Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

I just wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas! I am very thankful for everone who reads these posts.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Exercise Myths

These are 10 myths that I come across on a daily basis:

1. Spot Reduction Myth - I would say that one of the most common statements I hear in the gym is, “I want to get six pack abs. What’s the best exercise to do so?” The truth is that spot reduction training has never worked and never will. Muscle and fat are two separate tissues. You can’t strengthen one to remove the other. It would be the equivalent of saying, “I am going to make my biceps stronger by doing calf raises.” Better visibility of the abdominal musculature requires bodyfat reduction. The only way to lose this bodyfat is to burn more calories than you take in. This is called the law of thermogenesis. Basically, this law states that calories are a unit of energy and fat is the storage form of that energy. So, you must be at a caloric deficit to shed those extra pounds around the midsection. The bottom line is, eat less and move more. I recently attended a conference that had many of the top trainers in the field presenting, and one of them commented that he was recently asked which exercise is best for the abs. He replied, “Table pushaways!” So, as it turns out, instead of doing a million crunches after your workout, you may be best suited doing some high intensity interval training on the treadmill.

2. Women Get “Bulky” By Lifting Weights - This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Women get “bulky” by eating too much, not by lifting too much. Matter fact, resistance training has been shown time and again to aid in weight loss by increasing the resting metabolic rate. Check this out. This means by including resistance training (mainly circuit and interval training) in your routine, you will burn more calories just by existing. Simply put, women do not have the amount of testosterone and growth hormone required to get “bulky”. Those freakish women who look like men are “supplementing” their testosterone levels.

^^She lifts weights^^

3. You Can Lose Weight By Excerise Alone – Nope. Notice I said in #2 that it AIDS in weight loss. As in, it will help you lose weight. You still have to eat right!

4. You can Lose Weight By Diet Alone – Nope again. When losing weight by diet alone, up to 40% of the weight lost can be lean body mass (muscle and bone). Check this out. So, for weight loss, you should use a combination of exercise AND diet.

5. Machines are Safer Than Free Weights – The problem with most machines is they do not require you to stabilize the weight. Also, they assume that we all have the same range of motion. Further more, most selectorized pieces of equipment require the exerciser to perform the lift in a seated position. We spend most of our day seated. Why should we go to the gym to do more seated activity? I should, however, say that I do like Freemotion and Star Trec’s line of cable driven machines.

6. Resistance Training Will Stunt a Kids Growth –
False. Eric Cressey wrote a great article about it here.
7. Once You Get Past Age 50, You Can't Do Plyometrics - Yep. Apparently, Once you reach a certain age, you'll never have to jump or do anything athletic ever again. (Note the Sarcasm) Eric Beard's take on this:

8. Squats are Bad For You - This has been a very hot topic for the last few weeks in the fitness industry. Dave Tate had the best response to this statement. He said, "There are no such thing as bad exercises, just bad programming." By this he means that you shouldn't just throw out an exercise because it may not work for that individual. Instead, you should design your program to fit the capabilities of your clients and athletes. For example, I have a six foot six inch tall basketball player who has long legs and a short torso, squatting is probably going to do more harm than good. For that athlete, we don't squat. So, it's more like squats are bad for some people.

9. Deadlifts are Bad For You - No, having a weak core is bad for you. One of my goals, as a personal trainer, is to get my clients better at daily activities. I like to make them fuctionally strong, and it doesn't get much more functional than picking heavy stuff up off the floor. People are generally injured during a deadlift when they are not strong enough to lift the weight they are attempting. It's not so much that deadlifts are bad for you, it's that what YOU ARE DOING that is bad for you.

10. You Have to Be Fat to Be Strong - This is a common myth in the powerlifting and strongman world. The fact is, fat is in no way shape or form performance enhancing. Fatter doesn't equal stronger. Proper training, sleep, and nutrition do.

You have to get fatter to get stronger? Mariusz beggs to differ.

Well, there you have it ten myths exposed. Are these the only myths? Nope. I'm sure more will come about soon enough.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Waist circumference and not body mass index explains obesity-related health risk

Wow, it's been a while since I last posted. Been very busy getting things rolling with Nunn's Performance Training. Good things are coming! Anyways, ran across this study from the American Society for Clinical Nutrition that states that waist circumference (WC) is a more valid tool for determining obesity-related health risk than body mass index (BMI). For those of you who don't know, BMI is a measurement of a person's height and weight. It does not account for the amount of adipose tissue (fat) a person may have. Here's the results:

Results: With few exceptions, overweight and obese subjects were more likely to have hypertension, dyslipidemia, and the metabolic syndrome than were normal-weight subjects. After adjustment for WC category (normal or high), the odds of comorbidity, although attenuated, remained higher in overweight and obese subjects than in normal-weight subjects. However, after adjustment for WC as a continuous variable, the likelihood of hypertension, dyslipidemia, and the metabolic syndrome was similar in all groups.When WC and BMI were used as continuous variables in the same regression model, WC alone was a significant predictor of comorbidity. Conclusions: WC, and not BMI, explains obesity-related health risk. Thus, for a given WC value, overweight and obese persons and normal-weight persons have comparable health risks. However when WC is dichotomized as normal or high, BMI remains a significant predictor of health risk.
Am J Clin Nutr 2004;79:
So, obesity related health problems are better explained by WC than BMI. For the entire study, click here: