Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Sticks vs XL- Starting from different body types to achieve your goals

I have a comparison to make. I want you to tell me if you fit into one of these two categories:
1. Skinny person trying to gain muscle mass (Sticks)
2. Beefy person trying to gain muscle mass (XL)

Now these two individuals by no means encompass every individual due to several variations of other body types and goals out there, but I wanted to look at these two in particular. I will try to exclude any specificity of gender in this analysis.

Sticks says they have tried everything to gain muscle mass. Sticks is eating before bed, drinking a protein shake, training their upper thighs off (where their butt should be). Sticks has tried split routines, body building routines, power lifting workouts, and, dare I say it, even CrossFit to put on some size or have any noticeable muscle definition at all. Sticks tests their body fat percentage and it remains low.

XL eats as if they are a Kentucky thoroughbred racing at the Kentucky Derby. XL has their pre-lift drink, during lift shake, and post-workout recovery drink… PLUS six meals a day. XL is happy that he/she is gaining weight and out-growing their clothes, but how can XL be sure at least some, preferably most, of the weight gained is muscle. XL assumes a calorie is a calorie and loads up on sugary food and drinks and very few vegetables and fruits. XL also never tests their body fat percentage.

Sticks assumes they are eating enough, as does XL, but what is the caloric density of the foods they are consuming and how many calories really are coming in and going out? XL says they lift really hard, but don’t need cardio because that is for sissies. How many calories are both of these individuals actually consuming and expending?

Sticks could have a huge meal, but really not notice they don’t eat much for the remainder of the day. If they were to meet with a dietician after keeping a food journal they could get a better idea of what they are putting into their body. XL needs to also meet with a dietician and HONESTLY estimate how many calories they are burning. Yes XL lifts a heavy amount of weight for an hour and a half for four days a week, but what are they doing the other days or throughout any of the days.

Do either of these individuals bust their butt in the gym, but work a sedentary job or drag for the rest of the day? With the variations in your metabolic rate even accurately keeping track of the minutes worked out and other activities, you are still getting a range of calories burned, but a range is better than a guess.

Sticks needs to accurately look at how many calories he/she is consuming daily and see how those calories are spread out through the day. XL needs to figure out how many calories he/she is expending and adjust his/her eating accordingly.

I am not a dietician so it is out of my scope of practice to delve too far into specific nutrition information so please consult a dietician for specific nutrition information and a personal trainer for exercise routines. Unless a dietician has a Kinesiology background and possibly a personal training or strength and conditioning certification, they should not be telling you what to do in the gym or at home. Your personal trainer could tell you what he/she eats, but beyond that they shouldn’t be giving you any advice. One profession is doing the other profession’s job and that shouldn’t happen unless the individual is qualified to do both parts.

Good luck to Sticks and XL in their body transformations.

Friday, July 24, 2009

No Excuses to use Lighter Weight

I was finishing up my back workout and hadn't done dumbbell rows in a while... partially because the gym's dumbbells stop at 95lbs. I added a 20 lb chain to it and hit it 10 times. Any criticism, random comments, or anything else useful is appreciated

Dave Tate

Dave Tate is one of the most accomplished powerlifters and strength coaches in America. He has written over 100 articles for strength and conditioning websites and magazines and currently has two books out, Under the Bar and Raising the Bar. He holds Elite status in powerlifting (in three weight classes) with best lifts of a 935 squat, 740 deadlift, 610 bench press and 2,205 total... AND he is the founder and CEO or Elite Fitness Systems ... somebody that I value what he says about training, how he approaches it and life, how he runs his business, and give him the utmost meathead respect... I would give him an engraved barbell with his name on it covered in chalk dust if I could afford it, kind of thing, ya know?

"I finally came into focus, though. I started to think, if I'm going to diet, how am I going to keep the muscle I have? Because I'm still a meathead, you know?
You start to ask yourself questions. Do I really need to be 245 pounds, or should I just go down and be like a normal person?
Well, fuck being normal. I can't do that. It's just not going to happen. My whole life has been about getting strong or getting jacked. That's it. I don't give a shit if I can jump on a box, run a 40, do a chin-up, do a push-up. I don't fucking care. All I care about is getting strong and adding muscle." -Dave Tate

I've said it before, I'm trying to make as many useful connections as possible to make myself a stronger lifter and a better coach.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Client Testimonial

"I absolutely loved working out with Rob and feel very lucky that I got placed with him. I got back into clothes that I wasn't even able to wear before I got pregnant! What I liked about Rob's training style was that he was very tough, willing to work me hard, and didn't take any excuses or waste time with idle chitchat - I wanted to work, and we did that! Furthermore, Rob listened to my concerns and made each workout individualized to me. I felt like he had taken a lot of time to think about a workout that would work well for me and my goals. Rob is obviously very passionate about what he does, but what's more, he's obviously very knowledgeable about it - whenever there was a problem with an exercise hecame up with an alternative, and he really focused on my concerns and goals."

Stephanie A. Rose, M.D., M.P.H.
University of Kentucky College of Medicine

Pre-lift Rant

Here I sit, a year older at 25. Grad school completed, employed at the University of kentucky running a gym... i can hit a set of anything at any time throughout the day, a perfect environment for self-improvement.

I know that my worst enemy glares at me every time I look into the mirror. Luckily, mirrors line the entire free weight section of my gym. Any time I need a swift kick in the butt as far as training goes, at most I make a 180 degree turn and see what needs improvement. The journey I am making with building muscle is never finished... sure I might hit milestones, squatting more, benching more, increasing my terrible flexibility, lowering my body fat percentage, growing taller... ok, maybe not that last one, but I will hit milestones. Those milestones after reached will become standing stones that I will use to propel myself to and through my next goal.

Relatively stronger, abosolutely stronger, you know when it comes down to it I want both. I want to move as much weight with proper technique as possible. I am going to beat Rob from last week. Set backs are only "dedication testers"... you get sick, you pull something, your leg hurts, you didn't get enough sleep, i don't have the time, some body else out there (a lot of some bodies) are lifting harder than I am if I give in to these excuses. I won't...

I strive to be stronger every day I lift, there are no light days. What kind of sense would that make? I deload, but I still use heavy weight. I train smart, but I also train hard... maybe the new phrase should be "TRAIN SMARTER AND HARDER"

this phrase is fresh in my brain from BSP's article today

I turned 25 today, you can bet that I will be stronger at 25 and a week. Enough of this caffeinated rant, I'm going to lift

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Client Testimonials

"Rob is an outgoing person that makes working out actually somewhat fun. I had worked with other trainers before and his style is slightly different than others I have worked with which was good for me. He constantly changed what we did so I was not stuck doing the same thing every time we met. Overall, Rob was a great trainer and I enjoyed working with him."

Leah Casanave
Research Assistant, Kentucky Department of Public Health

“Rob is an excellent listener and responded to my training needs and goals with a solid exercise program. He is encouraging and constructive. My health and outlook on life have improved because of Rob’s influence.”

Ron Hustedde
Professor of Community and Leadership Development

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Something for the weekend

Ladies and Gentlemen, The Redneck Ninja...

Friday, July 17, 2009

Check out Brian St. Pierre's Blog

To steal his description from his website, "Brian St. Pierre is a young and exciting new face in the industry. His ability to communicate with people of all ages, from a multitude of backgrounds, has allowed Brian to work with young student athletes, professional athletes, and working professionals alike." I follow his articles as well as some of the other top names in the fitness industry. In order to be the best fitness professional, networking and reading other's thought on varying subjects are vitally important. Please check out his blog here, read his article about Tracey Anderson that my buddy Chance Cianciola found and then read my response below.

I first want to explain my credentials to those who are unfamiliar with the strength and conditioning world... I have my masters of science degree in Exercise Physiology and am a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. I have had numerous classes in anatomy, physiology, exercise physiology, biomechanics, laborartory and research methods dealing with studying the movement of the human body, and exercise testing and prescription methods.

Completing 80-100 consecutive repetitions is not only a contraindication to muscle and bone strength and health, but it is just dangerous. In order for the body to improve strength a person needs to complete 4-6 sets of six repetitions or less (the heavier weight that the client is able to use for these lower repetition sets improves bone density). To focus on hypertrophy (the growth of skeletal muscle) a client needs to perform 4-6 sets of 8-12 repetitions. An obvious and many times used question that is raised, mainly by females, is that they do not want to get big. Females, on average, naturally have about a tenth of the testosterone that males do so it is next to impossible for a woman to get noticeably bigger without an illegal ergogenic aid (steroids). Steroids would increase a woman’s hormone levels allowing her to put on size.

Another question that could be asked is how will I burn enough calories to lose weight if I am not doing 80-100 repetitions at a time? There are multiple answers:
1. You could superset opposing muscle groups. Do a set of 12 reps on dumbbell bench press and then immediately perform a unilateral back exercise, like a dumbbell row. Your chest and anterior deltoid are resting while your rhomboids, latissimus dorsi, and biceps are performing the row, and vise versa.
2. You could superset any exercise with a core exercise like a four-point plank or Russian twist. JUST DON’T DO CRUNCHES!
3. If you workout with a partner you are going to be resting anyway while they workout. Trust me, once you get away from doing the harmfully high repetition range you will realize that you can increase the weight you are accustomed to when you workout. The weight you picked for 100 reps of arm circles is going to be a lot different then the weight you can do for 12 reps on shoulder press.
4. Performing the 6 or less reps for increased strength or 8-12 reps for hypertrophy are functionally important. You will be able to put those boxes away in your closet without help, standing up from a chair will be easier, carrying your shopping bags after you get paid will be easier, carrying groceries into your home won’t be as exhausting, doing yard work won’t be as tiring, picking up and holding your child won’t be impossible, and the list could go on forever.

I have read several posts putting down BSP for his article. He is basing his comments on fact, her methods have no scientific background, basis, or structure. Too many personal trainers today make up their own system that has no research to support it. They just do it to get noticed… they want THEIR METHOD to make headlines, but they don’t believe that using proper and safe training protocols will be enough. These trainers make up their own system and almost all the time the clients either drop out or get injured. There is a difference between carving your own training niche by being a source of motivation, encouragement, and giving your clients workouts that have your own style attached and giving your clients uneducated, harmful workouts.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

My Blessings and Giving Back...

I was blessed enough to have gotten a full-tuition scholarship for my undergraduate work at Eastern Kentucky University. I went there to be a firefighter. Something about saving people's lives daily spoke to me, and you get to use your strength to help others... and at the time I was single, and what lady doesn't like a fireman...

A daughter later I realized I needed to be around for my little girl. I needed to pick a profession that didn't involved running into a building every one else was running out of, and much respect to the men and women that are firefighters. I chose to pursue a Physical Education degree with an emphasis on Fitness and Wellness Management and I threw a business minor in there to help me later in life. Before I graduated a professor at EKU said to some of my classmates in class," You need to get a masters or you will starve"

Well, I like to eat so I started looking into masters programs close to Louisville, where my daughter is. I applied to the University of Louisville and the University of Kentucky, got accepted to both programs, but was waiting on an assistantship position to open. I was interviewed by both schools and got a position with UK that allowed me to work at a faculty, staff, and other employee fitness facility for two years... and it got me a stipend plus helath insurance. Experience + money, you can't turn that down. I was a personal trainer for both years I attended UK and was able to work on my lifting technique and coaching ability. I volunteered with a local high school as a d-line coach and with the strength and conditioning staff for the football team. I wanted to meet as many contacts as I could while I was completing my masters degree.

I was made aware of a Fitness Director position at UK... applied, was interviewed, and have now been working here for two months with no regrets.

With the gifts of free education from undergrad through my masters lucked me into thie position in which I now have two graduate assistants working for me. One is a solid powerlifter/bodybuilder Luke Beggs. He is in charge of all of the personal trainers and the programs and he is competing in two bodybuilding competitions in the fall, so his results will be posted after it. I needed to hire some one for the graduate assistant position that is over the group fitness program here.

I went through some applications and through connections on campus had heard of a fitness enthusiast that wasn't scared of working hard. Her name is Emily Owens. She went through the interview process with Luke and me and she is now on board. Stay tuned for updates on her triathlon and possible figure competition in the future. I am looking forward to working with both Luke and Emily this year. It's a good feeling to be able to give some one else the gift of an education.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Meathead battle Round 1: Bench Press Body weight

So last week Nic Nak was roaming around the gym and we started talking about who would eat the last piece of pizza between us. After listing 20 reasons apiece why myself or Nic should be given the last piece, we decided a battle should ensue.

He was doing chest that day so we decided that who ever could bench their body weight more times after doing eachother's respective chest workout should be awarded the piece of pizza, a slice of manhood trophy and bragging rights for at least the forseeable future. The plan was to do the chest workout and wait about an hour and a half before attempting the weight.

Something happened to make both of us go on different days and the pizza was eaten out of shere gluttony, but the challenge still remained. the results are as follows:

Nic Nak
Body weight: 142
Bench Press weight: 140
Bench press times: 25

Body weight: 226
Bench press weight: 225
Bench press times: 22

Both numbers are alright... but if you ever meet Nic Nak... buy him a slice of pizza because he needs it.
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