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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Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Blondie the comic strip

Show of hands if you remember the Blondie comic strips when Dagwood napped on the sofa all day.

That was me today after practicing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu with a much more experienced person who seemed to think I was wearing a skirt by the number of times he called me a girl or told me to take off the skirt.

Yup, this guy Keith, who was searching for a personal trainer and found the testimonial from my Krav Maga instructor, invited me to come train with him and compare fighting styles. I, wanting to be the best coach I can be excepted the offer so I could understand his sport better and what he was looking to do.

We met at a private gym near his home that has a small “mat room”. After warming up (most everyone knows I like to warm up my body before I play a sport), we “rolled” around on the mat, barefoot and wearing shorts & t-shirts. He showed me things like the guard (lying on your back with your opponent ready to attack), shrimping (like the bicycle ab exercise except its the same arm & leg coming together), the Kimora (think twisting someone’s arm into internal rotation) and the triangle arm lock (can’t explain yet). He told me that I made great facial expressions, was intense and got pissed off every time I had to tap out. “Yeah, thanks!”

In the end, even though I tapped out frequently and was called many feminine names (guys hate that) it was great. I really have natural athleticism in the form of kinesthetic awareness (knowing where your body is in space), strength (I was giving up 30 + pounds to this guy) and conditioning (I didn’t get tired). I moved well (thank you movement prep), endured (thank you planks & interval training) and made him work (thank you chosen profession). We agreed to do it again and he better watch out because I’m a fast learner. 🙂

Here’s a little background information on Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu with no gi or no Karate Kid uniform. It is basically grappling (wrestling) on the ground in which you try to get your opponent into a submission hold (think Head lock, arm lock, leg lock or some really embarrassing high pitched noise coming from your mouth that you never heard before). Once the victim, me in this case, is forced to submit, I tap out. “Tap out” or “tapping out” means you tap the floor or your opponent to signal “uncle” or “mercy”. And there’s no punching, kicking, elbows, knees or head butts. Just wrassling.

Here’s a video from youtube of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu without a gi.

Pretty cool isn’t it (roll your eyes if you’re a woman and repeat after me, “boys will be boys”)!

So you see how all of my training was used in a totally new experience and I held my own. What experiences have been surprisingly easier for you because of your training? Reply below.


Mike Alves