Friday, January 30, 2009

Long Distance Cardio Is Out

A co-worker of mine did a presentation this morning on the topic of resistance training versus aerobic training, especially for the female population. If you go into any gym you will see that most of the cardio equipment is occupied by females and very rarely do you see a female lifting weights in the area of free weights. My co-worker talked about the misconceptions that females have about resistance training as well as the benefits of weights versus the negative effects of long distance aerobic training. There is a lot of research being done on this topic as of late and a lot of talk by specialists such as Alwyn Cosgrove.

Resistance training is an overall better approach to body composition goals than is long distance aerobic training. Resistance training will strengthen the muscles which in turn makes them "tight" looking and gives the body definition. Along with this there is the effect of "afterburn" in which the body burns more calories, and more calories from fat many hours after the training session is over. With long distance aerobic training there are more calories burned during the actual training session than with resistance training or interval training, but the "afterburn" effect with resistance and interval training compensates for this and creates a larger calorie usage.

Resistance training is used by a lot of people in an incorrect manor as well. There are many people, especially females, who want to "tone" and resistance train using dumbells that are maybe 5% of the actual weight they can lift. When resistance training, one should use a weight that they can only complete about 10-15 reps. The reps that are completed should be a challenge and weights should be increased when the current weight is no longer difficult. Results come from effort and if a large effort is not needed then the results are not going to be maximal.

Solely doing cardio training can lead to complications later in life. For instance, strength will not be there to complete daily activities when one becomes elderly. Also for women, there will be a greater chance for osteopenia. With resistance training bone density is increased but with endurance training and long distance running bone resorption is increased. Women are already more likely to have bone deficiencies when they get older so resistance training is needed to combat this. Stress fractures, joint and back problems are also results from large amounts of running.

I will add this...I am not saying that no one should run long distances. If you are an athlete competing in a sport such as cross country or marathons, then you obviously need to train by running long distances. However, incorporating resistance training into a regemine will increase your quality of life as well as performance. So there are some people out there who need to train aerobically, but for the average person just looking to cut fat and look good naked, resistance training and interval training are a much better and more efficient option.

This is just a brief overview of the topic. For more information check out the work by Alwyn Cosgrove. Also check out the book, "The New Rules of Lifting for Women" by Lou Schuler and Cassandra Forsythe.

Friday, January 23, 2009

"Is that a sledge hammer?"

Here are a couple videos from today's sledge hammer workout. Just a nice little visual into my world.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

We Should All Be Mad Scientists

Experimentation...a word and thought that most people associate with science. Go into a lab, mix some solutions in a couple different beakers and step back to see the reactions that take place. However, the word is more of an action; An action that should be present in everyone's daily lives.

Most people think that the best way to learn is read books and articles and take notes in class. These are all great ways to achieve knowledge and without these our knowledge will be lacking, but the most promising way to learn is to experiment. Whether it be in the field of exercise, food, or whatever, experiments lead to results and no one can argue those results. Go out and try new things. Try new lifts, new recipes, even new supplements or other types of aids. I myself am constantly experimenting with my life. People always give me a hard time for using supplements and claim that I am wasting money because they probably won't work. True, they may not work but I will never know unless I try them out myself. I love finding new supplements because for me it is a way to learn. I learn what doesn't work, what does work, and how it works. I learn what different things are used for.

When looking at my workouts, I try new set/rep schemes, new exercises, and new methods of prehab/recovery and monitor my body and the progressions I make over a period of time. When it comes to my eating, I try different ways to increase my meals, different types of meals, and different timing on meals. Each way I am keeping an eye on my weight and how it fluctuates. Even small things like today where I was making a smoothie and tried throwing some different items in it. Yea, it's taste wasn't so great but the only way I could know that was to try it.

Try new things and new ways to do old things. But don't just do these different things for a few days and quit. Set a time period, do something new over that period of time, and make notes and observations on the changes that occur. It's like the scientific method states: Develop a hypothesis, create and experiment, gather data, analyze the results and draw a conclusion. This method is used for all scientific experiments and most of the knowledge we have today has come from experimentation. Use this in your daily life to learn and experience what you may read about and who knows, you may come across a groundbreaking find.

Some of your experiments may fail and you may see that as a negative but remember this Micheal Jordan quote, "I have failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed."

Monday, January 19, 2009

Take Advantage of Your Life

The future...something we can't control. Yet I find myself constantly thinking about it and trying to determine how it will turn out. I was once told that time is our only currency and once we lose it we can never get it back. Ever since I have tried to live with that mindset and take life one step at a time. Yet I still tend to look at the future and overlook the present. To focus on the present and what we have now is to live life to the fullest. Take in everything the present has to offer for once it's gone, it's gone. I hope that I can fully take in and appreciate every moment I am granted and fulfill everything I am capable of.

What happens to us down the road is determined by our actions today. I personally expect to better myself day by day while enjoying the life around me. It's not always fun and it's not always positive, but that's what makes it life. Things will tear us down and that is where we have to be strong and rebuild to a better person. Overlooking life because of a bad situation can create holes in out lives which can cause our character to be weak. Attack instead of avoid and embrace instead of fear. These are the ways that life will be mastered.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Call Me John Henry

You may have read about the experience my lifting partner and I had on Friday on his blog, If not, I will explain. Instead of performing your basic lifts with dumbbells, bars, and machines, we decided to mix things up every Friday. This past Friday we had some fun with sledge hammers and a sled. As a student of the University of Kentucky you may have seen us walking through the Seaton Center or Johnson Center with sledge hammer on shoulder. You may have given us a confused, maybe even scared look. You may have thought we were crazy. I'm not gonna lie, I'm not all there but there was a method to the madness. The sledge hammer is a way to work multiple muscle groups in a fashion that the body is not used to. It also mixes things up so that the workouts do not get monotonous. It's a great way to take your body to the next level.

The workout itself was brutal. It consisted of 4 sets of 1 minute on, 2 minutes off of alternating sledge swings. The goal of each set was to get the maximal number of hits before the time was up. After each set my lower back, shoulders, and forearms were on fire, which was great considering we were outside in 5 degree weather. With the completion of the four sets we headed inside to play with the sled. For this we set up a straightaway that was about 20-25 yards. With the sled holding 60 kilos (approximately 130lbs) we took turns pushing the sled the 25 yards and back. We completed 3 round trips and by my last 10 feet it was all I had to get it across the finish line. Near vomiting, I picked myself up off the ground to get some water.

This was something my body was not accustomed to and I could definitely tell. Each week the volume of the workout will increase while we continue to mix up the workouts. Other things such as sled pulls, sand bag training, and possibly your good Ole' car pushes will be used. I am excited to see how the rest of the weeks turn out with Fridays being this way. I truly believe this addition will help boost me to my goals and keep me guessing along the way.

Stay tuned for videos and pictures in the coming weeks.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Arnold Classic

The Arnold Classic is coming up in a couple months and I am very excited. I am looking online right now at what all is going to be going down at the Classic since I have never been before. A couple of my buddies and myself are going to make the trip up to Columbus to catch the event. For those that don't know, the Arnold Classic is a three day event that encompasses all of fitness. There is a figure competition (from amateur to pro), there is an expo of 650 booths of retailers, supplement companies, etc. There is powerlifting, strongman, cheer and dance, arm wrestling, boxing, strength training presentations, and the list goes on. In the three days we are there I am going to try to soak up as much information from the professionals on location. I am going to see who I can meet and who all I see. Hopefully I will also pick up some supplement samples to try out. This is a weekend that any meat head, fitness guru, and lifting fanatic should experience. I am sure that once I go once I will want to return every year. If your interested and want some more information then check out the site:

Monday, January 12, 2009

Nutrition Bite


Protein is an important part of an athlete’s diet. It helps to rebuild tissue that has been broken down such as muscle after exercise. For many people a normal diet can be enough for getting the recommended amount of protein but for athletes there is a higher need which sometimes requires added protein to the diet. The recommendations for protein intake are between 1.2 and 2g/kg of body weight for athletes. With this there are many places you can get protein from in your diet including meats, fish, vegetables, dairy products and lentils. It is also important to mix up the types of proteins you eat and get both animal and plant proteins.
With regards to exercise it is important to make sure there is an intake of protein immediately following exercise to start the refueling process. There has also been recent research saying that protein during exercise, as well as after, can lead to even better training results.
Below are some protein contents of common foods.

Food Sources

Protein (g)
Egg White, 3g
Beef, Roast 4 oz, 30g
Chicken Breast 4 oz, 30g
Tuna 1 can, 30g
Nuts 1 oz, 6g
Lentils 1/2 cup, 7g
Peanut Butter 2 tbsp, 9g
Cheese, American 1 slice, 6g
Milk 1 cup, 6g
Yogurt 6 oz, 6g
Cottage Cheese 1/2 cup, 15g
Rice 1/3 cup dry, 4g
Oatmeal 1/2 cup dry, 5g
Peas 1/2 cup, 2g
Carrots 1/2 cup, 2g
Corn 1/2 cup, 2g
Potato, 2g

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

And once again...

It's another new year. This means it's a new semester, a new workout, and another page of the book entitled LIFE. I can't speak for others but I myself get excited to create a new page of my life. There are all kinds of possibilities and even more than usually this time around. Not only am I about to graduate with my Master's degree but I am about to enter this place people refer to as "The Real World". Am I nervous? A little. But am I ready for it? As much as I need to be. I have already decided that this is going to be a year of great things. I know I have goals and I know they will be reached. This is 2009. This is the year I reach 190lbs. This is the year I find myself a great job. This is the year I meet new people and continue to stock pile my connections. I have two close friends getting married this year. I have had some rough times in my life lately but I am not discouraged by these times, I am motivated. People like to use negative things in their lives as excuses...well I like to use them as fuel. Fuel to my life and my mission. Everyone wants people to feel sorry for them and comfort them however this is only making them weaker. Life and everything that happens with it is meant to build and strengthen one's character and drive. Use a negative to better a positive and you will live a better more successful life.

Back to the topic of 2009. The number nine is considered to be a complete and perfect number. Well in that case make 2009 a complete year for yourself, I know I will. Wake up every day with a plan to better yourself and those around you and you will see many good things happen. Stay focused on your goals and resolutions. Achieve them.

On a side note I was working on a workout for one of my clients earlier and I am pretty excited about this one. I am trying a few new things for him and I hope that we can get a solid schedule so I can see what kind of results he gets. He wants to get bigger and stronger and last semester we worked together but scheduling conflicts really limited our time. However I got to identify some problem areas and things that we need to work on. I have decided to try out full body workouts and use a undulating periodization plan. It looks like this: Day one will be a heavy strength day, focusing on core lifts such as squat and deadlift, and the rep scheme will be very low. Day two will be a moderate day while day 3 a higher volume day. His hip strength is somewhat behind so I have a few hip circuits added in his warm-ups. Hopefully with this as well as box squats we will see some improvements. I can't wait to see how this program works since there are a few things I am doing different.

I myself also have a new workout with some new techniques. We are adding in a fifth day to a push/pull split where we will be doing some functional work with sleds, sledge hammers, and sandbags. Hopefully we will see some improved overall strength with these workouts and also don't kill ourselves.

Welcome to 2009...will you make this year complete or just let it pass by and hope everyone feels sorry for you?