Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Physique is Much Easier Than Body Building

Physique competitions have grown in popularity.  (The physique category is the one where men wear board shorts on stage.)

It is far easier than the body building category.  The reason is that less work needs to be performed.  Yes, much less work.

The body builder has the burden of maintaining mass while also maintaining definition and symmetry.  This is characterized by larger legs, back, and arms.  Physique competitors have a chiseled waist, broad shoulders, and a fairly built chest, but their mass is significantly diminished.

The difficulty of body building doesn't solely reside in the manner of training, it is ever present in eating habits.  A body builder needs to eat significantly more calories.  But remember! They also need to stay lean.  This is incredibly complicated and weighs heavy on the psychological balance necessary to participate in everyday life.

Consuming a lot of calories that are nutrient dense is a difficult task.  It is not only time consuming, but mundane and tedious.  There comes a moment when a body builder simply questions why he or she is eating in such a manner.  What is it all worth?  When the shirt comes off and you see the remarkable muscularity you will understand why.  For a physique competitor I'd say about 75% of the work of a body builder is performed in preparing for a competition.  It simply is not as difficult.  This is coming from first hand experience.  This is not to take away from any hard work of any competitor.  It is obviously more work performed than the majority of the world's population.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Dealing with a bad workout

"it can never be only the ups, the downs will always come around." -  +311

You won't crush it in the gym every time you go. there will be days when you're simply not performing at 100%

for me, sunday was one of those days. I was flat, sluggish, weak, and lethargic, both mentally and physically.

Here is what I think happened:

I usually eat at least one meal before a workout. When everything goes as planned, I'll eat two meals: one big meal with a lot of carbs and protein and a smaller meal that has veggies, protein, and carbs.

On this particular morning I didn't eat anything.  I went straight to the gym after I woke up.  Mistake #1.

Mistake #2 was training early in the first place.  Remember on racing video games where you could choose the car that had a slow acceleration rate but a very high maximum speed?  That is me.  I start off very slow, but when I'm fully warmed up it is hard to keep up with me.  So training first thing in the morning has never been easy for me.  I attribute this to my body type.  I'm a ecto-mesomorph - hard to put on weight but when I do it is quite defined.

To top all of this off it was legs day.  Did some light movements to see if the energy would kick in but I could feel that it wasn't. so I left.

go hard or go home.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Art of Fitness

There exists among thousands of methods to build muscle or enhance muscular performance not one flawless practice.  Assuredly even the most obedient disciple of any constructed method will discover flaws, exceptions, improvements, and shortcomings.

I gather the tools to build myself from the inside out by means of multiple teachers.  I like to know how the brains of masters work.  I inquire about their emotions, their history, their lives, their geographical location.  I explore their philosophy, admire their method, and interpret the sum into my own personal practice.

I seek the only true method.  It is a quite narrow and lonely path.  It travels in only one direction.  You can not be lead through it, only directed towards it.  You must walk it yourself, should you even choose to do so.  It is the path of the individual, that is, the path of the self.

When applied to aesthetics or performance, not one training method will yield what could be considered 'perfect' or 'the best'.  As we discover in life there is always a bigger fish.  More accurately, there is always someone new or different.  This does not negate the hard work and stellar performance of any individual.

Therefore it is futile to adopt the methods of others.  It is more advantageous to adopt their ideas, paint those ideas over the plethora of methods that exist and develop your own masterpiece.  Did Picasso invent the paint brush?  Did Michael Jordan invent the game of basketball?  They merely took what already existed and applied THEMSELVES.

Let me further explain.  A method might be: 5 sets of 5 repetitions performed 3 times per week with a specific percentage increase of weight each week.  Maybe the increase is not enough; too much.  Maybe more repetitions are needed.  You can deduce further arguments from my logic.

I do not mean to complicate matters.  It is a natural consequence of this thinking that the answers you seek seem to flee and that any concrete system on which to rely quickly dissolves.  Actually, I choose not to see the situation as a consequence.  It see it more as a liberation.

It would appear that I place myself in a precarious position should I suggest to people not to apply methods of others and then ask my clients to apply my own methods.
Assuredly I tell you that is not the case.  What I ask of my clients is to experience training, not simply go through the motions.  To observe attentively.  To adapt and evolve.  To grow and progress.  To simply be present in the muscles through a meditative state of the mind.

Like a meditation, physical fitness is a practice.  Engaging in it fully is becoming better at it.  Simply being fully present in your entire body and mind during physical exercise is progress.

When someone asks, "how do I make my arms bigger and stronger?", I cannot tell them to do any single exercise or any certain amount of repetitions.  Even when I stand beside them as they exercise I cannot communicate to their muscles and mind the necessary sensation to promote progress.

I will not pretend to know what I don't know, as many professionals in numerous fields do.  There are facts and there one hundred times that many exceptions.  Humans are but a product of nature.  We are built of the earth and as we are well aware we decay back into the earth.  We are as unpredictable as nature and therefore can not be calculated or assume any type of template.

So then what do I tell my clients?
To say it plainly: perform the exercise until the job is done.  Learn what it is like to be at your body's boundaries.  Be familiar with the perceived sensation of pain experienced through muscle or cardiovascular fatigue.  Now, there is a difference between excessive fatigue and sufficient fatigue.  It is only once you've made a mistake that you learn to know when to stop and when to keep going.  It is an experience that can only be had by you, and you alone.

I will be there by your side for encouragement.  I will pay attention to the small details that you may not see.  I will ask questions and I may make suggestions.  I will merely observe and remind, like a coach watching his team play.


If you seek the validity of your hard work through judging, as would be the case in bodybuilding, you will find in haste a distasteful quantification of your body should you not take home the first place medal.  It would appear that the amount of chicken breast you ate did not supply the proper amount of protein you needed to rebuild.  Or was it that your body could not rebuild with the adequate amount of chicken you consumed?  Was your training routine too rigorous?  Or not rigorous enough?  In any case, the regimen you adopted worked exquisitely for another fellow several cities away who took home his gold medal.  Again, you are still at the mercy of subjectivity in bodybuilding.  Whereas in objective sports such as power lifting, a successful lift or lack thereof explicitly denotes a win or lose, respectively.

Any sport that results in a clear victor through an objective criteria of winning is a sport that eliminates chance.  Brute force, skill, perseverance, strength, speed, or wit are all useful in objective sports.  The participants with the mental fortitude during training are the participants that succeed.  They can take a quantifiable factor such as time ran or weight lifted, acknowledge that they are inadequate but capable of becoming adequate.  Truthfully, they are already adequate by merely acknowledging that they are inadequate.  Does this make sense?  The body will follow the mind.  The body will do the bidding of the mind.  Accepting that work needs to be done and that a higher intensity level should be achieved is not a first step, it is the peak of the battle.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Saturday, January 3, 2015

The 4 Levels of Being Fit in 2015

I got up one morning, scanned BuzzFeed's health page, and decided I was tired of reading these run-in-the-mill, feel good, happy-go-lucky fitness articles.

I'm a bit of a realist when it comes to fitness.
I don't like sugar coating things.
I do things to the fullest or not at all.
To me, doing 25 push ups at any given moment is as normal as knowing how to change a light bulb, which is why I could not read one more article about fitness that catered to the ne'er-do-well in all of us.

1st Level: Recovering Coach Potato

Lets take this for example:
BuzzFeed Fit Challenge

Do this for a week, tops!  This is glorified high school P.E. class.  This is the first level of fit because it is simply the easiest to accomplish. This is where fitness trainers are created - they are no longer out of shape which makes them experts on getting in shape.  On the contrary, this is where you should have been in the first place.  It is slightly challenging because it is brand new territory, but you will soon find that this type of fit should be categorized as basic human activity.

2nd Level: Selfie Fit

This is where most people reside.  Casual Crossfitters, avid aerobic class attendees, P90Xers, or any other Beach Body student.

Consider this the middle class of fitness.  At this level you are no longer sedentary.  You are committed and your body performs well under most physically active circumstances.  So take that selfie of you crushing your arm workout and spread it all over the internets!

3rd: Head Turner

So this is quite the level to be - the VIP lounge, the green room, the person everyone is talking about.  This type of fitness level is derived from a near neurotic obsession with fitness.  Diets are planned out and packaged ahead of time.  NOBODY, and I mean nobody stops them from working out or making healthy choices (so don't offer them a cream puff when they've said no the first time).  They lift weights with purpose and a methodology.  When they face an obstacle in their training, they absolutely must conquer it or in their mind they are a complete and utter failure.  Sound like anyone you know?

These are the people that climbed the average peak and were simply not satisfied with looking so average.  My hat is off to these folks.  They are a great inspiration and exhibit what the human body is truly capable of.

4th: The Spectacles

This really is not a level of fitness but rather the quality of being a spectacle.  If you have a great plastic surgeon or a reputable drug dealer, you could end up at this level.  This is the huge boob, no stomach look or the freakishly large muscle bodybuilders.  Going to these extremes is what turns people off from fitness in the first place.  2015 is the year for natural athletes.