Wednesday, March 02, 2011

In short

I have not logged into this account in two years.

Sometimes I think about what I meant to do when I started writing this blog. I wanted to share my experiences and opinions about some things I've learned.

While attending high school, I participated in a football camp where I met an NFL veteran who had become interested and involved in competitive bodybuilding. He told me, after training me for three summer months, that I had a genetic property that I should know about. He did it in a way such that I could not dismiss what he was telling me as some nicety or weak compliment.

He tried to make it clear that I had a muscle quality that one cannot gain through any sort of training or nutritional, or hormonal, supplementation. He told me that I was born with what bodybuilders call, "good separation."

He was trying to tell me I had a natural gift that I did not notice. He told me if I wanted, I could "go all the way" in bodybuilding if I were determined enough to do so.

I never went on to play college football or continue athletics. I attended college for academics and career preparation.

It was later, after listening to Anthony Robbins' audio tape, Get the Edge (which I think is no longer in print), I realized I should exercise in the morning.

In short, I returned to the memory of what I had been told, and decided not to allow a potential or gift I had to be wasted or ignored, one I should not take for granted. I wanted to become a fitness model. With no claims of 'sour grapes,' I did not want to become a competitive bodybuilder, not at any period of my life.

To me, in my own humble opinion, and not intending ill will to anyone, that the competitive bodybuilding I saw and was limited to in experience, was on ESPN, sunburned men, greased up and wearing neon colored panties on stage, under lights. I did not want to do that; that is just me.

But I bought and read Arnold Schwarzenegger's book, "The Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding."

The basic argument of that entire book, I present in very short form:

The human body is like a machine
  • But unlike a real (metal) machine, which can only do a fixed amount of work
  • Humans are like magical machines
  • If a human does a fixed amount of work
  • The human body will adapt to do even more work
  • Given proper work, done correctly, nutrition, and rest, the human body will adapt, and become an even bigger and stronger machine
  • Specifically, the male human body will release larger, necessary quantities of natural, endogenous, androgenizing (toward maleness) hormones (testosterone [T] and human growth hormone [HGH]) that promote genetic transcription and growth
And also the part that reaffirmed what I had been told by my trainer

  • Great bodybuilders are not just made, they are also born. Genetics of the muscles is most of what bodybuilding success is, period.
And toward the end of the book
  • People who take steroids are just kidding themselves and are basically losers (to paraphrase "not winners" or "not champions")
This all made perfect sense to me. So I embarked on my journey to work hard, eat well, rest plenty and become great. I planned to be like my own drill sergeant, endlessly, mercilessly, pushing , myself on toward victory.

I was doing squats (work) one day, with too much weight on my back and I fell with the weight on top of me while attempting to lunge forward so that the weight would not crush my spine. That emergency situation felt like it lasted for minutes, not just one or two seconds. There was no one in the gym supervising and disclaimers everywhere say, in brief, 'you are at your own risk.'

That accident led to an injury that hindered my breathing and affected my posture and walking gait. I limped for years. Even though Arnold's book says not to attempt to "train through" an injury, I did so anyway. I blocked the event, and the pain, out of my mind. I just refused to accept it.

I continued training like a madman, putting 10 to 11 forty-five pound plates on each side of a leg press machine doing 3 or more sets of 5 or 6 reps, lowering and raising the weight very slowly. I loved the burn and still do.

That would be a typical warm-up exercise that preceded a two-hour long workout, for example. Most days I trained for 3 hours, non-stop. I would turn up my headphones and block out all the people standing around and chatting or resting 5-10 minutes between sets.I did this sort of thing every day because I became hooked on (and grateful for) the endorphin rush produced by pushing out of one's (my) comfort zone. Clearly, doing so takes far less effort than what is normally deemed "walk a little longer, try a different swim stroke, learn a new dumbbell exercise, reverse the order of the exercises you do every now and then or just enjoy doing new

At a certain point, I could no longer continue. I was tired all the time and the injury which I repressed, would have denied if anyone ever asked, just got worse.

When I found out that competitive bodybuilding is totally and completely saturated with steroid hormone using people (even women taking androgenizing hormones--which have another side effect of make their skull structure (forehead ridge and jaw) appear more like a mans.' In males the side effect of steroid abuse is a facial structure similar to neanderthal man. It you don't believe that competitive bodybuilding is chronically saturated with steroid users yet, ask, in a polite way, certain questions and you will not believe how some people rationalize (make up 'good' reasons) it.

1. Is it cheating to take steroids and compete in bodybuilding?

2. Is it "natural" to take hormones or hormone-mimics, created by unknown people?

3. Is it possible to become addicted (tolerance and then painful withdrawal) to steroid use?

I became disgusted. I found out that Arnold too, took steroids and admits to it, but won't endorse them to anyone. If you look at the 'champions' of the past, none of them want to take their shirts off in older age. If you watched Rocky6, you will catch a glimpse of the reason why that seems to be.

After reading many opinions from people who seem to claim some right to demand things from Arnold, these individuals want him to explain his choices/decisions in his own life and claim "regret" in order to set an example for youth. hrm. If people could control youth in the way they only imagine in their own minds, it would make sense but those people are actually just projecting their feelings onto other people.

When I saw Conan the Barbarian in the theater as a kid, I was astounded. Arnold has a muscular structure that is almost unworldly. Unlike many bodybuilders who are overly large to compensate for less definition and separation, Arnold looked magical to me. I read how even though he did not have money for weight training specific equipment, he would go to the scrap yard and heave around heavy objects. When he had access to a gym with numbered dumbbells, he trained so hard and with such drive that while riding home on his bicycle he crashed into a ditch.

When I read his story, I could feel myself becoming energized. I knew that feeling in my bones. I had learned for myself, what it was like to make the legs burn so badly that it feels like you're about to collapse. Some days, I had to hug the railings on the stairs, lest my legs give out and I tumbled downward.

Arnold doesn't have to justify himself or explain himself. It was and is his own life to live. Arnold made a career, a very successful one, out of bodybuilding and don't judge him. And 0.00000001% of people will accomplish what he did because they simply were not born with those muscle-specific genetic gifts. People will still claim to try, as if this were some written goal, imagining million dollar supplement (powdered food) endorsements and the like.

I am finally getting over the injury after a period of rest. I look forward to training, kettle balls, elastic bands, yoga, and swimming, for personal enjoyment and growth. I will also pick up the weights again one day. Maybe you'll see my picture in some magazine picture, demonstrating how to to do exercises with proper form.

In short, if a single person learned something or gained a new angle by reading what I posted here, then imo it was worth putting down some thoughts here for the public. Otherwise, I would have checked this blog as a personal, private entry for posterity

Thanks for reading, if you did. I will be around the internet, still. I may even make version 2.0 of these thoughts :0)

My mind just sits and waits patiently for the next available moment.

Best wishes

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Obama's workout time

"Although his presidency is barely a week old, some of Mr. Obama’s work habits are already becoming clear. He shows up at the Oval Office shortly before 9 in the morning, roughly two hours later than his early-to-bed, early-to-rise predecessor. Mr. Obama likes to have his workout — weights and cardio — first thing in the morning, at 6:45. (Mr. Bush slipped away to exercise midday.)"

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Acai berry

Like you would expect as an informed and mature adult, this product has nothing to do with your metabolism and cannot change your metabolism, unless it also acts as a neurotransmitter. I don't know if Oprah sincerely endorsed this product but if she did then she should expect fewer people to trust her, in terms of book selection or credibility, in the future.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Experimental Drug Spurs Fat Burning

Experimental Drug Spurs Fat Burning

Drug May Help Keep Weight Down, Even on a High-Fat Diet, Lab Tests Show

"So far, the experimental drug has only been tested in mice. But when those mice got a high daily dose of the drug for three months, they didn't gain weight on a high-fat diet. A lower dose of the drug wasn't as effective.

The experimental drug doesn't have a brand name yet. For now, it's called SRT1720. It targets the SIRT1 gene, boosting the mice's fat metabolism as if calories were scarce, not abundant.

...

SRT1720 is a long way from being ready for use in people. But there's already a low-tech way to prevent weight gain and also benefit the heart, brain, bones, and the rest of the body. That's the timeless combination of a healthy diet and an active lifestyle.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Resolutions and attitude

Avoid making resolutions that sound like "I will lose weight." Sometimes, the way we phrase certain tasks influences whether these tasks will get accomplished or not. "Lose weight" sounds dreary, and sounds like it involves pain or being deprived. I always thought "Weight Watchers" wasn't a great name for a business because the name has built-in dreariness. Saying, "I will lose weight," doesn't really describe how you're going to do it, either.

The subconscious hears the things we say to ourselves and leads the body accordingly.

Make resolutions that are phrased better. It's like asking the right question. Ask the right question--the one that will give a better answer. Don't ask "how much do you bench press?" ask "how do you bench press and how does it make your chest muscles feel while you do it?"

Instead of "I will lose weight," say "I will learn how to do basic weight training moves." By starting with low weights and gradually increasing them, while learning correct lifting form and eating 6-7 meals a day (adding snacks between meals)."

By February--probably before the end of January--you'll notice the changes to your body as a side effect that you get for pursuing your hobby, learning weight training moves and eating throughout the day. The positive changes to mood, energy level, even outlook on life, will also be side effects. And all this just for picking up a new hobby.

Friday, November 30, 2007

How to Lose Weight

Every person needs a certain amount of calories (food) in a day.

Here are two ways to go about eating that amount of food:

1. You can take this amount of food and divide it up into 6 to 8 fractions and eat it throughout the day, taking each small meal about every 2 or 3 hours while you're awake. (6-8 small meals)
  • you won't really feel hungry
  • your metabolism will speed up
  • you will lose weight
2. You can starve yourself all day while drinking soda and then binge eat all your calories in 1 or 2 sittings. (1-2 giant meals)
  • you'll be hungry at first, but then the hunger passes as your body enters survival mode
  • when you do get around to eating, your body will "remember" or realize how hungry it is and the urge to gorge or binge on food becomes intense
  • your metabolism will slow down
  • you will store as much fat as possible and gain weight
Somewhere in between these two extremes is "3 meals a day" which is a social convention that we made up. Is "3 meals a day" the best of all possible worlds?

The metabolism changes based on the frequency of meals (how often one eats) regardless of whether one exercises or not.

Eating 6-8 meals or grazing (eating throughout the day) changes the metabolism and puts the body in an "anabolic state."
  • For people who train with weights with a goal of building muscle, eating 6-8 meals is a must. Otherwise, they won't get significant results--unless they support their training (work done) with proper nutrition.
  • For people who want to lose weight (body fat), eating 6-8 meals is an effective and long-lasting way to go about it.
This principle is essentially what NutriSystem sells. There's probably nothing special about what is in their food--the key is in having a consistent meal schedule.

Some cereal brands promise weight loss of 5 or 10 lbs by eating their cereal for breakfast. I have a hunch that the weight-loss occurs just by encouraging people to have a more consistent and well-proportioned meal schedule.

There is a stereotype that obese people eat all day long. More often than not, they fast until they've made themselves very hungry and then they binge eat. The roots of this behavior usually begin with the false but common misconception that skipping meals will lead to weight loss, which is absolutely false.

After fasting or starving oneself, the pleasurable feelings produced by finally eating are intensified. It becomes a reliable way to change the way one feels--using food to influence one's emotions--much like drugs and alcohol are used as predictable ways to change one's feelings. In contrast, if you eat throughout the day, you don't get to that point of intense hunger; you forget what hunger is like. Food is still pleasurable but it doesn't affect the brain's survival and pleasure centers as intensely.

After adjusting one's eating habits for long enough one realizes that unless you fuel your body and brain throughout the day with well-portioned and balanced meals, they don't run as well. It's a self-reinforcing habit.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The New Plan for Powerful Legs

Any properly executed squat, however, may be a more effective muscle builder than all other exercises combined. It requires the synchronized recruitment of muscle fibers throughout your body. And because squatting is one of the most natural human movements, like walking or using the remote, it's perfectly safe. And new research shows that squats burn up to three times as many calories as previously thought. So it's a powerful fat-burning tool as well.

...

Named for the way in which you hold the weight--in front of your chest, with your hands cupped--the goblet squat may in fact be the only squat you need in your workout.

Monday, August 20, 2007

25 Biggest Weight Loss Mistakes

"Many women have spent an average of 20 years "dieting," so another safe assumption is that we know a lot about what to do right. However, little attention is usually given on what not to do. Apply this list of things NOT to do to your healthful regimen, and spare yourself many of the pitfalls that derail most dieters."

1. Having a negative defeatist attitude. If you think there is no way that you are going to succeed this time, lose the weight and keep it off, then you will be right! However, if you think positively and believe that change is at hand, you will empower your journey, and you will reach your goals!

2. Going on any diet that is NOT a manner of eating that you can adhere to for the rest of your life. Be careful when deciding what nutritional plan you want to follow, as it should be a manner of eating that matches your tastes, budget and lifestyle. You should model all of your future nutritional plans closely after how you lost the weight to keep that weight lost for good!

3. Believing that you will eat cabbage soup -- or any other low-cal, monotonous fare everyday for the rest of your life. If a particular odd "diet" is something that you can barely stomach, it isn't realistic to think you will eat that way for the entire time it takes to lose all the weight. It certainly won't teach you much about how to live healthfully for the long-term. Just say NO, to cabbage soup and other such funky diets!

4. Weighing in too frequently, letting the scale rule your mood and actions. Up to this point, have you been fixated on the scale? Well, if so, it hasn't really helped you lose weight, has it? Otherwise, you wouldn't be here, looking for yet another "diet." So do us both a favor, and pack the scale up, put a big red bow around it, and unwrap it after six months of consistent healthful living. It might actually show you something you want to see! --- more »

Calorie needs can fluctuate like your weight

Calorie needs depend on weight, age, gender and activity level, as well as individual metabolic rate. The figures from the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion provide a rough estimate.