Thursday, July 28, 2016

You Really Broke a Sweat Today

You even lost a pound!

Sweat is a good thing. Sweat is healthy. Sweat is your body's cooling system.

Maybe you did have a great workout. But how much you sweated may have nothing to do with the quality of your workout.

The amount you sweat depends on several factors including the temperature in your workout environment, the humidity, how hydrated you are on that day, your body temperature on that day (by the way your body temperature is seldom exactly 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit), even what you had for breakfast.

And just because you always sweat more than your workout partner just means you were born with more sweat glands than your partner.

You may have sweated more because you worked harder-or not.

Sweating more doesn’t mean you burned more calories either. That pound you lost was just fluid- not fat. You’ll gain it back as soon as you re-hydrate.

And sorry, that overpriced saran wrap to wrap around your body or rubber workout suit you bought from the infomercial huckster or the fake fitness guru may make you sweat more but it won’t burn fat either.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

If You're Doing Resistance Training and Cardio in the Same Session You're Doing it Wrong!


It’s called the Interference Effect. It simply means you are confusing your body by adding endurance work directly after a lifting session. What is your priority- endurance or size/strength?

Researchers had two groups of subjects perform the same lower body power exercises over a six week period. One group did only the lower body exercise while the other group did and additional 30 minutes of low-intensity running at a moderate pace(60-70% of max heart rate) after the lower body power exercise.

The researchers then measured jump performance, leg press force, speed (rate of force), strength via a 1rep max and muscle fiber changes using needle biopsy.

The group that added the 30 minutes of low intensity running could not jump as high and their muscle fibers were smaller(less muscle growth).

There’s nothing inherently wrong with doing both resistance training and endurance training. Timing seems to be the key. Doing endurance training can help your strength/hypertrophy training by enabling you do more work during your resistance program. But doing them in the same session can be detrimental.

If your resistance training program is 3 or 4 days a week do your endurance training on the off days (keeping the intensity moderate). Another alternative is to do your endurance training in the AM and your resistance training in the PM.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Genetics Don't Matter


Well, they do matter. But not to the point where you can use it as an excuse for everything!

Genetics can matter when it comes to your susceptibility to certain conditions and diseases. Genetics can matter when it comes to height, type of build, hair loss and so forth.  But when it comes to controlling your general health and weight-not so much.

Let’s look at a couple of scenarios. One scientific and one theoretical (but still valid)

The science

A recent study involved 13 sets of identical twins (sharing the same gnomes) that had notable (though not necessarily large) weight differences. Over an eight week period, both activity and nutrition were closely monitored.  

Activity was not strenuous activity. In some cases the activity difference between twins was a small as 6 or 7 minutes a day. But over time, that resulted in extra weight for the less active twin.

The Theoretical
(Thanks to Aadam at Physiqonomics)

We’re going to produce a new reality show. (Please curb your excitement. I know you can hardly wait.)

We’re going to take a number of overweight individuals from their respective cities and drop them into some third-world jungle to fend for themselves. They will have basic survival equipment but no food.

They will have hunt for their own food. Gather what they find and prepare their own food. Gathering firewood for cooking if necessary. (And boiling water at the very least). And they have to build their own shelter.

Their diet is going to change from calorie dense fast food to fresh fruit, vegetables, high protein wild game and possibly reptiles and insects (also high protein) which they will usually have to chase down.

Do you really think they are going to remain overweight regardless of their genetics?

That makes your "Genetics excuse" sound a little silly, doesn't it?

Monday, July 25, 2016

Restaurant Foods that Ruin Your Weight Loss Goals


Do you eat out several times a week? That could be your problem. It’s hard to calculate the calories and macros you get when you don’t prepare your meals yourself.

Now, I’m not saying never eat out. Just be more aware of what you’re eating and gain a little insight into the difference between what you get at home and what you get at a restaurant.

A  2016 study by Tufts University found that 92% of the 364 restaurants they tested contained an average of  1025 calories! These were both chain and non-chain restaurants (less than 20 locations). Chain restaurants are required to show the nutrition information. Restaurants with less than 20 locations are not required to.

There are several reasons for the high calorie count in restaurant foods:
·        Most restaurants give you way more food than the average person needs in a single meal. But, hey, you paid for it so you’re damned well going to eat it all. Right?
·        Restaurants have to cook for flavor. You’re not going to pick a restaurant with the least flavorful meal.  Adding flavor usually means adding more salt, more fat and more sugar.
·        Peer Pressure- You’re probably going to order that dessert if everyone else at the table orders.

The people at (which I highly recommend, by the way) compiled a list of some 20 meals that are some of the worst-broken down by ethnicity. I’m only going to mention a few. Just so you start thinking about it more often.

American Food

1.     Rib-eye Steak-1726 calories with sides
2.     Cheeseburger-1412 calories
3.     Grilled Chicken Sandwich (you read it right-Grilled!)-1216 calories
Chinese Food

1.     General Tso’s Chicken and white rice-2100 calories
2.     Walnut Shrimp and rice-1626 calories
3.     Pork Fried Rice-1571 calories

Italian Food

1.     Fettuccine Alfredo-1754 calories
2.     Spaghetti & meatballs-1492 calories

Mexican Food

1.     Chicken Fajitas + chips and salsa-1588 calories
2.     Cheese Quesadilla + chips and salsa-1179 calories

I’m afraid I have to admit that the worst meals listed above are among my favorites.

Here are a few hacks

1.     Log your meals. Go to before you go out and think about your menu choices before to get to the restaurant. has the most extensive database of foods I’ve ever seen and they have a restaurant section. And its free.
2.     Don’t show up hungry
3.     Take time to enjoy your meal. Eat slowly.
4.     You paid for it but you don’t have to eat it all in one sitting. Ask for a to go box , if you must, and spread you purchase over 2 or even 3 meals.
5.     Be aware of what you’re drinking too. A 10 oz Bloody Mary is 262 calories. Scotch and water is only 100 calories. A Frozen Daqueri frozen Daqueri (6 oz) is 200 calories. Sweetened iced tea (12 oz) is 180 calories.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Your Weight Plan is, Without a Doubt, Going to Stall


I’ll bet that’s not you wanted to hear. Is it? But it’s true. At some point (probably several points), no matter hard you work at it, your weight loss plan will appear to stop working.

Now the good news; it always does. It’s part of the process of losing weight. Without those stalls and plateaus you’ll never be able to keep the weight off.

Forget what you hear from the TV “experts” and make believe “specialist” whose pitch always ends with “Now buy our crap for only 3 easy payments of $19.95”.
The magazine articles? If you’re reading it you’ve already bought their crap.

Most people quit before significant weight loss occurs because they’ve bought into the hype about losing 10 pounds a week and 100 pounds in a month. And when it doesn’t work they blame it on their metabolism or their genetics or some other non-existent problem and give up. Then they go looking for the next magic pill and do it all over again. Often ruining or, at best, screwing up their metabolism in the process.

Here’s a novel idea:
Learn how your body actually works and do it right this time!

Stalled progress (a plateau) is an important and necessary part of the process.

Here’s how it works:

Your body doesn’t like change (it’s called Homeostasis). The body gets comfortable and efficient at a certain point (in this case weight) and does everything it can to resist getting out of that comfort zone. Think of it as your body’s current “Set Point”.

When you forcibly make the body change by losing weight the body will tolerate your meddling for a while. Then the little gremlins in your brain that keep things running smoothly say “Wait a minute, things have changed. Put on the brakes until we can figure out what's happening make these adjustments”. The first thing the body will do to get back to homeostasis is slow your metabolism (comparatively) to burn fewer calories. Then it will increase hunger! (sneaky little twits)

The little gremlins in your brain need time to get feedback from all the mid-level managers spread throughout the body. Then they get down to adjusting the necessary valves, pushing the buttons, flipping the necessary switches and reading all the dials. All this takes time. Meanwhile, all systems are on hold until they are finished. Otherwise known as a plateau.

All this tweaking results in a new “Set Point.”  That’s the new normal.

Now your body will let you continue-for a while. Assuming you don’t act like a wimp and quit.

If you don’t wait out the plateau and let you body reach a new set point you will gain the weight back and probably more.

The more weight you lose and the faster you lose it the harder and faster your body will try to resist. There is no magic formula for determining how long a plateau will last or when it will come. Everyone is different. But keep in mind we may be talking about weeks.

Some things to keep in mind:

·        You probably didn’t gain that extra 30 pounds in a month. What makes you think you can lose it and keep it off in a month?

·        The part of the brain that controls physiological functions really doesn’t care much what the part of the brain that contains conscious thought thinks about all this. The little gremlins in there almost totally ignore what you “think” about it or “wish” for. You have to follow their rules.

·        Losing around one to two pounds per week is considered healthy. But the losses are not linear. You may lose 4 pounds one week and nothing the next week. That's not a plateau. That's just because there are a lot of variables that affect body weight from day to day. Losing at that rate also helps prolong the time when your body has to establish a new “set point”. But it won’t postpone it indefinitely.

The plateau will still happen eventually. Learn to live with it.

Let your body do what it is built to do. Have patience. Do it right the first time and stop the yo-yo lifestyle.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Is it OK to Share my Articles?


I get a question occasionally asking if it's ok to share a post on

Of Course it is! It's encouraged. Share them with anyone you think would be interested.

There are icons at the bottom of each post to make it easier.The icons are for Facebook, Twitter, Google + and  Pinterest. The "+" icon opens up about 15 more ways to share including Blogger and almost all email services.

Use them please!

And no, any articles published on are not copyrighted unless noted. Any article from another source will be noted as such. Most of those are not copyrighted either. Trying to enforce copyright laws on the internet would be like trying to herd cats. Especially since 62% or my readers are from outside the US.

So Please Share to anyone anywhere!

You can also get( and share) posts by email if you prefer. Just enter your email in the space in the right column that says "Follow by email".
We do not share your email address or any other information.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Science VS. AIG

SCIENCE VS. A.I.G. just had its one year anniversary

First of all, thanks to everyone for your patronage and loyalty. I hope we’ve been able provide a little education, some motivation and maybe a little entertainment. Mainly, I hope you’ve gained some insight in how to avoid all the scams out there.

In the past year you’ve seen me talk a lot about the science and scientific testing. But I want to clear up any misconceptions about all this science. Science has helped dispel a lot of myths and misinformation about the fitness industry. But science is not the be all and end all.

Scientific studies have limits. They usually have a very limited scope and, despite what you may think, results can still be somewhat subjective.

Don’t fall into the trap of “paralysis by analysis”. Study, learn, improve you mind as well as your body. But realize that there is no perfect program. Different rep/set schemes, different loads, different rest periods, different nutrition plans can all help you get where you want to be. What works for someone else may not work for you.
You're going to have to think for yourself and experiment. 

What works better than anything else?  

“A.I.G.” better known as “Ass-in-Gym”

Time under the bar is the best way to learn what works for you.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Thursday, July 14, 2016

The 1000 Rep Challenge


Ready for a new challenge? How about 1000 reps in a single workout?

Don't panic. You can do this. It's not as bad as it sounds. I do it once a week-every week on Wednesday.

It's high rep, light weight, 10 exercises for 100 reps each in as few sets as possible.

This prior article is required reading-Up for a Challenge?

"The 1000 Rep Challenge" just builds on Up for a Challenge by expanding the challenge to 10 exercises in the same day.

Pick any isolation exercises you like. (No compound lifts). I suggest picking exercises for lagging muscles or muscle groups or exercises for muscles that respond best to high reps-calves, delts, traps, etc.

I do my regular routine on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and the 1000 rep challenge on Wednesday.

Use 35-40% of your 1 rep max. Increase the weight when you can do 100 reps in a single set.

Try it but hold the screems to a minimum.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016


(or How Much Weight Can I Lose? or How strong Can I Get?)

(Loooooooooong silence)

Me: “Oh, sorry. I was waiting for you to finish your question”

In a week? In a month? In a year?
How should I know?

The truth is, I have no earthly idea.
The same answer applies to;
How much weight can I lose? Or How much stronger can I get?

It depends.

Tell me what your goals are and I’ll tell you if they are even remotely possible. If you tell me you want to lose 25 pounds before your sister’s wedding next month, I’ll pass. There are other people who will tell you they will help you. But I won’t. I’m not going to damage your health in order to meet an unrealistic goal. Especially a short term goal.
You want to get as big as Jay Cutler or Kai Greene by next year? Pass.
You want to go for a record dead lift next summer? Pass

Jay Cutler

Training is a Marathon, not a sprint.

Set unrealistic goals and one of several things will happen:
1.     You’ll do something stupid and get injured
2.     You’ll wear yourself down and all progress will stop
3.     You’ll get discouraged in a short time and quit.

The Reality

Almost everything works when you are a “Newbie”. Mainly because most beginners have been sitting on their butt doing nothing. So almost any activity at all will work for a while. 

Rates of progress naturally slow over time as you approach your muscular and strength potential. Everyone has a maximum potential (unaided by “chemicals”)
You may be able to add 10 pounds per week to the bar for a while. But not forever. You have to keep your goals realistic in that context.

Sooner or later your goals have to adjust to reality. Progress may seem maddeningly slow after a while compared to the progress as a beginner. But it’s going to happen.  You can become a quitter and give up or you can adjust.

You have to think long term. Adding 5 pounds to the bar once a month may seem slow compared your progress as a beginner. But you have to think “consistency”.  Five pounds a month is 60 pounds a year!

It works just like compound interest.

Monday, July 11, 2016


First, I’d like to thank everyone for the support and well wishes over the last few weeks. And thanks for the over 5000 page views last month when there were no new articles published! You guys are great!


I thought this would be a good time to discuss this since I’m coming off a eight week layoff.

It happens to almost everyone sooner or later. Either by choice, such as vacations, or due to sickness or injury.

The answer to how much strength or muscle you’ll lose depends on several factors:
·        Age
·        Genetics
·        Training Age (How long you’ve been training)
·        Activity levels during the layoff
·        Nutrition during the layoff

Older adults tend to lose more muscle and strength faster than younger adults. This factor is logical since we naturally tend to lose muscle mass and strength as we age. But your genetics also come into play. If you are naturally thin and have to work hard to gain muscle you’ll also lose it faster if you go through an extended layoff.

Training Age (How long you’ve been training) also comes into the equation. As a rule, the longer you’ve been training the longer it will take to begin to lose muscle mass and strength. It’s not a direct relationship; if you’ve been training for five years it won’t take 5 years for you to lose muscle and strength. But it will take longer than someone who has only been training for 1 year. Gains made quickly will be lost more quickly.

Your activity levels during a layoff will naturally affect the rate of loss. The higher the activity level the longer it will take to lose muscle. Note that this applies to any activity. You don’t have to be lifting. Any physical activity will help delay the loss of muscle and strength.

All of the above factors matter but, in general, a layoff of one to three weeks will cause little, if any, major loss in muscle or strength. Note that you may “feel” like you’ve lost muscle. You may even look a bit smaller and “flatter” without quite as much definition. But remember, strenuous exercise damages muscle fibers. That damage is part of what forces the muscle to grow larger and stronger. But, along with damage comes a bit of inflammation. That inflammation will make the muscle look and feel slightly larger. During a layoff the inflammation will subside making you feel and look slightly smaller. No one else would likely notice the difference but you will notice it.

For the first 2 or 3 weeks most people will have minimal loss in strength or muscle. So take that vacation. After a short layoff you may even come back stronger. If you’ve been training hard you’re muscles and joints can often use the rest. Remember, you don’t get stronger in the gym. You get stronger during recovery.

In a recent test of two groups of young men trained for 24 weeks. One group took 3 week breaks after each 6 weeks of training. The other group had no breaks in their training. At the end of the 24 weeks there was no difference in strength or muscle gain.

After 3 weeks you may start to see from 5-10% loss in strength and mass. But the loss in strength is mostly due to neural adaptations.

After 12 weeks even seasoned lifters will see a noticeable loss of mass and strength.

The good news is (even with layoffs of 12 weeks or longer) it will take much less time to gain back muscle mass and strength than it took to build it in the first place. It is highly variable but, as a rule, there is a 1:1 ratio – 1 week to build it back for each 1 week of layoff.


1.     Stay as active as possible. Any activity is better than none.
2.     Keep fat gain to a minimum. Stay with your nutrition plan if it’s been working. You’ll be burning fewer calories during a layoff so adjust calories as needed. But cut calories by reducing fats and carbs and keep protein levels the same.
3.     Stay mentally involved in your training. Use the time to read, study, learn and plan for when you can get back to your workouts.