Monday, March 31, 2014

The Essentials! Building Your Home Gym With 4 Pieces Of Equipment!

  I’ve been asked countless times about what equipment I feel is essential for building a home gym. When the idea of a home gym gets brought up, most people ask about treadmills, a bow flex, or a giant rack of free weights. All of these things take up a ton of space and come with a hefty price tag! In my opinion, a home gym is something that doesn’t need to be extravagant, terribly expensive, and doesn’t take up too much space.   Your home gym can actually be pretty discreet, and still give you a bad ass workout! Over the years of training clients, friends and myself, I’ve acquired a whole lot of equipment that I use on a regular basis. However, if I had to boil it all down to some essentials and only keep equipment that I feel I couldn’t do without, it would be the following list! 

1.) A Pull Up Bar: A good pull up bar or pull up system is something that I couldn’t do without! So many exercises can be performed with a simple pull up bar such as chin ups, pull ups, around the world pull ups, burpee to pull up, deck squat to pull up, wide grip chin up, archer chins, and well you see where I’m going with this. If the pull up bar or system you have purchased is sturdy enough you can even attach a set of rings to the system to open up a whole world of exercises to really challenge your upper body strength and conditioning! A pull up bar or system can range anywhere from very cheap $20 a to quite expensive $400. Shop around and see what one works well for you. carries a nice one that fits right on your door frame!

2.) A Kettlebell Or Two:  Kettlebells are hands down on of the best tools of improving your strength conditioning and mobility. They also take up hardly any space at all and last a life time, which means you only have to buy them once! A good 30lb kettlebell when used correctly can give you a CRUSHING workout. The pressing and over head movements that come a long with a handful of kettlebell movements pair up excellent with pulling exercises on the pull up bar. It’s important to get some proper instruction before using your kettlebell, so make sure to get some lessons from a certified kettlebell trainer or pick up a Mike Mahler DVD and start studying! 

3.) A Jump Rope:  Jumping rope is one of the best exercises you can do, period! It’s great as workout all on its own or added to a conditioning workout. Jumping rope not only improves you cardiovascular conditioning but also improves you coordination, footwork, and balance. In fact, regularly jumping rope barefoot actually works well as a precursor to running barefoot or in minimalist footwear such as Vibram 5 Fingers. Best of all, a jump rope can be taken anywhere with you! This makes it a great tool for anyone who has to travel often but still want to fit in quality workouts. ONNIT also makes a great speed rope.

4.) A Knowledge Of Body Weight Training:  I know it’s not actually a piece of fitness equipment, but having a good grasp on various body weight conditioning methods and techniques is easily the greatest tool you can have in your home gym. Most people have no clue what body weight training really is past the basic push up, sit up, and pull up. When used correctly and programed for specific goals, body weight training can improve your conditioning, mobility, explosiveness, flexibility, and strength through a wide range of motion! There are countless movements/exercises you can learn and add to your workouts and body weight training pairs up brilliantly with kettlebell exercises and jumping rope. The Jungle Fit ebooks on body weight training are a great place to start. “The Body Weight Solution”  all by itself teaches how to progress from beginner to advanced movements in pushing, pulling, squatting, lunging, pressing, and core stability. It also discusses how to put together your very own program! Investing in yourself and your own education in fitness is never a bad thing! 

 Those would be my top answers for essential equipment when building your own home gym. It takes up hardly any space at all, and gives you no excuse for not getting in a quality workout. Best of all, you can put it all together without breaking the bank! Save some money on a gym membership, invest in your own home gym, train hard and be Jungle Fit! 

- Tim 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Push Ups For Improved Mobility

 One of my favourite exercises, and one of the oldest exercises out there, is the push up! It's simple, effective, and versatile. Not only is the push up great for increasing upper body strength, shoulder stability, and core strength, but it can also help improve your flexibility and mobility! Few people regularly venture beyond the basic push up and a few simple variation such as decline push ups, diamond push ups, or wide push ups. It's a shame because they're missing out on a whole world of variations that can challenge their strength through new ranges of motion at the same time as they improve their mobility.

 I've written about dozens of variations in my Ebook's "The Body Weight Solution" and "Ancient Training For Modern Results", but today we'll look at on of my favourite push up variations.

 The Hindu Push Up!

 The Hindu push up is one of the oldest push ups around, in fact it actually pre dates yoga. It's been used for centuries by Hindu wrestlers to help improve their strength conditioning. The Hindu push up is actually one of the stepping stones I use while progressing a client towards performing their first handstand push up! The Hindu push up hits the chest through a much larger range of motion, when performed correctly you can actually feel the tension "roll" through your pecs. Moving from the downward dog position, to push up, to upward facing dog, attacks your upper body in such a unique way. During the Hindu push up you'll be actively passing the tension through the shoulders, down through the chest, and back to the shoulders and even through your core/abs. Strength conditioning aside, the Hindu push up is also a dynamic stretch! Simple moving through the Hindu push up in a rhythmic pace stretches out the hamstrings, low back, abdominals, shoulders, and calves! On top of that, it forces your shoulder joint to move through a greater range of motion, lubricating the joint, and improving it's range of motion! The Hindu push up strengths you through a greater range of motion, trains you to pass tension between muscle groups, and improves your flexibility and mobility all in one movement!  For these reasons, the Hindu push up is always the push up my clients (barring injury) move directly into learning how to perform once they have mastered their basic push ups.

Here's a really old video of me describing in detail how to perform the Hindu push up! Enjoy! 

 The Hindu push up is the gate way push up to almost all other intermediate and advanced push up variations! It's also an excellent push up to add into conditioning workouts even when you have mastered more difficult push up variations, in fact it's probably the push up that I use the most even in my own workouts. If you're not already using the Hindu push up, I highly suggest you become familiar with it and add it into your program ASAP! You're body will thank you and the gains in strength, mobility, and flexibly will be significant.

Just one of the variations you might be able to perform once you've mastered the Hindu Push Up!


- Tim 



Monday, March 24, 2014

Intermittent Fasting! Eat, Stop, And Eat Again.

 If you’re looking to improve your over all health, maintain a lean physique, or shed some hard to lose pounds, than you might be a little bit more than interested in learning about intermittent fasting. 

 What is Intermittent Fasting?

 Intermittent fasting is simply setting up a window of time during the day that you allow yourself to eat, and a specific window of time that you are not allowed to eat. Most people will fast anywhere from 16-18 hours and allow themselves a 6-8 hour window that they can eat. For example, you allow yourself to eat from 12pm-8pm and than you stop eating from 8pm-12pm the next day. That would allow a 16 hour window of fasting and an 8 hour window of feeding. During your fasting window, it’s important to try and stay busy, keeping your mind active will help keep you from thinking about food or hunger. Over time it becomes much easier to fast without thinking of food the whole time! 

  During your feeding window, it’s very important to choose clean sources of food and absolutely avoid diving right into the junk food! Remember, we’re looking to improve ourselves and that means eating clean! Don’t over eat during your feeding window, try to continue on as you normally would. Try to eat normal sized meals and snacks, eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re satisfied. 

 Try intermittent fasting twice a week at first, spacing the days out will help you get accustom to fasting. Then if and when you feel comfortable you can bump up the amount of days you fast. 

What Are Some Of The Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting? 

- A leaner physique! Your body improves its ability to burn fat for energy. When you’re body is not supplied with food for 12+ hours, it begins to rely on fat for energy. It is learning how to burn stored body fat for energy.

- Improved insulin sensitivity and Blood Glucose Levels! Controlling insulin is paramount when looking to avoid and prevent disease such as diabetes. Intermittent fasting has a positive effect on improving your blood sugar and insulin sensitivity! 

- Improved Cardiovascular Health! The University of Utah ran a study and found that people who fasted at least 1 time per month were 40% less likely to have clogged arteries than those who didn’t fast. After 3 weeks of intermittent fasting patents saw an increase in good HDL (good cholesterol) and a decrease in triglycerides (the bad cholesterol). 

- Less likelihood of over eating! A shorter window of time in which you can eat can actually help prevent you from over eating or taking in an excess amount of calories! With less hours during the day to eat it’s much harder to take in too much food. 

 These are just a few of the benefits of intermittent fasting. It shouldn’t really come as a surprise that our bodies actually run a little more efficiently and prevent certain diseases when we’re not in constantly fed state! After all, we evolved over thousands of years without a constant food source at our finger tips. Our paleolithic ancestors would have have periods of time where no food was available and a long walk, run and hunt was needed to score a big meal! Having an abundance of food around us all the time and an ever growing amount of processed, sugary, and unhealthy food has left most people overweight, overfed, and on the road to some serious problems. So what do you have to lose, give intermittent fasting a try and see for yourself just how much better you body feels. 

- Tim


 Great kettlebell and strength DVD's by. Mike Mahler

The Ultimate Body Weight DVD by. Sincere Hogan

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Eat Butter!

  Over the past 40 or more years, butter has received a bad rap! It's been blamed as the cause for heart disease, increase in body fat, clogged arteries, and over all vilified! Basically, butter was the devil and you would be killing yourself over time with each brick you consumed. Recently, there have been a hand full of studies that have been released claiming the exact opposite. We're now learning that saturated fats are not the enemy, not the cause of heart disease, and the people who have spent all those years telling you it was, are now swallowing their pride and saying "We messed up, oops!". Not only is butter not bad for you, it can actually help keep you healthy, prevent heart disease, and improve your over all health! So just how did butter get such a bad rap, and what are it's specific benefits?

 The whole "butter is bad for you" claims came out of poorly executed studies that happened years ago. They failed to separate saturated fats and trans fats (which we all know are bad). This skewed the results and thus began the witch hunt on butter and other saturated fats. What a shame! These half-assed tests actually led to countless people missing out on the benefits of actually consuming high quality butter from organic grass fed cows. Just what are some the benefits to consuming butter and some details you might not know about? Let's take a look.

- We all know olive oil has been praised for it's health benefits, well 30% of butter is made up of monounsaturated oleic acid. The same fatty acid that makes up olive oil.

- While some saturated fats can lead to a slight raise in cholesterol, it's not all of them. Also, dietary fat intake is only responsible for 20-25% of the total cholesterol found in the body. Therefor any slight raise that might happen from consuming this saturated fat in your diet is not really something to worry about.

- Some saturated fats actually work towards lowing cholesterol! In fact, steric acid is abundant in butter and is the preferred fuel for your heart and also helps lower LDL.  LDL is the bad cholesterol that is one of the main culprits leading to heart disease.

- Lauric Acid found in butter has anti-bacterial agents

- CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) is anti carcinogenic and promotes a leaner physique.

- Butyric Acid in butter helps prevent colon cancer and helps act as a pro biotic, keeping your gut healthy.

- Butter is loaded with vitamins K, A, D, and E as well as iodine and antioxidants.

 That all being said I must stress that these benefits are from consuming butter that comes from organic cows that have been grass fed. If you're consuming butter from cows that are not organic and have been mainly grain fed, it will actually be lacking in Omega 3, contain no CLA, and will be rich in Omega 6 fatty acids. This leads to inflammation and other issues.

 Long story short, you need to eat Organic Butter! When pared with a Paleo Diet it helps reduce body fat, lower bad cholesterol, improve gut health, protect against disease, and provides you with tons of vitamins.

- Tim


Monday, March 17, 2014

Steel Mace Training. What, Why, and How?

 Over the past decade kettlebells have enjoyed a massive resurgence in popularity. They’re in just about every single commercial gym, CrossFit box, and personal training studio. This is simply because the kettlebell is simple, compact, and allows you to perform a massive array of exercises that challenge your functional fitness. The kettlebell movements transfer well into your everyday life and athletic endeavors It’s kind of crazy that they have existed for over 100 years and are only now enjoying such a boom in the fitness world and are only recently being praised for their value in a well rounded fitness program.  After all, a good set of kettlebells are one of the best tools ever invented for well rounded functional fitness.

 I’m assuming, if you’re reading this, that you’re interested in living an active lifestyle or you already are living an active lifestyle. Which means you’re pretty interested in getting real results from your fitness program and fitness equipment. You don’t have time to waste on garbage equipment that isn’t versatile and doesn’t transfer well into your every day life. Which is probably why you’re already using kettlebells! 

 So I think if the above is true, than you have probably already wondered what other versatile, functional, and time tested pieces of fitness equipment are out there that people aren’t using to the fullest? What else can you add to your home gym to help enhance your workouts and still get the best bang for your buck? 

 Well, if I had to mention one piece of equipment that is still relatively “unknown” and incredibly useful, I would have to say The Mace (also known as a Gada). 

The Mace looks like a cannon ball on the end of a long poll. It’s a simple and basic piece of strength conditioning equipment that has been used for centuries in India by their world class wrestling elite. The famed Great Gama was one of the most notorious wrestlers of all time, undefeated in over 1000 matches, and well known for using the Mace as a staple in his conditioning regimen. Gama, along with many other Hindu wrestlers, would pair the Mace with an intense routine of bodyweight exercises such as Hindu Squats and Hindu Push Ups to push his physical conditioning to the limit. The benefits of blending your Mace training into your modern day routines can add the edge you’re looking for to reach a more well rounded and efficient form of fitness. 

 Just a few of the unique benefits that come from using a Mace include ... 

  • Increased shoulder mobility
  • Upper body focused conditioning
  • Stronger shoulders through a larger range of motion than basic pressing exercises can produce
  • Greater rib cage mobility 
  • A stronger “core” and ability to resist rotation and hyper extension of the spine 

 ... Just to name a few! In my honest opinion the Mace is an invaluable tool to add to your program and much like the kettlebell it’s a wonder that it’s only gaining some traction now. I highly suggest considering picking up a mace of your own and adding it to your own home gym. Onnit makes an excellent version in a handfull of weights and sizes. I suggest starting small, a 10lb Mace is a great start. You can learn more about the mace and see it in action by visiting the equipment section of this blog! Rest assured you’ll be finding a lot more info on Mace workouts and techniques in future posts here at Jungle Fit.

- Tim 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Keep It Simple & Keep It Quick!


So you're looking to get into shape but you don't know what to do! What's the first step? Maybe you leaf through a magazine at the local grocery store. You know, the ones with the latest celebrity workout or athlete training routines. You study the way that one actor or athlete trained each day for hours at a time. You read how they were eating every couple of hours and weighing out all of their food to just the right portions. Now, your deciding to give it a try! 


 Think about it first. You're most likely not an actor or a professional athlete! You probably work a full time job and don't have the time it takes to follow such a routine or strict diet plan. You also have no real need to actually do so, aside from a desire to look a little sexier! Professional athletes and actors train and diet with the professional help of trainers, nutritionists and some times a little chemical help (if you know what I mean!) in order to peak for a certain period of time. Athletes train to peak for their season and actors train to look a certain way for a movie shoot. They don't stay in that condition or look that way year round. Their diet plans are far to strict to follow for too long, and their training programs are to rigorous to follow for an extended period of time. The physical demand that is put on their bodies often requires extreme calorie intakes (especially for athletes), copious amounts of supplements and rest. Which means when they're not training they're either sleeping or eating. They train, they eat, they sleep and repeat! It's their job. 

 Most people fall into this trap. They try to follow the diet and training program of an athlete or actor when they are not one themselves and it usually ends in burn out or injury! That's the last thing you want.  So what's one to do when they are looking to build everyday, functional fitness and look great at the same time? 


Eat clean real food, eat paleo! Avoid junk food, processed food and sugar. Eat when your hungry, stop when you're satisfied. Workout 2-3x per week! Short burst workouts that train your whole body at once! Use circuits, super sets, ladder sets, drop sets. Try tabata protocols, EMOMS, AMRAP's, or timed circuits. Build your training around total body movements like squats, lunges, pushing, pressing, pulling, and sprinting. Keep your workouts under 40 mins total. Don't workout when you're body is exhausted. Most importantly, HIRE A PROFESSIONAL if you don't know what you are doing! 

 That's it, that's all! Take it day by day, step by step, and your body will handle the rest. You'll look great and you won't have to stress about hours of training or calorie counting! Your a real person, you have a real life. Your training and diet should fit into your life and not the other way around. 



Sunday, March 9, 2014

Antioxidant Rich Breakfast!

   Do you like berries? Do you enjoy grapes? How about pomegranate? Are you a fiend for all things coconut? If you answered yes to these questions, than I have one hell of a great breakfast, snack, or dessert for you! It’s paleo (also vegan), high in antioxidants, and above all it’s delicious! Also, it takes just about ZERO kitchen or culinary know how to make this outstanding super breakfast. 

 Here’s what you’ll need! 
  • Organic Blue Berries (or mixed berries)
  • Organic Grapes
  • Fresh Pomegranate 
  • 1 Can of Full Fat Coconut milk 
  • 1 brick of Creamed Coconut 
  • Cinnamon 
  • A Blender
  • A Large Mixing Bowl 

How to put it together ... 

  • In a blender place half a brick of creamed coconut and slowly start blending. As you blend, slowly, start adding a little coconut milk until it forms a thick past. Slightly thinner than pancake batter. 
  • Next in a large bowl, add a generous amount of your berries, grapes, and all the little pods from the pomegranate. 
  • Pour the coconut mixture from your blender into the bowl over your berry, grape, and pomegranate mixture
  • Then sprinkle a small amount of cinnamon into the bowl on top of everything else.
  • Take a large spoon and mix it all up!
  • Then spoon out a small amount into a bowl and enjoy! 

... You should then wrap up the top of your large bowl and place the remaining amount of your delicious breakfast in the fridge to enjoy over the next 2-3 days! This recipe is loaded with healthy fats from your coconut, vitamins and antioxidants from all those berries and pomegranate. Try this out with a little side of bacon in the morning or as a small paleo dessert in the evening. Enjoy it and feel great knowing you’re eating something delicious and real!

- Tim