Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Day in the Life of Ronnie Coleman - 8x Mr. Olympia Bodybuilding Champion - Part II

That's right! Ronnie's back and he's back in full force! "Yeah Buddy!!" In case you missed Part I of this video sequel, click here. Sit back, relax and enjoy!


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Exercise vs. Smoking

Exercise & smoking affect the same organs and physiological systems but in opposite ways. While smoking decreases lung capacity, exercise increases it. In addition, as smoking increases your risk of heart attack, exercise decreases it. Then there's the issue of phlegm, the sticky fluid secreted by the mucous membranes of our respiratory system. Smoking produces phlegm which can congest the lungs while exercise has the reverse effect by breaking it up and rebuilding the lungs. In essence, you're poisoning your body by smoking yet expect the same stressed organs to work hard during exercise. The result? A strain on your heart, blood vessels, pulse, and blood pressure while decreasing the oxygen levels within your blood.

If you're a smoker who is ready to start exercising but not quite ready to extinguish the "nicotine stick" for good, think about the following health benefits* upon quitting:
  • Within 20 minutes (of putting down a cigarette) your blood pressure & pulse read "normal"

  • Within 8 hours the oxygen level in the blood normalizes & carbon monoxide levels go down

  • Within 24 hours your risk of heart attack starts to decline

  • Within 2 days you can taste food & smell things better

  • Within 3 days your lung capacity improves to the point to where you can actually breathe better

  • Within 3 months your circulation improves and your lung functioning is up by 30%

  • Within 9 months your lungs are able to clean themselves again & your risk of infection goes down

  • Within 1 year your heart diease risk is now half of that of a typical smoker

  • Within 5 years your risk of stroke is close to that of a non-smoker

  • Within 10 years your lung cancer death rate is half of that of smokers & your risk of other cancers goes down as well

  • Within 15 years your heart disease risk is the same if that as a non-smoker

The good news is that you can start reaping the benefits the moment you take that last puff! Think about all that you can gain - the ability to fully breathe, enjoying the taste & smells around you, having vibrant skin tone, having more fun with your exercise program and having a healthy body. Once you experience the difference, you'll wonder why you didn't quit sooner! Do it's a choice you won't regret!


*Source for Health Benefits: U.S. Surgeon General Reports (1988, 2001)

Friday, July 17, 2009

TRX 40/40 Lower Body Challenge

So you've been working on the TRX 40/40 Challenge and getting great results! How about another challenge? If you're up to it, try the TRX 40/40 Lower Body Challenge. Get at it & have some fun with this one!

Don't have a TRX? Click here to order yours today.

Train hard & stay strong!


Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Benefits of Coconut Oil

Coconuts are a way of life for millions of people around the world today in tropical climates. Known as the "tree of life," the wonderful fruit of the coconut palm is rich in specific fats that have incredible health benefits. Traditional tropical populations that consume a lot of coconut oil are seldom overweight, and traditionally have been free from the modern diseases that afflict most western cultures.

Isn’t coconut oil a saturated fat? Absolutely. However, there are some saturated fats that aren’t bad for you as you may think. One being coconut oil as well as Palm oil & really good butters. About 92% of coconut oil is considered saturated fat. Of that 92%, most of that is what is called Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT) or Medium Chain Fatty Acids. Three quarters of the makeup of MCT’s is lauric acid which can also be found in breast milk. Here are some of the benefits of this powerful fatty acid:

  • Antifungal – fights funguses like yeast

  • Antibacterial – fights harmful pathogens and free radicals

  • Antiviral – fights viruses like the common cold, flu, etc.

  • Contains zero (0) trans fat

  • Skin care - can be used as a skin moisturizer or massage lotion

  • Premature aging - helps decrease wrinkles

  • Immunity - Boosts your immune system

  • Weight loss - keeps you lean by increasing your metabolic rate

  • Increases your body temperature – thermogenic effect which helps burn fat
For more information on the uses and benefits of coconut oil, please consult with your registered dietician or nutritionist. Also click on this link here.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Urban Outdoor Workout

Here is a video of my friend Sean Croxton of Underground Wellness and Brett Klika of Fitness Quest 10 performing the Urban Outdoor Workout in the beautiful surroundings of my old stompin' grounds of San Diego. As Brett says, get up off that couch and get movin'! Enjoy.


Friday, July 10, 2009

Increase General Physical Preparedness (GPP)

General Physical Preparedness, or GPP, has become a buzz term around the strength and conditioning over the last few years. As with any important aspect of athletic performance, the essential components stand the test of time. This is not a new term or a new way of preparing athletes and weekend warriors. But remember, it takes about a decade (at least) for the best information to "trickle down" to the mainstream fitness community.

Remember the good old days? No, not when your granddad was bustin' his ass for twelve hours a day in the coal mines - a more recent time than that. I'm referring to a time when physical education courses where an integral part of the American school system. Exercises such as: squat thrusts, pull-ups, sit-ups and push-ups used to be the foundation of physical education classes. Nowadays, those exercises, and mandatory participation in PE classes have gone to the wayside. Therefore, it is no surprise that the increase in obesity and subsequent decrease in physical performance of non-athletes has become the norm in America.

What's all this PE talk about, you ask? Well, GPP is increased by performing these old-school exercises on a consistent basis. If you were one of the individual's who was lucky enough to be forced to participate in an adequately designed PE program, you were much more prepared for greater athletic performance once you undertook an exercise program. But instead of dwelling on the downfall of the American school system, I am going to show you how to dramatically increase GPP within a workout scheme.

So, what does GPP really mean anyway? General Physical Preparedness (GPP) is defined as a preparatory phase of training that is intended to provide balanced physical conditioning in endurance, strength, speed, flexibility and other basic factors of fitness. It is nearly impossible to bring up the topic of GPP without mentioning its close partner, Specific Physical Preparedness (SPP). These two types of preparatory conditioning almost always form an interconnected component. For now, I will focus on GPP and save the SPP information for another time.

If you have fallen prey to the soft, sedentary life, almost any physical activity that increases your heart rate will boost GPP. In other words, for couch-potatoes, simply running around the block a few times each day will help increase GPP levels. But, if you are reading this blog post I assume you haven't fallen prey - have you? Then let's get to the guidelines!

Just like big, basic compound movements are almost always more beneficial than sissy isolation exercises, GPP exercises should involve as many muscle groups as possible. Therefore, the cardiovascular demand will be greater and the performance of more muscle groups will increase. Exercises such as squat thrusts, medicine ball throws and squat jumps are excellent examples.

If you haven't been performing any GPP exercises in your workout program, keep in mind that these exercises do not need to be performed to the point of nausea. Instead, stick to an intensity that keeps your heart rate between 65-75% of max heart rate for 10 minutes. Over time, increase the intensity, not the duration. The goal is to build up to 85% of max heart rate for 10 minutes straight. Any time frame longer than 10 minutes might start to eat away your hard-earned muscle.

GPP training is an excellent way to accelerate recovery from a previous workout and induce fat loss. You can either perform your GPP exercises at the beginning or end of workout. If fat loss is one of your goals, perform the GPP training after your strength training assault. Perform GPP training on your "off" days to accelerate recovery.

Here is a sample routine:

Goal: Increase GPP Levels
  • Frequency: 3x/week
  • Duration: 10 minutes
  • Intensity: 65-75% of Max Heart Rate

GPP Workout

  • Forward Overhead Medicine Ball Throws - 10 repetitions
  • Squat Thrusts - 10 repetitions
  • Backward Overhead Medicine Ball Throws - 10 repetitions
  • Walking Lunges/Dragon Walks - 10 strides

Exercise Description:

Forward Overhead Medicine Ball Throws - perform this exercise with an 8 kg medicine ball. While standing and holding the medicine ball, reach behind your head as far as your shoulder joint allows. The elbows should be flexed and the medicine ball should touch between your shoulder blades. Maximally extend your elbows and throw the ball as far as possible in front of you. Walk, or run, to the ball and repeat for the prescribed repetitions.

Squat Thrusts - from a standing position, squat down so your hands are resting on the ground on the outside of your feet. Jump your feet back so your body is in a push-up position. Jump your feet back to the crouched position. Stand up and repeat for the prescribed repetitions.

Backward Overhead Medicine Ball Throws - perform this exercise with an 8 kg medicine ball. From the standing position with the feet wider than shoulder width, squat down and drop your arms (and medicine ball) between your legs. At this point, your arms should be straight and you should be reaching behind your body, between your legs. Maximally throw the medicine ball backwards over the top of your head. You should be jumping (i.e., airborne) at the end of the movement before releasing the ball. Walk, or run, to the ball and repeat for the prescribed repetitions.

Walking Lunges - most of you know how to perform this one. Keep your hands on your hips and execute long, extended strides for the prescribed reps. Keep your torso as erect as possible to stretch your tight hip flexors on the back leg. This exercise can be substituted with Dragon Walks.

Perform this four-exercise sequence continuously for 10 minutes. Keep track of your heart rate with a heart rate monitor, or by manually checking your pulse. Rest as much as required to stay within the heart rate intensity zone. The prescribed repetitions are just guidelines, you may need more or less depending on your fitness level. Therefore, it is imperative to keep track of your heart rate to know if you are performing enough (or too much) work.

Good luck, train hard & have fun!