Friday, April 30, 2010

A Few Thoughts About Supplements

Have you ever noticed all the supplement ads out there......."take (insert product name), and lose weight, get ripped, gain muscle, grow hair, grow boobs, look better, get younger, lose belly fat, formulated specifically to help woman lose fat, increase T levels 200%...........without having to do anything else, or change anything about your life"...............really????????

I love it!!  I love the fact the consumers are really stupid enough to believe what they see on TV or read in the magazines, and buy bottle after bottle of powders and pills (most they won't actual use all of).  Just for kicks and giggles look in your own cabinets and pantries and see how many partially used or unused weight lose, or muscle gaining products you have.....come on do it, don't be scared, it will be fun.

I love the fact that our country is so lazy that we would rather spend $100/month on weight loss pills than spend $30/month on a gym membership.  Going to the gym would actually mean people would have to get off their fat lazy asses and put forth effort! Taking a pill is so much better, I can sit on my couch and swallow it down with my favorite soft drink.......so much easier than breaking a sweat! 

I love the fact that people think if they take "such and such" product that they will look like the sexy women and buff guys in the ads.  NEWS FLASH PEOPLE- while yes the fitness models in the magazines might be taking said product, they are also doing a hell of alot more!........... Like, eating healthy, exercising on a daily bases, and working with a professional trainer, just to name a few.  Not to mention that their job depends on them looking fantastic, so they might just be a little bit more motivated than rest of us are.  Oh by they way almost every picture you see in a magazine has been "touched up".  If I touched up a recent photo of myself I could look like I just got done competing in a bodybuilding show..........uhhhh anyone good at photo shopping......let me know.

So now your thinking, man this guy must really hate supplements and have a problem with the supplement industry.  Well if your thinking that, you couldn't be more wrong.  I love supplements!  Love, love, love them!  I take no less than 6-8 supplements on any given day (everything from multi vitamins, protein powders, to glutamine and pre workouts).

So whats with my ranting and raving?  Maybe I was just bored and need something to talk about.........ummmm no.  It's called I have a problem with the misuse and misrepresentation of supplements. 

Dietary supplement- "a product taken orally that contains one or more ingredients (as vitamins or amino acids) that are intended to supplement one's diet and are not considered food" (source- http://www.merriam-webster.com/)

Did you catch that??? ".....intended to supplement one's diet and are not considered food"  So that means you still have to eat the right foods and do all the other things your suppose to in life to be healthy and fit (like exercising, getting plenty of sleep, manage time and stress levels,etc), and yes supplements can help along the way.

So let me make sure I am clear.  Supplements are intended to supplement a healthy diet of lean protein, fresh fruits and veggies, and healthy carb choices.  Oh and don't forget the whole daily exercise things.  See that's not so hard to understand!

Supplements can be a great benefit to peoples health and well being, not to mention play a critical role in helping athletes reach their fitness and performance goals.  Just remember no supplement will take the place of hard work or healthy eating, but they can help you gain the edge that you need, train harder, recover faster, and promote over all good health.

Monday, April 5, 2010

IT DOESN'T COUNT UNLESS YOU GO ALL THE WAY!!!

Squats!! They don't count unless you go all the way to parallel.....or lower! I'll make an exception for people with contraindications, but otherwise I don't care how much weight you put on the bar, if you aren't to parallel, don't bother to tell me about how much you can squat...... I don't give a shit, and neither does anyone else (except maybe all your little bitch buddies that you have to have spot you because you can't lift the weight yourself!) Okay I'm done ranting.....maybe.


What counts as parallel you might ask? Parallel means the crease of your hip is at the same level or just lower than the top of your knee. I don't understand the point of doing a squat unless you are going to parallel.

Recently I was at a local popular gym chain (I'll let you guess which one), and thought I would do my leg workout since very few people work legs at this gym. No lie, I've seen the same individuals work chest and biceps 3 or more times per week........really guys you've got other muscles in the body.....just a thought.

Well the workout Gods played a cruel joke on me, and sent a pack of "heavy lifters" in to annoy me. To help you get an idea of what I was up against, let me describe a few things about these individuals. They travel in groups of at least 4 (1 to squat and three to spot......lift them up), they use knee wraps for every set (even for warm up sets), they have no concept of how to actually use a squat rack.....umm anyone heard of safety bars???? These "heavy lifters" load 4 or 5 plates on each side of the bar (405-495lb), wrap their knees up tight, and strap on their lifting belt. They stiff leg walk over to the bar; position themselves under it, with a spotter on each side and one behind them. They un-rack the weight, take a step back, and proceed to go into the squat movement, well a quarter to half squat movement anyway. Their back spotter is hugged in close behind them, arms wrapped up under the lifters arm pits to help hold him up so the weight doesn't crumple his skinny weak ass legs and crush him to the ground. The side spotters are helping to control the descent of the weight, but their most important job is to help lift the weight up so the lifter doesn't end up on his ass or better still his face with the weight pressing his pathetic body into the ground (remember no safety bars are allowed do be used, that would just be silly!) But hey it's all good, they can tell people that can squat 495lb for reps! I would think they would have massive quads with that big of a squat, but no.... somehow they still have skinny chicken legs.

Now don't get me wrong  I'm all for heavy squats, and there is a time and a place for heavy knee wraps, belts, lifting singlets, and multiple spotters. I've been to my far share of power lifting competitions. Now those guys squat some heavy weight, and DEEP!

So what the big deal with squatting deep? Well a couple of things. For starters you are going to stretch the quads more, and increase the time that the muscles are under tension, which will equate to more motor neurons and fibers being recruited. More time under tension=bigger stronger, muscles.

More importantly you work the gluteal muscles (gluteus maximus muscle, gluteus medius muscle and gluteus minimus muscle.) Oh by the way the gluteus maximus is one of the largest and strongest muscles in the body, and is the muscle that you need for getting up and down from a seated position, climbing stairs etc. Not to mention strong gluteal muscles give you a nicely shaped butt.......and who doesn't want that? If you said no.......your a liar!

If you find that you can't get up from your chair at work without pushing off of your desk, or the sides of your chair with your hands, chances are you have....and are a weak ass. Atrophy of the gluteal muscles which is often caused from disuse and constant pressure for sitting can lead to lower back pain, and difficulty with some movements that naturally require the gluteal muscles.

What...??? Lower back pain can be caused from a weak butt.....?? uhh ya it can! The problem is if your butt is weak, your hip alignment could be off, and your lower back is going to be trying to compensate, and do the job that your butt should be doing, not to mention what your poor hamstrings are trying to do. It is theorized that potentially half of the non injury related lower back pain could be alleviated by strengthening the butt muscles......that's a lot of people by the way!

So not only do strong gluteal muscles make you have a damn sexy looking backside, it can help your everyday activities, and potentially make your back pain go away.

Hmmm so now you are thinking....how do I strengthen my gluteal muscles.......the answer is.....by squatting my friends.......and squatting deep!


P.S. I know there is some lame brain out there that is going to bring up some stupid comment about the fact they heard squatting deep is bad for your knees. Well it isn't! So don't waste time by bringing it up! (If you have a knee injury...well that could change a few things, and is a topic for another time, and yes there is a time and a place for a modified squat, again for another time.)