Southeast Asian Food – Does a Body Good!

March 18, 2009

I’ve always been a fan of Asian food. Ever since I had my first taste of Chinese food I was hooked!

I remember going to a family-style restaurant when I was little and sharing 6 dishes of wonderful vegetables and amazing tasting sauces. As I grew older I discovered a world far outside of the typical egg roll, sweet and sour, and teriyaki stuff that seems to be abundant everywhere.

I became exposed to the amazing food of Southeast Asia. If you don’t get to eat this on a regular basis, you are missing out!

southeast asian food

[I took Japanese as a foreign language in high school. Our teacher issued us some fancy chopsticks and then instructed us to only use chopsticks for every meal for a month. I still use this important skill on a regular basis. Thank you Ms. Inoue!]

It All Started With 4-Star Chicken Pad Thai and a Cold Singha

About 15 years ago my friend Gerry, invited me to a restaurant called Tup Tim Thai in Seattle. He asked me if I had ever had Thai food and I told him “I’m not sure”.

He explained to me that it was kind of a fresher and spicier version of Chinese food. At the time, I loved anything spicy (still do)…I was kind of a Mexican food addict, but wasn’t super happy about all the excess calories found in most Mexican food.

I was game to try something different and it sounded right up my alley.

I Was Hooked on Thai Food the Second it Hit My Mouth!

Don’t get me wrong…the 4-star was a bit more heat than I anticipated, but that is why I ordered a cold Singha beer. This light bodied beer was a perfect compliment to the spicy kick that the Pad Thai delivered.

If I remember correctly it was a Friday and nothing tastes more refreshing than that 1st Friday beer in a frosty mug! The beer gods insure that the 1st Friday beer tastes extra-special.]

singha beer thailand
[Even the mere picture of a cold beer makes me smile a bit.]

Thai Food Addict Discovers Freshness of Vietnamese Food

Thai food was kind of a “gateway food” for me to move on to other exotic Southeast Asian foods. Vietnamese food is quite possibly the healthiest and freshest food on the planet!

Seriously…all the vegetables taste like they were just pulled out of the garden. Even the meat has a really clean taste to it. They use basic ingredients but then combine them in a magical way to create food where you can taste every fresh ingredient.

I like it just as much as Thai food…and that is saying a lot, because Thai food is “drug like”!

Vietnamese Food – Asian Food With a French Influence

The French occupied a large portion of the Southern Region of Vietnam in the early 1900’s. Because of this, there is a french influence on the Vietnamese cuisine.

They incorporate French Bread into some of their meals and drink European beer for the most part (Heineken). One of my favorite sandwiches is called Bรกnh mรฌ.

It is basically a French Baguette filled with carrots, daikon radish, cilantro, sliced Jalapenos, fresh cucumber slices, and typically some form of sliced pork (ham, head cheese, or bologna).
vietnamese pho noodle soup
[Here is what a typical Vietnamese meal looks like. A lot of focus on vegetables and a lot of soup dishes. Your body will feel great after eating a meal like this…unlike many of the foods eaten in the west like pizza, burger and fries, etc.]

A Heavy Use of Vegetables and Fresh Unprocessed Foods

I haven’t mentioned many of the neighboring countries in Southeast Asia, but their food is just as healthy as Vietnamese and Thai food.

What I would recommend is to try some of these delicious foods, if you get the chance. A good intro to Vietnamese food is Pho (noodle soup) and a good intro to Thai food is Pad Thai.

These are just the basics, you will find dishes that you like better.

Note: I’m guessing that most people have been exposed to Thai food, but less people have really explored Vietnamese food.

If you want to stick to a clean diet while having delicious food, I would certainly recommend Vietnamese food as a way to do that.

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{ 50 comments… read them below or add one }

Brian March 18, 2009 at 11:43 am

Let me clarify my comment I posted on the partial reps post, I now weigh 220 at 6′. I like the amount of muscle i have on my body but need to get rid of the body fat to gain the David Beckham/Brad Pitt look, so how can i ensure i maintain my muscle mass, no more and no less, while dropping body fat through cardio and reduced calories. I am shooting for 180-185 and 8-10% bf.

Helder March 18, 2009 at 12:05 pm

Japanese food i Love it, Chinese food i use to like more, i guess i got a bit tired of it, besides here in Portugal some chinese restaurants got a bad reputation, it seems hygiene wasn’t their strongest point, i think that helped to make me a bit sick about it.

Thai food and Vietnam food i never tried, but everyone tells me that it’s very good, so i’ll have to try it soon

This was a tasty post lol

Yavor March 18, 2009 at 12:27 pm

Sweet title buddy! I can tell you are in a great mood. Me too – the spring is coming, oh yeah!

I regret to say I am a Thai food virgin, but that is fixable LOL

Yash March 18, 2009 at 12:57 pm

Hey rusty,
szechwan food is a staple of mine since i’m a college student and i don’t have to luxury of cooking when i’m on campus. It’s basically just meat and veggies which is great. I do have a few apprehensions about it, since i’m not cooking it myself and i’m not exactly sure what goes into it, but i think it’s a much healthier option than most.

Jay March 18, 2009 at 1:06 pm

If you like Southeast Asian food, you should give Malaysian, Indonesian and Singaporean food a try. It’s not as healthy as Thai and Vietnamese though (imo)

Rich March 18, 2009 at 1:22 pm

You should try Bulgogi which is Korean BBQ. Awesome protein source and with Kimchi it’s awesome. You should look into it…It’s quick to cook too.

Adam Steer - Better Is Better March 18, 2009 at 1:26 pm

Hey Rusty,

You’d love Singapore. It is an Asian hub and you can get authentic cooking from pretty much any country in the region there. I’ve been there to give workshops twice and the highlight is definitely the food – to the point where I had to use Intermittent Fasting to make sure I didn’t get too carried away… ๐Ÿ˜‰

Nice article.


Jimmy March 18, 2009 at 1:39 pm

I can definitely attest to the benefits of SE Asian food! Even though I was born here, I always had fresh, hot Cambodian meal every single day of my life until I moved out and got married (to a non-Asian woman).

Cambodians typically have a smaller, leaner build when compared to their Western counterparts. Cambodian meals usually have a heavy dose of vegetables, fish, a lil meat, and everything is always cooked fresh! I think if you were to look at the region as compared to here in the US, it would make sense that the diet is heavy on vegetables and fish because meat is a real scarcity in that region whereas vegetables and fish are plentiful. This should help explain why Cambodians typically have smaller, leaner builds.

Can’t argue the benefits of having less than 4% body fat! (Certainly helps in being able to do 19 widegrip pullups in a row and 19 handstand pushups!)

DownSouth March 18, 2009 at 2:14 pm

My roommate is from Ho Chi Min city, so I’ve actually got some experience with Vietnamese food. They make some sauces and have some peppers that are hot as all shit (and I LOVE spicy/hot foods). I recommend you really like veggies if eating, that’s all it seems to be. I’m gettin’ used to it.

FitJerk March 18, 2009 at 2:36 pm

Dude, have you tried mango salad? I didn’t see that anywhere. That stuff I can eat bowls and bowls of.

Franje March 18, 2009 at 3:11 pm

You have to come to Toronto. We have a ton of Vietnamese restaurants. Our Chinatown is now really Viet town, as Toronto has seen a huge influx of Vietnamese immigrants.

We have a lot of signs with “pho”. ๐Ÿ™‚

Yavor March 18, 2009 at 3:41 pm


dude, you will look real good even at 170, super shredded. Guys overestimate how much they need to weigh.

FYI, it’s not the weight that bothers you (weight is just a number), but your PROPORTIONS. I.e. how muscular or ‘jacked’ you look in the mirror. Unless you feel good by walking around heavy (and you are heavy cuz of the extra fat).

Well, here is the good news – when you get cut,your proportions will improve. Your waist to shoulder ratio will be better.

So – you will look more muscular and bigger.

Check out the link I posted on the Tarzan post re Vince Gironda’s article.

Yeah, I know I won’t CONVINCE you, but maybe one day you will realize what I’m saying.



p.s. you ain’t gonna lose muscle if you train heavy while cutting calories

Meg March 18, 2009 at 4:00 pm

As a beach lover and an Asian food lover and a person who takes having a great body seriously, you have just got to figure out a way to move to Hawaii. They have all those things in abundance. I lived there for a little over a year and am trying to figure out a way to get back. Go to Kailua on Oahu. Go eat and drink your way through all the different Asian restaurants, hang out with beautiful (inside and out) people, and workout on a beautiful beach. You will fall in love, I promise.

Michiel March 18, 2009 at 4:27 pm

Hey Rusty

I love your posts. Its such a nice community here with allot of people that makes me enjoy this lifestyle even more.

I asked you a question before about my training scheme and now a couple of months later i have dropped my old training regime and incorperated your 4 day scheme. I now train just like you said for 5 reps and with a volume between 6 to 10 sets.
On off days or after training i go for a run with sometimes a HIIT training or some steady state cardio (depends on how my legs are feeling that day).

I have to say that i love this training approach. I do have some question for you.
If you train every muscle group 2 times a week. Do you need to train each workout with the same intesity?

You say that if you lower your reps that your muscle tone will increase and your muscles will look hard most of the time. My body is very variable in this and somedays i look hard and well toned and somedays i look small or sometimes fatter. How can i improve this? By lowering the reps more ? (I have a BF level between 10 and 12%)
My goal is to keep losing bodyfat and keep all the muscles.

I hope this site stays here for a long time. (i’m addicted like many others here ๐Ÿ™‚ )



Son of Grok March 18, 2009 at 5:09 pm

Mother in law is from village Thailand and father in law is from Philippines. Wife is Thai/Filipino. Yeah… i eat good food lol. I absolutely love the Thai chiles that we get from my mother in law… yummmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

The SoG

admin March 18, 2009 at 5:25 pm


Recent studies have shown that people can maintain muscle mass on very low calorie diets with a few resistance training sessions per week. Obviously you don’t want to take anything to the extreme, but I have a post called “Maintain Muscle Mass on 800 Calories Per Day”. Here is an excerpt:

“The study took 20 people and put them on 800 calories per day for 12 weeks. 10 people did the low calorie diet and resistance training & 10 people did the low calorie diet with cardio.
Results for the Dieters Who Did Resistance Training. This group didn’t lose any muscle mass whatsoever. In fact they lost more body fat than the cardio only group. Also, you have probably heard that “the metabolism slows down if calories are kept too low”. Wellโ€ฆthis group actually had a higher resting metabolic rate than when they started. So resistance training is key when you are dieting.”


Give these foods a shot you will love it. I haven’t had Portuguese foods, but it looks outstanding. I’m a big fan of a TV show called “Anthony Bordain – No Reservations”…and he loves food from Portugal.


I’m pumped for Spring! The whole world seems to “wake up” in a good mood!


Meat and veggies in a stir fry is great food to eat to stay lean and healthy.


I plan on going to Malaysia and can’t wait to sample the food (and beaches).


I’m a big fan of Korean food as well. It took me a while to get used to Kimchi, but now I love it. I have had bulgogi at a restaurant where we cooked the beef over an open flame in the middle of the table. We wrapped the beef in lettuce and dipped it in a sweet and spicy sauce. It is delicious!


I had to open up a Google Map to remind myself of where Singapore was located. That MUST be an amazing place! I bet one could get some great Indian food there as well (another favorite of mine, but no so health and good for staying lean). The downtown area looks breath-taking. That whole area has my name all over it!


I love fish! It is harder to find Cambodian restaurants, but that is my next conquest. Fish and vegetables are a very healthy combo…and like other SE Asian countries, I’m sure they use great spices. You are an animal…I can barely do a handstand!


I had a pepper at a party hosted by one of my Vietnamese friends and they went out of their way to find the hottest pepper that I have ever put in my mouth. Nothing could cool that burn…milk, sour cream, ice cream, bread, water, etc. You have to be careful with some of those peppers!


I have seen pictures of mango salad and have seen that listed on a few menus. I will make sure and order some next time I get the chance.


I do need to visit Toronto. One of my favorite cities in the world is Vancouver, BC….but I have never visited Toronto. I am always happy when I see the “Pho” signs all over the place…amazing soup and good food!


Hawaii sounds outstanding. I’m thinking of going to Costa Rica as my next trip, but I need to explore Hawaii more. Last time I was in Hawaii I spent most of the days skimboarding on the crazy shore break on “Sandy Beach” in Oahu…I need to go there to relax and explore at some point.


Thanks for the kind words. I’m glad you are getting great results with this approach. You don’t always have to go heavy. In fact, if your joints feel like they need a bit of a rest go light, but “pretend” like the weight is heavier. I know it sounds crazy but if you contract your muscles as hard as you do when you are lifting a heavy weight…it is like lifting that heavy weight. I have a whole post about this concept type in “lift light” into the search bar and click on the post that is titled ” Lift Light Weights for Low Reps to Gain Strength and Muscle Definition”. As far as looking defined all the time, you won’t have a problem with that at 10% or lower body fat percent. There will be some days you look better than others and that is natural.


You must have some serious self-control! I am jealous that you get to eat all of that tasty stuff!

Thanks for the comments everybody!


Helder March 18, 2009 at 6:10 pm

You got to come visit Portugal, you’ll Love the food, beer and wine, when you decide to come here let me know. I’ll give a try to thai and vietnam food

Arya - weight loss blog March 18, 2009 at 9:37 pm

I have to give this food a try. I know what you mean about just feeling better after eating a fresh and healthy meal. This why I love eating vegetables. They seriously just make me feel great and energized. I also wanted to thank you for your response to my earlier post. It really pumped me up and convinced me I was on the right track. Your workouts are truly the Sh$$ I am lovin them. I was also still wondering if when you get the chance you could explain how to implement the strategy of periodization to multiple sets such as the ones you recommend in your workouts. Pavel only explains how to use this strength gaining strategy for two exercises with only two sets each. For the workout you gave me I am generally doing 3-4 sets per exercise. Anyways look forward to hearing from you. As always keep up the money posts. PEEEEACE

BurritoKid March 18, 2009 at 10:24 pm

wow you nailed the vietnamese food list. I am Vietnamese and love it!

You ever try any of the sweet desserts with coconut milk? I love coconut milk.

Wilson March 19, 2009 at 2:43 am

Hey, I’m from Vancouver, BC, and I’m guessing the Asian food down in Seattle must be amazing because it sure isnt like that here, unless I’m just going to all the wrong places. I’m part Chinese, part Vietnamese, so I grew up eating Asian food every day, and I still do. The home cooked stuff is not that bad, cause you know whats in it, but the restaurants here are another story. The Chinese food at restaurants are LOADED with MSG, salt(sometimes I bite into bits of salt), and what ever they put in those mystery sauces. I always feel crappy after eating at any Chinese restaurant, especially for dim sum(breakfast), that stuff is dipped in oil. The only thing that I know is fresh, and not prepared the day, or even a couple days before is the fish, crab, and lobster, because you can see it swimming around before you eat it. Vietnamese food here I find, is kinda the same deal. Soups full of MSG, and a lot of the meat is really really fatty. I dont suppose those sandwiches are any good for you either, but they sure are tasty! The only thing I’d say thats pretty healthy are their spring rolls, not the deep fried ones.

I personally dont think the western burgers and fries are any better though. Do I think its awsome? Of course! But I try to eat it as little as possible.

All in all though, I think any type of food can be healthy, and any type of food can be bad for you. It just depends on how its made!

Gina from Diet Renegade March 19, 2009 at 4:10 am

Hi Rusty,

I absolutely love Asian food, especially Thai. But I’ve never tried Vietnamese…its looks delicious and so healthy. I’ll definitely have to find a good Vietnamese restaurant here in Phoenix.

Thanks so much for the suggestion. Yum!

Joseph March 19, 2009 at 7:08 am

i am malaysian…. you mentioned sountheast asia without mentioning my country…… but i am chinese anyway.. famous food in malaysia include [Malay food]Nasi Lemak(nasi=rice, lemak=fat), so direct translate is ‘fat rice’ which is rice and spicy gravy made with coconut milk. another one is [malay food]satay(meat stick), made from chicken or beef grilled on fire with some butter or oil on it, [indian food]roti canai, sardine, kaya, etc(roti is flour so basically it is flour with those ingredients(fish, meat, jam or something like that), and a lot more.. erm.. guess malaysia’s food is not so healthy i guess. otherones are mcdonalds, kfc, pizza hut, you know the drill, so obesity prob in our country is getting more serious just like other 3rd world country!

Caleb - Double Your Gains March 19, 2009 at 9:30 am


A man after my own heart ๐Ÿ™‚ I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Vietnamese Pho noodle soup!

In fact, if I every get around to it, I’m going to post my “no calorie” noodle vietnamese pho recipe to my blog soon.

Great article man — asian food is definitely the bomb ๐Ÿ™‚


Tuscanystone March 19, 2009 at 9:57 am

Love your passion Rusty ๐Ÿ™‚

My fave restaurant in the whole world is a Thai rooftop restaurant in Surrey (I’m in England, UK). I also bit into the hottest pepper in the world when I was in Thailand! Argghh! It hurt! hehe!

You hardly ever see a fat Thai person! They are tiny! And lovely too!

Mmmmmmmmmm! Need to get back to the roof top. I moved away from the area so not been there for a while ๐Ÿ™

Tusc ๐Ÿ™‚

craig March 19, 2009 at 11:00 am

Hey Rusty,

While we’re on the topic of food, I have a question: I am about 145lbs at 5’11- I’ve been working toward a pretty lean/low body fat percentage and I’m making a lot of progress. I actually look a lot better than I did when I was at 160lbs b/c it was fat, not muscle, weight. Anyway, I know how to eat really clean with the goal of losing fat and maintaining muscle mass, but do you have any tips for diet when the goal is gaining maybe 5lbs of lean muscle? I can gain muscle pretty easily by eating a ton of food, including a lot of protein, but I don’t want to gain fat along with it…how much of a calorie bump in diet are we talking, when to eat, that type of thing…Thanks Rusty!


craig March 19, 2009 at 11:02 am

p.s. I do still have maybe 1-2 lbs of stubborn fat to lose to get to that really lean look. A diet that can shed that type of fat and still gain that small amount of lean muscle is what I’m looking for…

fitness-siren March 19, 2009 at 11:08 am

What is this – Rusty talking about food? That is a nice change for bit.

Being from the Southeast Asia myself, I am very partial to Asian food. Everybody has mentioned a lot of other Asian cuisines but I also like Japanese and Filipino (of course, I have to include this one. I grew up eating this stuff) foods. Maybe this is why I don’t do well on a very strict diet because I love the flavors of Asian cuisine and some of these stuff are not entirely healthy. This is also partly why I love ESE because it gives me the leniency to enjoy the foods that I love.

You have to try Filipino food some time (if you haven’t tried it) but make sure that you go with somebody who’s knowledgeable about it so they can give you good recommendations.

Your post made me hungry…haha. Thanks for sharing!

Kimberly March 19, 2009 at 11:35 am

Great Post!! Thai food is SO good. My fav is the Tom Ka Gai Soup. Yummy ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s kind of a spicy coconut milk, ginger soup with chicken or sometimes shrimp. The flavor is so complex and wonderful! Throw in some peanut satay dip with lemon chicken skewers and pad thai on the side and I am in heaven. I think you just inspired my dinner for tonight! lol ๐Ÿ™‚ I will have to give Vietnamese food a try now! I love love love fresh veggies. Thanks Rusty!

Michiel March 19, 2009 at 11:40 am

Hey Rusty

I was thinking about my workout planning in the future and i was thinking about using your article on “A “Sensible” Way to Build Muscle Mass”. Now the question here is, how does your workout planning looks like? Do you still train chest and back on the same day? I guess this would be impossible because the workout would be to long. I’m thinking you would go for a typical 3 or 4 day split so that you train each bodypart once a week.
I will be using this workout type to regain all the possible muscle loss that i experienced during holydays or excessive dieeting.

On topic now. I like asian food as wel especially when its a bit spicy. One rare thing about me is that i can’t stand sweetness in my warm food at all. Its very rare and nobody understands it. For example i dont like any normal warm meal with some appelsauce, ananas or any other sweet stuff. I don’t think this is such a bad thing cause i eat less sugar. I only like good sweet things like chocolate 70% cacao ( i live in Belgium so its the land of the chocolate and beer ๐Ÿ™‚ ) and even that is not really sweet its even a bit bitter.



The Spaniard March 19, 2009 at 12:35 pm

I like asian food, but I have to confess that nothing beats spanish food (from Spain). Now, just like it happens with my food, unless you go to Asia you will never taste real Asian food…you know, they have to adapt the palette to american taste. The same thing happens with Italian food. It is funny because in Italy (like in Spain) you don’t see the obesity you see here, and it is just because of the way they cook the food here and what they add. For example, a capuccino in Italy is strong espresso (not what you find in Starbucks) with foam…a capuccino in the States is waterdown espresso with foam, wheaped cream and cinammon (this two ingredients are the cause of the obesity). Just one last thing…when I say spanish food, I mean food from Spain (not Mexico), and if you ever visit my country you will understand what I mean. You will eat like you have never eaten before and you won’t be obese…oh, and Spanish restaurants in the States suck.

del March 19, 2009 at 3:17 pm

Hi Rusty, thanks for another insightfull expose on clean living, i have an unrelated question, when doing 5 reps of 5 sets and two exercises per body part, is it still the same thing if we do 5 reps of ten sets, making sure we dont go till failure, thanks for your life saving tips

hdtir1 March 19, 2009 at 11:59 pm

I love South East Asian food! I can eat them everyday. However, you have to be careful as most SEA food normally contain a lot of carbs (rice, noodles) and coconut milk, which is probably not so good if you’re watching your fat intake and cholesterol level.

Dan March 20, 2009 at 12:00 am

Big fan of Thai food.

Got a question on cardio.

I need to put some muscle on my frame, so I am going to up my lifting. However, I do want to get rid of some stubborn body fat.

Would doing this 3 days a week work well?

5 minute warm up on Treadmill

10 minute HIIT

20 minute Low Intensity Cardio

BRUTHABADDASS March 20, 2009 at 9:08 am

I have been to the Philippines twice and love the food and the way it is prepared…it is something I could make at home in a healthy way. Lots of fish and vegetables as well as beef or pork and chicken for meat–no steak or ground beef. And lots of fresh fruit. While I was there for a month I was in the leanest, muscular shape ever. I’m 5’3″ so i fit right in with the filipinos but my frame was so well toned and cut i felt like The Hulk when I stood next to a native hahahaha! My question about Tai and Vietnamese food is how can I get the portions in a restaraunt/takeout not to be so spicy? I’m not a fan of spicy, hot food but I love the way southasian meals are constructed with lots of vegetables and soups are so tasty. What is usually the main spice that is used to make the dishes so extremely hot?

Matt at lifeofahero March 20, 2009 at 1:48 pm

Hey Rusty do you like Chinese Din Ho? I have a lot of asian friends because of my line of work and I’ve found that the most authentic asian restaurants are the ones where the patrons are all native speakers and you don’t know what the hell the menu says.

There are some great places here in Austin but I have to get my friends from the nationality of the restaurant to bring me so I know what is going on!

Rod Newbound, RN March 20, 2009 at 6:27 pm

Hey Rusty,

Looks like you hit a home run with this post, and it certainly is tempting one. I especially appreciated your description of Vietnamese food and how it tastes so fresh.

I’ve had Thai food and do love it, but haven’t tried Vietnamese food. After your description, I’ll definitely give it a try.

BTW, the owner of a Cajun restaurant shared with me the secret of extinguishing the fire from hot peppers, and it’s not beer… it’s something sweet.

admin March 20, 2009 at 7:45 pm


The great thing about when I visit these places is that I will have friends like you giving me the “inside info”. I don’t mind a bit of tourist attractions, but I like to mix that with the best places where locals go.


You will love Southeast Asian food. I’ll read your question about periodization again and maybe dedicate an entire post to your question. I get a lot of ideas from people like you who consistently ask great questions.


I love coconut milk as well. I have had some of those desserts and do enjoy them.


Hmm…I have a few Vietnamese friends that tell me they love going up to Vancouver and eating the Vietnamese food up there. I think their are good places, but the International District is big up there, so you do probably have to find the right place.


Do you have an Asian community in Phoenix? We are lucky to have a huge Asian presence in Seattle (same with San Francisco and Vancouver on the West Coast). I bet you have a massive choice of Mexcian food (which I love as well).


Malaysian food is just tougher to find at this point. I will search it down because it sounds delicious! Bummer deal about the obesity problem.


Post your recipe! I haven’t tried cooking Pho yet, but I’m curious as to how to make it. I like to put a ton of that red “Rooster Sauce” in it as well…until I sweat!


I want to visit the UK. I am a huge fan of beer, I go to every brew-fest within driving range of where I live. I would love to have some great English beer and eat some crazy hot Thai food. Sounds good to me.


Think more along the lines of a slight increase in calories, but a large increase in lifting volume. So you will do more sets and total reps for each muscle group (not what I typically recommend, but you are trying to add muscle). Continue to stick to 5 reps and you will gain mass at a slower rate, but it will be “hard” muscle…just do more sets and add another exercise for each body part. You also want shorter rest periods in between sets when you are trying to gain mass. You will also want to back of cardio a bit during this mass gaining phase.


I should talk about food more, because I’m a big fan! The problem is that all my fitness blogging friends have all of these fancy recipes and I’m not a good cook. The more I think about it though, maybe I should include my simple recipes now and then…for others who like to keep the recipes to 4 items or less. I have a little bit of exposure to Filipino food…I remember being a big fan of the stuff I had, but haven’t had it more than 2-3 times.


I’ve had Tom Ka Gai soup as well. Any time they mix in coconut milk with ginger I’m a fan. There are a few different dishes with that combo and they are all delicious!


Yeah, for mass you could do that workout with a 3 day split. If you do chose to do a 3 days split, then you can up the volume quite a bit because of the amount of rest each muscle group gets in between workouts. You are so lucky to live in Belgium. Good beer makes life a bit brighter and you have the best beer in the world. I love any version of Belgium Wit beers. Love that stuff.

The Spaniard,

Anthony Bordain (from the Travel Channel show “No Reservations”) agrees with you. His favorite food in the world is in Spain. Now as far as finding authentic restaurants, there is definitely skill involved. What I have found is that you need to find native people from the country who live in the US. Ask them where their favorite restaurant is. There are a lot of places with overly Americanized foods, but mixed in are some great restaurants.


Yeah…you never really want to go to failure. You can get stronger without ever failing to complete a rep.


I typically go light on the rice, other than that it is pretty darn healthy. Nothing wrong with “natural” fats that they use in this type of food.


It is always a tough deal to put on muscle and lose fat at the same time. If this is your goal then increase you volume of sets and exercises for each muscle group. Maybe just do that cardio routine twice per week.


I do have to eat more Filipino food. As far as getting less spicy Thai food, just ask for “1 star” they will make it mild for you.


Great tip on bringing friends who are the nationality of the restaurant. When I go to some asian places, the asain customers wind up with things that aren’t even on the menu. At that point I walk over to the table and ask them what they ordered. love the authentic stuff the best. I hear Austin has a fierce music scene by the way. I need to visit for sure.


What type of sweet foods are best for stopping a burning tongue? I once had ice cream and it helped. Is there anything more effective? I have only had a bit of Cajun food, but I am into anything spicy…so I am sure I would enjoy most of it.

Thanks for the comments!


Peter March 22, 2009 at 12:04 pm

Hey, you should try Korean food :).
Things like Galbi (๊ฐˆ๋น„), Samgyeopsal (์‚ผ๊ฒน์‚ด), Kimchi (๊น€์น˜), Bulgogi (๋ธ”๊ณ ๊ธฐ), Sanchoo (์‚ฐ์ถ”), Bibimbap (๋น„๋น”๋ฐฅ), Meeyukgook (๋ฏธ์—ญ๊ตญ), Gomtang (๊ณฐํƒ•) and many more. Amazing food.
Oh yeah, you can’t forget Soju (์†Œ์ฃผ, a distilled spirit basically).
BTW yeah I’m Korean.

Tom Parker - Free Fitness Tips March 23, 2009 at 7:52 pm

Hey Rusty – Quite a few of my friends have tried Thai food and I have only heard good things. Still never had it myself yet but it sure sounds tasty.

rob April 16, 2009 at 11:14 am

I’m from north-east India, where the world’s hottest chili pepper grows. They call it ‘bhut jolokia’ in the state of Assam. It’s called ‘raja mircha’ in the neighbouring states which means ‘the king of chillies’.

It’s delicious. I think I should try to get some tonight. This post has made me crave it badly…

Discount Sunglasses April 16, 2009 at 7:14 pm

Vietnamese food is the way to go. It is relatively healthy food, and more importantly, IT’S DELICIOUS! Its nice to get the French influence without all the french fats. Another great thing about Vietnamese food is that its usually pretty cheap. you can’t beat that.

Great post. i look forward to trying other SE asian food.

Dave | The Intelligent Workout April 23, 2009 at 10:31 pm

Great post for getting creative with your diet. I love having chicken tikka masala as a cheat meal or Soba Noodles with a dash of soy sauce for lunch to keep my energy levels up in the afternoon.

Jason the Chinese Guy May 28, 2009 at 10:28 am

wow this is great, ASIAN FOOD are the best.. chinese, viet, and thai food are soo GOOD! I am actually currently living in a household that owns 2 vietnamese restaurant and 1 viet bakery. The landlord brings back food for me from her restaurant almost everyday since I started living here. I know, it’s like a dream come true. You should definitely try korean food, that’s even better!

Anyways, I’ve been following your site for about a year or so now, I am very grateful for your site, it has tons and tons of helpful fitness information on it. I even bought “Eat Stop Eat” and “Power to the people!” by Pavel Tsatsouline after being influenced by your blog. I have to say.. this is a very good site, keep up the good work!

SRizz July 10, 2009 at 4:04 am

If you like the flavors of SEA food but don’t like the heat, try Cambodian food, it’s basically the foundation of Thai food with the boldness of Vietnamese, without all the heat. Us Cambodians like a balance and harmony of flavors, sweet, sour, salty, and fresh without peppers incinerating our tongues and overpowering every delicate flavor we’ve worked to create in a dish. Those of us who like spicier food add the heat afterwards to customize to our own tastes. You can always ask the people at Thai/Vietnamese restaurants to leave out the spice in your food as well if you don’t have access to a Cambodian restaurant, they aren’t as common, unfortunately. SEA is the best and healthiest cuisine in the world for my money!

SRizz July 10, 2009 at 4:17 am

The smaller the chilli pepper, the hotter it usually is, with the exception of the habanero, that’s the hottest I think. For counteracting heat, the best cure is dairy products, the fat, casein, and lactose latch onto the capsaicin molecule and breaks the chemical bond that capsaicin has on your tongue!

Felicia July 11, 2009 at 4:26 am a malaysian too..those food u mention just now..i can feel my stomach rubling and screaming for food..but im not gonna eat it cause ive taken my meal..i always had this stupid habit of eating although i know im not hungry..but got rid of this dumb habit

Felicia July 11, 2009 at 4:27 am a malaysian too..those food u mention just now..i can feel my stomach rumbling and screaming for food..but im not gonna eat it cause ive taken my meal..i always had this stupid habit of eating although i know im not hungry..but got rid of this dumb habit

p.s-they should hv mention malaysia…

Amy August 10, 2009 at 6:55 pm

I’m half Korean and I have to say that I think Korean food is fantastic and very healthy. My mother (who’s Korean) also likes Vietnamese food because she thinks many of the dishes are prepared similar to Korean dishes. Korean food consists of a lot of marinated barbecued meats and seafood and different types of fresh and pickled veggies (kimchi). It’s also spicy if you’re into that (and who isn’t?)

Anthony K August 19, 2009 at 5:12 pm

and doesnt rice(in a way) help you slim down/stay slim? because rice expands when wet so you feel full without eating a bunch of rice? i think that you eat rice and it expands in your stomach leaving you feeling full without actually eating a lot.
well it makes sense to me. if i’m wrong then oh well.

Lya July 12, 2011 at 9:21 pm

KOREAN food! – to die for!!!!

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