September 28, 2012

Do you love yourself enough?

Rant and Tip for September 28, 2012

Quote: "If people don't love themselves enough to cut down on their smoking, they may love someone else enough to do it." Unknown

As the month of October starts to approach I am always drawn back to thoughts of my mother. She was a wonderful woman full of life and had a love of animals and although was a stay at home mom, seemed to know a little bit about everything. Unfortunately the reason for her not being here has a lot to do with smoking. Some of you may remember me stating that my mother had an Alpha 1 Antitrispan deficiency. Even with this condition she could have lived a much longer life. She passed on October 28, 1981. I was 19 years old and smoking on top of her condition took her from us way to soon. My youngest brother was only 13. He grew up during his teen years without a mom and for my teen years she spent most of her time in the hospital. Beating smoking is not easy, but I truly believe if doctors knew then what they know now my mother would have made the choice to quit smoking once she had children.

Most people I speak to truly do not want to smoke any more. They are addicted to the habit and the nicotine. I know it is not easy to quit. However please take a moment and think about what you potentially could leave behind. You may not love yourself enough to quit, but think about your children. Do you have a young child you want to see go through their teen years without a parent? Or better yet, your grandchildren not get the opportunity to meet you. My children will never meet my mother their grandmother. Pretty sad. So hopefully you love someone in your life enough to do something about it.

Your weight loss, if it is causing health issues can be addressed the same way. Do you really want to die of a heart attack when your job as a parent is not done on this earth? If you find it very difficult to watch your diet for your own sake think about your family that needs you.

Physical exercise is so important in our lives and as we become more technically advanced we tend to sit more and more. This is not all that healthy for us. Our bodies were made for motion. We have fast twitch muscles for explosive power and slow twitch muscles for strength and endurance. One of the reasons for the obesity issues in America is the fact many of us sit at computers all day and do not get out to get any exercise in. Yeah we work around the house and get the some things done. However this is not enough to keep you fit and healthy. We all need to get out and get some physical activity in that gets the heart pumping.

Have a great workout!

Tip: When planning out your meals for the day make sure to eat throughout the day. Taking in your planned amount of calories in the early part of the day and then fasting for 13 hours will not give you the results you were looking for. Spread those calories out!

September 27, 2012

Low Carb diets are Misunderstood

Rant and Tip for September 27, 2012

Quote: “Men think epilepsy divine, merely because they do not understand it. But if they called everything divine which they do not understand, why, there would be no end to divine things.” Hippocrates

Good morning, I take the gist of this quote to basically mean when we do not understand things we like to make stuff up. At different points in history society would attribute the rising sun as a god itself and even had the sun revolving around the earth. I believe the low carb diet has gotten the same type of attention. The low carb diet has been around for a very long time. It was Dr. Atkins that perfected it though. Since then there has been a myriad of negative statements about it. All of which science today is proving to be incorrect. Eating a low carb lifestyle also does not mean that you eat 20 net carbs for the rest of your life. Carbs and Fats go hand in hand with each other and as time progresses and you add more healthy carbs into your diet you reduce some of your fats. Since I have been eating a low carb diet I have had nothing but positive results. I was at a health fair and there was a young nutritionalist there. I told her how I eat a low carb diet and she stated “How is that working out for you.” I was not sure if she meant it like, “No way that is working for him”, or if she was genuinely curious. I told her that I am a Powerlifter and it is working out great for me. I advised her I have kept the fat off for 3 years now and do not see myself going back to a low fat high carb diet. The one thing that people need to realize is that low carb for me may not be low carb for you. The Atkins book teaches you how to find your own carb balance to maintain and lose weight. This works for me and it is nice to have the science to back it up.

In using the quote by Hippocrates I in no way mean any disrespect to people who suffer from epilepsy. I have known several people over the years that have had it. Some from head injuries and others it was more of an onset type of thing. I do not claim to understand it myself but I can tell you that there is an Epilepsy specialist out there and one is the Department of Neurology at Beth Israel Medical Center. They have clinicians that are nationally and internationally recognized in their fields.

Today’s training will be all about keeping the shoulders strong and healthy, some rotator cuff work and some work for the front and rear deltoids. I like using dumbbells for this kind of work because you have use the entire should and in some cases the core to keep the weights from moving side to side and front to back. Military presses with dumbbells are great for this. I also like front and side lateral raises.

Have a great workout!

Tip: When doing the lateral raise concentrate on keeping the abs tight as you raise and lower the weight.

September 26, 2012

“Rest: the sweet sauce of labor”

Rant and Tip for September 26, 2012
Quote: “Rest: the sweet sauce of labor” Plutarch

Resting the body is mandatory when training hard. This may be one of the areas that I am really lacking and I am sure it is the case with my trainee. She trains very hard but I am not sure if she gets enough sleep in a full shot. She is able to take a power nap that I envy in the afternoons but I sometimes wonder if she gets enough in one full shot. I have read those who train hard should make sure that they get a full 8 hours of sleep for the muscle to repair properly. I know I do not get that and even with her power naps I do not think my trainee does either. I am also aware it can affect your moods.

However what effect does it have on the rest of the body? Could it affect fat loss as well? The Japanese have done studies on the subject and have found that it does, even resting longer between sets on a workout helps. It has something to do with the stress hormone cortisol. When we are under mental stress your body releases more corotsol and will this inhibits fat loss. So try to get your rest and plenty of sleep.

Squats will be the call of the day today. I have a few weeks left to tweak anything I can to make some nice numbers in October.  At this point I may not get stronger but I may be able to sharpen up my form. Let’s do this!

Have a great workout!

Tip: NAP!!!!

September 25, 2012

“He who hesitates is a damned fool.”

Rant and Tip for September 25, 2012
“He who hesitates is a damned fool.”  Mae West

I had a tough time finding a quote today, but found this one from Mae West. When I read it it made me think about squatting heavy weight. The reason is ATP, ATP is Adenosine Triphospate, is the source of energy that makes the muscle contract. The problem with ATP is that very little of it is stored in the muscle. It is replaced in the body both aerobicly and anaerobicly. There are 2 pathways for anaerobic energy and one pathway for aerobic energy. The first 30 seconds of a lift uses 1 of the anerobic pathway for this energy and is using what is stored and reserved in the muscle. This uses PCr (Phosphocreatine) and while it cannot be used as energy itself, it can rapidly replace ATP. The stored ATP and PCR is the energy I need to tap into when I attempt a heavy lift. If I wait too long my body has to get the energy through an aerobic pathway or the other anaerobic pathway, both are efficient but will not give me the explosive power I need to get the big lift.

 I recently attempted a squat of 385 and while during the walk out it did not feel real heavy, I took way too long to settle with the weight. Then I took too long thinking about the squat. I did not get the weight up. Now since when you squat heavy you hold your breath through the lift, you need to get your energy from the anaerobic pathways and if you wait too long before you squat and use up the PCr pathway then you will not be at your strongest. Now I will say that my form was not the best on this lift and will question myself as to whether that was because I did not have the energy or was it because I just had bad form. A point to ponder I guess.

You can really say the same to yourself regarding your diet. Really, why hesitate to take on a new eating lifestyle. Why hesitate in making this lifestyle change. There is really no down side to getting healthy and fit. NONE! I guess if people noticing the weight loss and saying something get a bit tiring, but I can think I would rather deal with that than be overweight and unhealthy. 

Recently the company I work for hired a new head of IT security. I walk past his office often mainly because his office in on the way to the kitchen. We have talk about diet and weightloss a little. Well a couple days ago he came by and was kiddingly mad at me. He said I just heard you are 50 years old and that you were a heavy guy and lost the weight while changing your diet and working out here(there is a small gym in the building). I said yes I was and did. I then showed him the before and after pictures on my blog. His response was “Now I have no excuse, you took them all away.” He cannot use age as a reason and he cannot use the excuse I cannot get to the gym. Really the gym excuse is bogus anyway. You can always do some aerobic exercise outside or get some dumbbells and workout at home. Anyway he is the one hesitating and in Mae West words a damned fool. To make it clear I do not think he is a damned fool, I do think however people fool themselves into thinking they cannot get it done.

Have a great workout!

Tip: Overtraining? You may be overtraining if you experience any of the following
·         Elevated Heart Rate
·         Elevated resting blood pressure
·         Difficulty sleeping
·         Fatigue
·         Irritability
·         Decreased interest in exercising
·         Immune system breakdown (prone to illness)
·         A failure to progress or improve
·         Excessive weight loss
·         Frequent muscle cramps or strains
·         Excessive soreness following workouts
·         Ammenoria (lack of female menstruation)

September 24, 2012

Why do we limit ourselves?

Rant and Tip for September 24, 2012

Quote: “Stop thinking in terms of limitations and start thinking in terms of possibilities.” -Terry Josephson

All too often we put limitations on ourselves. We make statements to ourselves saying “I cannot do it”, or “I do not think I will ever get here”. My question becomes then why not! If we continue to put road blocks in our way then there is absolutely no way we will achieve the goals we strive for. Life in general puts many road blocks in our way, it is up to us to tear down these blocks and get past them. Sometimes the challenges we have are truly mental. We think and act a certain way because we believe that this is just how it is and always will be. Again this is not true. God has given us all the ability to achieve great things. We need to find it within ourselves to move toward those great things. Great is a relative term. For some people a great thing may be losing 100 lbs for someone else it may be great to lose only 5 pounds that they have struggled with for years. Do not set limitations on yourself, start thinking of the possibilities that lay before you.

I have been playing with my diet lately and have realized I have been under eating. Yes, you can gain weight under eating as well as over eating. I have actually put on a few extra pounds. I still have my six-pack and even see striations in my shoulders and to be honest with myself and you my readers do believe some of the added weight is muscle gain. With that said with the increase of calories came an almost immediate weight loss of 2 pounds. This put me in the perfect range for my next meet. I have read and heard many people speak of a body going into starvation mode and I have even mentioned and spoken about this phenomenon myself. This just solidifies what I have read and preached. Phew glad I was right. If you are exercising intently and watching your diet but are not losing any weight consider increasing your calories to fuel your body and possibly watch the scale go down.

I will be benching today with the meet in Albany just a month away I want to hit my opener and maybe my second lift each week and save strength for the big and final lift. I want my body to be use to handling heavy weight so the day of the meet it all feels light. If you plan on working chest today here is a workout you can do and all of this can be done at home with dumbbells. Obviously this is not my workout because my needs are different from yours.
Incline dumbbell press - 4 sets 10
Flat dumbbell press - 4 sets 10
Decline barbell press - 4 sets 10
Dumbbell flies - 4 sets 10

Have a great workout!

Tip: When performing any dumbbell workout it is important to keep your entire upper body tight. Focus on your shoulders, back, chest and core and tighten everything up. This will give the entire body a workout and help avoid injury.