Pretty soon, it’s going to be 98 Degrees, and everyone is going to want to be Spiced, Lit, and Nsync, out on the beaches, or for parties or cookouts. They might want to turn Boyz II Men, or hit the clubs on the Backstreets near S Club 7. Don’t Blink182 though, because summer will be here before you can get around to Smashing Pumpkins or growing Nine Inch Nails.

Yes, you read that right, I could probably have fit more references in there, but that seemed lengthy enough as is, so let’s move on, yeah? Each year the fitness world gains a multitude of additional members, and ImgurFit is typically no exception. People range from all sorts of shapes and sizes, heights, and experience levels, and the general idea and concept of the page is to aid and educate people, into creating healthy lifestyles that they can follow and balance, hopefully for the rest of their lives. That being said, there’s always a few basic things that bear repeating.

No, eating Red Hot Chili Peppers will not help you lose weight. HUZZAH! I managed to squeeze another one in! Eating capsaicin, drinking straight lemon juice, drinking green tea, cleanses, detoxes, foot pads (oh man, anyone remember the onions on the feet thing?), insane crash dieting, as well as people like Dr Oz, the Food Babe, Keely the Banana Girl (edit: apparently its “FreeLee” the banana girl. Whatever, it still sounds like porn. Moving on.), and others have all stomped their way onto the scene trying to peddle their often insane wares. So let’s tackle some of the stuff I’ve mentioned, in the hopes of getting a few things cleared up.

 

Magical Items of Magicky Magickness, or alternatively “Everybody Poops! Though some people who follow these may poop WAY HOLY SHITDAMN MORE than others”

FreeLee, Oz, and Food Babe, (among others) all make their livings pushing a certain brand of healthy suggestion. Dr Oz has a tendency to push things for their “amazing, almost magical properties” (read it like an infomercial, and it makes more sense) including things like Acai, and his most recent one, Garcinia Cambogia HCA Extract, which Oz calls “The Holy Grail of Weight Loss.” The studies that tested it’s effectiveness however, found that it typically only nets an additional 2 lbs of weight loss when compared against a placebo. Does that mean it works? Yes, it would appear to have some effect, but 2 lbs doesn’t warrant calling it the Holy Grail. Garcinia also tends to come with side effects, which are often mild, but still can be present none the less. It can give the user dry mouth, headaches, dizziness, stomach nausea, and diarrhea, as well as “interact poorly” with allergy medications, diabetes medications, iron supplements, pain meds, psychiatric meds, cholesterol meds, blood thinners, as well as advisement to avoid using if you have kidney or liver problems, or have contracted the pregnancy. FreeLee on the other hand, suggests eating a lot of raw food, and fruits. Her dietary advice includes, but isn’t limited to, eating 6 “large mangoes” for lunch, as well as consuming up to 30 bananas a day. Now, fruit isn’t bad for you, but if you’re concerned about an overall abundance of carbs, or potentially shitting yourself for most of the day, then this probably isn’t a great option either. The entire day’s breakdown looks like this:

“DAY 1:

Before breakfast exercise:
❥ 30mins – 1hr easy bike ride/power walk/jog low to moderate intensity.

Breakfast:

Creamy RT4 Milkshake (no milk):

❥ 7+ banana smoothie with lots of water

❥ 700 mls of water

❥ 800mls of coconut water

❥ a few TBS of coconut sugar and vanilla stevia drops.

Lunch:

A mono meal of your favourite fruit, maybe 6 or more big mangoes

Snack:

As much fresh fruit as desired.

Dinner:

A bag of organic spuds cut into chip form and baked till crispy in the oven with low sodium sweet chilli sauce and wrapped in lettuce leaves. It may sound plain but it is very tasty, healthy and slimming.”

Now, I am not a registered dietician, nor a nutritionist, but this entire process seems like a potentially awful idea, and I’m struggling to see how it might be sustainable for anyone who doesn’t spend 3/4 of their day sitting on a couch, or in a chair, within a 30 foot sprint of a toilet. So, let’s move on, as I’m tired of talking about poop. (edit: Skipping Food Babe for sake of post length)

 

Metabolism (aka My body is a wonderland, just kidding John Mayer please stop sitting in a car outside my house):

Next up we have things like lemon ice water, or lemon juice water, or adding cayenne pepper to all your food, or following certain “jump start” diets to increase your metabolic rate. Some of which, when Googled, come from Dr Oz! AGAIN! Sonofabitch I cannot get away from this madman. This is an excerpt from his page, “you may also turn the tide on chronic health problems including type 2 diabetes, asthma, joint pain, digestive problems, autoimmune disease, headaches, brain fog, allergies, acne, eczema and even sexual dysfunction… You know when your computer freezes up? What do you do? You reboot. Well, the 10-Day Detox can do the same thing for your metabolism – by following my diet and lifestyle practices, we can reset your metabolism to factory settings. You can lose weight without going hungry, and possibly even clear up a whole list of health symptoms. And all it takes is 10 days.” This is fundamentally not how your metabolism works, and most of these programs owe their success to the fact that most people that start them are coming from the holy land of Coca Cola and Pizza. By eliminating most of these food and volume issues from their diets, they see success, which they falsely attribute to the product at hand. The other issue is that SOME of these items, like digestive issues, headaches, brain fog, etc, can be adjusted by changing what you eat as a whole, in general. It’s not specifically attributed to a “detox” so much as it is, “you can shit now because you’re not eating 3 lbs of cheese every day any more.” I mean, cheese is fucking delicious, but let’s have some restraint people, please? Now, other websites suggest options like “ramping up your intensity level” or “lift more weights, THEN do cardio after” which aren’t inherently bad ideas, and they DO help increase your metabolism, but the problem in this case lies in the wording. You can’t jump start your metabolism like a car, it changes in increments over a period of time. Some bodybuilders spend years (yes, years) slowly adapting their metabolism to a point where (in one’s case , who i know personally) they end up at a point where 4500 calories is a diet for someone who competes on stage at 220 lbs. Alternatively, you can accidentally do the opposite to your body. You can accidentally shift your metabolism, over a period of time, so that your body acclimates to you underfeeding it, at least to a certain degree, which also can take months, or years to recover from.

 

Detoxification! (aka that stuff that your liver and kidneys do when they are functioning properly) 

de·tox
informal
noun
plural noun: detoxes
ˈdētäks/
  1. 1.
    a process or period of time in which one abstains from or rids the body of toxic or unhealthy substances; detoxification.
    “he ended up in detox for three months”

Now, I’m not a rocket surgery or a brain scientist either, hell I’m not even a regular sorcerientist or whatever they do with their crazy magic machines, but the standard definition for detox sort of implies “going through withdrawl from addictive stubstances” and not so much what Dr Oz, or Oprah (for all her many glorious contributions to the world, as well as “BEES!” https://i.imgur.com/R1raYh.jpg ) would have you believe. Detoxes, as far as the dietary word is concerned, means “using dietary means (or just lack of food in general) to clean the blood, promote liver stimulation to drive toxins from the  body, and help the intestines digest more efficiently. Folks, I say this with the utmost care, but if any one of these systems within your body needs that to happen, PLEASE, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD AND ALL THAT IS HOLY, MY ANUS IS BLEE- err, wait… “PLEASE, go to a doctor.” Going through a detox diet or extended fasting period is not going to fix a glaring issue with the organs that handle most of the poisons that exist in your body. In addition to that, one gem from the MayoClinic website provides this, “some detox diets advocate using herbs and other supplements along with colon cleansing (enemas) to empty the intestines.” Hope you like stuff getting put in your butt, guys! Man, I seriously cannot get away from poop on this subject, can I?

 

THINGS TO DO, THINGS NOT TO DO, GENERAL LIFE ADVICE: 

So, you’ve decided not to detox, enema, magic pill, or make an effort to consume 4 metric tonnes of mangoes and bananas in the next 6 months, what can you do instead? For starters, you can find something active that you enjoy. Lifting weights, grunting, living in fear of sharting in the squat rack, are not everyone’s pride and joy, and not everyone in the world thinks that there’s no reason to be alive if you cant do deadlift. Stars may have lived and died to produce the iron that we lift, but hey, not everyone is in to that. Some just enjoy walking, hiking, swimming, climbing (Hi Sean!) , running, or even playing sports, silk yoga, pole dancing, gymnastics, fighting, grappling, and an entire host of other stuff that I’m frankly not bright enough to think of. So get out there, say “Hi!” to Super Nintendo Chalmers, and get learnding! Then you have the diet alterations, which can be things like IIFYM, or other certain options and restrictions based on your moral values, medical needs, or other factors. Sleep, and stress are another set of factors, which a lot of people simply may not be aware of. You might sleep like crap, but be unaware of it for years, and it may be a huge hindrance to your progress. Do what you can, and even just dick around on the internet, or even our own blog page, and you might find answers that surprise you. We all have a journey to experience guys, so lets rock out with our cocks out, jam out with our clams out, and make life fucking magical.

 

Here’s some handy dandy reading material, if you do so fancy ^_^

 

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/detox-diets/faq-20058040

http://www.iifym.com/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/23/dr-oz-products_n_7120654.html

http://www.cnn.com/2014/06/17/health/senate-grills-dr-oz/

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/dec/05/detox-myth-health-diet-science-ignorance

https://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/the-detox-scam-how-to-spot-it-and-how-to-avoid-it/

https://imfitcast.wordpress.com/

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-blog/weight-management/bgp-20056166

http://www.livescience.com/39243-garcinia-cambogia-supplement-facts.html

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How I Royally Screwed Myself Up – A Tale of Contest Prep

BEFORE!

TWAS A DARK AND STORMY NIGHT. Actually no it wasn’t, it was the July 4th weekend, 2012. Visiting a long time training partner, and close friend who lives in Illinois, eating pizza and watching bad kung fu movies, when we started discussing bodybuilding. He told me, “You’ve been strength training for about 7-8 years with no real direction or purpose,” which frankly was a fairly assessment of the entirety of my lifting career. I wasn’t pulling 700 lbs at the age of 18, or doing body building shows at 19, and I even got my start by fumbling around like an idiot in a gym because I felt pudgy and was self conscious about it. So we decided then and there, to begin prepping for a show in the OCB federation (they test your wee), that was at the end of November, roughly 4.5 or so months away. I weighed in at 242 when we started, and I’d end up stepping on stage in the mid-170’s. The OCB we did is not, for the record, a weight class show, the classes are arranged by height, which put me in the tallest class at 5’10 and up. The first month was met with vigor and eagerness, with no real issues or hiccups, moving down at a steady 2.5 lbs per week, while maintaining the majority of my usual lifting weights.

DURING! (Lets say beginning to halfway)

Then about the end of the second month, things started to go downhill. I’d start stalling at certain weights, which would lead to panicked revisions in my dietary intake, revamping what I was eating again and again, or removing certain foods entirely (I’ll always love you, bread! Wait for me!) in the hopes of hurriedly busting through the plateau and continuing onward. Thus far I’ve been trying to keep this on the more light and hearty side of things, but honestly it gets sort of grim. The problem that often shows up is that nobody ever really thinks to consider your mental fortitude, and much like a lot of other things in life, and a lot of the time the only way to find out is by making a go at it. So the foods started disappearing, and my carb intake started dropping, which would have been (more) acceptable had my fat intake been on point, but that was a raging dumpster fire as well. Typically speaking probably less than 15-20 g per day of fats, and as we got closer and closer to competition, the more pressure was on to not hit plateaus. My carb intake dropped well below 80g a day, which led to things like me sleeping restlessly, being constantly exhausted, falling asleep at work, having a shorter fuse, and to some degree impairing my motor skills and hand-eye coordination. My (then) girlfriend and I were both prepping, and both experiencing some of the same issues, her to a lesser degree than I, but it still caused issues and tension, late nights, sleepless nights, and a smattering host of problems.

DURING, Part 2! (Probably middle to end)

Slowly but surely, my weight kept going down, but other issues kept coming up, where I’d plateau, or I’d need to add more cardio, or I’d forget things, or forget how do do things. Towards the middle to end of the prep (last 6-8 weeks) the decision was made to attempt to try to move all of my carb intake into veggies primarily, with maybe 1 cup of steel cut oats in the morning. The most broccoli I ever ate in a day was 6 cups, and it was a terrible, terrible experience. So the carbs are down, but so is my weight, which was the point, but then I started getting memory gaps. I forgot that my girlfriend had already bought her suit, and to make matters worse, for some reason I was *convinced* that her suit was blue. It was pink, I wasn’t even close, and we spent roughly the next 4 days arguing over it, in one form or another. At one point I don’t really know how to describe it, but I stopped doing dishes one night, water running and all, to lie down on the floor of our apartment and have a breakdown about what the fuck exactly I was doing with my life.

Closer and closer to show date meant more and more cardio, which people also tell you (as it happens) that if the show is in the colder time of year to not run, and to dress properly, because the accelerated and aggressive weight loss makes your joints more susceptible to injury (Super!). I was doing a minimum of an hour of cardio, on top of my workouts, at least 5 days a week. 30-45 minutes at 5 or 530 am, despite being up till 1130 or even 1 am sometimes, followed by another similar amount following my workout later in the day. The only real saving grace was feeling better about my physical appearance, which I was happy about seeing, but not “Im going to kill it on stage” happy. The problems I experienced were getting worse, and at this point in my life, a full 3 years later, a lot of the entire process is still a fuzzy blur in my mind. The last two weeks before the show I took a posing video that, to my knowledge, is the only one that exists of me at a semi-healthy weight. 14 days from the show I was 185-187 lbs, but the aggressive cut had me attempting to lose roughly 1 lb per day. So in the last 14 days, I went from the mid 180’s, to showing up on competition day weighing about 178.

MOTHAFUGGIN’ COMP-DAAAAAY (And post-comp)

I spent the morning of the competition day nervous, nauseous, and feeling like I didn’t deserve to be there, because everyone looked a lot better than I did. It’s a process that, all physical issues aside, can carry some pretty heavy psychological side effects. So how did I handle it? Did I nut up and rock it? Well, I wouldn’t be writing this if that was the case. I panicked. I spent the day occasionally taking Cellucor N03 or whatever the fuck it’s called (the blood flow one or whatever) , generally trying to avoid food for fear of a food-stomach, and being afraid to sweat, or pee, or shit, in fear of fucking up my tan (wee turns your tan green, TMYK!) . So I just ate, as little as I physically could, just enough to keep me… I don’t know… conscious? The posing itself, as a group went better than I expected, and I got at least a little reprieve being up there with other people, safe in my anonymity at the time. Until the night show, where each competitor has 60 seconds to do a posing routine to music of their choice (or random because the DJ fucked up), which as a typically anxiety ridden and anxious person, is goddamn fucking terrifying. I’ve never felt as uncomfortable and nauseous as I did prior to, and immediately after, except for the few times I’ve slid a car off the road and presumably expecting to die. It was suggested I take off my glasses as well, something to do with the stage lights reflecting off them, so I had to do my posing routine with no real sense of spacial awareness.

It was a flop. Not one clap, no cheers, just dead silence. To add to the flavor of the experience, without my glasses, I almost fell of the stage. I went back to the basement and don’t remember much after that. I’m fairly certain I was still awake, but I may have been lying on the floor for a while, tucked away in a corner. I tried to work out the next day, but was too exhausted to do anything useful, which was a trend that continued for about the next week. Not long after the show I decided to try intentionally bulking for the first time ever, moving from 178 at the end of November, to about 215 by February. Roughly the end of March or beginning of April I felt like I had gained too much weight, so I stopped eating as much. 3,000 calories became 2,500, and then 2,200, eventually settling around 1,900 per day, with me still going up in weight. The end of April saw myself and my ex’s relationship end, with my psychological image issues largely being too much for her to tolerate. Towards the end of 2013 we tried to get things back up, and as 2013 rolled into 2014, the attempts we made at repairing stuff led to more weight gain.

POST COMP, FOR REAL THIS TIME! 

In roughly the middle of 2014, I decided to finally try to start looking in to fixing all the little problems that had begun to plague me since the competition. I got a full metabolic panel done, and  was slapped on anti-depressants, and a vitamin D supplement, while the first doctor ignored the fact that my hormonal production indicated that I was about 85-90 years old. The anti-depressants, to their credit, helped me quit smoking again, which I had picked up the year before. When 6 months had gone by, with still no change in my lacking sex drive, I went to another doctor for another opinion, and they determined to start me on Hormone Therapy, as well as having a sleep study performed that determined that I have sleep apnea (from the 100+ lb weight gain in under a year). So I’ve since been trying to fix my hormonal issues, metabolic issues, weight issues, and sleep issues, all simultaneously.

For the first time in a long time, these days, I’m not completely unhappy with what’s in front of me in the mirror. I can see a fairly large difference between pictures that are a year apart, despite there only being about a 20 lb change. The hormone therapy is going successfully, despite occasional hiccups, like when your estrogen control makes your connective tissue feel more brittle and you dislocate a few ribs here and there, but things generally seem to be improving finally. It’s taken 3 years and a lot of money, but the goal is to keep moving forward. Now, the reason I put this together isn’t to show people how horrible bodybuilding is. Bodybuilding, power-lifting, Olympic weight lifting, crossfit, triathalons, marathons, iron-mans (Iron-men? Fuck if i know), and all sorts of activities performed by people from all walks of life are awesome and amazing things, but the fact just simply remains that working through a process with no information, or worse, can have some dire consequences. None of these are a quick decision process, and the decision to compete or perform them tends to carry a lot of weight. So please, if anyone takes anything away from this, just do your homework. We all hated it in school, and in college, but in these cases you don’t necessarily have a school or university teacher guiding us. We have friends, family, or coaches who mean well, and they will do their best to help, but as Coop likes to say, “Not everyone is the same.” Prepping goes a lot differently for a lot of people, and there’s hundreds if not thousands of different opinions about each little aspect of how to prepare.

Not Everyone Likes It Rough: Callus Care and Prevention

By: Chris Huber

Callused hands are a common fear of many getting into lifting. The thought of rough, unsightly paws isn’t exactly appealing. The good news is that is a fairly easy problem to manage. If you are a rookie lifter, your hands most likely do need a little toughening up, but you don’t need to end up with with crusted mitts of an old sailor.

Gloves

This is my least favorite solution. I have no issue with others wearing gloves if they so choose, but I feel that other options are better if you wear them to to prevent roughed up palms. My main gripe is that they make gripping things harder. The extra material between you and the bar is just more to deal with. If gloves work well for you, then more power to ya. Just make sure to air dry those bad boys so you don’t stink up the place.

Proper Bar Placement

I believe this is the biggest offender when it comes to torn up hands. The left two images show the bar being gripped from the palm, which leads to skin being folded over when you perform a pulling motion. The right three images have the bar set into the crook where your fingers meet your palm. This placement is much more ideal and should prevent any pinching and tearing of the skin.

Grip Strength

Along with having the bar correctly placed in your hand, this is the other big factor to prevent damage to your hands. If you don’t have the strength to keep the bar from slipping or rolling when you lift, you need to take steps to work on your grip strength. If your gym allows chalk then buy a bar and use it (Tip: Even if powdered chalk is not allowed, your gym may be ok with liquid chalk).

To improve strength, on any pulling movement make sure you squeeze the bar. You should feel the strain in your forearms in addition to what your lift usually targets. If you want to focus on grip specifically, you may consider incorporating Plate Pinches into your routine. A strong grip will mean never having to worry about the bar getting away from you.

Caring for you Hands

So you do your best, but you still end up with a rough patch on your hands? Well then it’s time for some preventative care (yes, even you fellas). Women tend to be much better about this, but regularly using lotion will keep your hands softer and less prone to cracking/splitting when lifting. Your significant other will probably appreciate this step as well.

If you have a thicker callus you will need to thin it out. I personally own a PedEgg© on the rare occasions a callus builds up, but any kind of pumice or sandpaper material can be used to clean up rough patches. Be careful when doing this, going too thin may lead to tearing next time you lift, so be conservative when it comes to shaving down calluses. Taking the time to do some preventative maintenance can save you having to sit out of the gym with a hole in your hand.