to be consumed by the consumption

…either way, you end up paying for it.

Anything we do, anything, requires us to pay for it. Sitting, lying down, running, biking, sleeping all requires a certain level of fuel to feed these activities whether it be a small amount or large amount. The fuel used is to create the product required to carry out these activities. Think of it as putting fuel into your car, but unlike your car which can only use electricity or unleaded gas or diesel fuel, our bodies can use multiple fuels.

If you have read any of my posts, this might already sound somewhat familiar. I have touched lightly on how our body functions with respect to creating energy, but I thought now would be a good time to expand on this extremely interesting and compelling topic. Well, some of you might find it interesting and compelling. I’m not going to delve down deep into the weeds because I don’t think anyone coming here to my blog to read my posts are looking for that amount of detail. If you are, there are other sites out there that get into the exact chemistry on this topic.

My objective is to provide you with enough information that you will have an understanding of how important the right foods are, and also how important it is to focus on the intensity of our exercise. I believe if you have an understanding of this, you will look at what you are eating differently, and you may alter how you exercise.

First Off

Let me spend some time defining a few terms that will help you as you make your way through this post. This might help make it simpler to understand some of the content coming up.

Energy: The ability to do physical work. In this post, I’ll be looking at the conversion of chemical energy (food) into mechanical energy (muscle contraction).

Homeostasis: A state of balance where the demand for energy is easily met by the supply of available energy. An example would be sitting on the couch watching TV.

ATP: Adenosine triphosphate. ATP is energy currency of the body. Anything you do requires you to pay for it in ATP.

Anaerobic: Operating without the use of oxygen. Any activity you do where the process to create energy (ATP) does not require oxygen.

Aerobic: Basically the opposite of anaerobic. Any activity you do where the process to create energy (ATP) requires oxygen.

Getting into it

Now that we know a few terms I want to use the following example to introduce the concept of creating ATP, and how that happens at different levels of intensity.

You show up for your workout ready to go. Your body is currently in a steady state, or a homeostasis state as the body is able to provide the energy needed for the demand. Your instructor starts you off with a warm up of jumping jacks. This takes you out of the steady state as the demand for energy has increased and the body does not have adequate supplies. To meet this demand, the body responds by going to the anaerobic process of creating ATP. The body uses the anaerobic process because the cardio vascular system cannot respond fast enough to supply the oxygen needed to go to the more efficient aerobic system.

Because this is a warm up and being done at a low intensity level, the body should reach steady state relatively quickly and switch to the aerobic fuel system. With the low level of intensity, the body will use fat as the fuel source to create the needed ATP. The process of converting fat to ATP is very efficient in that one unit of fat can create approx. 140 units of ATP.

We’re about over 5 minutes into our warm up and about to start the workout. Your instructor decides that today’s work out is going to be an interval workout using 1 minute of high intense exercise followed by 2 minutes of mid intense level period of recovery.

The instructor signals you to start the 1 minute work period of the first interval. For the interval you are going to do 1 minute of high knees. You start the high knees and you increase your intensity to about 90% of your max. Your body responds by switching from the fat burning process used during the warm up to the glycolytic anaerobic fuel process. The glycolytic process will allow the body to work in the high intensity zone for about 2 – 3 minutes, using glucose and glycogen as the fuel to create ATP. In this phase, 2 – 3 units of ATP are created for each unit of glucose. Since our work period of our interval is only 1 minute, your body will stay in this zone as it is less than the 3 minutes your body is able to stay in this zone.

Our one minute is done, and we are now into our 2 minute active rest period. For the active rest period, the intensity level will be about 60% of our max. Because of the lower intensity, our body is now able to provide the oxygen needed and has changed to the oxidative system which is one of the 2 aerobic systems. At this level of intensity the fuel used is again glucose and glycogen. The other system of the 2 that are aerobic is the one that uses fat as the fuel, which we were using during the warm up. The oxidative system is a little more efficient than the glycolytic system as our body is able to get about 38 ATP units from one unit of glucose.

Our rest period is over and we are back into the 1 minute work period. When we switch to the work period we got a little excited as our instructor was very vocal about wanting more and working harder so our intensity switched to 100%. This switch to our maximum effort has now forced our body to switch to the creatine phosphate phase to create ATP. This system is very limited, and can fuel our body for only about 10 seconds since only 1 unit of ATP is created for every unit of creatine phosphate. But our work period is 1 minute long, and I have only 10 seconds of fuel? Does that mean that at the 11th second of the work period I’m just going to stop and my body is going to shut down? No, of course not. What happens is your body can no longer work at this intensity because it will run out of creatine phosphate, so it will force you to lower the intensity the the level needed where it can switch to the glycolytic system which I mentioned earlier will be able to provide fuel for 2 -3 minutes.

We’re done our work interval and are now into the active rest interval, using the oxidative system. Our body switches back and forth to these different systems as we go through the rest of our interval training. Our interval training is finished off with 15 minutes of low intensity work. Again, because the intensity level is low, our body is using fat as the fuel.

With the above example I have covered the 4 systems our body uses for create energy; creatine phosphate, glycolytic, oxidative, and the fatty acid oxidation system.

The 2 G’s

So what is glucose and glycogen? Glucose is basically sugar in our blood that is used to fuel our cells. Glycogen is glucose stored in our muscles and liver.  When needed, glycogen is converted to glucose. For simplistic purposes you can look at glucose and glycogen as stored carbohydrates. When you eat carbs you are providing the food needed for your body to create glucose and glycogen. Ideally the carbs you should be consuming are complex carbohydrates such as fruits, vegetables, grains, pasta and other sources.

Your body can hold only so much glucose and glycogen. I don’t know if you have ever heard of the phrase “carb loading” commonly used by endurance athletes such as marathon runners. Carb loading is the process of eating as much carbs as you can a day or two before your big event. The idea is that your body will not run out of glucose/glycogen during the race since you topped up your fuel tank through the carb loading.

The 2 G’s are very important for us when exercising as you may have already determined from the above example. For most of the interval training, our body was in either the glycolytic or oxidative system for creating energy. Because of this you want to ensure your body has an adequate store of the 2 G’s before your workout, and also following your workout it is important to replenish what you depleted by having complex carbs for your post workout refueling.

Fat

Generally speaking our bodies have enough fat to provide fuel for a long time. The fatty acid oxidation system is very efficient using only 1 unit of fat to create approx. 140 units of ATP.  Yet, I hear all the time about people working in the ‘fat burning’ zone. There is this myth that to lose fat you need to exercise in the fat burning zone. Bullsh*t. Sorry, but It bothers me that this myth is still perpetuated. People are exercising thinking that they are exercising correctly, but unfortunately will not see the results they are looking for. As an example, you exercise for 30 minutes in the ‘fat burning zone’, the low intensity zone, and your body requires 600 units of ATP to do this work. That’s just over 4 units of fat! Not that much is it. And, if you have read my other posts you will already know that one of the benefits of working in a higher intense zone, especially with interval training is that you will have an increased rate of metabolism during your off training time. Read the article if you haven’t already.

Post exercise

Following exercise our body needs to replenish the oxygen used during our workout and it also needs to take care of other tasks such as removing lactic acid, a byproduct of intense work. This process is called EPOC, or Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption. The greater the deficit, the longer it takes to replenish the oxygen back to a steady state. The more intense the workout the more time it takes to reach this steady state. During the EPOC process the metabolism is increased to facilitate this. Are you putting it together? The more intense your workout is, the longer it takes you to reach steady state, the longer your resting metabolism is elevated. This means that when you are recovering following your workout, your body is mostly using fat as the fuel to facilitate the EPOC process. That is one of the benefits of training hard. They don’t tell you this when they talk about staying in the ‘fat burning’ zone. Of course not.

What’s missing?

I have touched on the fuels used, the 2 G’s, and fat. We know that carbohydrates are used to create the 2 G’s and well, fat is used to create fat. What isn’t here is protein. Why? Because protein is not a fuel source! Protein is not a fuel source for the creation of ATP.

Funny isn’t it. In my opinion, again this is my opinion only, this is why I will never have a high ratio of protein in the foods I consume daily. To me it doesn’t make sense knowing what our body uses for fuel. In fact, if your body is depleted in glycogen and glucose, and has to revert to using protein (the body will use protein it if absolutely has to) for fuel it will convert it to glucose via gluconeogenesis or other sources. But this process is really inefficient. But hold on, here’s the worse part about this. The protein the body uses is coming from your muscles! Your body is cannibalizing itself to create energy! All the hard work you put in creating that muscle is somewhat lost as it is now being consumed.

Very much like the water running down the side of hill zigzagging around rocks and other obstructions, your body is taking the path of least resistance. It’s doing what is easiest to create ATP.

That’s it

Did I carry out my objective? Do you have a better understanding of what our body is doing with respect to food, fuel, and energy? Maybe. It’s much more complex than this but I don’t think you need the complexity to better understand how it can impact our exercising, and our eating. The body is an amazing thing, and the more we can understand with regards to what is going on, the better our workouts will be, the heathier we will become. Training smart is much better than the alternative. Use this knowledge and incorporate it into your workouts and into your meal planning. Your workouts will mean much more to you knowing why you are doing these things. It’s very empowering.

Yours in health,

Darryl

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am a slow walker but I never walk backwards

Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you!

Take the good and don’t settle for the bad. Working out whether in a group fitness class or on an individual basis is a big commitment that if done incorrectly can have a direct impact to your health and wellbeing, the worst case being incurring an injury.

If you are someone who is in a group fitness class, or someone who has or is looking for a personal trainer, be sure that whomever you have chosen is someone that can provide what it is you need. Your time is valuable and don’t waste it by settling for a personal trainer that may not be delivering on what they should be. Just like any profession, there are people who are qualified and do the job well, and there are also those who are qualified and aren’t so good at what they do. Also, choosing a personal trainer can be a very personal thing where personalities have to mesh. A personal trainer is someone you may be seeing 2 to 3 hours a week, and someone who is going to see you not always at your best. You need to be sure that you feel comfortable with this person and that you are able to communicate openly about how you are feeling knowing you may not always be feeling 100 percent.

More than a workout

When you’re not having a great day, unlike at work where your boss will give you your work to do for the day and may leave you alone, a personal trainer needs to be more engaged than that. We all have our bad days where we are not feeling at our best for whatever reason. Now on top of that you are now going to the gym to complete your workout and you already are having doubts as to how the workout is going to go. You are having that internal conversation that kind of goes like ‘I’ll just do a light workout and that should be good enough’ or ‘I’m not really feeling it today, maybe I’ll pass on the gym’. This is ok once in a while. We all need some time to ourselves if it’s been a hard day. I stress once in a while because if it happens more frequently then you are very close to having this happen more than going to the gym happens.

But luckily for you, you have a personal trainer who is there to motivate you and you don’t want to disappoint your trainer by cancelling the session. Also, you’ll probably still be on the hook for the cost of the session. Money can be a strong motivator. Now, if you don’t have the right personal trainer for you this may not mean anything, in fact, your trainer may be somewhat of a de-motivator. I’ll use the stereo typical personal trainer we see in the movies. The one who yells a lot, and is in your face. The over the top trainer. It is a stereo type, and I’m not sure if these personal trainers exist, maybe not to that severity, but I believe there are trainers that come across somewhat like that to their client(s).

Motivation

So how does a personal trainer motivate someone? Well that depends on who the client is. Believe it or not, being a personal trainer is not only knowing about how to train people on proper technique, or knowing the workings of the body, or knowing basic nutrition, etc., it also requires understanding on the sociological side of how people work and function with respect to fitness.

If you have read some of my articles you may have read my words on how intensity is important. I understand this, but do my clients? Probably not, and getting them to understand this is not necessarily going to equate to my clients working harder. A personal trainer needs to get their clients to work hard not just by explaining the benefits, but by things like encouragement, praise, and other methods that will facilitate the client wanting to dig down deep and try harder. Is this done by yelling, being condescending, belittling? I sure hope it isn’t but I think it still may be the methods of choice for some trainers.

If you find that you have second thoughts about training, or you get a bad feeling in your gut because you know you aren’t going to have a good experience with your trainer, then it’s time to find a new one. A personal trainer is there to get you to work hard and to feel good about working hard. Your attitude should be one of looking forward to seeing your trainer. And when you are finished your workout, you should be walking away feeling proud, feeling good, and feeling like you accomplished something. If you are leaving your training session feeling like crap, feeling like you are worthless and feeling animosity towards your trainer than you need to find a new personal trainer.

If you don’t have a personal trainer but are looking to engage one, be sure that you are able to cancel futures sessions and have your money refunded. There may be an administration fee, but the bulk of your money for unused sessions should be refunded. A good personal trainer should not have an issue with this as most time they are able to cancel future sessions themselves with their clients if they feel it is not working out.

More than motivation

A personal trainer should also be someone who listens to you. What I mean by this is that the trainer should be ready to hear your feedback on exercises and be willing to adapt and change. For example if a personal trainer decides to introduce barbell squats and you are very hesitant to doing this exercise because it just scares you for whatever reason, the trainer should listen to that feedback and use alternate equipment, or just use body weight squats as the exercise. A good trainer will realize your hesitation to do this exercise could result in poor form and injury and also realize there are ways to work towards reintroducing this exercise at a later time, once your confidence has been built up.

A good personal trainer should also be able to lead by example. Would you have a lot of confidence in what the trainer is telling you an exercise will do if it looks like the trainer doesn’t do the exercise her or himself? I wouldn’t. How would they know how effective the exercise is if they have never done it?

Is your personal trainer engaged in what you are doing when you are working out? Hopefully they are. A trainer should be there working with you as you do each movement, watching your form and making corrections if needed, and also encouraging you as you progress through your workout. You hired this trainer for the whole hour or whatever the time frame is. If you feel that your trainer is not engaged, discuss this with her or him. It may be a onetime thing. Your trainer could have had a really bad day and is trying their best to stay focused. We all have those days. But, if it happens all the time, or too frequently, than you may want to think about looking for a new trainer.

You have the power

Look forward to your workout. Be energized when you are working out. Feel accomplished when you have finished. Don’t feel resentment, anxiety, or hesitation about going to your workout. It’s not worth it no matter how good a trainer this person is.

You deserve more than that. Find the trainer that will facilitate that experience. The sooner the better.

Yours in health,

Darryl

 

Speed up – Slow down

I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity.

There are many reasons why we decide to be more active. For some people, they realize the benefits of having an active lifestyle. It could be a way of helping you achieve your goal of redefining your body by losing 10lbs of fat. Maybe it’s because you are having health issues and you now realize that you need to be more active. Whatever the reason, wouldn’t it be great if you could increase your fitness level, increase your body’s efficiency, and experience better health overall? All this and more, without having to spend any more time working out, in fact, you may even be able to spend less time.

All this for $19.99! But wait, there’s more!

This isn’t an attempt by me to increase my bank account, but it kind of does sound like an infomercial.

Now that I have your attention

Working out is pretty much like anything we do in life. Most of us have preconceived ideas on how to do various things in life. Sometimes we are somewhat on track and it works out fine. How many of us have gone to cooking school? Probably none. But we can still cook ourselves dinner. It may not taste the same as the dinner prepared by a top chef, but it gets the job done, and still tastes pretty good, most times. Now think if you had the chance to spend time with that chef and learn the various techniques and methods used to elevate the dish to the same level as what was prepared. Now that you are educated to a certain degree all of your meals moving forward will probably taste much better than they did previously. All this from a little understanding.

What changed? It’s taking the same amount of time to prepare the food, but it tastes so much better. I think a lot of us are doing the same when it comes to working out. We have ideas on how to work out, maybe we learned them from a friend, or read some articles. Most people when they run, when they bike, or when they are doing any type of cardio workout generally do the same workout every time. Most people will get on that treadmill and maybe spend a couple of minutes warming up, then they speed up the treadmill to pretty much the same speed they have been using the last 5,10,20,100 times they ran. No increase in speed, no change in duration, no change in elevation, no change in intensity.

But they’re working out, that’s awesome, right? Absolutely. They’re not on the couch and they’re working, sweating and doing something active. And, they are cooking that average dinner. They are doing what they know.

We’ve never had someone explain how things could be done differently and provide better results, helping you obtain your goals, helping you increase your cardio fitness level, and helping you become healthier overall.

Interval and Intensity

So what can be done different? Interval training is what we are going to look at to see how this will change our body in great ways.

Maybe you have heard of interval training. The common reference to interval training is HIITS. High Intensity Interval Training. Or you might of heard of Tabata, which is also interval training. Interval training has been around for years, probably about 100 years or so. Olympic and world record holder marathoners have been training using interval training for years. Some people may think that distance runners would train by gradually increasing their distance, and that’s what makes them world class athletes. Sure, they need to train by running distance, but they also need to train using interval training.

Before I describe some common interval training methods, I want describe how this makes a difference. Sometimes knowing how things work, and not just that you need to do them will make it easier for people to adapt new methods.

The Impact

The greatest benefit of interval training is an increase to our cardio-vascular performance by realizing an increase of the VO2max, and an increase in stroke volume. Vo2Max is the measurement of the amount of oxygen that can be delivered to the muscle tissue but also the amount of oxygen that can be used by the muscle tissue. The more oxygen your body can deliver and the more it can use will make you a more efficient athlete. Studies have shown an increase in Vo2Max from 4% to 46% through interval training periods lasting from 2 to 15 weeks in length. A potential of an increase of 46% in about 4 months! That’s incredible!

Stroke volume, the amount of blood the left ventricle pumps out in one beat, will increase as a result of interval training. As you become fitter, the size of the ventricles increase, allowing them to hold more blood, and contract with a greater force. The result of this is an increase in your stroke volume. Therefore instead of one stroke pumping 70 milliliters of blood, with your increase in fitness, your ventricles are now pumping 100 milliliters per stroke.

What does that mean? A couple of things. A higher stoke volume will allow your heart to beat at a lower rate when resting. When resting your body requires x amount of blood to provide oxygen, etc. If your heart pumps more blood per stroke (increased stroke volume) it doesn’t have to beat as much to move the same amount of blood. Also, if you are exercising and your heart rate is at 180 beats per minute you are pumping more blood through your body due to the higher stroke volume. This increase in blood flow at the same intensity means your muscles are getting more food and the waste is being taken away quicker. All beneficial things.

An interesting fact about stroke volume is it doesn’t plateau. The more you interval train, the potential is there to constantly increase your stroke volume. Of course things like time off from training will impact this.

These two benefits, increased Vo2Max and an increase in stroke volume will ultimately help us to perform better be it working out or just our day to day activities. Other benefits from interval training are increased loss of fat, reducing systolic and diastolic blood pressure (when elevated) and improving HDL cholesterol. Interval training will also stimulate the production of HGH (human growth hormone) significantly which slows down the aging process on our bodies.

The Types

When interval training we need to understand how much work we need to do, and how much rest. If you are working for 30 seconds, and then rest for 90 seconds, the work to rest ratio is 1:3. Ratios can vary depending on what type of interval training you are doing. Examples are 1:3, 1:1, and even 2:1 (Tabata has a 20 second work period and a 10 second rest period).

Let’s look at a common HIIT interval session:

  • Warm up: 10 minutes light exercise
  • Work Interval: 30 second sprint
  • Rest Interval: 30 second rest
  • Work to rest ratio: 1:1
  • Duration: 10 – 12 minutes
  • Follow this up with 15 – 20 minutes of work at 50% max heart rate

Here’s another example using the Tabata protocol:

  • Warm up: 10 minutes light exercise
  • Work Interval: 20 seconds
  • Rest Interval: 10 seconds
  • Duration: 4 minutes

Follow this up with 5 – 10 minutes of work at 50% max heart rate

These are two examples of interval training. There are many more interval training methods to use. Consult a personal trainer to look at other options and what might work for you.

Let’s use the above examples to discuss what we need to do when in the work cycle, and when in the rest cycle. When working we need to ensure that we are exerting ourselves at the proper level to realize the benefits of interval training. In the first example which is a HIIT example, we want to be working at 85% of our full output.

For the rest interval when HIIT training, you will want to do what is called an active rest. This means you will want to perform at about 60% – 70% output. This active rest allows the body to better remove waste from the muscles.

In the second example the ratio is quite different. Tabata training is relatively new in the sense of how long interval training has been around (developed in the 90’s by Izumi Tabata). With Tabata training, you are working for 20 seconds at 95% to 100% intensity. The rest period is not active rest in the sense that you should only be moving on the spot to keep some mobility in the body as you rest for the 10 seconds. The reason why we don’t have an active rest is so the body can create more fuel (ATP) for the upcoming 20 second work period. It may be hard to believe that 4 minutes of work can get results, but it can. There are a lot of studies that are showing the benefits of Tabata training, fitness benefits and health benefits.

Because interval training is intense training, you will want to limit your interval training to 2 – 3 times a week. Be sure to give your body time off to recover from these intense workouts. Never do interval training back to back. Be sure to have time off in between.

Take it easy

If you have never interval trained, or you are someone who just recently took up physical fitness, ease into this. This may be a different way of training for you. Keep in mind that technique will tend to go sideways when operating at 90%, or 100%. Don’t sacrifice technique. Slow down if you have to. Getting injured will not do you any good.

If you want to get more out of your workouts and improve your health and fitness then incorporate interval training. Think of it this way. What flight would you rather have to your next vacation destination, the direct flight, or the flight that has 4 stops and takes 18 hours longer to get there. It’s pretty much a no brainer, isn’t it?

Yours in health,

Darryl

Dark Shadows on the Earth

Scar tissue is stronger than regular tissue. Realize the strength, move on.

It’s going to happen sooner or later. Sometimes preventable, sometimes just really bad luck. The dreaded I word; injury. Injuries can happen while we are working out, or they can happen many other places; work, at home, wherever.

What we do immediately after we are injured will have a direct impact on how long it will take before we are able to resume our workouts.

It’s going to happen

It sucks! It really does. But, injuries are going to happen. This may sound somewhat pessimistic, but I think the sooner we realize that injuries are going to happen, the more accepting we will be when they do happen. That sounds weird doesn’t it. Most of us have the best intentions of staying injury free, of course we do, who wants to get injured. What I mean by this is hopefully we are starting our workout with a proper warm up and ending with a proper cool down and some static stretching. Even with doing all of these things, injuries can still happen. It can be as acute as a broken bone, or as subtle as an aggravated muscle. I’ve been there myself. I’m having a great day, feeling very good. No pains, no abnormal limits to my range of motion, and then it happens. Running sprints and I turn 180 degrees to sprint back and my lower back screams at me in pain! I’m thinking, “how did that happen?” It can be very discouraging, especially at the beginning of a workout. In my case, this injury was caused by an accumulative affect. Reaching down, and then turning back 180 degrees was the breaking point for my lower back, and caused the back muscles to tense up, and spasm. Did I know this was going to happen? No. Could I have prevented it from happening? Maybe. Probably. This happened about 18 months ago, and so far I haven’t had it happen again, I think. At least not to that degree. This is an example of something that could have been prevented. What happened here was an injury caused by forgetting about executing proper technique.

In the spirit of competitiveness, I was so focused on my sprint back from where I started that I started my 180 degree turn while still bent over touching the floor. Basically poor technique. This put the strain on my back and it was just too much and that was it. Totally preventable.

Another example of an injury I sustained while doing the same sprints (yeah, what is it with me and these sprints?) was due to an unforeseen event. I’m a heavy sweater, or prespirer. In the class I participate in on Saturday’s, the amount of sweat on my shirt is used as the indicator by our instructor if we have worked hard enough. Because of this I am no longer allowed to wear black shirts as it hides too much the amount of sweat. After a good warm up, and possibly already completing some sprints (can’t really remember), I was ready for the next set of sprints. As I started my sprint the foot I had down to push off was in a small puddle of my sweat. I’m sure you see where this is going. As I pushed off I lost traction, and my foot shot back in a weird way. That sudden unexpected movement was enough to strain my lower back. It’s going to happen.

Mitigate the risk

So what can we do to prevent injury? If you have been reading my posts, and doing the things I have suggested, then you are already on the road to prevention. Of course things like my slipping on my sweat is somewhat happenstance and there isn’t a lot you can do about that. But preventing injuries due to muscle imbalances, not warming up, not cooling down, not stretching is all in your hands. These are the things you can control. Yes, it’s up to you to do these things, or to not do them. Keeping proper form and technique, not worrying about numbers and worrying about keeping up with someone else. Ego can be a killer. People will get so hung up on how they are doing compared to someone else and technique goes to the side trying to keep up to them. You are your competition, not the person next to you. If you can do better than you did last time, or you are improving week to week, or month to month, then you are doing the right things! Don’t get caught up in the numbers game and don’t worry what someone else is doing. It’s tough! We all want to be the first to finish, the one lifting the most weight, but don’t let your ego win. If you let your ego win, you will lose.

It happened

You’ve been doing everything correctly and as best as you can but it happened. First thing is don’t get down on yourself. I know it’s hard not to because now you are thinking that your training is going to have to stop until you’re better. You have been awesome, making gains and feeling better about yourself! Don’t worry, there are options and I’m going to go over them.

Let me take a moment to be clear. I’m discussing pain due to injury and will not be covering pain due to disease, infection or medical condition. If you experience pain due to this, please see your doctor.

Remember the word PRICE. When you have experienced an injury that has generated immediate pain, follow the PRICE rule:

P – Professional medical opinion – always a good idea to confirm extent of injury and any medical treatment that may be necessary.

R – Rest – Stop any activity known to aggravate the condition and restrict motion through the injured tissue.

I – Ice – The application of ice reduces immediate inflammatory response, swelling and pain. The frequency and length of icing depends on the injury. As a rule, ice should not be applied for longer than 20 minutes at a time, and should not be reapplied until the tissue has regained full sensation.

C – Compression – Compression of the injury will prevent swelling. If the injured tissue is above the heart than compression is not needed.

E – Elevation – Elevating the injured tissue above the heart helps to minimize swelling.

Two Steps forward, one back

You’re injured and you followed the steps in price. So that’s it, no more training until you’re 100 percent, right? Of course you must follow your doctor’s advice and recommendations. By no means do I intend to contradict your doctor and recommend otherwise.

I just want you to know that there can be options based on the type of injury. Once again I will use my own experiences as an example. Over a year ago I suffered a broken 5th metatarsal, basically the bone in my foot behind my pinky toe broke. I was in a walking cast for 5 weeks. When this happened I was devastated. This injury happened about 8 weeks before a major grading for me in Karate, and also before my trip to Okinawa, Japan. I was devastated. I have been training very hard for a number of months for my grading and I knew my grading would be very demanding, a day no short of 7 hours of extreme demands on my body.

I took a step back, took a deep breath and analyzed my situation. Broken foot. What can’t I do, and what can I do. I called my Sensei and told him what happened. Fortunately my Sensei was of the same mindset as me and together we worked on what could be done and not aggravate the injury at all. We came up with exercises that could be done without causing any discomfort at all to my foot. These activities along with the swimming I took up allowed me to keep my cardio vascular health where it was and I also believe it helped me to heal quicker. Because I was active, without causing any discomfort to my injured foot, allowed the blood to continue to flow to my foot aiding in the healing process.

So it’s not always the end, being injured. Be flexible, be adaptable. Look at options. Talk to your doctor about any restrictions you need to follow. Your personal trainer is there too to work with you, and to help you with alternative exercises. Whatever you do, don’t quit! Don’t let this get you down and depressed. Be strong, I know you can because you are strong. You have the strength within you and with options you will continue to move forward, becoming even stronger.

The opportunities are there

Getting injured is not easy to deal with. If you are reading this blog, you are someone who probably is competitive, tough minded, driven, and want to move forward, not backwards.

Don’t let an injury get you down. Look at it as an opportunity to strengthen another area, an opportunity to try something different.

Let it make you stronger, better. You will come out of this experience a stronger person, someone more adaptable and someone who will have a better understanding of their body.

There are dark shadows on the earth, but its lights are stronger in the contrast.

Yours in health,

Darryl

 

I can only show you the door…

Learning is never cumulative, it is a movement of knowing which has no beginning and no end.

I’ve already wrote a post about one controversial subject, nutrition, and I’m about to write a post about another one, supplementation. I am not certified in nutrition, not yet, but I am planning on becoming certified in plant based nutrition. To me this makes sense because if I am a certified personal trainer, trying my best to get people to be healthy and fit, make it part of their lifestyle, how could I avoid discussing nutrition? Physical activity is only one part of working on maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Nutrition plays another part in this, providing us with the fuel, the nutrition to properly recover, and the nutrition to rebuild. You may be thinking, why plant based nutrition? It’s a personal choice for me, to choose not to eat any animals or animal products such as diary, eggs, etc. I make this choice for health reasons, environmental reasons, and also animal welfare issues. Since this is the nutritional path I have chosen, it only makes sense if I’m going to be certified in nutrition, I get certified in what I have chosen to eat.

Get ready

So let’s move onto another part of what helps us stay healthy short term and long term, helps to provide energy, and also helps us recover and rebuild. Supplements. What are supplements? Supplements can be something that completes or enhances something else when added to it. I would put the following under this definition: vitamins, minerals, pre workout drinks, post workout drinks, protein powder, or anything that is considered to enhance our health and fitness.

Supplementation is also a controversial subject. Why is supplementation so controversial? Lack of regulation, contradictory studies and research are a couple reasons. Opinion and personal biases are also another reason. I also think it’s due to poor marketing. People feel that this is just another product a company is trying to make me feel like I need, so they can get my money. It’s hard not to be skeptical.

Many people feel that they are getting the vitamins, minerals, etc. in the food they eat every day. It is my opinion that this is no longer the case. With the industrialization, the corporatization of farming, I don’t think we can any longer rely on the food we eat to provide us with the vitamins and minerals we need to stay healthy. I’m not even talking about eating a diet of mostly prepared foods, or a diet consisting of fast foods from many of the fast food outlets out there.  We as a society have really moved away from eating foods that are whole, raw, and nutritionally dense to foods that have most of the nutrients striped away.

Now consider that someone who lives pretty much a sedentary lifestyle is not getting enough vitamins and minerals in the food they eat. And now consider that you have chosen to live an active lifestyle, pushing your body to the limits multiple times a week! Breaking muscle tissues down, depleting your glycogen reserves, stressing connective tissue, greater forces put on your skeletal system and your joints! That’s a lot to ask of your body, and that’s a lot to ask of yourself. There are plenty of analogies that I could use, but I think you get the point.

Choices

It’s not my intent to delve into what vitamins, minerals, what protein powder you should take, or what doses should be taken daily. I’m not qualified to do this, and it’s also not my intent of this post. There are so many choices on what supplements to take that it can be very overwhelming and discouraging. You can view this as a good thing, or a bad thing. With choices comes options. Today, you are able to take a supplement to address a specific need such as glucosamine to treat joint pain and arthritis.

I think a good way to tackle this is to educate yourself. There has been a lot of research done in this area and there are a lot of good articles detailing the research. Also, be sure to understand who did the study, what qualifications do they have. Also see if the study was independent or if it was backed by a company. Studies backed by a company will usually only be released if the results of the study is what they wanted. There are also places that offer workshops in this area. These can be quite beneficial.

Complication

It’s not easy, never said it would be. But a lot of things aren’t easy. Sitting on the couch, watching TV is easy. But you have made a choice to not be the couch potato, to be active and take control of your life. So think of this as just another way to look at your health and fitness. Take it on as a small project and try to make it fun. Stick with the main vitamins and minerals such as C, B, A, D, and E to start. Add onto it magnesium, zinc. Pick one a week to learn more about it. This should lower the feeling of being overwhelmed. Before you start to supplement, visit your doctor and ask to have blood work done so you can see where your levels are. This will give you a baseline of where you are today, and should help you in determining what and how much you may need to take. Another important point to remember, they’re called supplements, not substitutions. Don’t stop eating healthy thinking that supplementation will substitute for good eating. Eating a variety of healthy foods is the primary thing we need to do for nutrition. Nothing beats the real thing. Supplementation is to fill the void we need filling.

Take Control

Take the time to learn about supplementation. Knowledge is power. Think about the feeling you will have when you feel better because of it. 3 years ago after researching vitamin D, I started taking it regularly and increased my dosage. Since then I have not suffered the flu, or had a cold last longer than 2 – 3 days, even if I get one. Is this because of my increase of vitamin D? Who knows, this isn’t an experiment, and I don’t have a control to reference (still trying to master the science of cloning). Personally, I think it is. Besides this is only one impact vitamin D can have, there are many more benefits.

There’s a whole word out there waiting for you to explore it. Explore it, become powerful.

Yours in health,

Darryl

for the want of a nail

For the want of a nail a battle was lost

You are training hard, putting the hours in. You’ve analyzed your diet and it looks great, balanced and healthy. You’re getting plenty of sleep but not matter what you do, or what you have been doing, you can’t seem to gain muscle mass.

First of all, relax. The last thing you want to do is worry about it. That doesn’t help you, as worrying and stress will release the hormone cortisol – more on why that’s a bad thing in an upcoming post, and it won’t help you get to your goal any quicker.

Grass isn’t always greener

So why is it you want to gain muscle mass? Hopefully it’s not because of ego. Ego driven goals usually end up being empty goals because when you finally achieve it, it turns out to not be that satisfying, your ego is still hungry and now you need to feed it again. Is it to balance out your physique? If you are someone who is somewhat thin adding muscle mass is a great way to add weight to your body. Also, unlike gaining weight due to an increase in body fat, you get to decide where that muscle mass goes. You get to be the artist sculpting your body, deciding whether to add muscle mass to your legs, your shoulders, back, etc. Are you looking to gain mass for performance reasons? If you are, be sure to understand how this will help you, and in fact if it will help you.

With the gain of muscle mass comes an increased need of oxygen when training, or generally doing anything. Muscles require oxygen to perform and more muscle requires more oxygen. An example I use is if you have ever watched a heavy weight boxing match, or mixed martial arts match, it is not uncommon to see one of the competitors become winded, or tired, as the fight goes on. If the fighter has not properly trained their cardio-vascular system to keep up with the greater demand for oxygen to feed the muscles they will not be able to supply that oxygen when needed, and they have no choice but to slow down, thus decreasing the oxygen demand. It’s science! If the muscles are not getting the oxygen needed to perform at the current level of intensity, it must slow down to a lower level of intensity that the oxygen being supplied will satisfy.

If you are someone who participates in physical activities that can last an hour, 90 minutes, and during this time you are exerting yourself for minutes on end, not for 10 – 60 seconds, be sure to train your cardio-vascular system so your body will be able to keep up with the demand.

Getting to it

Let’s look at what we can do to add muscle mass to our body. Once again it comes down to science. To gain muscle mass, you need to increase the resistance be it weights, or tension on a machine, thus also lowering the amount of repetitions you can properly do keeping sound technique.

NOTE: If you are a beginner to resistance training, do not do any of the following as you do not have the experience and your body does not have the foundation yet to move to this level.

If you have done resistance training, and consider yourself ready to move to an intermediate level, here are guidelines you can use to help you increase muscle mass

Intermediate:

Ideally you will want to train your muscle groups using 1 to 4 sets, completing 8 to 12 reps for each set. Between sets, you can rest 30 seconds to 2 minutes.

Sets: 1 – 4

Reps: 8 – 12

Rest: 30 s – 2 min

Advanced:

If you have already trained at the intermediate level and are quite comfortable using weights, and have proper technique, you may want to try training at the advance level. With advance training you will want to keep your sets at 1 to 6, completing 1 to 8 reps, reaching muscle failure. Between sets you will want to rest 2+ minutes.

NOTE: Training at advance level requires you to train to failure. Do not put yourself in danger by sacrificing proper technique to achieve this, or not having a spotter when you should. Many people have been injured trying to complete the last barbell bench press without a spotter. Train smart and safe!

Sets: 1 – 6

Reps: 1 – 8

Rest: 2+ min

 

Interfering

If you have activities that you do outside of your time spent trying to add muscle mass, and those activities are quite physical, be aware of them and be aware of how they can impact your goal of adding muscle mass.

If you are trying to add mass to your chest and your shoulders and your activity requires you to complete a large amount of pushups (100 or more), this will add time to your goal as you are now training at a much higher rep level that will not have the effect of adding mass. Personally, I don’t view this as a bad thing since you are training your muscles differently and will still realize a benefit.

More importantly though be sure not to train the same muscle groups without having at least 48 hours rest for those muscle groups. Giving the proper amount of rest for the muscle groups you train will help you maximize the potential to add mass. This principle also applies to our abdominal muscles. There is a misconception that you can exercise your abs every day, and that you have to train them every day for the abs to get stronger. It’s a strange concept because our abdominal muscles are just that, muscles no different than our leg muscles, shoulder muscles, etc. Yet no one is saying you need to do squats every day to get strong legs. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. Just add it to the list of myths regarding exercise, fitness and health.

Putting it together

Nutrition, rest, recovery, training. All of these things are important to achieve any fitness goal and most times will help you get there quicker. Don’t be in a rush and cut corners as this can impact your health short and long term, can cause injury, and will ultimately set you back.

I had plans so big but the devil’s in the details.

Yours in health,

Darryl

the Power to Heal You

“I don’t care if it hurts. I want a perfect body, I want a perfect soul”

I like to think of recovery as a couple of things; post workout recovery, and time off recovery. Sometimes the latter one can be something that we forget about, especially when we get so wrapped up in training and are training hard to make gains in our performance. I’m guilty of this myself. I forget that the body needs time off, and yes, the mind too. Usually this is because we think that if I train hard 5 days a week and have been making gains, then obviously training 7 days a week will be better, right? Not necessarily and in most cases, no, it’s not better.

Most times too much of a good thing ends up being harmful. The right amount of sunshine provides your body with vitamin D, but too much will cause sunburn, skin damage, and in the worst case skin cancer. The proper amount of protein will help in muscle development, but too much can cause kidney damage, and possibly renal failure.

Following the pain and exhaustion

You’ve just completed your tough workout, giving it everything you had to get through it. You feel great, no, you feel awesome! Endorphins are flowing through your body, giving you that workout high that feels so good. You’re feeling good too because you gave it everything, left it all on the floor, and that feeling of accomplishment is overwhelming. It should be. You should feel great about what you just did. You dug down deep to get the strength and determination to finish the workout strong, and you finished strong! Enjoy and relish the moment as you should because you are a warrior doing something that most people won’t. And you will reap the benefits of giving it everything you had.

But now that the workout is over, what do we need to do so our body will reap the benefits of that hard workout were we took our bodies to the point of failure? Believe it or not, what you do after the workout will determine what you are able to do for the next workout, and also what level of gains you will realize from working hard.

It’s biological

First, let’s understand what our body was doing as we were ‘killing’ ourselves. If you have read my previous posts, you may already understand that ATP (adenosine triphosphate) is the currency of energy. Anything we do, from breathing to sprinting requires ATP. For us to have ATP, our body needs to create it and it creates it differently depending on the intensity of the activity. I’m not going to go too deeply into how our body manufactures ATP that will be another post. For the purpose of this post, I want to talk at a somewhat high to mid-level how ATP is created when we train.

When we train at an intense level for the most part our body is using glycogen and glucose to create ATP. Yes, fat and creatine phosphate is also involved, but again, I want to talk about glycogen and glucose. Glycogen is basically carbohydrates stored in the muscle cells and glucose is carbohydrates stored in the blood. As we train at a high intensity level, our glycogen and glucose stores are used to provide fuel for this activity. If we no longer have any glycogen or glucose to fuel our activity we are literally forced to lower our intensity to a low level so our body can use fat for conversion to ATP. This is why it’s important that we eat before training, and that we also eat balanced meals so our glucose and glycogen fuel stores are topped off and we don’t deplete our source of fuel before we complete our workout. Have you ever had a workout where maybe half way through you feel like you have hit that wall and can’t go on anymore at the level of intensity you want to? Look back on what you did before your workout including the 12 hours before. Did you consume enough complex carbs, or was your diet high in protein and fat? It’s a good chance that you didn’t consume enough complex carbs and your body ran out of fuel. High endurance athletes will do what’s called carb loading before an event, taking in high level of complex carbs to make sure their fuel tank is full before an event.

After the workout

Now that we know our body is using all of our glycogen and glucose to fuel our workout, it only makes sense that we need to replenish these stores after the workout. It’s commonly believed that following a workout, we need to get lots of protein into our body because our body needs to repair itself. You just ran your body into the ground, stressing it beyond normal limits. I need to repair those muscles I just broke down! Absolutely! No doubt about it we need to repair those muscles, but we need to do that at the right time. The right time is after we have replenished our fuel source for our body.

Let’s think about it. ATP is the currency of energy, from breathing to sprinting, to anything we do. Of course! It makes sense now! Anything we do would include digesting our food we eat. So, if we eat a protein heavy meal after our workout that depleted our glycogen and glucose stores, what is our body going to use to create energy to digest our meal? It’s going to turn to using protein, which isn’t an easy process for your body to do. Your body does not want to use protein to create ATP as it is a very inefficient process. So now we need to ask the question, where does this protein come from? In extreme cases where you have totally depleted your glycogen stores and no glucose is available your body will resort to using muscle tissue for its supply of protein.

WTF! My body is consuming what I am trying to strengthen and build up to fuel something as simple as digesting my meal! It’s literally like your body is turning on you, cannibalizing you without you even knowing it. It seems like something out of a book Stephen King would pen. But that’s the reality of it that your body will need to do what is needed to provide fuel to any activity, breathing, your heart pumping, muscles contracting, and digestion.

Knowing this, let’s look at what we should be consuming after our workout:

  •  4:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein

o   Examples are a smoothie, a banana and apple with some nut butter, trail mix with dried fruits and nuts

  • 1 hour later, consume higher protein meal including healthy fats, preferably in liquid form
  • Replenish water lost from workout. How much water did you lose? Weigh yourself before and after the workout to understand how much water you have lost. Drink 20 ounces of water or sports drink for each lost pound of body weight

Later in the day

We’ve covered what we need to do immediately following our workout, what can we do later to aid our recovery? Lots of things.

Sleep

Let’s start with sleep. Pretty straight forward, right? We need sleep, we all know that. Sleep is even more important if you are involved in intense training. Our body requires sleep to repair our muscles we have been tearing down. During sleep our body releases HGH (human growth hormone), the substance athletes have taken illegally to enhance performance. HGH is used to repair muscle tissue, tendons, ligaments and cells.

Massage

Do I need to talk about why you need to get a massage, other than what a great way to relax and feel good! Yes, there is a benefit to getting a massage other than its relaxing. Massages will help in increasing muscle flexibility and can increase range of motion in the joints.

Epsom Bath

Another reason to take the time to relax and do something for yourself. Besides being relaxing, and giving you some time to reflect on your day and your workout, Epsom baths will help in regulating muscle and nerve functions due to the absorption of magnesium. The magnesium will also aid in the absorption of vitamins.

Ice bath

Yeah, ice baths suck! No one likes them, who would? But the dreaded ice bath does have its benefits. An ice bath can aid in reducing inflammation and can also aid in reducing the muscle soreness you will experience after a workout. Maybe save this one for after those really hard workouts where you know you will be more sore than normal.

Foam rolling

Foam rollers can help in breaking up tight muscles which will help in maintaining range of motion and flexibility.

The above methods are not arranged in any specific order, but are things you can do to aid in your recovery following your workouts. Some are relatively easy, such as sleep. Having said that, I know that getting quality sleep is not always easy. It’s not always a matter of putting your head down and closing your eyes.

Your mind is powerful

Most of us go to bed with the day’s events fresh in our minds. We put our head down, and it’s useless, an hour later and you’re still awake. The mind is busy going through the day, things you should have done today, things you did do and your mind is busy thinking about them, hoping they were the right things to do, the right things to say. It’s not always easy, I know. Meditation can help with this. Take 10 minutes to meditate, empty the mind, and breathe deeply. This can help to relax you and let those thoughts wonder away.

With the advancement of technology in the last 3 – 5 years, most everyone has a portable device be it a laptop, tablet, or smart phone. Try to follow the rule of not bringing these devices to bed, or if you do, try to stay off of them an hour before you want to sleep. Same with the TV. Try not to leave the TV on when trying to fall asleep. You will probably fall asleep regardless, but the light from the TV will prevent you from getting the proper sleep, where your brain will be able to go where it needs to, to realize the benefits of sleep. I’m not going to go into the biology of sleep, but feel free to read up on it if you like.

You are stronger

All of us get caught up in doing the activity, or activities that help us perform better, become stronger, and help us reach our goals. During these activities there never really is any discussion or communication on what you need to do following the activity. You never hear your trainer, or instructor yelling out ‘Give me 5 more! Oh, and when you are done, be sure to go home and get 8 hours of solid sleep’.

Treat recovery as important as you treat your training. Do this and you will be stronger, healthier, and you will be an even better athlete than you were before.

As you think, you shall become.

Yours in health,

Darryl

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t believe the Hype

“The meaning of all of that, some media is the wack
As you believe it’s true
It blows me through the roof
Suckers, liars, get me a shovel
Some writers I know are damn devils
For them I say, don’t believe the hype”

I once came into a part of a conversation where the person was explaining that while on the treadmill at the gym, they were told to stop and not continue what they were doing. I thought that was kind of odd, as I have never been told to stop what I’m doing on a treadmill, well, because I am either walking or running. I started to wonder what could of this person been doing; walking on their hands possibly?, using more than one treadmill like an OK Go video? I had no idea, so of course I had to ask.

As it turns out they were walking/running backwards on the treadmill. I can understand why the employee at the gym had them stop due to safety concerns, I think I would do the same thing. Now, running backwards does have its benefits as it works muscles differently, and in fact, I do this as part of a warm up in the class I participate in on Saturdays.

The problem here though is that this person was walking / running backwards on the treadmill because she thought it would help in reducing the size of her bum. I’m not sure where she got the idea from, but in her mind, the only way her bum would get smaller was to do this exercise. On a side note, I think the cost of a personal trainer here would be easily justified.

Like a lot of things in life, health and fitness are not excluded from myths on how to achieve great health and fitness. What this person was doing is what I call spot reduction. Usually this is used to target one specific area to lose fat in that area. People will do tons of sit ups, crunches believing this is the only way they will lose fat around the belly, and get those 6 pack abs (see my article on how we need to stop buying into what the media tells us our body should look like). Companies sell products promoting this idea of targeting one area, products like the ab master, or the thighmaster to lose size in the hip and thigh area. Celebrities hype these products and make huge amounts selling them.

Unfortunately these products are being sold, or advertised, using a mix message of facts and fallacies. The thighmaster commercial cuts to a doctor who says it’s a great way to tone those loose muscles and then cuts to a woman who never thought she would fit into these pants again. The first message is correct that the thighmaster will tone those adductor muscles on the inside of your upper legs, but using the thighmaster will not necessarily help you lose fat in the hips and thighs, if that is where your body holds onto fat the most.

It’s our makeup

All of us are different in a sense when it comes to our bodies. Height, bone size, metabolism, muscle mass, length of our limbs, length of our torso, etc. Where our body decides to store fat can be different for each of us to a degree. Women will tend to store more fat below the waist, in the hips, thighs and the bum. Men will store more fat generally around the abdomen.

Putting aside for the time being how our body creates energy, let’s assume we are working out in such a way that our body is metabolizing fat for energy. Lets take my example at the beginning of this post. She was trying to lose fat from her bum. Now lets consider that this is where the fat was being stored first when weight was being gained. Now lets also consider that she may be carrying another 20lbs of fat that the body has stored in other areas such as the stomach, the arms, chest, etc.

When the body needs to use fat to create energy, it is going to use the areas that are easier to metabolize the fat from. If the body for whatever reason (some say it’s due to our ancestors millions of years ago being hunters/gatherers) want to use the fat around the thighs, hips and bum last, that’s what it’s going to do. Once other fat stores have been depleted, then the body will use those areas for its fat needs. The areas the body decides to use fat from is something that we cannot change through training. We just can’t. Eventually the body will use those areas if needed, so be patient.

Larger than life

Another myth I hear often is usually from women, but sometimes men to. Proportionately speaking, women have a greater fear of starting a resistance training program because they think it will result in them bulking up, and putting on large amounts of muscle mass.

I’m not sure where this idea comes from. Definitely there are more women body builders today and there are more women predominately in the fitness world today too. It may come down to the definition of what ‘bulking up’ is. To some people, someone who resistance trains regularly and has a much toned appearance may look muscular to them. They may not be as toned or big as a body builder, but their body could look close enough that it is something they don’t want and this turns them off from resistance training.

It’s unfortunate because there are so many positives to resistance training that they will not enjoy and benefit from. Benefits such as a stronger bones, increased strength, increased coordination, etc.

So why is this a myth and why won’t it happen if someone starts resistance training? It has to do with how we train. You can take the example of the person who goes to the gym 4 days a week, training with weights and they have been doing this for the last 3 years? Are they huge? Mostly no. Most people who resistance train will never get big, or bulky because they are not training to achieve this goal. To put on large amounts of muscle requires specific training, specific eating requirements, and a considerable amount of time each time at the gym.

What specifically

When training with weights, most people will training trying to achieve executing 10 – 12 reps on each set, and will usually do 2 – 3 sets. This will not turn you into the next up and coming body builder. Sorry, but it won’t. You will look great, absolutely! You will have better muscle definition, you will be stronger, and you will look great and feel great! To put on larger amounts of muscle requires more advance training techniques, and usually requires that each set is completed using 6 – 8 reps. Think of it this way, if it were so easy to put on muscle, there wouldn’t be a huge supplement industry selling you products to do this, and anyone doing resistance training would be out purchasing new clothes to fit them.

Where do we go from here

If you get anything from this article, I hope you get this: train for fitness and health, and the rest will take care of itself. It’s great to have goals such as losing fat in certain areas, but don’t compromise your safety and health in trying to achieve this. Also, don’t waste your money buying gadgets that can’t deliver on these promises.

We all have things we don’t like about our body, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Educate yourself, learn what you need to do to address these challenges. But whatever it is you do, do it smartly and safely.

Oh, and don’t believe the hype!

Yours in health,

Darryl