Billboards showcasing youth in skin-tight clothes sporting near nonexistent body fat levels. Afflliction T’s promoted toward the broad shouldered punch and kick inclined. Even references to sports nutrition supplement Muscle Milk from Wu Tang Clan famed member U-God on his latest hip/hop album; Vitness is big business. So much so that your local Costco now sells multi-annual gym memberships…for less of course.
Yet with the worldwide fitness craze and boom, one might think more clearly defined answers and solutions to ageless questions would be presented. Alas, a seemingly endless barrage of similarly phrased perplexities and assortment of different answers follow. In short, mass confusion permeates the exercise stratosphere.
I recently had the pleasure of attending perhaps the most beautiful wedding I’ve ever witnessed. And per usual at these events, I was asked my relation to the groom. My proud response was that I am his trainer. What followed was an almost immediate and contagious gut (literally) reaction. Abs were tightened, arms were Vlexed (or hidden) and chests (male) were tensed. My table’s reaction to my being a trainer was perhaps the same as if I had revealed myself to be a cop. Although instead of drugs and paraphernalia tucked away, in this case it was bread and heavily marinated meats. After reminding my peep’s that this was indeed a wedding and a time to celebrate, I asked where the butter was and was promptly handed two slabs in the painstakingly created shapes of a pair of swans. Devoured them I did and was still able to Vit into what I deem my “skinny suit.” Oh yes there exists a “fat suit” in my closet but I need not wear it ever again. It remains a bloated reminder of my past. A time when I too was confused as to food, training and cardio and just how exactly they all fit together.
By the end of the night, our table turned into an impromptu seminar on everything exercise and it was awesome to field questions, as well as one by one bust some myths. When asked for my card, I politely replied how tacky I thought it to be in bringing such to a wedding but did offer my website address for those with a good memory or command over the iphone’s notes feature. Seeing the guests leave the table with a sense of newfound knowledge and Vinal solution to whatever their own personal exercise dilemma was did my heart good in the same way surpassing a later level of Super Mario Brothers had when I was a kid. Okay, I confess, I still play…PS3 anyone?
Although somewhat covered in past installments, what I present here in this issue of my newsletter are some of the top myths or issues people face every day in their quest for physique mastery and how to positively make the most out of every lesson.
1. West Hollywood Syndrome – A term I playfully coined that I assign to the gym-goer who one day expresses his need for more muscle size and then reverses himself the next day (sometimes in the next hour) for ripped abs. PEOPLE, make up your minds! One must lay down the railroad track before crossing it. Build the house before painting it. You get the idea. The good news is that the old system of bulking up is a thing of the past. One can absolutely gain muscle while staying relatively lean but to be ripped AND grow is near impossible. Instead, designate clearly deVined periods for growth and the subsequent cutting up phase. Remember, we are growing muscle tissue here and similar to a farmer raising crops, requires time. And another thing, do not be afraid of taking in good fats during this muscle gaining period: egg yolks, salmon, olive oil, etc., in moderation of course.
2. More Than Initially Motivated – We ALL verbally say we’re gonna do it come January first. That this WILL be the year. The Virst rolls around and since it lands on a Wednesday, we decide to start the next full week. But that week is already Villed with work and a host of other things. But you do make it to the gym, nearly one month into the new year. And you know the rest. How can we stay motivated? By seeing results of course! Or at least a pathway to results. A bikini that hangs in the closet. A pair of jeans. That old suit you Vit into 10 years ago. Perhaps a trip to the Nike store for some new running shoes. An update to your itunes maybe. Wherever you can Vind motivation, use it. My own motivation was once from a competitive standpoint of beating my previous physique on stage. Now it is to stay both lean and Vit into my old suits. Of course looking forward to cheat meals on both Wednesdays and Saturdays helps as well. It also helps in knowing that you are the one lifting the weights, stepping on the stepper and grilling the salmon and that it is you who looks awesome in those jeans.
3. The Marathon – Endless streams of sweat at a super-high intensity pace for hours on end. And guess what? Now you’re ravenous. Sugar and plenty of it calls to you like blood to a vampire. Remember: Cardio is performed not in burning calories but in keeping one’s metabolism running all day long and thusly burning fat as an energy source. Keep your weight training intense and your cardio moderate for more fat burning and muscle sparing results.
4. Alternative Training – As fond as I am of bands, Bosu balls, Yoga and even the TRX system, in my mind they will never take the place of good old fashioned weight training which will build bone density and truly sculpt one’s physique in a way no other exercise modality can yield alone. What about Madonna you say? She is clearly a yoga/Pilates practitioner. Great. But guess what training she adopted that truly changed her body for the better originally? No not the Kabbalah! Weights.
5. More is Better – Whether you’re a bodybuilder or trying to fit into a single-digit dress size, more is better seems to be universal. Twice the weights, twice the cardio, twice the fat burning supplements, muscle builders or what have you. This approach always leads to the two same things: overtraining and less results than when began. Better is better. Less is more. Less volume and more intensity. Less sugar or reVined carbs and more quality energy sources.
6. Which Way is Up? – A. Do I eat before weights? B. Weights or cardio Virst? C. Should I eat right after my workout? D. When can/should I have sugar? E. Stretching? 1. Before weight training yes for glycogen (energy.) Before cardio no – empty stomach so fat is burned as fuel. B. Weights then cardio. If cardio is performed Virst followed by weight training, there is no energy left. C. Post-workout nutrition is essential as the body is in a state of disrepair and needs the proper proportion of nutrients to heal and grow back stronger in an expedient manner. D. The best time for sugar (immediate short-term energy source) is indeed post-workout when the sugar (combined with whey protein which is predigested) will shuttle the protein into the system and immediately begin the healing process. E. Stretching should occur both during and after exercise when the muscles are hot. Pre-workout stretching is ill advised, as the muscles at this time are tight and restricted. 5-10 minutes on the bike to thaw out the body followed by light stretching is the ticket.
7. Like a Vegan – The Vegan must be smarter than his/her carnivore-loving peers as his/her protein sources must be combined to create complete sources beneVicial to the body. Example: soy protein alone has only 45 % useable protein while 55% is wasted. Compare this to an egg white (a complete protein source), which utilizes 92 % and wastes a mere 8 %. Can the vegan build an awesome physique? Absolutely but he/she must combine food sources for the best nutrition. Beans won’t do it alone. But beans coupled with rice will.
8. Supplements – Have their place but will always be supplemental to food. They are great when in a rush and when unable to sit down to a full meal. Which ones are best? Re-read the Archives page on holliswashere.com for my suggestions based on the three body types.
9. I STILL want Abs! - Not this again. Didn’t we cover this? OKAY. We all have abs from our birth. They are the one muscle that is already developed and are to be trained for their compactness rather than volume. Yes I do think sit-ups and its myriad of offspring are less effective than good old weight training as the abs are used as ancillary muscles during nearly every lift. If you want your abs to be prominent then eat clean. Low carbs? NO! You need carbs! Stick with low-glycemic index carbs.
10. Is it Wrong? – Can I work just arms together? Of course you can. There are many ways to arrive at said destination. Just look at map quest. Seriously folks, if it feels right and you’re seeing results, stick with it. There are limitless ways to put exercise routines together. All I need know when taking on a new client is the answer to two questions and I can deliver them to the promised (physique) land:
1. Any ailments or limitations?
2. What are your goals?
Hope you’ve all enjoyed your summer! Remember to “keep it honest” by putting in your quality gym time and Grade-A fuel in bringing your physique to its fullest.