abs (1) adrenal fatigue (1) Alli McKee (2) Alvin Pearman (1) Apolo Ohno (1) athlete (1) Axiom Fitness (1) Bagels (1) Barbara Mencer (1) Black Friday (1) body fat (12) bodybuilding (1) book (1) boot camp (2) Breads (1) breakfast (1) Brendan Foley (2) Brock Lesnar (1) business (1) cable bands (1) Carb Backloading (1) carb load (1) carbs (5) cardio (5) carnivore (1) Charleston (1) Circuit (2) College (3) Common (1) complex carbs (2) core (1) cortisol (1) Craig Ballantyne (3) Creative Loafing (1) CrossFit (17) Dana Sorensen (1) David Goggins (1) Davidson (2) defeat (1) Demi Goodman (2) diet (24) Diet & Nutrition (20) Ellen DeGeneres (1) endurance (4) energy levels (2) Erin Stern (1) fasting (1) fat loss (3) female (2) Fight Gone Bad (1) figure competitor (1) Fitness Spotlight - Men (8) Fitness Spotlight - Women (16) flexible (1) football (2) fruits (1) Georges St. Pierre (3) glycogen (1) GPP (1) grains (4) Grant Hill (1) Green (3) Green Monster (1) Greens (1) Greg Plitt (1) half-marathon (3) heart rate (2) Heather Mitts (2) herbivore (1) hotel (1) improvement (2) injury (2) inspiration (2) insulin (1) Intermittent Fasting (2) Intervals (7) interview (9) Ironman (2) Jade Teta (1) Jake Shields (1) Jamin Thompson (3) Jessica Biel (1) Jill Coleman (1) Julia Mancuso (1) junk food (1) Kelly Fillnow (1) Laura Gainor (1) Lolo Jones (1) Lust List (1) Lyndsay Braswell (2) magazine (1) Mark Sisson (2) marketing (1) Martin Berkhan (1) Max Wettstein (1) Metro Dash (1) Milwaukee (2) Miranda Olydroyd (1) MMA (2) model (4) motivation (4) muscle (1) Myrtle Beach (1) Navy SEAL (1) NBA (2) NFL (1) Nick Tumminello (1) Nike (2) nutrition (7) oatmeal (1) Olympics (4) organic (1) overtraining (1) P90X (1) Paleo (4) Personal Trainer (3) Philip Ciccarello (3) Phillipe Nover (1) Phoenix Suns (1) photo (1) plyos (3) post-workout (1) pregnancy (1) Preston Thomas (1) Processed (1) protein (2) Rachel Elizabeth Murray (1) Raw Food (1) receipes (1) Rich Froning (1) Rob Riches (1) Robert Cheeke (1) rope climbs (1) running (4) Sarah Rippel (1) Scivation (1) Sebastian Ekberg (1) shake (2) shoes (2) six-pack (4) Smoothie (3) softball (1) Spinach (3) sprints (2) Steve Nash (2) stress (1) sugar (2) Tabata (4) tattoo (1) Thanksgiving (1) The Rock (2) time management (1) Tony Gonzalez (2) track & field (5) training (7) Training & Workouts (18) transformation (5) travel (1) Triathlon (1) ttime management (1) Twitter (10) UFC (3) Under Armour (4) University (1) vegan (4) Vegetables (4) vegetarian (3) video (21) walking (1) Warm-up (1) weight loss (13) weightloss (1) women (2) YouTube (1)
Powered by Squarespace

Entries in Philip Ciccarello (3)


Interview with @FitnessChamp


I’m obviously no celebrity athlete or fitness model, but I do get lots of questions around my own eating habits, workout patterns, and which fitness sources have taught me the most. 

This is the only time that I’ll ever “self-interview”, so here you go…

What’s your athletic background?

I was a basketball player growing up, and that’s my first love.  GOD had other plans for my body type and picked up football my freshman year of high school.  I went on to play running back in college, and also ran track for three years, competing in the 100m, 200m, and 4x100m relay.


What are you currently training for?

I ran two half-marathons within a month between October and November 2011, but am done with endurance events for the time being.  I trained hard but realized that endurance sports are just not what I am cut out for, both physically and psychologically. Several friends are avid CrossFitters and have been giving me the hard sales job to get me involved. The competitive-but-positive plus testosterone-fuled vibe keeps drawing me in little by little.


What does an average week’s workout look like?

I don’t get as much time as I’d like to dedicate toward my own workouts, but I do what I can with the time I have.  I try to go for intensity over duration, so I’m usually hitting some form of HIIT intervals or  tabatas on the bike or rowing machine for cardio.  I’m a big fan of Olympic-style lifts, so each week I try to hit some hang cleans, power cleans, push press, and dead lifts.  I’ll mix in some pull ups, heavy rope  work, and box jumps if available.  

As I mentioned,  I have several friends who are CrossFit addicts and have been giving me the hard sales pitch to join them soon, so this workout approach will keep me in close enough shape to hang with the group (hopefully anyways).  Once or twice each week I also add in some typical standard bodybuilding work, as well as some sprint work (100s, 200s, 400’s, court gassers) to maintain my capacity in that area as well.


Describe your fitness classes.

The best way to describe my classes would be 45-55 minutes of multi-faceted intervals and running drills, very similar to what you might see on infomercials for “Insanity” and “P90X”.  I try to model the workouts for a demographic that used to play sports in high school or college, and desire that style of training as adults compared to simply running on the treadmill, lifting weights alone, or logging repetitive sessions on the elliptical. I also try to make sure the playlist is continually up-to-date because if the women in class don’t like the music, they will turn on you quickly.


What does an average day’s eating look like?

It’s not inaccurate to say that I’ve tried almost every nutritional philosophy out there.  Currently (and perhaps for the foreseeable future) I’m sticking fairly close to a Paleo eating style.  Like I said, I work out in the mornings, so it’s either an empty stomach workout, or possibly a scoop of whey protein in water before heading out the door.  I used to down a banana, Gatorade Prime, and/or a gel before hitting the gym but while this was great for my performance, this was surely killing any fat loss goals I was after (due to the over-reliance on Simple Sugars).

Post-workout is usually another scoop of whey in water, then 3-4 scrambled eggs with some spinach, and a couple slices of lean turkey tossed in.  I’ll usually eat that with half a sweet potato (3-4oz).  Mid-morning snack is a protein shake with almonds or sunflower seeds,  then lunch is usually a few turkey meatballs with some green source like asparagus.  Depending on whether or not I have class in the evening, I may eat the second half of the sweet potato here.

Late afternoon might be some turkey jerky and sunflower seeds, with perhaps a tablespoon or two of almond or peanut butter.  If I’m teaching a class in the evening I’ll either repeat lunch, or go with a tuna pack and an apple. 

Dinner lately has been white fish (tilapia, cod) with steamed shredded cabbage (seasoned with oil & vinegar, lemon pepper seasoning, and mustard). “Dessert” is a blended smoothie with carrot juice, acai juice, whey protein, blackberries, almond butter, half an avocado, and 2-3 handfuls of spinach.  Sometimes I'll swap out the avocado for coconut milk as an alternative healthy fat source.


Must-have vitamins and supplements?

Standard: multi-vitamin, fish oil, vitamin B, vitamin D. 

Nice to have: vitamin A, BCAA (Scivation Xtend), chia seeds


What’s your favorite cheat food?

There is a local smoothie shop across the street from where I live, they make a Green Tea Smoothie with non-fat frozen yogurt that is my biggest guilty pleasure. I used to go 5-6 days a week, but chopped that down to once a week on Saturdays in an effort to tighten up my diet for fat loss goals.

If I am REALLY, legitimately cheating, I love French fries, pizza, and burritos. The funny thing however, is that once your diet really gets in-tune, these foods stop being as fun once you see them as set-backs from ultimately having the body you want.  You can eat almost anything once or twice a week, but the saying is true – nothing tastes as good as being lean feels.


Who are your favorite fitness follows on Twitter?

@JadeTeta, @JillFit, @RobRiches, @cutandjacked, @SPNetwork

Who are your other fitness inspirations?

The Rock (obviously), Greg Plitt (#1 male fitness model in the world), Mario Lopez, Georges St. Pierre, Pauline Nordin (creator of “Fighter Diet”, her dietary discipline is a tremendous motivator) and “normal” people like my friends Demi, Philip, Brendan, and Lyndsey.


What’s your biggest motivation?

Aside from the standard stuff like wanting to fit well in my clothes and like what I see in the mirror, long term health is very important.  I had a close relative battling colon cancer several years ago, and a few others with high blood pressure issues.  My eating habits were terrible in graduate school during my early 20’s, and I spend every day trying to undo the fat, unhealthy condition I was creating for myself.


What’s the one thing you wish you could share with others at the gym?

I'd tell them that More isn’t necessarily better

I see so many people (often the same faces) logging away hour after hour on the stairmaster or elliptical every week and their bodies never change.  People training for specific  events like a half-marathon or 5K certainly need to get their mileage in, but others wanting to shed pounds, or look good for the beach really need to learn that you can meet your goals in less time, by working smarter. 

For fat loss goals, intensity trumps time spent.  The body is not like a calculator, fat loss is more complex than eating 500 fewer calories and burning 500 calories more per day.  Things like stress hormones and insulin manipulation play a big role in whether or not one’s body will give up stubborn fat.  This is usually sad to see, because I see lots of effort and “want to” from people in the gym (or even jogging down the street), they just don’t have the proper tools and information to accomplish what they are working so hard to achieve.

Will you ever grant yourself another interview like this?

No way. This was an obnoxious thing to do and I'm ready to go back to interviewing other people.


2010 Charlotte Thunder Road Half-Marathon Recap

Two weekends ago, the annual Charlotte Thunder Road Marathon & Amica Insurance Half-Marathon were held, despite the below-freezing temperatures.  This was my second time participating in the event in some capacity, however in 2007 I only ran the anchor leg (10 miles) of the Marathon Relay.  That year, I specifically remember the starting temperature being 16 degrees, however this year I believe we may have crept up to a warm 20-22 degrees when the opening gun went off.   


I finished in 2:15:49, which isn't going to send me up to the Boston Marathon any time soon, however it was fairly consistent with the 10:00-per-mile pace I used during my training sessions.  I've got close to eight weeks to train and prep for the Myrtle Beach Half-Marathon in February, so here are a few of the key learnings and experiences I took from the Thunder Road event - hopefully you can either take advantage of my mistakes, or simply use them for comedic value.

 1. Don't Over-value Cold Temperatures

Dating back to high school football, I always over-dressed for competing in outdoor cold weather.  My philosophy is that I'd rather be so warm that I am nearly sweating underneath, than risk cold muscles.  My eight (yes, 8) shirt layers mostly took care of upper body warmth, however there did come a point when it was too restrictive and I felt as if I was running in a bulletproof vest.  I learned why some runners value shedding layers after a few miles in, your body will eventually acclimate (to some degree).

As for lower body, I am not one of those runners who can wear shorts in cold weather.  This is important to know about yourself, since years ago I got talked out of wearing pants for a cold weather race by a friend at the starting line, and my legs never warmed up until I got back in the car for the drive home.

2. Periodic Outdoor Training Is Valuable

I badly underestimated the value of getting in a few outdoor training runs in the cold.  Most of my training was done indoors on upstairs tracks or treadmills - and while pure practice miles are the ultimate goal, there is something to be said for knowing how to navigate a long run outside when the air is cold and sharp to breathe, and the concrete is cold and unforgiving.  I only got one outdoor 7-miler in two weeks prior, and that was not enough.

3. Allow for Life's Interruptions

This one is nearly common knowledge but bears repeating, life and work will ALWAYS interrupt your training.  I also lost a week to knee soreness and chose rest/recovery over additional mileage. But when sharing stories with others, it seems as though no one enters a race feeling like they had a flawless, trouble-free training schedule.

4. The Correct Shoes are Key

I bought a pair of Asics Gel Kayano 15's with the intention of them being my training and race shoes, but chose incorrectly.  They're a great stability shoe, however I over-thought the shopping process and needed to get a pair with more of a cushioning focus (since I'm still about 10-20 pounds heavier than i'd like to be).  The Asics began to hurt my feet during training, but it was too late to go for a new pair.  I chose to stick with the "nothing new on race day" strategy and went with my trusted Under Armour runners, since they had carried me through my longest training run (10 miles) weeks earlier.  They held up fine, but this was definitely the retirement performance for these awesome shoes, as they will now be relegated to cameo appearances during fitness classes.  Thanks to some gift money from Santa - I'll probably go after a pair of Nike Zoom Vomero 5's for the Myrtle Beach race, since I got great runs out of a pair four years ago.

 5. Peer Support Can Make All The Difference

I have never been a big fan of running in groups.  I'm not necessarily against it, I'm just not in-shape enough to run with others without fearing I'm the "Slow Guy" in the group.  Plus I need the freedom to be able to stop intermittently for water breaks (or possibly the occaisional dry heave in the bushes when no one is watching).  However my group during the race was a major key to me finishing with a somewhat respectable time.

As you know from reading my site - Philip Ciccarello is one of Charlotte's more elite runners.  Philip (and one of his friends, Dana) motivated me to meet them before the race and start together at the opening gun.  Dana's goal was a 1:50 finish, and though Philip could have probably run that time while carrying a sack of charcoal over his shoulder - he pledged to run with us as to set the pace.  It did not take long into the first two miles for me to drift back into the slower pack, but this was to be expected.  However true to his word, Philip helped Dana power through a sore hip muscle to finish in 1:49:28 - her new personal record. 

Then, when most normal humans would have found a Gatorade and a warm place to sit down, Philip ran back to the Mile 12 marker to pace me through the finish line.  His timing was perfect since I was  definitely contemplating another walk break along with the others around me.  It goes to show that there is definitely something to be said for having a pace group and encouragers along the way.

To the right is a photo of Philip (orange) and myself (blue) with about 800 meters left until the tape, and you can read Philip's excellent race recap here.

Another friend actually Tweeted live during the race (a great concept I wish I had thought of).

As I mentioned, I've got about eight weeks to get ready for the Myrtle Beach Half-Marathon in February.  After that, the goals shift back to a combination of reducing my mile time significantly, CrossFit-style metabolic workouts, and hopefully a few 5K races once the weather warms up again.


Fitness Spotlight: Regular People - Volume 3

It's been a while since I have highlighted an everyday person that provides a great fitness example for the rest of us, but I met one recently in Philip Ciccarello

We "met" originally through Twitter, which is one more testament to the power of social media.  By day, Philip is the Director of Technology for the Charlotte Regional Partnership, an economic development organization. His real passion however, is running.

As you can tell by his photos - Philip is a very in-shape dude.  His blog highlights a wide variety of things, but among them you can find shoe reviews, and several informative running/training recaps.  He's also a fan of the post-long run ice bath (which I can attest is one of the true signs of both physical and mental toughness).

I'm always up for learning new things from people more experienced or knowledgable than me, and Philip has put me on to a couple good online training programs for my upcoming half-marathon, in addition to the littany of running information on his blog.

I hit him up recently for a look into his typical day's approach to nutrition around running workouts, and he was good enough to share:

"Most of my diet is very clean though. Try to eat a lot of vegetables, potatoes, rice, whole wheat breads, chicken, fish, and fruits. Basically I *try* to stay away from fried foods, high fructose corn syrup, pre-processed foods, red meats, desserts…it’s tough. Don’t get me wrong, it’s totally fine to cheat on your diet once a week, but that’s where it should stop."
My Monday – Friday diet looks something like this:
6:30 Workout – coffee or vitamin B
8:15 Breakfast – either bagel or oatmeal (the real kind) w. peanut butter or cereal if no workout
10:00 Snack – Fruit or some nuts
12:00 Lunch – Usually a turkey sandwich on wheat bread with cheese and chips (with multi-vitamins)

3:00 Snack – More fruit
5:30 Run – depending on the day either a light to moderate run or speed work
7:30 Dinner – Pasta, Chicken, Fish, Potatoes, Vegetables and once a week sushi

His long runs are typically Saturdays, preceeded by a pancake dinner Friday night for carb loading, and usually a bagel or toast an hour or so in the morning pre-run.  For anything longer than 13 miles, he'll bring a Gu gel for consumption 45 minutes into the run.  

Post-long run, he may use Gatorade to get simple carbs back into the system and feed the drained muscles.

You can also learn a little more from his interview with RunnerDude's blog back in July.

Philip is one more example that despite having a regular everyday job and busy schedule, you can make time to get out on the road or in the gym for exercise and still find balance to fit it all into your lifestyle.