Kicking science about weight training

The science is in about weight training. Low weight, high reps and heavy weight, low reps are just as good, provided you can tire out the muscles being worked out in 90 seconds. That’s just a minute and a half. Really low weight and lots of reps over a long period of time is just spinning your wheels. Check out this video, it’s excellent, and ACEFitness.Org is a great resource you should have in your Otagenki arsenal.


Stu’s returned with more about stretching

Another Super 40 video has come out, and this is another one about the very important task of stretching before exercise. I neglect this sort of thing at my peril, you shouldn’t. And of course, since this is in Japanese, it’s another helpful lesson in comprehending spoken Japanese for those who are interested in learning that. However, the video is pretty much self-explanatory even without knowing Japanese. This one shows a way of doing a hamstring stretch without endangering your knees.

Super 40!!!

The person who nudged me into doing the whole fitness thing is a remarkable guy named Stu Levy. I started working with him in 2011 when I became a part of the post-production team on his documentary Pray For Japan. If the name is somewhat familiar it should be: Stu started the company TOKYOPOP and was one of the first to put out English-localized manga in the US. TOKYOPOP was the very first to actually teach people how to read Japanese manga the way it is intended to be read, and stop reversing the layout to make it read left-to-right. (Obligatory disclosure: I do TOKYOPOP’s website and some of their social media.)

Basically he’s been so inspirational to me because his story is a lot like my story. Stu was a little past 40 and he was your basic couch potato geek. His wakeup call was a bout of illness that made him realize that he was aging more rapidly than the calendar said he was. I was even older and feeling like crap, carrying around almost 220 pounds on a 5 foot 2 frame. I couldn’t even say I was “big boned” because I have a really small boned frame on top of being Hobbit-sized.

The similarities end there, however. Stu went out of his comfort zone and got into the Big Blue Room with the Big Yellow Light. He began walking. Not much at first, but some. The distances began getting longer. Walks became jogs. And jogs became runs. He did one or two 5Ks. Then a 10K or two. Then he tried his first marathon. He finished his first marathon. Then his times began getting faster and faster. He’s now qualified to run the Boston Marathon (this is officially a big deal for runners) and he’s done Ultra-marathon running distances on his own. All this in the space of 4 1/2 years.

Here’s his before picture…

Stu before...

And for the after picture, all you gotta do is check out the video.

Anyway, his story is uber-impressive. Like all those weight loss product commercials, you have to say “results not typical.” For one thing, men in general tend to shed pounds quicker than women, even at mid-life. And women simply do not get bulked up like men do even when they lift weights. If you see a woman with huge muscles, chances are she is using…umm…”performance enhancing substances.” Why do guys get bulky when women do not? Testosterone. It’s the same with dropping the weight. Testosterone helps. A lot.

My results have been, well, more typical. I’m a year and change on my fitness journey. I’ve lost some weight but I’m nowhere near ideal weight. I’m getting stronger but it is most definitely a process. There is a lot I can’t do in Crossfit yet, and I have yet to get from walking to running. I do intervals while I walk, however…a bit of running sandwiched between solid walking. I still want to learn racewalking form, but I have yet to find anyone to teach me. I might or might not have walked one 1/2 marathon length walk a few months ago, but I need to get back into distance walking.

However, Stu and I would agree on this: the goal is improving health. Weight loss is good, but health is the main goal. A person can be super healthy and super strong even if they are bigger than average. Great example, the strongest woman in the Western Hemisphere, Sarah Robles. She’s big, but she can clean-and-jerk several times her own weight.

Incredible. I want to be like her when I grow up! ^_^

Anyway, the reason why I’m linking to this, to wrap this entry up, is that a lot of you are wanting to learn Japanese as well as become healthier and more fit. You can kill two birds with one stone here, as Stu intends this for Japanese audiences. There are literally thousands of channels on YouTube about fitness in English. Not as many in Japanese. Stu saw a need and is now filling it. Stu is starting with teaching how to do stretches properly, which is worth a look. And you can work on your Japanese comprehension at the same time! How cool is that? Enjoy!

ChewBakas: the next step in the evolution of my Genki Bars.

(Reblogged from


Om nom nom nom

Coconut Oil Spray
1 2/3 cup oats
1/3 cup oat bran meal
1/2 cup nut mix
1/2 cup fruit mix
1/4 cup each roasted unsweetened cocoa nibs and unsweetened coconut
1/4 cup seed mix (flax, sesame and roasted salted hemp seeds)
3 ripe bananas
1/3 + 1/4 cup applesauce
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350F.

Dry mixture: add oats, oat bran, nut mix, fruit mix, seed mix, cocoa nibs, and coconut to a large bowl.

Wet mixture: in a food processor or a blender, liquify the three bananas and the applesauce together. Add the extracts and the cinnamon. Stir or whisk until combined.

Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and stir until well-combined.

Get out a 8×8 square pan and a 6 cup muffin tin. Put muffin cups in the muffin tin and spray them a little with Coconut Oil Spray. Spray the square pan thoroughly with Coconut Oil Spray.

Bake for 20 minutes, 15 for the muffin tin version. This batch yielded 9 bars and 6 round discs.

Nota bene: no sugar added. The only sweetness comes from the banana applesauce mixture. There are also no eggs.

Almost everything for this can be found at Trader Joe’s and Sprouts except for the roasted unsweetened cocoa nibs. You can get cocoa nibs enrobed in dark chocolate at TJs, but for the unsweetened stuff you have to go to Whole Paycheck. (Boo!)

Why do I specify a nut mix, a dried fruit mix and a seed mix? My new best practice is to maintain a mixture of healthy nuts, healthy dried fruit and healthy seeds in jars in the fridge. My nut mix jar includes roasted unsalted almonds, roasted unsalted sunflower seeds, roasted unsalted pepitas, toasted chopped walnuts, and roasted unsalted pecan pieces. It could be enhanced with the addition of roasted unsalted pistachio meats…want to try adding that. The dried fruit pieces include raisins, apricots, apples, cherries, cranberries, pineapple, mango, all cut to about raisin size. I already mentioned what’s in the seed jar. I love variety and that’s a way to add variety.

You do not need salt if one of the nuts or one of the seeds is roasted/salted. In my case, they’re hemp seeds…Sprouts doesn’t sell roasted unsalted hemp seeds. There is NO THC in these seeds, so calm yourself. They provide protein, healthy fats, and fiber.

These are not meant for casual snacking…they are meant for taking along on distance walks, distance hikes or distance runs, or for recovery snacks after a WOD or other gym workout.

The name change suggests the difference between the texture of my original recipe and this one. These are chewy bars rather than crunchy. As such, they will not likely be a crumb/crumble problem like my old recipe was.

Super Duper Genki Bars

Energy Bars Of Doom
Coconut oil or coconut oil spray or some kind of non-GMO neutral tasting oil spray. Olive oil has a very distinct taste so it’s not a good choice here. Coconut oil does have a distinct taste but it matches well with this recipe.
1 3/4 cups “old-fashioned” rolled oats. These are thicker than the standard kind but not as thick as non-rolled “steel-cut” oats. Measure it out as 1 cup and 3/4 cups: they will be used in different parts of the recipe in different form.
1/4 cup flax seeds
2 tbsp. whole wheat baking mix or whole wheat flour
3/4 cups roasted, unsalted nuts, chopped up coarsely.
3/4 cups dried fruit, chopped up to raisin-size pieces.
1/2 cup “goodies” like extra fruit, extra nuts, cocoa nibs, unsweetened coconut
1/3 cup honey. You want raw honey, organic if possible.
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
2 large egg whites
1/2 tsp flavoring extract, like perhaps vanilla or almond. This is not mandatory but it helps the flavor.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F and foil and grease down a baking pan. It has been suggested to me to use muffin tins and muffin tin liners but I haven’t tried it yet.
Take 3/4 cups oats and 1/4 cup flax seed and grind it up in your food processor until the consistency of cornmeal. Throw the cup of whole rolled oats and the ground mixture into a big bowl with the flour, the chopped up nuts, fruits and “goodies.” Set the bowl aside.
Mix the honey, salt, cinnamon, egg whites and flavoring extract if used.
Pat the mixture into a pan with moistened hands, or spoon into lined muffin cups about an inch and a half thick. Press the mixture down in the muffin cups.
It should take about an hour or so to bake. You want the surfaces dry to the touch. The muffin tin variation might cook faster, so check that more frequently.
If you put it in a pan you will likely not be able to cut it after cooling, but you can break it up into bar-sized chunks. Let cool and wrap with plastic wrap.

I don’t have a calorie count but the fact of the matter is that these are real food ingredients as opposed to the mystery stuff in packaged energy bars. I think that makes a big difference. And remember, these are not for idle snacking…these are to nourish you during a distance walk, run, bike ride or whatever.

How to: replace dessert with an extra power-up!

Hey guys, I know I haven’t done much writing here recently, but I actually am moving this site to a new home so that’s why things have been slow. You will see the positive effects real soon when the move takes place.

Anyway, I love Awesome articles, great advice. Here’s an example of one of their cool articles to check out. No, you don’t have to deprive yourself of a little something-something after dinner, you just have to get smarter about it! Check it out.

33 Healthier Desserts (Greatist)