Tag: fitness

Real Gym Registry

If you are both a gym and road warrior, you know the disappointing feeling of checking into a hotel and checking out what their on-site fitness center looks like.  99% of the time, it is a small, sad room with little equipment.  Finding a serious training facility is not always easy since hardcore or old-school gyms are niche businesses typically independently owned that do not have large on-line visibility in on-line directories.  Working out in a “fitness center” is tiring when having to avoiding the Snapchat crowd live-feeding their quarter rep squats and the oxygen deprivation-wearing “Bane” wannabes.

So, You Are Thinking About Doing Your First Show

Whatever the choice of activity to get fit is, whether running, biking, lifting, swimming, etc., a small population will be taken enough with their chosen sport enough to want to take the challenge on of competing.  For runners, some will get the bug to prepare for and run a marathon.  For the gym rats who love lifting heavy, some will get the bug to enter a powerlifting meet.  Other gym rats will gravitate to physique competitions.  Since I get asked about the latter pretty regularly, let me share some lessons learned.

My Beer League Team Has a Hockey and Beer Belly Problem (Or Can I Lose The Beer Belly, But Keep the Beer?)

I get asked a lot about beer and how it affects fitness. Over the years, a lot of that has come after a rec league hockey game, tournament, or drop-in when the most cherished part of rec league hockey takes place: the post-game beer drinking with your buds.

“I play all this hockey, but I don’t seem to lose weight.”

At the end of the day, weight loss or gain is all about calories in versus calories out. Eat more calories than you need, you will store fat; consume less calories, you will drop weight. Most people do tend to underestimate the amount calories they eat and overestimate the amount of calories they burn doing exercise.

Building Your Own Diet

I get asked quite a bit by friends and co-workers about the amount of calories to consume to achieve their various goals. Although this posting looks long, it is actually easy to calculate your needs; I just like adding a lot of rationale behind the steps.

Step 1: BMR

To understand how many calories you need, you first need to figure out how many calories you need to just maintain your current weight at rest. There are several equations that can be used to calculate your energy needs at rest, the basal metabolic rate (BMR).

Lessons From An Unlikely, Introverted Competitor

Over the weekend, I competed at the 2014 NPC Texas State show in the open middleweight bodybuilding division. If that sounds something out of the norm for an introverted, life-long skinny guy, well, that was part of the motivation.   Like most sporting events that require pushing the body to the extreme, it was a very difficult task. As with most difficult goals, there is a lot to be learned…

It is good to get out of your comfort zone. As someone who is fairly introverted, getting up on a stage in front of more than 1000 people spray-tanned like an Oompa Loompa and wearing nothing more than a speedo is something well outside my comfort zone. But that was the point – to do things outside my comfort zone. As I have aged well into my 40s now, I notice many people in my age demographic seem to settle into a risk-adverse life and accept a fair amount of perceived safety and complacency for fear of change. Often, this manifests in staying in jobs they no longer have a passion for, but the job is comfortable and changing jobs may require effort (picking up new skills) and risk (the grass may not be greener…but, then again, it might be). As well, other life goals that are hard fall by the wayside. Maybe I have hit a mid-life crisis, but I just do not want to be one of these people who never take a chance on doing something outside my comfort zone.  Taking risks means there will be failures and success, but we all learn from failures and that makes us better in the long run. It also means not reaching some point late in life and having regret about not trying something daring or on a bucket list.

Is Fasted Cardio Superior In Maximizing Fat Loss?

As a member of a wellness team at my workplace, I gave a recent seminar on basic nutrition. In follow-up chats with people who attended, a couple of people asked about fasted cardio (doing cardio on an empty stomach).

As with many exercise and diet topics, there seems to be strong feelings one way or the other. As with most of those topics, proponents can point to conflicting studies to support their argument…so, conclusively proving one is better than the other is not always clear cut.

Destination Dallas

The theory behind fasted cardio is that doing at least 20 minutes of cardio upon rising has greater fat loss effects because the body’s glycogen (stored form of glucose in the muscles) stores are low, so the body will shift energy utilization to stored fast. Countering that is, that even if so, the fat has to be converted to fatty acids and that has to be converted to fuel for the body to use. The body does that process slower than the fatty acids becomes available, so some of the fatty acids are not converted for energy end up being re-stored as fat after exercise. Given the number of studies and data available, however, it is not really possible to conclusively argue that either fed or fasted cardio is superior over the other form. (Schoenfeld, Brad. “Does Cardio After an Overnight Fast Maximize Fat Loss?” Strength and Conditioning Journal, Feb 2011, Vol 33 Issue 1.). Other critics of fasted cardio are concerned that some amount of muscle may be burned off in addition to fat.

I am fortunate to work out at and train people at Destination Dallas, a serious training facility in suburban Dallas. We have a several dozen pro and top-level amateur competitive bodybuilders who desire an edge to get to extremely low body fat levels for competitions, where the difference between 4% and 5% body fat is huge. Many work with well-known contest prep coaches. The result — some do fasted cardio and some do not. So, there is not a consensus in the real life either. Typically, most coaches use the cardio options (fasted or not, steady state or HIIT) as prep tools to choose from depending on a person’s schedule, preference, etc.