A blog about life after weight loss.


Spartacus Workout 2013: Get a Leg Up!

The Spartacus workout is one of the most popular features in Men’s Health and at least once a year, the magazine scratches its readers’ gladiator-themed circuit training itch. We always look forward to the new Spartacus workouts because they deliver marathon intensity in 40-yard dash doses. You can burn a lot of calories and build a lot of muscle in very little time.


Spartacus promotional photo courtesy of Starz.

MH unveiled the latest version of this warrior’s routine in their January/February 2013 issue. We’ve sweat through the newest Spartacus workout in our gym a few times now, and here is the run down.

Unlike the previous Sparties, which move from exercise to exercise in normal circuit fashion, the newest incantation features triple sets. A triple set is a three move series that you repeat before moving to the next triple set. You perform each exercise for 40 seconds and rest for 20.

MH instructs you to rest one minute before each individual triple set, but to kick into a higher gear, we kept up the 40-20 ratio for each round of the trio of exercises and only rested before changing triple sets.

Without further ado and explanation, let’s answer the big question: What are the exercises?

Triple Set A: Plank with Single Leg Lift, Woodchopper, Alternating Lunges

Triple Set B: Single Leg Dumbbell Deadlifts, Push Press, Goblet Squat

Triple Set C:Alternating Dumbbell Row, Dumbbell Side Lunge, Dumbbell Deadlift

You actually lose an exercise here—all the previous Spartacai featured ten moves—but that loss comes with a psychic gain. No, you won’t be able to go all Miss Cleo and see the future, but after each exercise in this new Spartacus routine, the light at the end of the workout seems closer, and in terms of time it is.This workout will take you about 20 minutes, a full ten minutes less than the older versions of this MH staple.

If you are thinking, “Holy Spartacus, that’s a ton of legs,” then your reaction mirrors mine. Even if you use light dumbbells—I use 20s or 25s, Liz uses 10s or 15s—your legs will feel hollow at the end of the workout. Your quads will burn like you just biked up a mountain with a full-grown chimp on your back, and your glutes will feel like they are made of bricks. Not saying this is a bad thing, just something you need to be prepared for.

This workout is no picnic on your arms either. The combination of pushes and pulls will make you go noodle-y and wonder how 40 seconds can feel longer than Django Unchained. This is especially true if you sprinkle in some bicep-building add-ons. We piled on a pulse to the bottom of the goblet squat and a hammer curl to the top of the side lunge for a little upper-body pop.

The new Spartacus workout will test your muscles, but the intensity is underwhelming compared to its predecessors. It just doesn’t get your heart racing as quickly as the lung-burning Spartacus circuits that came before it. What this routine could use is a good jump squat or squat thrust to challenge your ticker to pump harder and faster. Add some to the beginning and end of the workout to push your heart rate into the Spartacus stratosphere we have come to expect.

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Sweet Potato Lies, or Lance Armstrong is in My Freezer

Photo courtesy of the Gawker.

Photo courtesy of the Gawker.

We have been had, tricked, bamboozled, duped. No, I am not talking about Lance Armstrong. I am talking about the scoundrels and swindlers at Alexia, who have fooled us for the better part of a year. We are outraged at their conniving, underhanded tactics. Alert the villagers! Light the torches! Raid! Raid!

Ok, that was too far. I am sure the people at Alexia are neither scoundrels nor swindlers, but kind, well-meaning folks who work hard to feed their families and provide the grocery-buying public with all-natural frozen foods and side dishes. But they seriously need to update their packaging.

We have been gleefully eating Alexia’s spicy sweet potato fries for quite some time. Sweet potato fries, while not really a vegetable, are a healthy alternative to regular fries, potato chips, and other carb-y side dishes. I can’t tell you how many Friday nights Liz and I have come home from the gym, fired up the oven for some sweet potato fries, grilled some strip steak, and settled in for an episode of Shark Tank.

We chose Alexia’s sweet potato fries because according to their packaging, they gave us the most nutritious bang for our buck. The nutritional information on the bag claims that one serving is three ounces or 30 pieces for just 130 calories. 30 fries! That’s a restaurant portion at home-cooked calories. It was too good to be true, but it must be so! It says it right there on the package!

Our photo evidence. Sorry about the wrinkles.

Our photo evidence. Sorry about the wrinkles.

Still, something never quite added up for me about the serving sizes. The same bag that we blindly trusted also told us each package contains seven servings, so if you do the math we should have been able to stretch the bag of over three meals each with some left for a rainy day, but we were cashing out our sweet potato fries in just two meals.

This always puzzled me, but I looked the other way because I wanted to. The deliciousness of this healthy side dish blinded my judgment until last Friday.

To find out how they packed so few calories into so many fries, I checked Alexia’s website. What I found brought all the pieces together and solved the serving-size mystery for good. Their website lists a serving as 12 fries, and you can imagine our surprise when we learned we were eating two-and-a-half times the actual serving size for a whopping 325 calories a plate. Liz sent Alexia’s customer service department a politely stern email recommending they update their packaging so they don’t leave loyal customers like us feeling betrayed. And guilty.

We own some of the blame here. I should have gone on my little fact-finding mission the first time I thought something was amiss about the serving size, but like I said, I was swept up by the idea that I could eat that much for so few calories. We should have known better.

Wait. Maybe I am talking about Lance Armstrong. I think there is a loose, albeit imperfect, connection here. Follow me, if you will.

If a bag of all-natural sweet potato fries tells you can eat 30 fries for 130 calories, it’s too good to be true.

If a diet promises you that you will lose weight without making any lifestyle changes, it’s too good to be true.

If you receive a poorly crafted email from a little-known African prince who wants to give you millions of dollars for virtually nothing in return, it’s too good to be true.

If a cyclist wins seven Tour de France titles after beating cancer without using PEDs in the dirtiest neighborhood in the filthy world of sports, it’s too good to be true.

As consumers of anything—food or otherwise—we always need to exercise common sense. When it comes to the sweet potato fries, we failed to do that. We won’t make that mistake again.

To put a nice, clean ribbon on this story, the customer service department at Conagra, Alexia’s parent company, sent Liz an email this evening saying they will be updating their packaging to clear up the serving size discrepancy. And they are sending us some coupons. Put out the torches. Call off the raid.

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Guest Post: Finding a hot dog stand will make you healthy!

Mike Rudd is a Sports Marketing Specialist, Author, Speaker, and Hot Dog Extraordinaire! He can be found at and his new book Hot Dogs, A Little Marketing, and A Lot of Fun can be found on Amazon HERE.


Finding a hot dog stand will make you healthy!

You heard me correct.

Finding that all elusive hot dog stand will make you the healthiest you have ever been this year.

As we roll into 2013 we can all look at the studies that have shown that dieting is a 20 million person a year, five billion dollar a year industry each and every year in America alone!

Say that aloud and feel your jaw drop when it hits your coffee table. Over and over again every year we go back to the same fads, the same gimmicks, the same wonder pills?

And why? It’s simple. We can’t stick with what we are doing the year before, we eventually cave in and we repeat the process. Year after year after year.

My proposition for you in 2013 is simple: IF you are ready to truly make a Skinny Fats transition into long term healthiness then you need to find your own hot dog stand in working out and eating right.

Let me explain.

My recent book is all about my time in college when I worked at a hot dog stand. I loved that job so much that it taught me to never work at a job that I didn’t love. Working in a career that you love makes you much more productive, creative, and valuable in that position and it makes you a happier, healthier person as a result. I call this process of finding what you love “finding your own hot dog stand.”

Well it is no different in work as it is for your health and fitness life.

Every year we are forced to stop eating food we enjoy. Start eating food we have never tried and doing workouts that either frustrate us and we quit because we aren’t good at them or they seem too complicated.

I have hit the gym or a physical activity at least 5 days a week since the summer before my sophomore year in college. Ten years and counting. It is not even a thought, exercising is like brushing my teeth after all these years.

But I made a big transition in that I found my own hot dog stand in working out.

I don’t do the EFX, I don’t do the bike (except for a summer ride or an occasional spin class), and I rarely lift weights. I don’t like to do any of that stuff so I don’t try to force myself too.

I love to run, so I run. I love to swim, so I swim. Basketball and Yoga are two of my favorites so I do them both regularly. High intensity short workouts during my lunch hour I love, so I do them!

As for diet, I’m not going to eat healthy 100% of the time. I don’t try to nor do I beat myself up about it. I eat very healthy with fun recipes and foods that I like. I’m not a huge fan of steaming broccoli every night so I let it slide out of my diet.

I would rather reward myself with a glass of red wine at night instead of a cookie so I do that.

Here’s what I am getting at and telling you:

1) Diets are fads that force us out of our comfort zone taking away things we love too quickly so we eventually break down. Find healthy alternatives you enjoy even if everyone else is telling you “that’s not the way to do it” and DO IT! Don’t listen to anyone else. Results are all that matters. My Choice: The Slow Carb Diet. Google it you will find it.

2) Same with workouts. I don’t care that the personal trainers at Urban Active told me the best way to lose fat is to walk on a treadmill at a high incline for 45 minutes. I like to get sweaty so I run 7 to 8 minute miles for 30 minutes instead. Screw it. I wouldn’t stick with walking on a boring treadmill like that and I’d go home to the TV and the couch. Workout the way you like to workout. If you hit the gym multiple times a week and eat healthy 90% of the time you will see all the results you need bottom line. My Choice: High Intensity Strength Training involving push ups, pull ups, squats, kettle ball swings. Swim, Run, Yoga, and Sports.

3) I like morning and lunch workouts…in case a friend wants to socialize over a glass of red wine after work. I don’t force night workouts because I would stop doing them. Find the time of day you are most inclined to not skip and do it. Even if people tell you there is better weight loss a different time of day. My Choice: Lunch Break. Way healthier than Wendy’s!

Throw away the rules, don’t listen to the infomercials. Find your own hot dog stand in the health and fitness world and make it your plan! Take pride in that plan and stick to it. Everyone has an exercise and a healthy food they love. It may take some experimentation but go against the norm and actually gut it out and stick with it. You will gain more energy, more creativity, live longer, laugh harder, and look better. What’s not to like about getting your health in order for 2013?!?!

A big THANKS to my good friend’s Tom and Liz for having me on to guest post today, they are two wonderful people making changes in this world for the better every single day! And thanks to all of their readers for taking the time to spend part of your day with me, it’s a pleasure! Have a wonderful day and if you are looking for a way to burn a little of that holiday gift money…Hot Dogs A Little Marketing and A Lot of Fun may be just what the New Year ordered! Pick up a copy HERE today.

If you want to get all of my updates on marketing, radio, and sales you can LIKE my Facebook page or FOLLOW me on twitter. I’m also a speaker for hire; email me at if interested in a keynote or half day interactive workshop. I’d love to hear from you.

Carpe Diem!

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It’s All Fun and Games

The sports lover that he is, Tom often looks up the exercise routines of his favorite athletes. We have done the workouts of LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Dwight Howard and many others. Last week Tom came to me with a new idea, the routine of Bo Jackson.  I didn’t think much of it, just assumed it was similar to the other workouts we had done. When he told me it included a deck of cards I was immediately intrigued.  I grew up with family game nights, we play cards with friends, and at every family Christmas you can bet there is some sort of trivia tournament. So the thought of bringing a game into our workout was exciting!

Here is what Bo did:

Every red card is that number of squats. So, a 10 of hearts equals 10 squats.

Every black card is that number of pushups. An 8 of clubs means 8 pushups.

Jacks = 11, Queens = 12, Kings = 13, Aces = 15, Jokers can be used as 20 mountain climbers or left out.

I am sure Tom could have done all those pushups, but I know I could not have. We switched it up to include more activities. We made hearts cardio, diamonds abs, clubs bottom of the body, and spades top of the body.

Here is how our version of the card workout looked:

Hearts – Squat Thrusts

Diamonds – Crunches

Clubs – Calf Raises

Spades – Pushups


We did the card game later in the week and it looked like this:

Hearts – Jumping Jacks

Diamonds – Side Crunches

Clubs – Jump Squats

Spades – Tricep Extensions

The absolute best part of the card workout is not knowing what will be next. Normally Tom or I pick a workout and we do as the instructions say. But in this game we don’t know which exercise or how many reps will be next. Once in a while we will have a hot streak of cardio cards, and though we are out of breath and panting, it’s fun to look at each other with shocked faces. Here are some other reasons this is my new favorite workout:

  • ·         It’s like a game! The novelty of using a deck of cards in your workout is great fun.
  • ·         You can use whichever exercises whatever you like.
  • ·         Every workout is a full body workout.
  • ·         Each time you play is different because you never shuffle the deck in the same order.
  • ·         This take less than 45 minutes. It can be done in 30 if you are already in shape.
  • ·         You can do this at home if you can’t make it to the gym.

Give it a try and let us know what you thought! I promise you’ll have fun and get a great workout at the same time.

Helpful Hint: The first time we tried this we accidentally used a Pinochle deck of cards (all 10s and above). Don’t make the same mistake we did!