Sunday, May 28, 2017

Beach-Ready 6-Pack in Just 4 Weeks?

It’s memorial Day Weekend in the US, which is the official kick-off of SUMMER. Websites, blogs and print magazines are filled with articles promising beach-ready 6-pack abs by the 4th of July, a sure-fire clickbait scheme, because positive physical changes take time and effort. That’s not to say that a major improvement can’t take place by the 4th of July. But going from spare tire to shredded abs will take a bit longer. No, let me correct that — a LOT longer.

Revealing the naturally-occurring 6 pack you already have under that layer of fat might be a challenge, but building a better more defined 6-pack than what you currently have is an ongoing challenge. Both involve changing your diet from the one you presently have, which has obscured your 6-pack, to one that will allow your 6-pack to show through. But building, defining, and polishing that 6-pack into something to be envied by others takes persistent faithful exercise along with goal-oriented food consumption.

As a life-long fitness person I have heard every kind of workout advice for attaining a 6-pack from working abs once a week to working abs every day. My findings are, if you are serious about a 6-pack, you work abs every day, or at least every other day, doing a variety of different ab exercises, of which there must be 50 or more. Spend some time on YouTube and you’ll be amazed at the variety of ab exercises you can choose from.

It is said, and correctly so, that 6-pack abs are achieved in the kitchen, not the gym. All the abdominal muscle work in the world will not give you the 6-pack of your dreams if you don’t stop eating the way you have been. Changing your diet means not eating as much of the foods you prefer. People claim to be mystified by the fact that eating too much, and especially too much of the classic fat-producing foods, makes them fat because they just don’t want to deny themselves. Only when those people decide that denying themselves a 6-pack hurts more than denying themselves fast food, booze and desserts will their 6-pack dreams come true.

Could Giving Up On Ourselves Be Part Of A Master Plan?

As a teen back in the 1960s I recall being fascinated by an interview with a former glamorous Hollywood movie star who was rejoicing in the fact that she was no longer “burdened” by the need to take care of herself. She framed it as “liberation from the tyranny of others’ expectations,” as one of the rewards of growing older, which puzzled me no end, since in the same interview she complained about her health problems caused by this very issue. Overweight and dowdy and ill, she expressed relief — no, let me change that: she CELEBRATED that it was no longer required of her to do “all the hard work” of caring for herself.

Echoes of her lemmings-headed-for-the-cliff philosophy have reverberated all through my life as I watched relatives, friends and acquaintances relieve themselves of the notion of maintaining health, fitness and attractiveness and claim to be happy about it even as they limped around struggling to breathe.

At the gym I am unhappy about lifting a 50 lb. dumbbell off the rack and carrying it ten paces to the workout bench, so much so that despite being strong and fit and being able to easily lift the dumbbell I instead place it on the floor and roll it to its destination. So for me to contemplate how anyone can willingly add 50 lbs. to their body and carry that around 24/7 just boggles the mind. Their justifications are as stupid as they are endless, but their main theme is that older people just can’t eat right or exercise; it’s too hard, it’s pointless, it’s physically destructive, their metabolism is shot, their knees hurt, their health problems prevent it despite their health problems being due to their not taking care of themselves in the first place. They’ve constructed a convenient Catch-22 that allows them to bemoan their state of health and disability while taking no responsibility for their state of poor health and disability.

One of my lifelong dear friends some years ago began blacking out in public. He was diagnosed with type-2 diabetes and immediately went into rescue mode. He joined a gym and hired a trainer and became dedicated to eating right. Within months the diabetes subsided and he was able to go off insulin. He had developed impressive musculature and expressed wonderment at how strong and fit he felt. He felt reborn, but perhaps more importantly, because by his own will he had more or less conquered a deadly disease, he felt substantially empowered. Recently we spoke on the phone and he is no longer going to the gym or eating responsibly, and of course the diabetes is back. He brushes off any worry about blindness, amputation, diabetic coma or other catastrophe looming on the horizon. When I questioned him he made it clear it wasn’t up for discussion. I am bereft. What the fuck is he thinking?

So this made me wonder if indeed this willing intentional rush toward premature old age and painful death might be due to some instinctive genetic trigger that allows for old people to cheerfully move off this earth to make way for the young. What else could possibly explain the bizarre and troubling nature of people willfully hobbling themselves with illness and disability as they age, accelerating their demise? 

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Zac Efron Is Too Buff, Proclaims VULTURE

All writers reveal themselves, for better or for worse, by what they choose to write about.

This New York Magazine writer’s meltdown tells me that the further up the ladder men climb in pursuit of a personal ideal (which is entirely their business) the more inadequate this writer feels. He’s decided he can’t compete, so his fight-back strategy is to denigrate. He has the hubris to proclaim that he gets to set the limits by which others must adhere, that enough is enough when it comes to men, specifically movie stars, exceeding his own personal limitations as to what is appropriate musculature/buffness.

My advice to writer Jung is, first of all, shut up: don’t be stupid enough to reveal your inadequacies for all the world to see, and number two, get your insecure lazy ass to the gym. 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

As I Inch Closer To 70...

I posted a new video on YouTube encouraging people to stay fit as they age so as not to end up in a real pickle. Poor health makes every problem worse.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Never Stop Learning

Another old person on TV this week excused himself from the idea of weight training because of the “risk factor,” as in, fear of injury. Of course like any other new and unfamiliar activity, a smart person does their research before setting out on a new endeavor to avoid mistakes and setbacks, and fitness activity is no different.

But again, this is just an excuse. People get run over crossing the street every day, but few people refuse to cross the street because of this. Nearly 1.3 million people die in car crashes every year, but this "risk factor" doesn’t stop us from driving, does it?

Doing your homework by spending time vetting YouTube videos on the subject, of which there are thousands, can be of great benefit whether you're new to the game or an old hand. Yes, there are some idiots on YouTube telling you to do things no logical person would do. And there are some guys with amazing bodies who perform their exercises wrong.

So how does a newbie discern the good advice and instruction from the bad? By comparison, by making a habit of watching and comparing and learning, by rejecting the over-zealous boastful macho guys for the more even-keeled.

To invest the time and money in an ongoing fitness program while refusing to read or to watch videos on that very subject makes no sense. Fitness is a lifestyle, not a short term hobby, and as such our goal needs to be continually learning and trying new things and improving our present form and technique.

I’ve been working out since I was 12, and I am still learning new things and searching for ways to improve my form as well as my diet. We all have 24 hours in our day. What we do with those 24, how productive we choose to be with them, is entirely up to us.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

The Importance Of Selfies In Our Fitness Goals

Richard Sullivan age 51

Recently much has been made critically of all the selfie-taking, but one area that photos of ourselves prove crucial is in our pursuit of fitness.

Having photos we can call up and compare allows us to monitor our progress, or lack of it. Selfies are also very useful in goal-setting by comparing the way we look now with someone whose physique we admire and wish to emulate. Taking a selfie in a similar pose as the photo of the person we admire and viewing them side-by-side, we can quickly see our own weak areas — shoulders, chest, legs — in need of the most attention.

Most of us have had periods in our lives in which our fitness goals must take a back seat to other more immediate concerns, and having selfies of our better selves reminds us of what we are capable of achieving, and aids us in getting ourselves back on track.

Nobody wants the best that they can be to be in the past. We optimists value our belief that we can always improve, and revisiting photos of ourselves at our peak times, rather than bring us down, can be a way of lifting ourselves out of our present situation and inspire us to rededicate ourselves to further improvement.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Are Fitness Bands BETTER Than Weights? Time Under Tension

BEGIN this video at 8:35

Unlike free weights, fitness bands maintain a constant and continual resistance throughout the entire range of any given exercise.

Fitness bands are not only very different from free weights and pulleys, they are unique in how they work the muscle. Because the tension is maintained throughout the entire exercise, fitness bands work the muscle in a manner unique from machines, free weights and even pulleys.

In performing a lateral deltoid (side shoulder) raise with a dumbbell for example, there is a dead space where after lowering the weight from its high point back down to your hip, no tension at all exists. Essentially you’re resting at this point, which is contrary to what we want; performing a set of ten with no rest or gaps should always be our goal.

On the other hand performing the same exercise with a fitness band maintains the tension throughout, even when your hand is lowered to your hip. 

As compared to pulleys for the same exercise, fitness bands provide a much smoother ride, minimizing the risk of injury.

Eric Janicki in the video above demonstrates a very intense chest exercise you can do at home or at the gym utilizing fitness bands. I tried to fix this vid so it would begin at 8:35 automatically it isn't working the way I want. Manually start the video at 8:35 for the exercise I want you to see. Then try it out!