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