The Cholesterol Dilemma


In true form of my new year’s resolution, in mid January I went to the doctor for a check up.  I had not seen a medical doctor in over 6 years. Since my mom was recently diagnosed with Breast cancer and passed two months later, I decided it was time to see where I am at as far as blood tests go. Overall I am in good health, however, my cholesterol came back with sky-high numbers. That’s right, 344 for total cholesterol with a ratio of 6.1. According to the doctor, the healthy range for cholesterol should be lower that 150 and the smaller the ratio the better.

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After taking a look at my numbers my doctor told me that I would need to cut down on saturated fats. If no change occurs from the dietary change, she would then prescribe me a statin to lower my cholesterol.  With no disrespect, I almost laughed at her. I will explain my aversion to statins in another post.

 At that point, I had just gotten into ketosis and it was the first time I had felt consistently good since my mom was diagnosed in August. Cholesterol does run in my family, but changing my diet after finding one that makes me feel good didn’t make sense. But hey, what do I know? I am not a doctor. 

Wait a second… Isn’t there something to be said about feeling good, with more energy than any low fat diet I had ever been on? But the doctor knows best, after all she is a doctor, but does she actually know what is best for me? I soon had a mini freak out. What was I going to do, listen to myself, or listen to the professional? So I decided to consult my people. 

 Contact Jonathan Suarez by going to his website:

Contact Jonathan Suarez by going to his website:

First I contacted a colleague and functional medicine practitioner, Jonathan Suarez at Wellness Professionals. He suggested to me that based on my numbers, my first step should be to decrease inflammation. This can be accomplished through many anti-inflammatory diets including the ketogenic diet. He also suggested that I incorporate intermittent fasting every day and a 24-hour fast one day per week. This means I will have an eight-hour window to eat most days, and one day a week I will go from dinner to dinner. This will help me to manage insulin resistance.

After a month or two, if my numbers do not go down, I will then need to test for some inflammatory markers, and adjust things appropriately. If there is still no change, then I will take a look at my genetic markers.

 Contact Cherise by going to her website:

Contact Cherise by going to her website:

I also consulted my Herbalist friend Cherise from Bright Green Possibilities. After filling out a questionnaire, and taking some vitals, she explained to me that my liver could use some herbal support. I’m not at all surprised, since the liver produces cholesterol. 

She made me a tea mixture to detox my body, a customized herbal tincture to help detox my liver, and another herbal tincture to help with elimination.  Remember, elimination is key when you are detoxing. She also suggested that I eat four celery sticks per day. There is a compound in celery that apparently reduces cholesterol. Who knew?

By the end of the week a solid plan was developed to further improve my health and reduce my chances of heart disease. Best of all my nerves were put at ease. 

Avoiding Injury

I mentioned in the "Happy New Year 2018..."  blog that I signed up for another Kettlebell Competition at the end of February  and I am planning a big backpacking trip this summer. In order to make these happen, I decided to combine old kettlebell programs from my previous competitions with a cardio program specific for mountaineering I found online. This plan had me training one way or another at least 6 days per week.  This may have been a bit ambitious. 

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It turned out to be a VERY BAD IDEA… After the second week, I was done. I had no motivation to get up. I was sore, super sore. In the middle of the week I decided to do a session on the stairs at Communication Hill in San Jose. By stairs, I mean stairway to heaven. (I might be a bit dramatic here) But really, there were SO MANY STEPS, something like 200. After my friend and I finished out fourth set, we turned around to go up them a fifth time, when I looked at her and said "I can't." 

She looked at me cross eyed, and I responded promptly with “My legs, they won’t stop shaking… Look!”  Needless to say I did those stair until fatigue. So we decided to just walk on normal ground to cool down. When we finished, my legs were still shaking. We went home, they were shaking in the shower. I finally got to work and turned to Dr. Bennett, the chiropractor in my office and informed him that I can’t get my legs to stop.  He worked his functional neurology magic and mellowed them out. He also suggested that I may want to not train quite so much.  But my goals…This was my breaking point. 

 Chris Doenlen :

Chris Doenlen :

In my heart I knew he was right. I knew that I would not be able to sustain this. I already had to take unscheduled rest days, missing some of my planned kettlebell trainings.  If I continued at this rate I would not be able to compete in February. So on that following Saturday, when I could finally move my legs again, I went to the Orange Kettlebell Club, in Berkeley, Ca to get my kettlebell workout in. There I saw a good friend, Chris Doenlen and asked him to help me with programming.

I let him know my goals: the kettlebell competition in February, and a big backpacking trip in May.  He hooked me up with a new program.  "First priority is the competition. The cardio can wait," he said. "We will work on cardio, but in terms of the competition." After the competition, he will design a program for the multi day 40 something-mile hike I am planning in May. 

I am so fortunate to know where to go and who to contact, when I make poor desisions pertaining to training. I am thankful that I know what overtraining (or rather overreaching) looks like for me. As soon as my motivation for most things decreases, I know something is wrong. Working out should enhance my energy, allowing my daily activities to feel good. If it takes too much out of me, something has got to change.

My big lesson with this one is to spend the money and energy to consult a coach. When It comes to programming, most athletes I know rely on a coach to help them along. When a coach is consulted, do not second guess the program… If changes need to made due to injury, or potential injury, discuss it with your coach. They want to help you to accomplish your goals, injury free. Trust the process. If you would like to contact Chris for your own workout program, or training guidance please feel free to contact him at



Lets Get Organized.

I love colors. I learned in college that I do best when I organize my thoughts with colors. Highlighters, markers, blue ball point pens… they are all my jam. I feel like I can better see my thoughts, keep track of things, and overall it makes me happy to flip through my paperwork and see a rainbow. It brings me back to my childhood.

 February measurement and checklist page

February measurement and checklist page

Knowing this, I decided to try something relatively new for me. I started a bullet journal to record my journey through ketosis and overall better health. The beauty of a bullet journal is that you start with a blank journal and organize it based on my needs. Do I want to record your travel plans? How about my productivity? I decided that I want to keep track and plan out my steps toward a healthy lifestyle. 

The first section of my journal is my measurements.  Every Monday, I record my progress in weight and measure the inches of various parts of my body.  Having a record of this, I can look back and realize the progress I have made. When weight fluctuates as it often does, I can see that I am down in my inches and realize my progress. Weight alone is weird. It can really put me in a tail spin if I don't lose the pounds when I put in a bunch of effort. I only allow myself on the scale and with the measuring tape once per week.

I also have my daily checklist on this page. This is my most satisfying section. This is where I get to see my daily progress. It helps me to remember to drink four mason jars of water per day, as well as take all my vitamins.  It also reminds me to do my 20 min of mediation, and my journaling. I also have my daily paperwork and emails on this list, mostly so I can cross it off, or rather color in the appropriate box. At the end of the month, I have a pretty multi colored design that I find so satisfying.

 January measurement and checklist page

January measurement and checklist page

 My workout plan

My workout plan

My workouts are also recorded. In this section I write down my work out program, and record the reps and sets that I accomplish.  I have each workout allocated by day (color coded of course to match my daily checklist). This also allows me to show my coach how I am doing with my workouts, and where I need additional focus. 


The next section is where I record my meals.  The left side of this section I write down my plan. This helps me to think things out at the beginning of the week so I can meal prep. Meal prep is so key for my success with eating well. It totally helps me to stay away from the less than nutritious foods I gravitate toward when I am hungry. On the right side of this section, I write down the time and what I ate for the meal. This allows me to see what meal times are most key for me. 

I then have a section allocated to a daily to do list. This is mostly for the random daily projects I need to accomplish that I will forget about if I don’t write them down.  This keeps me accountable.


Lastly I have a general journal section. This is where I record my thoughts, my experience with the diet, my workouts, or just stressful and exciting things that happen during the day. It kind of works as my catch all. 

I have tried something like this before and got through about two weeks then my excitement for it faded away. As with any change in lifestyle, sometimes you just have to keep trying things until it sticks. So far, this has been working for me. It does take a bit of time to manage it, but overall i have seen a massive improvement in my productivity. I encourage everyone to try it out, and see how it works for you. There is no harm in trying.

Getting Into Ketosis


My first goal toward my new year's resolution is to make the transition from a sugar burning body to a fat burning body. What does that mean in real life? I have to cut the sugar, all of the sugar. No bread, pasta, candy, ice cream, alcohol… Nothing. I will also have to increase my fat intake. So salads, I douse them with 2-3 times more olive oil than I feel like I should. Meat, I add butter. In other words, I have to work to change my pallet.

I have learned in the last few years, that if I want to succeed with any dietary change, I have to meal prep. If I don’t have food ready to go, I will make poor choices. For me that means, gold fish and chocolate. I’m not talking about dark chocolate with all the benefits… I’m talking Peanut Butter Cups.


So, the first weekend of this year, I spent in the kitchen. I cooked like I’ve never cooked before. I made multiple dishes of beef, chicken, and pork. I did this so I can alternate which protein source I want per day.  I am not one of those people who can cook a ton of chicken and have that the whole week. Plus, variety is key in my book.  

One of the resources I picked up from Stefanie Obregozo's "Holistic Health Reset" is the cookbook, Bare Bones Cookbook by Bob Kopinsky. This is a great cookbook especially if you are new to cooking. Bob goes through many techniques used to cook delicious foods you may or may not be familiar with. A new one for me is organ meat. No less, keto recipe ideas are not hard to find. Just make sure the foods come from grass fed, organic sources.  Once my meals were all cooked, I separated them out,  vacuum sealed them, then stuck them in the freezer. Meals for days.


There are a lot of different ways one can ensure they are in Ketosis. Two ways are the  urine strips, and at home blood tests. I have decided that I am not too concerned with whether or not a strip tells me I am in Ketosis. I know I am fat burning based on how I feel. I find that when I am in full Ketosis, I am not ravenous. When candy comes across my face, I can leave it.  For me, it is an incredibly freeing state to be in.

This time around, it took me about a week, of a very strict keto meal plan. I made sure that I was only getting 20g of carbs in per day.  This is not a lot. It basically comes down to one salad. After I know I am in ketosis I will stop counting my macros. I just ensure that every grass fed, organic thing I put in my mouth is covered in fat.  Sounds gross, but man, this is the diet for me.

So far I have completed over a month in ketosis and everything is going as planned. I have stopped counting my macros and just make sure that I am getting plenty of fat in for each meal. I did run into a bit of an issue with cramping during my workout on week one (I’ll tell you all about that in  another post). Overall I am feeling good!!!


Happy New Year 2018!! Good Riddance 2017!

So after watching my mom get diagnosed with breast cancer, and pass away two months later, I decided to change my lifestyle up a bit. This year, for my New Year's Resolution,  I am focusing on my health and making the proper modifications to my diet, and exercise programs. First thing’s first, THE PLAN ...


Step One: get back to a Ketogenic diet, a diet which consists of a bunch of fat, low carb and moderate protein. Did I mention that in the last 4 months of 2017 I was on a steady diet of Ben and Jerry’s with a cocktail to top it off.  Yup, a recipe to gain tons of weight, 25lbs to be exact, and watch my energy levels deteriorate.  Both signs of decreased well being in my book, not to mention all the other health concerns associated with such a diet.

So I committed to a Ketogenic Diet with the help of my good friends Stefanie Obregozo and Bob Kopinski. They put together an 8 week Holistic Reset that encompasses the Keto and/or Elimination diets, as well as mindset, detoxification, and meditation. With their help, I am armored with tools, and a Facebook group of supportive people, that will help me on my journey.  If you are interested in learning about other resets like this please check out Stef’s website at

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Step Two: Incorporate more exercise into my life.  As my mode of operation, I signed up for yet another kettlebell competition in addition to planning an aggressive backpacking trip this summer. So weight training, and cardio are in my future. I have planned it such that pretty much every day I will have some sort of activity to do. It might be a bit much, but we shall see how it goes. 

Step Three: Start up a new  daily meditation practice. Once I wake up in the morning, I jot a few words down in my journal  (to slowly wake up) then set a timer for 20 min for meditation time.  I used to meditation fairly often and have developed some good tools to get me started and keep me from getting distracted, or even falling asleep. If you need help with your tools, you may want to check out  She is a good friend of mine. She teaches some great stuff in her meditation foundations courses.


Last Step for now: Go to the doctor. YUCK! I hate going in for an annual to get poked and prodded and told that i am healthy. But since my mom just passed from breast cancer, I should really check in to see where my markers are so I can make the appropriate adjustments to avoid illness. 

I will keep you all informed on how things go. I think I may have bitten off a bit more than I can chew, but any progress from where I am currently will be better than none. 


Another New Year’s resolution of mine, was to clean up my diet and eat more organic produce as well as grass fed organic meats. I decided to eat a little bit of meat and produce every couple hours. My sugar highs and lows disappeared throughout the day, and I felt great! A few weeks after the new year, I found myself falling into the arms of convenience and eating processed junk food. What can I say, we are all human.

I discovered something very interesting when I went back to my old habits. My sleeping patterns, which had improved over the weeks prior went back to spotty at best. I would wake up at 3 am like clockwork. I always figured this had to do with my old bed, but due to recent habits, I realized it has more to do with the quality of food I place in my mouth. What does this mean? Eating good food, not only helps the body to function, but it also helps the body to repair.

A consistent circadian rhythm is key in starting your day and staying efficient. It is said that between 10pm and 2am, your physical body repairs, while between 2am and 6am neurological function repairs. This means that when I wake up at 3am and remain awake until roughly 4:30am my neurological function skipped an hour and a half of repairs. At 7am, when its time to start my day, I feel incredibly sluggish wanting a few more hours of sleep.

How does food effect this circadian rhythm? Stress. Low quality food covered in pesticides, injected with hormones and made with processed ingredients puts our bodies under additional stress. This type of stress combined with the stress of our daily lives has a direct effect on the delicate balance of hormones in our bodies. When that balance is skewed, our bodies respond by altering the circadian rhythm. This is a very simplified explanation, but moral of the story is: Eat high quality foods, your body will thank you.

Fuel For the Body

As I drove back to the Bay Area from Lake Tahoe today, I streamed a multi-day seminar on the Female Hormone System. The information I obtained was exceptional, and it helped me to better understand the many symptoms we often identify as disease.

The biggest thing I learned today was that most ailments stem from the fuel we put in our body. In turn, these ailments can often be reversed by eating appropriately. This doesn’t mean go for a low fat diet, nor does it mean cut all carbs from your diet. What it means, is eat whole organic and grass fed foods. The nutrition packed in such food is generally enough to minimize many of the ailments we see now a days.

In comparison, conventionally raised produce, is often packed with pesticides and other additives. In the same aspect conventionally raised meat is often pumped with hormones to help the animal grow bigger and beefier, much like the steroids some take to get more “yoked”. These additives cause havoc on our endocrine systems, and I am not just talking about the female hormone system, men’s bodies’ respond to this as well.

Once our delicate systems are disrupted, our bodies work over time to keep balance. This means we are more susceptible to lower energy, getting sick or even disease (if we want to get dramatic about it). Moral of this short story is, be mindful of what you eat on a daily basis. Make sure you are getting plenty of grass fed protein, organic vegetables as well as high quality fat. The key word is balance.

If you have questions about how this works, please let me know via email or schedule a session for bodywork. I would be happy to provide more resources to learn more about the topic.



As many of you know, I recommend an Epsom Salt bath to nearly everyone who receives a massage. Epsom Salt is Magnesium Sulfate and when taking an Epsom Salt bath it is the most efficient way to absorb magnesium in the muscles.

To take a proper Epsom Salt bath in three steps:

1- Place 2 cups of Epsom Salts in a standard sized bathtub

2- Fill bathtub with warm water to desired depth

3- Soak in the bath for 20 minutes to allow the magnesium to seep through the skin

I was asked recently why magnesium is so good for us and why we should supplement it. I found this blog that laid out the benefits of magnesium as well as the possible consequences of magnesium deficiency. Check it out!

How to be Ultra Spiritual with JP Sears

Last year I had the pleasure of meeting JP Sears while I learned more about emotional eating and why we all do it now and again. Since then, I have been following him and enjoyed many of his youtube videos. He has a series called “How to be Ultra Spiritual.” Each one in the series has absolutely cracked me up, so I thought I would post the original one for you all to see. If you too find it to be as hilarious as I do, check out more of his videos on

New Year's Resolution 2015

I always find it easier to add something to my daily routine rather than to remove it. This year I decided my New Year’s Resolution would be to drink more water; more specifically, a gallon of water per day. It is a lot more water than I have been drinking, but so far so good.

If you too want to add more water to your daily, this is a great way to get it all in.

1 – Drink 20 oz of water directly when you wake up

2- Drink 12 oz while eating your breakfast

3- Drink 16 oz two hours before lunch

4- Drink 16 oz with your lunch

5- Drink 16 oz two hours after lunch

6- Drink 16 oz two hours before dinner

7- Drink 20 oz with dinner

8- Drink 12 oz before you go to bed

These instructions came from I found that using a Nalgene bottle has worked well, as it has the measurements on the side of the bottle. In general I have been drinking about 16 oz every 2 hours until I have finished four 32oz Nalgene Bottles. Yes, I do have to visit the bathroom often, but it has minimized as my body has gotten used to the increased water intake.

It is also a good idea to add a pinch of either unprocessed sea salt, or Himalayan Pink Salt to your bottles of water. This will replenish the minerals that may be flushed out with the water increase. I add this to two of my four bottles, although it would be beneficial to add it to all the water.

Happy New Year everyone!

Listen to your body

I love riding the slopes on my snowboard. By the time the ski season comes, I find myself itching to get up to Lake Tahoe and strap on my board. Once the season starts, I tend to hit the slopes as often as I can.

This last weekend I met up with an old friend to hit the slopes. Early in the day, I caught and edge and hit the ground pretty hard. My friend pointed and laughed at me (as good friends do) while I shook it off. My first thought was, “Man, am I glad I wear a helmet.” As we continued down the hill, I was feeling off and I knew that if I continued, the probability of further injuring myself was high. I called it a day.

The next morning, I woke up with the discomfort of whiplash. As soon as I got home, I made a few phone calls to my team of health practitioners. Between the chiropractic, soft tissue work and proper movement, the discomfort in my neck and shoulders was instantly gone.

The moral of my story is to listen to your body. Stop when your movement doesn’t feel right because “working though” the pain may create more injury. Secondly,  don’t tough out discomfort, it isn’t worth it when you have people like myself who can help you. If you are currently managing discomfort from a hard workout, or a weekend of activity, please schedule a massage appointment. The soft tissue work and do wonders.


When the daily grind takes over, a day of fun can leave us feeling a bit sore. What does one do about that? Do you just wait it out by calling in sick to work? Do you suck it up and try to ignore the soreness? Is there anything you can do to help minimize the aches?

In general, there are a few things that I recommend to manage your soreness.  It can be especially helpful when getting back to a seasonal activity in a slightly different climate than you are generally used to.

1- Epsom Salt bath – Many of you have heard me talk about the epsom salt bath. It can be a wonderful recovery tool. The trick with the salts is to soak in them for 20 minutes to allow the magnesium to penetrate through your skin. Magnesium is a mineral, along with calcium and potassium that is needed to contract or relax a muscle. If you find yourself with a charlie horse in the middle of the night, or general soreness, and epsom salt bath will usually take the edge off.

2- Stay Hydrated – The mountains, especially in the winter can be incredibly dry. This will not only cause your lips to chap, your skin to itch a bit,  but it can also contribute to headaches, and gut issues. Simply drinking lots of water can help combat these symptoms. To really step it up a notch, I often recommend adding a pinch of Himalayan pink salt, or unprocessed Sea salt to your water. Adding this salt will turn your standard water into electrolyte water without adding the unnecessary sugar and additives in electrolyte drinks. The best part is that it doesn’t change the taste of the water, unless you have put too much.

3 – Massage – Getting a massage after stressing a set of muscles that have not been used in a while can be incredibly helpful in the recovery process. The massage itself will increase circulation to the deep dark corners of your muscles. Areas that my not flush out as easily on their own. This “flush” helps nutrients get to the areas that need it, allowing for cellular repair and rejuvenation. Plus a massage can be a great end to a fantastic weekend.

Above all, continue to take the time out to have fun. Enjoying your days off with giddy school girl giggles can cure many ailments. It is an incredible motivator to get you out of your daily grind and enjoy all that life has to offer. Take care of yourself and have fun doing it.

Game Day with #TeamSalemi

On August 2, 2014, I watched one of my clients, Mike Salemi, obtain a personal record at the Northern California Kettle Bell Competition in Oakland, CA. It was amazing to watch him accomplish 19 clean and jerks using 40kg Kettle bells in each hand.  That is roughly 176 pounds, the most of any competitor that day.  What impressed me the most with his performance was his ability to maintain his postural integrity while working toward complete muscle fatigue.

Over the last year I have assisted him with keeping his muscles working at their optimal performance as well as maintaining mobility in his joints. Consistent bodywork has enabled both he and I to understand how his muscles respond to tension. This competition was the first that I was able to provide him with both a pre and a post event massage.

The purpose of the pre-event massage is to assist the athlete in warming up, increase circulation to the muscles and provide a psychological lift prior to the competition. It is administered right before an athlete is going to warm up. In Mike’s case, it was the kick-start to his warm up, which later resulted in a personal record.

Following his flight, I also provided a post-event massage. I was able to help him with cool down and immediate recovery.  In general this type of massage can help to relieve cramping, enhance circulation and promotes lymphatic drainage.  Most of all it helps to reduce the aches and pains one feels the day after the even (delayed onset muscle soreness or DOMS). When I received a text from Mike the next day informing me that he was feeling great, I knew I did my job well!

The Dreaded Ice Bath

This month I had the privilege to provide much needed support to the many participants of both the Vineman 70.3 as well as the full Vineman.  As both of these events attracted highly motivated and driven athletes, I found that many participants I had the opportunity to work on did not know of my favorite recovery methods. In this blog I am going to touch upon the dreaded ice bath.

The ice bath is a great method to kick off the recovery process by controlling inflammation. Submerging one’s body in 54-60 degree water limits the inflammation by constricting the blood vessels limiting the flow of inflammatory material into the affected area.  It is best to do an ice bath after a hard workout leaving enough time for a proper muscle cool down before the plunge. There is often a misconception that inflammation is bad, but it is necessary for the healing process. Too much inflammation, however, can prolong the healing process.

One of the most inventive ways to make an ice bath is to use a 32 gallon garbage can and fill it with cold water. To control the temperature add ice as needed. Hang out in the cold water for 6-8 minutes. Check out this site from that informs of the dos and don’ts of ice baths.  ICE BATHS DOS AND DON’TS