It’s Summer, 2011, (at least here in beautiful Los Angeles), and you’ve failed yet again. Yes, YOU! Right before New Year’s rolled around, we as a collective, were at our heaviest weight and promised ourselves, and anyone within earshot or text message, that in 2011 it was indeed on! (Or off, the fat, that is.)
And right on cue, come every Summer, like a youth preparing for a test via cramming, once again, the weather is right and you are not. You’re about as ripped as Chunk, circa 1985, from The Goonies. As ripped as Precious at a Hometown Buffet. As ripped as the balloons in Pixar’s Up. In reality, ripped off would be the more appropriate axiom. Ripped off, that yet again you spend your summer covered up.
As I shared with you, my loyal readers, last newsletter, (see issue #35 Dietary Smackdown!), nothing motivates one more to get back into shape than a breakup. A good 10 weeks of clean eating and hardcore training brought back into my life and physique, more cuts than any Saw movie could dare show in a darkened theater. The lines came in fast and furious, so much so that I thought a photo-shoot was in order. Aside from the lack of condiments for the last 3 days of prep, natural diuretic for drying out, (my Home Depot trip is still a blur), and applying Hot Stuff to bring about vascularity and an insane beach pump, that day was an important one, for not only what was captured in front of the camera, but inside my heart as well. There are few things that feel as good as a rebirth, believe it!
My wish for each and every one of you is that when summer arrives, you are as ready as a pale-stricken would be attorney on the day of the bar that has served hard time in the library for 6 months to a year of prep.
But what exactly ales ye? All that endless cardio that would amount to Frodo and Bilbo making three pilgrimages up Mount Mordor in destroying the accursed ring. Enough skinless chicken breasts to wake up with wings that can't fly. More reps than Will Smith’s agent. More protein shakes, supplements and fuel to sponsor Marty McFly’s Delorean from 1955 to 1985 and a trip every year to 2085. All this work and little to no results! I recently read that more than 67% of Americans are considered overweight; this is downright tragic and preventable. This fact is reinforced every time I log into my Facebook account and I see faces from yesteryear, some now barely recognizable due to sheer volume. Believe me, I know how good a Krispy Kreme, (or 5), tastes, but nothing feels better than actually fitting into shorts and a fitted T-shirt at Armani Exchange and having the attention of the entire store and not just because one has platinum card status.
What follows is my top 10 list of varying behaviors that have given the Fat Demon the message that it is indeed okay to inhabit your body. Excise him now by chanting, “The power of being lean compels you!”
1. Improper training – Both self-imposed or under the guise of your trainer can sometimes derail your progress. The various modalities I see some of my fellow trainers have their clientele perform on a daily basis, sometimes leaves me scratching my head. Rolling, stretching, bands and the like have their place but evermore Training + Cardio + Nutrition = Results. I have personally never veered from doing what brought me to the dance in the first place and that is why my national bodybuilding trophy proudly resides on my mantel.
2. Stress – In 2011, who doesn’t live with stress? But excessive worry causes the body to produce cortisol, a catabolic, fat storing hormone. Try to limit your stress by exercising regularly, writing freely in a journal, taking up yoga as I have, (once per week), and stretching. The power of cortisol is so great, I have seen ripped and ready contest prepped bodybuilders lose cuts in front of their very eyes by excessively worrying and ruining an otherwise peaked physique. Relax, it’s just life.
3. Too many cheat meals/days – The metabolism actually slows down after prolonged “dieting” due to the body’s constant need for homeostasis, (state of being). Introducing an elevated caloric intake, at least once per week, will not only get a sluggish metabolism moving, but will also renew a mentally taxing lifestyle. This is why my cheat meals are so sacred to me as any of you have witnessed first hand. We all at one time, or another, have started Monday, as THE day things will change only to find ourselves heavily indulging before day’s end and far too often sabotaging the entire week. People, it’s a cheat meal, NOT a cheat life! Use your food lifeline sporadically and leaner gains shall be yours.
4. Prescription Medications – The use of certain prescription drugs such as mood and anxiety disorders, birth control and even certain types of steroids can cause unwanted weight–gain. If you do suspect a medication you are taking is causing you to gain pounds, never stop taking said protocol without consulting your physician first!
5. Lack of patience – Believe me, I’m from New York, I have more estrogen in my body than I do patience. But when it comes to achieving something, my brain is constantly aware that a brick a day will one day yield a full wall. Too many of you are not giving a program, be it training or nutrition or both, enough time. Stay on the proven highway to success instead of veering off every inviting exit ramp you see.
6. Supplement reliance – With the advent of technology, the multi-billion dollar supplement industry is as booming as ever. Not only do protein shakes no longer taste like chalk, (Syntha-6 chocolate is delicious!), but also some sups actually work! Still, with the flood of potent fat-burners, and the like, on the market today, it is a common, (wrongful) practice, to abuse these substances and their more potent drug counterparts in the quest of an elite or beach-worthy physique. Supplements are just that, supplemental to one’s dietary intake and will always take a backseat to year-round discipline both in the gym and at the dinner table, period!
7. Too many cooks – As a professional trainer, I know the value of constantly learning more and updating less effective modalities with more proven techniques. This would explain the change in physique development from the 70’s during Arnold Schwarzenegger’s reign to today. The athletes today have achieved levels of muscularity previously impossible yesteryear. BUT, I always go off sound logic, and proven theorem, rather than what is the latest in vogue. If everyone has an opinion differing from everyone else's, what other possible results will be yielded, other than a variation of Mary Shelley’s "Frankenstein", in terms of physique development.
8. Genetic reliance – Who can’t name the person whom, eats whatever they desire and never gains an ounce of fat? Of course the grass is always greener. I know plenty of people walking around with completely visible abdominals year-round yet can’t seem to gain any appreciable muscle mass. Since they lack the heart, desire and plan, they have chosen to rest on their genetic predisposition. Training has always been, at least to me, a war between the weights and myself and I will not lose. Push your limits, and change yourself, for the better!
9. Too many distractions – We can all take a lesson from one of my favorite movies, Michael Mann’s, "HEAT". De Niro, as Neil McCauley is quoted as saying, "You want to be makin' moves on the street, have no attachments, allow nothing to be in your life that you cannot walk out on in 30 seconds flat, if you spot the heat around the corner." Now while extreme, this single-mindedness allows Neil to have a very successful career as a high-stakes criminal…until he died at the end. But that’s not the point. Stay focused on the task at hand people!
10. Darkness at the end of the Tunnel – Where is the light ? Begin with the end in mind. Know thy goal. Visualize. Believe. Practice the steps. Groundhog Day existence. Repeat.
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