From my lab where the rubber meets the road, I've changed the way I think about cardio. Some people hate it, some people like, I have always been kind of neutral about it. During my first contest prep of this year I was doing 40 minutes of hard cardio a day. I was alternating one day on the concept 2 rower, and the next day on a spin bike. In hindsight I believe that this was too much. The problem with excessive cardio is that becomes draining. Siphoning off the recuperation abilities that are more necessary for recovering from weight training. As a result I slowly out paced my recovery ability and was forced to take a few weeks down time.
I won't go there again. All of my cardio sessions have been 20 minutes or less since I've gotten back on my daily grind. With the shorter sessions on the rower and bike, I'm feeling energized. A little hard breathing, a little sweat, and I'm out still feeling like I could do more. This I believe is the key for getting all the benefits of cardio without sacrificing recuperation ability, or worst...burning hard earned muscle.
What about burning calories though? I'm not concerned. Sure you will burn more calories with longer bouts of cardio, but burning another 200 to 300 calories just isn't worth it. Depending on cardio for weight loss is not nearly as effective as just eating less. Depend on your diet for weight loss, cardio is for good health and the strength of the cardiovascular system that is necessary for hard weight lifting sessions. Toss in a couple of high intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts a week along with the easy sessions, and you will supercharged your cardio to support all out efforts in the weight room. Finally I think I've found the right mix.
The best things in life are free, but they are not without cost. Love is the best example of these free things. True love cannot be earned or bought. It has to be freely given and freely received. Yet pay no attention to it, and instead of it blossoming into happiness and joy, it will shrivel into pain and regret.
It is the same with fitness. You can buy a gym membership, you can even invest in the best personal trainer on the planet, but unless you pay the cost of consistent effort you will get little in return. If you only eat what tastes good to you, you will never been lean. If you only workout when you feel like it, you will never improve. You have to be willing to pay the cost.
Halfway through my morning ritual in the early A.M. today, I started thinking that maybe I should cut it short. After all, this is the fourth training day of the week and I'm feeling a little worn out. Maybe....and then pressed up from deep within me were the words "pay the cost, no man builds a tower without first counting the costs" (see Luke 14:28). I plan on standing on stage in the number one position 57 days from now, and I'm willing to pay the cost. This lead to my prayer..."Lord, I can't do it today unless you enable me." God has never failed me. I had sufficient strength to complete my morning ritual, and my daily grind in the gym as well.
My question to you is what do you want? That is certainly the first question to ask. Once you have found a worth while reason for getting out of bed every morning, sit down and count the costs. To be sure anything worth having will cost much more than mere money. Are you willing to pay it? Before you answer that, remember if you are a believer you can ask for the graces you stand in need of, and according to your faith will it be (see Matthew 9:28-29). God is certainly able to make all grace abound to you (see Ephesians 3:20-21). What I've come to understand is that it is often like mana from heaven. God gives only enough for today, and tomorrow's grace will be provide tomorrow. Focus on paying today's cost, tomorrow is tomorrow's concern (see 6:25-34). You can do it. Pay the cost one day at a time. The harvest will come in it's due season.
I've had many low points in my life. Every single one of them was a self-inflicted wound. The devil was trying to destroy me, and I was helping him do it. After struggling and failing over and over again, I finally admitted that I could not save myself from myself. Once my self reliance was gone, then I turned to God. It is only by accepting our weakness that we can have God's strength. As long as you want to do it on your own, you will only have yourself to rely on. It doesn't matter how good or how strong your are, there are more things beyond your control then under your control. You have to live a while, been tossed around, scarred, tasted both victory and defeat to have learned that.
I see the purpose of it all now. What I've been called to do, I can never be strong enough on my own to do it. Even if I could do it without God, there would be no way of keeping my heart free of pride. Even if what I do is good, if my heart is not right, it is nothing (see John 15:5). Thanks be to the Father who has chosen us to share in the inheritance of the saints (see Colossians 11:12), our gardener (see John 15:1). Thanks be to Jesus who has paid the price for us with His own blood (see Hebrews 9:12), our true vine. Thanks be to the Holy Spirit who enables us to live the blessed life (see Colossians 11:11), our power that flows from the gardener and the vine through us to produce fruit (see Galatians 5:22). It is the Spirit who produces the fruit. Not us. Our job is to abide, that is to remain in the vine by trust and obedience. The moment we start off doing our own thing we hinder the work of the Holy Spirit (see John 15:4). Accept your weakness and then you can receive strength from the Almighty. Rely on your own strength and that is all you will have.
I understand now why the apostle Paul boasted about his weakness (see 2 Corinthians 12:9-11). For if I strive and achieve something for God using even 1% of my own strength, than at least 1% of the glory would belong to me. Any glory due me would provide room for that bitter root of pride to grow in my old sinful nature (see Hebrews 12:15). Surely this is one reason for the psalmist to pray "not to us, Lord, but to your name be the glory" (see psalm 115:1). Therefore it is essential for guarding your heart, that you go in the strength of the Lord (see Psalm 71:16, the King James version). Call me weak, and watch me do all things through His strength (see Philippians 4:13). So let it be.
I feel like I have only scratched the surface. How wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ Jesus (see Ephesians 3:16-19). The amazing thing about grace is that His love is beyond measure in every direction for those who love Him. We certainly don't deserve it. There is nothing we can do to earn it. Jesus Christ is our most precious gift from God. Our pearl of great price (See Matthew 13:45-46).
Much has happened since I wrote "Paradise Found Part 1" back in 2011. It has been just a hair over two years now, and I am starting to believe that spiritual growth is unlimited. I really do enjoy lifting weights. Today I asked myself if I would give it up for Christ. I don't think He is asking me too, but none the less, I would give it up in a heart beat for the Lord. As soon as I acknowledge this, Matthew 5:14-16 took on a new meaning for me. Here are the verses:
You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.--Matthew 5:14-16
I always thought I knew the meaning of this scripture, but what I totally missed was what "your light" means. Our light is not something that we produce of ourselves. Our light is just like the light from the moon. The moon doesn't produce any light. Moonlight is a reflection of the light from the sun. In the same why our light is to be a reflection of our Lord Jesus Christ. We let our light shine by denying self and fixing our eyes on Jesus. The author and perfecter of our faith (see Hebrews 12:1). Yes, I have found paradise. It is the one and only pearl of great price. For it, I'm willing sell all that I have.
I finished 2nd in my last competition. One spot away from becoming a drug-free natural pro in my second, and perhaps my final bodybuilding contest. I'm going back to the new men's physique category. It is a better fit for me mentally and physically. Today I'm 65 days out from the NPC 2013 Masters National Championships. It is only by the grace of God that I will let my light shine. To God alone be the glory.
Who can know what tomorrow will bring? Our life may be demand of us in the very next moment. The best each of us can hope for is to walk the straight and narrow path until the good Lord calls us home. It is not as hard as you may think, but it is not without effort or cost. Seek the wisdom that comes from above and a new name will be yours...Blessed!
Physical fitness seems difficult at first too. It becomes much easier as understanding increases. You need weight training for strength. You need cardio for staying power. You need protein, carbohydrates, and fat for both emotional and physical health. You have to work flexibility and mobility or you will grow stiff and old. It really is as simple as this, but who can see that when they first get started?
Everything seems hard in the begining. The exercise that is suppose to make you stronger makes your body hurt. You crave the junk food you aren't suppose to be eating. Your weight lost seems to have stalled completely. You begin to wonder if all the effort is worth so little gains. I've been there. This is the point were the old undisciplined eating, and the laziness that has been destroying your health starts to look good to you. If you succumb to these feelings, you will return to being what you hate. For this reason you must never look back.
Once you begin the journey to fitness, you must never look back with desire at your old unhealthy ways. To do so makes you unfit for fitness. How do you keep yourself from looking back when you can't see the light at the end of the tunnel? You don't have to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The light at your feet is enough.
The light at your feet is doing what you know to be right. Not allowing yourself to turn to the left or to the right to do what you know to be wrong. And of course, never looking back with longing for the things that you've left behind. To do that would be to repeat the mistake made by Lot's wife (Genesis 19:26). It is easy to talk the talk about always doing the right thing, but walking the talk is always more difficult. It was years of struggle before I learned the secret. I suspect that many people have the same difficultly. The saint, from whose pen flowed more of the Bible's New Testament than any one else, wrote in Romans 7:19: "For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do--this I keep on doing." He goes on to say "thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord" in Romans 7:23. This is the secret to true and lasting deliverance.
It took me about 25 years to admit that I couldn't save or deliver myself. I was stubborn. it took me that long to accept the fact that Jesus came to do what we could not do for ourselves. I admitted to myself and God that I could not do it in my own strength. Then I asked God for the ability to do what I know is right, and to stop all that I know is wrong. He granted my request and He will do it for you too. I am sure of this because His word tells us that whatever we ask according to His will, we will receive (1 John 5:14). This is the guarantee. God's will may be doubtful in some things, but there is no question that God wants us to do all the good that we know (see James 4:17). What He wills, He will enable us to do if we ask and trust Him. Tomorrow will take care of itself, if you will just walk by the light at your feet today.
Today I'm 70 days out from my next competition. Finally back on my daily grind. Not only am I back on a six day a week workout program, but I'm also cutting my calories. A huge increase in output with a simultaneous decrease in input. Pretty drastic change. So far so good. My weight was down to 179 pounds this morning. I'm not as sore as I was yesterday and my energy levels are better. That's a real good sign.
I've changed my routine. Going back to basic heavy barbell movements. Incline bench press, squat, deadlift, and today the hanging clean. These are time tested compound movements that build total body strength. I'm not concerned about becoming a 250 pound mass monster, but I do want to be powerful and superstrong. The form will follow the function. Total body strengh is much more important to health than the size of your chest and biceps.
Faith is to the spirit what strength is to the body. Both are developed with exercise and resistance. Faith and strength are not mutually exclusive, and it is my personal opinion that we should seek to develop them both. If however, for whatever reason you can only develop one, choose faith. For no matter how strong you get you will never be able to a save yourself from the grave, but a simple faith in Jesus Christ brings eternal life.
To increase the strength of the body you have to progressively overload it with increasing amounts of resistance. But how do you develop faith? I can think of no better example than Abraham.
Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham's offspring--not only to those who are of the law but also to those who have the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all. As it is written: "I have made you a father of many nations." He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed--the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not.
Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, "So shall your offspring be." Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead--since he was about a hundred years old--and that Sarah's womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. Romans 4:16-21
He was 100 years old and his wife was 90. Never mind the physical requirements of a 100 year old man fathering a child, the fact that his wife had long since stop ovulating made it impossible for her to conceive. And she did not get pregnant right away either. After the initial acceptence, as time went on he must have had many opportunities to doubt. Doubt is the resistance necessary to strengthen faith. Romans 4:21 states that he was strengthened in his faith and fully persuaded. The spiritual equivalent of working up to a 500 pound squat over a number of years. He would need this tremendous spiritual development a short while later when God commanded him to sacrifice this long awaited son as a burnt offering. It was about a three day walk to get to the place were God told him to do it. Can you imagine what that walk was like for Abraham? If the child being born was a 500 pound squat, sacrificing him would have been a 1000 pounds or more. The faith built with the 500 pounds prepared him well for this final test. God let Abraham get all the way to tying the boy up and laying him on the wood pile. God stopped him just short of taking the boys life, and at that point his trial was over.
The angel of the Lord called Abraham from heaven a second time and said, "I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me." Genesis 22:15-18.
Yesterday I decided that if Abraham faced the fact that his body was nearly dead without weakening in faith, I could certainly face the fact that my body was sore all over and keep the faith that God would enable me to recover. I didn't squat 500 pounds today, but it was the best workout I've had this week. I look forward to going to the gym even though it is often painful. I enjoy it because I know every workout makes me stronger. In the same way we are told:
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4
No matter what your need. Grab ahold of a promise from God to meet it. Hold on to it through the doubts and your faith will be increased. Don't expect it to happen over night. Nobody squats 500 pounds the first time they walk into the gym. Start where you are and be consistent. God will do the rest.
Newton's first law of fitness states that a body at rest tends to stay at rest, and a body in motion tends to stay in motion. That is, until something acts on it to produce a change. So maybe he wasn't really taking about fitness, but that's not a problem for me. I'm back in the weight room this week after a three week lay off. I have been painfully reminded of how hard it is to get things started or re-started.
Before I took this break I was slingin'em like a well oiled machine. Then it got a little dry. Which was the force that made me change and put my body at rest. So what's the force to get things moving again? Shear will. Getting started is not fun. Everything requires effort and seems hard. No way around this ladies and gentlemen. This is the inertia that must be overcome before you get up to speed and can put it in overdrive. You know, now that I think about it, this applies to more than just exercising. It is the same for any new positive habit you want to create, or any negative habit you want to eliminate. It often takes a huge effort to get it started, but much less to maintain it.
I'm ready to toss around some boulders like Fred Flintstone. I've been out of the weight room for almost three weeks now just stretching, rolling, and chill-laxing. I'm pain free and ready to get back to some heavy lifting. A couple of more days left this week to finish up my recharge. So yesterday the wife asks me for a dumbbell routine she can do in the garage. Oh yeah! You don't know how long I've been trying to get her on my fitness band wagon. For all those out there trying to get their significant other to see the fitness light, take a piece of advice. Don't pester, just keep setting the example and sooner or later they are going to want what you got.
So this morning I put the wife through a few sets with some very light dumbbells. She had 8 pounders and I had 10. I kept reminding her to squeeze the muscles we were working as hard as she could. This was a little trick I stumbled on back stage at one of my contests last year. A light weight lifted with as much contraction as you can manage is sufficient for a good pump with 15 to 20 reps. I still like lifting heavy weights, but if heavy weights aren't available light weights, high reps, and mental focus will get the job done. For once the Dr. Oz types may have gotten it right. Copy and paste this link to read about it:
So instead of being like Fred throwing around boulders, this morning I was more like Bam Bam tossing up pebbles. That's a win times three. The wife got a good workout, I got a good workout, and we did it together.
There is a wrong way and a right way to use a fat burner supplement. Do it the wrong way and you're just handing your money over to the supplement makers without getting much in return. Cavet emptor right? I for one want all the bang for my fat burner buck I can get.
I'm going to cut right to it. I will explain the right way, and then the wrong way will be obvious. Rule number one for getting lean: The body has to deal with sugar before it will touch your stores of body fat. When you eat sugar your body can only do two things with it. It can burn it for energy, or store it. Surplus sugar will most likely be stored as fat once muscle glycogen stores are full. It doesn't matter how many fat burners you take, your body will burn limited amounts of body fat if you are constantly feeding it sugar.
You know the stuff I'm talking about. Doughnuts, soda, cookies, cakes, ice cream, all other processed carbs, and nearly everything on the menu at any fast food joint you care to mention. Don't think that you can never have these kinds of foods again, but you should eliminate them when you are trying to get lean. I've had every one of these items at least once in the past three weeks.
I weighed 183 pounds this morning and I'm 81 days out from my next competition today. So until show time I'm going to limit my sugar intake to my post workout shake, a slice of the wifey's birthday cake in May, and a slice of the daughter's birthday cake in June. By limiting you sugar intake you train your body to burn fat as it's primary fuel and not sugar. That is a beautiful thing.
Substituting complex carbs for simple sugars will most likely cause you to lose some weight even without lowering calories or increasing cardio. You will just plain feel better too. You will have to get in the habit of reading labels. This is because sugar is often hidden in products that aren't sweet. They use sugar in non-sweet products to mask other flavors. Look at the list of ingredients for sugar or high fructose corn syrup. Ingredients are listed from the most to the least. So if sugar or high fructose corn syrup is listed as one of the first three ingredients, it is a high sugar product. Regretless of how sweet it tastes, how many calories it has, or how many grams of fat it contains.
Hidden sugar is the main reason you need to limit the amount of bread you consume. Look at the labels and you will see that nearly all supermarket bread is full of high fructose corn syrup. Just because it is wheat bread, don't assume it is better than white bread. I was surprised when I started reading the labels that some wheat bread actually has more sugar and less fiber than some white bread. You don't get a label from a restaurant, so avoid their bread products. High fructose corn syrup makes things taste good and it is cheap. It just makes sense that every restaurant would use bread full of it.
Once you control the sugar, take your fat burner of choice and watch what happens. As long as it has an appetite suppression and something to maintain your energy levels you will get ripped. The appetite suppression makes it easier to eat less total calories, and the energy enhancement helps to maintain workout intensity.
There are mountains of information on how to lose body fat out there. More is added everyday. This is the simple solution that has been working for me.
What do professional athletes have that us average joes don't? A team of minions to keep their bodies tuned to perfection. All is not lost though. I have recently started using self-myofascial release (SMR). If you haven't jumped on a foam roller yet, here are some of the reasons why you might want to:
--Correction of muscle imbalances
--Provide optimal length-tension relationships
--Improved joint range of motion
--Improved neuromuscular efficiency
--Improved tissue recovery and repair (reduced soreness)
--Suppression/reduction of trigger point sensitivity and pain
--Decreased neuromuscular hypertonicity
--Decrease the overall effects of stress on the human movement system
There are all kinds of videos on YouTube. Just search for Self-Myofascial Release. Hey, in a couple of weeks one of them may be mine. Chances are your gym probably has foam rollers available for you to use. It is really easy to pick one up at your local Walmart though, and they don't cost a lot. Then in the comfort of your own home you can get busy getting better.
I started with a foam roller in February of this year. After my last contest in March, the body needed a rest from the weights. With zero time in the weight room, I got real aggressive with SMR training. My flexibility has increased. I'm actually a little sore in some spots though. Much like after heavy weight training. I'm going to continue with my daily SMR sessions for another week. I'm starting to get anxious to get back to moving something heavy. That's probably a real good sign.
I'm 82 days out today. I've been eating pretty free the past few weeks. My weight was just over 180 this morning. I've softened up a little, but I don't think I need to start cutting yet. I don't know. I will have to sleep on it. It will be clearer in the morning. In the mean time, get yourself a piece of foam and get to rolling.
How easy it is to accept an excuse, to blame others, or to credit your unfortunate circumstances for holding you back. Life hits all of us with different blows. Some harder than others, but the same thing is required of us all. You get knocked down, you get back up. Whether you ultimately thrive and bloom, or shrivel and die depends on the condition of your soul.
Jesus tells a parable of the sower. The sower went forth and sowed seed (see Matthew 13:1-23). The seed that feel on the path represents the unbeliever's of this world. They cannot understand it, and the Gospel is foolishness to them (see 1 Corinthians 1:18).
For years I was the one with the shallow soil. I received Jesus Christ at the age of 15, but I quickly fell away because I had no root. It wasn't until I was well pasted 40 years of age that this changed. There is only one way to condition shallow rocky soil. You have to saturated it with the Word of God. My father gave me this key when I left home at the age of 17. He told me to read a little of the Bible everyday. Not only did he tell me this, but one of my childhood memories of whenever I got up too early, was of my dad sitting at the kitchen table in his bathrobe reading the Bible and praying. He taught me the way I should go, and I thank God even though I wandered through some dark places, I did not forget it (see Proverbs 22:6). We must attend to the Word in order to be changed by it (see Romans 12:2).
After four years of daily Bible reading, I just woke up one day and realized all of a sudden that I had been totally transformed physically, mentally, and spiritually (see 2 Corinthians 5:17). Slowly though, the thorns started to grow. Not so much the deceitfulness of riches. They were the thorns of the cares of this world. These can be a mighty weight to bear. What are the "cares of this world"? I can think of no better example than "the Message" by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five:
I had an unbeatable spirit of can-do instilled by the Marine Corps. In the Army I was taught that surrender is not a Ranger word and to always fight with all my might. Then I became a quiet professional. A Green Beret well prepared to always do whatever necessary to get the job done. Self-reliance is a desired trait of this world, and I have the equivalent of a graduate education in it. I finally realized the one drawback of self-reliance. Relaying on your own strength to live, work, and do will impede God's grace. You can rely on your own strength or you can rely on God's grace. The two are mutually exclusive. This is why Jesus told us to take His yoke upon us, and he would give us rest for our souls (See Matthew 11:29). It seems like it took me a very long time to figure out how to do that.
The key is found in 1 Peter 5:6-7. Verse 6 starts by telling us to humble ourselves. Don't let the word humble scare you. Humble is a right estimation of ourselves. Knowing that there is nothing good within us of our own self (Romans 7:18). That all good things come from God (James 1:17). Without humility you will not be able to do what it says in verse 7 of 1 Peter chapter 5. The King James version says "Cast all your care on Him; for He careth for you ". The Almighty God cares for you. Humble yourself, exalt God, and ask Him in faith for the graces you need. The trust you show in Him to take care of you, honors Him greatly. You will be blessed (see Jeremiah 17:5-8).
Everyone born again has accepted the grace of God for salvation. The lesson I had to learn was to continue in grace (Acts 13:43). Grace is the good soil. Jesus is the vine, we are the branches, and God is the gardener (John 15:1-5). When this happens within, some will produce a crop - a hundred, sixty, or thirty times what was sown. How much is up to God. One thing for sure, He will cause you to bloom wherever you are planted.
The most basic requirement for happiness is good health. Looking good is great, but without good health it profits you nothing. It is easy to forfeit your health seeking pleasure, fame, and fortune. Even if you do get it, in the end you would trade it all to get your health back. This is a basic truth that we all would do well to remember.
I am now 14 weeks out from my next competition. Working the connections. I've spent all this week doing the opposite of flexing and contracting. I've been spending my gym time stretching and training my muscles to relax. This is the other side of strength. I'm feeling much better overall, but I still don't have a burning desire to start lifting just yet. So I'm going to do what I've been doing this week, next week too.
One of the other things I've been doing is stripping my supplement use down to the essentials. The essentials for health maintenance. I qualify that because if we were talking about essentials for building muscle I would also include whey protein and creatine. So here's my list of essential supplements for health:
1. Fish Oil. I hardly ever eat fish. To be sure this leaves me deficient in omega 3s, so I supplement wilth 2 gms of fish oil daily. Omega 3s are essential fatty acids that are necessary for all kinds of things like brain health, joint health, and testosterone production. If you need more of a reason for making sure you're getting your omega 3s, there is a good article on Bodybuilding.com that I found informative. For whatever reason BodySpace wouldn't allow me to post the link in this blog. You will have to copy and paste this title into the search box: How fish Oils Help Balance Your Nutrition For Optimal Health!
2. Glucosamine Chondroitin. I used to have a lot of knee pain. Especially when I walked down a flight of stairs. I have been pain free sense I started taking glucosamine supplements a few years ago. You may remember that I blogged about having some knee pain recently. Turns out that this certain "yoga-like" move I started practicing incorrectly a few weeks ago was causing my knee pain. I've stopped trying to do that one, and now my knee pain has stopped as well. Anyway back to glucosamine. The best product I've found is called Osteo BiFlex. You can find it in most any drug store or the health section of your local supermarket. I stopped taking this supplement once just to see if I still need to take it. My knee pain returned and I've considered this one of my essential supplements ever sense. You youngsters out there may not need it, but when your knees start to hurt you may want to remember to give this one a try.
3. Multi-vitamin. Most of us eat the same things over and over again. The problem with that is if what you eat is deficient in certain vitamins or minerals you don't get them unless you supplement with a multivitamin. A multi-vitamin to me is an insurance policy to make-up for the nutritional gaps in my diet. When I first started supplementing with a multi I took one of those products with the multiple tablet packets. Having to shallow that many horse pills everyday got real old real fast. I went looking for a one a day, and once I found Men's One by Raninbow Light my search was over. They also make a Women's One formula.
I'm not sponsored by any supplement company. I get nothing from mentioning these products. This is just what I take. I hope it helps. Be healthy and well.
I have long since held the believe that the body doesn't have parts. That we shouldn't split it up to workout like we cut a chicken into pieces for the deep fryer. The parts of the body are all connected. This is why the bread and butter exercises in the gym are the compound movements of the bench press, deadlift, and squat. Add the pull-up to those three and you have 90 percent of what it takes to build an impressive physique. My concept of how things are connected has increased this week. All things are connected. It is not just what you do in the gym, your gains will be connected to what you do with the other 23 hours of the day out of the gym. The effectiveness of your exercise will be connected to what you eat. But that's not all. The body is connected to the mind. The mind is connected to the spirit. The spirit is connected to the body. All things are connected.
All aboard! Next stop, NPC Masters National Championships in July 2013. It's back to the NPC, back to Men's Physique, and back to Pittsburgh, PA. How am I going to get there? I don't know exactly, but that doesn't really matter. To quote the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. "Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step." My intention is set. That's the first step. I will wait in faith for the rest to come.
I read a blog on bodyspace a week ago that left me thinking about how I used to feel during a workout. Like an unstoppable machine. Strong body, focused mind, peaceful spirit. I had almost forgotten these feelings. My latest workouts have been just plain tough, tougher, and tougher still. Reading that blog made me realize how far from those workouts I've gotten that made me feel like I could run through walls and hop over small buildings. Got to get my groove back.
Last Thursday I took a complete rest day. I didn't even do my morning kung fu. I did the same on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. By Monday I was starting to feel better. The pain in my knee and shoulder was much less. I started with adding about 20 to 30 minutes of easy stretching to my morning ritual. I've been getting stronger every day. This morning I began to feel like my old self again. I'm thinking that tomorrow it will be time to add my kung fu back into the mix. I haven't taken this much time off from lifting in who knows how long. I'm going to stick with the gentle movements until I'm pain free. I would like at least a couple of weeks of good heavy lifting. I started cutting 10 weeks out from my last competition. This show I'm going to start cutting 12 weeks out. Right now though, I'm easing way up to re-charge my turbo boosters.
Daily Grind Friday April 5, 2013
Floor drills - 20 to 30 minutes of stretching
Sauna for 20 minutes
Tai Chi for 30 minutes
Workout Quality: A1. Felt the best I have all week.
The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. One part, one half, or even three quarters of the truth is no truth at all. This understanding was assisted by something that A.W. Tozer wrote (Tozer has become my favorite Christian author):
When the devil took Jesus up onto the pinnacle of the temple and said, "Jump off of here, because it is written, 'he shall give his angels charge concerning thee,' " our Lord's response was, "Again it is written, thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God" (see Matt. 4:5-7). Truth lies not in "angels shall keep thee." It lies in, "the angels shall keep thee, but don't tempt God."---"Experiencing the Presence of God" by A.W. Tozer
The point that Tozer was making is that it takes the agreement of all scripture to accurately express the truth. Had Jesus accepted the half truth, this testing would have ended in disaster. A similar disaster for your faith awaits if your prayers are based on only part of the truth as well. When a prayer is not answered, I think it is important to understand why. I now have a three point check for every prayer of petition:
1. Faith. Gotta have it. With it you can move mountains (see Matthew 17:20). If you doubt, you shouldn't expect anything (see James 1:6-7). A doubting thought doesn't equate to doubting by itself. This was a huge realization for me. You cannot stop a doubt from poping into you mind anymore than you can stop a bird from flying over your head. But I believe it was Billy Graham who said "you don't have let it build a nest in your hair". Entertaining a doubt is like letting it build a nest in your hair. Do this and it will only multiply. Instead, cast down each doubt as soon as you recognize it, and you will be fine. It is only the entertaining of such thoughts that will move you from faith into unbelief and doubting.
2. Motive. First of all check your motives (see James 4:3). I would not give my daughter something that I know would hurt her even if she asked me for it. And God is an infinitely better parent than the best we could ever possibly hope to be (see Matthew 7:9-11). Following Philippians 4:8 will ensure that our thoughts, as well as our prayer requests, are pleasing to the Lord.
3. Will. This is the final piece I've just recently come to understand. To the mustard seed size faith of Matthew 17:20, you must also add the truth of 1 John 5:14-15. Whatever you ask in accordance with the will of God, believe that you have received it, and it will be according to your faith. First we must learn the will of God, then we will be able to move mountains. We must enter through the narrow gate (see Matthew 7:13-14), Romans 12:2 is the key, and James 1:22-25 is the path.