Monday, August 31, 2009

Food industry crap, Probiotics, and a Total Eclipse of the Heart

I am in complete agreement. In every way he says it. Just watch.

This guy hits it right on the head, and as far as that goes pretty much anything that you buy from the store is going to be that way. In case you missed it in the video, I'm saying almost everything you buy from the store is shit. Shit with really good marketing.

I'm gonna throw out a number and say 1 out of 50 of a similar item in stores actually do what they are supposed to and are even half way good for you and even less likely are they to be worth your money. Sucks enough to want to rip the heads off all the top ass wipes of the food industry. Too bad the rest of them don't get the hate that the tobacco industry does. We'd be much further ahead that way.

I'm also gonna throw this in here. 1) to lighten the mood and 2) cause it's hilarious

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Using what you have

Typically I buy groceries on Sundays, but I don't go until about 9pm due to the ridiculous amount of people shopping at the same time. See I'm one of 'those' people that goes grocery shopping and even though I don't have to I still find myself going through each isle. I'm also not the most patient person in the world when it comes to standing in line so for me it's a much better experience to go later.
Not a good time to go for groceries.

The trouble usually comes at the end of the week when I'm running low. Usually I have some back up plans and go to's for when I get in a bind but the past week food was running short for sure. For one of my last meals of the day I ended up trying to use what I had. Which happened to be: my last 6 eggs, 1 green pepper, 1 tomato, and the last of a bag of spinach.

This is what came out.

I ripped up the spinach, cut up the pepper, and scrambled it together with the eggs and about 1tbsp of evoo, some salt and a lot of pepper. I love tomatoes so I left that out of the skillet to add later. I actually planned this cause I like contrast and the cold tomato vs the hot eggs is really good.

I had this and after I was done happened to find some almonds to chew on. It was really pretty perfect for what I needed. I wasn't working out that day, and my activity level in general wasn't real high so I needed to take in fewer carbs, of which the tomato was my largest source. There's about 37-40 grams of protein and a solid micronutrient content. The only thing in question would be the amount of arachadonic acid (very inflamatory acid) intake from the eggs, of which is not a huge deal for me since I have a large intake of EFA's daily in the form of fish oils, Evoo, pumpkin and flax seeds, as well as a large vegetable and fruit intake. Plus, eggs are great. They're a very inexpensive protein source and have many healthy benefits.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Strong women strength train

I continuously hear how women wont lift at the gym because of the overbearing amount of testosterone coming from that area. Keeping the ladies from feeling comfortable in the place that is so vital to their success, health, and well being. What's the result? The majority of girls churning away on faulty training tools like ellipticals and treadmills, and joining spinning and aerobics classes right and left. Is it really that fun to step on a box and turn around repeatedly, I really doubt it. And I know people say they love to spin, but really? Really? You're not going anywhere. I guess I just don't get it.

I feel bad though. Terrible in fact, that women don't feel as though they should be lifting beside a bunch of men. Women need strength training just as much as men. This comes from a health and physique standpoint as well. This is a message to all women out there, I'm just gonna come out and say it. Strong girls are incredibly attractive and so is lean mass. Ask any guy you know, and I bet each one of them would jump at a chance to take a fitness competitor out on a date. and fitness competitors lift, and lift hard.
I guarantee you Jennifer Stano lifts weights, and good luck finding a guy that doesn't find her attractive.

I hear excuses like, "I don't want to bulk up so I stick with the elliptical." Yeah......Because gaining muscle is so easy (especially for women). Even for most men gaining muscle is difficult, and men's bodies are set up completely different and much more suitable for gaining lean mass. Most women are literally unable to gain large amounts of "bulk", but they do have an incredible ability to build a very nice foundation of strong, attractive, calorie burning lean mass.

In fact most women would benefit from this exponentially. Not only would they be that much more empowered and confident with the strength they've gained but in the long term their bodies will be much healthier. Increasing bone density and metabolism. Along with slowing down the aging process, including decreased skin wrinkles and more balance and strength retained over time. Nice! but I tend to find that most of the time people are more concerned with the here and now, and the here and now is what you see in the mirror and are capable of doing. So, do you look great in a backless dress and can you climb a rock wall or do squats with your best guy friend on your back? Good questions I think, and I know some women that it's true for cause they put in the work.

Here's a video of Donna performing a variation of a farmers walk working on core stability through the hips, trunk and abdomen. The walk creates and instability affect up the chain, the bells offset and pull the body in differing directions forcing the core musculature to contract in a way that will support itself and stay rigid, while also maintaining the change in breathing pattern that will occur.

Don't they look great?

In the background you can also see Janet performing swings, a more dynamic exercise working the core in a different fashion. During the swing the glutes (butt) and hamstrings need to kick on more to produce the force in order to create movement but she's performing them with one arm so the trunk muscles are having to work extra hard on stabilizing at the same time. It's also an extremely heart pumping exercises.

Here's another example of a great exercise being performed by two very in shape women, that have been taking my class 3 days/week for some time now. They really get after it and it shows.
This is a great exercise for the core. Holding the bell on one side forces the trunk to stay rigid and the elevation of the box allows you to lower the hips more than a conventional reverse lunge and use the glutes more. Great for athletes and anyone else that's trying to get their bodies into better shape.

Someday, I'm gonna walk in the gym and see a bunch of ladies doing deadlifts, squats, pushups, pullups and other functional strength training lifts and I'm going to ask one of them out on a date. Just kidding, but that is going to be a great day.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Welcome back: Updates, Nicknames, and Shoulder health

Welcome back. You may have noticed the recent hiatus from the blog. Things are starting to come back to normal speed with High Impact and at NDAC. I truly enjoyed the spike in number of people we've been able to help, but it was fairly hectic to program and train that many hours.

To give you all some updates, we were able to help out some really great kids in West Liberty this summer, and at North Dodge Kettlebell classes and Personal Training went through the roof. It's been a blast working with everybody. There was quite a range as well. 35 athletes in West Liberty where the main sports were football and volleyball. At north dodge I've been seeing people needing help getting ready to hike mountains, lose fat and live healthy, some triathletes joined the Kettlebell class (very exciting), and even helping one female prepare to pass the physical tests for the army. It's been a great and challenging time.

Here's a few of the younger kids from the West Liberty camp. They were awesome. Tons of fun to work with.
By the end almost everyone at the West Liberty camp had a nickname. This is Sally, Amitha, and Goatcheese (from left to right). I wont go into how they earned their names.

To get on with the rest of the blog I wanted to cover an issue/epidemic that I'm seeing more and more recently, and it has to do with PULL-UPS.

Okay, the first problem I see with pull-ups is that people are not doing them enough. Shoulder problems are one of the most common complaints and problems I see on a regular basis and I'm sure there are many dr.'s and physical therapists that would say the same thing. The prime mover (muscle that does the most work) during the pullup is the Lat (latismus Dorsi), and it has huge implications when it comes to shoulder and back health.

It attaches from the lumbar spine to the humerus (upper arm bone). I talk about depression of the shoulder all the time, and this is one of the areas where I see that people are the weakest and many times the tightest. So their shoulders are left out to the wind and anything could happen.

The Pullup also requires requitment of the mid and lower traps which are also huge with shoulder health and scapular stability.
The trapezius is another area I see that is incredibly weak and many times stiff (which is different than tight, and is not good for the area at all).

The last place of functional anatomy I'll get into is the aspect of the core. I already hit on the lower back but with the pullup you'll also see a synergistic contraction through the anterior portion of the abdominals. Mainly obliques and rectus firing. I routinely get feedback that this is the area that hurts worse the day after doing this exercise.
These are just three areas, really it works your entire upper body. How many people do you know doing bicep curls every time they go to the gym? I'm just guessing but they're probably trying to make their biceps bigger when really a pullup is going to do way more for them in less time, make them much stronger, and look tons better than that bicep curl ever will.

For those that don't know me or have ever seen me, I haven't done one bicep curl or isolated type exercise like that in years and I weigh 230 lbs and sit somewhere around 9% body fat.

To get to the point I wanted to make in the beginning. What I'm seeing in the few people who do pullups is the lack of range that they get. Depth is important. Going down half way is not doing you justice. You must go down to lockout, which is when your arms are straight at the bottom. Like this,
This is actually one of our West lib high school athletes doing a very good job of locking out

If you are unable to do this and return to the top that is not a big deal. The majority of the people I work with are unable to do this at the beginning as well, it just takes time and effort. So start by lowering yourself slowly and jumping back up to the top with your legs. Working the eccentric (muscle lengthening) portion of the contraction can actually be more effective and safer anyway.

A proper Pullup should start at the bottom with the arms locked out, and should end with pulling the body as high as you possibly can, most of the time to the lower portions of the chest. Otherwise the pullup does not count. just getting the chin above the bar does not constitute a proper pullup. Pulling as high as you can (or starting as high as you can) ensures you are getting to most out of all the muscles.