Archives for February 2014

THE SECRETS OF A SUCCESIVE DIET

 

The taste of good nutrition.

The taste of good nutrition.

It’s a topic I haven’t gone into great detail on. That is until now!!

It seems people are always on a diet. They chop and change from one to another, nitpicking this and complaining about that.

Most people’s definition of the word is synonymous with starvation, cabbage soup with carrots and a whole bunch of other garbage perpetuated by nutrition “gurus.”

Diet is in essence is just what you shove down your throat daily, whether it’s twinkies and cake or chicken and rice.

While the former is all junk, the latter is more nutritious. Diet, at the end of the day is relative and comes down to personal preference and matter of opinion.

It goes by many names i.e “eating plan” or “nutrition.” “Diet” just sounds simple.

In this article, I’m going to first address some of the typical, nonsensical advice that’s floating around.

As you’re probably aware, if you’ve been into training and fitness for any length of time you’ll most likely have heard all the classic codes and conventions. (The internet is full of it).

1) Eat 5-6 small meals a day. It stokes your metabolism

Eating 5-6 small meals a day is a personal choice.

Can you lose fat, get ripped and build muscle doing it?

Absolutely.

To its credit, it can work. It gets you into the discipline of eating “healthier” and managing portions.  People have built better bodies following this method. (If it didn’t work it wouldn’t receive so much attention).

However, in a fast paced society like the one we’re all accustomed to, for a lot of people it just isn’t practical. You probably have tons of other things that you’d rather take care of, then to cook, eat and clean six times a day.

When you add up all the time that goes into that, unless you don’t have any other hobbies or interests, it hardly leaves time for you to do anything else.

As for the metabolism-stoking thing, that’s pretty much been debunked. It doesn’t matter whether you eat 3000 calories over 6 meals or 2-3. The results are going to be the same either way. You’re not going to lose more fat with one approach over the other, in an equal caloric and macro nutrient scenario.

The other problem with this approach is that it can create and lead to unnecessary psychological stress. Planning, preparing and watching the clock so you can tuck into your next meal.

The real issue here is, what’s practical, sustainable and suitable to you and your lifestyle.

If you can do it and find it enjoyable, satisfying and it fits your lifestyle. You know what to do.

That saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is applicable in this instance.

2) You need 1.0 -2.5 grams of protein per pound (lb) of body weight

The simple reality is you could get by with about 0.8 and in some cases 0.6 grams of protein per lb.

I generally do stick with 1 gram, just as a rule. I’ve been doing it so long and I’m so darn used to it. I don’t see it changing anytime soon.

Some days I get less, some days more. I don’t really care about all the niggly details.

Could I get by on less and still build muscle?

Yep.

Do you need protein powder to build muscle?

No, it’s not an essential requirement. You can still build muscle without it. Half of them taste like crap, and are full of all kinds of nasty things. They can still help however, sort of like an icing on the cake, type thing.

You’ll hear some recommendations of 2.5 grams of protein per kg of bodyweight or 1.5 grams per lb of bodyweight. While that quantity of protein most likely won’t hurt you physically, it certainly might hurt your wallet.

If you can afford it and you’re seeing results, keep doing what you’re doing.

In truth, there’s a limit to the amount of muscle your body will be able to put on naturally. Constantly shoveling more protein down the ol’ pie hole isn’t going to work forever.

If it were that simple, we’d see a lot more freakishly muscular individuals roaming the streets like an army of hulks. (That’d be a sight).

3) You need to avoid carbs and fats if you want to get lean

This is nonsense. Seriously. Ditching the carbs can cause you to lose some fat, (more water weight though), but it’s not a sensible long-term solution.

When you cut carbs very low, (I’m talking below 100g daily) you’ll find your strength and energy take a plunge. Your muscles will most likely look flat due to glycogen (Carb energy stored in muscles and the liver) depletion.

If that didn’t hit the spot, to top it off, your sex drive will plummet, you’ll screw with your natural testosterone levels and you’ll just be a damn pain in the ass to be around.

I personally like carb cycling. For example, I’ve done three days low carb and on the fourth high carb. Currently, I eat lower carb during the day and eat the majority of my carbs at night. Both approaches work well for me and I like them. You’ve got to find what works for you and stick to it.

You’re probably well aware of the importance of fats, particularly unsaturated, poly-unsaturated and even good old saturated fats.

Should you go around consuming a whole jar of peanut butter everyday?

NO.

But you can and should still eat your egg yolks, fat from meats etc. Don’t sweat over the natural fats that come from real, whole, natural foods.

Fats are important in natural testosterone production, joint health and cushioning and even the health of your hair and skin.

Not to mention fats add to the satiety of foods, meaning you’ll be fuller for longer and less prone to excessive food binges, which can really lay on the lbs.

I’d say that makes them pretty damn important.

I’m not going to get into all the health talk on carbs and fats because that’d make for a whole article itself.

So is it worth eliminating them from your diet in the long run?

You be the judge.

This is just barely scratching the surface. There’s tons of useless guidelines and impractical advice out there concerning nutrition.

The solution for most people is simple. Start focusing on eating more natural, whole foods.

If you’re into fitness, you just take it a step further. Do a bit of math and calculate the amount of carbs, protein and fats you need, add some veggies into the mix and presto.

HUNGER AND RESOLVE

PATH TO PERFECTION

Perfection.

Perfection.

Can you be perfect?

Is perfection actually attainable?

The short answer is yes.

See, perfection is completely attainable, but not in the context that many view it. The common concept of perfection goes something along the lines of…

Perfection is a state of completeness and flawlessness.” (That’s the Wikipedia definition of it).

Now looking at that you’re probably thinking. “Screw this, there’s no way I or any other person on this green earth could reach that.” You know what? You’re probably right.

Therefore, the problem doesn’t lie in the question of whether perfection is attainable or not, but rather in the definition of the word.

If you go by the conventional definition, you’ll straight away realise it just isn’t going to happen. You figure, no one is without flaws, so there goes that theory.

So much for perfection, right?

WRONG!!

I used to think perfection was just a myth. A fallacy. Something that only existed in fairytales.

But one fine day, I realised that there was a way to “be perfect” and that anyone could do it.

Being perfect, in my opinion is actually the opposite of that above definition.

Being perfect has everything to do with you, your relationship with yourself, family, friends and environment.

Confused. Not to worry. All will be explained.

Perfection, at least my understanding and definition of it is this:

Perfection is the ability to understand, acknowledge and accept that you have flaws.

To accept you have weaknesses and fears, but regardless you give life your all. You give it your best shot. You work with what you have. You embrace your demons.

It’s your ability to stick by those you love, look them in the eye and say to them you did everything you humanly could for them, and there wasn’t another damn thing you could do.

If you can do that ladies and gentleman, in my eyes you’re perfect.

We all have fears, flaws and weaknesses. But too few are willing to admit to them. Those people are cowards.

Only a coward hides and cowers over their fears. They run away from their problems and are willing to take no responsibility for them.

An individual like that can never be perfect because they are unwilling and unable to accept their faults and just can’t push forward in spite of them.

An individual that’s perfect on the otherhand will rise to the challenge. They’ll face their fears full on, and emerge victorious on the other side.

That’s my take on a topic of high magnitude.

Note: I don’t claim I am right or my way is the best or only way. I’m simply sharing my honest opinions and thoughts. Like you, I battle through the grind daily.  

EXCELLENCE AND PERFECTION 

CARDIO CONFUSION

Run, run, run.

Run, run, run.

I’m not a massive fan of cardio, especially the conventional type. It’s a pain in the butt and I couldn’t see myself doing it daily.

Pay a visit to any commercial gym chain nowadays and what do you see when you walk through the door.

Hordes of people mindlessly slaving away like zombies on treadmills, elliptical machines and various other contraptions.

Although I dislike cardio, I inevitably end up doing  some shape or form of it from time to time. The difference is, I don’t perform, nor think of it as  “typical boring cardio.”

Ask any number of people their stance on cardio and they invariably pick one of two sides. You’ve got the advocates on one hand, and those referring to it like the devil’s child on the other.

Who’s telling the truth?

Time to clear the confusion and set the record straight.

I present to you the cardio case.

Note: In this article, I’ll weigh up the main pros and cons of cardio that I’ve witnessed and experienced.

  • Cardio can help burn fat

There’s no denying the fact that cardio can indeed aid fat loss. Cardio paired with the correct diet is going to get results. (You knew that already right?)

Simple fact, combine cardio with a reduced caloric intake and you’re going to see favorable changes in body composition. Cardio helps your body utilize calories.

However, if you simply reduced your total caloric intake, put in your time with the iron. You’ll find your body will burn fat anyway.

The only real advantage of cardio in relation to the fat loss game, is that you might be able to eat a little more than you otherwise would and not gain weight.

In all, the bottom line is that cardio is unnecessary if your goal is to look good naked. (You know who you are).

  • Cardio helps the internal organs

Cardio is great for improving the cardiac system. It’s beneficial in lowering blood pressure, blood sugar and strengthening the heart and lungs.

If you’ve got a particular health problem and have been directed to perform cardio to help deal with the issue, by all means do it.

  • Cardio improves fitness

Cardio will have a significant impact on your fitness levels. If you’re an athlete or performance is your thing, you’ll likely see the boost to your overall fitness by including cardio in your overall training.

There are two significant, highly talked about forms of cardio. (Everyone babbles on about them).

  • Low intensity cardio
  • High intensity cardio

Low intensity cardio is the most common form. It’s what you see everyone in the gyms doing the majority of the time. It typically involves slaving away on a treadmill at walking pace for 1hr at a time. (Sometimes longer).

While you’ll burn some calories, (mind you not very much) you will see an improvement in your stamina. Me personally, I still think it’s a waste of time.

I’ve got more pressing matters to take care of than to slave away sheepishly on a treadmill, exercise bike or whatever for an hour.

The only time I ever do low intensity cardio, is when I take my dog for his daily walk. But to me it’s more of a clarity thing. Just a way to start the day.

Truth being told, you’re probably doing enough low intensity cardio daily anyway. Think about it. If you go for a walk daily, you’re pretty much covered in that regard.

Why people feel the need to go to the gym, setup at a treadmill and go at it for an hour has always been quite absurd to me.

It’s the most boring, dullest form of training you can do.

High intensity cardio is exactly the opposite. It involves performing cardio at a much faster rate, with a higher energy output.

I’d pick 20 mins of high intensity cardio over 1 hr of low intensity cardio any day of the week. (Not that I suggest you do it everyday).

Sprinting is a classic example of high intensity cardio. It really gets the blood pumping and you really feel like you’re sucking up wind after a short burst.

Besides, higher intensity cardio trumps the lower variety, simply because the amount of calories you can burn in a far shorter time period are far greater.

Plus it sets the stage for desirable metabolic and hormonal changes. Namely forcing the body to release growth hormone, which is important when it comes to burning body fat and preserving muscle tissue. (You won’t get as much as you’d get from prodding a needle up your ass, mind you).

My preferred choices of “cardio” are, occasional short burst sprints (1-2 times a week), walking and just generally playing with my dog.

If you enjoy cardio, you can add in other leisurely activities you enjoy, i.e Swimming, hiking etc. (You know your preferences better than anyone else).

The point is, whatever you’re going to do, make it something you enjoy. The last thing you want to be doing is something you hate, because honestly, you aren’t going to do it then.

There you have it, my take on cardio.

Just remember what I said. While cardio definitely has its advantages, if you’re approaching fitness from an aesthetic angle, (like I know a lot of you are), cardio isn’t really necessary.

Keep your diet in gear, make sure you’re dedicating yourself to the iron, and you’ll see some pretty interesting changes.

What types of cardio do you like or hate? Drop your comments below.

CONSISTENCY AND CLARITY

 Image credit: npicturesk


 

WHEN KNOWLEDGE ISN’T ENOUGH

No one's Home today.

No one’s Home today.

“BE MY GUEST”– Chad Howse Says

Today’s article “WHEN KNOWLEDGE ISN’T ENOUGH” is not here on home turf. No, no, no. I come from a different venue.

Chad Howse of www.chadhowsefitness.com has very kindly put up my post over on his site. 

Click here to read more