Monthly Archives: December 2005

Weakness is a crime

In a conversation with Skyler Madison at her wonderful clinic in Midtown Manhattan, I was explaining how important it was for anyone over 40 years of age to start a strength training program. Waiting too long to start rejuvenating lost muscle and bone tissue can be a big mistake.

Want to know why?

Both men and women will, as they age, lose hormonal tone. That is to say, men lose testosterone (so do women) and women lose estrogen (so do men) as we age. When our hormones dip too low, the ability to build muscle and bone diminishes and especially for women, sometimes to the point where very little to any muscle or bone can be rebuilt.

As an example, two 40 year old identical twins discuss the issue of keeping in shape. One twin opts for strength training, the other dance classes. Since resistance exercises are the only way to halt muscle loss and indeed, the only way to build it, the dancing twin will suffer normal age related muscle and bone loss at the same rate that sedentary people do which is about one half pound per year (more or less). This is a physiological fact sports fans, not my personal opinion. I wish it wasn’t true. But the research is quite clear and we don’t get a vote.

Time passes. Now at the mature age of 60, the strength trained twin has in the past 20 years of strength training built an additional 10 pounds of lean muscle and bone tissue. The dancing twin has, unfortunately, lost 10. However, as time continues to pass, not even the strength trained twin will be able to ward off the inevitable facts of aging. But this twin has the advantage of having gained muscle and bone throughout the past 20 years and the dancing twin has not. A crucial difference. 

More time passes. They celebrate their 80th birthday. Though still strength training, the strength trained twin has lost all of the 10 pounds of muscle gained through the years of training due to the degradation in hormonal tone. The dancing twin, unfortunately, has lost 10 more. But, even though all that was gained was lost, the strength trained twin STILL has the muscle tone of a 40 year old (not the skin or hair color mind you) since 10 pounds was gained and then 10 lost.  But the dancing twin has lost a total of 20 pounds and so suffers the age related effects of such tremendous muscle loss. In fact, the dancing twin had to stop dancing years ago as the loss of muscle prevented such activity and now uses a cane to ambulate. The strength trained twin is mobile, travels, dances and in fact, helps the frail twin to get around.

This scenario is REAL and it happens every day. Don’t delay. Far beyond the vanity aspect, strength training is critical and vital to your health, longevity, independence and self reliance. So what are you waiting for? Build for the future!

Weakness is a crime.

Anabolic steroids and improved game play

Mark McGuire, Sammy Sosa, Jose Canseco, Raphael Palmiero – boy could/can these guys crush the ball. Add a little steroid magic and BOOM – records are broken in a big way. Perhaps.

I’ve often pondered why it is that anabolic steroids seem to prefer home runs over other types of hits. What exactly is up with this? Has anyone else noticed this?

For example, when a steroid using Canseco hit a hard ground ball to short, why didn’t the ball travel so hard and fast that would rip through the infield before the shortstop could even move? Or if the shortstop was Jeter, simply tear the mitt off of him? How come these home run monsters aren’t jumping inches higher and nabbing  potential home runs off the wall? How come steroid abusing players aren’t running faster and stealing more bases? Why aren’t triples and doubles and RBI numbers shy-rocketing? Why aren’t fastballs going faster? Why only home runs?

It seems mighty odd to me that only home run numbers are on the rise. Eventually somebody had to hit more home runs in a season than spindly Maris. It’s not like McGuire hit 140 homers right?

And when sprinters or runners use steroids how come their performances are only a fraction of a second better than their competitors – like they are whenever records are broken? And not always. Ben Johnson the Canadian Olympic sprinter a few years back who was stripped of his gold medal in the 100 meters didn’t win all his heats and races. Are we saying that non steroid sprinters aren’t going to run any faster anymore? No one is sprinting the 100 meters in 7 seconds. That would be a great idea – let a few athletes use them. Let them compete. Let the slowest sprinter use them and see if he wins. Something tells me he won’t. Let’s see if in fact they do any good! This would allow other athletes to see that steroids really don’t enhance performance much if at all and destroy their need to take the dangerous substances. Nifty idea eh?

Anyway I sure do find it interesting.

Mighty Tykes TM

We are proud to say that over the last several years we have trained many youngsters at Serious Strength with profound results. I can’t tell you how uplifting it is to see youngsters lose fat, gain strength and self confidence. In fact, it has become a passion of mine. After I get a few things in place, big things in this area are a’comin.

Example: One young man went from 240 pounds to 170 pounds in a year.

One young man recently went from 146 to 128 in three months. (UPDATE: Our once pudgy young man weighed in yesterday at 114.6 pounds and scored 20 points for his basketball team single handedly – this is half the point scored for the entire team! Go Michael!!) He became a completely different person. At Thanksgiving no one recognized him. His sports play has improved and he feels great by his own admission. His brother who also trains with us was plagued with sports injuries before coming to Serious Strength. No more. You must hand it to this family for investing in their children’s s welfare as they do. Both the mom and the grandfather also exercise with us. The grandfather who is now 70 seems not to have aged in the 4 years he has trained with me.

A newcomer has, in only 5 sessions, improved his tennis shots to where his coach and his mother are watching him crush the ball where before he could only barley get it over the net from half court. I love it.

Strength training is critical for obese children and for children who are engaged in sports play. While physical activity is a joy, research indicates that it does next to nothing for weight loss in obese children. For more information on how you can get your child lean and mighty, contact us at [email protected]

To plateau or not to plateau

Consider this scenario…

A 20 year old starts strength training. She wants strong arms and so she starts out using a light weight for an arm curl exercise (as she should for saftey and learning purposes) and works up to using 30 pounds where the weight really  begins to challenge her appropriatley.

She correctly adds resistance session by session and 6 months later is using 50 pounds. This is a common and expected outcome. Other expected outcomes include increased muscle mass, decreased fat mass (assuming no change in diet or body weight), and her overall body tone is much better. Just what the doctor ordered.

Training correctly, she continues to exercise and adds a mere 1/2 pound to her exercise every week, training twice a week. A half pound increase is a VERY small graduation – what we call microlaoding at Serious Strength (the doctors love it) and keeps the muscle challenged and safe from excessive loading. In doing so, she continues to increase her strength VERY graudually, almost imperceptably at a steady, even pace. At the end of another year of training, she is now using an additional 52 pounds on top of her 50 for a grand total of 102 pounds! She has increased her strength by 240%! Mighty mighty!

OK now, hold onto your hats – If after 10 years at the young age of 30, she continued to add even just 1/4 pound to her exercise, meaning, a mere half pound per week, she will have added another 260 pounds to her arm curl right?

Wrong. Don’t think so. Not posible. I think you can see where this is all headed, right?

Very often people remark that their strength or muscle mass has plateaued. My answer is "Yes, of course it has!" We need to be realistic in our training. We need to understand that when we plateau it is often not the fault of the training program if it is a good one, but the hard facts of genetic limits. You just can’t keep getting stronger forever. It’s why bodybuilders spend millions on magic supplements, take steroids, try all kinds of illogical and dangerous training programs.

No one will ever run the 100 meter sprint in 2 seconds. I can gaurantee you it will never, ever, happen. A Cheetah can’t do it. Neither can a car. No one will ever hit 700 home runs in a single season. Sorry.  There are limits to just about everything and living within these limits improves our outlook and can greatly ease our minds.

If your training is sound, you will reach your limits in strength and muscle mass in 2-5 years of consistant or semi consistant training. Don’t fall for the gimmicks. Don’t take steroids. Don’t drink Yoo-hoo. Accept the facts and enjoy your beautiful body!

Eating healthy does not mean you’ll lose weight

Many clients who want to lose fat comment that they don’t need my diet advice because they already eat healthy. They seem to think that eating healthy foods won’t allow weight gain. Well, the hard cold fact of the matter is that calroies count. The laws of thermodynamics fear no one.

I often give this example: If God came down from heaven and told you exactly what to eat for perfect health and you ate twice what God told you to, you’d wind up an overfat immortal.

If a person requires 2000 calories to remain at their current body weight or body fat level and lowers their calories to 1500, they WILL lose weight. However, if those 1500 calories all come from sugar, the person would lose some fat but also a lot of muscle, bone and organ tissue to make up  for the lack of nutients in an all sugar diet. This, of course, is bad and not at all what we wish to accomplish. And a lot of people, believe it or not, eat almost pure sugar day in and day out. Shame on Weight Watchers for allowing this. Their point system is pointless.

They best way to lose fat and not just weight is to adopt a diet rich in protein and healthy fats with a sprinkling of sugar thrown in primarily from veggies and fruit. In this way you will preserve and in some cases increase muscle and bone tissue while losing fat at the same time. This, along with 30  minutes of Slow Burn strength training thrown in, is a powerful recipe for a lean, strong looking body and a healthy one to boot! Read the Slow Burn Fitness Revolution and Proetin Power Lifeplan for specific info on how to achieve the very best body you can!
Slow_burn_cover                     Protein_power_lifeplan_book_1

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