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Is your workout extinct?
If you worked in a hospital, and used outdated information or procedures you would be considered out of date or perhaps even liable for a malpractice lawsuit. But in a gym, using outdated procedures and techniques seems to be standard operating procedure.
If you take a look at today’s workout routines, you’ll find that some of these techniques originated in the ’40s and ’50s. Why do you do 3 sets of 10….why not perform one set of 30 and call it a day! What’s worse, more-recent recommendations regarding exercise form have been negated by new research yet are still commonly recommended by fitness professionals.
Chances are your workout incorporates some of these techniques and this means your workout is long past due for a 21st-century overhaul. Now, I’m not suggesting that your current plan doesn’t work. At its most basic level working out is simple: Pick up a heavy weight, put it down, repeat. But by improving your workout plan and avoiding mistakes, you’ll build more muscle in less time, with less risk of injury.
Myth #1: Do eight to 12 repetitions
The claim: It’s the optimal repetition range for building muscle.
The origin: In 1954, Ian MacQueen, M.D., an English surgeon and competitive bodybuilder, published a scientific paper in which he recommended a moderately high number of repetitions for muscle growth.
The truth: This approach places the muscles under a medium amount of tension for a medium amount of time, making it both effective for and detrimental to maximum muscle gains.
A quick science lesson: Higher tension—a.k.a. heavier weights—induces the type of muscle growth in which the muscle fibers grow larger, leading to the best gains in strength; longer tension time, on the other hand, boosts muscle size by increasing the energy-producing structures around the fibers, improving muscular endurance. The classic prescription of eight to 12 repetitions strikes a balance between the two. But by using that scheme all the time, you miss out on the greater tension levels that come with heavier weights and fewer repetitions, and the longer tension time achieved with lighter weights and higher repetitions.
The new standard: Vary your repetition range—adjusting the weights accordingly—so that you stimulate every type of muscle growth. Try this method for a month, performing three full-body sessions a week: Do five repetitions per set in your first workout using heavier weights, 10 reps per set in your second workout using medium weight, and 15 reps per set in your third workout using lighter weight.
Myth #2: Do three sets of each exercise
The claim: This provides the ideal workload for achieving the fastest muscle gains.
The origin: In 1948, a physician named Thomas Delorme reported that performing three sets of 10 repetitions was as effective at improving leg strength as 10 sets of 10 repetitions.
The truth: There’s nothing wrong with—or magical about—doing three sets. But the number of sets you perform shouldn’t be determined by a 50-year-old default recommendation. Here’s a rule of thumb: The more repetitions of an exercise you do, the fewer sets you should perform, and vice versa. This keeps the total number of reps you do of an exercise nearly equal, no matter how many repetitions make up each set.
The new standard: If you’re doing eight or more reps, keep it to three sets or less. If you’re pounding out less than three reps, you should be doing at least six sets.
Myth #3: You need to do three or four exercises per muscle group
The claim: This ensures that you work all the fibers of the target muscle.
The origin: Arnold, circa 1966.
The truth: You’ll waste a lot of time. Here’s why: Schwarzenegger’s 4-decade-old recommendation is almost always combined with “Do three sets of eight to 12 repetitions.” That means you’ll complete up to 144 repetitions for each muscle group. Trouble is, if you can perform even close to 100 repetitions for any muscle group, you’re not working hard enough. Think of it this way: The harder you train, the less time you’ll be able to sustain that level of effort. For example, many men can run for an hour if they jog slowly, but you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who could do high-intensity sprints – without a major decrease in performance—for that period of time. And once performance starts to decline, you’ve achieved all the muscle-building benefits you can for that muscle group.
The new standard: Instead of focusing on the number of different exercises you do, shoot for a total number of repetitions between 25 and 50. That could mean five sets of five repetitions of one exercise (25 repetitions) or one set of 15 repetitions of two or three exercises (30 to 45 repetitions.)
Myth #4: Never let your knees go past your toes
The claim: Allowing your knees to move too far forward during exercises such as squats and lunges, places dangerous forces on your knee ligaments.
The origin: A 1978 study at Duke University found that keeping your lower leg as vertical as possible during squats reduced forces on your knee.
The truth: Leaning forward too much is more likely to cause injury. In 2003, University of Memphis researchers confirmed that knee stress was 28 percent higher when the knees were allowed to move past the toes during squats. But the researchers also found a counter effect: Hip stress increased nearly 1,000 percent when forward movement of the knee was restricted. The reason: The squatters had to lean their torsos farther forward. And that’s a problem, because the forces that act on the hip are transferred to your lower back, a more frequent site of injury than your knees.
The new standard: Focus more on your upper body and less on knee position. By trying to keep your torso as upright as possible as you perform squats (and lunges) you’ll reduce the stress on your hips and back. Two tips for staying upright: Before squatting, squeeze your shoulder blades together and hold them that way; and as you squat, try to keep your forearms perpendicular to the floor and look up, not down.
Myth #5: When you lift weights, draw in your abs
The claim: You’ll increase the support to your spine, reducing the risk of back injuries.
The origin: In 1999, researchers in Australia found that some men with back pain had a slight delay in activating their transverse abdominis, a deep abdominal muscle that’s part of the musculature that maintains spine stability. As a result, many fitness professionals began instructing their clients to try to pull their belly buttons to their spines—which engages the transverse abdominis—as they performed exercises.
The truth: The research was accurate, but the interpretation by many researchers and therapists wasn’t. That’s because muscles work in teams to stabilize your spine, and change depending on the exercise you are performing. The transverse abdominis isn’t always the dominant muscle. In fact, for any given exercise, your body automatically activates the muscles that are most needed for spine support. So focusing only on your transverse abdominis can over recruit the wrong muscles and under recruit the right ones. This not only increases your risk of injury, but reduces the amount of weight you can lift.
The new standard: If you want to give your back a supporting hand, simply brace your abs as if you were about to be punched in the gut, but don’t draw them in. This activates all three layers of the abdominal wall, improving both stability and performance.
5 Food Rules to Break
Everyone is an expert when it comes to food and getting in shape. When I have clients who lose weight and reach their goals and look great that’s when the trouble starts. Co workers and friends begin to interrogate them and ask them what they did and how did they succeed? Then the statements start…Doesn’t He know red meat causes cancer? And that potatoes cause diabetes? Shouldn’t he tell you to eat less salt, to prevent high blood pressure?
Myths make my job a lot harder. That’s because nutrition misinformation fools you into being confused and frustrated in your quest to eating healthily. Even when you are achieving great results others questions make you begin to rethink. Here are five food fallacies you can forget about for good and the science behind them.
Myth #1: High protein intake is harmful to your kidneys
The origin: Back in 1983, researchers discovered that eating more protein increased your “glomerular filtration rate,” or GFR. GFR is the amount of blood your kidneys can filter per minute. From this finding, many scientists made the leap that a higher GFR places your kidneys under greater stress.
What science really shows: Nearly 2 decades ago, Dutch researchers found that while a protein-rich meal did boost your GFR, it didn’t have an adverse effect on overall kidney function. In fact, there’s zero published research showing that eating large amounts of protein—specifically, up to 1.27 grams per pound of body weight a day—damages healthy kidneys.
The bottom line: As a rule of thumb, you should try to eat your target body weight in grams of protein daily. For example, if you are 200 pounds and want to 180, then eat 180 grams of protein a day. Likewise if you’re 150 pounds but want to be a 180 then you should consume 180 grams of protein a day.
Myth #2: Sweet potatoes are better for you than white potatoes
The origin: Most people eat the highly processed version of the white potato in the form of French fries and potato chips and because of eating this way the white potato has been linked to obesity and an increased diabetes risk. Meanwhile, sweet potatoes, which are typically eaten whole, have been celebrated for being rich in nutrients and also having a lower glycemic index than the white potato.
What science really shows: White potatoes and sweet potatoes have complementary nutritional differences; one isn’t necessarily better than the other. Sweet potatoes have more fiber and vitamin A, than white potatoes which are higher in essential minerals, such as iron, magnesium, and potassium. As for the glycemic index, sweet potatoes are lower on the scale, but baked white potatoes typically aren’t eaten without cheese, sour cream, or butter. These toppings all contain fat, which lowers the glycemic index of a meal.
The bottom line: The form in which you eat a potato (a whole baked potato versus a processed potato that’s used to make chips) is more important than the type of potato you choose to eat.
Myth #3: Red meat causes cancer
The origin: In a 1986 study, Japanese researchers discovered cancer developing in rats that were fed “heterocyclic amines,” compounds that are generated from overcooking meat under high heat. And since then, some studies of large populations have suggested a potential link between meat and cancer.
What science really shows: No study has ever found a direct cause-and-effect relationship between red-meat consumption and cancer.
The bottom line: Don’t stop grilling. Meat lovers who are worried about the supposed risks of grilled meat don’t need to avoid burgers and steak. They should just trim off the burned or overcooked sections of the meat before eating.
Myth #4: High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is more fattening than regular sugar
The origin: In a 1968 study, rats that were fed large amounts of fructose developed high levels of fat in their bloodstreams. Then, in 2002, researchers published a well-publicized paper noting that the increasing consumption of fructose, including that in HFCS, paralleled our skyrocketing rates of obesity.
What science really shows: Both HFCS and sucrose—better known as table sugar—contain similar amounts of fructose. The two most commonly used types of HFCS are HFCS-42 and HFCS-55, which are 42 and 55 percent fructose, respectively. Sucrose is almost chemically identical, containing 50 percent fructose. There’s no evidence to show any differences in these two types of sugars. Both will cause weight gain when consumed in excess.
The bottom line: HFCS and regular sugar are empty-calorie carbohydrates that should be consumed in limited amounts, by keeping soft drinks, sweetened fruit juices, and prepackaged desserts to a minimum.
Myth #5: Salt causes high blood pressure and should be avoided
The origin: In the 1940s, a Duke University researcher named Walter Kempner, M.D., became famous for using salt restriction to treat people with high blood pressure. Later, studies confirmed that reducing salt could help reduce hypertension.
What science really shows: Large-scale scientific reviews have determined there’s no reason for people with normal blood pressure to restrict their salt intake. If you already have high blood pressure, you may be salt sensitive. and reducing the amount of salt you eat could be helpful.
However, it’s been known for the past 20 years that people with high blood pressure who don’t want to lower their salt intake can simply consume more potassium-containing foods, because it’s really the balance of the two minerals that matters. In fact, researchers determined that a low potassium intake has the same impact on your blood pressure as high salt consumption does. And it turns out, the average guy consumes 3,100 milligrams (mg) of potassium a day—1,600 mg less than recommended.
The bottom line: Strive for a potassium-rich diet, which you can achieve by eating a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and legumes. Spinach, broccoli, bananas, white potatoes, and most types of beans each contain more than 400 mg potassium per serving.
In Defense of Butter
Butter is rich in fat, especially the saturated kind. But most of this fat is composed of palmitic and stearic acids. Research shows these saturated fatty acids either have no effect on your cholesterol or actually improve it. In moderation, butter isn’t the dietary demon that it is made out to be?
One pat of butter contains just 36 calories, and the fat it provides helps you feel full longer.
Butter is one of the top sources of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a natural fat that’s been shown to fight cancer.
Studies show the fat in butter improves your body’s ability to absorb vitamins A, E, D, and K. So a pat of butter on your vegetables actually makes them healthier as well as tastier.
I know you want to get in shape and look great. Whatever your fitness goal…to slim down…gain muscle…tone your arms or flatten your tummy…I’m here to help you accomplish your goals and to improve your fitness level. If you have enjoyed this article and the many other free features on my site, and would like some more comprehensive information such as fitness books and CD’s to aid you in achieving your health and fitness goals, please visit my ONLINE STOREwhere you will find innovative natural health and beauty products to help you become the BEST YOU CAN BE !