|Jumping Jacks||Total body|
|Wall sit||Lower body|
|Step-up onto chair||Total body|
|Triceps dip on chair||Upper body|
|High knees/running in place||Total body|
|Push-up to t-plank||Upper body|
I started the day at 5am this morning with a protein shake before heading to the airport to catch a flight to Philadelphia. Like all of my business trips I packed my meals in a cooler, dropped the cooler into my carry-on and went out the door. I thought the day was going to be like any other—a plane ride followed by a routine meeting, followed by another plane ride home.
Today thankfully was a little different. I had never met this client before but we very quickly developed a rapport because of our love for fitness. My love, as you know, is weight training whereas his is running. I was amazed that he spoke of his love for running with much the same enthusiasm as I talk about weight training.
After a few moments, I learned that my new friend once weighed 300 lbs. And, as I stared at the image on the iPhone in my hand and at the man that stood before me I was amazing. It didn’t even look like the same person. The man that stood before me was 170 pounds and was the picture of health. He told me that he started running last year because he realized that he was heading down the same path that his father had traveled. His father, also a large man, suffered a heart attack in his early 50s. My friend recognized the signs and decided to take action. He started walking, then jogging then running. Before the end of 2012 he managed to run a marathon and has plans to run another this year.
In addition to his training we talk about the importance of diet. He and I both agreed that diet plays a huge role in developing a healthy body. He told me that he totally changed his diet by cutting out the unhealthy foods and focused on lean proteins and vegetables. As we talking I was reminded of an article that I am working on for RX Muscle (MensPhysique.com). In this article I focus on the problem of obesity and the critical role that protein plays in curbing hunger and controlling weight gain. As I discussed this article and the studies that substantiate it, I was struck again by the power of the human spirit.
Each of us possesses an amazing power—a power to shape and change our bodies to become what we want them to be. All we have to do is harness that power.
“Man often becomes what he believes himself to be. If I keep on saying to myself that I cannot do a certain thing, it is possible that I may end by really becoming incapable of doing it. On the contrary, if I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.” ~Mahatma Gandhi
Recently I’ve had a number of conversations with female friends and associates regarding their desire to “get tone.” Many of them have told me that they don’t want to “get all muscular,” “bulky,” and/or “look like a man.”
I typically dismiss these comments; however, they have started to bother me just a little recently. Maybe I’m a little sensitive to the topic because I’ve spent the better part of 7 months trying to bulk up and add muscle to my frame for the 2013 season. And, trust me when I tell you that building muscle is hard work!
The impression that I get from my friends is that they somehow believe that the simple act of lifting weight will cause them to look like a man. That’s almost like saying because you’ve read a book, then you’re a genius.
The reality is that lifting weight…even heavy weight will not transform you into a muscle-bound creature. It just doesn’t happen that way.
For the last 7+ months I have consumed approximately 5,300 calories per day. I’ve worked out 5-6 days per week and consumed 1.5-2 gallons of water per day. All and all, I’ve managed to gain ~50 pounds over my last contest weight. While not all of this is muscle, I have essentially transformed my physique through a combination of weight training, diet, rest and supplements (protein, BCAA, glutamine, creatine, etc.)
My point is that building muscle is HARD work and it doesn’t happen overnight.
Ladies if you’re reading this please, please don’t be afraid to weight train. Cardio alone will not transform your body! Weight training, however, can give you that tight, firm and sculpted look that you crave.
A few weeks ago the New York Times published an article on its website with a headline entitled “Why Four Workouts a Week May Be Better Than Six.” If you read this headline and clicked on the link then you would assume that you’d be reading an article which would make a case for only working out 4 days per week.
After clicking on this link on February 13, I was left feeling a little bamboozled. Why you may ask? The article with its very crafty headline actually cited a study which examined the impact of exercise on a group of elderly women. Elderly women?
From the very broad headline one would assume that 4 days of exercise was more than sufficient for EVERYONE! As I read the article and eventually the study it referenced, I was all the more upset when I learned that the study was conduct with 72 sedentary women ages 60-74!
Unless you’re an elderly woman aged 60-74, it would be a total waste of your time to read the New York Times article! And, I am as far from an elderly woman as someone can get. A more appropriate headline for this article might be: For older adults, four workouts a week may be better than six. Can you see how three little words can make a world of different?
I guess I really shouldn’t be surprised by any of this given that headlines are designed to grab your attention. Maybe I’m a little chapped because I feel like I was misled and ended up reading an article that I would have otherwise skipped over. Or, maybe I’m annoyed because this type of thing happens all too often when it comes to fitness. If you haven’t already discovered this for yourself, make sure that you read beyond the headline. Dig into the data yourself and draw your own conclusions.
The United States of America has an obesity problem. In fact, more than one-third of adults and almost 17% of youth are obese. According to the CDC, the rate of obesity has slowed in recent years however it remains an area of concern for a variety of reasons. A few recent studies offer clues on ways to address the obesity epidemic and in many ways these studies reaffirm long held bodybuilding dieting principles.
The condition known as obesity occurs when there is an imbalance between food intake and energy expenditure. In other words, someone becomes obese when they consume too many calories beyond what is needed for bodily functions. This surplus of calories, results in increased weight gain over a period of time.
Implications of Obesity
Obesity-related conditions including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke and certain types of cancer are some of the leading causes of preventable death in the US. The healthcare costs associated with obesity adds-up to almost $150 billion per year. In fact, the CDC actually determined that the medical cost for an obese person was $1,429 higher than those of a normal weight person in 2008.
Given the high cost and prevalence of obesity, researchers, pharmaceutical companies and other stakeholders are paying close attention to this disease.
Advancements in Research
Recently scientists from the University of New South Wales and the Garvan Institute of Medical Research determined that a neurotransmitter known for stimulating a person’s appetite also plays a key role in controlling whether that person burns or conserves energy. The researchers determined that when an obese person cuts back on calories, their body believes that they are starving and as a result they conserve energy by burning fewer calories. The brain circuitry responsibly for this process dates back to our hunter-gatherer ancestors who faced real starvation due to inadequate food supplies. In modern times this circuitry, combined with our high fat / high carbohydrate diets only serves to hinder weight-loss efforts.
“Obesity is a modern epidemic, and the challenges will be to find ways of tricking the body into losing weight—and that will mean somehow circumventing or manipulating this…circuit, probably with drugs,” says Professor Herbert Herzog, one of the study’s authors.
Presently there are no drugs which can circumvent or manipulate this circuitry however an earlier study conducted by other researchers from the Garvan Institute may provide some answers.
These researchers determined that a peptide found in the stomach plays an important role in regulating body-weight, reducing hunger and potentially reversing obesity.
During the research several normal-weight and obese men were feed high protein, high carbohydrate and high fat diets. Based upon this research, it was determined that the high protein diet caused the greatest reduction in hunger and a greater feeling of satisfaction.
The Garvan researchers also found that a high protein diet enhanced the natural production of the peptide which they later showed could reverse obesity in lab rats. While the implications of the rat studies are yet to be determined, there are some key lessons that can be readily applied.
Bodybuilding Principles Might be the Answer
The average Western diet derives 49% of energy intake from carbohydrates, 35% from fat, and 16% from protein. This diet is in sharp contrast to the diet of our ancestors who consumed 19-35% protein, 28-47% fat and 22-40% carbohydrates. This shift from protein to carbs as the primary source of energy might be the reason for increases in diseases such as obesity.
Diet modification therefore might be part of the answer in reversing the trend. The consumption of lean protein leads to a reduction in hunger and an increase in satisfaction. Several studies have determined that reductions in huger result in decreased food intake which in-turn results in lower body weight.
Frequent and regular meals may also be part of the solution to prevent the brain from going into starvation mode. And, of course these meals should be higher in protein.
Lastly, while none of the studies reviewed the role of exercise, you’ll recall that obesity occurs when calories consumed exceeds calories used. To this point, exercise is a natural way to burn extra calories before they can be stored by the body.
Presently there is no magic pill to reverse obesity however there are some tried and true methods that can be readily employed by anyone looking to lose weight.
Instagram / Twitter: Fitnupe1911
First and foremost, I love science and medicine. I’ve been in the healthcare industry for almost 10 years and I’ve studied numerous diseases and conditions from GERD to cardiovascular disease to respiratory illness to infectious diseases like influenza and RSV. Second, the emotional distress that PMS can cause women can un-intentionally be directed at guys. So, in many ways this blog is a win-win for everyone involved.
Recently the results of a study conducted by the University of Massachusetts determined that dietary iron may reduce the risk of premenstrual syndrome. This study was conducted over a 10-year period and involved more than 3,000 women, which is a fancy way of saying that these results are very meaningful. In addition to determining the helpful benefits of dietary iron, the study’s authors also determined that potassium could increase a woman’s risk of PMS.
Elizabeth Bertone-Johnson, lead author of the study, cautioned against taking too much iron or too little potassium because each could be harmful. “Eating a balanced diet with a variety of foods is a good way to ensure that women are consuming important vitamins and minerals.”
The Institute of Medicine's Food and Nutrition Board recommends 18 milligrams of iron daily for women 19-50 and 4,700 milligrams of potassium daily. Additional recommendations can be found on the USDA’s website: http://fnic.nal.usda.gov/dietary-guidance/dietary-reference-intakes/dri-tables.
Here are several foods that are iron rich (ranked highest to lowest per 100 grams):
· Oysters, clams, scallops
· Liver (pork, chicken, turkey, lamb, beef)
· Squash and pumpkin seeds
· Beef (lean tenderloin)
· Beans (white beans, lentils)
· Whole grains
· Dark, leafy greens
· Dark chocolate
Here are several potassium rich foods (ranked highest to lowest per 100 grams):
· Dried apricots
· White beans
· Baked potatoes (with skin)
· Baked acorn squash
In addition to a balanced diet, women should also consider multivitamin supplements such as Natural Selection from Body Fuse.
I recently received a Facebook message from a friend saying that he wanted my advice on getting into better shape. I informed him that getting into great shape would have a lot to do with his diet—a fact that he readily recognized. He also acknowledged that a solid diet would form the foundation of any exercise program that I would build for him.
I encouraged him to monitor his diet for one week by keeping a food log of everything that he consumed (i.e. foods and beverages). My objective was to identify a baseline of caloric intake, bad habits and meal frequency before dispensing any advice.
After a healthy back-and-forth I felt like he understood what I was looking for and why. He then informed me that he would get started with the food log after he returned from a business trip. WHAT?!?
I began re-reading our exchange to ensure that I hadn’t given him the impression that this wasn’t something that couldn’t be done immediately. Scan complete. No miscommunication on my part. Instead of forcing the issue I decided to take a wait and see approach. I wanted to see if he would indeed create the food journal upon returning from his trip.
As I sit here writing this blog it’s been three weeks since our exchange and I have yet to see a food log or receive another message. Certainly this blog post is not intended to bash my friend; it is, however, meant to illustrate a point. And, my point is that coaches, trainers and friends can only serve as a source of inspiration and not motivation. Motivation is something that comes from within.
Body Fuse Athlete
Hi. My name is Regie and I have an addiction to coffee. By a show of hands, how many of you share my dark addiction? Don’t be shy…you’re among friends.
Clearly I’m not alone given that coffee is the leading worldwide beverage after water. Crazy right? Who knew that coffee was so popular? In fact, coffee sales exceed $10 billion worldwide. I am uncertain of how much of this $10 billion can be attributed to the United States but it might be a safe bet to say a healthy chunk is purchased by Americans.
During a recent trip to Starbucks I glanced at a copy of the “Beverage Facts” brochure which lists the nutritional content of each Starbucks beverage by the cup. Talk about shock and awe!
Out of all the drinks that Starbucks makes only a few handfuls are less than 200 calories. The vast majority of the Grande and Venti sized Classic expresso drinks, Signature expresso drinks, Tazo Teas, Smoothies and Frappuccino Blended coffees are diet busters in every sense of the word. Each of these popular beverages is a few hundred calories and come loaded with sugar, even when you withhold the sweetened whipped cream.
I understand needing a caffeine fix but I encourage you to stick with regular brewed coffee. Regardless of the size, brewed coffee is only five calories, zero fat and zero sugar.
Save 20% on Body Fuse products with discount code: REGIE at checkout (http://www.bodyfuseusa.com/).
My contest is right around the corner and I'm starting to freak out a little. A friend of mine competing in the Arnold this weekend told me this might happen.
One day I look fat...another too skinny...sometimes I think my muscle look flat...
I feel sick!
So, I started taking Con-crete less than 2 weeks ago and I have to say that I'm impressed. I've taken a number of supplements that have no noticeable impact on look, performance, etc. That's not to say that they don't work. I'm simply suggesting that it's amazing to spend good money, on a good product where you can actually SEE/FEEL noticeable improvements (i.e., strength, extra reps, etc.)
Thanks for the email. It’s always nice to hear that people appreciate my hard work and dedication—especially when most of the people around me don’t understand my “need” to hit the gym and eat properly.
I think you have solid goals but I suggest that you think about them differently. Why can’t you burn fat while building muscle? Personally I’ve seen a ton of BIG guys in the gym throwing around tonnage but they look like crap because they’re fat. You will never see your hard-earned muscle if you don’t burn the layer of fat.
Think about it…how will you determine that you’ve added extra muscle? Will you check the scale? Look in the mirror? Both of those things are deceptive. Burn the fat so you can see the muscle then focus on making the muscle bigger.
I am not an expert but this work for ME. Getting in shape is about trial and error…it’s a process that’s different for everyone.
Before I offer any advice…can you tell me about your diet? I personally believe that eating properly is 80% of the battle.
So my buddy Ashley Horner posted a blog about a 17 y.o. that wanted to be a bodybuilder but had not yet signed up for a contest. Her blog goes on to suggest that mental fear will prevent you from achieving your goals and honestly she's totally right. You can read her blog here: http://blog.bodybuilding.com/ashleyhorner/2012/01/20/fear_not/
I picked a contest, completed the paperwork but had not mailed anything yet because I was starting to doubt myself. After reading this blog I was motivated to overcome my fears.
I just sent my payment to the NPC and the Peckham-Simmons Powerhouse Classic. I have officially entered my first contest! Thanks Ashley...I think.