Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Make "Someday" Today

Quit putting it off, for crying out loud. You know it's the right thing to do. Just do it. Well, I'll diet next week. I'll start working out as soon as the weather is nice. Why is it so easy to procrastinate when it comes to health and fitness? It's obvious that statistics don't motivate people. Study after study shows that by taking responsibility for your diet, and your conditioning (exercise), you can improve the quality and length of your life. Diseases that will knock you down, and interrupt not just your life, but your loved ones' can be avoided with just a little bit of effort. We've all heard the reasons why we should eat right and get healthy. All of us would choose life over death if given the choice. The good (or bad) news is, we make that choice daily with our actions.

I think the reason procrastination comes so naturally has more to do with "how" than "why." You can blame the fitness industry, celebrities showing off their perfect bodies in the media, fashion mags, athletes, fitness gurus, or success coaches. "How" is where the confusion lies. I prefer simple solutions, so let's toss out confusion and develop a crystal clear vision.

Step One: Set a goal

Many people on the path of life have no clue where they're going. If you're driving around with no destination you could end up anywhere, maybe somewhere you really do not want to be. Figure out how healthy you want to be. How strong. How flexible. How lean. How muscular. How much energy do you want? Imagine it, and find some pictures of the type of body you want to live in. Focused intention works miracles. For me the first step was believing I could change, then through trial and error I figured out how.

Step Two: Continually Improve Your Diet

Start planning your meals in advance. Create a no-fail environment by keeping junkfood at the very least out of sight, preferably out of the house. Every time you eat something, ask yourself ahead of time, "Is this getting me closer to my goal, or farther away?" The reason diets don't work, is they're overcomplicated, and they're hard to stick to. Figure out easy recipes, and simple meal plans to get you to your goal. By making gradual improvements you will change yourself even on a cellular level, and your nutritional knowledge will expand as well.

Step Three: Exercise

Strive for balance. When I was fat, I used to get fed up (no pun intended) and start doing sit-ups every day until I threw my back out. Or I'd go out and run until my knees and ankles would swell up and I didn't even feel like walking. I recommend hiring a personal trainer. The best one I know is me, Andy Nieradko 860-944-1997; but I only service the Hartford, CT area. Find a trainer whos not going to overcharge you, and overtrain you. I get annoyed at some of these "experts" I see abusing someone who is paying them their hard earned money. There is a lot more to getting healthy than "no pain, no gain." Look for someone who wants you to succeed even more than you do. Training can be a fun, exciting experience believe it or not. Finding the right trainer can be tough, but it's worth it. Don't be one of those schmucks that goes to the gym 7 days a week and never makes any progress. Find a pro to help motivate, educate, and keep you safe and on target with your goals.

Thats just my opinion, on how to quit putting off the healthy life that you absolutely deserve. "Some day" is never going to arrive. You have to seize it, why not make it today? Once you take the first step, you very well might find out that the journey is mostly downhill; and the rewards far outweigh the costs.

Fat Clothes

This is an idea I got from Dr. Phil. By the way, WFSB Hartford, I'll never forgive you for replacing the Doc with that local Better Connecticut show(unless you have me on as a guest. Then Maybe.)

Dr. Phil says to either throw out or donate your old "fat clothes." Once you can't fit into them, get rid of them. That way if you pack on a few extra pounds, you won't slip into something more comfortable. You'll either have to lose the weight, or go shopping. Another accountability trick I like to use when losing bodyfat is to buy clothes you can't fit into yet. I didn't invent it, I think it was created by a woman in a yogurt commercial. It's fun though. I have a pair of Rocky shorts, the black and gold ones from the last movie, that I'm going to fit into by the time summer gets here.

Another fun thing to do after you've lost a lot of weight is to go hunting through the closet and find something you thought you'd never fit into again. I'll never forget when I found my old Army jacket, put it on and zipped it up all the way. It felt like I'd grown younger.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Using the 3 Phase Theory of Hypertrophy to Avoid Overtraining

Overtraining is the biggest mistake you can make in bodybuilding. I'm not the first to say it, but I didn't always believe it. I love training. I tried to convince myself that by going to the gym 7 days a week I was getting more ripped. I wasn't, I was in denial about the waistline in the mirror, and the diminishing returns on my gym visits. Your gains will suffer if you work out before you're healed from your last workout. After a few years of hurting myself, I'm finally getting it, what some of the older guys have preached. I'm talking about the fact that muscle gains are a 3 phase operation.

- The workout, where micro trauma is affected on the muscle. The muscle is injured so it will grow stronger and bigger, usually in that order.

-The muscle grows after it heals from the workout.

-This is where we, as bodybuilders, want to get to. Too often in the past, as soon as a muscle group stopped hurting I'd go to the gym and tear it up again. It's tough, when you've fallen in love with training to wait and give yourself time to grow. It's worth it, though.

If you're taking steroids it's a totally different ballgame, and I don't pass judgement on anyone who is. I've heard a lot of natural bodybuilders accuse the juicers of taking the easy way out. Increasing your body's recovery time with drugs so you can workout longer, harder, heavier, and more often doesn't sound like the easy way out to me.

So the big question for those of us doing it without steroids is, "How do I know when I'm done growing?" I'm still looking for a simple answer. So far the only thing I've found is to listen to your body, watch the mirror, and keep a workout journal. Mike Mentzer used to say, "You don't know if your workout was a success until the next time you do that workout." So if the reps and poundages are consistently increasing in your workout journal, you are golden. It's perserverance, patience, and vigilance that will create the body of your dreams. The saying "no pain, no gain" had its run. I like to think bodybuilders are getting smarter, and realizing that what we do to our bodies today is creating our future. Overtraining is a surefire way to end up eventually needing a hip replacement, new knees, and shoulders.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A Powerful Affirmation from The Master Key System

I'm a big believer in affirmations, but that's only because they work. Like Louise Hay says, "Some people say affirmations don't work, which IS an affirmation." Our thoughts create our reality. I believe our bodies are a direct reflection of our thoughts. Thats not to say you can skip the factors of training and nutrition. Those factors begin with the empowering thoughts that make them manifest in the real world.

I'm currently reading The Master Key System, which was written by Charles Haanel, I believe, in the 1920's. In it he describes the most powerful affirmation there is. I suggest making eye contact with yourself in the mirror. Say it a few times, and see how it makes you feel. Say it in your head, not in a quiet, wimpy voice, but loudly. You'll start to believe it. By repeating it constantly, day and night, you can drive it into your subconcious mind. Then you will live it. Here it is...

I am whole, perfect, strong, powerful, loving, harmonious and happy.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Recipe: Protein Pancakes

Lots of protein pancake recipes around, my favorite is from Bill Phillip's book Eating For Life. Only difference is, I like to use whole eggs. Sometimes when you're eating clean it's easy to forget about Essential Fatty Acids. The word Essential is a clue. Fat is not the enemy. But if you need to demonize a food substance, I suggest sugar. Nancy Appleton who wrote Lick the Sugar Habit has a new book out called Suicide By Sugar. I haven't read it yet, but look forward to it.

Protein Pancakes

1/2 cup oatmeal
Splenda or other healthy sweetener to taste, I tend toward 2 tablespoons
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1/2 cup lowfat cottage cheese
2 whole eggs or 1/2 cup eggwhites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

cook them in a pan or on a griddle like regular pancakes. Flip 'em when the bubbles start popping, or "the eyes start opening."

cooking and prep time about 10 minutes
390 calories w/ whole eggs
360 calories w/ eggwhites

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

cottage cheese and yogurt

This is my favorite quickie recipe. I usually use 1cup of lowfat yogurt mixed with 3/4 cup lowfat cottage cheese,( if I'm cutting calories I use less.)

I like to use vanilla yogurt, and mix fresh bluberries or any other fruit. Flavored yogurt is awesome too. If you're trying to fall out of love with icecream, this might be a good substitute.

Jackie Warner's 3 reasons you're fat

Jackie Warner's first book This is Why You're Fat (and How to Get Thin Forever) is due to be released in April. I cannot wait to read it. I love the way she tells it like it is.

1. Your body chemistry is out of whack
2. You are a sugar addict
3. The organs that rule your metabolism are toxic

I'm sure there are other reasons, or are they excuses.