Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Characteristics of a healthy diet



The importance of a healthy diet cannot be overstated.  It directly effects both short term performance and long term health.  It is one of the components of lifestyle that is most easily modified and controlled, yet it is the area that holds most people back from achieving their goals.  So today I would like talk about the characteristics that make up a healthy diet.  There are numerous diets that one can choose from and many of them differ greatly, but there are a few common factors that every successful diet has in common. So here is a list of characteristics that make up a healthy diet:


An emphasis on fruits, vegetables, plants, and seeds

No matter which diet you choose to follow there should be a big focus on whole, natural foods such as fruits, vegetables, plants, and seeds.  Most of the foods that fall in these categories are highly nutritious, full of vitamins and minerals, and relatively low calorie.  What constitutes a fruit or vegetable should be obvious, but when I say plants and seeds I am referring to things such as roots, corn, potatoes, beans, fruit/vegetable seeds, and nuts.  If you are trying to lose weight then I would moderate your intake of corn, potatoes, and nuts but feel free to indulge in all the vegetables you want.  Just remember that it is always best to eat fresh and whole produce.  This might require more frequent trips to the store(once per week) but it is worth it for the nutrients and the flavor.


Home Cooked Meals

To maintain a healthy diet, and have complete control over what you put in your body, you need to get comfortable in the kitchen.  That doesn't mean that you need to become a certified chef or take cooking classes, but you should know how to do basic things such as sauté vegetables or bake/grill meat.  The reason that cooking at home is so important is because when you eat out there are hidden ingredients and calories in your food.  Stuff you don't know about, probably can't pronounce, and definitely don't want in your body.  One thing that I do every week is go grocery shopping one day on the weekend then I put together my lunches for the week on Sunday.  It takes about 2 hours out of my Sunday but then I am set up for the rest of the week.  I have compete control over the ingredients and cooking methods, and I know exactly what I am going to be eating.  This leads me to the next  item on the list.



Planning

Plan out ahead of time what you are going to eat for the week.  Planning out your meals does a number of things.  First, is gets you consciously things about what you are going to eat.  This will lead to making smarter choices related to your food intake because it will be more of a proactive process.  Secondly, it helps you keep track of what you are eating.  Many times people cannot even recall what they ate for lunch a few days ago, but if it is part of your plan then it is a no brainer.  This is beneficial because it allows you to see what is working and what is increasing your waist line, acting sort of like a built-in food log.  Finally, is saves you from making poor decisions on the fly during the week.  If you don't have a plan then you end up eating whatever is cheapest or most convenient, neither of which is a good idea.


Variety

Variety is often overlooked when it comes to diet.  Everyone has foods that they like and tend to buy every week.  Now those foods might be healthy but if you are eating the same ones week after week then you are going to have an unbalanced diet eventually.  Not only could this lead to specific vitamin and mineral imbalances but also boredom.  Take a look at the picture above and notice all the different colors.  Shopping by color is a simple way to add variety to your diet.  If you ate a lot of greens and reds last week, then try and get some oranges, yellows, and purples this week.  It doesn't have to be difficult or complicated.  Once a month try a new vegetable that you haven't ever had before or just cook something you know you haven't had in a while.  Just don't get trapped into eating the same handful of meals every week.


Enjoyment

This is the last piece of the puzzle.  A truly healthy diet is one that you enjoy and can maintain for the long term.  It doesn't matter how good a diet is, if you don't like it then it is not a good diet for you.  You have to find the diet that allows you to maintain your target weight or goal, provides you with the necessary nutrients for optimal health, and pleases your palate.  It is also OK to have a cheat meal now and then.  Have some beers, eat a pizza, grill some hotdogs, just keep things in moderation.  Food should be shared and enjoyed with family and friends, and can serve to enhance your performance, body, mind, and health.  So don't think you have to just eat steamed broccoli, baked fish, and brown rice all the time...just sometimes.

 Stay Fit,

   Amerson Fitness











Monday, December 16, 2013

Evolution of the "ideal" physique

How a person looks , like it or not, plays a big role in our society.  It is typically the first thing that people notice about someone and it immediately,whether subconsciously or not, evokes certain feeling, attitudes, or notions.  The "ideal" physique is a collection of physical characteristics that usually represents health, vitality, youth, virility/fertility, and physical attractiveness.  In today's blog I would like to share how this "ideal" image has evolved and changed over the years.  I do not even begin to explain why it has changed but instead simply offer the evidence and let you form your own opinion.  So lets start with the classic Greek and Roman idea of the ideal physique.



Although these sculptures were created hundreds of years apart they both represent the classic idea of beauty and physical attractiveness.  The woman is Venus de Milo and the man is the famous statue of David.  Key features of Venus include wide hips and soft feminine contours.  These features relate to child bearing and include a healthy amount of adipose tissue as a very skinny frame would not be as conducive to pregnancy.  Now take a look at David.  He is lean with broad shoulders, has a muscular torso, and is not overly muscle-bound.  He represents strength and physical attractiveness in the male form.  

Now, let's fast forward a couple hundred years to the 1950 & 1960's.  I jump to this era because I feel that prior to this time people were just too preoccupied with war, famine, and poverty to really be worried about what they looked like.  The emphasis was on survival and necessity, and not cosmetic appeal.  But in the 50's and 60's things started to turn around and physical attractiveness became a big part of society(side note: I am not a history or sociology major so don't quote me on the timeline.  Besides, this is my story and I'm tellin' it.)  Two important people in this generation that displayed the "ideal" physique were Marilyn Monroe and Steve Reeves.



Marilyn was an iconic sex symbol of her time.  She was the image of what society viewed as feminine beauty and what men desired in a woman.  Notice how she doesn't look to far off from Venus de Milo.  She still has wide hips, a healthy amount of "meat" on her bones, and soft qualities.  The biggest difference I would argue is the face and hair.  Now take a look at Steve Reeves, a famous bodybuilder and actor of that time.  He played the famous Hercules and was the ultimate symbol of strength and masculinity.  Notice how his proportions are similar to David's, just bigger.  He has broad shoulders, a narrow waist, and strong looking arms and legs. He is still not overly muscle-bound though.  Interesting fact, both Marilyn and Steve were born in 1926.

Lets go forward just 20 or 30 years and see how things really take a turn.  Now we are in the 1980's.  I feel like this was the age of commercialism and a time when society made a significant change in the way that it viewed the "ideal" body.  Here are some very representative figures from this era.



Christie Brinkley was a famous model in the 70's and 80's and was actually featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue three years in a row.  They wouldn't choose her unless they felt like she embodied the ideal characteristics of the female physique.  Notice the pretty drastic change in proportions though.  She is much thinner than previous women in most places except the breasts and hips.  She has very little body fat but still maintains some feminine curves.  I feel like this was the beginning of the age of "skinny is the new pretty".  The two guys need no introduction.  They are some of the biggest actions stars of the 80's and 90's, Sly and Arnold.  Notice how they both sport huge, rippling muscles and have bulging veins.  One thing I notice is the drastic change in chest muscles.  Classically the male physique focused on broad shoulders with a narrow waist, but around this time the chest seem to come out of hiding.  Guys wanted pecs that turn girls necks!  Also there was a lot more emphasis on muscle size with most guys thinking that bigger is better.  This was also the time that steroids started to become popular and the focus was no longer health and vitality, but bigger, stronger, and badder.

Now we arrive at today's "ideal" body.  With the popularization of the internet, smart phones, and social apps we see pictures of people everywhere.  One could argue that we are setting up most people to fail in comparison to today's standards.  Take a look.




Gisele Bundchen is the highest paid super model in the world.  Advertisers use her image because it is what society deems beautiful and ideal.  She is what young girls aspire to look like and what men aspire to have in a mate.  I am not saying that it is right I am just stating that it is the current state of affairs.  Notice how thin she is.  She has almost no body fat, wrinkles, or visible flaws.  Her legs seem to flow seamlessly into her hips and up her torso.  She also looks like a strong breeze might tip her over.  The guy is Greg Plitt and he is one of the most photographed male fitness models in the world.  Notice how his proportions are almost cartoonic.  He has massive, rounded shoulders, a chest bigger than Gisele's, and an eight-pack that has it's own six-pack.  Not only do men today have to be larger than life but they have to be ripped and glistening as well.  Granted, I am sure photoshop had a lot to do with both of these photos but that still doesn't negate the fact these images are portraying what is considered ideal- a practically unattainable (at least for long term heath) physique.

So with this current trend what can we expect in the future?  It seems that the ideal man is getting bigger and more ripped, while the ideal woman is getting smaller with the exception of some body parts.  Can we expect this to be the "ideal" looking couple in the future?




I would like to state that I am not shedding a negative light on any of the people in these photographs.  They all worked really hard(or paid a lot of money) to look the way that they do and they have the right to make their own choices regarding their body.  I am simply identifying a trend that I have noticed and brought it to attention.  Hope that it helps you think and gain perspective.  Until next time.

  Stay Fit,

     Amerson Fitness

Friday, December 13, 2013

Exercises I DON'T recommend

The human body is a versatile machine capable of a multitude of movements and actions.  The bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments all work in unison to create fluid and precise actions that can move through vast ranges of motion.  But along with its mobility comes inherent instability.  Most joints in the body tend to have their "achilles heal" position where they are most unstable and prone to injury.  It is typically exercises that emphasize these positions that are not a good idea.  So today I would like to cover a few common/popular exercises that I DO NOT recommend.  I would like to preface this list, though, by stating that the following exercises will not be troublesome or risky for every person.  Some people can do every exercise the wrong way, with the worst form, and still make injury-free progress.  But for the average person the risk that accompanies these exercises is not really worth the benefit.  So here goes.



Bench Dips

This is an exercise that is typically performed to isolate the triceps, or the back of the upper arm.  And while is does focus on that muscle it puts the shoulder joint into a very compromising position.  The shoulder is most unstable in the front and when you bring your arm behind you, as in this exercise, you emphasize that position of instability.  Then when you load that position with your body weight it just makes things worse.  You stretch out structures that provide stability and encourage forward movement of the "head" of the arm which could result in future dislocation.  Take home point:  There are many safer ways to isolate your triceps while sparing your shoulders.  My personal favorite is the triceps pushdown with a rope.  You can keep your shoulders in neutral alignment, allow proper rotation of the forearms, and really isolate the triceps.  







Full range of motion Sit Ups

One of my general rules of thumb is to always perform an exercise through a full, pain free, range of motion.  Sit ups, however, do not apply to this rule.  Sit ups typically are used to isolate the primary muscle that flexes the spine/torso forward.  And while sit ups do activate that muscle they also put extra stress on the spine.  Without getting into the details, repeated flexion of the spine against resistance (ie. sit ups) puts stress on the intervertebral discs in the spine and can lead to pain or injury.  As we age the spinal discs lose their ability to cushion and protect the spine and performing repetitive flexion movements just exacerbates the issue.  Besides, the primary function of the the abdominals is to stabilize the spine, and resist movement, while in an upright position.  Two of my favorite "core" exercise are the plank and suitcase carry.  Both are completely functional and activate all the core muscles in a safe manner.









Kipping Pull ups*

This is an exercise that has been popularized lately.  It involves using a coordinated swing of the body to initiate momentum and achieve a pull up.  Now I put an asterisks by this exercise because it is not necessarily bad for all people.  If someone has sufficient strength to control their bodyweight and can safely perform the lowering portion of the movement then the chance of injury is significantly lowered.  But most people that learn the kipping pull up do not fall in that category.  They perform the exercise because they don't have the strength to perform a "real/strict" pull up so they need that momentum to execute the movement.  If they don't have the strength to pull up then they most likely do not have the strength to lower them selves down in a safe manner.  This puts tremendous stress on the shoulder joint and invites  numerous injuries.  If you want to get good at pull ups then I suggest inverted rows to build a good base of strength and then move to machine/band assisted pull ups.











Upright Row

Now this exercise has been a staple in bodybuilding for years but just because lots of people do it doesn't mean its good.  Yes, it intensely works the shoulders and upper back but it does so at the expense of the shoulder joint itself.  A very common shoulder injury that occurs is called "impingement".  And one of the ways to test for impingement is by mimicking the same motion of an upright row(abduction and internal rotation).  This narrows the space that the shoulder components have to move and can cause inflammation and pain when those structures get "pinched".  Now many people have done this exercise for years and never had a problem but why risk it when you have many other alternatives to train the shoulders.  Two of my favorite shoulder exercises are dumbbell shoulder presses with a neutral grip and cable face pulls.






And that completes today's list.  There are many other exercises out there that I would certainly not recommend but these are some of the big ones.  The thing to remember is that every person's body and injury history is different and that is going to effect what exercises a person can and cannot do.  I very good rule to use is, "If it hurts, don't do it".  If you have had a nagging injury or pain for a while then look at your routine and see if you have been performing any of the listed exercises.  If so, try omitting them and see what happens.  That is all for today.

 Stay Fit,

 Amerson Fitness

Monday, October 21, 2013

Bodyweight Vs. Free-weights

  

 In today's post I want to compare bodyweight training versus training with free weights.  Both offer tremendous benefits in the realm of health, fitness, and body transformation, but there are some key differences between the two that I would like to point out.  Many times people will choose one or the other.  You get people who focus completely on bodyweight skills and work on increasing their mastery of body control and "self dominance".  Then you have the weight lifters who focus on increasing the amount of weight they can throw around.  So which system is the best to focus on?  The answer lies in your goal.  The goal should always dictate your training.  And while both systems can be used to accomplish a variety of goals, focusing on one system over the other may provide better results.  So lets discuss.





Convenience
Bodyweight training (BWT) wins this category hands down.  This is actually one of the best benefits of BWT.  You don't need a gym, fancy equipment, or a hefty monthly premium.  All you need is your body and some hard work.  At the very minimum you can get a great workout right in your living room.  There is a reason that "Insanity" workouts have become so popular.  If you want to amp up the intensity further you can find some pull up and dip bars at a local park or school.  I have moved around more than the average person (4 times in 5 years) and everywhere I have lived I have been able to find a park or school playground to workout at within about 3 miles of home.  You can also buy some specific pieces of equipment to use at home.  The best, and cheapest, ones are a doorway pull up bar, pushup/parallette handles, or gymnast  rings.  Each one of these can be purchased for under $30.
Winner:  Bodyweight





Stress and Recovery
Stress and recovery are two huge components of any exercise program.  If you don't have enough stress than the body won't adapt.  But if you don't get enough rest and recovery than the body won't heal and performance will suffer.  Now you can create a significant amount of stress with both BWT and free-weights(FW), but BWT takes the lead when it comes to recovery.  Using a heavy external load on the body, as you do with FW's, puts a lot of stress on your muscles, joints, and nervous system.  And while that stress is good for increasing size and strength it requires a lot of recovery.  If you are someone who likes to be active everyday then you don't want to take a day or two off from exercise because you have to recover.  For example I might do a strength workout today and tomorrow go mountain biking.  If I did a heavy squat or deadlift workout today then my mountain biking performance would be greatly effected, if even manageable.  Again, it comes back to your goal.  If your main goal is to increase the amount of weight you lift then you have all the time in the world to rest and recover.  If your goal is to move and exercise everyday then you need to find a balance between stress and recovery and BWT fits the bill.
Winner: Bodyweight




Strength and Mass
Many people, mostly guys, start strength training because they want to get big and strong.  Getting big refers to a muscle growing larger in size, also known as hypertrophy.  Getting strong requires both an increase in muscle size and an increase in nervous system drive.  Nervous system drive is kind of like the electrical circuits that run from your brain to your muscles.  When you strength train those circuits become quicker and more powerful.  Now you can use both BWT or FW's to increase hypertrophy and neural drive but FW's have the edge.  When you use an external load you can be very precise with the amount lifted and the target muscle group used.  With BWT lots of other muscle groups kick in to maintain balance and stability and this takes away from the primary muscle being used.  Stress is also a key factor in increasing a muscle's size.  When you stress a muscle it breaks down then it builds back up in a repair process.  After that repair process that muscle is a little bigger and stronger.  So there is a relationship between the amount of stress put on a muscle and the size of that muscle.  There are many other factors that go into muscle size (diet, hormone levels, rest, etc.) but lets just focus on the stress aspect for now.  FW's are the best at creating that stress in a target muscle group and therefore have the most potential for increasing size and strength.
Winner: Free Weights





Carry Over
Carry over refers to how well a specific exercise will translate to and improve other movements that are performed during activities of daily living.  These activities will vary for every person so the amount of "carry over" will also vary.  But, at the very least, we can assume that every person will be moving their body during daily activities.  So if you have better control of your body then you will have increased performance in your activities.  In that aspect BWT will have more carry over.  But lets say you work in a manual labor job (construction, farming, logging, etc.).  You have to be good at moving objects as well as your own body.  In that case FW's would have more carry over because your body would be more adapted at moving external loads.  Even if you don't have a manual labor job almost every person carries groceries, picks up kids, and re-arranges furniture so FW's would still prove to be beneficial.  
Winner: Tie




Time Efficiency
This is another area where BWT tends to shine.  Lack of time is one the most popular excuses people give for not exercising.  And while a busy schedule would create more difficulty scheduling workouts it is not a good excuse to skip exercise all together.  BWT is a huge time saver in that it can be done at home so you don't have to drive to and from a gym.  You don't use equipment so there is no wasted time setting up weights and changing them out for different exercises.  BWT also works very well in circuit training where you move from one exercise to the other with little or no rest in between.  Anyone can accomplish an intense and effective workout in as little as 20 minutes.  So please stop saying, "I don't have time."  Everybody has time! 
Winner: Bodyweight 



So there are some of the key differences between bodyweight training and training with free weights.  The object of this post is not to draw a line in the sand and make you pick a side but rather present to you reasons why you would focus on one system more than the other.  Here is the condensed version.

You should focus more on BWT if you:
  • Don't have, or want, a lot of equipment
  • Need a workout that is convenient
  • Are short on time or have a really busy schedule
  • Don't want to dedicate whole days to recovery
  • Want to be competent and capable with your own body

You should focus more on FW's if you want to:
  • Maximize your size and strength
  • Focus on specific muscle groups
  • Become better at moving objects and manipulating loads

Hopefully this post can help guide you in the future so that you can get the most efficient and effective workout possible. Until next time.

  Stay Fit,

     Amerson Fitness



Saturday, September 28, 2013

Incorporating MovNat



Lately I have been incorporating MovNat principles and skills into my workouts.  "What is MovNat?" you ask.  Well...





MovNat is a physical education & fitness system based on the full range of natural human movement abilities. These include the locomotive skills of walking, running, jumping, balancing, crawling, climbing & swimming. In addition we practice the manipulative skills of lifting, carrying, throwing & catching. How we move is how we train.


Erwan Le Corre is the founder of “MovNat”, a synthesis of his long-term passion for real-world physical competency, his love of movement in nature, his extensive knowledge of Physical Education history, and his personal philosophy of life. He believes it is everyone’s universal and biological birthright to be strong, healthy, happy and free. He calls this state of being our “True Nature”.



I first came across MovNat by way of this video a few years ago.  I thought the video displayed a unique and sensible take on fitness and also looked like a lot of fun.  The more I researched MovNat the more I started to understand their philosophy.  Originally I simply thought the point was to take your workout outside and use your bodyweight to increase fitness, but it is so much more.  Granted I have not taken their certification (something I would like to do in the future) so I cannot elaborate on the actual system of training, but I do feel I have at least a grasp on their general philosophy.  From what I gather MovNat is about moving in a way that is safe, functional, and efficient.  It is not about working a specific muscle, or muscle group, but rather accomplishing specific movement tasks and skills.  Your muscles get worked in the process.  This is their form of strength and conditioning coupled with movement competence and efficiency.  For more information on MovNat I highly encourage you to visit their website.

Now moving onto today's blog.  I want to share with you how I have been incorporating MovNat into my own workouts.  I will say up front that I do not perform these kinds of workouts exclusively but rather blend them into my overall fitness regime to add variety and increase my own movement capabilities.  Although I believe these workouts are highly functional and effective, and could be done exclusively, I still like using the gym to work on other specific lifts/skills/exercises.  These are movements that were inspired from the MovNat daily workouts or adapted by my own creativity.  You can perform all of these movements in one session or just sprinkle them into your regular routine.

 Roll Up & Roll Down

Waist Carry, Chest Carry, and Shoulder Carry

Balance Tripod Position

Jump to Land

Muscle Up

Balance Carry

Leg Swing Jump

Hand/Foot Crawl


You can also perform what is referred to as a Combo Workout.  It is simply a series of tasks/skills performed one after the other with no rest and a smooth transition.  The series can be repeated for as many rounds as you wish.  The following videos are some Combo's that I created at a local park.  The idea is to use your own environment and get creative.  The first video is a combo for a beginner while the second video is a combo made for an advanced person.

Beginner Combo

Advanced Combo

So if you are looking for a good way to increase your movement competency and improve your overall function then give some of these drills a try.  They are a fun way to increase your fitness and enjoy the outdoors.  You can just as easily perform these tasks at a gym, or indoors, but getting outside and connecting with nature is part of the process.  So get outside, have some fun, and MOVE!

 Stay Fit,
   Amerson Fitness








Thursday, June 20, 2013

Health and Fitness Myths Debunked

  In today's world we have unlimited information at our fingertips. Can you imagine that just 20 years ago people had to go to the library and find an encyclopedia just to research a specific topic?  We have come long way in a short period of time but that is not always a good thing.  With this unlimited information that we have so readily available, we have just as much misinformation.  For every legit piece of information you find in a magazine or on the internet there is an equal amount of "crap" written by uneducated and uninformed people with ulterior motives. (side note - I do not consider myself a foremost expert on anything but I have spent considerable time and effort learning and educating myself on the topic of exercise and the human body.)  So with that in mind I want to debunk some common health and fitness myths that are out there.  These are myths that people ask me about, as a trainer, or myths that I read about in magazines or on the internet. So here they are:

1. Women will get big if they lift weights




This might be the one that I hear the most often.  When I do an assessment with a woman her typical remarks are, "I want to lose weight and fat but I don't want to build muscle.  I don't want to get bulky."  Everytime I try to explain but I don't think the point ever gets across.  Let me be clear.  LIFTING WEIGHTS WILL NOT MAKE WOMEN BULKY!  What makes people, most often men, bulky is a combination of muscle stimulation, a calorie surplus, and hormone secretion.  All three are important and that "bulk" will not happen if even one aspect is absent.  This is where women get confused.  They think that if they incorporate just the muscle stimulation part then their physique will go from curvy to Conan in two workouts.  But the two other crucial components are missing.  Women typically don't over feed themselves to the point of combustion and they certainly do not naturally produce the required amount of hormones to elicit extreme muscle growth.  And by the way, the women that are "bulky" are so because that was their specific goal and they worked extremely hard to get it.(ie supplements, steroids, high calorie diets)

2.Cardio is the best way to lose weight




  When people finally make that decision to lose weight they lace up their shoes and hit the road to burn some calories.  While that is a step in the right direction it not necessarily the best one.  Cardio does burn calories but it does not build muscle and building muscle is a crucial component of losing weight.  You see it takes more energy for your body to maintain muscle then it does fat so a person with more muscle will burn more calories at rest.  And the best way to gain muscle is with strength training.  Strength training not only burns calories while you are doing it but it creates an "after effect" that continues to burn calories for hours after you finish working out.  The other side of that coin is diet.  When one is trying to lose weight the diet is probably the most important factor to look at.  It is impossible to lose weight if you are not expending more calories than you are consuming.  So when you are trying to lose weight you should first look at your diet, then incorporate strength training, and finally add in cardio.

3. There is one "best" diet.





Diet plays a huge role in health, fitness, and performance.  You will not succeed with any goal if your body is not getting the right amounts of nutrients that is needs.  This is where things get tricky.  There are literally hundreds of diets out there and many of them claim to be the "best".  A short list of the most popular ones today are the paleo diet, south beach diet, abs diet, skinny bitch diet, atkins diet, zone diet, and of course the USDA recommended diet.  In a typical scenario a person tries a new diet and they get good results.  They become a spokesperson for this diet and claim that it is the best diet out there because it worked for them.  That is the key right there.  The "best" diet is the one that works for you.  It is the diet that helps you maintain your desired weight and health, provides you with the necessary nutrients, helps hold you accountable for your food choices, and fits your lifestyle.  So for one person that could be the Paleo Diet but for another person it could be the Abs Diet.  You don't even have to choose a specific diet, just eat moderate amounts of various fresh and nutrient-dense foods. BAM! Nutrition in a nutshell.

4.  Ab exercises will shrink and tone your stomach.




One very common question that I get from people is, "What exercises can I do to lose my gut?"  They are hoping that I can tell them about some exercise that will target nothing but their abs and all they have to do is crank out a couple hundred reps to reveal that elusive six pack.  It is not that easy or straightforward.  Specific ab exercises will only make a muscle, or group of muscles, stronger.  They will do almost nothing, however, to burn the layer of fat that is on top of your abs.  To get rid of that layer of greasy goodness you have to first clean up your diet.  Fat is accumulated energy that has been stored because it wasn't used as fuel, so you have to tap into that energy surplus by creating a calorie deficit with diet modifications.  To expedite the process you should include a workout that burns a huge amount of calories.  This is where you can incorporate strength training and cardiovascular exercise on a regular basis.  Perform strength exercises for the large muscle groups such as the legs, back, chest, shoulders, and legs.  I said legs twice because you can burn lots of calories and build lots of muscle doing so.  I am not saying that ab exercises are pointless but you would be better off focusing on the areas I just mentioned.  P.S. Train your legs.

5.  The best looking person has the best information.




I see this all the time in the gym setting.  The person with the biggest muscles, the tightest booty, or the best looking physique is the one that people flock to for advice.  Logically it kind of makes sense.  People think to themselves, "Well if they know how to make it work for them, then they can tell me how to make it work for me."  There are a lot of factors, however, that come into play.  Maybe that good looking person has great genetics or maybe they are just consistent with their diet and exercise routine.  People tend to underestimate the value of consistency.  Either way that does not mean that their advice is good or even safe.  I mean John Stamos is a good looking guy but that doesn't mean he knows jack about working out or prescribing exercise.  My advice is to find a personal trainer that is certified by the NSCA, ACSM, NASM, or ACE.  All of those are reliable organizations.  A college degree in health/exercise science/nutrition is also a plus.  Finally, try and talk to someone with some experience.  A 35 year old trainer with no degree, but lots of experience, will most likely know more than a 22 year old fresh out of college.  


So there are 5 popular myths regarding health and fitness.  There are many more out there but I think these are some of the big ones.  In today's world it is very easy to get the wrong information so, at least for now, consider yourself informed.  Until next time.

 Stay Fit,

      Amerson Fitness

Saturday, June 15, 2013

My Rapid Transformation

I just finished my recent program and the results are amazing.  I have the strength of  bull, the speed of a cheetah, and the cunning of a fox.  Before this program I was weak, lazy, and out of shape.  Here is what I looked like before.



After an intense bout on my new program, though, this is what I look like now!


What is this awesome, new program you ask?  Well it's called BlackOps-Rhino-KillMode-30X! And I have been pairing it with the barely legal supplement NitroPump3000-VascularBlaster!  Trust me, you need to be on both to achieve maximum results!


  I hope that you realize by now that I am laying on the sarcasm pretty thick.  I did not participate in any new program or take any crazy supplement.  And these pictures were actually all taken within about 5 minutes of each other.  I wanted to illustrate how ads use trick photography to create the illusion of enhancement.  In the first picture I have bad lighting, poor posture, and a sad, grumpy face.  In the next set of pictures, however, I have better lighting, proper posture, and I am cheezin!  I also did a quick set of pushups to get some blood flowing for a muscle pump.  And I did this all with no photography knowledge or fancy photo shop software.  Just imagine the "magic" that those ad agencies can create.

  Today's post is a warning to all the people out there who see a fancy ad, or hear a promising pitch about the newest program or supplement and believe it.  Lots of money is put into these advertisements and they are designed to trick you into throwing away your hard earned money.  Let me dispel the myths right now.  There is NO PROGRAM OR SUPPLEMENT that is going to give you fast and effective results with no effort.  The only thing that is going to change your body, performance, and health is hard work and smart choices.  You have to be smart about the choices you make regarding diet, exercise, and lifestyle.  And once you have made those choices you have to work hard at being consistent and disciplined with them.  

So the next time you are tempted by the newest, coolest, and most "scientifically" proven program/supplement I want you to remember these pictures and not fall victim.  Instead, take that money you save and buy from fresh produce and high quality meats.  You know...the original supplements.

  ,Amerson Fitness