Propaganda

Posted: July 16, 2011 in Uncategorized

Propaganda

Are any of us actually aware of how prevalent propaganda is in our daily lives? If you have ever purchased an item because of a TV commercial or a newspaper/magazine ad, then you understand what propaganda is. Have you ever gone to a restaurant because someone told you (or you “heard”) that it was good? A-ha! There you have it! These are just a couple of more common ways that propaganda is used to get your attention. It is used to either gain your hard earned money or your allegiance. This can be either a positive or a negative thing. In this entry, I am going to approach the negative aspect in the fitness world.

I’m going to attempt to not turn this into a rant, but I am going over a couple of the “reasoning” attempts that I hear on a daily basis. A lot of this is being squelched as time goes on because of the popularity of new workout “systems” on the tips of everyones tongues. There are just certain beliefs that still plague the public…I’ll start there.

As a woman, I can’t lift weights because I’ll “bulk up” and look like a man. There is also the “I have a friend who got really muscular when she started using weights”. Ridiculous!! Are there women on this planet that have gotten muscular enough to look masculine? Yes. Are they common? No. Women don’t come genetically programmed to produce enough testosterone to bulk up in that fashion. The women that have, more often than not, have supplemented chemically to reach that. These are poor examples to use for your false reasoning. As a woman, using resistance training (or weight lifting as common language), is going to be the fastest method towards this ever sought after “getting toned up” and the quickest way to changing your body’s composition (or losing fat). Don’t let propaganda hamper your fitness goals.

The next are popular magazines that tout different “new” nutrition ideas or shakes or other supplements. All workout magazines on the shelves are sponsored through advertisements and mentions of their products in articles. Your hard earned cash being spent on their rag will not keep their company afloat. Shocker, right? Didn’t think so. It is simply a joke looking from month to month and seeing what “new testosterone boosting foods” are being found every month! Or the “new slimming foods”! These are so amazing that they haven’t been known until now. Something new for you to keep attempting to find that magic bullet for you to get the results you are looking for with less work than the next guy or gal. These fanatical ideas are perpetuated by companies doing nothing more than trying to catch your attention and get more of your money. Is nutrition important? Yes! Is supplementation important? Not in most cases. I guarantee that there is no supplement out there that is going to solely affect your results any more than proper nutrition from your local grocer….who is probably the most deserving of your money. It still boils down to what people have been doing for centuries to reach goals…eating well. Just ask yourself…what did Rocky do? Ha!

My last little attempt at not ranting (really?!?) is workout programming. Again, propaganda has pulled individuals towards the good old fashioned “arnold’s encyclopedia of lifting” for years. Chest and triceps day, back and biceps day, cardio day….etc. GARBAGE!! This is an archaic idea at best. Have individuals gotten results over the last few decades doing so? Of course. But not any more than any other individual dedicating themselves to any other system out there. I mentioned in another blog about dedication will get you results in anything. Even if it’s wrong! These are usually the guys that are also constantly complaining about training injuries or that old bad back injury that just never heals. Current systems (don’t get me started on X-make me pee-90 minutes …crap….) still perpetuate these old ideas. Your body responds to chemical reaction. There are slight differences in changing exercise modalities to change chemical response, but these aren’t the focus of this entry. There is no current studies showing any positive response to alternating “cardio days” and “lift days”. I’m sure the old body builder down at the local gym who is HUGE will tell you otherwise…he would know(note: sarcasm) as if you ask him to run on the treadmill a little for you (add maniacal laughter). If anything, these old systems will do nothing but hamper your results more than anything. News flash! Working out 5-6 days a week will not get you results any faster than 3-4 days a week! You want a six pack? A six pack is made in the kitchen…not in the gym.

Anyway, to kind of wrap up this ridiculousness…It isn’t easy to sort through the garbage on the internet… or your local news stand (well, that is easy..nothing is good). Seeking the advice of a professional (aside from the HUGE guy at Globo-gym who is simply there to make a buck and hasn’t furthered his physiology education since high school) can make a huge difference. The field of training and nutrition guidance is changing rapidly as these types of trainers are drowning. Increasing popularity of systems like CrossFit and a few others are changing the face of fitness. You don’t need a gym or a bench press rack to get into pristine physical shape. You don’t need $200 a month in supplements to make the changes you want. This blog is simply the tip of the iceberg on this subject. Keep researching and come back for more!!!

Accountability

Posted: March 29, 2011 in Uncategorized

Accountability is of course a touchy subject. Everyone likes to think that they can be accountable for themselves and get the results in their lives that they desire. In most cases, unfortunately, this isn’t the case. Call it immaturity, irresponsibility or whatever, but it is the same in society at large. People blame violence on the influence of video games and popular music. Individuals are are no longer held responsible for the risks they take or the decisions they make, and it’s creating the largest epidemic facing our world: that of non-accountability.

 

It’s always nice to feel that someone else is to blame for our downfalls. That our failings in life are nothing but uncontrollable circumstance. In most cases, this simply isn’t true. McDonald’s is not to blame for obesity or for high blood pressure. All they are guilty of doing is creating a pleasant smelling, delicious item available for your consumption. Is there a correlation to the epidemic of obesity and high blood pressure in the US and the fact that McDonald’s is the largest restaurant chain in the US? Perhaps. There are plenty of studies to show a positive correlation. But, truth be told, the simple unfortunate fact, in most cases, is the bulk of folks in the US do not cut/moderate this from their diet. It is not the fault of the restaurant chain. The realization has to be that they just want your money and you’re willing to hand it over at the cost of your health. Done and done.

 

Now that we have a established the negative, let’s look at something more positive. How do you create accountability in your life toward your health or activity level. This is the biggest part of the job of a personal trainer. Most personal trainers are nothing but a glorified counter. Lack of education and experience have lead to PT being one of the biggest fallacies in our economy. The good thing about them though is the fact they will hold you accountable to the time that you are supposed to meet because they want to get paid. This is actually a positive step in any heath program. Just showing up is half the battle. How many times have you simply said “I’m too tired to do it today. I’ll do it tomorrow.” and then tomorrow comes and you feel the same way? This is a sign of lack of accountability. This is why appointments and having others there that will “call you out” if you don’t show.

 

Now, hopefully at this point, you’ve figured out that you no longer have a reason to blame anyone but yourself for not reaching your goals. Now, what is the quickest way for you to have accountability toward your health goals? If money permits, maybe having a personal trainer is a good idea. Maybe a fitness class is a better option. The cost is lower and the community will help drive you. These are nice tools, but the only one that can make you do what you need to do is YOU. No excuses…excuses are unacceptable!

 

Dedication

Posted: March 1, 2011 in Uncategorized

What is dedication? Dedication is being committed as a whole to something. In today’s American society, dedication seems to be the one thing that is lacking. We are surrounded by instant gratification and empty promises of “something being easy in a world of difficulty and suffering”. Everyone is seeking a magic pill to miraculously lose weight or a needle full of God knows what to make you bigger and sexier or a pill that will improve your sex life. Hard work has gone the backroad home. Why work hard when technology is on my side. Is it?

 

This topic could be expanded infinitely, so for this entry, we’re going to keep this as close to exercise as we can. Becoming dedicated to an exercise program is not as simple as it sounds. We are bombarded with advertisements for fat burners and supplements that will make you the next Arnold. How easy could it be to become dedicated to something that seems so outdated. Why would I work hard when I could just take a pill or drink this shake and look like an underwear model, right? Now we’re back to the empty promises. There’s a reason most of us never see those underwear models walking down the street. Theres also a reason that there is small print at the end of commercials for fat burning pills….*results not typical. Require proper diet and exercise.* In other words…”Requires hard work”. Sorry to burst your bubble.

 

Things like effort, motivation and dedication are all learned skills we pick up in our lives. We pick them up due to outcomes in our lives, whether they are positive or negative. These skills are universal, but are rarely adopted across the board in our lives.If you think back to the last thing you were truly dedicated to…what was it? Was it a ritual poker night with your buddies? Was it getting a manicure? Something that you would do whether you had the funds to do so, or bad weather wouldn’t slow your achieving. Now, think back to the last time you saw someone running in the rain. Or that guy working out in his dress shoes. Those are signs of dedication! But, instead of looking at them and revering their dedication, we deem them as “crazy” or “an idiot”. Is that any worse than being strapped financially in your life but still buying beer? Dedication…just in a different field.

 

Dedication, even to something that is negative in your life, is still hard work. Even dedicating yourself to a poor workout regimen or a poor diet regimen will receive results.  It just depends on your field of dedication. Do you think that an alcoholic could reach that state without being dedicated to drinking alcohol, even against all the warning signs? Do you think you could lose weight if you retired from eating completely? Even though we know, as a society, that these actions will receive a negative outcome, it still takes dedication to the action to get there. Now we’re back to the same point. How bad do you want your goal? *recurring theme anyone?

 

So let’s see some new dedication from everyone. Let’s abandon the “flash in the pan” “overnight success” that everyone is looking for. Let’s see some hard work and some results!

 

 

Just getting your feet wet…

Posted: January 28, 2011 in Uncategorized

Welcome to the first installment of “Epic Intensity” This blog is designed to bring some mental aspects to the table of training that no one ever likes to talk about. It’s designed to be “Intense”…period. So nothing in this blog is designed to “draw anyone out in the open” or “Throw anyone under the bus”. It is not my personal assault to anyone in specific. It is  simply designed to make you look at yourself in the mirror and really look for what you need. For some it will solidify that you are on your way to self actualization. For others it may bring you to realize that you’ve never really scratched the surface on what you really want from yourself. Either way, it is all about the personal journey that we all have to take in our lives and how we approach ourselves. This is mostly going to be based around the ideas of training. I’m sure other things will cross over. There is a lot   of life in working out and vice versa. I’m just going to try and make things as light and as heavy as the situation calls for and I’ll try to not be insulting with some of my rants…

NOW….I am not a certified professional psychologist or even certified to help anyone deal with their personal issues. I am not a social worker or even pretending that I have all the answers in this wonderful world. Again, it is all a personal journey. I am just doing my best to impart my experience to try and help others along their way.

Let’s dip our toes in…shall we?

Intensity. This is the simplest and hardest thing in emotional training. It will probably be repeated many times over (hence the name of the blog!!!). Intensity can be a wonderful thing and a detrimental thing. It can drive you to great new heights! It can also drown you into psychological turmoil. It can be seen in times that seem so simple. Not putting the barbell down when you’re hands are screaming in your ears that they can’t hold on. In increasing the weight of a lift when you can’t even fathom that you could lift the last PR. It can even be seen in something as simple as increasing the resistance on your elliptical machine as you have your afternoon read. On the flip side, it can also be seen in torn hands from pushing past your pull-up limit. It can be seen in someone lying on the floor after pulling their shoulder out of socket from an incorrectly executed power lift.

The idea here is to push that limit without falling into the abyss that is injury. Is it beneficial to you to put the bar down once it becomes uncomfortable? It is beneficial to repeat the same workout program week in and week out seeing gains that barely move over months and months? Is it beneficial to continue to repeat the same treadmill track month after month to just “burn a few calories”? Is it beneficial To continue to eat your ritual bon bon after your workout because you earned a few extra calories? The answer to all of these is…

HELL NO!!!

Remaining on task to something that is beyond your comfort zone is INTENSITY! Lay off the bon bons and eat some broccoli…that’s INTENSITY! Bench press? Try doing pushups until you crying in a pool of your own sweat and pride…INTENSITY! Treadmill? Try doing body weight squats until you can’t sit easily just to go to the bathroom…INTENSITY!

I know this seems extreme…but no one has ever achieved great things without dedication. No races could be won. No one could lose 100 pounds. No mountains could be ascended. Are your goals important to you? Do you have a goal? Maybe you think that your goal isn’t that extreme. Then imagine what you could achieve with that amount of INTENSITY….losing 10 pounds becomes 20. Lifting 100 pounds becomes 200. Running a mile turns into a marathon.

How important is your goal?