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

Newton Fitness Boot Camp

p.s. registration closes July 3rd @ noon, for the next boot camp.

p.p.s. Get in shape this summer, not next.

p.p.p.s. sign up for Change YOUR Body Boot Camps now

Dinner with Dr. Halton

Last night I had the pleasure of hitting the town with my friends Bob & Tom. We met up for dinner at the Cheesecake Factory (sorry no desserts for any of us) and had great square table discussions on exercise & nutrition. This was the first time I had seen Tom since reading his new book, The Weight Loss Triad (read below to learn more), so I literally came with a list of questions.

Tom being the gracious professional and good friend that he is, kindly answered in detail each question.

Here’s my favorite thing he kept saying all night, “if you want to lose weight then don’t do this…and do do this”. There was no gray area whatsoever. It was simple. Follow this plan & you lose weight. Don’t do it & you may or may not. Pretty convincing and it came with science & personal experience to back it up.

Here are the questions I asked & basic summaries of his answers. Some will be shocking.

Q: Compete vs Incomplete proteins?

A: No big deal. Complete are obviously better, but your body will hold onto the incomplete proteins (for at least a day) until all the necessary amino acids are consumed.

Q: 3 Meals vs 6 Meals or Multiple Meals?

A: If you want to lose weight, stick to 3 meals. Increased meal consumption leads to increased chance for additional or excessive caloric consumption. He even cited the ADA’s new position statement.

Q: Bread?

A: If you want to lose weight, don’t eat it. Doesn’t matter the brand, the type, whole grain, etc…

Q: Pasta?

A: If you want to lose weight, don’t eat it. Doesn’t matter the brand, the type, whole grain, etc…

I believe the quote at dinner was, “dump it, if you want to lose weight”.

Q: Quinoa?

A: Yes it’s a complete protein, but it’s high glycemic like white rice, which raises your blood sugar & insulin levels. “Dump it, if you want to lose weight”

This one shocked me as I’ve been suggesting Quinoa as a “superfood” based upon Dr. John Berardi’s book Precision Nutrition to my clients as a “starchy carb” food to be consumed post workout.

Q: Starchy Carbs?

A: Oatmeal & Brown Rice as your grains, though from previous conversations, sweet potatoes can fall in the starchy carb category too (not grains).

Q: Swimming’s not a great exercise for losing weight?

A: If you want to lose weight and time is a consideration, swimming is not the best mode of exercise because you’re not weight bearing & something about building a superficial layer of fat to help regulate body temperature.

Q: Interval training?

A: He personally does it, likes it for its calorie burning effect when time is limited, but does not recommend it to the majority of his clientele, simply because they are not interested in performance and/or they are older & have increased risks for heart attacks, stroke, etc…and total cardio minutes (225-250 for women & 150-175 for men) are more important to him.

Q: EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption) and it’s affect on metabolism?

A: Says it contributes to an increased metabolism post exercise, but is only 1 contributing variable to an elevated metabolism that can last up to 12 hours. Cellular repair from damage, digestion, thermogenesis, the breaking down of glycogen (stored carbs) & fat into energy are some others.

Here’s a little Dr. Tom approved intro to his book.

About The Book: The Weight Loss Triad presents a comprehensive weight loss strategy broken down into 3 key areas, Diet, Cardiovascular Exercise and Resistance Training. All three of these areas need attention for weight loss to become permanent. The program is based on Dr. Halton’s 5 years of doctoral research at Harvard University’s Department Of Nutrition as well as his 12+ years of experience helping people lose weight. Whether you need to lose 5 pounds or 100 pounds, you can attain your goals by following the principles in this program.

About The Author: Dr. Thomas L Halton is the owner of Fitness Plus, a nutrition counseling and personal training company based in Boston, MA. He is a graduate of Harvard University with a Doctorate in Nutrition. Dr. Halton also holds Masters Degrees in Human Nutrition and Exercise Science. He is a Licensed Nutritionist, a Certified Nutrition Specialist and an ACE Certified Personal Trainer.
Dr. Halton has been published in the nations leading journals, including The New England Journal of Medicine and The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. His research has been featured on CNN, CBS Health Beat, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, US News and World Report, Time Magazine, Newsweek, Men’s Health and dozens of other international media outlets.

The Weight Loss Triad is available for online purchase at

Check it out and if you have particular questions, comment below and I’ll see if “Dr. Tom” wouldn’t mind answering them for you.

Yours living the active life,

Mike Alves

p.s. The Weight Loss Triad, was simple to read & understand, a fast read, with great, ready to use action tips , without fluff or b.s. This will be your ultimate reference for weight loss as its researched based, practiced based (with clients who pay Big $$$ for results) and principle centered.

Sunday Food Prep

Here’s a blog post I just wrote for my members only site and decided to share here with you.

It talks about preparing your meals in advance, so you always have nutritious and balanced meals ready to eat and you save time during the week.


Prepping your meals or fueling opportunities in advance is one of the best ways to make sure you eat balanced meals, you never miss a meal and that healthful food is always at your fingertips.

Here’s my strategy for success. Read it, adopt it and modify it to fit your schedule.

Sunday Morning, after sleeping in, I jump out of bed, make a meal replacement shake and head to the grocery store. The shelves are full and the isles empty. The big rush of people hasn’t arrived yet. I hit the produce section first, then the fish, meats, dairy and any miscellaneous items I need (cooking spray, oils, legumes, peanut butter, paper, etc…) and check out.

I head home and set up for my big food prep for the week. I take out the cutting boards and place them on the counter. I set up all of my tupperware, containers on top of covers, get my pots out, measuring cups, frying pans, cooking sheets, aluminum foil, etc…

First I start with my breakfast meals. I cook my oatmeal and eggs at the same time (separate pans of course) and make enough for 5 days (1 meal for each item). Measure the milk, pour it into the pot. Measure the water, pour it into the pot. Turn the heat on high. Get it to boil, add the oats, return to boil and then simmer on low heat until liquid is pretty much absorbed. While this is going on I’ve pre-heated the oven to cook my chicken, started my eggs and started my veggie prep for lunch & dinner (i.e. washing the veggies and chopping them).

Eggs. Spray the pan with olive oil cooking spray, turn the heat on medium-high, put in my veggies, this week it was garlic (minced garlic in bottle, found in produce section), frozen spinach, frozen chopped onions and frozen chopped peppers. Pushed it around with my wooden spoon until everything was thawed and then I added the eggs. 1 whole omega 3-egg for each day and a measured amount of egg whites from a carton for each day. Push this around like you would any scrambled egg concoction.

While this is going on, I prepped the chicken. Placed the chicken breast on the aluminum foil & cooking spray covered, cooking sheet about 1 inch apart from each other. Squeezed lemon juice on top and sprinkled salt and pepper on each breast. Placed in oven on 425 for 20-25minutes.

While this is going on and in between managing the oatmeal and stirring the eggs, I started my veggie prep. First was putting 1 cup of fruit in each of the 5 tupperware containers for my oatmeal. This week was frozen mangoes, last week was fresh apples. 1 cup = 2 servings of veggies or fruits, so you’ll hit your veggie/fruit quota for this meal if you can do a cup, though be the judge for yourself. Next I would add my mixed nuts to the oatmeal (the fat for the meal), but I chose to have ground flax seeds or flax meal instead. I tried it sprinkled on top the previous week, but it didn’t taste too good (too dry), so I stirred it into the oatmeal, once done cooking.

I also cut up tomatoes to add to each of the scramble eggs. A trick I like is 1 plum tomato for each day. Chop it into cubes and keep it on the cutting board for now.

Back to the oatmeal & eggs.

They’re both done now, so I turn off the heat and get my flax meal and stir it into the oatmeal pot. Then because every meal should have a lean, complete protein, a veggie/fruit and a fat, I add egg whites (from a carton). The egg whites provide a complete protein source without the extra calories or fat from a whole egg. Currently I use the egg whites because I needed an alternative protein source besides protein powder for clients that didn’t have protein powders yet. It tastes good and gives a “vanilla” flavor (weird, I know). One key is to only add the egg whites after cooking the oatmeal. If you add it while cooking, you’ll have to clean up a volcano explosion. It makes a huge mess, so just add it after you turn off the heat.

Stir it up and divvy it out into the 5 tupperware containers.


Chop these up, so they’re scrambled and not clumped. Divvy them up into the 5 containers, put the chopped plum tomatoes on top and you’ve just made 10 meals.

Next its time for the remainder of the veggies. First, wash the oatmeal pot, put broccoli and cauliflower into it and then put green beans into a second pot. I fill them both with 1/4″ to 1/2″ of water squeeze some lemon on top for flavor and vitamin c, cover and turn the heat on high until the water boils. Then reduce heat to low and
simmer/steam until veggies can be easily poked with a fork.

The chicken is close to being done, so I start to clean up my mess. Wash, rinse, dry, wipe, etc…

Now the chicken is done, so I take it out and let sit for 10-15 minutes to cool.

Now’s a good time to make a bunch of shakes for later. You can make post workout shakes (protein & carbs only) or meal replacement shakes (protein, fat & carb).

If you have protein powder already its pretty easy. Take a cup of frozen, mixed berries, dump into blender, add frozen banana, 2 cups of water or 2 cups of milk or 1 of each (its a calorie decision for you to choose), your protein powder and then blend. Makes about 24-26 ounces. Divvy this up into 3, 8ounce portions or 2, 12 ounce portions. I weigh about 180 and am looking to add muscle and weight so I’d drink it all. If I was looking to maintain or lose as a 180lb male, I drink the 12oz. If you weigh less, start with the 8oz. Test the amounts you consume. The main outcome you want is to replenish your energy quickly. This is not a meal replacement, your starchy meal is coming soon.

Now the chicken is cooled, so I place 1 breast at a time on a cutting board, cut it into 1″ slices and place in tupperware. When all the chicken has been cut and placed, I add the broccoli, cauliflower and green beans to the tupperware. I now have lunch and dinner for the next couple of days as well as breakfast for the week and protein shakes for however many days I made.

With the grocery shopping, the lugging the food, the chopping, cooking, washing veggies and dishes and making everything nice it takes about 4 hours. Maybe its a lot to you, maybe it isn’t, but, you save sooooooo much time during the week (grab, heat & go or like I do, grab & go) and this Sunday prep is actually quite fun. Plus, your body is going to look better sooner.

Hope you enjoy the article and I welcome your comments and please share your food prep tips and success strategies.


Your personal coach,

Mike Alves

personal training, semi-private training, boot camp classes and online coaching available in Boston (Newton), MA

Newton Tab and Great Client Feedback

Great News and wanted to share it with you all.

The Newton Tab, a local publication in the town I do most of my training out of, responded to a story pitch/news release I sent them and said they would attend the Freaky Fat Loss PUMP-kin Workout and write a story about it.

So excited, I can’t write fast enough.

AND if that wasn’t great news, well I’ve got something that can top it.

One of my clients reported that 8lbs has miraculously disappeared in the past 2 weeks since we’ve regrouped and refocused and this is only the beginning. 4th Quarter Programs are beginning this week and my clients are going to be the talk of every holiday party they attend in the coming months. AND they’re either going to stick to their nutrition plan at these parties or they’re going to save up and use those nights as splurge meals. Right? 🙂

(calm down Mike, go lift something heavy)

Another benefit of weight loss

Imagine you have to take medicine everyday for the rest of your life. Whoa, just thinking about that is scary. You have to remember to take it in the morning or after meals, or before bed. Pre-order new subscriptions before they run out. Have an extra monthly payment, just to live a “normal” life, not an above average or AWESOME life, just a normal, safe and healthy life.

THEN, you get sick of it all, decide to take action and make a CHANGE. You DECIDE to seek help, to break habits, create new one’s, end the “I’ll start tomorrow’s” and start today.

You WANT to get back to having the FUN you know and loved, the energy that comes naturally and not from a can or from Starbucks and get back to your high school or college or pre-pregnancy or pre-marriage or previous kick butt & take names body weight & body shape.

Well…, I just received an e-mail , from a client who lost 30 pounds and changed her entire lifestyle over the last 2 years. She had a check up with her doctor and is going under tests to determine if she can come off her medication or reduce them. It looks like the dosage is now hurting her more than helping her because of the weight loss and may not (stress the may), be helping anymore.

So (with fingers crossed), she’ll be reducing her meds and best case, off of them altogether. All because she decided enough was enough, accepted a challenge and took action. SWEETNESS!


Mike Alves