Friday, March 27, 2009

"What? That it's made from corn..."

I'm sure you have probably seen this commercial, or at least one of it's variations. It is trying to tell America that it's OK to consume high fructose corn syrup and there are no negative effects involved. Well that just pisses me off. There have been a lot of advances towards a healthier America over the past few years and now they are trying to take a step backwards. I am sick of seeing this shit on my television. It's so annoying to see these idiots spew out their "facts" about HFCS. Yea I'm sure these people didn't massage any research at all. HA! I recently read an article by a successful exercise physiologist and nutritionist by the name of Dr. Lonnie Lowery. He gave the true facts about HFCS so I wanted to pass those on.

HFCS cause a combination of hyperinsulinemia and aberrant intracellular metabolism. These both lead to lipogenesis and glycation. Lipogenesis is the creation of fats while glycation is the gumming of proteins. To go along with this, straight liqud carbs such as HFCS are digested and metabolized in a particular way. Fructose increases lipogenesis by bypassing PFK, the most important regulatory enzyme in out carbohydrate biochemistry. This supplies the body with a large amount of acetyl-CoA and glycerol, the building blocks of fat. And compared to glucose (sugar), fructose has a much greater tendency to glycate surrounding proteins. This glycation is a common marker of past glucose tolerance and is used to test diabetics. Hmm...seems to me that there is a link between fructose and diabetes. Glycosolation also has been linked to disrupted cell function and aging. This all sounds bad to me, but what do I know, I don't work for the Corn Refiners Association.

If for some reason you still don't really trust me or Dr. Lowery, then check out this excerpt from a scientific research study: "long-term absorption of fructose...causes enzyme adaptations that increase lipogenesis and VLDL secretion, leading to triglyceridemia, decreased glucose tolerance, and hyperinsulinemia."

Maybe the commercial should have went something like this...

Once you accept that HFCS is not "OK in moderation" and all that crap then you have to realize it is used in a lot of the food filling a grocery store. Be more observant in the ingredients of products you are buying to try to avoid foods with HFCS as much as possible. And I hope that from now on when you see these stupid ass commercials you will laugh at the stupidity, just as I do.

"Thank You for Guzzling Corn Syrup" by Dr. Lonnie Lowery via

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Weekly Function

I have recently decided to learn functional anatomy. In undergrad I learned a basic functional anatomy but the functional part didn't stick all the way. I want to reeducate myself with the functional anatomy of not only the large muscles but also the smaller ones such as the rotator cuff muscles. I feel that having this knowledge as a personal trainer or strength coach can be very beneficial to the success you have. I believe that one can be a great trainer without this knowledge but it is a great weapon to add to the arsenal. To help myself study and learn as well as educate those who read my blog I am going to start a weekly post where I post a muscle, its origin, insertion, actions, and a diagram. I hope this can be helpful to those who are interested.

Pectoralis Major

Medial 1/3 of clavicle

Anterior aspect of manubrium and length of body sternum

Cartilaginous attatchments of upper 6 ribs

External oblique's aponeurosis

Lateral lip of bicipital groove next to crest of the greater tubercle

Clavicular fibers insert more distally; sternal fibers more proximally

Adducts humerous

Internally rotates humerous

Flexion of arm from extension (clavicular portion)

Extreme Times Take Extreme Actions

I usually don't talk about myself on here but I felt that this was a good topic to bring up. Maybe some motivation can be induced by my trials. So as I discussed back in December/January, goals are important to have. I set my own goals back in January and wrote them down so that I was constantly being reminded of what I was set out to do. Now it's March and I have reached my lifting goals early. You know what this means? Time to increase my goals and raise the bar. However, my weight goals are yet to be obtained. I have once again hit a stand-still. I started this journey at about 170...increased to around 177 then sat there for a while. After some more learning and some pushing from my lifting partner I made another jump to 183. That's when I set my goal of 190 before the summer. It's after spring break now and I'm still sitting around 185. I decided it was time to up the ante and try some drastic measures. I had read in an article from a well-educated author and coach that a simple addition to the diet to get an extra 900 calories a day was shots of olive oil. I contemplated it, knew it would be awful, but had to give it a try. Monday is when it went down. After a workout I went back to the office, got my shot glass out, and filled it up. With some friends circled around, using my pain for their amusement, I took it down. Immediate feelings of regret and pain filled my entire body (well, besides my throat. That was filled with oil). Chasing with a bottle of protein didn't help either. After a couple hours of feeling like I was going to die, I decided that shots of olive oil was not going to be doable. Instead I'm going to try tablespoons of peanut butter. You all out there in Internet land may be thinking, "Why don't you just eat more food dumb ass?" Well to answer your question...I eat a ton of food. My normal daily diet pushes 4,000 calories. I just have a extremely high metabolism, not to mention I am constantly active. So to eat more meals is hard for me to do, plus I don't have the money at this point in time to be buying more meals. Therefore I find simple, cheap ways to add calories.

I really wanted to share this with you all because I want to show you that sometimes to reach our goals we must take drastic measures. I want to gain weight so I tried to shoot olive oil. That's a very drastic measure. I see people day in and day out complain about not reaching their goals but instead of complaining they need to ask themselves, "Have I really pushed myself and tried everything I can (in a healthy range) to reach my goal?" It's not always easy so man up and get it done.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Learn WHY

Every single day in the gym I see people come in with no plan and no real clue as to what they are doing. They just come into the gym, do a few minutes of one cardio machine, get bored and move on to the next. Once they feel they have exerted "enough" energy they may move on to some machines but more than likely they will go over to the mats and mimic the "ab" exercise of the person next to them. I realize not everyone is a gym rat and knows all about exercises, intensities, volumes, and rest ratios, but there is still no excuse for this type of gym behavior. If you are not truly involved in your gym experience then get the hell out. Don't waste my space and get in my way when you are just in the gym to dick around and then go home and brag to your girlfriend about how your such a stud because you went to the gym today. Chances are she was at the gym as well and was caught multiple times looking MY way. Anyway, back to the matter at hand. Everyone in the gym may have different goals but there is only one purpose; to better yourself. SO DO IT!

Like I said, not everyone knows everything about exercise. But the fact of the matter is, there are a lot of people in the gym that do know. At just about any gym around the country there is usually at least one personal trainer there at all times. Know that just because a person is labeled a personal trainer does not mean they know what they are doing. However, many do know what they are doing and should be willing to help. Ask questions, buy a training session to be shown some new exercises. Ask WHY and not just WHAT or HOW. Learning a new exercise is good and all but if you don't know why you are doing it then you will never be able to go out on your own. If you learn why things are done and why certain movements are used then you will start to understand how to make yourself a plan for the gym that actually has some type of logic. I always try to teach my clients. I explain every aspect of the workout so that they can one day spread their lats and fly. Like the saying says, "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."

There is no reason or excuse for anyone to go to the gym and skip around just doing whatever they accidentally bump in to. Learn and go into the gym with a purpose. If your not willing to learn then don't let me catch you jerking off on the machine I need to use because unlike you I have a plan and would rather not have to alter that plan for a waste of gym space like yourself. Oh and if you continue to come in with no purpose of being and get in everyone's way then the next time I catch your girl looking at me I might just take her.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

There's a Difference Between Stripper Hot and Fitness Hot

Columbus, Ohio...the home of Ohio State University and...well, I'm not sure what else. This weekend didn't matter though because it was home of the mecca of everything that is heavy weights, protein powders, syringes, plastic surgery, and fake tans. In case somehow you don't know what I'm talking about, it was home of the Arnold Classic. This was my first experience of the Arnold and I must say in no way was I let down. With three days of figure, bodybuilding, strongman, and powerlifting competitions, not to mention the other sports competitions, it was a glorious event. For $10 I was blessed with an expo of over 600 vendors supplying me with samples of their products. I was taking shots of creatine, protein, glutamine, and who knows what else. Sample protein bars, chewable vitamins, and other health supplements were also consumed throughout the day. I couldn't even begin to estimate the amount of calories and other "stuff" I put into my body. I also walked away with bag fulls of free samples, t-shirts, and magazines.

Beyond the free stuff the population at the Arnold was one I could only expect in a dream. The men stood as wide as they were tall with body fat percentages less than that of Ethiopians and the females ranged from competitors who made me look like I never lifted a weight in my life to models/strippers with bodies as if they were molded by artists. There's a difference between stripper hot and fitness hot but it was all there at the Arnold and needless to say, they were all showing off their immaculate bodies. I was finally at a place where people understood and admired bodies full of muscle and symmetry instead of being in this world where girls say, "Ewww...he's too muscular. I like small, skinny guys with no back."

We stayed there from 9a.m. until 6p.m. and at no point was I without something to entertain me. I was right at home. Meatheads everywhere, massive amounts of weight being lifted and gorgeous people all around me. I have already started the countdown until next year...364 days left. Oh, and no meathead convention is complete without bags of protein puffs.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

"I like my scale at home better than this one."

This morning at work I was talking to a member about weight. This member, like many others, checks his weight every visit to the gym. I have always disliked this but my disgust was even more this morning when I was informed that this member also weighs himself upon waking. So that means that by the time he goes to work at 8 a.m. he has already checked his weight twice. I'm sure he's not the only person that does this either. Our society is so scale-obsessed that we have lost sight of the things that really matter. With references such as BMI, which is about as useless as a spoon at a steak buffet, people put too much emphasis on how much they weigh and not what they look like.

Instead of obsessing over pounds and ounces, take a look at some other indicators that not only mean more, but are more functional. Keep an eye on how your clothes fit. If your trying to lose weight and your involved in a good training program, you will notice your clothes fitting different. You may even have to get a new wardrobe. Another option is to get your body composition tested. Update this measurement every month or two. Most gyms have, at least, a hand-held BIA device. Some gyms may even offer skin fold measurements, which are more accurate. This is the best determinant of how well your program is working and how much improvement you are making on your body.

I am not saying to totally ignore weight. I myself am scale obsessed, just in the opposite direction. However, I don't allow myself to check on a daily basis. I check once a week; a "weigh-in day" if you will. Weekly, bi-weekly, or even monthly would be your best options for scale checks. If your putting in the effort and doing the right things your body is going to change for the better, so trust it. But keep checks on your progress, just don't limit those checks to the scale.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

No Shoes?

"No shirt. No shoes. No service."

A very common rule around the country from stores to restaurants to gyms. However, that philosophy is changing, well at least in some gyms across the country. That's right, shoeless workouts are becoming more and more popular from running enthusiasts to strength coaches. At a gym in Wisconsin there is no room for shoes as the owner/coach there has banned the use. More and more runners are completing marathons shoeless and there are new types of dance classes that don't require shoes. What is the thought process behind all of this?

Over the years shoes have become more and more in terms of design and stability for the foot. This sounds good and all but in reality these shoes are taking away from the work that are feet need to be getting. The feet have muscles just as the rest of the body and with the support they are receiving from shoes they are not able to be utilized to their potential. Shoes are restricting the feet from spreading out and grasping the ground underneath of us. Shoes provide the traction whereas our feet need to be providing that traction and grip. Along with this, mechanics and form are sacrificed because of the amount of support shoes provide.

Removing shoes provides the ability for the feet to reach their capabilities of strength and proprioception. In terms of strength training it is thought that the removal of shoes will help improve strength gains for the fact that more muscles will be worked that don't get the work with shoes. Looking at running it has been shown that running mechanics and gait are improved with the absence of shoes. There is a lesser incidence of injury involved with barefoot running as well.

As far as adapting a barefoot training style it is something that needs to be eased into. Start first by walking around barefoot, whether it be at home or just around the office. Get used to the feeling of no shoes. In terms of making adjustments during training, there are shoes that mimic a barefoot feel such as the Nike Free and Converse Chucks. Try using these types of shoes first and then moving to other types of footwear such as Vagabonds and Vibrims.

Try the barefoot style for warm-up plyometrics and lighter loads. Avoid a barefoot approach for heavy squats and other quad-dominant movements. Try it out, see how it feels, and stop leaving your feet out during your workouts.