Don’t Exercise

Last night I gave a speech at Kaiser provocatively entitled, “Don’t Exercise”.  It was a big hit, so I thought I would share some of the highlights with you today.  The whole idea of the speech is that so often people begin to exercise because they believe that if they do so, their body will look a certain way, as if we could change our body as easily as changing our hairstyle and we could match our new body to a picture in a magazine.  Except this hardly ever works.  Most people are simply not genetically blessed in a way that makes huge biceps or six pack abs realistic or sustainable for them.  Sure there is a very small group of people–like 5 percent or even 1 percent who are genetically blessed in a way that makes big biceps or 6-pack abs reasonably likely.  That is not to say these…

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Why I just can’t get into yoga studios.

Everyone once in awhile a friend asks me to attend a yoga class with her. Yoga is not really my thing. I much prefer to pump iron. I do do some basic yoga at home to work on my flexibility but this is limited to basic poses and I typically don’t spend more than 20min on it at a time. It just doesn’t keep my interest. But I realized this past weekend that what I really don’t like about yoga classes has more to do with the nature of practising in a yoga studio than with yoga itself.

Mainly I don’t like:

1) The migraine inducing incense burning in the lobby.
smells bad
2) The over crowded studios that result in:
i) getting stuck next to the wall
ii) kicking or hitting said wall
iii) getting up close and personal with a stranger’s foot because they failed to stay perfectly centered on their mat leading into warrior 3

3) It is hard to relax when half the class is blowing raspberries (to relax their jaws???). It just makes me want to laugh.

4) I don’t like being trapped into the long class length. I personally would like to see a 30min class option.

5) The huge variation in how classes are conducted – The other day I nearly jumped out of skin everytime an instructor came and pressed my feet together or pressed down on my hips for some reason. I have never had instructors who do that before. Some warning before they grabbed me from behind in the dark would have been nice.

3 day split – Keep it simple home strength workout

kitty with wieght
Complete 4 sets of 10 of each exercise. Rest as much as needed between sets.

Day 1 – Chest/Shoulders/triceps
a) commando pushups
b) decline pushups (feet elevated)
c) dive bombers pushups
d) press ups

Day 2 – back/biceps
a) let me ups
b) single arm kettlebell rows
c) two arm dumbbell rows
d) reverse dumbbell flyes

Day 3 – Legs
a) kettlebell squat (x20)
b) Kettlebell reverse lunge (x10 per leg)
c) kettlebell single leg deadlift (x10 per leg)
d) side lateral lunges (10x per leg)

Tried Abel’s Leg Thirties. . .

leg day french bulldog
So I tried Abel’s leg thrities the other day. I was doing a home workout so I did a modified version since I didn’t have a leg press or squat rack. I only did two rounds. Round one was hard. Round two was brutal. I can’t imagine doing three to four rounds. (Something to work towards!) I am looking forward (I think) to trying the original version with a leg press and squat rack at the gym. I have done high rep work before, but something about this combination of exercises at high reps back to back just floored me. It really kept my heart rate up and my legs were burning. I love workouts that keep it simple but intense. If you don’t know what Abel’s leg thrities are you can watch them on youtube here.

The Problem With Calling People Overweight

Dances With Fat

Actual SizeI got this question from reader Lissa today:

I hear fat activists say that they prefer “fat” to terms like overweight and obese, but I don’t get it.  What’s better about fat than obese or overweight?

Well Lissa, I’m glad that you asked! As always people are allowed to identify themselves using whatever terms they prefer, and I can only speak for myself, but here’s what I’ve got.

My issue with the word “obese” is with how it’s used to pathologize a height/weight ratio.  The idea that our weight in pounds times 703 divided by our height in inches squared gives a health professional tons of information about our health and treatment options is pretty messed up, and that’s before you take into account the fact that the “obese” definition includes Dwayne Johnson (The Rock).  In addition to being an annoyingly useless abuse of mathematics,  it’s dangerous to those of us who…

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Paradoxically(?!) Fatter Diabetics Live Longer

A few days ago a new study was released which indicates that of people living with type-2 diabetes, those in the overweight category live the longest.  They even live longer than those in the “healthy weight” category.  Newspaper articles like these (TRIGGER WARNING FOR UBIQUITOUS HEADLESS FATTY SHOT) are quick to cite this as another example of the “obesity paradox”.  In case you are unfamiliar with this term, the obesity paradox refers to the fact that despite the fact scientists arbitrarily chose to name a lower weight category “healthy weight” or “normal weight”, the pesky fact remains that those of a higher weight on average live longer.  And while people in the “overweight” category are more likely to contract certain diseases than those in the “healthy weight” category (such as cardiovascular disease) they are more likely to survive these diseases for a longer time.  It’s vexing.  Because, not only does…

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Review: The Hardgainer Solution by Scott Abel

I just finished reading The Hard Gainer Solution by Scott Abel. I don’t think I really fall in the category of a “hardgainer” but I was curious to see what the take was on training for a “hardgainer”. Everyone says eat lots and push hard in the gym, but I wanted to see if there was more to it than that. This was book was a really interesting read. Mr. Abel advocates high volume rep style training that is not very typical of more traditional styles of body building in order to put on muscle mass. The most interesting part was the emphasis on avoiding excessive oxygen debt. In recent years more than ever I have noticed the fitness community as a whole has tended towards a “work harder, push harder, go faster, do HIIT everything, and gargle your heart!” attitude. To be told to avoid oxygen debt to build mass really got my attention. I also liked how the workouts in the book are designed so they can be done anywhere from 3 to 7 days a week if the rules provided are followed. I highly recommend reading this book. The content and writing is excellent and Mr. Abel is very generous at the end by including 80 complete workouts and multiple eating plans for various calorie intakes. Talk about body builder candy land.

The book can be found on amazon.ca here.