want the fat from the nuts b/c I want quick digestion, not slow, so the winner is canned protein. Well…all I have left is about a dozen cans of tuna. TUNA?!!! Yup, tuna. Gross is what I thought too, but all I really cared about was keeping my energy up and recovering. In went the ingredients, I Hit #7 (blend), and well-la!Off with the cover and down the hatch.

Guess how it tasted? Yup. Gross!

What are the lessons learned?

  • Keep it simple.
  • If muscle building, weight maintenance, weight gain or performance are your goals, have a protein / carb shake within 30 minutes of your workout.
  • Sometimes it’s good to purge the cabinets of items that might go bad and to start fresh.
  • Sometimes you find yourself in a jam and need to remember the basics. For a post workout shake, its easy digestion, no fat, simple carbs & protein. To some degree the sources matter, but if it’s a liquid, not so much.

Your personal coach,

Mike Alves

p.s. turkey sausage, olive oil, cauliflower, broccoli, brown rice, black beans, fish oil capsule and two 16 oz glasses of ice water was my post workout meal.

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