Thursday, December 22, 2011

Sitting: A Lethal Occupational Hazard

I originally wrote this for my fellow pilots but it applies to all who have jobs where they sit excessively or who otherwise lead sedentary lifestyles:
Most of us of pilots are familiar with the most common health risks associated with long-term sitting such as back strain & pain, disc bulge & herniation, forward-head posture, blood pooling & clotting in our lower legs, constipation, hemorrhoids, and abdominal distention & bloating.  But now a recent clinical study published by the American Cancer Society states that long-term sitting even contributes to early-death & colon cancer.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Alcohol & it's Affect on Insulin & Dieting: Myths-BUSTED!

**NOT medical advice**
All these diet & holiday NAZI folks are chiming in telling you alcohol is going to make you FAT.  Guess what??  I'm here to tell you they're all full of CRAP!!  Tis the season to be MERRY!!
I'm going to discuss how alcohol is absorbed and metabolized, and used for energy in the body, (and why it does not make you fat!)  I’m going to dispel a few myths or common misbelieves, mostly pertaining to diet and weight loss, and our health.  I have no intention to discuss the many adverse effects on one’s motor skills from an aviation aspect or otherwise, or get into BAC levels or any kind of legal or ethical discussion.  I don’t want to bore you with such repetitiveness or present you with yet even more information bashing alcohol.  In fact much to the contrary, this article will cast a positive light on including moderate amounts of alcohol in your diet.  But this isn’t a result of me just presenting information from selective sources that you want to hear.  This is based on a broad review of many studies and resources, with no spin on my part.     
    Myth: Alcohol makes you fatter.  Excess calories make you fatter, period.  Alcohol has 7 calories per gram and can be used as an energy source by the body just like carbs, protein, and fat can, (4, 4, and 9 calories per gram respectively).  The only catch is that the body must burn the alcohol calories first, before it can move on to the other food you’ve eaten.  However, don’t forget to consider your mixer, or how dark your beer is, as this will add carbs/sugars and additional calories to your alcoholic beverage.  When you order that Margarita or Bloody Mary, you’re drinking a lot more than just alcohol.

Beverage Table
Serving Size in Ounces (Standard)
% Alcohol by Volume (About 10 to 15 grams)
Approx. Calories/Carbs
5 ounces
12.5 %
115 cals/4 g
12 ounces
4 to 5 %
130 cals/13 g
1.5 ounce (shot glass)
40 % (80-proof)
75 cals/0 g
** Some of the calories accounted for in this chart for beer and wine are from the additional carbs/sugars they contain.  This is a standard serving, but most of us usually drink more per serving.  Darker beers and micro-brews are higher in calories, from both higher alcohol and carb content.  Dry wine will have as little as 2 grams of sugar per serving**  

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Back to Basics: Assessing your Fitness Plan During the Holiday Season

     It can be brutal on your fitness or weightloss plan this time of year with all the holiday social engagements, decadant treats being brought into the work place & placed right in front of your face, cold & flu season, and being limited on outdoor physical activities due to inclement weather.  During times like these losing weight or training for a race or becoming leaner may be far-reaching, but you can at least hold steady ground on your progress so far.  Do this by auditing your self & your daily lifestyle routine right now!  Revisit & re-establish some basic, sensible guidelines as a reality check today!
     Just think about what your common sense and intuition tell you about the ideal habits of a healthy lifestyle.  If you were to jot down some of these ideals, they might read something like this, (In no particular order):
     -        Don’t skip breakfast, and include oats often.
-        Instead of eating 2 to 3 big meals, eat 5 to 6 smaller meals/snacks throughout the day.  Don’t ever starve, and don’t ever be full.  Keep the metabolism stoked and revved-up all day.
-        Don’t eat any later than 2 hours before bed time.
-        Minimize sugar and simple, refined carbs, and strive for whole-grain, complex carbs, and vegetables.  Simultaneously you will minimize and manage insulin, by avoiding such high-glycemic foods.
-        If you must eat sugar, have it during your pre or post-workout meal, to burn it for energy, or for muscle recovery respectively.
-        Balance your meals, by including protein foods and healthy, unsaturated fats along with carbohydrate portions.
-        Eat at least 20 to 30 grams of fiber each day.  Eating fresh, whole fruit, and trail mix is a tasty way to accomplish this.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Go Ahead & INDULGE this Thanksgiving!

It's ONE day out of the entire year.  You've waited 364 days for it.  You've had time to phsyically prep for it (be creating a calorie deficit on Wednesday) enjoy it!  Indulge & ENJOY your Thanksgiving holiday with your family & friends for goodness sake!  This is a day to relax your normal diet standards and indulge.  You deserve it!  There is no need to attempt to watch what you eat or moderate your calories in my opinion.  Your holiday eating strategy should only be not to eat too much bread or appetizers early-on because you might get too full to enjoy the good stuff like turkey & gravy, and pie afterwards!  Listen, one day of over-indulgence is going to have ZERO net impact on your weight-loss or fitness goals.  Any weight gain will be temporary in nature, mostly due to carbohydrate-loading & water-retention.  Your body will automatically seek its normal homeostasis weight within 1 day.  If nothing else you'll be stronger during Friday's workout due to your 'carb-loading', so capitalize on this.  You may weigh your self Friday morning for FUN & CURIOSITY only - NO GUILT is allowed!!  One good bout of cardio on Friday and your weight & waistline will rebound for sure.  Check out this video blog where I tell you & the diet-Nazis to CHILL OUT...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Your #1 WEB-based Exercise TRAINER!

First & now for the iPhone App 'Fitness Buddy' , I have been hired as the production exercise subject matter expert & trainer to properly demonstrate over 1500 exercises to include photos, .gif animations & HD video.  This is no coincidence: I've been playing sports, training clients & fitness modeling for over 20 years.  I'm also a published author in the field of holistic health, and the resident fitness advisor to my pilot peers over at JetBlue and there are over 2500 of us!  I was also chosen to be the exercise & cover model for Men's Health Big Book of Exercises & The ABS Diet books 1 & 2.  In fact I've probably demonstrated over 5000 exercises, including inventing a few of my own!  Does your trainer still have you trying to max out your benchpress, or wobbling on some sketchy bosu or balance ball while doing isolation curls?  When in doubt you can look to web-based training with me!  Lastly be sure to check out my website Current Events page for all my latest antics!  Sincerely, Max Wettstein  Note: Fitness Buddy App won't be fully live & updated until early 2012.

Friday, November 4, 2011

INTENSITY!...What your training plan is missing!

Intensity!  This is most likely why you’re getting the same results, or getting no results.  So many of us just plop on the stationary bike, elliptical trainer, or treadmill and simply plod along in our comfort zone, (sometimes called the ‘fat-burning zone’ to make ourselves feel better), barely even breaking a sweat or raising our heart rate.  Yes, we’ll chug along, reading a magazine, watching TV, or even talk to a buddy, all the while feeling good about ourselves because we’re at least doing something for our fitness.  But because we're only reaching light to moderate intensity levels, we’re lucky if we even burn 300 calories in an hour, or cause ourselves to go into oxygen debt even once.  Burning your fat stores?  Yeah right!  Think again: You may have been working out at 60% of your maximum heart rate, but you’ll be lucky to even touch any fat stores/adipose tissue in an hour’s time at such a low heart rate.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Live Your Life like an Athlete, if you want to LOOK like an ATHLETE! (An Athlete's Philosophy)

     Imagine if you lived your life as if you were an ATHLETE: You would probably make your work-out the center of your day, consult with a coach or trainer, and spend the rest of the day eating nutrient-dense foods for refueling and repair, and sleep 7 to 9 hours each night.  You would take the time to warm up and stretch, would pay attention to pain and other signals from your body and treat them before they became chronic or debilitating injuries.  You would not abuse your body with alcohol or drugs.
     Such a lifestyle isn't realistic for most of us who have to work for a living, rather than get paid to work-out and compete.  There simply isn't enough time, nor desire.  What is also unrealistic however, is expecting to look like pro athletes do when you don't live and train like they do, or are much older.  Sadly and according to much of the false-marketing in the weight-loss industry, we are under the impression that we only need to work out for 10 minutes per day with some device we saw on an infomercial and/or pop a magic diet pill, and alas we will have our ripped, beach-body we've always been dreaming of.  Come on now - you don't need me to tell you it just doesn't work that way.  You have to pay your dues with discipline, exercise, and eat clean. 

Friday, October 7, 2011

Max's Morning ALKALIZING Tonic Recipe with Video!

     Every morning I try to kickstart my energy & health, when I have a truly EMPTY stomach, by ALKALIZING or Alkalinizing my body and (to a very slight degree) my systemic pH through drinking a traditional, holistic 'tonic' comprised of mostly pure warm water mixed with the juice of half a fresh lemon.  This is the basis for my morning tonic recipe, which I did NOT invent and has been consumed by thousands of alkalizing-health enthusiasts for hundreds of years before me!  However, I've tweaked it and made it more powerful in my opinion by adding a few more super ingredients such as: a tsp of raw apple-cider vinegar; a tsp of liquid chlorophyll, and finally a heaping tsp of essential amino-acid L-Glutamine (the most abundantly used amino acid by the body which it cannot make!)  Glutamine is a powerful healer and immune-booster!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Metabolism & Your Daily Caloric Requirement: What is it; Factors affecting it; & How to boost it!

     “I have the metabolism of a hibernating bear.”  This is how one of my fellow pilots describes himself, as he psyches up for another round of cardio on the hotel elliptical-trainer.  Does this sound like a fitting description for you?  Perhaps you’ve been genetically blessed with a fast metabolism, more like that of a hummingbird, and your only issue with calories is consuming enough of them.  Our metabolism is the single biggest factor in determining our daily caloric requirement.  Our caloric requirement does vary day to day depending on our activity level, but our ‘resting’ caloric requirement can only be changed by altering our metabolism.  Genetics play a huge role in determining metabolism, but there are many other factors that affect metabolism that you can take advantage of.
     Metabolism is defined as the sum of all physical and chemical changes involving energy and material transformations that occur within all our living cells.  Each cell has its own energy production center known as the mitochondria, and it is this collective energy production of all cell mitochondria that determines metabolic rate.  Along with energy production, two fundamental processes of metabolism are anabolism and catabolism: building up tissue and breaking it down, respectively. 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Ideal Body Fat Percentage: Weightloss Vs. Improving Body Composition

You always hear diet books, infomercials, antiquated trainers and even doctors talking about weight-loss.  Perhaps it is your parents, spouse or even you saying they need to lose weight.  It can be convenient to use the term weight-loss, but what really matters most – for both our health and our appearance - is FAT-loss!  This isn’t just as simple as semantics here either: Unfortunately most overweight or out of shape folks only care about what the scale says and if they’re losing any weight…especially women who tend to have only one physique goal in mind – to be skinny!

Monday, September 19, 2011


  1. Burn more calories each day than you consume.  Common sense, I know.  This doesn’t mean starve yourself.  In fact, one of the benefits of exercise is being able to eat more food, without gaining fat.  Make sure plenty of the calories you eat come from complex carbohydrates and protein so that you do not lose muscle mass, have sustained energy, and avoid blood-sugar spikes.  Muscle mass boosts your basal metabolic rate, allowing you to burn more calories at rest.  It is possible to gain weight and still lose fat at the same time, but only if you’re adding muscle mass primarily through weight training, and closely monitoring your diet.

  1. Divide your daily caloric intake into smaller, more frequent meals/snacks, ideally up to 5 meal times per day.  By doing this, again, you keep your metabolism a little more elevated all throughout the day.  Also, you will be more likely to use those calories for immediate energy and less likely to store them as fat.  Each meal should primarily consist of complex carbs, lean protein and some fat.  I know all you Atkins-dieters out there are now disagreeing with me, regarding carb consumption, but diets such as Atkins are very extreme and limit your food choices so much so that you may find that your diet is lacking in variety and consequently, nutrition much of the time.  Also, it is a medical fact that putting your body in a state of ketosis is unhealthy and hard on your kidneys.  All that being said, if you can be described as being obese, ‘insulin-resistant’, or a borderline type II diabetic, (adult-onset), then Atkins is a perfect diet for you to lose fat fast.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Treating Andropause NATURALLY: Male-'Menopause', or Age-related Decrease in Testosterone

No doubt by now you’ve already heard me speak of what I call the ‘fountain-of-youth’ hormone, Growth hormone, simply known as GH or hGH.  This hormone is primarily secreted during our deepest phase of sleep and is responsible for things like tissue repair and growth, and promotes lean body mass.  It literally heals your body, and combats aging.  There is also another hormone that promotes muscle repair and growth, lean body mass, enhances physical performance, and increases libido.  If you haven’t guessed already, I’m talking about testosterone.  Primarily produced in the testes, of course we men have significantly higher levels than women, but, women also make testosterone by way of their adrenal glands, (Just like men also produce estrogen).  And, testosterone is in fact, what causes increased sexual desire in both men and women, so both can benefit from testosterone production.  But testosterone is very much a part of why we are so different from women, physically and psychologically.  Not only do men produce much higher levels of testosterone, but we have many more T-receptor sites in our bodies as well, whereas women have many more estrogen receptor sites.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Cortisol: The Stress COPING Hormone

    There has been much buzz about the hormone Cortisol lately, mostly seen on infomercials selling supplements claiming to block Cortisol.  Whether or not these supplements block Cortisol or help support fat loss around our midsections is not the intent of this article.  What I will discuss here are the essential functions of Cortisol and when and why it is secreted by our adrenal glands, and, how you can keep your levels normal by better managing your stress and your diet.  Just to be clear early on, your goal should not be to block Cortisol but rather to normalize levels.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Central Obesity part 1: Fighting Internal Belly Fat!

     Belly fat…Pot belly...Beer belly…Spare tire…Love handles…Buddha belly.  There are many nick names for that adipose tissue, or visceral fat, accumulating around and more importantly within your mid-section mainly in a connective tissue organ draped around your stomach called the Omentum.  And as you age it may become more difficult to stop the accumulation, never mind reduce it.  And while for men in particular, who tend to store more fat around their mid-section rather than their hips and butts, it is mostly just aesthetically unappealing, the harsh reality is that doctors, dieticians, and scientists alike now agree that your bulging belly may be a physical characteristic or even the cause of many serious health problems such as type-2 diabetes, and heart disease.

Thursday, September 1, 2011


     As I stated in part 1 of this series, many times the case is a bulging belly while all other areas of your body appear to be relatively lean, (especially in men who are approaching age 40 or over).  The general rule is that we don't spot-gain fat, and this is still the case where subcutaneous (under the skin) is concerned.  There is a place however where our body will spot-gain fat and rapidly at that, and that is within the abdomen beneath our muscles and over & around our organs, on the Omentum.  The Omentum (Greater & Lesser) is a layer of adipose (fat) tissue that drapes off the stomach and hangs down underneath the muscles and partly attaches to your transverse colon.  It serves many useful functions to include supporting your organs, storing visceral fat supplied directly from the small intestine, secreting immune-response factors to protect from peritoneal infection, binding cortisol,  it possesses regenerating stem cells, and supplying immediate fat to the liver via the Portal Vein for quick energy.  Perhaps most remarkable in its attributes, surgeons even use the omentum to patch & wrap around injuries and incisions inside peritoneal cavity.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

More on 'ABs-Awareness': A Zen-like State of Subconscious Awareness of what Your ABS & Core are Doing...

     'Ab-Awareness' is a concept I alone coined in 2008 to convey the Zen-like, subconscious state that I maintain in my mid-section, always having my abs & core engaged and ready to go.  Many athletes & martial artists, and others in tune with their bodies have done this, but I have taken it a step further and analyzed it in order to teach others.  This concept is way more than simply vanity or aesthetics:
     Though it is a proven method toward lean, 6-pack abs, this is (holistically) more about the integrity of my entire core, ideal posture, optimal physical performance & feeling more confident in general.  When actively applying ab-awareness, simultaneously and continuously, your abs, (rectus, transversus & obliques) are being toned & exercised to some degree.  Don't just let your gut hang out...EVER!  At first it comes down to desire, discipline & pride, but very soon it becomes subconscious and even a path to higher-consciousness... 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

'I AM a Holistic Athlete' campaign continues...join me!

Calling all you Holistic Health Athletes & Advocates out there!!  Rise up with your all-natural healthiness and drive out the fake fitness imposters!