idiot n. 1. Psychol.
A mentally-deficient person, with intelligence in the lowest measurable range. 2.
A stupid person or fool.
The following are things I've witnessed knuckleheads do when in the gym that make me either cringe, laugh inside, or consider first-class entertainment when in the gym environment:
- Lifting too much weight at the expense of good form
- NOT re-racking weights (!)
- NOT replacing weights in the appropriate place (!)
- NOT allowing enough room in front of the weight rack for others to walk when lifting (!!)
- Dropping the barbell onto the floor when deadlifting (!!!)
- Performing incessant ab crunches as if that's all that's needed to obtain a 6-pack
- Leaving free weights unattended at a bench
- Leaving keys and/or water bottle and/or towel at a bench and working out elsewhere (!!)
- Hovering near a weight bench without using the bench (e.g., performing standing barbell curls near a bench)
- Walking around the gym puffing the chest and invisible lats
- Performing the same routine over and over and over again with nary a change to the physique
- Performing barbell curls at the squat rack
- Spending way too much time talking on the phone or incessantly checking text messages between sets
- Bouncing the barbell off the chest when bench pressing
- Lifting the legs up when bench pressing
- Leaving 10 plates on the leg press machine
- NOT squatting to parallel
- Squatting 400-lbs for a 5-inch range of motion
- Wearing jeans and/or flip flops
- Leaving sweat on any piece of equipment when done
- Dropping dumbbells onto the floor at the end of the last rep (!!)
- Grunting way too loud when lifting
- Preening in front of a mirror
- Excessive body odor (and this is before the workout!)
- Doing ridiculous balance exercises with a stability ball, a Bosu ball, a flex band and a medicine ball--is this really necessary?!
- Chatting incessantly (often with a hot girl) rather than working out--save the socializing for outside the gym!
- Performing quick jump roping on a mat, creating a loud nuisance
- Jumping on and off of a treadmill which is going at a high rate of speed (Believe it or not, I actually saw this. Is this really necessary?!)
I'm sure this list will grow, perhaps almost every day, as I witness the pitiful inanities within the walls of the gym. Ah, humans are mighty entertaining indeed.
Naturally, the body's lean body mass (i.e., bone, muscle) decreases as body weight is reduced. Weight training is the best means to lessen bone and muscle mass decrements while following a calorie-restricted diet to lose bodyfat. As you gain more muscle mass you will discover your metabolic rate will increase, causing more caloric expenditure. This is because muscle is a very metabolically active tissue. Here's the good part: in order to preserve or even gain muscle mass, you'll need to eat more food. Think about it. As you gain more muscle you will lose more bodyfat. In order to gain more muscle, you'll need to eat more food (particularly protein). Thus, to get leaner (read: lose bodyfat) you need to eat more food. How great is that? You can eat more food to lose bodyfat!
Eating plenty of dairy products (e.g., cheese, yogurt, milk, etc.) which contain plenty of protein as well as calcium. Muscle and bone relies on calcium for optimal function and health. For example, muscle tissue needs calcium to contract. Bone needs calcium to rebuild and maintain its density. If you don't like dairy, be sure to eat other foods rich in protein, calcium and vitamin D (e.g., spinach, kale, soy, beans, nuts, etc.). Complete protein foods (contain all the essential amino acids) include meat, poultry, fish, and eggs. If you like to eat rice, mix it with beans to make the combination a complete protein source. Other combinations include peanut butter on wheat bread and tofu with vegetables and rice.
Excessive sugar consumption has been linked to type-2 diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, high triglycerides, and elevated blood cholesterol. The previous statement is a fact. Thus, you should be aware of foods that may contain added sugar. Here are eight foods to watch out for and that you should limit the consumption of:
- Yogurt--Watch out for artificially-sweetened yogurts which may contain up to 32 g of sugar compared to only about 12 g of sugar in regular yogurts. Recommendation: Stick with Greek yogurt which naturally has less sugar due to the straining process.
- Tomato sauce--Most people eat about one cup of tomato sauce (about 24 g of sugar) when mixed with noodles. This is twice the serving size of canned or bottled tomato sauce. Recommendation: Restrict the amount of tomato sauce to 1/2 cup and mix with water to create more volume.
- Granola bars--Watch out for granola bars that indicate sugar listed within the top three ingredients. A serving may have up to 22 g of sugar. Recommendation: Pay attention to the ingredients in granola bars.
- Fat-free salad dressing--Since fat provides more taste, when it is reduced manufacturers usually add more sugar to keep some taste. A cup of fat-free French, Italian, and Thousand Island dressing may have 42 g, 20 g and 43 g of sugar, respectively. Recommendation: Be aware of the amount of fat-free salad dressing you put on your salad.
- Muffins--Since muffin sizes have increased, the quantity of sugar has also increased from 16 to 32 g of sugar. Recommendation: Eat half of a muffin at a time.
- Canned fruit--Canned fruit are packed in sugar-laden syrup to preserve shelf life. A light syrup, one-cup serving of canned peaches and pears may have 32 g and 30 g of sugar, respectively. Recommendation: Eat frozen fruit as an alternative to canned fruit and avoid the sweetened syrup.
- Smoothies--Commercially-prepared smoothies often contain added sugar high up in the ingredient list. Popular brands may have anywhere from 38 g to over 100 g of sugar depending on the ingredients and size. Recommendation: Make your own smoothie with milk, protein powder and frozen fruit.
- Cereal--No surprise here. Most cereals contain spoonfuls of sugar ranging from 11 g to over 20 g per serving. No wonder kids nowadays are hyperactive! Recommendation: Stick to old-fashioned oatmeal and add raisins or blueberries for natural sweetness.
Contrary to popular dogma, lifting weights within the 8 to 12 rep range is not entirely necessary in order to cause muscle hypertrophy (i.e., muscle size increase). Low-load, high-rep training may also impact muscle growth. The reason for this is because more volume (i.e., greater reps) may increase muscle protein synthesis for a longer duration (e.g., 24 hours post-exercise). More muscle protein synthesis means more growth potential due to greater absorption of protein within muscle tissue. In either case, optimal muscle growth will most likely occur when maximal muscle fatigue occurs in conjunction with relatively short rest periods (e.g., less than 1 minute) between each set. Bottom line: Perform high-rep, light-weight sets mixed with low-rep, heavy-weight sets to cause optimal muscle growth.
Success at achieving your fitness goal is ultimately dependent on how your mind perceives the goal. Think of the goal as something that will be achieved rather than that which might be achieved. Mental skills such as positive attitude, visualization, confidence, focus, and performance preparation are techniques used by athletes when they train and compete in order to improve performance.
Positive attitude is paramount since your performance largely depends on your thoughts and emotions. If you don't think you can do a 240-lb deadlift, you won't. It's that simple. You must think positively in accomplishing your goal and block out any negative thoughts. Be aware of your thoughts and feelings and take charge of them by eliminating negative self-talk, leaving only positive thoughts remaining.
Visualization (or mental imagery) is imagining in your mind the act of performing the act (right down to the movement patterns) that will allow you to accomplish your goal. Neuromuscular innervation occurs when the mind imagines the movement and the muscles perceive it. After the muscles perceive the movement, muscle memory can begin to occur. Later, when the movement has been performed, the muscles of the body will "remember" the movement and how it felt when performing it. Close your eyes, relax and focus on performing the act. Imagine performing the act in your mind and perceive what it feels and looks like before actually doing it. Imagine performing the movement over and over in your mind's eye until you're completely confident you will be successful and then do it.
Confidence is absolutely necessary to be successful in accomplishing your goal. This means there should be no doubt, an unshakable self-belief, that you will succeed. Remember past experiences and how you accomplished particular goals and how great it felt. By reliving these moments, you build self-confidence to perform new goals.
Focus entails visualizing important details of the performance of your goal. Intense concentration with laser-like focus is what gets the job done. Close your eyes if necessary to minimize any environmental distractions from disrupting your focus. Be in control of your thoughts, emotions and actions.
Performance preparation means wearing the right gear (clothes), playing the right music (for inspiration), and readying yourself for the mission at hand.
After applying these techniques on a regular basis in your training you will not only become successful in accomplishing any goal, but you will also take pleasure in succeeding. Think positive thoughts, be persistent in your training, and most of all, be mentally tough. Then you will come to realize the power of the mind in accomplishing any goal or endeavor!
Many people fail to lose bodyweight because they do not realize how much food they're actually eating throughout the day. In fact, most people, when asked to estimate their daily caloric intake, almost inevitably under
-estimate how much they're eating. Why is this the case? One reason may be due to mindless eating
. Mindless eating is essentially eating when not necessarily hungry and when not really aware of what you're eating (i.e., eating when watching TV, eating when feeling stressed, anxious, sad, or frustrated). As a result, the human body is provided more food than it actually needs (!). In order to lose bodyweight, it's necessary to become much more aware of what you are eating, when you are eating, and why you are eating.
Mindful eating occurs by eating slowly, enjoying the sight, taste, temperature, texture, and smells of foods rather than wolfing down a quick meal. Each morsel of food should provide pleasure when eating. Learn to eat every two to three hours so that your body becomes acclimated to a healthy digestive rate. Learn to recognize and abide to your body's feelings of hunger by eating regular, small meals rather than eating too much at one time (a recipe for fat gain!)
Here are some tips to mindful eating:
- Avoid distractions when eating. Examples include eating while reading, watching TV, playing video games, on the computer, and/or driving. Recognize the feelings of hunger and fullness when eating.
- Keep a food journal to track how you're eating. A food journal really does provide a wake-up call when it comes to how much food you're actually eating. In most cases, you'll discover you're eating more food than you thought.
- Be aware of your environment when it comes to eating. For example, resist the urge to indulge in a pastry when near the bakery at the food store. The smell of fresh-baked bread is indeed wonderful but be cognizant that what you are experiencing is a sudden craving triggered by the aroma rather than actual hunger or need. Becoming aware helps to avoid temptation and therefore make a conscious choice guided by appetite rather than emotions.
- Ask yourself how hungry are you on a scale of 1 to 10. You should rate above 6 or 7 before eating food. If not, you may be eating due to emotional hunger rather than physical hunger. If you feel emotional hunger, take a time out for two minutes by doing an activity to distract the feeling. Afterward, ask yourself are you still hungry? The urge to eat may have subsided as the feeling has dissipated.