Fitness Exercise Routines

Doomed to ride the diet Yo-Yo forever?

Posted by: admin on: January 10, 2012

Fitness DietingNew article on the New York Times by Tara Parker-Pope – “The Fat Trap

“These are people who are very motivated to lose weight, who achieve weight loss most of the time without too much trouble and yet, inevitably, gradually, they regain the weight.”

These kinds of articles piss me off.  By focusing on the aspect that while many are initially able to lose weight, and that it all too often comes back – they sell the point that you need superhuman will power in order to really lose weight, or that you need to be hardcore OCD in order to count calories, get to the gym, or resist that piece of cake.  I think it’s disingenuous – yes losing weight, gaining muscle and working out all require effort.  Full stop.  Why is it that we expect to get anything worthwhile without some effort?   I think that these articles really set people up to give an excuse for when temptation to revert is pushing hard.

Some really great responses around on this one:

  • Are you Doomed to regain? Yoni Freedhoff writes: “What I’m positing here is that if your effort is personally perceived as a misery, given human nature, eventually you’ll fail, not because you’re weak willed, but rather because you’re human”
  • My Life Lived with Fat – “They completely miss the boat by using the old, tired low-fat, starvation diet approach with obese people who need to be nourished with ample protein, carbs and FAT to lose weight, not to be starved”
  • Fat Trap Answers – “This type of weight loss plan has one aim – weight loss, with no regard to health, fat loss vs. lean tissue loss, & hormonal triggers from a starvation diet.”


The Year in Fitness

Posted by: admin on: January 9, 2012

Fitness Yoga Pose
Goodbye 2011, hello 2012!  What did we learn in the world of exercise and working out this year?

The Year in Fitness according the the NY Times.

Key fitness findings for 2011:

Correct Bar position and Grip for a Low Bar Back Squat

Posted by: admin on: January 8, 2012

Great video from Rip on the correct bar position for a Low Bar Back Squat
  • Grip on the bar is important – it sets up the bar so that all of the weight of the bar is on your body, not on your arms
  • Thumbs should be above the bar, not wrapped around the bar
  • Grip width should place your wrists in a place where they are straight in line with your forearm (laterally and horizontally)
  • How do you know if you have the bar too high or too low?  If the bar moves up or down during the set, you do not have it correctly resting on your traps
  • No part of the hand or arm should be under the bar, the hand and arm are just holding the bar against the back
  • You grip should be as narrow as you can manage.  The wider your grip, the more relaxed your back will be
  • The tighter your back, the more weight that you can carry safely
  • Elbows should be back and up

Image © hectorir @ flickr, sharealike

Reader George sends in a question:

“I want to add pull-ups to my routine, but I don’t have the arm and back strength to pull myself above the bar. Are there any tips that you can give to help me?”

Thanks George, this is a great question!

Here are some tips that can help anyone that is looking to add pull-ups to their workout routine.

  • Use an assistance machine.  Many gyms have machines that allow you to get assistance on the upward portion of the pull-up.  This lets you do a pull-up and slowly work up to a full body-weight pullup.
  • Perform “Negatives” – To perform a negative pull-up, get yourself above the bar and then slowly lower yourself down as if you had just completed the upward motion of the pull-up.  This gives you part of the benefits that you get from a pull-up and helps you work towards doing a full pull up.
  • Do the portion of the pull-up that you can perform.  Even if you cannot complete the full pull-up, you can still receive some of the benefits of a pull-up for the portion that you can complete.
  • Lat Pull Downs.  This is performed on a machine that mimics the action of a pull-up, but instead of pulling yourself above the bar, you pull the bar down to you.  This allows you to use a lighter weight and then slowly increase.

See also the 20 Pull-up Challenge

Why is Dieting So Hard?

Posted by: admin on: January 4, 2012

Too Many Doughnuts

Image © robad0b @ Flickr, ShareAlike

It seems like such a simple concept, eat fewer calories that you expend throughout the day and you lose weight.  Burn 500 calories a day, or 3500 a week, and you lose one pound.

So if it’s this easy, why are there millions of articles written on dieting and why do we spend so much time and money on this elusive quest?  Why does it cost so much more to eat healthy food that you prepare yourself over convenient fast food?

We buy crazy amounts of diet food, that is “low in fat” or that has replaced sugar with some chemicals.  So what are some actual steps that one can take to actually win this Sisyphean game?

  1. Exercise!  The more calories that you use in a day, the more wiggle room that you have trying to lose weight.  Exercising is number one to me, because you get double benefits from it.  First, You burn calories while you are exercising, but you then build muscle which automatically burns more calories while you are not exercising.
  2. Replace sugar water (soda).  The best drink that I ever discovered is unsweetened iced tea with lemon.  Finding a drink that has next to zero calories can cut out a large source of useless calories from your diet.  Another trick is to always drink a glass of water or unsweetened iced tea 10 to 15 minutes before eating.  This will vastly reduce your appetite.
  3. Tracking.  If you are not keeping track of your weight and what you eat, there is no way you can know if you’re going up or down.

Does anyone else have tips or tricks that help them?  Let us know!

Starting Strength Exercise Routine

Posted by: admin on: January 3, 2012

Starting Strength Book

The starting strength exercise routine was created by Mark Rippetoe in his book “Starting Strength” as an example routine for beginner weight lifters.

This fitness program is designed to give someone who is a novice with little to no knowledge of weight lifting a solid grounding in the major lifts.  These lifts are:

One of the main things that surprises people when then hear about or start the program, is how simple it actually is.  We are all inundated with so much false data about needing to create muscle confusion or to target specific small muscle with gigantic machines, that it is almost unbelievable that one could make progress without it.

The actual program consists of two alternating workouts, performed with one day of rest in-between.  After 3 workouts, you then take two days off and start over.

“A” Workout “B” Workout
  • Squat
  • Bench Press
  • Deadlift
  • Squat
  • Overhead Press
  • Power Clean

After warming up, the exercises are performed for 3 sets, 5 reps in each set.  As long as you successfully complete all 3 sets, then you add 5 pounds to the exercise the next time you are scheduled to perform it.  While this may seem like a small increase, it very quickly adds up over the course of the program.  The goal being to get a novice to the gym to the point where they are ready to move to an intermediate program where instead of making increases every time they lift, the move to increases on a weekly basis.

I hope that this gives anyone who is interested a great starting point for their first time in the gym, let us know if you have any questions!

5 Amazing Fitness Resources

Posted by: admin on: January 1, 2012

There are literally millions of weight-loss, exercising, and fitness websites on the internet, but how do separate the wheat from the chaff?

Here are the 5 best resources for weight-loss, exercise routines, and healthy eating that we have found on the internet:

  • – Exercise tracking website that brings in elements of gaming, community feedback, and direction to a healthier life.
  • – Exercise Prescription – Tons of various exercise routines including descriptions and videos showing how to properly perform
  • – Tired of blatant incorrect information on exercising and dieting, The unfiltered Martin Berkhan writes about how best to cut fat through exercise and diet
  • – New to the gym and unsure as how to proceed?  Do you stick to the exercise machines because the free weights are scary?  This wiki describes the starting strength program, which is designed to give the novice lifter confidence in the three core lifts – Squat, Bench Press, and Deadlift.
  • – A subreddit site dedicated to health, fitness, exercising, and weight loss.  Lots of great questions, answers, and tips!

Add these sites to your daily use, and you’ll be on your way to a health new year!