Trick or Treat…Do You Act Like What You Eat?

The nights have been getting darker. The leaves are starting to crumble. Cold winds whistle through neighborhoods to get our attention. What use to be an easy walk in the dark around your house….now, gives you chills.

Creaks and popping noises start occurring more frequently in your house. When you close your eyes to take a shower….you feel extra vulnerable. Mirrors should never be gazed upon in the dark.

For it is that special time of year…..Halloween is here!!

 

Ghosts Of Halloween Past

Everyone has a different opinion of Halloween. Some love it while others just hate it. I personally think it’s fun! In my youth, I loved getting dressed up to go trick or treating around my neighborhood.

I remember one of the elementary schools I went to would allow the kids to go trick or treating at the school. Each classroom would have it’s own unique game you played to win candy and treats. I remember winning the cakewalk two years in a row! {See: 11 Embarrassing Behavior Traits about Mike: Elementary School Years}

As I’ve become an adult (on the outside), Halloween has become different. In my college years I was so busy with surviving that I honestly can’t remember a single Halloween. That’s pretty sad right!

The last ten years of my life, the neighborhoods I lived at did not have much Halloween spirit. When I lived in Vegas, I did at least see trick or treaters one year ringing my door bill. I also went to several Halloween parties in Vegas. Las Vegas renewed my Halloween spirit.

 

Michael V. Moore dressed like a 2 Chains wannabe
2 Chainz On my Neck!
Michael Moore in a Alex Cross costume
Michael as Tyler Perry playing Alex Cross….HORRIBLE movie

Halloween Present

Now that I’m back in Northern Virginia, I’ve been expecting more of a traditional Halloween. It’s cool seeing decorations go up. My only beef has to do with the fact that neighborhoods are so dark! Why have people stop turning on their front porch lights during the year? Turn on your lights people! Let’s be a community again!

So besides the scare factor, the obvious draw of Halloween is the candy! It’s the time of year we all try to be somewhat naughty. When we go to work we see candy jars laid out for everyone to share. When we go to the stores, we make sure we get the jumbo bags for the trick or treaters…….and ourselves!

Candy is just a part of this season. It’s all a part of the cravings we experience during the fall (check out 3 Seasonal Occurrences That Create Relentless Fall Cravings). We know we shouldn’t be eating the sweets but we cave in anyways.

Instead of giving you the shame finger in this article, I’ve decided to have some fun with it. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with having fun!

I decided to poke fun at some of the Halloween treats that we love to eat during this time of year. As I looked at the list of candies we tend to indulge, it made me wonder if the reason we ate them, was because we could identify with the candy?

You be the judge. Here’s my own personal list of everyone’s favorite candy and their personalities!

Tootsie Rolls

tootsie rolls

Tootsie rolls don’t have much flash. On the outside they come across as short, with a hard exterior. Once you actually engage one, you find out that it’s not as awful as it’s exterior. It even becomes likeable (chewy).

Skittles

bag of opened skittles

Taste the rainbow is their marketing campaign. Without a doubt skittles are extremely colorful. They make sure that they will be seen in a crowded room! They capture your visual attention right away. Even though they want all this attention, they exceed your expectation with their sweet personalities. They are a pleasure to gaze upon as well as dialogue with.

Whoppers

Whoppers

They look perfectly fine on the outside. Once you engage them you realize they have somewhat of a salty personality. You continue to try to be friendly to them. But for some reason the more you try to be friendly with them, you realize that it just doesn’t feel right to you. Classic case of judging a book by its cover and maybe not liking its pages.

Sour Patch Kids

Sour Patch Kids candy

They have a very immature childlike personality. You try to be friendly with them but all they want to do is give you an attitude with their tart personality. It takes more than five minutes to get to their good side…..do you have five minutes to spare?

Twix

Twix candy bar

Twix has an identical twin. They normally are always together except for on Halloween, where they get separated. They are very well spoken. They have lots of class. Smooth and to the point. They are easy to like because you get two friends for one.

Nerds

box of nerds candy

Self explanatory because the name says it all!

Starburst

Starburst candy

They are handsome and appealing from a distance. With their square appearance, they are not slim but it doesn’t matter to everyone. When approached they deliver on their appearance by having a tongue twisting sensational conversation.

M&M’s

Plain-M&Ms-Pile

This candy knows how to make an appearance as well. But instead of being colorful and sweet on the inside, they are completely wholesome. They are a real crowd pleaser. Every now and then they will come across as somewhat nutty.

Kit Kat

4 kit kat bars

They are tall and long. They get asked if they play sports a lot. They have a lil bit of a snap in them that doesn’t come across as rude. Most people like them.

Candy Corn

Candy corn

The person that divides people the most. I personally don’t get it but some folks love them! It seems that they are the one that people are ok with leaving behind. They’re just this blah person. Nothing flashy yet they still have friends. You always wonder why they have more friends than you.

Twizzlers

Twizzlers

When eating this candy people tend to show it off, so they’re somewhat of a showoff. Your friends want to make sure people know when you are around. The conversation will get louder for just a minute. Once people are gone, the attention just breaks away.

Jolly Ranchers

Jolly ranchers

Another colorful and flavorful personality. They tend to stay in people’s conversations (mouths) longer than originally expected.

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

Reese peanut butter cups in a pile

The king and queen of the party. They are savory and fulfilling. They’re a winning combination that’s hard to resist (unless you have allergies).


 

Hope you found this article enjoyable. Have fun this Halloween. Just make sure you get your candy fix on October 31st because once November 1st rolls around, it’ll be time to……..RELEASE THE BEAST!

My 12 Ambitious Goals To Look Good In 2015

Have you seen those Direct TV ads with a celebrity impersonating themselves. A good example is the one’s with Rob Lowe. You have normal Rob Lowe and then you have creepy Rob Lowe.

While pursuing the body you want to achieve you have to make sure you check in with yourself and give yourself evaluations. Those evaluations can be in the form of tracking statistics in a weight loss journal.

You could also keep track inside a spreadsheet that marks down all the workouts you’ve done with in a year. To continually improve it’s crucial that you perform check-ins. If you don’t, you’ll forever be going around in circles with no real progress. You’ll look like the “creepy” or “loser” version of yourself instead of the winner version.

To help keep me on target for 2015, I created twelve goals that I wanted to achieve. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to hit all of them in only one year, but it served as my motivation. Here’s the goals:

Consistent Waist Under 35 Inches

The easiest way to know if your weight loss plan is working is by measuring your waist. I noticed this pattern over the years. It’s definitely not the scale that tells you, it’s your waist!

When I was at my peak in 2010, my waist was slightly less than 33 inches. At that time, I knew that a waist size of 33 inches was not realistic for me to keep in the long term. Remember I was thin but not really strong. Due to me wanting more muscle, I knew my waist would have to be bigger.

On the exact opposite, the largest my waist has ever been was 39 inches. When I looked at my waist numbers over the years I’ve seen it hover around 36-37 inches. That’s pretty far from that super thin 33 inches.

So I decided on a simple target weight of 35 inches as ideal. I knew if I stayed under 35 inches my body would look good without my shirt on. Maybe not ripped status, but “not ashamed” status was fine with me.

Square Powerful Chest

I’ve always had a stronger lower body than upper body. When bodybuilding you want to bring up your strong points to achieve a well balanced body. For me I knew I needed to focus more on my chest.

I always thought of my chest as more round than square. In the comic books you always see the perfectly square chests. It was as sign of power. Getting a square chest requires isolating the pectoral muscles with excellent technique.

Over the years, I noticed that I never felt out my pectoral muscles while doing chest exercises. I just went with the flow. It was time for me to actually think about that muscle moving while lifting the weight.

15 inch Arms

forearm

What guy doesn’t want bigger arms! Like I said previously, I have always had a weaker upper body. When losing weight my arms are always the first parts of my body to thin out. When gaining weight of course my arms are always the last to get bigger!

For years it seems like I couldn’t win so I never really bothered to get them bigger. I would focus on the Big Lifts (Squats, Overhead Press, Deadlifts,Bench Press) and just add some dips and chin ups in as accessory work. That was the entire stimulus my arms would get through the years.

I still think that’s a good idea. A person should get better at the basic lifts if they want to have a well-developed body. But I wanted to grow my 13-inch biceps more. With the bodybuilding templates I would be following they would be getting some direct work, so 15 inches seemed like a good number to reach for.

Seven to Ten Hours Of Sleep A  Night

I had a horrible sleeping experience in 2014. Every since I moved back to Virginia from living in Las Vegas, my sleep habits have been crappy. I know it had to deal with getting up super early to beat the traffic for work. In my Las Vegas lifestyle, I had a more relaxed work schedule.

Back in Virginia, I became too stressed out with the projects I was on. Every morning I would see darker and darker backs under my eyes. I never had that before in my life! I knew it was time to get back to getting 7+ hours of sleep a night. I feel so much more energized when I get sleep. Plus my body looks healthier. It was time to get back to that.

No Chronic Joint Pain (knees, back, spine, etc.)

I’ve had chondromalacia patella for about twenty years. Whenever my knees are in a bending motion I experience pain. So if I’m sitting for long periods of time, my knees hurt. If I try to play basketball, I can’t jump and run as much as I would like because of my knee pain. I’ve learned how to avoid the pain over the years.

I started getting involved in work projects that triggered my chondromalica patella in 2014. Plus I was squatting for personal records at the gym so I would be in pain more often than normal. For 2015, I wanted to make sure I got back to avoiding the pain.

Have Less Than 20 lbs Of Fat On My Body

I use to be obsessed with body fat percentage numbers in the past. I would hear that the ideal body fat percentage for men was under 15%. Other experts would say fewer than 12%. My body fat has always hovered between 13-20% according to my calculations.

I didn’t want to be obsessed over body fat calculations anymore. I just did the simple math. If I had thirty pounds of fat on my body, I wanted to lose half of that which would leave me with 15 pounds of fat.

I would expect a slight rebound effect so I added five more pounds. If my body fat percentage were between 12-20%, reducing my fat in half would get me to under 15% body fat. Nothing complicated.

No Eating Excuses While Traveling

istanbul-airport-13

I had a brutal travel schedule in 2014. There were too many travel sessions in which I would be at the mercy of other people’s schedule. I pride myself on eating correctly while traveling but I was eating like the folks I was working with. None of them wanted to same type of body I wanted, so why should I eat like them?

I wanted to get back to the old me and take control over my eating again. There should be no excuses for eating right while on the road. It’s never going to be perfect, but that still didn’t mean I shouldn’t at least try.

Eat Around 175 Grams Of Protein A Day

This was another easy calculation. My lean body mass was somewhere between 170-180 lbs. If I want to keep the muscle I need to eat an adequate amount of protein. For maintaining muscle I knew I needed approximately 0.8-1 grams of protein per lean mass.

I like to keep it simple and just round it up to 1 gram of protein per lean mass. So 1 x 175 lbs = 175 grams of protein a day I would need.

Eat Vegetables at every meal

If I want to be healthy I got to eat my veggies! I’ve been eating them with every meal for a very very very long time now. So this was a pretty easy goal. Just a friendly reminder to keep doing it!

Make Rice and Potatoes My Main Carbohydrate Sources

I was going to be lifting weights so I knew I would need good carbohydrate sources. Supplement companies make it seem that you can only lose or gain weight by drinking their products. That’s not the case! For more workout fuel I would just be eating whole foods.

When eating whole foods, I prefer to eat my carbohydrate sources. Rice and potatoes are the simplest carbs you could eat. They digest properly and provide the energy needed to replenish your muscles.

Build My Beach Body THEN Get Stronger With That Physique

No big surprise here. It was time to show off the muscles on my body in addition to getting stronger. Instead of chasing both rabbits at once, I wanted to smartly pursue one at a time. This was just a nice reminder of my why for 2015.

No More Yo-Yo Seasonal Eating.

Kids playing with yo yos

Every season I would give into pro-long binge eating weeks. Heck I talk about the fall cravings here. To keep the progress going I needed to make sure that the binge sessions were cut down. I came up with this 2015 plan around the 2014 holidays when I saw how much weight I gained.

All it took was more than two days of treats and my weight jumped up 15 lbs.  I did not want to keep experiencing that every season.

 

 

How I Discovered What Type Of Training I Currently Need

I loved getting stronger and actually being able to do something with the muscles I had on my body.  In the previous post I mentioned how I followed a powerlifting prototype for many years after my dramatic fat loss (see: My Yearly Struggle Between Being Thin and Weak OR Strong But Fat).   As far as weight gain, I did not care. As long as I was making progress in strength, my body could weigh whatever it wanted to and I was OK with it.

The honest truth is that I REALLY don’t care how much I weigh.  Even now I really don’t care.  That is just a number on the scale.  I refuse to let it totally define me.  Too many people let the scale be the only way to measure progress. I prefer to let mirrors and pictures be my true measurement systems.

Portrait of a sexy young beautiful woman checking her waist in the mirror

It was using those two methods that I started to figure out that my strength training was going in the wrong direction for the body I wanted to achieve.  Here I was, lifting heavy weight but still not having the body I wanted.  What was I doing wrong?

EATING

One of the biggest derailments was my eating.  No matter if you want to gain or lose muscle, your diet is the key.  A diet can make you lose 10 pounds of fat OR gain 10 pounds of solid muscle.  The more you are in tune with your nutrition, the better the results. When you are not in tune, you’ll experience fat loss stalls and more fat gained than muscle when putting on weight.

While doing strength training I should have kept my calories lower for longer cycles.   I did attempt to keep the calories low in certain periods of time during my strength training years but I would let articles convince me to keep them up higher so I could stay lifting heavier weights. I should have known better. If I wanted a leaner look, the calories should have came down more often.

BODY IMAGE

If I was doing powerlifting movements, eating like a powerlifting and not doing lots of cardio like a powerlifter….guess what I would look like?  A powerlifter!

For some reason it didn’t click in my head.  I would read articles explaining how I was a “wuss” for not being strong.  I let all those powerlifter articles fool me into thinking that getting strong was the only thing I should be pursuing. That was only partially true because there was more to it than that.

My AH HA Moment

One day I came across a bodybuilding article that made me really think.  It was written by Nate Miyaki.  In it he mentioned to “Find what you’re fighting for?”.  I had to re-read it several times before I got the message.  Basically he was asking the readers why are you doing this for?

When I sat back and analyze how I first got involved into working out at the gym I realized that I did all this mainly to look good.  As narcissistic as that sounds, that’s the truth.  I want to have a body where I can take my shirt off and feel comfortable.  When we all dig deep down into why we work out, the answer sometimes is as vain as mine was.

So if I wanted to look good, what would be the easiest way to get to that path?  The easiest way is to workout like a bodybuilder.

BODYBUILDING

When we think of bodybuilding we get images of Incredible Hulk looking guys on covers of muscle magazines.  There’s no denying these guys have defined bodies.  Now that we are inn the steroid and drug enhancement era, some bodybuilders have too much muscle going on that starts to look sickening!

Guy posing in the mirror looking like he may take steroids due to how big his muscles are

But there’s no question that bodybuilders have developed techniques that will get you to the body you want.  When your goal is to look good in front of a mirror, bodybuilding templates are the way to go.

Don’t let those hulk images fool you, the real essence of bodybuilding is to isolate and shape the body.  It’s a totally different concept than powerlifiing.  To an outsider, they think that lifting weights is just lifting weights.  But if you were to compare a powerlifter to a bodybuilder’s training routine.  You would see a night and day difference.

I spent too many years foolishly glossing over bodybuilding workouts.  I treated the workouts just as another workout. I did not actually feel the weight through the reps to make sure the muscle did all the work.  In my youth it was all about just moving the heaviest weight the fastest.

In bodybuilding, you want to maximize the tension in the muscle no matter what the weight is!  That tension causes blood to pump into your muscles, which in turn help make the muscle shapelier.  In other words, your physique starts to look like a Greek God vs. Greek yogurt!

When you put your ego to the side and do the workout properly, you will see great results. It doesn’t take a lot of weight to make your muscles pump up. What it does take is patience and focus. I’m no Arnold Schwarzenegger, but I see the difference in my body in less than one week while following a bodybuilding routine.

BODYBUILDING DIET

When following a bodybuilding routine the workout is actually secondary to your diet. The primary way to get your desired body is still through nutrition. Bodybuilders are some of the most dedicated nutritionist on the planet! It’s amazing at the attention to macronutrients and calories that bodybuilders do when prepping there daily meals.

Bodybuilders have been on the leading edge of nutrition for years. Most of the eating habits that the diet experts try to tell people they should be eating originally came from experienced bodybuilders years ago. A great example is how carbohydrates and fats should not be combined in high portions during the same meal if you wanted an ideal body composition. The “experts” just call this the Atkins Diet or Paleo Diet or whatever the next craze will be.

WHY IS MICHAEL DOING THIS?

So when I analyzed “why I was doing this”, I knew that I needed to make every gym session count. I needed to make sure that all the nutritional foods I ate would be properly processed for the body I wanted. I determined that I should be following a bodybuilding program in 2015 to get towards my dream body. Once I had that dream body, then I would go back to strength training. That was my plan for 2015.

Sounds good but is that what I did in 2015?  That’s a story for next time!

My Yearly Struggle Between Being Thin and Weak OR Strong But Fat

Raise your hand if you make yearly New Year’s Resolutions? How often does your resolutions involve being fit? How often do you make it past January? When you are a consistent gym rat like myself, it’s amazing to see the amount of new faces at the gym during that first week of January.

What’s even more amazing is just how many of those folks give up on their exercise plan three weeks later. Now I would be lying if I said I didn’t have my own yearly goals. But you see, I don’t make New Years Resolutions. For the past five years, I’ve created year- long plans to make myself better than the year prior. Each year will lead up to my eventual dream body. This article is all about my 2015 goal.

I’M TOO FAT?

From 2007 until about summer of 2008, I put on the most weight in my life. I gained over fifty pounds in that short time span.

Michael V. Moore in Singapore in 2008
Singapore 2008


When I finally realized my gain was all fat not muscle, I quickly altered my nutrition and exercise programs. I even joined an online course that opened my eyes. That period of dedicated weight loss kept going until the days leading up to my wedding in 2010.

Michael V. Moore walking down the aisle on his wedding day
September 2010

 I’M TOO WEAK?

A couple of months after getting married I realized that despite how thin I was, I could use some more muscle on my frame. Once lifting for muscle, I noticed how awful my squat, deadlift, bench press and overhead press numbers were. For someone that worked out on a regular basis, I should have been much stronger!

That’s when another hard truth kicked in. I had been lifting to lose weight for so long, that I never truly attempted to get stronger. I had a nice physique, but what’s the use if I can’t lift heavy things. If I became stronger then I could lift more weight, which would mean I my muscles would get bigger.

GET STRONGER

So with that new mentality, I became obsessed with getting stronger. The main strength-training plan I used was Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 program. I read Mark Rippetoe’s Starting Strength to perfect my techniques. As expected, my strength severely increased! My back (especially upper back!), arms and legs got thicker. As everything got bigger, my waist got wider.

STRONGER BUT GETTING WIDER

I expected to gain weight while getting stronger. As the months and years went by, I stopped being as consistent with my eating habits as I should have been. I’m an individual that easily gains weight. People still don’t believe that I can gain a half-inch on my waist just by eating two slices of bread. I’m not making that up, it’s true.

Due to my ability to gain weight rapidly, I have to be extremely careful when it comes to carbohydrate plus fat combinations. I have to follow my nutrition plan 90% of the time to be successful. The moment I go under 90%, my waist starts to inflate.

EATING TOO MUCH

Guess what happened during the years I was eating to get stronger? In my efforts to eat more calories, I stop being 90% compliant. I was closer towards 75%.

For those that don’t understand, it means that if I ate four meals a day, three of them were perfect for my diet. One of those four meals did not fit my nutrition plan. That fourth meal could have consisted of junk food, the wrong food type or too many calories. Whatever it was, it was not what I should have been eating at that time.

As anyone that has ever tried to put on muscle will tell you, it is unquestionably easy to go overboard with eating. It’s not as strict as losing weight, but you still have to be careful. After all those years of restrictive eating, it’s no wonder I loved to gorge myself while getting stronger!

CHANGE IT UP!

Around the middle of 2014 I came to the realization that I needed to change my plan up. Despite how badly I wanted to keep getting stronger, I needed to get my waist back in check. I needed to start getting my eating discipline back as well as make sure my workouts reflected this new lifestyle. 75% compliant might be good enough for others, but my eating habits have to be stricter to get the body I want.  Unlike when I made my dramatic weight loss from before, this time around I wanted to have more muscle definition.

It’s an interesting sensation to have so much knowledge about lifting weights and yet never attained the final body you envision in your head.   Throughout all these years I have helped train others get to their goals but never fully gotten to mine.   I was very  very close to it back in 2010. Based on all the knowledge I have, I was determined at the end of 2014 to make 2015 the year my dream body would start to show up.

I’ll get into 2015 next time!

3 Seasonal Occurrences That Create Relentless Fall Cravings

It’s 10 AM on a Monday morning in September. Do you know where your children are? Hopefully they are at school, which means the adults own the daytime again!

Don’t you just hate how in the summer every time you want to do something in public there’s always an army of youngsters around? The simple trip to the store to run some errands becomes a hassle. Seeing kids back in school is one of the official symbols that the fall season is coming upon us.

I don’t know about you but there’s something about the change of seasons that causes me not to want to try as hard when it comes towards eating right. Each season brings upon different cravings.  The first weeks of winter makes me want stews. In spring it’s delicate cakes. In summer it’s all about ice cream and BBQ! Since fall is almost here, I want to explore some possible factors that motivate this season’s cravings.

FOOTBALL

I wonder if it has to do with the fact that I love American football.  While watching football you are exposed to a lot of commercials advertising nothing but the worst types of food you can imagine.  I counted twenty-one food & beer advertisements during one quarter of football last Sunday!

With so many advertisements going on it’s no wonder I get odd cravings. After hours of football, there’s nothing more I want in my mouth than some fried chicken wings, cheesy nachos, or XXL hot dog pretzel pizza! All bad for you but look so good on your TV.

 

Two pizza hut hot dog pizzas. One with pretzel dogs, the other regular. Both have pepporoni
Pizza + Hot Dogs + Mustard….Only in ‘Merica

 

Could it be the anticipation?  American football is a big time celebration.  Majority of the sports during the summer time are boring.  So once fall rolls around, it’s becomes a time for celebration!  What better way to celebrate then by getting your feast on!

As an American, I know we have this “Go Big Or Go Home” mentality.  The bigger an object is the better.  That’s why those commercials are so out of hand.  They are trying to give you a sensory overload of foods in our weakest moments.

We are already excited about the competition going on, the commercials are doing nothing but hype that atmosphere up even further.

WEATHER

Could it be the weather? September is one of those interesting months in which you normally start the month off in t-shirts and short shorts. But by the time the month is over, you’re most likely sporting long sleeve shirts and pants.

Seeing the clothing slowly change can get to you. I know us guys become gloomy once we start seeing the girls stop showing as much skin in their outfits. That’s a killer sign that the Summer of Love is officially over.

Once summer is over, we know the cold will be coming. So with all the excess fall clothing, maybe our brains feel that it no longer has to impress the opposite sex. If we aren’t displaying the goods on a regular basis, why be as strict on their diet! The cool fall air seems to activate that type of thinking.

HOME COOKED COMFORT FOOD

Fall seems to be the ideal time to create those classic comfort foods.  As Labor Day turns into Thanksgiving, it’s as if you use your oven more often.  At least that was the case when I was a child.

Home cooked meals were a part of my after school memories.  I remember coming home to a house filled with wonderful smells.  There was nothing better than the smell of pot roast, lasagna, gravy, pies and other baked goodies.

Apple Pie in the Oven
Now This is Americana!

 

When it comes to comfort foods we all know that the colder months reign supreme.  It’s something nostalgic about just sitting back and gathering with family.  I can see images of the pioneer days with folks huddled in their wood cabins.  The Dad tossing wood into the fireplace as the kids huddle.  In the kitchen, Mom is fixing some type of heart-warming stew.

Comfort foods like stew were created to warm your body up.  Who doesn’t like the rich warmest of a good warm meal on a chilly evening?  Fall starts to resemble that chill.  I guess subconsciously I start to think about all the comfort foods that will be coming up in the months ahead. Could that be why it becomes harder for me to eat properly?


I’m going to need to figure it out because I have big plans for this fall. I can’t be getting too out of shape. I’ll be talking more about it in my next couple of posts.  Stay tuned!