Wednesday, December 9, 2009

This Will Be The Last Time I Ever Mention Steroids :-)

Bodybuilders See Kidney Damage With Steroids
A case study is among the first to assert a direct link between long-term steroid use and kidney disease.

No shit! Who knew?

The above story appeared in the New York Times, 12/9-2009. Substitute the word "steroids" with ANY drug, —alcohol, cigarettes, Tylenol— and you have another example of the media's ridiculous fascination with and the dissemination of misinformation about steroids. This is front page news?

Long term abuse —in this case 25 years— of ANY drug on the planet will have serious effects on some vital organ in your body. And after 25 years of "steroid abuse", all this guy had were kidney problems?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Harder Muscle After Age 40

The main reason I thought I couldn't continue to improve my physique over 45 is the physiques you normally see of bodybuilders in the masters/old timers classes at bodybuilding shows never seem as defined or tight as younger guys. That's why when I see a physique like yours and guys like Eric Orrao (who is amazing at 48 - check out his web site) I am really inspired.

I've also always read about muscle wastage over 45 and the difficulty in avoiding the muscle flabbiness that comes with old age. Like you I think boosting testosterone is the key and since I turned 40 I have been regularly taking Tribulus while raising my work-out intensities and increasing my protein intake (desperation can be a wonderful thing can't it ? ha ha).

Testo boosters are okay, I am not personally clear on if they work, as only before-and-after measurements of testosterone levels in the blood would prove that.

But testo boosters are not at all like taking the real thing, such as Androgel, which is a topical treatment, or better for bodybuilders, Testosterone Ciprionate injections.

Both men and women lose vital hormones as they age, and the resistance in society at replacing them is very, very odd, since people do all kinds of damaging things to themselves continually, like smoking and drinking, yet are told that hormone replacement is somehow "unsavory", when in fact the benefits are nothing short of wondrous. The reason we feel young again is because we have the hormones back that we once had.

Over-training is a reality, since your muscle needs a full week or more to recoup and rebuild. Without the rest, you are tearing it down again before it had a chance to reach it's full growth from the last workout, and thus it never gets the chance to fully blossom.

LOTS of guys are resistant to this idea, and over-train regardless, just as they fail to correct poor workout technique, or fail to rehab injuries and try to "work through" the pain. All the above are counter productive.

One of the many absurdities in popular belief is the vilification of steroids. None of the so-called adverse side effects can happen to someone taking recommended dosages...all the horror stories are fabricated —when is the last time you heard about anyone dying from steroids, or ending up in the ER? We are inundated by unsafe drugs at every turn, but instead of focusing on deaths and injury from all of those, the media loves to focus on steroids.

It's a safe hot-button issue, as no one defends steroids. But if your doc is willing, a therapeutic dose (as opposed to the illegal mega-doses that some bodybuilders abuse) would definitely harden you up, and have many other benefits, including well-being overall.

I cannot take steroids for the same reason I can't take testo, but steroids are a miracle pharmaceutical that have saved millions of lives, including hundreds of thousands of AIDS patients who would have never lived long enough to see the dawn of the drugs that have made AIDS a manageable disease.

My partner Alex in the video with me is a physician and an AIDS specialist, and also has a thriving bodybuilder clientele, because he is one himself. So my info and experience comes from 7 years with him.

Work out intensely, then REST. I hope you are working just one body part per session...that way it has a week to recoup before you work it again.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


Your video clip on how to handle a shoulder injury was spot on and I'm hoping you have some advice on tendentious elbow. I'm pushing my way through some discomfort but definitely I'm avoiding pull ups some curls are an issue but I've been able to handle it.

"Pushing through" any injury is counter productive.

I have been injured MANY times, and if I did not take the time off to heal (you can always work legs when the tendonitis is flaring up), and rethought my technique, I would not still be in top shape.

The basis of my video is NOT over extending on any exercise, as that's what causes most joint problems. The stress and focus in every exercise has to be on the target muscle itself, and never the joints, or surrounding muscles. They call it the "mind-muscle connection".

I realize from experience that it is hard to step back, rethink and relearn how to do exercises, but pain and injury such as tendonitis is our body's way of saying we are not focused on doing the exercise correctly.

There are a lot of exercises in the DVD but keep in mind that the MECHANICS of all exercise is the same: you have to focus completely on what the target muscle is doing, and not overextend.

Whenever I do any single arm exercise, I always pick up the weight/handle/with BOTH hands, even when I don't have any tenderness or injury, in order to AVOID injury. I want all my effort to go into the exercise, not picking up a dumbbell or barbell plate. All your energy should go into the muscle that is being targeted by any given exercise.

Give the injury a week's rest, ice it, and take ibuprofen 4X a day to keep the inflammation down.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Magic Pill Syndrome

I got a call from someone searching for guests for a radio show on chronic back pain. Since I had chronic back pain in my early 30s and cured it, and have helped many others do the same, she was all gung-ho ...until I told her that the cure was losing weight, strength training to build all the supporting muscles in the back, and a gravity apparatus that many gyms have that allow people to safely stretch their spines and supporting muscles.
She was at least honest when she said "Our listeners frankly do not want to hear the same old-same-old. They do not want to lose weight and they certainly do not want to start lifting weights!!"
I said, "Exactly. They have a problem caused by their lifestyle which will be relieved or even cured when they change their lifestyle, and you're going to help enable them not to change their lifestyle and cure their pain by offering snake oil cures and wacko advice from new age shamans ".
She hung up on me. Imagine that.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

What's Up With GNC and Vitamin World?

The world evolves as certain companies staunchly keep their feet planted in the stone age. These two has-beens have always required you to pay a fee to join their "club" in order to get a different pricing tier, which is insulting to other potential customers who refuse to pony up the extra dough. It's a matter of self esteem, I feel, not to participate in stores that require you to pay a fee to shop there or get better pricing.

Buy your supplements ONLINE, they are much cheaper, arrive fast and come in a far wider variety.

GNC's own store brand of whey protein has scary sky-high cholesterol, 70 grams per serving, while IsoPure only has 10 grams of cholesterol per serving. Read labels online and compare. Do not compare number of servings in a package; instead, note the number of grams of protein contained in each serving, multiply by the number of servings in the package to get the total of protein grams contained in that package, then divide that number into the price to see the cost per gram of protein.

I have no affiliation to any online retailer, but I find that have the best prices and an enormous selection.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Using Diet To Enhance The Look Of Your Muscles

Diet is a balancing act: calories in vs. calories out is the simplest way to explain diet.

If you want to lose fat that may be covering your abs, or keeping your arms from looking razor-sharp, try cutting back on fats and carbs. You can still eat enough food so as not to feel deprived by choosing those foods wisely.

Low-fat and non-fat is an obvious choice in dairy and other foods. Frozen dinners, restaurant food and any food prepared by others will contain much more fat than you want, so making your own food is the answer. Trouble is, most people don't want to spend the time shopping, prepping and cooking, so serious members of the fitness community resort to the simplest foods, such as chicken breasts, broccoli, oatmeal and other classic bodybuilder foods. Their goal to look a certain way supercedes their desire to indulge their cravings and tastebuds. But if you cook, the choices available in the low-fat, low-carb category expand exponentially in relation to your eagerness to create tasty meals.

For starters, buy non-fat products and cut back on carbs, such as bread, pasta and rice. We need carbs to fuel our workouts and provide energy, so experiment to find a balance between fat loss and a good level of energy retention.

The best way to lose fat is slowly, so you don't lose hard-won muscle along with it. Crash diets will decimate your physique.

No food satisfies as much or for as long as having a great physique does.

Flexsolate Straps Help You Keep Your Mind Focused

I do not work for Flexsolate or have any promotional ties with the company. This is a fine product that allows you to do what is so difficult to do otherwise: isolate your target muscle.
By removing your hand from the exercise, and thus your wrist and forearm, all your focus can be placed on the target muscle as you exercise, allowing for faster improvements with no extra work or time involved. These straps are especially excellent for back exercises, an area many people have problems developing.

Watch the video to see how they work:

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Nancy Snyderman Quacks

Steroids may not exactly be harmless when abused or taken in extreme doses, but they are far less a threat to the user than large doses of Tylenol and other over-the-counter uncontrolled pharmaceuticals. Like any pharmaceutical, when taken as prescribed, steroids and Tylenol are mostly benign, or else neither would have won FDA approval. The media loves to get all inflamed about steroids because they are a safe distraction, a hot-button issue employed to rile up those ignorant of the easily-learned facts. I do not take steroids, or even testosterone, although I legally qualify for both under a doctor's supervision.

MSNBC's "Dr." Nancy Snyderman is one of a virtual army of amped-up talking heads spouting nonsense in all directions, and I'm pretty weary of these goons who never stop vomiting untruths, half-truths and outright lies all over us.

It's bad enough that the general public is completely ignorant when it comes to the subject of steroids, but a so-called doctor spouting lies right there on my TV is outrageous. Anything for a chance to bump up your ratings a bit, eh, Nance?

Preposterously and recklessly inferring that most commercial popular protein powders contain steroids, even though her two talking-head guests told her she was mistaken, Nancy rolled right over their insolence at not blindly supporting her bogus claims and dusted off the time-worn TV graphic outlining all the nasty "side effects" of steroid use, which are absolutely bogus. These side effects could possibly --but not necessarily-- occur as a result of long-term steroid abuse, but not by taking prescribed dosages.

Such extreme side effects from steroids would require extreme dosages taken over long time periods to do such harm, just as aspirin, cough syrup or any other pharmaceutical would.

Steroids are a safe hot-button issue that boneheads like Nancy Syderman, et al, roll out on a slow news day or during ratings sweeps so they can act all enraged without anyone calling them on the carpet for it.

So, I'm calling you out, Nancy. You're an irresponsible fraud.

By the way, one of the side effects of Tylenol is death, yet any five year old can purchase it at the corner convenience store. 53,000 Americans ended up in the nation's emergency rooms last year due to Tylenol reactions. 100 of these died. Oh, but Tylenol is one of your sponsors, aren't they Nancy? Yeah. Well, you sure don't want to piss them off by passing these statistics on to your viewers, now, do you?

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Eat Whatever You Want, Whenever You Want It

In my 20s and 30s I was quite the industrious baker. I made killer oatmeal cookies, amazing carrot cake that people who hated carrot cake loved, and lots and lots of home-baked bread. And more often than not it all disappeared within a few hours. If I baked cookies, that was my meal, or meals, that day.

I knew this was not healthy eating, and even though I only did it periodically, I began to think about what, other than taste, was my reward for this. And the answer for me was, there wasn't any.

Although this was not my intention, in realizing my life was not better or happier because I ate whatever, whenever —and indeed I felt and looked unhealthier— led quietly to the quieting of my cravings. When I turn down a dessert, friends look at me like I'm crazy, or as if I am making some huge sacrifice. They're even threatened, because I can say no effortlessly —and genuinely mean it.

Overeating is an emotional problem, not a physical one. Nobody is 50 pounds overweight because they are physically hungry: it's because they are emotionally hungry.

Wanting food —the amount, the type— is an emotional decision for most people. People put the weight back on when they end their diet because they ended their diet. Who is too stupid to make this connection? Apparently, millions, as witnessed by their astonishment that returning to the eating habits that made them fat in the first place causes them to return to their previous condition of excess weight, and the self-righteous claim that "diets don't work".

Until we understand why we want certain foods in excess amounts, nothing will really change. The trouble is, most people don't want to find out, as most emotional eating stems from an unpleasant experience they have yet to deal with.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

My New DVD Is Finally Here!

It's one thing to explain in a book how to work out —because I can go into great detail when using the written word— and quite another to be able to actually show you exactly what things should look like. That's the beauty of having a DVD in which I can guide you through a workout.

I have always said that it isn't the exercises you choose that will take you to your goal, it's how you do the exercise. The principal is always the same. The mechanics of performing all bodybuilding/fitness exercises are identical.

People always want to know "What exercises do you do?" thinking the answer for them lies in specific exercises, when in fact your results will be measured in how you perform any given exercise. How you perform an exercise will make all the difference between little progress, and enormous progress.

Let me take you to the gym with me and I'll show you exactly how to work out to obtain greatly accelerated results.

My DVD WORKOUT PhD is available from my website at:

Friday, August 14, 2009

It's Just Not Natural

Reading another blog where wingnuts were going ballistic screaming about how poisonous common comestible oils such as safflower, corn and canola are, made me wonder how the human race managed to survive and prosper for 2 million years if so much of what we eat is, according to these bored crusaders, "toxic".

The word NATURAL on a food package or ad means NOTHING. Interesting how we allowed this word to escape the dictionary and take on a whole new Madison Ave.-created definition.

Salmonella is natural, as is x-coli. Want some for dinner? All human disease, from malaria to cancer is natural.

A food advertised as natural could be loaded with any of thousands of harmful substances that nature produces naturally. Skippy's "natural" peanut butter has had all the peanut oil removed, and the controversial substance palm oil has been added in it's place...because Skippy can make a lot of money selling the more valued, expensive, and healthy peanut oil. They just pour in another very cheap "natural" oil that tastes nothing like peanut oil, and sell their less-tasty product for the same price as real peanut butter, while making a nice profit on the sideline.

Read your labels, especially if the word "Natural!" appears on it.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Men Should Be Tested Beforehand Too

From The Los Angeles Times:

"It still is shocking to me how many (female)patients I see that are placed on hormone replacement (especially estrogen) without ever being tested by their doctor first. I would recommend if you are thinking about hormone replacement, have your doctor check your levels, and especially the ratio of estrogen to progesterone. Many of the symptoms experienced during peri-menopause can be due to having too much estrogen (estrogen dominance) rather than too little. Supplementing without testing can make matters worse rather than better. Doctors should not prescribe blindly."

Lakeshore Wellness Center: Natural Medicine, Bioidentical Hormones and Acupuncture in Chicago.

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Magic Pill

What's the first thing that people think of when things go wrong for them physically? A pill that will solve the problem.

But when it comes to aging, or fixing yourself, there is no such thing. There is no Fountain Of Youth or Magic Pill... but there is a way for everyone to turn back the clock.

Strength Training is the one and only way to recreate lost muscle mass and renew weakened bone. After the age of 30, we automatically lose 7% of our total muscle mass every decade thereafter, unless we are actively strength training. Diminished muscle mass means we're weaker, less attractive, have a diminished fat-burning capacity, and a diminished immune system. Take control of your own destiny by taking control of your body.

It's ironic that older people are the least fit and most obese age group, because they are by far the most vulnerable. Get off the slippery slope of aging: fight back by getting strong.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Owner's Manual

People who engage in activities and hobbies —whether it be fly-fishing, cabinet-making, cooking— subscribe to magazines on their subject, watch TV programs devoted to it, buy books and DVDs that give them hints and tricks, and do research online to become better and more proficient.

So why do so many who go to the gym or workout at home NOT do these things? People perform exercises at the gym without knowing what they are even for. Their form is terrible, and it doesn't even occur to them to observe someone at the gym who is doing the same exercise correctly and displays the physical proof that they know what they are doing. They don't subscribe to fitness magazines, or buy books or DVDs. They dutifully come to the gym week after week and just spin their wheels in place, so to speak, when they could be making amazing progress.

If you are going to devote time to your workout, begin online and research exercise videos to see how others are performing the same exercises you are, and compare. Start there, resolvong to re-learn the exercise in order to get the most out of it. When done correctly, you should see results in mere weeeks. And once you taste success, you will be hungry for more.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


My eBook version of Reclaim Your Youth: Growing Younger After 40 is available in all formats, including online reading, for a very low eBook price at no paper, no warehouse, no shipping, no middleman, so the savings shave half off the price of a paper book.

Richard Sullivan Workout Tutorial: lateral deltoid, or side shoulder muscle

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Average Joe Is Now A Fitness Guru

How is it that people respond so favorably to "fitness gurus" with average physiques telling them how to get into shape? People would laugh at a poor person telling them how to get rich. People would scoff at a disheveled guy in raggedy clothes asking them to buy his no-fail fiscal strategies for success. Yet they pay money to guys who aren't fit, firm and healthy to tell them how to get fit, firm and healthy?

Why do people buy into Oprah's choice of Bob Green as a "fitness expert", when both Madonna and Michelle Obama have better arms on them than Bob Green does? Or the bloated and puffy ponytailed Tony Little, or the love-handled guys who hawk ab machines on late night infomercials?

It isn't just on TV, either. Over the decades I have seen countless "personal trainers" in gyms from Gold's Hollywood to World Gym San Francisco to Crunch in New York, who look as if they have never worked out a day in their life. They cover themselves from head to foot thinking baggy sweats disguise their complete lack of toned muscle —yet clients are paying them $75-$100 an hour to create a new physique for them.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Maybe I Don't Want A Jury Trial, Considering

It's time again for the annual "Stella Awards"! For those unfamiliar with these awards, they are named after 81-year-old Stella Liebeck who spilled hot coffee on herself and successfully sued the McDonald's in New Mexico where she purchased the coffee. You remember..... she took the lid off the coffee and put it between her knees while she was driving. Who would ever think one could get burned doing that - right?

That's right, these are awards for the most outlandish lawsuits and verdicts in the U.S. You know, the kinds of cases that make you scratch your head. So keep your head scratcher handy. 

Here are the Stella's for the past year:


Kathleen Robertson of Austin, Texas was awarded $80,000 by a jury of her peers after breaking her ankle tripping over a toddler who was running inside a furniture store. The store owners were understandably surprised by the verdict, considering the running toddler was her own son.


Carl Truman, 19, of Los Angeles, California won $74,000 plus medical expenses when his neighbour ran over his hand with a Honda Accord. Truman apparently didn't notice there was someone at the wheel of the car when he was trying to steal his neighbour’s hub caps.

 Go ahead, grab your head scratcher.


Terrence Dickson, of Bristol, Pennsylvania, was leaving a house he had just burglarized by way of the garage. Unfortunately for Dickson, the automatic garage door opener malfunctioned and he could not get the garage door to open. Worse, he couldn't re-enter the house because the door connecting the garage to the house locked when Dickson pulled it shut. Forced to sit for eight, count 'em, EIGHT, days on a case of Pepsi and a large bag of dry dog food, he sued the homeowner's insurance company claiming undue mental anguish. Amazingly, the jury said the insurance company must pay Dickson $500,000 for his anguish. We should all have this kind of anguish.

 Keep scratching. There are more....


Jerry Williams, of Little Rock, Arkansas, garnered 4th Place in the Stella's when he was awarded $14,500 plus medical expenses after being bitten on the butt by his next door neighbour’s beagle - even though the beagle was on a chain in its owner's fenced yard. Williams did not get as much as he asked for because the jury believed the beagle might have been provoked at the time of the butt bite because Williams had climbed over the fence into the yard and repeatedly shot the dog with a pellet gun.

Grrrrr ... Scratch, scratch.


Third place goes to Amber Carson of Lancaster , Pennsylvania because a jury ordered a Philadelphia restaurant to pay her $113, 500 after she slipped on a spilled soft drink and broke her tailbone. The reason the soft drink was on the floor: Ms. Carson had thrown it at her boyfriend 30 seconds earlier during an argument. Whatever happened to people being responsible for their own actions?

 Scratch, scratch, scratch. Hang in there; there are only two more Stellas to go...


 Kara Walton, of Claymont, Delaware sued the owner of a night club in a nearby city because she fell from the bathroom window to the floor, knocking out her two front teeth. Even though Ms. Walton was trying to sneak through the ladies room window to avoid paying the $3.50 cover charge, the jury said the night club had to pay her $12,000....oh, yeah, plus dental expenses. Go figure.

1ST PLACE : (May I have a fanfare played on 50 kazoos please?) This year's runaway First Place Stella Award winner was Mrs. Merv Grazinski, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, who purchased a new 32-foot Winnebago motor home.

 On her first trip home from an OU football game, having driven onto the freeway, she set the cruise control at 70 mph and calmly left the driver's seat to go to the back of the Winnebago to make herself a sandwich.

Not surprisingly, the motor home left the freeway, crashed and overturned.

 Also not surprisingly, Mrs. Grazinski sued Winnebago for not putting in the owner's manual that she couldn't actually leave the driver's seat while the cruise control was set. The Oklahoma jury awarded her, are you sitting down, $1,750,000 PLUS a new motor home. Winnebago actually changed their manuals as a result of this suit, just in case Mrs. Grazinski has any relatives who might also buy a motor home.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

'Roid Rage!

The only true "'roid rage" is that which spews out of the mouths of TV's omnipresent talking heads, who care little about fact or responsible journalism, because they're just hoping for a quick book deal.

The reality is that most of what we hear and read about steroids is so preposterously untrue and idiotic, if people would care to start googling and actually do some responsible research for themselves, rather than following like a sheep, they'd quickly realize this.

Most people don't want to know the truth, because controversies such as this, or the flag burning outrage of not long ago, are "safe"...meaning angry people can vent and scream and feign outrage without having to pay any significant social price.

Steroids are a pharmaceutical like any other, and a miracle pharmaceutical at that, having saved millions from the jaws of death. There is drug USE, and then again, there's drug ABUSE. How is it that the general public falls so easily, and so stupidly, into an argument whereby certain pharmaceuticals are actually vilified, when in fact they could be saving your life —or your child's— next week?

I qualify for a doctor-prescribed anabolic, so if I could tolerate steroids, I'd greatly value them for half a dozen good reasons, from increased energy and strength, to faster healing. But I cannot.

As John Stossel so rationally reported on a recent episode of ABC TV's 20/20 program, we allow doctors to install plastic sacks into women's chests for purely visual reasons, but vilify doctors who administer steroids to renew a man's libido, heal physical injuries, or enhance his athletic abilities?

As Outliers author Malcom Gladwell writes in his blog, why are athletes allowed to be legally shot up with narcotic painkillers during a game to allow them to continue playing, when doing so could permanently damage them and end their career? Why are athletes like Tiger Woods allowed to have lasik surgery to enhance their eyesight, or permitted to take vitamins, or ingest ibuprofen to help them heal from injuries faster? All of these are "unfair advantages" compared to athletes who do cannot tolerate ibuprofen, who don't have the money for lasik, and who can't digest vitamin pills.

Is the population actually getting stupider as time goes by?

And You Thought YOU Were A Mess :-)

The following post of from the AARP website forum, Staying Fit After 50. This person has no desire to change, despite all the scary storm clouds on her horizon. She asks for "a kick in the pants" in her post title, but ends by telling people not to lecture her. People like this lady are energy vampires, latching onto others to vent and whine rather than stepping up to the plate. People who have the desire to change, change. They don't suck up others' time and attention with drivel like this:

" I am 62. I have arthritis and had one knee replacement in Sept 08 and looking for 2nd one in April 09. Sit at a desk 8 hrs a day with little time to move or exercise during the day. Hate to cook, dislike most veggies, and love to watch tv. I come home, grab food and sit at computer or in front of tv. It is snowing a lot this year and can't do much outdoor exercise. Food haunts me and calls to me from the refrigerator in the evenings. Hate being overweight but haven't found the motivation to change eating patterns. Diagnosed with Diabetes type 2, do not have to take any meds for it. AIC 5.9 now but it won't stay low if I don't change. I am also 4'11" and most of the machines at Curves are not meant for short peope so it takes me 30 sec. to get on and off. Need alternative exercising. I am always tired because my job is stressful too. Looks like I may get some good ideas and feedback from this group. Just had colonoscopy and am fine, low blood pressure, decent cholestoral, so I still have time if I could just get through nights and weekends. Hate salads too. Any suggestions or encouragements appreciated. Lectures or scolding doesn't work. Just makes me retreat more to bad habits. Thanks."

Fix Yourself

When I am driving around in Los Angeles I often see joggers amidst city traffic. I mean, right in traffic. Breathing emissions straight from the exhaust pipe and thinking you're doing something healthy for yourself is stupid enough, but running with your leg in a brace? I have seen that too, a dozen times or more.

My Grandma used to say "There are only two kinds of people in this world: those who are smart enough to know how stupid they are, and those who are too stupid to know how stupid they are."

The majority of people are walking around right now with multiple things wrong with them, all fixable. You don't run after sustaining a leg injury: you rest and heal. If your past problems have so hijacked your present life that you taint everything and everyone you touch, you need to see a therapist to rid yourself of the demons and destructive behavior. Of course, few people ever do this, opting instead to spread their venom wherever they go, making themselves and everyone they "love" pay dearly for what some other person did to them long ago.

Whether it's problematic teeth or gums, a bad back, painful knee, obesity, smoking, junk food...whatever is dragging you down is fixable once you decide to fix it. So, decide. Living with and exacerbating pain or diminished capacity intentionally is insane.

We have just one shot on this earth. Why do so many people throw it all away?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

You're Right

I received some criticism from people for saying that strength training is no more difficult in your 60s than it is your 20s, because I hadn't considered those people with ailments or injuries. You're right. So let me rephrase that: strength training is no more difficult in your 60s than your 20s if you are in decent health and able-bodied.

I do realize that after decades of smoking, or for obese individuals, or those who have suffered injury, it seems tough. You can't sit around for 3 decades and suddenly adopt a challenging fitness regimen and not feel discomfort. But while the crybabies finish drying their tears, I'd like the rest of you to meet Errol Hannigan, AKA Captain Ahab, whose pictures speak louder than any words that I could write: Click his photo above... he's the guy with the bionic leg.

My philosophy is that I don't care whether people take care of themselves or not; just that they be secure enough in their choice not to be continually trying to justify it. The next time someone you know tries to make a lame excuse for...well...just about anything, send them a link to Errol's website.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Ultimate Low Fat High Protein Luscious Maple Custard French Toast

Recipes are like chemical formulas: change one ingredient or leave out one step, and the result is completely different.

If you are lucky enough to live near a Trader Joe's, pick up a loaf of TJ's pain rustique bread. Amazing. Try not to eat it on the way home. Also, buy TJ's Canadian maple syrup. If no TJ's close by, buy a bakery loaf of French bread, such as a peasant loaf or similar —white, not whole wheat. TJ's pain rustique is full of big air holes, and is chewy, which is important for the outcome of this recipe.

Beat together then pour into a shallow dish:
4 egg whites + 1 egg yolk
3 tablespoon skim milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons maple syrup

To accelerate the process, I wrap the bread in a wet paper towel and nuke it on high setting in a microwave. The bread then becomes very soft and soaks up the egg mixture much faster.

Take 4 slices of pain rustique and place them in the egg mixture and allow to soak 10 minutes or more to absorb as much of the egg mixture as possible. Lightly coat a warm undamaged non-stick skillet with butter by holding the butter stick in your hand to control the amount, and apply evenly: don't just throw a big pat of butter in the pan.

Get the pan nice and hot, then place each slice of bread —make sure the bread is fully absorbed with the egg mixture— and cook on medium high, standing there to keep an eye on it. After one minute you can turn the heat down to a low setting, and put a lid on it. Experience will tell you how long to cook it, so on your first try, keep vigilant. You want it to cook slowly because only then will the egg mixture set like custard. When it looks firm and feels so by poking it, turn it over and cook the other side. It takes 12-16 minutes or more for me to cook this on a gas stove, but electric is trickier because of slow response to heat adjustment.

The end result should be a crispy outside with buttery taste, and a sweet, tender, firm custard-y interior. If it doesn't cook long enough. the interior will instead be soggy.

Remove the French toast from pan when done and add any remaining egg mixture to the pan to quickly cook that, and add it to the plate. Douse with more maple syrup to taste. Crunchy outside, creamy, firm custard inside: when you get it right, it is out of this world.

Great-Tasting, Low Fat Breakfast Pasta

Especially on weekends I love a hearty breakfast pasta, high in protein, low in fat, and very very tasty and filling. You can tweak this recipe endlessly to include more egg yolks, add crumbled bacon or parmesan cheese —whatever. But this following basic recipe will be the lowest in fat and cholesterol:

4 egg whites + 1 egg yolk
Garlic to your taste (granulated, dried, fresh,'s your choice)
Salt to your taste
1 Tomato, chopped, or 2 tablespoons chunky pasta sauce
1 Chopped fresh roasted Anaheim or haberno chile, or dried chili flakes, optional

Beat together all the ingredients, then add and thoroughly incorporate:

1 serving Cooked pasta, al dente (rotelli, penne, angel hair...)

I always have an unblemished non-stick fry pan on hand, which I always wash and put away immediately after use to avoid any scratches. It makes all the difference in the quality of my dishes and in the actual fun of cooking.

Put 1 tablespoon, more or less, olive oil in the cool pan and rub to coat the surface, then turn on the heat. This dish cooks fast so stand there; don't turn on the heat then walk away. You can cook on higher heat if you are very vigilant and the task will go faster. Don't use a rubber spatula as the rubber does slowly melt into your food over time. I use a wooden rice paddle to keep the pasta moving and making sure it cooks evenly.

When done (it will no longer look wet or shiny), place on your plate, have a seat, and enjoy.

Don't Allow Your Physician To Project His Insecurities Onto YOU.

It's interesting that until recent problems were uncovered, doctors encouraged older women to seek hormone replacement therapy, but reacted negatively, condescendingly —even angrily— when men sought the same treatment.

HRT is purely a personal matter based on Quality Of Life. If a woman suffers horrible night sweats, daily hot flashes and is always irritable, alienating family and friends, the slight increase risk of heart disease or breast cancer sometime in the future might be worth having a much improved and happier life right now.

Men who have low testosterone will find that Androgel or injectable Testosterone can completely transform them. When I sought HRT, I was amazed at the almost indescribable calm and general feeling of well-being I felt, last experienced in my early 20s. Even when life was stressful, there was an underlying sensation that even so, all was right with my world. Testo also renews your libido, stops muscle loss, and relieves depression. In some cases, such as my own, it raised blood lipids and increased red blood cell production, causing my heart to work harder to pump blood. Since I am the oldest male in my family never to have suffered a heart attack, I wanted to keep it that way. If I can find a way around the physical problems it causes, I will gladly resume HRT. To determine whether HRT may cause threatening side effects for you, ask your doctor to get a testosterone level the next time you have a blood test. If it's low, ask for Andogel, or Testosterone Ciprionate. If you have no contraindications, yet your doctor balks at HRT, then he has a problem, and you need to see a physician, such as a urologist, who doesn't project his own hang ups and insecurities into you.

Once beginning HRT, you need to follow up with another couple of blood tests to determine if it is causing any unwanted effects, such as the ones unique to me.

If you live in Southern California, an excellent physician with vast knowledge of HRT is Alex del Rosario MD. Click his photo to go to his website.

Obesity: A Physical Problem, Or An Emotional Problem?

Denial is rampant in this world where so few people are willing to accept personal responsibility. If you're fat, it's because you eat too much, and eat too many of the wrong kinds of food. Period.
When I tell people that obesity is an eating disorder no different than anorexia or bulimia, a howl goes up from the crowd.
Nobody is force-feeding anyone, or requiring they subsist on pizza, fast food "meals", or snack foods.
Obesity is all about self-medication. It's about self-protection by building a defensive wall of fat to keep the world out. It's about filling a black hole created mostly by abusive adults and other children back when we were children ourselves. It's about not seeking professional help to deal with these demons once and for all, thus accelerating our unhappiness and our ultimate demise.
Every time I have to pick up a 35 pound dumbbell at the gym to carry it 40 paces to the preacher bench to do my sets, I groan, because I don't WANT to carry 35 pounds of dead weight across the gym, maeuvering between benches and machines. It is irritating and throws me off balance. I can't imagine anyone intentionally adding 35 pounds to their body to clumsily carry around and maneuver like that, 24 hours a day.
We all have 167 hours in our week, with on average 30 or more hours devoted to sitting and watching TV. Yet few are willing to spend 3 hours a week in the gym, or engaged in some challenging physical fitness activity which would completely transform their lives for the better.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Circling The Drain, Intentionally

It's one thing for young people not to take care of themselves —they have time, a resilient body, and a lot more flourishing friends and relatives than older people do on their side. They believe they can and will get around to it someday. But older people...hmmm. Older people are a real curiosity.

The same individuals who wouldn't dream of letting the roof sag or the foundation crumble in their home, or who would be mortified to be seen driving to town in a disintegrating junker, determinedly maneuver their giant asses and jiggly man-boobs around in public with no shame at all. They have already lost a large percentage of their muscle mass —7% per decade since age 30— which used to give them a human form, burn fat effortlessly, and house their immune system. They've lost up to 70% of their deep lung capacity due to lack of aerobic exercise and smoking. Their bone mass has diminished to such a degree that when they fall due to the muscle loss and fat gain, they break their bones because their very structure has been so compromised.

Who in their right mind accelerates their deterioration intentionally by shunning exercise and embracing gluttony at a time in their life when they can least cope?

The correct answer is, nobody.

Strength Training: It's The Most Control You'll Ever Have.

We can have no success in our work or business without people hiring us, promoting us, or buying our goods or services. We can have no success in marriage or friendships without the cooperation of others: they hold the cards. People leave. They die, they move on, and sometimes friends just stop calling with no warning or explanation, leaving us to wonder, what happened? There is little in life that really matters for which we do not need the permission or cooperation of other people.

The one wonderful exception is fitness, or lack thereof. It's our choice, and ours alone. We alone decide what and when to eat, how much and how often. We alone decide whether we sit around the house during our off hours doing nothing, or engage in regular physical activity.

We cannot control our relationships, or their outcome: if the other person is finished, then it's over no matter how we feel. If the economy sours, or the boss hates us, we can lose our livelihood, no matter how much we love the job, how desperately we need it, or how good we are at it.

The one and only thing we can control is the appearance and fitness level of our own bodies. How ours looks, functions, performs, how strong we are, how soft or firm, how attractive or not, are all things we decide. Right now, you and I are living in the exact body we have become comfortable with up until this moment. When we are no longer comfortable, or satisfied, we can change our bodies by changing our food intake and activity choices. It's that simple. There is no one to tell us "no".

The Scourge Of The Fitness World Is...

...gym owners who themselves do not work out. Over the years, the worst gyms I have ever been to, or worse, been a member of, were those whose owners had no interest. No interest in fitness, no interest in listening to their customers, and worst of all, no interest in keeping their gyms in working order or providing a safe and healthful environment.

They are oblivious to the malfunctioning equipment that members could hurt themselves on, and thereby end up quitting... another customer lost. Owners spend money trying to win a new customer, then do everything they can to drive him/her away. They are immune to complaints or suggestions that they fix things, or even take offense, yet they spend their spare time complaining how bad business is.

The gym isn't just a place to work out. It's a refuge from the outside world. Loud music, blaring competing TVs, equipment scattered all over the floor, dirty bathrooms...too many people have left all this behind at home. They don't want to pay good money to deal with these kinds of annoyances, distractions and disrespect in addition to trying to get through a challenging workout.

A lot of people tell me they have a hard time getting themselves to the gym. Is it any wonder?