August 31, 2011

Rant and Tip for August 31, 2011

Watch the USAPL Bench Press Nationals Live Stream My class starts at 2:00 Saturday September 3rd.

Quote of the day: Fall seven times, stand up eight.

- Japanese proverb

This proverb applies to many aspects of life. Think about how many times you have started a new eating plan only to fall off the wagon. The people who are successful are the people who recognize that just because you fall off it does not mean you have failed. It just means it is time to get back up. An animal is does not learn a new trick the first time you try to teach it to them. You start over and over again with the animal till they get it correct. Why would you sell yourself short and deny yourself the opportunity to succeed.

Yet another day off for me today as I get mentally ready for Saturday. I keep playing my lifts over and over in my head and I keep reminding myself to wait for the commands. Start, Press, and Rack! I cannot let my head get to psyched out because then I have a tendency to push the weight up immediately with out waiting for the command. I need to be Cool Hand Luke. I need to wait for the press command and throw the weight up at that point. I have been in the gym this week just not hitting the weights. I may get some cardio in today. My weight is perfect at 162.4 this morning.

Yesterday I ranted about the importance of strength training as we get older. Today I thought I would discuss strength training for children. The American Academy of Pediatrics does not have a set age for when to get children into lifting. “The AAP’s position on strength training supports the implementation of strength and resistance training programs, even for prepubescent children, that are monitored by well-trained adults and take into account the child's maturation level. The only limitation the AAP suggests is to avoid repetitive maximal lifts (lifts that are one repetition maximum lifts or are within 2-3 repetitions of a one repetition maximum lift) until they have reached Tanner Stage 5 of developmental maturity. Tanner Stage 5 is the level in which visible secondary sex characteristics have been developed. Usually, in this stage adolescents will also have passed their period of maximal velocity of height growth.” This above is courtesy of In addition to the above statement the article stated that strength conditioning could help increase bone density and help reduce sports related injuries. For children under the age of 8 body resistance exercises are what are suggested. Push-ups, pull-up, and body squats are very effective for young children. As they get older you can introduce weight training. Higher Reps and proper form are the recommended exercises.

Have a great workout!

Tip for the Ladies
Don't worry—you aren't going to get huge.

It's not easy even for men to get so they look like those folks on the cover of Muscle & Fitness magazine. For women, because of your lower levels of testosterone, it's definitely not going to happen, unless you have some off-the-charts genetic propensity to pile on muscle and are spending your entire day working out. Don't worry that lifting will make your muscles burst out of your clothes.

August 29, 2011

Rant and Tip for August 30, 2011

USAPL Live Stream for the Bench Press Nationals.
Quote of the day:

People are so worried about what they eat between Christmas and the New Year, but they really should be worried about what they eat between the New Year and Christmas. ~Author Unknown

This quote is so true. Many people go on a diet to lose a few pounds and then go back to the way they were eating before the diet and then wonder why they put the weight back on. Let’s be honest here. If you ate properly year round you would not have to worry about what you ate between Christmas and New Years. If you make permanent life style changes it no longer becomes a diet that you are on. It becomes part of who you are. It becomes your dietary intake to live a healthy active life.

I have said it many times since I have been putting my rants together, that the body was built to move. We are not the fastest animals on the planet, however we are very efficient at what we do. I do not know of a cheetah that can run a marathon. He is very fast for a short burst of speed, but gets out of breath quickly. So if you are being chased by a cheetah cross your fingers and hope you can stay ahead of him long enough for him to get out of breath. We are very intelligent creatures but at the same time tend to forget that we need to keep our bodies in motion. As we get older it is not that our bodies give up on us, we tend to give up on our bodies. We adopt the mind set that, I am getting to old to do that now. The American College of Sports Medicine has stated and I quote “Most older individuals are well aware that they need regular aerobic exercise, such as walking, swimming, or running, to strengthen their heart and lungs and tone their bodies, but many dismiss weight training (also called resistance training) as an activity predominantly for the young or the vain. However, it is the only type of exercise that can substantially slow, and even reverse, the declines in muscle mass, bone density, and strength that were once considered inevitable consequences of aging. Unlike aerobic, or endurance, activities, which improve cardiovascular fitness and require moving large muscle groups hundreds of times against gravity, weights provide so much resistance that muscles gain strength from only a few movements. Resistance is usually provided by free weights or machines, but individuals can also get stronger by exercising in water.” Now listen my friends I have to admit here to being a little vain, I truly enjoy the comments I get when someone does not believe I am 49 and will be 50 next year. There I said it and admit it. I am a little vain. Another benefit to weight training is it helps fight off osteoporosis. Strength training adds more weight to the skeleton by building muscle; this stimulates the bones to strengthen and grow to bear the heavier load on the muscles. Another issue that affects us as we get older seems to be balance. This comes from the weakening of the core and other stabilizing muscle groups. Strength training aids in this as well. So there you have it my friends, all the more reason to incorporate strength training in to your daily routine.
Have a great workout!


Don't be a workoutaholic. Many people train way to hard in the beginning thinking that more is better, especially when results first appear. However, you're much better off easing into the process. Your muscles aren't prepared to do a lot more than they were doing before you started exercising--they're ready to do a little more. You increase your chances of success by increasing your activity a little bit. The morning after a workout, you want to feel like you trained, but you don't want to have to crawl to the bathroom. That will come later when those muscles are really ready and so are you.

August 28, 2011

Rant and Tip for August 29, 2011

Quote of the day

“The difference between impossible and the possible lies in a man’s determination.” Tommy Lasorda

 Here is a post from my friend Brian regarding his experience at the USAPL Powerlifting National Championships.
Brian is a determined individual and will reach his goals

My trip to USAPL Raw Nationals

About a year and a half ago, I made the decision to return to graduate school and move to the Binghamton, NY area. I was aware that the 2011 USAPL Raw Nationals would be held in Scranton, and marked my calendar for this meet more than a year in advance. The only requirement to enter was to have a recorded total in a USAPL sanctioned meet within the last two years. I had already recorded a total in the 198 lb weight class from 2010, but wanted to compete in the 181 lb weight class. After pulling out of a contest in December due to an injury and worse yet, food poisoning three days before the meet, I competed in USAPL meets in both February and May. After relearning how to squat I totaled a paltry 1000 lbs in February and a more respectable 1124 lbs in May in the 181 pound weight class. A year ago I competed in a relatively large meet in North Carolina, but USAPL Raw Nationals would be my first really big meet. Upon seeing the roster of lifters which included each person’s qualifying total I knew there was no chance in hell that I would win, and decided to shoot for some small personal bests. My previous best meet lifts in the 181 pound weight class were a 358 lb squat, a 281 lb bench, and a deadlift of 485 pounds. Also one of my goals was to not finish last.

The last few days before the meet, I weighted consistently around 180 pounds, so weigh-ins would not be a problem. With Scranton being only an hour away I decided to stay at home and drive the morning of the contest. The night before I got to bed miraculously early, for me at least, and fell asleep a bit after midnight. Unfortunately I woke around 3:30 and never fell back asleep. Seems I rarely get 4 or more hours of sleep the night before I compete. Upon arriving at the venue, I weighed in at around 178 pounds. I saw that I would be in the second flight so I figured out when I would start warming up. I wanted my squat opener to be easy so I opened at 314 lbs. My last warm-up was 295 and went up easily.

While squatting during contests I want to go low enough for the lift to count, but not too low to make it harder than necessary. I asked my friend Frank Panaro to stand on the side and tell me when I was deep enough. I go down slower than most other lifters, and then reverse the weight upon an audible cue. Opening at 314 was quite easy, so my second attempt was 347 lbs. This is a weight I have not missed in a long time. Upon Frank’s cue, I reversed the weight and finished the lift successfully. For my third attempt, I called for 369, which I have squatted in my basement many times, but not yet during a meet. Again I descended slowly and upon Frank’s cue, I stood back up. To my dismay, the announcer said ‘no lift’. I still to this point am not sure what went wrong. Frank has been lifting for a long time, and is a judge himself, so I trust his judgment on the depth. Looking at the video of the lift, it looks identical to the previous attempt which recorded three white lights for a good lift. Afterwards, I had about a half dozen random people come up to me asking what happened, since they thought it looked like a good squat. While the 10 kg difference didn’t make a difference in my final placing, I am a bit peeved to miss out on the PR attempt.

Next up was the bench. About three weeks before the contest, I adjusted my grip and my form to alleviate the pain to my left shoulder from the beating it was getting from squatting. While I prefer to not change my technique this close to a meet, I felt it was necessary. Plus I was hitting weights over 90% of my PR with the new form without liftoffs at home, so I felt a PR attempt was possible. I opened at 270 lbs, which is common for me. It went up, but a slower than it did back in May. On my second attempt I played it safe and went for 281 lbs to tie my PR. Again it went up, but it was a struggle. Based on previous experience, I could tell that I had nothing left in the tank, so I passed on my third attempt.

I still had a chance to set a PR for my total, with a big deadlift. The last few months I trained deadlifts less than normal, but my past tells me that when I get stronger in the squat, my deadlift also gets better. The last two weeks, I trained my deadlifts mostly to develop speed off of the floor, and the last session produced a pull of 385 lbs from a short deficit. My last warm-up deadlift was 385 lbs and felt easy. One of my current goals is to finally get over the 500 lb deadlift barrier. I opened at 413 lbs, and the weight came up without any hesitation. Since the lift had good speed, I thought that 500 pounds was possible, and I jumped up to 457 lbs. As a side note, I record my lifts and use to the timer to measure how fast I move the weights. The 20 kg jump would then be followed by another 20 kg jump to 501 lbs. I set up as I normally would, reached down, grabbed the weight, and within 2 seconds had locked out 457 lbs. Next would be my attempt at 501 lbs. Not only would this weight get me over 500, but it would be enough to make up for the missed squat to give me a PR for my total. Following my normal routine, I started my pull. Back in June, when I attempted this in a meet, the bar got away from me a bit and it stalled about 3 inches shy of my knees. This time I did a better job of keeping the bar close to by shins, but again it stalled, this time at knee level. As the bar slowed, my left leg shook, and I felt my kneecap, hitting the bar. This is how I could tell how far the bar rose. Needless to say, I missed the lift.

I finished the meet with a total of 492.5 kgs or 1086 lbs, good enough for 17th place out of 20 in my weight class. The winner in the weight class went over 700 kgs which included a deadlift of over 670 lbs. My total would have tied me for first in the meet that I won back in May. However, the national competition attracted a large amount of very strong lifters. At most meets, there are a few deadlifts over 600 lbs. This time it seemed that every guy in the 198s and higher was capable of that. In addition, to the quality of the lifters, the meet was well run, especially considering the size with well over 300 competitors. The location in Scranton most likely bumped up the turn-out, as there were over 130 lifters from Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey alone. Being between the ages of 24 and 40, my only option is to compete in the Open division, which is open to lifters of all ages. Not only does it include competitors of similar age, but also college aged athletes and also veteran lifters, who have been competing for longer than I have, who don’t want to be the only ones in their age and weight class. Therefore the competition is intense. This tough competition has led to a few goals. Among them is that in two years, the USAPL Raw Nationals will be held in Orlando Florida, not far from where I grew up. My goal is to return then with the goal of placing in the top half of my weight class.

Have a great workout!

No goal is reached with out hardwork. Brian works hard and I have no doubt he will be pulling 500 in his next deadlift in a competition.

August 27, 2011

August 27, 2011

Here is the link to the BenchPress Nationals next Saturday. I lift around 2:00

I normally do not get to post on the weekend but I found the website Powerlifting Academy and thought this was really funny.

You might be a powerlifter if…

  • The doctor tells you that you need more iron in your diet so you throw in an extra set of lock-outs!
  • You check squat depth when using the john.
  • When you work a desk during the day and you still have 1/2 inch thick calluses on your hands.
  • You think baby powder on your thighs and chalk on your hands looks cool.
  • Whenever a non-PL friend of yours moves house, or needs to move heavy things around the place, you are the FIRST person they call for help!
  • You psych up before lifting your laundry basket off the floor.
  • Most people in the gym don’t like you.
  • You are NOT at a powerlifting gym when during your leg routine, you have all the 45’s in the gym on your own bar and a bunch of guys are watching you waiting for you to share.
  • You dismount the toilet like doing box squats (to perfect that explosive power).
  • You think torn track pants, an old, sweaty, filthy t-shirt advertising a garbage company, and SLIPPERS, are perfectly suitable gym attire.
  • You can’t count above 5 but can multiply by 45 in your head.
  • People at gym tell you someone is looking very “cut” and you think they had a terrible accident in the kitchen.
  • When the word “gear” refers to squat suits, bench shirts, wraps, belts, suit slippers, salts and chalk, not STEROIDS.
  • When you inhale ammonia instead of using it for cleaning.
  • When the amount of weight you lift is more important than how cleanly shaven your legs are or how dark your tan is.
  • When the gym owner kicks you out for bending yet another bar while squatting.
  • You think a 16 oz. steak is a snack to have between meals.
  • It takes 5 seconds for your spirit to re-enter your body after deadlifting.
  • You think that creatine is a food group.
  • You use a 1 kg plate as a paper-weight on your desk at work.
  • You have baby powder in your gym bag.
  • You take your weight belt off in between sets or while going to the water fountain or restroom.
  • You develop “white lung” from the chalk and baby powder.
  • You use the handicap stall at a public restroom for the use of the handrails on leg day.
  • You are annoyed by someone using the power rack for curls, even when the gym is empty.
  • You can’t understand why college wrestlers wear powerlifting uniforms.
  • You have more garments in your gym bag made of polyester than is worn by the whole crew at McDonald’s.
  • You think it is cool the Japanese named a national sport after your deadlifting style.
  • The greeting “Good Morning” makes your hamstrings and lower back ache.
  • You think of helping your neighbors move their piano as “a set”.
  • You drop something, and go into a sumo stance to pick it up. ( I do this)
  • You might be a powerlifting female if all heads turn when you squat.
  • You might be a powerlifting female if you get more excited over squat shoes and new belt than you do over jewelry.
  • You get accused by bodybuilders of taking steroids because you’re stronger than they are.
  • You daydream of pushpressing aerobic instructors to see how high they will fly.
  • You have ever used a Home Depot card to purchase “training equipment”.

August 26, 2011

Rant and Tip for August 26, 2011

Quote of the day:

"If you don't have confidence, you'll always find a way not to win." By Carl Lewis

With my meet coming up I thought this quote was most fitting. However as I read it, it takes on a much broader meaning. I was on the Atkins forum yesterday and I was reading some comments that were made. Someone was concerned on being able to stay on plan. Concerned with being able to continue through plateaus and stalls in their weight loss. It is confidence that they need. You need to have the confidence to know you can make the changes you need to make.

Good morning everyone. I am feeling pretty good at this point and even worked my bicep a little some light curls. I still have to be careful though and cannot go heavy yet. Triceps went very well though. That is the last workout on my arms till after the meet. I will let my muscles de-load for the next week until September 3rd. Lately it seems I cannot get enough of the gym. I cannot imagine what I am going to do next week. I guess for one my workout partner will get pushed to his limits. He is off on Wednesday next week and I leave on Thursday, so he will get pushed hard on Monday and Tuesday.

My diet the past week has been very clean. I have watched everything I put in my mouth while making sure I am still getting the calories I need and the protein as well. I want o make sure I am not getting into a catabolic state. A catabolic state is a condition that is mainly caused by excessive training coupled with a lack of adequate nutrition, especially protein. It results in numerous undesirable side effects in the body, such as extreme fatigue, joint and muscle pain, and sleeplessness. I need to stay in an anabolic state and to do that I have been making sure my protein levels are up and I take casein protein before bed. Casein protein provides a sustained slow release of amino acids into the blood stream; sometimes lasting for several hours which is perfect for while I sleep. I use Ultimate Nutrition’s Casein Protein. It is affordable and the flavor is great. It contains only 1 net carb and 24 grams of protein.

Have a great workout!

Don't compare yourself to others. We’ve all seen them, those toned, 3 percent body fat specimens who strut through the gym in their shorts and sports bras. Don’t compare yourself to them, they may work hard but also may be genetically gifted. Do not let them deter you from your goal. Keep your eye on your prize, not theirs. You do not have to have a complete 6 pack to be successful and happy.

August 25, 2011

Rant and Tip for August 25, 2011

Quote of the day.

Take a moment to reflect on this one for a bit.

“Exercise and application produce order in our affairs, health of body, cheerfulness of mind, and these make us precious to our friends.” By Thomas Jefferson

One week from today I will be on the plane heading to Orlando for the Bench Press Nationals. I am getting pretty excited. Woke up this morning to 162.4. I was hoping for a solid 163 this week and it looks like I am there. I will keep my water intake up and make sure my protein levels stay where they are so I do not lose any muscle for the event. The other key is to make sure I keep my fats up and do not fall into the trap of low carb and low fat. You body needs the fats for fuel. I will increase my fat intake with healthy oils like extra virgin olive oil and MCT oil. I like CapTri. I get it from John Parrillo. He has his own line of protein powders and protein bars. They are the best products you have never heard of. LOL Again no, he does not endorse me in any way. I even asked if I could offer his products here and they responded politely by saying they do not do that at this time.

Yesterday was the first day in a while I was able to work the shoulders with out the bicep tendonitis flaring up. I was even able to start doing my pull-ups again. I used 4 different grips. Close with my palms facing each other, shoulder width apart with palms facing out, a very wide grip and a finger tip grip on a rock wall type attachment. It was and felt great. I will add weight to my pull-ups the week I get back from Orlando. Pull-ups are a great exercise and hit many muscles in the upper body. I use the different grips to hit the body differently. The exercise targets the latissimus dorsi muscle in the back along with many other assisting muscles. Other muscles that are engaged are the posterior deltoid muscles and teres major muscles; these muscles are extensor/adductor muscles and are attached to the shoulder blade. The lower trapezius and pectoralis minor are involved as scapular depressors. If you lean back during a pull up, which is how I do them, the rhomboids also work with the lower traps to pull back the shoulder blade. The biceps muscle is involved for stabilization; it shortens as the elbow flexes yet lengthens as the shoulder extends. The bicep is used the most with a supine grip, palms facing you. I have not started doing a chin up yet for this reason, as I know the bicep is more involved with the chin-up. Lastly and this I recently read on wikipedia, which is where I got a lot of this information, the rectus abdominis, erector spinae and internal obliques/external obliques are used to hold the hips and rib cage together and support the spinal ligaments in resisting the traction of gravity. I like to do my pull-ups with a full extenstion in the shoulders and back. I let my body come to a complete rest at the bottom so there is no swing or “kipping” motion, (using your legs to kip up into the pull-up). This takes strength and you may not be able to do this as you first start this exercise. You can check my >Exercise Video page if you want to see how to do them assisted. The other option is to do an inverted row. You can read how to do them >here.

Have a great workout!

Pull-ups are not an easy exercise for many people. I credit my father for my upper body strength. When I was very young he would play with my brothers and I. One thing he would do is lift me up and let me hang by my fingertips on the door jam. Then he would pretend to walk away, leaving me there, pulling myself up to look to see where he was. As a child your upper body strength get developed even before you legs. Watch any 1 yr old, they are always pulling themselves up to get to something. Once we start walking we tend to lose some of that. I did not do to the way we played and worked as kids. As I got older it was hauling wood to heat the house and carrying bales of hay that kept me strong. You are wondering where the tip here is aren’t you, the tip is, it takes time to develop this strength if you do not have it. You need to spend the time to work on it. Do the assisted pull-ups and the inverted row. Work at it twice a week and you will get there. Oh and one more thing, it will be easier when you lose the first 20 pounds of fat.

August 24, 2011

Rant and Tip for August 24, 2011

Quote of the day:

“One should eat to live, not live to eat.” ~Cicero, Rhetoricorum LV
Man, I just love that quote!

Good Morning, I had the pleasure of watching a water skiing show last night. It was nice to watch and I thought to myself how strong the people must be on the bottom of the pyramid must be. Their legs are constantly engaged while the boat is pulling them. Their shoulders back and arms are engaged holding the rope and they have to keep their bodies tight while the people climb up them to create the pyramid. Nice job guys! It was a nice family outing.

There are many people around me that are on one diet or another. Many of who will come to me with questions regarding how I lost my weight and if I can help them. Inevitably we have a conversation about the way I eat and I go through a half an hour to an hour of how the body reacts to food as fuel. They seem excited to make the changes to their diet. However a week later they are back to their old bad eating habits. I guess it all comes down to really wanting to make the change. Just like a smoker not being able to quit smoking unless they are truly ready, if you are not really ready to make the changes to your diet that are necessary you will not be successful either. You have to tell yourself you can do this and that you are worth the change. For me it was easy, I chose a low carb lifestyle and since I love meat and lots of vegetables and enjoy not worrying about the fats I have been successful. I was ready to make a permanent change in my life eating habits. My children needed me and I so wanted to be there for them. There were the selfish reasons as well. I wanted to look better and I think I do. Very few people ever think I am 49.

Today in the gym I warmed up and performed my opening lift. I then worked out with 75 to 80% of my max with all three commands. That is when my lifting partner remembered to give them. LOL. A new exercise we have been doing is benching in the cable machine. This really works the stabilizing muscles in the shoulders. The cables want to go in all different directions as you press up and you have to use your stabilizers to hold it in a steady upward motion. Depending on how I feel on Friday I may try for a gym personal best. Then it will be a full week of rest. There will be no lifting for the entire week. This will give my body time to deload and be ready for Saturday September 3rd. You do not have to worry about deloading or working your benching twice a week. If you follow one of the routines on this blog you will be successful in getting fit. We are not all meant to be powerlifters or marathon runners. However we can all be fit and feel great getting there.

Have a great workout!

Keep a photo of yourself at your heaviest where it is needed most. If eating bad foods is your issue put the pic in the kitchen, on your fridge, in your pantry, in your freezer, or on your counter,wherever you are going to see it before eating foods that you know you don’t need to eat. If your issue is exercise, put that pic on your closet door to remind you to grab your sneakers, put it next to your alarm clock so that when you go to hit “snooze” you see it and decide to get up and exercise instead. I keep mine in my cell phone.

August 22, 2011

Rant and Tip for August 22, 2011

Hello again everyone, another weekend behind us. I did a mock meet again this past Sunday. I won’t tell you my numbers as I don’t want to jinx myself. Besides I think the other lifters a googled my name. I can see what sites send traffic to this page and if the traffic comes from a search engine; I can see the search they entered. Someone searched Wesley Kipp Bench Press. My blog was picked from the results. I have to admit I have searched them out as well. LOL birds of a feather my friends. I am already not sleeping well. My mind keeps running over my lifts. I have to make sure I sleep well though so my muscles can heal and be ready for the 3rd.

How is everyone’s dieting going? Let’s not call it a diet. That really has a negative connotation to it. How about we just decide that it is a lifestyle change. After all you are learning to eat properly for the rest of you life and not fall back into the habits that have gotten you to the state you are in now. The reason you have chosen to change your eating habits can be many. For me it was to be able to play with my children longer and the fact my triglycerides were very high. My blood pressure was climbing and I took that as a wake up call. Through proper diet and exercise I brought my trigs down to 12 from 350 or 360 something like that. My blood pressure is right in line and my doctor tells me I am in the top 5% of his healthiest patients. Not bad for a guy who was on medication to try to control those things. I am not on any medications and continue to be very healthy. You can get there as well. You know you can and that is why you keep popping in this blog to realize that anyone can really make the changes they need. Be sure to check my before and after photos to see the change you can look forward to. Use it as motivation to reach your own goals. If I can do this anyone can. To get started just start tracking your food intake and if you can start looking at food as a fuel that is meant to do just that fuel the body you will be successful. You don’t have to look at food as a fuel. I just seems to help me. From the standpoint of eating enough to eating the right foods.

Once you have made the commitment to start exercising you need to then find something you truly enjoy doing and plan it the same way you would plan a meeting or an appointment. Put it on your calendar, and treat it as important as any other appointment. Be flexible but make sure it is set as a one of your priorities. Once you make the commitment and it becomes part of you schedule it will also become a habit and you almost need to do it to be happy. After all there are more than just the unseen health benefits, but what you friends and family will see is a happier healthier you. It is funny this past weekend I had to put a new ridge vent on my roof, while I was up there my neighbor was talking to me and he asked me how much weight I had lost. I told him and from my roof we talked about exercise and diet. I have seen him a several times since losing the weight but I guess he was just waiting to see if I put it back on. Happily I have not and if you do it properly you will not either.

Have a great workout!

Tip: Do not, I repeat do not, look at you lifestyle change as a diet. The thing is the moment you go off any diet you will put the weight back on. When you go back to eating the way you did to get fat there is only one result that will take place, you will put the fat back on. Also since your body has already been fat it thinks that is a normal state for it and will actually want to be there. If you maintain your new weight once the fat is lost, over time that will become the new norm and it will be easier for you to maintain.

August 19, 2011

Rant and Tip for August 19, 2011

Big Day today, It is the start of the USAPL Powerlifting National Championships. The ladies will be lifting today. Katia has told me she starts at 9:00 AM sharp. As I said yesterday good luck to all my friends who are lifting in this event. One of the competitors is Rick Cancelino, he is one of a few guys who actually body builds and crosses over to power lifting. It really is two different disciplines. He is the only guy I know personally that does perform and perform well in both. Good luck to you Rick. I will be watching my friends and rooting them on from home. Next year I hope to be with them. Here is the link to the live stream  USAPL

Yesterday I work back and shoulders paying special attention to the lower and middle trapezius muscles. They seem to be weak compared to my chest and shoulders. As I strengthen them the impingement in my shoulder should ease up and that will help my bicep tendonitis. I am glad I now know what is causing the tendonitis. It will take some time to even things out but I am determined to accomplish this goal. Tomorrow I plan on hitting my arms as hard as they will take it. Triceps will be hit pretty heavy then biceps and forearms. I will have to see how much the biceps will take. I still have to be careful. With the cable machine I will be able to really hit the triceps. Sunday assuming my triceps feel rested I am going to do another mock meet.

As many of you are aware I do live a low carb lifestyle. In doing so when I eat my complex carbohydrates I time them around my workouts. I enjoy a baked potato and a yam around my workouts. I will sometimes have a baked potato an hour before my workout and a yam with in the first half an hour after my workout. My thought on this is I will burn those carbs during my workout and since I have the yam along with my protein after my workout my metabolism is so cranked up that those get burned as well. They will also help fuel muscle repair. When I was very over weight I chose to watch my carbs very tightly and didn’t allow myself the potatoes. Now that I have met my goal body fat % I do have the potatoes as part of my diet. When you do the math compared to the average American I am still eating a low carb diet.

Have a great workout!

Schedule your workout during quiet hours – Don’t put exercise time in a place where it will easily be pushed aside by something more important. Right after work or first thing in the morning are often good places to put it. Lunch-hour workouts might be too easy to skip if work demands start mounting.

August 18, 2011

Rant and Tip August 18, 2011

Yesterday, I talked a little bit about myths concerning Atkins. It is funny; in my daily life people all the time come up to me and asked me questions about fitness and my diet. They in general think I am not following the Atkins diet, because they see what I eat and think that based on their knowledge of the diet that I am not following it. I inevitably end up given them a lesson in the program. I do not push Atkins on them but try to educate them on how the body will process foods. I let them know your body burns four things for fuel, Carbohydrates, Fats, Protein and Alcohol. My poor children have heard this all before and they have said to me, “Can you go a day without saying carbohydrates?” I tell them, “I can as long as nobody ask me how I got so fit.” Sometimes they just walk away shaking their heads. I actually hope, this all sinks in for them so they never get to where I was.

I went to Albany Strength last night for a quick workout and to wish my friends good luck in the USAPL National Raw Powerlifting meet. Do to family commitments I did not do a full power meet in this federation and thus did not qualify. The event is being held in Scranton Pennsylvania and is being streamed live at the USAPL website. Check it out and root for my friends this weekend. Good Luck Mike, Jim, Ox, and Adam from Albany Strength. My friend Brian and Ray will also be there and some of the woman who will be competing are Katia, BillyJo, Tierney and Laura. Good Luck to you all. If they stream the Bench Press Nationals I will be sure to let you all know as well.

If your have not been working out what are you waiting for. Strength training really is for everyone. Studies have shown that people who continue to lift into their senior years benefit greatly. They tend to not break bones as easily and they maintain the balance better, thus having less accidental falls. I bet if that woman who keeps saying “I have fallen and I can’t get up” had been doing her strength training exercises she would not have fallen in the first place. Exercise can keep us going long into our later years of life and give us quality as well. We lost a fitness guru last January. Jack Lalanne, he was 96 years old. He was never a burden on his family and was an avid swimmer. One of his quotes I like most is: "Living is a pain in the butt. Dying is easy. It's like an athletic event. You've got to train for it. You've got to eat right. You've got to exercise. Your health account, your bank account, they're the same thing. The more you put in, the more you can take out. Exercise is king and nutrition is queen: together, you have a kingdom." I just love that statement.

Have a great workout!

You to grandma!


When eating out do not be afraid to ask what is in a dish and even request some changes that meet your dietary needs. I do not usually eat a potato or yam after 4:00 in the afternoon. So when I eat out I have no qualms asking for an extra side of vegetable instead, or a salad. You are the one paying for the meal, get what you want. Oh and one more thing, if they are accommodating as they should be, be sure to tip appropriately.

August 16, 2011

Rant and Tip for August 17, 2011

I have a tough time following my own advise sometimes. With my bicep tendonitis I have been very careful not to do any exercise that causes the tendon pain. With that said I so sometimes push the envelope by trying some exercises that my mind tells me not to. I mention this to you all so that maybe I will be a better listener to my body and live by example for you.

I want to address some facts and myths about the Atkins Diet. You have heard me mention that I follow a low carb way of eating. This is in fact the Atkins lifestyle. Historically Atkins has gotten a bad wrap. I remember some 10 years or so ago a friend of mine went on the “Atkins Diet” or what he believed was that Atkins Diet. In fact it was not Atkins at all. Before I go any further let me tell you Atkins does not sponsor my site and has never paid me to endorse them. They did pay for my success story on their site and the entire story is true. You see my friend was under the impression like many people that Atkins was about only eating eggs, meat, fish and cheese. This could not be further from the truth. The Atkins diet is rich in dietary fiber and healthy vegetables. Plenty of leeks, and other green vegetables are cornerstones of the diet. I eat more vegetables now than I did when I was obese. The following is a quote directly from the Atkins site. “After the typical two-week Induction phase, if you choose to start here, the Atkins program allows you to gradually expand your food choices so you can ultimately enjoy a healthy balance of the nutrient-dense foods from a variety of food groups – lean protein, a full array of colorful, fibrous vegetables and fruits, nuts, legumes, and if your metabolism allows, whole grains and good fats – all while reducing levels of refined carbohydrates, refined sugars, and trans fats. When it comes to the four food groups, the Atkins Diet includes a variety of foods from each one. The plan provides helpful guidelines to help select the best options, steering you away from the starchier varieties.” Another myth is that the Atkins diet is unhealthy. This could not be further from the truth and NO Dr. Atkins did not die of a heart attack because of his diet. He slipped and fell on sidewalk that was iced over. Here is the thing and I speak from my own experience, since eating a low carb lifestyle I have gotten my triglicerides in line and my blood pressure is excellent. Both of which I had issues with before adopting this eating lifestyle. So if you are so inclined to adopt a low carb lifestyle feel free to do so. Oh and one more thing. I do not think that lower carbohydrates have affected my performance in the gym. You can be the judge on that though.

Have a great workout!

Set realistic goals, don't strive for perfection or an improbable goal that can't be met. Focus instead on increasing healthy behaviors. In other words, don't worry if you can't run a 5K just yet or bench half your weight. Make it a habit to exercise 15 minutes a day and work you way up in intensity and duration from there. Don’t bite off more than you can chew.

Rant and Tip for August 16, 2011

Good Morning, Well 16 more days till I leave for the national meet. I am getting pretty excited. Had a good workout yesterday and hit my opener with a long pause. I want to make sure I can hit it in my sleep. My opener is 20lbs heavier than it has ever been and it is more than my NYS record in the 100% Raw Federation by about 3 lbs. Still working hard and I only have this week and next to train. Then it is a week of rest for these muscles to heal and get ready.

Today is my squat day. I will work up to 335 for a set of 5 and stop there. After the Bench Press Nationals I will start concentrating on my squats and deadlift more. I am still looking forward to hitting close to a 400lb squat. I think it is achievable but I need to set small goals to get there. My first will be to hit 350 deep enough to count as a valid competition lift.

The gym I go to just got a cable machine and I am looking forward to doing some lower back work in that machine. Pull-throughs will be the call there and what ever else I can figure out to hit the hamstrings. The cable machine is a great machine and you can perform many exercises in it. If you have access to one I would encourage you to start using it. Actually it is the one machine that can help the average person achieve their goals in getting healthy and fit. You can hit everybody part with it. I plan on using it to help my friend reach new levels in his fitness regimen.

Let’s talk about calories for a little bit. If you follow a low carbohydrate diet many people will tell you not to worry about calories. If you goal is to just get fit and lose body fat this is true for the most part. However, this does not mean you can eat all day everyday. The big thing here is to only eat when you are hungry. On a low carb diet you will eat more healthy fats than you are probably eating now. Society has been preaching to us that a low fat diet is the way to go. Yet, we are one of the most obese nations on earth. Why is that? When you switch to a low carbohydrate diet you body will have to burn fat for fuel and some of the fat will come from foods you eat which will satiate the body and keep hunger away for a longer period of time. The trick here is to learn to identify what hunger is. When I first started eating this way I had trouble identifying hunger from thirst. A low carbohydrate diet has a diuretic affect on the body. You will be urinating more than what your currently do. You need to make sure you drink enough water. When you first start feeling hungry have a glass of water first. If you are still hungry then eat. Make sure you are still getting enough fuel for the body as well. Sometimes you may not feel hungry and yet your caloric intake is to low and you will put your body into starvation mode. We need to avoid this. Make sure your calories are between 1500 and 1800 for a woman and up to 2000 for a man. With that said, if you exercise as much as I do you will need to increase you calories. The only way to be sure you are where you need to be in calories is to track them. If you are in a steady decline in body fat and all of a sudden you hit a stall in your weight loss, try increasing your calories by 100 or so and see if that helps.
Have a great workout!


 Listen to your body! It may not speak English or your native tongue but it will speak to you in ways you need to learn to understand. Learn what hunger is and what thirst is. If you get to the point where you are thirsty you are already a little dehydrated. Learn the difference between DOMS and actual pain from an injury. When you have that injury let it heal.

August 15, 2011

Rant and Tip August 15, 2011

Quote of the day:

People say that losing weight is no walk in the park. When I hear that I think, yeah, that's the problem. ~Chris Adams

Good morning all, did you miss me? It may take me a little while to get back into the swing of things here but I assure you I will. I was standing in the kitchen this morning and deciding what to have for breakfast when it struck me that this is exactly how we sabotage ourselves. It would have been very easy to grab a Pop Tart or some sugary granola bar for breakfast instead of holding to my chosen eating plan. I opted for 4 fried eggs and some left over chicken from the night before. Yes Chicken for breakfast why not! I often find myself not having a traditional breakfast. How did we get to a point of thinking certain foods are only meant for certain times of the day. Give me a Western Omelet anytime of the day. I guess my point here is do not let yourself get trapped into thinking you have to have the same food for breakfast everyday.

Now concerning the bicep tendonitis it is feeling pretty good today although I have to admit during vacation all the swimming on the beach did not do it any favors. It must have been the additional stretching and the pulling motion you do when you perform the breaststroke. I will be making another appointment with the physical therapist today. I am currently happy with both my sports medicine doctor and physical therapist. Both are personable and realize that I have goals to hit.

Sunday I hit the gym and did a mock meet to prepare for September 3rd. I warmed up and opened with a lift of 300lbs and then went for 315lbs. I had a couple of guys spot me and give me the calls for the USAPL meet. A start command, a press command, and a rack command. I nailed the two lifts and when I nail them on September 3rd I will decide then what my third lift should be. My weight is good at 166 this morning and I will hit 163 in plenty of time for the meet.

One of the things I am finding difficult lately is how to help you all. Things that I think are important may or may not be important to you. So send me those emails and let me know how I can help.

Choosing to take the journey from Fat to fit is a path that can take many twist and turns. What worked for the first couple of weeks may fail you for the next few. Remember I have stated in the past the body is an amazing machine and becomes very efficient at what it does. This includes how it burns food for fuel. As you track your food intake you will find foods that you need to stay away from. For me as I get closer to my competition weight I have to stay away from macadamia nuts. I don’t know if it is the salt or the fact I have to eat the whole jar once I open them. (Probably the latter) You will find foods that you have to avoid as well. Everyone is different. Secondly do not sit back and say you do not like vegetables. There must be a vegetable you enjoy, and no corn is, a vegetable it is a grain. We all have the vegetable we do not like. For me it is wax beans. YUCK. Instead give me any leafy green veggie, or a sundry of other delicious green vegetables, including cauliflower. The dietary fiber in these foods is essential to a healthy diet. Find the veggie you love and just find additional ways to prepare it and you will be much happier.

Have a great workout!

Write down your progress (your weight, body fat percentage, tape measurements, the amount of weight you can lift for a specific exercise) but only compare it on a long timeline. If you compare to soon you may get discouraged. This does happen to me sometimes. I will weigh myself everyday. This can negatively affect my muscle growth because I get to worried about the scale. Measurements are work best for me. That and having my body fat % calculated. If my body fat is in the range I want then my scale weight does not matter.

August 5, 2011

Rant and Tip for August 5, 2011

Tomorrow I turn 49 and it strikes me that next year I will be competing in the 50 to 54 age group. This just seems incredible to me. Time has flown by. We waste so much of our lives saying I will start that tomorrow, or think to ourselves “I have a lot of time to get that done”. Why do we do this to ourselves? We stay in toxic relationships, maintain poor habits that will effect our health and put off healthy relationships and habits. We all are guilty of it I guess at some point or another in our lives. I do not have the answers to these questions. I can say that I have learned and practice a healthy eating and physical lifestyle and you can to. If your goal is to get to a healthier you start with what ever is easiest for you to do. If you are the type of person that can change both diet and exercise changes then go for it and don’t look back. On the other hand if you can only handle one big change at a time then do it that way. Just do it!

As we get older our joints tend to tell us enough is enough. I have a friend who is an incredible physical specimen. He is a Physique Artist, he has posed as a guest poser at the Arnold Classic and I believe the Mr. Olympia event. His name is Russ Testo. Please visit his site and if you are a body builder reach out to him. He is one of the best posers in the nation and maybe the world. Franco Columbo a former Mr. Olympia once told him that he should be teaching the pros how to pose. Anyway back to the joints. He and I were doing squats one day and he mentioned his knees were bothering him. He is 55 I believe, maybe 54. Sorry Russ I forget which. You definitely do not look it. Back to the knees. Basically I think this comes with age and most athletes will notice some pain in the joints as they get older. Glucosamine can help with this and there are other joint medications out there. It becomes extremely important to warm up the joints with light reps before advancing to heavier loads. I find that the more my knees are warmed up the better they feel through out the workout. Especially when doing squats. Proper form on those squats is vital. Make sure to get your butt back as if you are going to sit in a chair. DO NOT squat like you’re a catcher in a softball or baseball game. Remember to a watch your form or better yet have someone else watch your form. You will be happy you did. Let’s grow old gracefully but fight it all the way!

Have a great workout!

TipHere is a tip I found on the Men’s Health web site and I think it fits well here. If you're under 40, hold your stretches for 30 seconds. If you're over 40, hold them for 60 seconds. As you reach your 40s, your muscles become less pliable, so they need to be stretched longer.

August 4, 2011

Rant and Tip for August 4, 2011

Good Morning, I hope you all are getting into a regular routine with you exercise regimen. I will not be around to post for about a week. Starting tomorrow. This may be a good time for some of my new followers to go back and read some of my past post. I hope Brian is able to get me his weekend post tonight or early Friday morning. I am also hoping another power lifter will be able to send me some of his thoughts today so I can maybe set them up to post next week.

Today my weight is right where it should be for the meet on September 3rd. I am at 166. I am more worried about not being able to eat right on vacation and losing muscle than I am about gaining fat. I am hoping to be able to get a morning run on the beach in and maybe some pushups and crunches nightly. If you recall I have posted before about being able to workout where ever you are, even though friends or family may criticize you for it. I have chosen this healthy lifestyle and plan to stick to it. I also have goals and aspirations in regards to lifting and fitness that can only be achieved through hard work and dedication. It is a funny thing when you are fat and overweight like I was the people closest to you, feel they need to remind you of it on a regular basis. Then when you lose the weight and become fit and find that it is what has been missing in your life they want to criticize you for the dedication you have towards it. This is why I have stated to you that you have to do this for yourself and nobody else. Losing weight and getting fit for the sake of someone else is not going to change your relationship with anyone. It can only change how you view yourself.

How you view yourself is very often a challenge in itself. Many people have a challenge after they lose the weight realizing they are not the same person on the outside that they were. They still view themselves as out of shape and unhealthy. It sometimes take a stranger or a family member they have not seen in a while to pay them a compliment or ask them how the did it. As you lose weight you may notice, some changes in your skin. Remember your fat cells store toxins and as the fat cells are burned for fuel they release those toxins into the body. This can result in your skin breaking out. Yeah this means it is time to exfoliate. LOL, I know I sometimes run off on tangents from actually lifting but since this is a blog on health and fitness, I think I need to do this sometimes. If you are wondering how to exfoliate you can visit “Body Wash Supplies”. This has pointers and sells products for skin care. They even have gift packages that you can send to a loved one. I had to throw that in for the guys because well, you know we don’t usually think of those things.

I will be working on my benching again today and then again next Friday. This way I get my benching in every week. I do plan on taking the week before the event off from lifting and only doing cardio as needed that week depending on my weight at that time.
Have a great workout!


Taking care of you is a lot more than just exercise and eating right. Yeah that is the big part. However as you lose the weight, you may need to change your mindset and increase your confidence in yourself. Taking care of your skin and indulging yourself once in a while is a good thing and can even be a nice reward. Learn how to exfoliate and take care of that skin at “Body Wash Supplies”

August 3, 2011

Rant and Tip for August 3, 2011

As I sit here wondering what to right about, my right calf is very sore. Not a pull or anything serious but something more than a case of delayed onset muscle soreness. This brings to mind when I pulled a hamstring a couple years back. I was in the back yard playing with the kids and their cousins. I made a quick move to the left and pulled my hamstring. By the next morning the black and blue was huge. I had already started my fitness regimen and was pretty fit at this point. I could not believe that this had happened. When I was fat and still ran with the kids this didn’t seem to happen. What was happening was from the exercise and getting fit my legs had gotten much stronger and the quick movement, which apparently was a lot quicker with out the extra weight, was just too much on the hamstring. Well it took sometime to heal. I continued to workout and even was able to use the elliptical but only at certain inclines. I tell you this because it strikes me like the muscle imbalance in my shoulder maybe my quads were much stronger than my hamstrings and this may have caused the pull. Remember Brian mentioned a couple of weeks ago that using the treadmill did not work the hamstrings because the track was moving on it’s own and you were not propelling yourself forward you were more like just keep up with the track. Well at that time I was doing a lot of cardio on the treadmill. You see where I am going with this. I think that is what caused my pulled hamstring. Now back to elliptical. Remember, I said that I could use the elliptical when I had the pulled hamstring but not at a certain inclines. The machine I use has an indicator that shows what muscles are worked at what incline. There is an incline that really concentrates on the glutes and the quads. That was the setting I used during the healing process. Now when I use the machine I use it at a full incline and turn up the resistance. I get a good whole leg workout and a strong cardio hit at the same time. At the full incline you work the calves, quads, hamstrings and glutes. I no long use the treadmill and had stopped using it even before Brian’s post. It just seemed to me, that I got a good sweat flowing with the elliptical over the treadmill. Now I know why thanks to Brian’s post.

While all injuries cannot be prevented they are usually a result of poor flexibility and tight or cold muscles. If you start working out on a cold muscle, you are asking for injuries to happen and you will pull a muscle at some point. A good stretching program should be part of your daily routine. This done properly will warm the muscles and help prevent injury. When I help coach my kids sports teams I like to tell them, “If they do not feel the pull in the muscle and a little soreness or pain they are not doing it right.” At their ages I have to watch them to make sure they do it right because they do not get that there is a feeling in the muscle when you stretch that is a good pain to feel. Most of the time they are fooling around when they do these stretches. Hopefully you know how to stretch at this point an if not, I will post about certain stretches for you to follow in the future.

Have a great workout!


Stretching can even promote muscle growth. A fascia membrane that is very tight surrounds the muscle. You may notice when you workout the muscle get very tight and at some point may even feel like you can barely continue the movement. This is because the muscle has swelled within that membrane. If you stretch the fascia it will allow more blood to flow into the muscle allowing the muscle to grow more.

August 2, 2011

Rant and Tip for August 2, 2011

I have two new quotes for you today. I found them both interesting for different reasons.

First let’s take Plato, he was a Greek philosopher, mathematician. He was the founder of the Academy Of Athens and is considered by many to be the father of higher education. He stated, “Lack of activity destroys the good condition of every human being, while movement and methodical physical exercise save it and preserve it.” Isn’t it interesting that nothing has change in these thousands of years? We still have to be told that if we do not exercise, our body will deteriorate. We all know how important diet and exercise is, however we have a tough time listening to ourselves and just doing it. Yeah a reference to the Nike commercials. Sometimes even the advertisers have it right.

The second quote is from of all people Cher, “Fitness - if it came in a bottle, everybody would have a great body. “ This statement is so true. Everyone wants that quick fix. Everyone is hoping for the magic pill that will make it easy to get fit and healthy. I will say this if you read some of the diet pills directions they will most likely say that you need to exercise. At least they got that right. The other thing that comes to mind with Cher’s quote, is how we as human beings find great gratification from something we have done well. The harder it was to get the task done the more gratification we take from it. I assume this is also why the body releases endorphins when you exercise. So we can have that immediate gratification. Then when we hit our goals we feel even better because we did it. We got fit and are eating healthy and our bodies show it.

I will be doing squats today while those who follow my exercise routine for the more advance group will be doing their backs. The exercises posted here can all be done at home and with dumbbells or like I posted yesterday you can improvise with other household items.

Have a great workout!


Posting or blogging your workouts can be motivational. You can create your own blog or just put a comment here if you like. Having to report to someone how you did can be very motivating.

August 1, 2011

Rant and Tip for August 1, 2011

Good Morning everyone! I did not sleep well last night I was up most of the night. I even got out of bed and went to watch some television to see if that would help. Funny though I do still feel pretty refreshed. I did get into some REM sleep which to be honest with you is the first time in a long time I can remember dreaming. I have blogged about sleep already so let’s just move on.

I recently heard from someone looking for assistance and they asked me what they could do to get back into shape. They are struggling and do not have extra cash to join a gym or to buy some dumbbells at this time. The good news is that the exercise programs I set up on this site can all be done at home. Instead of using dumbbells you can use an empty 1gallon jug and put water in it to get the weight you want.
The jug has a handle on it so you can use it like a dumbbell. You can also use a pillowcase and put heavy items in the bag to use as a dumbbell as well. One benefit of the pillowcase is that you will also work your forearms. Since you have to hold the closed end of the pillowcase tightly you will be working your grip and grip strength comes from the forearm. The big thing this person has going for them is they have the determination to do what needs to be done to hit there goals. It really makes me proud when someone comes to me for help with the determination this person did. One last thing and this is directed to that person. GO AND GET IT YOU DESERVE IT!

Determination is something that can elude many people when it comes to health and wellness. We tend to take care of everyone around us and forget about ourselves. Then when you do take care of yourself you have those who think you are being selfish. Most of my determination to get fit came from my children. It was not from those close to me who insisted on calling me fat and unattractive. It came from the ones who call me dad. If you have read my success story you know I was to the point where I could not keep up with them. I am no longer at that point and now run with my daughter when she needs a running partner for Tai Kwon Do and I can wrestle with my son or help on his soccer team with out getting tired out. You are not being selfish to take care of yourself. You are being responsible to your friends and families, in assuring you are around for the long hall. Do not let people tell you it is selfish to take the time to get fit. It is the right thing to do. I do not know what you religeous beliefs are, but in the bible it states your body is a temple. We need to try to treat it as such.
Have a great workout!


I recently found a quote by Liane Cardes and it is "Continuous effort -- not strength or intelligence -- is the key to unlocking our potential." This is so true. How many times have we started something and stopped. We are strong enough and we have the intelligence but we stop and never hit our true potential. I know many people who have struggled with weight loss. They have not had an easy time losing their weight. Funny, the one person I have in mind once said “Jim can lose weight just by wiggling his ears.” Another person has struggled with physical set backs, these two woman inspire me to continue to move forward in my goals. They did not have an easy time losing the weight they wanted to lose. However, through “CONTINUOUS EFFORT” they have succeeded and continue to inspire others.