Saturday, August 16, 2014

Ten greatest athletes in Houston sports history

Houston is well known for its diverse population, space program and unbearable summer heat, but the city has also had its share of great athletes over the years.
Here are the 10 best athletes in Houston professional sports history, based on their accomplishments and the bonds they formed with locals during their time:
In alphabetical order:

Craig Biggio (Astros, 1988-2007)
For years, Biggio was the most feared hitter in the Astros' lineup. He spent his entire MLB career with the Astros, snagging five Silver Slugger Awards and seven All-Star appearances along the way.

Earl Campbell (Oilers, 1978-1984)
The first man selected in the 1978 NFL draft, the running back quickly became the face of the Oilers -- now the Tennessee Titans. He rushes for more than 1,300 yards in his first four years as a pro.
Campbell won AP Offensive Rookie of the Year and Offensive Player of the Year awards during his first season with the Oilers, and he went on to win two more NFL Offensive Player of the Year awards. Factor that, plus his five Pro Bowl appearances and three first-team All-Pro selections and it's easy to see why Houstonians love Campbell.

Andre Johnson (Texans, 2003-present)
Still an active member of the Texans, Johnson has consistently been the one bright spot on the team's offense. Andre's ability to perform at his best under pressure has endeared him to locals, and he remains one of the most respected wide receivers in the NFL. His accolades include six Pro Bowl appearances and two first-team All-Pro selections.

Moses Malone (Rockets, 1976-1982)
Malone did a lot of relocating during his storied NBA career, but he spent more time with the Rockets than any other team. Malone was an instrumental part of the Rockets' 1982 championship appearance run, walking away with that year's NBA regular-season. With a previous regular-season MVP trophy and five of his 12 NBA All-Star appearances, Malone will forever be a monumental figure in Houston sports.

Bruce Mathews (Oilers, 1983-1996)
Drafted ninth overall by the Oilers, Mathews was an indispensable part of the Oilers' offense back then, opening many holes for the great Earl Campbell. Over the years, the 6-foot-5-inch, 305-pound behemoth played all offensive line positions, and he was pretty darn good at all of them, finishing his NFL career with 14 Pro Bowl and seven first-team All-Pro selections.

Yao Ming (Rockets, 2002-2011)
This gentle giant from China helped get the Rockets headed in the right direction, even though he spent a large portion of his NBA career fighting injuries. Yao gave the Rockets a solid inside presence -- at least offensively -- they hadn't enjoyed since the days of Hakeem Olajuwon, averaging 19 points and 9.2 rebounds per game during his career while shooting 52 percent from the field.

Warren Moon (Oilers, 1984-1993)
Moon ran the Oilers' offense for 10 years, and still has the fifth-most career passing yards (49,325). By the time his career was done, Moon had compiled a long list of accomplishments, including nine Pro Bowl appearances, two All-Pro selections, and a Pro Bowl MVP Award.

Calvin Murphy (Rockets, 1970-83)
Despite his 5-foot-9-inch stature, there was no stopping the quickness Murphy displayed on court in his 13 years with the Rockets. He averaged 17.9 points per game in his career, once made 78 straight free throws (still fourth all-time), and his No. 23 is retired by the Rockets.

Hakeem Olajuwon (Rockets, 1984-2001)
For years, "The Dream" -- more of a nightmare for opponents -- carried the Rockets on his back, propelling them to two consecutive NBA titles. His world-famous "Dream Shake" is still imitated by kids and professional basketball players all over the world, and his soft-spoken, humble nature off the court makes him one of the most loved athletes in Houston professional sports history.

Nolan Ryan (Astros, 1980-1988)
"The Ryan Express" tormented batters for years with his fastball, which often exceeded 100 mph. The right-handed pitcher still holds MLB's record for most career no-hitters with seven.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Getting Rid of Excess Winter Fat Just in Time for Summer With a High-protein, Low-carb Diet

I always vow to never let it happen again.

You know, those extra layers of fat we often put on during the winter months, only to find ourselves working our backsides off trying to burn them off before the summer months come rolling around.

This past winter was no different, leading me on another weight loss journey.

This time, it was a bit harder than usual though. The layers of fat mostly went to my belly, ballooning me up to 220 pounds, a long way from my "in-shape" weight of 190 pounds.

Tired of staring at the ever-growing bulge in my stomach, I decided to intensify my "getting ready for summer diet" this year, due to the fact I'd never put on so much weight in the past.

As a self-proclaimed meatatarian, low-carb, high-protein diets have always been a favorite of mine since it allows me to eat many of my favorite foods while trying to reclaim my summer body.

Why? Because excess proteins aren't stored as fat by the human body, unlike carbohydrates.

Since proteins are used by the body to build and maintain muscles, with a low-carb, high-protein diet, I can lose weight while toning up my muscles at the same time.

That reduces the amount of time it takes for me to reclaim my optimum weight of 190 pounds.

A typical day on my getting ready for summer diet Given the fact I'm an ectomorph (a person who typically loses weight easily), I don't have to give up most of my favorite foods while dieting.

I'm also a long-time Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioner, a grappling-based martial art that involves cardio intensive drills and rolling (sparring) sessions. That provides me with more than enough cardiovascular exercise to make up for the fact my typical day consists of hours spent sitting down in front of a computer screen.
It also allows me to eat pretty much whatever I want for breakfast since it all gets burned off during my Brazilian Jiu Jitsu sessions.

Lunch is a bit more controlled, with as much proteins as I want, and about half the carbohydrates I would normally consume if I wasn't on a diet.

Dinner is the only meal that reminds me that I'm on my getting ready for summer diet since it typically involves mostly proteins with little or no carbohydrates. I stay away from all sugary drinks from that point, until my next breakfast meal, instead, opting for ice cold water (the cool temperature makes the body burn calories to warm it up in the belly).

Unfortunately, cold brewskis contain more calories than your body uses up to warm it up, so I stay away from those as well throughout my diet since I'm not a fan of drinking before the sun goes down.

So there you have it, the extremely easy weight loss routine that helped me shed off the excess pounds I put on during the winter, 30 pounds of fat gone in only two and a half months. That's all it takes folks. By cutting down on the quantity of carbohydrates I consumed, and substituting them with proteins and four days of intense cardiovascular exercises a week, I was, once again, able to shed my winter fat.

Hopefully, I won't have to start all over again next year as I always seem to do.

Four Spring Cleaning Tips That’ll Get Your Vehicle’s Interior Ready for Summer

The cold winter months are finally over, now it's time to start planning for those hot summer days and all the fun that comes along with them.

Since most folks don't particularly enjoy cleaning in subzero temperatures, your car could probably use some spring cleaning before you head out to the beach or wherever else you spend most of your summer days at.

By the end of winter, your car has likely accumulated lots of dirt and junk, ranging from all the dirt your shoes picked up from walking in the snow and mud, to the junk you simply didn't bother to throw away during those colds months.

Here are four basic steps that will get your vehicle's interior clean and ready for spring.

1. Get rid of all the junk A no-brainer here. The best way to kickoff the spring cleaning process for your vehicle's interior is by taking out all the trash inside. No need for any expensive tools here, just grab a couple of grocery bags from the kitchen and start filling them up. That way you're not walking back and forth to the trash can, prompting your neighbors to call the cops to report suspicious activity!

Once you're done emptying the trash, vacuum the car to get the smaller debris out.

2. Shampoo the interior Many "do it yourself" carwashes have upholstery cleaners, and this is typically the least expensive way to go about this, costing only a handful of quarters. With an attachment for fabrics, you can also use a carpet cleaner if you happen to have one stashed somewhere.

3. Wipe it all down With a dashboard cleaner, wipe down everything that isn't made of fabric or glass inside the car (besides the steering wheel of course). You might also want to have a degreaser handy, since those are better at removing tough stains. Make sure the dashboard cleaner you decide to go with has a fragrance you enjoy, since the smell often lingers on for weeks.

4. Get fresh Once you have your vehicle's interior looking good, it's time to make sure the smell fits the look. Dashboard cleaners help a bit, but you also want to use some sort of air freshener that comes with an odor remover. You need one that can be sprayed on fabrics, and another that continuously delivers freshness to your vehicle over an extended period. Once you're done, if the weather permits, crack your front windows down a bit and air everything out.

Follow these four tips and you'll have one of the cleanest vehicles around once summer rolls by.

Four Often Overlooked U.S. Cities Worth Visiting

Unless you live under a rock, you've probably heard about huge cities like New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. These aren't the only U.S. cities worth visiting though. There are many others that have just as much to offer tourists and all other forms of adventure seekers.

Here are the best four cities in the U.S. that are often overlooked:

4. Boulder, Colo. If you're a fan of winter sports, this is a good place to visit or live. With breathtaking scenery and lots of outdoor activities from snowboarding to trail rides, Colorado is one of the best kept secrets in the West.
Finding your next fun activity never takes long, and, if you decide to smoke a green, leafy substance, you don't have to worry about cops hassling you.

3. Asheville, N.C. With extremely low land prices, this is definitely one of the most overlooked cities in the U.S. Also known as Beer City, Asheville is an excellent destination for beer connoisseurs, and it also has a lot to offer those who appreciate the arts.

The architecture is beautiful, and its population consists mainly of laid-back artsy types. With a low cost of living, this is one of the best places in the country for young entrepreneurs and other work-from-home types to start off their professional careers.

2. Pittsburgh, Pa. Looking to party like you used to back in college? Well, Pittsburgh is an excellent destination for that. With over 65 colleges and universities around, finding a decent party to crash won't be a problem. Prices are economical, and there are many fun destinations for everyone. Venues like the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre for the artsy ones, and lots of bars, clubs, and, oh yes, one of the best football teams in the country.

1. Houston, Texas. Take a quick visit to Houston, and you'll quickly learn that there is more to Texas than cowboys and rodeos. One of the most diverse cities in the U.S., Houston is a culturally rich city with pretty much every corner of the globe represented.

It's also home to the University of Houston Cougars, Houston Rockets and Astros. Downtown Houston is packed with all sorts of clubs and bars from country, to salsa, to pop music. Houston also has lots to offer more sophisticated visitors like the Theatre Under the Stars, the Houston Grand Opera, and, of course, the Johnson Space Center.

Prices are affordable in and around the city, making it an excellent place to visit or live.