Friday, October 9, 2015

For the Ladies: Breast Cancer Awareness Month - October is PINK!

     I know I mostly have a lot of male followers on my blog, as it tends to center around Men's health & fitness, but fellas, I have to give it up for the ladies during this pink month of October:  It's Breast Cancer Awareness Month!  And where would any of us be without those breasts and the life-giving colostrum and milk they provide us at birth?!  It's hard to miss the pink everywhere this month, and it's not without good reason.  Breast cancer affects almost every family I know at some point.  Maybe it is the abundance of estrogen and estrogen-receptors within breast tissue, or maybe it is the large amount of breast adipose tissue itself, both which are thought to feed some cancers.  I don't know for sure, but I do know that breasts in their natural God-given state, are beautiful, whether in a bikini, a jersey, or whether completely bare, feeding your newborn baby.  I've witnessed all forms.  Long live the boobie! - Did I just say that?

     Below I have attached an informative, just-the-facts-you-need-to-know, bullet highlighted graphic that was personally sent to me by BHG 360, AKA, Bankers Health Care Group.  It's a brilliant PSA. Please read it, copy and share it with the breasts you love, per BHG 360's wishes.  The only agenda is to truly raise breast cancer awareness, succinctly and simply.  Lastly I will share with you something very personal, that my wife is a cancer survivor (not breast).  That is all!  From Bankers Health Care Group:

     "It’s that pink time of the year again! October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the volume of stories and statistics about the disease that appear in the media this month. The news is filled with participants walking, running and sharing testimony to raise awareness and funds for both breast cancer research and patient care.

     At the same time, practitioners of all specialties can take advantage of this increased awareness to educate patients about disease mechanisms and warning signs. This infographic below provides important facts, dispels a few myths and reminds your patients that early detection and better treatments do save lives. PLEASE!..Share it with your patients, clients and colleagues."

Saturday, August 1, 2015

10 Ways to Hack Your Fitness! (Maximize Your Exercise VALUE part 2)

          We used to call ‘em fitness tips but now the latest trend is to call them fitness hacks, and I desire to be a trend follower.  I suppose there is something more to a hack:  If something is going to be a labeled a hack then it had better be some sort of game-changing, time-saving short cut.  So significant in fact that it should almost feel like you’re cheating.  Well, I can’t promise you anything quite that mind-blowing here, but I have compiled a pretty worthy list of my favorite fitness hacks, which will definitely save you time and get you results.  While those who know me, know I am an advocate of making fitness part of a holistic lifestyle, and that I am not into trendy, fad diets or one-size-fits all approaches, there is nothing wrong with optimizing or streamlining your training in order to maximize exercise value.  Training smarter and not just harder, should always be a welcome strategy.  Of course there really are no shortcuts or miracles, but there are some hacks.  Some of them so simple they should be common sense, while others hopefully are new ideas to you.  In no particular order:

1.  Train using full-body, functional movements.  Skip the isolation exercises unless you’re rehabbing an injury or bringing up a weak body part.  Isolation exercises should be left to Bodybuilders, Physique athletes, and Fitness models, who are paid to look perfect and symmetrical.  While you no doubt want to look good, your primary goals should be mobility, health, longevity and perhaps athletic performance.  Full-body, functional exercises that synergistically involve multiple muscle groups accomplish all these goals in the shortest amount of time.  Exercises like burpees, pull-ups, push-ups, squats, lunges, planks and box-jumps.  It’s amazing what a nice physique these movements will produce inherently.

      2.  Train at high intensity most of the time.  High intensity training, maximizes your exercise value, giving you the most bang for your buck, in the least amount of time.  It also triggers a lot of post-exercise, metabolism-boosting, pro-hormone affects, lasting hours afterwards.  You can increase your intensity level by: reducing your rest duration between sets, using circuit-training principles where you alternate antagonistic muscle groups, increase load, increase reps, or any combination of the aforementioned.  If you desire to reach failure levels, then you must follow with a brief resting interval, usually performed using a 1:3 working-to-resting interval ratio, also known as high intensity interval training, (HIIT).

Monday, July 6, 2015

Mental Fitness: Meditation & Mindfulness - Why you have time to practice it daily and don’t even realize it!

               Let me start by admitting that I suck at meditating.  In fact so do most of my colleagues and peers.  Ask a working father if he has time to meditate and most will simply laugh:  “Yeah right, you mean sit around and do nothing for 30 minutes? - not a chance!”  And even those of us who are willing to try often find that we are so busy, suffering from attention-deficit or obsessive-compulsion, that we find it nearly impossible to not let our ‘to-do’ list creep into our mind, that is supposed to be void of thoughts, or at least witness to our thoughts.  Or, we are so chronically sleep-deprived, we simply fall asleep 5 minutes into it.  Did I mention that even finding a quiet space to meditate in is often impossible?  But ironically, those of us who seemingly can’t find a spare second to meditate in our hectic lives are usually the ones who could benefit from it most.  Because it is proven that meditating even just 10 minutes a day can reduce anxiety, sharpen focus, help control impulsiveness, plus a myriad of physical health improvements.  This is even measurable through brain imaging & MRI scans, and simple brain wave monitoring.  Trust me, if there wasn’t tangible proof I wouldn’t be getting involved with it.  I’m not into glib gurus.  I’m into results.

               As you may know, I am a big advocate of holistic health.  Yet, like most Trainers and fitness enthusiasts I spend 90% of my effort and learning on the physical component of fitness.  Improving lean-body mass and optimizing body composition.  Building muscle, burning fat, sculpting abdominals and strengthening the core, and improving mobility and athletic performance.  These are my go-to areas where I thrive, and honestly it is what most of my clients are concerned about.  But holistic health inherently implies the whole-body, mind and spirit, so mental fitness is at least a third pillar upholding ideal health.  Ask any warrior, professional athlete, Yogi, or Special Operations soldier and they will all agree that mental fitness is more like 80% of the success formula.  They will tell you with complete certainty that training and preparing the physical body for ‘battle’ is the easy part.  Preparing the mind for challenge, risk and adversity is where the real effort is required.  And as far as Nature-versus-Nurture is concerned, it is our minds that can be nurtured, or altered and improved the most through training, as there are less genetic limitations.  The mind is where our greatest potential exists, virtually untapped by most of us.  Many of us are born with an impressive level of baseline motivation, resiliency, competitive-edge and focus capacity.  But no matter where you think you’re at with you mental game, the act of meditation will take you to the next level.  A level you didn’t even know existed.
The 'Amygdala' is the also known as the mind's 'fear-center'.  Meditating regularly can help quiet the Amydala from hi-jacking the more thoughtful Pre-Frontal Cortex.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Father's Day Fitness for us Domesticated Dads!

Being a father now-a-days is more fulfilling and rewarding, yet busier than ever.  I am not trying to sound like a masculinist, but there is sort of a double standard set upon on us present-day fathers, not only by our nurturing wives and baby-Mommas, but by society in general.  At least here in San Diego’s progressive society.  Think about what is expected of you as a husband and father, and what is put on your plate daily.  Most of us are working full time, and the minute we clock out, we immediately are taking over duties as primary parent, if not volunteering at their schools, or assisting as coaches, helping with homework, not to mention grinding through at least half the load of household chores.  ‘Stay-at-home-Mom’ – what’s that?  Many of us have a (equally busy) wife who also works at least part time, just to be able to afford to live in beautiful San Diego and provide our families the lifestyle it offers.  What’s more, no San Diego mom I know of is willing to be content just tending to the home and kids.  Mothers these days have yoga classes, extensive social groups, hobbies, and a serious list of personal goals!  We Dads pick up the domestic slack by donning every hat in the household often with zero appreciation in return because it is what is expected of us.  It’s considered our duty and even a privilege.

     Don’t misunderstand me.  There are few things as rewarding in life as spending quality time with our children, and most of us desire to be more involved and hands-on, if given a choice.  But all this means time for Dad is pushed to the bottom of the honey-do list and is often considered low priority by spouses and bosses alike.  Just finding time to go for a run, or go to the gym can not only be near impossible, but can be wrongfully perceived as selfish, or putting ourselves before our family.  Any opportunity for continued personal growth and self-mastery? – Well sorry, but that is a luxury that we left behind the moment we had to put together the crib for baby #1.  Or so it might seem.
The truth is, while you might have to pause for a decade or so at becoming an expert at mastering you, nothing makes us grow and mature more than fatherhood.  Perhaps there is no greater opportunity to love another human being, more than fatherhood.  If you are blessed with children, know that the collective experience of raising a family leaves us wiser and more evolved during life’s journey.  Leading a family and household is as great a challenge as any corporate C.E.O. will face, and what used to be the sole home-making domain of the mother is now equally shared with us fathers.  Like it or not, we have become fully domesticated.  But back to finding time to still workout…
Max with daughters Bryce Ava and Summer, Honolua Bay, Maui, October 2013.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

San Diego's 4L Magazine Celebrates it's 2 Year Anniversary!

     As many of you know I am the resident fitness contributor/writer for San Diego's Four EL magazine - A men's lifestyle and fitness magazine based here in San Diego that celebrates San Diego culture.  From LOCAL brews, bands, bars, beaches, babes, ball teams, etc. - you name it and the magazine covers it.  Rich in original, organic, relevant content for sure - I can personally say I know all the writers and the staff well.  There is no fluff, filler, or recycled material.  And not too many ads either, though I can't say the editors don't want more ad space filled:)  We're all in it out of a passion for San Diego and to promote the magazine's 4 ideals:

Live, Love, Laugh and Learn.  ("For the evolved man")

     I am very proud to say that I have been on board this magazine from ground zero, when my friend Steve Kang invited me to write all about fitness and holistic health.  I was all in and still am.  So we all got together and celebrated the mag's 2 year anniversary the other night downtown, with the live music from Palace Ballroom - another local SD favorite!

with 4L co-founder and Director of Ad Sales, Steve Kang and staff writerJason Stewart at the 2 year party!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

"6-Pack Abs: The International Benchmark of a Fit Physique" - Max Wettstein

Highly sought after for purely vanity reasons by many of us, but that’s okay.  There’s nothing wrong with wanting to rock a nice 6-pack at the beach.  In fact, that is what I get asked about most – “How can I get abs?” or, “How can I lose this belly fat?”  Well I am putting together a list of tips for you right here – simple concepts that most Trainers will bury in a 300 page book or DVD series and then sell it to you.  I should know, because I too have shamelessly done both of these: Written books on how to get “Amazing Abs”, and even produced a DVD on the subject (Now published free on Youtube).  This is because through the fortunate combination of genetics, lifestyle, timing, location and desire, I was able to become Men’s Health magazine’s primary abs model for a period of about 4 years from 2005 to 2009, appearing on over 10 of their magazine and book covers.  Yes, that Men’s Health magazine.  So of course after, that I instantly felt qualified to write a book and produce a DVD on the subject.

Seriously though, my genetic-fortune aside, after 15 years of being a professional fitness model I did manage to learn a few things about attaining and maintaining lean abs and a strong core, even if only through repeated trial and error of applied Bodybuilder Bro-Science.  I was my own physiological, guinea pig, and having shredded, cover-ready abs was literally my bankable brand.  While it’s true that bodybuilding and its commercial spawn of fitness modeling is highly vain, there is one fact that is undeniable:  We know how to get ripped!  In fact I would argue that no other ‘athlete’ genre knows how to get as lean as the professional fitness model.  Why?  - Because the fitness model has the luxury of training for appearance first and athletic-performance second, which I do not advocate unless you are getting paid for your looks.  Otherwise, I believe we should all train for optimum function, mobility and health, first and foremost.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Maximizing Your Exercise Value – Fitness is Now a Sport.

Q: Is it possible to get uber fit exercising only 20 minutes a day?

A: No.

However, 20 minutes a day is certainly better than nothing, and it might be just enough activity to maintain your health and improve longevity.  As a society we seem busier than ever, but we’re also getting way smarter about how to train, and weve finally realized just how darn important consistent exercise is.  In fact exercise is critical to our health, on par with nutrition and 2nd only to sleeping well.  People who exercise consistently, live longer than those who don’t, given all else being equal.  Only your genetics play a greater role in life span.  We now know that some of that time spent exercising ideally needs to push into (relatively) higher intensity levels.  But just how intense do we need to go?  Is there an intensity or volume threshold to where there is no more benefit?  The key for all of us busy folks, is to find the sweet spot where training time intersects with intensity level, which triggers the most benefit.  I call this maximizing your exercise value.

There’s a certain niche of neo-athletes that have embraced training so much that they've declared “fitness to be its own sport”, never mind a lifestyle.  A sub-culture of every day citizens who walk among us that have discovered their inner athlete and have taken training to a whole other level.  I’m not talking about bodybuilders or triathletes here – that’s old school.  I’m talking about well-rounded fitness aficionados that desire to be total athletes by combining full-body-functional, cardio and strength exercises.  I’m talking about the present day Boot-camper, SEAL-Fitter, CrossFitter, Tough-Mudder, Spartan genre who whole-heartedly decided that just because they have families and careers, doesn't mean they can’t be uber athletes too.  They've revealed their inner-warrior and when you see them training together, feeding off each other, you get a sense there’s something special going on there, almost like a religion, or a tribe of warriors.  - Some kind of competitive, comradery dynamic, testing themselves with exciting, yet effective exercises, that arouses your curiosity.  There’s a synergistic magic happening there in part from the group dynamic.  Maybe I’m describing one of your close friends or even you.  There’s a reason why these folks are experiencing these powerful physical and mental transformations no matter what their age is, in a relatively short amount of time.  They've found out how to maximize their exercise value in a competition based, group dynamic that comes with its own band of brothers for support.  They become training addicts…and it’s not the mirror they’re addicted to.  You watch these guys and it almost feels as if they've never had so much fun being tortured.  They have even created niche competitions to help motivate them to take their training goals to the next level and they have indeed declared that fitness in and of itself, can stand alone as its own sport.

Monday, March 2, 2015

The Egg (Yolk) is BACK! - Cholesterol is Out of Diet Jail! (March is National Nutrition Month.)

March is National Nutrition Month according the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and we are celebrating with the incredible egg!  You see, the egg is back in a big way, though for many of us, it never left our list of staple, affordable sources of a complete protein, called for by many recipes.  You would think eggs would have withstood the test of time and tradition by now, but there was rather large group of scientist-panels and government agencies, that believed for a long time that the cholesterol contained in eggs is bad for us and pushed their guidelines upon our society.  But recently these very same scientists and agencies reversed their stance on the egg, and more specifically on dietary cholesterol nutrient and the role it plays in blood LDL cholesterol levels.  According to The Washington Post in February,
‘In one short paragraph, the new report from the nation’s top nutrition panel reverses decades of warnings about dietary cholesterol. Long one of the arch-villains of the American diet, cholesterol need no longer be considered a menace to the public health, the group said.  As the panel's report puts it: “Cholesterol is not a nutrient of concern.”’.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

New Year's Fitness Resolution ACCOUNTABILITY: The missing key ingredient that may be sabotaging your progress!

     Well it’s that time of year again, when everyone starts failing miserably at their New Year’s resolution to be fitter and healthier.  The missing ingredient almost always causing the failure, is lack of accountability.  Without somebody or something to be accountable to, who is going to call you out when you no-show to the gym, or start drinking 4 beers a night instead of just two?  We all need somebody to call us out when we steer off course, or something to at least raise awareness.  Now I’m not saying you have to go out and drop fifty bucks an hour on a Personal Trainer, all though that would be ideal.  There are in fact many fun, inexpensive ways to incorporate accountability into your fitness and health plan if you cannot afford to hire a Trainer:

1.      Sign up for a race: Most races come with an ideal 12 week preparation plan that you can easily find online for free. (Try  The looming race deadline is what will be holding you metaphorically accountable, and it is physically impossible to train for 12 weeks and not become fitter and leaner!  Most of San Diego’s fun races are in April, May and June – perfect timing to begin!
2.      Book a tropical vacation:  Not only will you score major points with your date if you invite one to come along, but just knowing you will be seen poolside or beachfront in your board-shorts will motivate you to buff up to some degree, even if only subconsciously.
3.      Wear a personal activity tracker or fitness bracelet:  You know, one of those FitBit things that track your daily fitness data on a basic, approximate level.  They synch up with an app on your smartphone and at the very least raise awareness and in some sense create accountability, by telling you how many steps you took, how many calories you burned, and much more depending how involved you want to get with the application.  These bracelets and trying to improve daily, become surprisingly addicting!  They’re simple to use, provide real-time feedback yet are very personal at the same time.
4.      Post your goal or resolution on social media:  Post a ‘before’ picture, or state your goal publically and very loudly on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram for all to see.  Your followers will hold you accountable and even heckle you!  Seriously though, aside from the unsolicited advice you will receive from all of the fitness ‘experts’ spamming your newsfeed, you will also get a lot of encouragement and don’t be surprised if you motivate some of your friends to join you on your journey!
5.      Buy a home scale:  I actually wrote and entire article about this a few months ago.  And while many Trainers and weight-loss ‘experts’ advocate against weighing yourself daily, I am all for it and have done this for years.  While it is true that most weight fluctuations are temporary or are ‘water weight’, stepping on the scale daily, (along with looking at yourself naked in the mirror), raises awareness, provides the most basic sense of accountability and helps you get a head start on tracking trends in weight changes.  Also the home scales these days are very reliable and affordable and many even come with bio-electric impedance to measure your body composition and body fat level.
6.      Join a sports team or group:  It doesn’t matter what your sport is – there is a team, league or group of guys out there, at your level, who love to play too.  Find them and join them – this is San Diego, America’s 8th Fittest City – how hard can it be?  Because when you start regularly competing in a sport you love, you’ve truly discovered a secret path to long lasting fitness.  As soon as you make it fun, you’re winning!
7.   Book a Photo Shoot!  Hey I know we aren't all vain, Zoolander model-types, but I'm going to share something personal with you:  NOTHING motivates me to whip myself into tip-top shape more than a booked shoot date coming up.  Because it's game on, as my reputation is on the line, every time I step in front of the camera.  This sounds so shallow to write, but it's truth.  And it doesn't have to be a professional photo shoot or commercial print job either.  Just booking a photo shoot for yourself and or your family for social media use, as 'progress pics' or for just your personal, keepin-it-real, check will suffice.  Selfies just aren't quite the same!

     What you should NOT do as part of your healthy New Year’s resolution strategy:  Buy a detox kit, start a weight-loss or diet plan, or do a juice cleanseDetox, Juice Cleanse, Diet Plan are all red flags to steer clear of.  These are fads and gimmicks by folks trying to take your money.  You must learn to take a long term, holistic approach to your fitness and health and evolve it into a lifestyle.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Tribute to Fitness Icon Greg Plitt: R.I.P. - 'Be Remembered'

Tribute to Greg Plitt - R.I.P.

     I'll never forget the day I met Greg Plitt.  We were both booked to shoot some workout editorials for a fitness magazine in Laguna Beach in 2006.  You hear the term 'Adonis' thrown around a lot in the fitness model world, but Greg truly stood out among all the others.  He wasn't that huge or massive - only 6'1, but his proportions and body structure were that of a comic book super hero.  You couldn't help but stare at his physique, and it didn't matter if you were man or woman, gay or straight.  What seemed to set him apart was his very large collarbones and shoulder width, which then perfectly tapered into a 32" waist.  I saw him as genetically gifted.  Because while many others had to try and re-proportion their bodies through bodybuilding, then diet, or take steroids to even have a chance at landing a magazine cover, Greg had the underlying genetic, skeletal structure that would always make him stand out.  Of course on top of that perfect frame, he trained like an animal, with discipline of an Army Ranger.  Greg was the full package.  Everybody that ever booked a job with him and was simultaneously on set shooting with him, were envious and even jealous of his amazing physique, yet he was cool and such a stud that we all had a man-crush on him at the same time.  Because during the post-shoot after hours he was an absolute blast to hang out with...the life of the party, like only an Army Ranger can party.  Fitness models couldn't even hang with him off set in the club either.
On a fitness infomercial set with Greg circa 2009