Monday, January 29, 2007

Shoulder Rotation

One of my goals has been to attain full functionality and rotation in my shoulder joints. I have had upper-cross syndrome for years and I did not know it. Most people who have it don't know it. The longer the condition goes unattended while continuing to train, the harder it becomes to fix because upper-cross syndrome makes it virtually impossible to have correct form on any upper body exercise and deadlift (and Romanian deadlift, and power cleans, and shrugs...), even isolation movements, including biceps curls.
The upper crossed syndrome is defined as tightness of the upper trapezius, pectoralis major, and levator scapulae and weakness of the rhomboids, serratus anterior, middle and lower trapezius, and the deep neck flexors, especially the scalene muscles. link
Do I have it?: Upper Cross Syndrome
How do I fix it? Perfect Posture Plan
Being able to fully rotate my arms about the shoulder joint was something I took for granted. Instead of fully rotating the actual shoulder joint I just made circling motions with my arms swinging and my elbows bent.

Something in my shoulders has finally "clicked." I can fully rotate my shoulders while my arms are fully extended, with elbows locked. It's like something I'm experiencing for the first time, as far as I can remember anyway. It's liberating.

I found these shoulder stretches most helpful and who knows better about full rotation of the shoulders than swimmers? :

Sunday, January 28, 2007

W.Va. turns to Weight Watchers to slim down

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Facing more than $100 million in annual costs linked to obesity, the Medicaid program in one of the country’s most overweight states is turning to a familiar name to help residents slim down.

Up to 75,000 West Virginians will soon be eligible for free weight loss courses through Weight Watchers, thanks to an effort by the state Medicaid program and the health benefits group UniCare, the largest provider of Medicaid coverage in the state.

Medicaid clients of Unicare who obtain a physician’s referral and score within specific ranges on the fat-measuring body mass index will be eligible to take up to 16 weeks of courses for free from Weight Watchers. The group is famous for its regular meetings and system of assigning points to different foods.

When a person pays a service to help them lose weight, and they in fact get lasting results, then that's fine, a good thing.

But the weight-loss industry, including Weight Watchers, is wrong-headed in their approach and mission. (the "weight-loss" business is not the same thing as the "fitness" business)
  • many people wish to lose weight
  • the idea that weight loss is achieved without exercise, is appealing
  • the mere appeal of weight loss without exercise, can be sold as a food or information service, a pill, a soft drink...
These 3 premises are the three highest principles of the weight-loss business. They're well-known but unspoken. Also, my problem with Weight Watchers is:
  • focusing on "losing weight" and "dieting" means deprivation and misery and pain, and puts attention toward something universally considered "dreadful" and is much more difficult than simply picking fun activities. Even the name itself, "Weight Watchers" is dreary
  • whether or not the customer loses weight is completely and ultimately dependent on the customer and this is actually made clear to people who want to lose weight. (and which is also great for business, incidentally)
  • nutrition classes, point counting, and meetings are what Weight Watchers offers, but introduce novelties that are, quite frankly, distractions and misspent psychic energies (away from regular physical activity. Just do it.)
Instead of giving money to Weight Watchers, wouldn't it be more wise, during this time of shrinking school budgets, to invest the money toward prevention? Toward improvement of physical fitness and wellness education?

Giving money to Weight Watchers and hoping that they can "fix" what is already broken, after the fact, is a poor solution.

This is a much better idea from West Virginia and has at least, a chance of being effective.

Dancing video game helps kids keep weight off

Monday, January 22, 2007

Pasta and milk are root cause of ill health for millions

Almost half the population is suffering from common complaints such as exhaustion, colds and migraines because of food intolerance, according to a new report published tomorrow.

"Around 20 million people are suffering from symptoms that impact on their daily lives and yet they are not able to get help from the NHS," said Muriel Simmons, Allergy UK's chief executive.

"We want to see more dietary advice being available and more training given to GPs so that they can recognise that food could be the trigger for some of the symptoms that they are seeing on a daily basis."

What makes this situation more tricky is that some food sensitivities don't trigger side effects or reactions till up to 36 hours after eating them. This makes it more difficult to figure out what food caused what reaction.

The most common food insensitivities are from dairy, wheat, gluten, nuts, soy

Dairy and milk do not make bones stronger. If anything, too much animal protein in the diet is very bad for bones. The countries that have the highest consumption of milk products also have the highest rates for osteoporosis The United States is #1 for dairy consumption and also for osteoporosis. But how could that be so if milk makes bones stronger?

It's because the idea that milk makes bones stronger is a myth, if not an outright falsehood. Celebrities who endorse milk probably don't drink it themselves; the marketers put it on their lips to inspire the consumer's imagination, suggest a hallucination that milk is on the daily menu of celebrities.

Nowadays, milk is not necessary. There is no need to drink milk, past the first year of life. There isn't any need to drink the milk of an elephant, or a racoon, or a rat, or a cow.

Eat cereal with rice/soy milk, not body fluids of cows

"Milk is for babies" -Arnold

Why dairy products won't help you maintain healthy bones

Early man 'couldn't stomach milk':

A drink of milk was off the menu for Europeans until only a few thousand years ago, say researchers from London...

...But intolerance to milk remains common in modern times, say nutritionists.

In order to digest milk, adult humans need to have a gene which produces an enzyme called lactase to break down lactose, one of the main sugars it contains.

Without it, a drink of milk proves an uncomfortable experience, causing bloating, stomach cramps and diarrhoea.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Growth drugs don't fight aging, researchers find

The costly hormone shots can have serious side effects, according to a roundup of studies.

Human growth hormone injections do not increase life span or fitness, and have many potential adverse effects, including joint swelling and pain, carpal tunnel syndrome and a tendency toward diabetes, Stanford University researchers report today.

Compiling results from 31 separate studies in about 500 healthy adults, Dr. Hau Liu of Stanford and his colleagues at Stanford and the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System conclude in the Annals of Internal Medicine that there is no rationale for the elderly to use the drug.

"You are paying a lot of money for a therapy that may have minimal or no benefit and yet has a potential for some serious side effects," Liu said.

"The appropriate conclusion is that it is premature to be using human growth hormone" to reverse the effects of aging, said Dr. S. Jay Olshansky of the University of Illinois at Chicago, who was not involved in the study. "It is also illegal."

Growth Hormone No 'Magic Bullet' for Aging

MONDAY, Jan. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Human growth hormone is being sold in increasing amounts as a cure-all for the ravages of aging, but new research shows no evidence for these claims -- and even possible dangers from the treatments.

So concludes a study from Stanford University researchers reported in the Jan. 16Annals of Internal Medicine.

Growth hormone is widely promoted on the Internet and its use as an anti-aging drug has been touted in media ranging from NBC's Today Show to Business Week.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Being Top heavy

Being "top-heavy" according to Arnold, is having a large upper body and a disproportionately small lower body. Smallish thighs coupled with very large arms makes for an asymmetrical physique.

Being top-heavy is almost never seen in women. Women get a surge of testosterone during puberty that makes their muscles larger. There are some women who never lift and they have bigger leg muscles than men. But it's almost never the case that women end up top-heavy.

The situation seems vastly different in men.

Comparing the legs and arms, the biceps and the calves should be about the same size while contracted.

If the arms are as large or even larger than the thighs, it's time to change the old workout routine.

Training large muscle groups during compound movements releases hormones (HGH and T) that make the entire body bigger.

The legs have to be large for the upper body to become large, in a naturally developed person.

Sometimes top-heavy physiques can be the result of excessive effort toward making the pecs, biceps, shoulders bigger by brute-force hard work. But that case is rare compared to the much more common case of the guy who is taking steroids yet the only exercises are upper body exercises. I read an anecdote about a guy taking steroids who would habitually chew gum on only one side of his mouth. His jaw developed asymmetrically, distorting his face.

Doing dozens of sets of curls, spending hours of workout time doing isolation movements, is inefficient, most especially for guys who do not experiment on themselves with hormones.
If one trains the upper body very hard, putting in much exertion into his efforts, his pecs, biceps, and back will a bit bigger, but that's it.

If one trains the lower body with intensity* during every leg workout, then his legs and hips will get bigger, and also, his pecs, biceps (upper body), will get bigger.
Instead of heading down the road to becoming top heavy, plan a little bit better; notice that you get two birds for the price of one stone (the amount of time and energy you are investing) by focusing most of your effort on training legs and hips and back.

Sometimes the best way to make the upper body bigger is to give the upper body a rest for a while and train the legs and hips.
For muscle mass, choose to do compound (more than 1 joint) exercises. The body is one piece, and training should reflect that. Do not do 'bodybuilder' splits unless you are indeed a bodybuilder and have extra 'androgenic anabolic supplements' to back them up. Pick from the following for lower body: deadlift, squat, isolateral leg work (one leg being worked at a time). For upper body: overhead press, bench press, chin, and row. Any of the previously listed exercises will do, ie. sumo deadlift, front squat, incline bench press, dumbbell row. Don't forget the Olympic lifts, which have the highest degree of transferability to real life. As they are too complex to be discussed here, Google them! link "How to Build up Muscles" wikiHow
intensity* - I'll get to what intensity is, one day

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Psst...hey buddy, over here!

Want real human growth hormone and testosterone? There's a way to get them both that's 100% legal and it's virtually free too. Plus it's all natural and of the highest quality and the dosages are always perfectly tailored for your body.

How can you get them?

Train major muscle groups (legs, back) using compound movements
like squats, leg press, and deadlift,
using correct form and striving for the burn from lactic acid, not the amount of weight

Doing this at least one day a week produces your body's own juice, of the highest quality because you made them with love and caring :)

Your natural hormones produced in this way then:
  1. make the upper body muscles grow bigger, all of the muscles actually, even the ones that make up your facial appearance
  2. maximize the returns for upper body workouts that follow leg day
At least one day a week, train legs, back; the largest muscle groups using compound movements
  • Start with low weight and correct form and work up gradually (just like with every exercise)
  • Nothing will interfere more with your fitness goals than an injury caused by lifting too much weight or lifting incorrectly. Safety first.
  • Focus your zeal on persistence and steady improvement, and sometimes bursts of intense exertion
The catch:
It won't work unless about every 3 hours (waking hours) which means eating about 6 meals, about 25% of total calories from protein.

It won't work unless you...allow the legs to rest and recover for a day or two before the next leg/back workout

But the bonus:
If you train your body in this way, by making the largest muscle groups a priority, you will avoid being "top-heavy," asymmetrical.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Foolproof your fitness resolution

Foolproof your fitness resolution
Avoid 8 common roadblocks so your plan stays on track

If you recently vowed to shape up in '07, you've taken an important first step on the road to wellness. But unfortunately, every year many well-intentioned people fall off the fitness wagon long before their new gym memberships expire.

According to the American College of Sports Medicine, more than half of people who begin exercising at the start of the new year hit the bench within three to six months.

The problem? They didn't take the right path to fitness and ran into numerous roadblocks along the

Thursday, January 04, 2007

FTC fines 4 diet pill manufacturers

Diet pills, like certain bodybuilding supplements, don't really fit into either category of food or drug. The Food and Drug Administration does not evaluate the claims of diet pill manufacturers and so all their ads have a little disclaimer at the bottom; that whatever benefits are promised in exchange for your money, well, you might not actually get those benefits. Has anyone heard of "myostatin blocker?"
WASHINGTON - The Federal Trade Commission on Thursday fined the marketers of four weight loss pills $25 million for making false advertising claims ranging from rapid weight loss to reducing the risk of cancer.

FTC Chairman Deborah Platt Majoras said the products would remain on store shelves, but that the companies would have to stop making the false claims.

“What we challenge is the marketing of the claims,” she said. “The marketers are required to back up the claims with the science and if they can’t do that they can’t make the claim. But we don’t ban the products from the shelves.”

...Fines were levied against marketers of Xenadrine EFX, One A Day Weight Smart, CortiSlim and TrimSpa.

Testimonials from individuals are not a substitute for science,” Majoras said. “And that’s what Americans need to understand.”

Diet pills, when they do work (weight loss), they usually contain stimulants that artificially raise the metabolism. (The common ingredient in these pills used to be ephedra or ephedrine but now it's synephrine after an FDA ban of ephedra herbal products) The body adapts and one builds up a dependence on the pill. Since the pill kept the metabolism artificially high, ceasing to take the pill means the metabolism immediately slows to its regular basal rate. Then the weight comes right back. This is distressing enough to warrant buying more of the pills. So, "weight loss" becomes a subscription to their product (when the pills actually do work).

Tuesday, January 02, 2007


There's a term in psychology called rationalizing. The short definition is that rationalizing is making up "good reasons" so that people can do what they want to do.

The thing about humans is, we have reason, but we are also driven by our emotions, our feelings. Sometimes we think up "good reasons" to avoid doing something, even though we know that doing it is necessary and beneficial, simply to feel normal, healthy.

I think the number one rationalization, or excuse for anything, is "I don't have time." Maybe the next excuse in line is, "I didn't want those sour grapes anyway."

We are not all born equal in talent or ability. The only thing that is equal among all people, is the amount of time we have in the day. We all get 24 hours a day.

"I don't have time," becomes more of a belief than an excuse after repeating it over and over again. It becomes a habit to believe in a self-restricting belief that only limits oneself.

A more useful belief to have is exercise is something that could change your outlook and attitude, releases feel-great endorphins, and has benefits that carry over into all other aspects of your life. The muscle you develop and condition now, you will keep into your old age. After 50, the amount of muscle one has declines steeply with increasing age. Is mobility and independence important at 70 or 80? Yes. We all age; we are all getting older.

The best way to build strong bone is to do weight-bearing exercises. This makes the bone more dense. The old idea that cow's milk is good for bone health is myth. Weight bearing exercise + lots of broccoli and cruciferous vegetables (calcium) do the best job, not dairy products.

Training with weights is about keeping what you have--about keeping the muscle and bone you have, throughout life. Your body is your vehicle in life.

If you understand this and believe it, your brain will find a way no matter what; your brain won't need the "good reasons" that only justify easy and comfortable habits. And after doing it for a while, you don't have to believe it because you come to know it.