Best article I have ever read… at least today

I had a whole other idea I was going to write about but instead I am going to leave a simple link to a short article I read about 2 minutes ago.  For the procrastinators out there, me included, it is a great read to help “push” you along your way.  Now go read it before you get distracted by the bright shiny objects in life.

It is written by Leigh Peele, a lady far smarter than me who specializes in nutrition and fat loss.  Check out her site, read her blog and then report back to me about how much cooler/successful/better looking/more well-read she is than me.  Whatever.  I am way stronger than that chick and have chest hair.  Like, lots of chest hair.

For those wondering why I didn’t get a post up yesterday, it was due to a combination of procrastinating and my blog turning into an incomprehensible rant about things that are not interesting. 

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Celebrity Training advice and the inane crap they spew forth upon the world

Because I still have no idea what I’m really doing as far as managing this blog (it is pure luck I found the right button to publish anything so far) I pressed a magic button and it took me to a blog post that has a huge picture of Denise Richards.  My first thought was, “I like looking at Denise Richards” followed by “Maybe she has something semi-intelligent to say.”  OK, that was not my second thought but it occured to me at some point.  Probably.  Well, I was wrong.  As with so many celebrities who insist on speaking publicly, with the exception of Jack Bauer, it was time misspent on my part listening to her.  I realize she is not an exercise professional, nor ever claimed to be, but I would hope she would at least hire somebody who knew what they were talking about.

Jack Bauer being awesome.

In the post Denise Richards mentions how great Pilates was at “lengthening” her muscle.  BZZZZ.  Wrong.  It is impossible to lengthen the muscle.  The muscle does not attach to the bone but to tendons which in turn attach to the bone.   The “length” of one’s muscle is genetically pre-determined and short of tearing a tendon and having it re-attached at a different site, there is nothing you can do about it.  You do not make muscles longer.  Period.

She also states that Pilates was originally designed for dancers so it “doesn’t build your legs.”  Joseph Pilates originally designed this for bedridden German nationals locked up in Britain during WWI.  It was later adapted to dancers, but, like I said, originally designed for BEDRIDDEN inmates. Not quite the same thing as dancers.  What I know about dance couldn’t fill a thimble but I am pretty sure laying on your back has little carryover to dance.  Even if it were great for dancers (debateable) that hardly equates to great for fat loss. 

I’m not saying I hate Pilates.  I actually like the concept it promotes of breathing awareness and postural awareness and the low impact it requires making it far more user friendly.  However, beyond a total beginner to fitness and fat loss, I don’t see the correlation to fat loss.  Let’s see, checklist for fat loss;

Metabolic disturbance – Minimal.  A cool little calculator I found for Pilates says that for a mat based session of one hour for a 150 lb individual would cost roughly 238 kcals.  Color me unimpressed, but props for the calculator.

Emphasis on nutrition – a google search provides nearly 2 million results (I did not read them all).  Result – mixed (although I am sure there is some great advice and some not-so-great advice as with everything on the internet).

Creating a caloric defecit – depends on caloric intake of the individual obviously, but with a low caloric cost and low EPOC it definitely creates a huge need for nutritional education and a severely decreased intake.  Result – Booooo for hypocaloric diets.

Do I think Pilates has a place?  Sure.  I like it for some clients as a low impact regenerative supplement to their regular fat loss program, but I think they can also get that elsewhere.  Overall I think it really depends on where you are at in your fitness journey.  If you are already where you want to be, then Pilates may serve as a good maintenence type activity, but if you are just beginning then a more “progressive” approach may be required (read: lifting heavy stuff is good for you and makes people, animals and Jason Bourne want to hang with you).

Yep, they should have left him alone.

In other news, I managed to drop pics of my two biggest man-crushes in one blog post.  And learned inserting pics is a lot easier than I thought it might be.  Be warned, this is the beginning.

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What you should be doing in the gym and how to not be another asshat in the gym.

Continuing from my very first post ever, let’s start working on the question concerning what you should be doing once you get into the gym.  Here’s a little rundown on a generic version of what I’ll do with my clients.

Foam rolling – here’s a clip going over the basic stuff.  Bottom line; it is awesome, you should be doing it and baby Jesus cries when you skip it.

Corrective stretches – if your upper traps are tight, stretch them here.  Chances are your upper traps are tight, as are your hip flexors and pec muscles.  Rarely do we have anything resembling an idealic posture these days.  Quazimoto is not the sexy beast Disney would have you believe. 

Dynamic Warmup – Best product ever going over this is Magnificent Mobility.  Pair that with Inside/Out and you will feel like a million bucks before you even pick up anything heavy.

Core Training – Please don’t insert more situps here.  Seriously.  They are typically the last thing our population needs more of.  Think about it, you are slouched over your monitor right now reading this, your abs are in a shortened state and you are going to go the gym to reinforce that poor posture?  Try a plank variation or an Anti-rotational press instead, or better yet do both. 

Resistance Training – Lift heavy stuff.  Pink dumbbells and stretchy yoga bands are frowned upon heavily.  They do not make you strong and being strong is important regardless of your goals, be they fat loss, hypertrophy (getting yoked) or athletic performance.    I’m not saying you need to put a 400 lb barbell (best video ever) on your back on Day 1, but you shouldn’t be afraid to challenge yourself a bit either.  Guys, you must train legs and not on the leg extension or leg press.  There really are more things than the bench press in the weight room.  Ladies, learn how to do a pushup and a proper squat.  Your body will thank you and so will everybody who checks you out on a daily basis.

Energy Systems Development – This is just a sexy way of saying “cardio” for your desired goals. 

Cooldown – Here is normally just repeating the same corrective stretches from the beginning and more foam rolling.

So there you have it, a very brief overview of a very thorough training session.  Now go lift something heavy and brag about it afterwards to all your friends/family/strange dude on the bus.

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Hello to the fitness world and enthusiasts out there!  My very first topic I wanted to cover in the fitness world is to answer the question, “Why bother?”

Bottom line when it comes to getting started is you MUST be able to find a reason why heading to the gym is a good idea.  I think people have these overly noble ideas of why they should get started, like to “improve their lifestyle” or “improve heart health”.  Most clients that come to me do usually have these very reasons when they first sit down with me (and I don’t dislike these reasons; they’re great, but it’s rarely their honest reason and it’s not the reason that will make keep the motivated), but after a little bit of talking their real reason usually comes out.  It is almost always a self serving answer and there’s nothing wrong with that.  It is that reason that will help them improve themselves and make them keep coming back to the gym. 

Their honest answer can run anywhere from, “This summer I just want to look good at the beach,” or “My boyfriend broke up with me and I want to look like a swimsuit model just to rub his face in it” or “I just don’t want my back to keep hurting every morning”.  There are a thousand other real reasons that will motivate people to not only get started, but to keep with it, even on the hard days. 

You absolutely must have a reason, a very honest reason, why you should do the hard things and not skip the next session.  Even when you hit the legs a little hard the day before and you’re having a hard time getting out of the car.  Even when Michelle (the office gossip, because all office gossips names are “Michelle”) brings bear claws into the office, your favorite!, and you have to make a choice between taking a step away from your goals or taking a step towards your goals.  You must keep that reason forefront at all times.

So the homework assignment is to find your reason, your real reason.

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