السبت، 28 أبريل، 2012

2 Tips That Will Change Your Life (Seriously)

I was just recently reminded of these 2 tips while reading a great book… Bill Phillips newest best-seller:  Transformation… which by the way, I just had the pleasure of meeting Bill in person a few weeks ago, and this book is actually about WAY more than just fitness or nutrition…actually 99% of the book is about transforming your entire being, your mind… your entire life.  It's powerful stuff, and a great read.

Now I will say that I think most of us, already know these 2 tips below, but may not practice them as often as we should… and I know personally, I found this to be a great reminder of how powerful these are and how they can change your life.achievement1.  In Chapter 8 in Bill's book, Transformation, he starts off this chapter with a shocking story about a man named Azim who tragically had his 20-year old son murdered by a teenage gang member 5 years prior.  The story ends up a bit unfathomable to most of us, as it turns out that Azim actually forgave his sons killer, in what can only be considered one of the most courageous acts of compassion and forgiveness than most of us could ever even contemplate.

After all, how many of us walk around for years holding grudges with a friend or family member over something silly and stupid that means nothing in the big picture of our lives?  However, this courageous father found it in his heart to forgive his sons murderer, the ultimate act of forgiveness.

For most of us, forgiveness will not be for such extreme events…instead, it will be for smaller things that we've been holding deep inside (bottled up inside, causing us hidden stress) against a particular person, maybe a sibling, a parent, a friend, or a spouse.  But what we don't realize is that these bottled up grudges harm OUR health, and do very little to "punish" the other person.

Bill points out a great saying "Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for your enemy to die".  Yes, you're harming yourself more than than the other person by holding onto resentment.

Another great saying to always keep in mind that will change the way you treat other people who may have hurt you:  "To err is human; to forgive is divine".

Yes, we all make mistakes… and if you think back to the story about the father that forgave his sons killer… Was that teenage gang member really an evil person deep down to his soul?  Or was he a victim of society, which led him into the gang lifestyle?  There's always more to the story than what's on the surface.

The most important thing we need to realize is that holding onto anger, resentment, or grudges is scientifically proven to harm our health and make us die earlier.  Bill points out a study in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health involving 2,755 people over 10 years.  According to the study that Bill summarizes, "Those who repressed anger and held resentments were found to be twice as likely to die of a heart attack compared to people in the study who were able to process and let go of negative feelings."

Puts you in the spirit to forgive someone, doesn't it.

Another VERY important thing that Bill points out… Holding onto a grievance doesn't give you control over the offender, and it doesn't "punish" them; it gives THEM control over you, and punishes YOU, because you're the one holding onto the health-harming stress and lack of peace of mind.

A few more great lines I loved from this chapter in Bill's book:

"Forgiveness is not done out of weakness; it is an act of strength and courage."

"Forgiveness is something that happens inside of you. It doesn't mean you're saying what happened to cause a resentment wasn't wrong or that it didn't matter.  It means… I choose to let go of this negative feeling towards the person whom I perceive has hurt me."

"…as long as any part of our mind or consciousness is engaged with unresolved feelings from the past it will require us to expend valuable energy on it."

"…as long as we hold onto a grievance, we are chained to the past situation and the offender."

"…granting someone true forgiveness is not based on any conditions. The forgiven don't have to deserve it or earn it. It's an act of grace and mercy on your part."

Just think… if we all kept these guidelines in the front of our minds daily, wouldn't the world be a MUCH better place, with less stress, fighting, hatred, resentment, and pent up anger?  I sure think so.

2.  This second tip is no less important than the first… and it is VERY powerful in helping you to live healthier and happier.

This is another important tip to living life to the fullest that I was reminded of when recently reading Bill's book, Transformation… The story starts off with a day that Bill had the pleasure of meeting fitness icon Jack Lalanne and a reporter from USA Today interviewed them both.

One of the most important questions that the news reporter asked Jack in the interview was "What should people who want to live a healthy life do first thing in the morning?"

The reporter had been expecting a specific tip about exercise or nutrition first thing in the morning… but instead, Jack replied with an answer that carried some very powerful wisdom… he replied "A healthy person always starts the day by counting their blessings."

What Jack Lalanne understands, that so many people don't, is that gratitude affects not only the health of your mind, but that of your body and your entire well-being too.

I think one of the most important daily rituals that anybody can take up is to lie in bed for 1-2 more minutes after waking up in the morning… and consciously bring to mind all of the things in his/her life that they are thankful for.  It's also important to write down what you are grateful for in your life.

I know that everybody has struggles, but everybody also has things that they should be grateful for.  This one daily ritual can literally change the biochemistry of your body and mind to put you into a more energetic and "feel good" state about your life, and thereby achieve more of your goals…

Don't believe me?

Well, according to Bill in Chapter 16 of Transformation, Dr. Robert Emmons, PhD, from the University of California Davis was involved in a large research project on gratitude, and here were some of his discoveries:

"Those who kept gratitude journals on a weekly basis exercised more often, felt better physically, and had a more positive mindset."

"Study participants who kept gratitude lists were found to be more likely to have made progress towards important personal goals (academic, interpersonal, and health-based) over a 2-month period."

"A daily gratitude intervention (taking time to focus on and write down things to be thankful for) produced higher levels of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, attentiveness, and energy."

"Those who participate in a daily gratitude exercise have lower levels of depression and stress and are more likely to offer emotional support to others and help them make it through their difficulties."

The bottom line… although you may have heard about practicing daily gratitude in the past, are you really doing it daily?  If not, you're missing out on the health benefits, increased energy, better sleep and mood, goal achievements, and just living healthier and happier!

So there you go… I told you that these 2 tips today would be powerful in helping to improve your life!

If you haven't yet read Bill's book, Transformation, I'd highly recommend it.  The book started off a little slow, and I kept thinking to myself, "I know all of this already"… but then about halfway through, the chapters just kept getting more powerful, and I realized there were a lot of things I needed to be reminded about and start practicing more often.

5 Shortcuts To Build Muscle Size

 
These days it seems that everything needs to be bigger, faster, and stronger. Going to the extreme is the norm. Everything from extra strength headache pills, to energy drinks, and high speed Internet. Bottom line is that people want change and they want it now!

When it comes to bodybuilding things are no different we want results ASAP. The desire to build a better body unites all bodybuilding and fitness enthusiasts, but for most of us, the muscle gains come too slow and they never come easy. So we look for shortcuts. Is the secret to fast muscle gains training harder, lifting heavier, eating more, popping this pill, or slugging back the latest hyped up magic muscle drink…

In this article we are going to dive into 5 of the most common workout "shortcuts" that people take and pick them apart to find a better plan of action. More often then not the best methods for building a stronger and more muscular physique involve a less extreme approach.

Shortcut # 1 – Training More Often

A lot of times aspiring bodybuilders think they are not training enough and fall into the more is better mentality. After all more workouts must mean more muscle, Right?

It is not uncommon to find less experienced (but over enthusiastic) bodybuilders to start spending more and more time in the gym. Daily workouts become the norm and the length of those workouts gradually gets longer and longer. They usually think they are doing themselves good, and sometimes even brag about how they workout "everyday".

Is there a better way?

Your body can only recover and grow so fast. Training a muscle again before you have fully recovered from your previous workout will eventually lead to overtraining. Generally the most you can train a bodypart is twice per week and still recover and grow.

While there are some exceptions to this rule with some abbreviated specialization routines (i.e. the Blast Your Bench program). You should limit yourself to working each bodypart no more then twice per week and taking at least 2 days per week off from weight training entirely as this is a good general guideline to follow for optimal muscle gains.

Shortcut # 2 – Doing More Sets

Making the transition from a beginner, to intermediate, to an advanced lifter usually involves increasing your workout training volume to some extent. The better shape you are in physically, the higher your work capacity, and the more volume of training you can handle.

For example, a beginner workout may consist of 6 sets per bodypart (i.e. 3 sets of 2 exercises). An intermediate workout may consist of 9 sets per bodypart (i.e. 3 sets of 3 exercises). And an advanced workout may consist of 12 sets per bodypart (i.e. 3 sets of 4 exercises). While this is all good general training advice, it breeds the "more is better" mentality. After all no one wants to be a newbie for long so they jack up the training volume too much, too soon.

Another problem with this train of thought is that if 12 sets per bodypart are good for an advanced lifter, will more sets be even better? How about 15 sets, or 20 sets, and beyond… Will this make me a "super advanced lifter"…?

Is there a better way?

Generally it takes at least 3 years of training to progress from the beginner, to the intermediate, and on to the advanced levels of training. Once you reach the advanced levels adding more sets and training volume beyond this is often counterproductive.

While there is no hard set rules for exactly how much training volume you should do, there are some general guidelines that you can follow. 9 sets per workout should be adequate for smaller muscle groups like biceps, triceps, calfs, and abs. And around 12 sets per workout will be enough for larger muscle groups like chest, back, and thighs.

Once you are at the advanced training level the key to more muscle growth is using progressive overload (gradually increasing your weights over time) and by adding variety to your workouts, by changing your exercises. NOT from adding more training volume.

Shortcut # 3 – Training Less Often

The world of bodybuilding is full of extremes, for a lot of guys it is either all or none… there is no middle ground. So after learning about the negative impacts of training too often, as outlined above, many bodybuilders make a complete U-turn and go the opposite direction and drastically cut back on their workouts figuring that "less is more".

Some experts have gone over the deep end with the fear of overtraining. Mike Mentzer and his Heavy Duty style workouts were one of the biggest influences of the "less is more" idea. Overall the basic principles of this workout were good because it implemented a solid plan of action, used progressive overload, monitored your progress, etc.

But one major flaw of the system was that if you weren't making progress with your workouts it was automatically assumed that you were "overtraining", so your workouts were cut back. Sometimes going to the point of working out once a week or less. In fact there is some fitness gurus who actually preach that you only need to workout once a month…?!?

Is there a better way?

For some extremely hardgainers training less often (i.e. every second day) may be the best frequency for muscle gains. But most people will respond well to more frequent workouts (i.e. 2 days on, 1 day off).

There are no hard set in stone rules that work for everyone, but a general guideline of working out 4-5 times per week and training each bodypart twice per week is a good place to start. As you get more experienced you be able to find out exactly what your body responds the best to and customize your workouts to fit your specific needs.

Shortcut # 4 – Heavy Weights & Low Reps

One of the basic bodybuilding principles is a bigger muscle is a stronger muscle. So in order to get bigger, you need to get stronger. Progressive overload is the cornerstone of all successful workouts. You need to gradually increase the weights you are lifting over time in order to make progress.

During the early phases of a starting a workout program beginners can make fast gains because all training stimulus is new at this stage. And a lot of the initial strength gains come not only from increasing muscle strength, but also from improved lifting technique and better coordination.

But once you get past the initial beginners phase, your strength gains come more slowly. When this happens a lot of lifters will simply do fewer reps so they can continue to increase the weights.

For example, if I can lift 100 lbs. for 10 reps, maybe I could drop the reps to 8 and lift 120 lbs., or drop the reps to 6 and lift 140 lbs., etc… While this may work to some degree initially to get you growing again, there comes a point where it can back fire and bring your gains to a screeching halt.

Is there a better way?

Lifting heavier weights for lower reps increases your odds of getting an injury such as a muscle tear. When you are doing fewer then 5 reps per set you lose the mind muscle connection. The lift becomes an end in itself and no longer a means for building muscle. Lifting too heavy makes it harder to concentrate on the muscles you are working, your focus switches to simply moving the weight and not getting crushed under a heavy barbell.

While you can successfully incorporate low rep training cycles into your workouts from time to time. They shouldn't be your primary focus. For bodybuilding purposes try to stay within the 6-12 rep range. This is the "sweet spot" for keeping your muscles under tension long enough to stimulate growth, while still allowing relatively heavy weights to be lifted.

Shortcut # 5 – High Intensity Techniques

A lot of hardgainers think the key to making faster gains in the gym is to simply work harder. So they increase the intensity of their workouts with various advanced training techniques such as forced reps, super sets, drop sets, and so on… Thinking that the harder they push themselves, the better gains they'll make. While these guys certainly deserve an A for effort, is pushing past the point of muscular failure really necessary?

Is there a better way?

One of my favorite training motto's is "Stimulate, Don't Annihilate!"

For the average drug free lifter using advanced training techniques and pushing yourself to the limit will quickly lead to burnout, overtraining, and possibly injury.

A very common mistake that you can witness pretty much any day of the week in the gym is to see a couple of eager young lifters doing bench presses with WAAAYYY too much weight on the bar. One guy will be getting ready to bench while his trusty spotter is standing by ready to assist the lift. After getting psyched up the lifter plops down on the bench and takes the bar from the rack, he manages to struggle up 2-3 reps using piss poor form and every ounce of effort his body can muster. Then he gets his spotter to assist him with an addition 3-5 reps.

At the end of the set you wonder who worked the hardest, the guy benching or his buddy pulling the bar off his chest…?

This is a prime example of abusing high intensity techniques. Once you reach failure with an exercise you have stimulated the muscle. Doing more then this is often not only waste of time, but could potentially set you back in your training through risk of injury.

I rarely, if ever, use any type of set extending high intensity techniques like forced reps in my training anymore. I've found that they are just not necessary. Doing your sets to positive failure is intense enough to stimulate your muscles to grow.

Once you reach failure, make note of it in your training journal and then strive to beat what you did for your next workout by either adding an additional 5 lbs. to the bar or doing an extra rep with the same weight. Using progressive overload like this will ensure that you constantly push yourself to make steady strength and muscle gains.

The Real Shortcut To Fast Muscle Growth

Gains in muscle and strength don't come overnight. They take consistency over the long term. By taking things at a manageable pace and making small frequent improvements week after week with your workouts your muscle size will increase faster then you ever thought possible… without having to go to the extremes to get there.

Inch by inch life's a synch… Yard by yard life is hard…
If one of your goals is to build a big, strong, muscular body then be sure to check out the Blast Your Bench website and sign up for the FREE 5-Part Bench Press Training Tips e-Course. In this free course you'll get some killer tips and tricks for packing on lean muscle mass and dramatically increasing your strength in record time!

For More Information Click Here

Are Field Days and Fitness Games Just For Kids?

Many of today's fitness boot camps take themselves too seriously, making the process of getting in shape a tedious chore.

Recently I was at an elementary school's end of school year "Sports Day" and had the chance to see a bunch of kids burning tons of calories while having fun.

Did they know they were, in effect, exercising?

Probably not, but that didn't mistake the fact that they were.

I started noticing the conversations all around me, people talking about how much fun they used to have when they were in grade school participating in their "Sports Day" or "Field Day".

It got me thinking about how predictable some fitness bootcamps, group exercise classes and sports program workouts can be when they don't have to be.

I sidled up to the gym teacher, Mr. Willows, in order to ask him about the exercises.

He told me that setting up these fitness games was the "highlight of his school year" and that, because he needed to go through the exercises as well, he "never felt more in shape".

I asked him which fitness games were his favorites and began mentally planning my next fitness boot camp class around them.

By the way, you've probably heard of corporate team building, which is typically known as a Japanese practice.

Large companies organize group events in order to promote a feeling of trust and solidarity between employees.

 Well, it's not unheard of for these companies to start a "Sports Day" or "Field Day" of their own.

 How about you, would your fitness boot camp or group fitness class benefit by having a 3 or 4 time per year "Sports Day"?

 (Think of the press release fun you could have with that one!)

 The first thing to consider when setting up your own circuit for a "Sports Day" is what will work with the space that you have.

 I know some fitness boot camps are strictly indoors, and for those – you should consider using both outdoor space (parking lot, nearby field, park) as well as your indoor space.

 Begin by selecting which track and field exercises you'd like to implement, such as long-jump, mini hurdles (use 3 or 4 cones set side by side), or the 100 yard dash.  

Of course you have to have the potato sack race, the tug of war and some of the fitness games from my eBook, "Fitness Games".

 If you plan on making "Sports Day" a regular part of your program, there is no need to do too many activities at once.

 Leave your clients wanting more.

 Fitness games such as the medicine ball shot-put, egg race and an obstacle course are also good ones to consider. Not only are they fun, but you can tailor them to incorporate weights and set time limits too.

 Before you know it, the class will be over, the circuit done and the sweet smell of calories burning is all around.

 You'll find that everyone is happy and laughing and that they were able to use muscles for fun as opposed to work.

 I guarantee that the "Sports Day" or "Field Day" theme will be a hit with anyone who gets bored easily and likes to have fun with his or her workout.  

With summer here and school recently out, it's a perfect time to utilize a "Field Day" theme with your bootcamp or sports program.

 Heck, you could even approach some local businesses and have them consider hiring you to put on a "Sports Day" at their place of business. 

This could lead to more opportunity and business for you and, at the same time; help get more people active in your community.

 Sounds pretty simple to me!

 Speaking of simple if you're at a loss for fitness activities and need to ratchet up the fun factor in your boot camps, check out the 35 plus games that you can simply plug in to your existing fitness boot camp or exercise classes right away.

For More Information Click Here

Are These 3 Vitamins Actually HARMFUL to Your Health?

Most people have never heard of the distinction between synthetic vs natural forms of vitamins.

The first thing you need to know is that some synthetic forms of vitamins are MUCH less absorbed by your body compared to natural versions.

BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY…synthetic vs natural vitamins

Did you know that several scientific studies have revealed that synthetic forms of certain vitamins can possibly have harmful effects in your body?

It's true… and a little scary too!

And if you choose an ordinary multi-vitamin that you get at a corner store, it most likely contains at least some synthetic forms of vitamins (unless it specifically states that it is whole-foods based).

It's also well known that your body will assimilate vitamins derived from whole-foods sources MUCH more readily compared to vitamins from synthetic sources.  We could talk about the differences in vitamins from whole foods sources vs synthetic sources for over a dozen different vitamins…

However, there are THREE vitamins that you need to be most concerned about with natural vs synthetic:

Here are the 3 most important vitamins that you NEED to make sure you obtain from natural sources and NOT synthetic:

Let's look at Vitamin A first…

Most multi vitamins contain Vitamin A in the form of vitamin A palmitate… this is a synthetic version that from my research has it's potential negatives.  It's also added to low fat or skim milks to replace the natural Vitamin A lost when they remove the milkfat.  Also many processed foods such as cereals are "fortified" with synthetic vitamin A palmitate.

Synthetic vitamin A palmitate is toxic at large doses, and you need to be careful not to over ingest.  I personally stay away from anything containing synthetic Vitamin A as much as possible.

If you eat a lot of cereal combined with low-fat or fat-free milk (and other "fortified" foods, or synthetic vitamin pills), you can see how you can possibly be overdosing on this potentially harmful synthetic vitamin A.  As you know from a lot of my articles, despite being marketed as "health" foods, there's not really much healthy about cereals at all!

True natural Vitamin A (retinol) actually only comes from animal sources such as cod liver oil, animal liver, some other organ meats, and in lesser amounts in butter, eggs, and milkfat.  However, at very large doses of cod liver oil or if you somehow overate large quantities of liver, it still is possible to overdose on natural Vitamin A from these types of sources (although this natural form is safer than the synthetic vitamin A palmitate).

Another form you'll see for Vitamin A is beta-carotene.  However, beta-carotene is actually NOT vitamin A… it's actually a pre-cursor to Vitamin A, and your body needs to convert it to vitamin A.

Therefore, beta-carotene is one of the safest forms of Vitamin A, since your body will only convert the amount that it actually needs.  You get healthy quantities of beta-carotene in carrots, sweet potatoes, spirulina, dark leafy greens, butternut squash, red peppers, and other colorful fruits and veggies.


NOW FOR VITAMIN D…

Vitamin D is another fat-soluble vitamin, just like Vitamins A, E, and K.  Vitamin D is one of the most important substances in our body, and also one of the most misunderstood.

The discussion about Vitamin D could get really long and complicated and fill an entire book, so I want to simplify it for you below:

1. The BEST, BEST, BEST source of vitamin D, without a doubt, is that which your body produces naturally from adequate sun exposure.

Vitamin D is actually produced into a hormone in our bodies and regulates hundreds of processes in the body… it is simply one of THE most important substances in our bodies.

It is even extremely important for our immune systems… Why do you think there are more sicknesses in the winter?  No it doesn't have to do with cold temperatures… it has more to do with Vitamin D deficiency which causes a weakened immune system since we don't get strong enough sun exposure in the winter!

I have an entire article here about the importance of moderate sun exposure WITHOUT burning and how this protects your health.

It is hard to obtain enough Vitamin D from dietary sources alone (egg yolks, organ meats, some mushrooms, and fatty fish are good sources, but still relatively small). The best utilized source of Vitamin D for our bodies is what we produce from moderate regular sun exposure without burning.

Cod liver oil is one of the best known dietary sources of natural Vitamin D, but it is best to only use small amounts of this and only in the deepest months of winter, as it's possible for you to overdose on Vitamin A from cod liver oil if you take too much.

2. If you get a blood test for Vitamin D, you generally want to be between the range of 50 ng/ml to 80ng/ml from what I've read.  Your risk of going lower than this and having a vitamin D deficiency typically occurs in the deepest months of the winter, unless you've gotten away on a tropical vacation closer to the equator, which could help raise your levels for several weeks afterwards.

3.  Just so you know, there are some controversies surrounding benefits and detriments of vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) vs. vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol).  Generally, vitamin D3 is what you want to look for, as that is also what is naturally produced in your body from the sun, and is the natural source we obtain from animal based foods.

From everything I've read and researched, I would personally try to stay away from vitamin pills or fortified foods that contain vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol).  This form has been linked to possible negative effects.

Instead, try to get moderate amounts of sunshine, if you can for most of the year, and focus on the healthy dietary sources of natural vitamin D that I listed above… and also look for supplements in the winter to be based on fish oil sources of vitamin D if you can.
NOW FOR VITAMIN E…

I know we got into a lot of details on Vitamin A and Vitamin D, so I'll make the discussion about synthetic vs natural vitamin E much quicker, and just give you the important facts:

1. With Vitamin E, the best utilized sources of vitamin E are from whole foods such as nuts and seeds, with smaller amounts in some greens.  Vitamin E from natural foods comes in the form of many different tocopherols and tocotrienols.

2.  If you take a multi-vitamin, you absolutely MUST check to make sure that you're taking the natural version of vitamin E and not the synthetic.  In supplements, the natural version typically starts with "d-alpha" and the synthetic versions start with "dl-alpha".

The bioavailability of synthetic vitamin E is much lower than natural vitamin E. In addition, I've seen many articles and studies that indicated that there could be potential health dangers with taking synthetic vitamin E over time. Once again, we get back to the fact that natural is always better than something that has been chemically modified.  Bottom line… Nature always wins in the natural vs synthetic debate.

How can you protect your health and that of your family?

1. First and foremost, make sure to try to obtain most of your nutrition from a great diversity of nutrient-rich, organic, whole foods. 

However, as I'm sure you'll agree, we're not perfect, and with our overly processed food supply, as well as chemically abused farm soils, our foods typically contain less vitamins and minerals than they did just several decades ago.  That's where a good whole-foods based multi-vitamin supplement can come in handy.

2. If you take a multi-vitamin, you MUST look for a whole-foods based vitamin and you specifically want to look for natural versions of Vitamin A, D, and E like we discussed in this article, as this assures that your body assimilates the vitamins most efficiently, and it also assures that you are not exposed to any of the potential harmful effects of synthetic vitamins.

One of the best (and one of the ONLY) whole-foods based formulas I've been able to find is something called VGF-25+, which is made from over 25 different vegetables, greens, and fruits (hence the VGF name).

Most importantly, with VGF-25+, the Vitamins A, D, and E are all from natural sources and NOT synthetic!

As I've mentioned to you before, I'm good friends with the owners of Prograde Nutrition, and I've just recently arranged with them for you to try out their new VGF-25+ Whole-Foods based multi-vitamin for FREE (all you have to pay is a small shipping fee).  This of course only applies before they run out of stock.
Click here to see if you qualify to try out a FREE bottle of this whole-foods based VGF-25+ Multi-Vitamin

Are Whole Eggs or Egg Whites Better for You?

I was on a weekend trip with some friends recently and one of my friends was cooking breakfast for the whole group. I went over to see what he was cooking and saw he was getting ready to make a big batch of eggs.

Well, to my shock and horror, I noticed that he was cracking the eggs open and screening the egg whites into a bowlwhole eggs are a perfect food and throwing out the egg yolks. I asked him why the heck he was throwing out the egg yolks, and he replied something like this…

"because I thought the egg yolks were terrible for you…that's where all the nasty fat and cholesterol is".

And I replied, "you mean that's where all of the nutrition is!"

This is a perfect example of how confused most people are about nutrition. In a world full of misinformation about nutrition, somehow most people now mistakenly think that the egg yolk is the worst part of the egg, when in fact, the YOLK IS THE HEALTHIEST PART OF THE EGG!

By throwing out the yolk and only eating egg whites, you're essentially throwing out the most nutrient dense, antioxidant-rich, vitamin and mineral loaded portion of the egg. The yolks contain so many B-vitamins, trace minerals, vitamin A, folate, choline, lutein, and other powerful nutrients… it's not even worth trying to list them all.

In fact, the egg whites are almost devoid of nutrition compared to the yolks.

Even the protein in egg whites isn't as powerful without the yolks to balance out the amino acid profile and make the protein more bio-available. Not to even mention that the egg yolks from free range chickens are loaded with healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

Yolks contain more than 90% of the calcium, iron, phosphorus, zinc, thiamin, B6, folate, and B12, and panthothenic acid of the egg. In addition, the yolks contain ALL of the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K in the egg, as well as ALL of the essential fatty acids (EFAs).

And now the common objection I get all the time when I say that the yolks are the most nutritious part of the egg…

"But I heard that whole eggs will skyrocket my cholesterol through the roof"

No, this is FALSE!

First of all, when you eat a food that contains a high amount of dietary cholesterol such as eggs, your body down-regulates it's internal production of cholesterol to balance things out.

On the other hand, if you don't eat enough cholesterol, your body simply produces more since cholesterol has dozens of important vital functions in the body.

healthy whole eggsAnd here's where it gets even more interesting…

There have been plenty of studies lately that indicate that eating whole eggs actually raises your good HDL cholesterol to a higher degree than LDL cholesterol, thereby improving your overall cholesterol ratio and blood chemistry.

And 3rd… high cholesterol is NOT a disease!  Heart disease is a disease…but high cholesterol is NOT.  Cholesterol is actually a VERY important substance in your body and has vitally important functions… it is DEAD WRONG to try to "lower your cholesterol" just because of pharmaceutical companies propaganda that everyone on the planet should be on statin drugs.

If you're interested in this topic of cholesterol specifically, I have another article listed at the bottom of this page about why trying to attack cholesterol is a mistake, and what the REAL deadly risk factors actually are.

In addition, the yolks contain the antioxidant lutein as well as other antioxidants which can help protect you from inflammation within your body (the REAL culprit in heart disease, not dietary cholesterol!), giving yet another reason why the yolks are actually GOOD for you, and not detrimental.

To help bring even more proof that whole eggs are better for you than egg whites, I recently read a University of Connecticut study that showed that a group of men in the study that ate 3 eggs per day for 12 weeks while on a reduced carb, higher fat diet increased their HDL good cholesterol by 20%, while their LDL bad cholesterol stayed the same during the study.  However, the group that ate egg substitutes (egg whites) saw no change in either and did not see the improvement in good cholesterol (remember that higher HDL levels are associated with lower risk of heart disease) that the whole egg eaters did.

So I hope we've established that whole eggs are not some evil food that will wreck your body… instead whole eggs are FAR superior to egg whites.

But what about the extra calories in the yolks?

This is actually a non-issue and here's why… even though egg yolks contain more calories than just eating the egg whites, the yolks have such a high micro-nutrient density in those calories, that it increases your overall nutrient density per calorie you consume.  Essentially, what this does is help to regulate your appetite for the remainder of the day, so you end up eating less calories overall.  In addition, the healthy fats in the egg yolks help to maintain a good level of fat-burning hormones in your body.

Overall, this means that the extra fats (healthy fats) and calories from the yolk are so nutrient-dense that they actually HELP you to burn off body fat!

Also, your normal supermarket eggs coming from mass factory farming just don't compare nutritionally with organic free range eggs from healthy chickens that are allowed to roam freely and eat a more natural diet.  Your typical cheap grocery store eggs will have lower nutrient levels and a higher omega-6 level and lower omega-3 level.  On the other hand, the cage-free organic eggs from healthier chickens allowed to eat more natural feed and roam freely will have much higher vitamin and mineral levels and a more balanced healthier omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acid ratio.

I recently compared eggs I bought at the grocery store with a batch of eggs I got at a farm stand where the chickens were free roaming and healthy.

Most people don't realize that there's a major difference because they've never bought real eggs from healthy chickens… The eggs from the grocery store had pale yellow yolks and thin weak shells. On the other hand, the healthier free range eggs from the local farm had strong thick shells and deep orange colored yolks indicating much higher nutrition levels and carotenoids… and just a healthier egg in general.

This is due to the fact that a free-roaming hen allowed to roam on plenty of land will eat a variety of greens, insects, worms, etc transferring MUCH higher levels of nutrients to the eggs compared to an unhealthy hen that is trapped inside a dark factory farm hen house in horrible conditions and fed nothing but piles of corn and soy.  It's a DRASTIC difference in the nutrition that you get from the egg.

So next time a health or fitness professional tells you that egg whites are superior (because of their "fat-phobic" mentality towards dietary fats), you can quietly ignore their advice knowing that you now understand the REAL deal about egg yolks.

And can we all please STOP with this sillyness about eating an omelete with 4-5 egg whites and only 1 egg yolk… If you want real taste and real health benefits, we'd all be better off eating ALL of our eggs with the yolks.

After all, do you REALLY think that our ancestors thousands of years ago threw out the yolks and only ate the egg whites?  NOT A CHANCE!  They intuitively knew that all of the nutrition was found in the yolks.  But our modern society has been brainwashed with misinformation about fats and cholesterol.

Another interesting study about eggs…

I read a study recently that compared groups of people that ate egg breakfasts vs groups of people that ate cereal or bagel-based breakfasts.  The results of the study showed that the egg eaters lost or maintained a healthier bodyweight, while the cereal/bagel eaters gained weight. 

It was hypothesized that the egg eaters actually ate less calories during the remainder of the day because their appetite was more satisfied compared to the cereal/bagel eaters who would have been more prone to wild blood sugar swings and food cravings.

Oh, one last thing I almost forgot… I personally eat 4 whole eggs almost every day with breakfast, and I maintain single-digit bodyfat most of the year. 

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Enjoy your eggs and get a leaner body!

Build a Bigger Chest in 3-4 Workouts or Less

If your pecs are a weak body part, or, if you've simply hit a progress plateau in your chest development, then this high intensity chest training program will pack slabs of muscle mass on your chest after just 3-4 workouts – and I guarantee it. This is a high intensity bodybuilding workout for advanced bodybuilders only. (Beginners don't even think about it…)

I'm currently on workout 3 of 4 in this pec routine and the results have been so impressive that I decide to write it up for you before I even finish the final workout next week.

Considering I'm on a calorie deficit in a cutting phase, I'm especially impressed with the increase in my chest size and development after 3 workouts. You're not going to gain much if any muscular body weight if you are in a caloric deficit, but NO DOUBT, you can improve the development of a muscle group even while cutting up. This is a perfect example. I'm going to return to this program again for sure on my next mass phase. This program is called…

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Multi-Angular Rest Pause With Pump Finisher

Here's how it works. You select two exercises. For exercise one (the main course), I chose a basic pec mass exercise that can be done at any angle from steep incline to flat bench. Thats the primary exercise you stick with for all 4 workouts. Incline Dumbbell Press was the natural choice. I set up on a fully adjustable bench that allows multiple angles of incline.

For exercise two (dessert), I chose an isolation exercise for a pump finisher, and it changes with every workout.

Here's the sequence:

A1 Incline Dumbbell Press – steep incline – about 65-70 degrees
6 reps
rest 10 seconds

A2 Incline Dumbbell Press – medium (regular) incline – about 45 degress
6 reps
10 seconds

A3 Incline Dumbbell Press – low incline – about 20-25 degrees
6 reps
10 seconds rest

A4 Dumbbell Press – flat bench
6 reps

Now rest 2 – 3 minutes.

That's one "set." Technically of course, that is FOUR SETS, done in rest pause fashion, so lets call it one "round" for clarity's sake.

Yes… that was round ONE. Now do it two more times.

Note: It helps a lot if you have a training partner change the bench angle so you can stay seated and keep the dumbbells in your hands. Doing it alone is slow and cumbersome.

For poundage, youre going to have to go MUCH lighter than usual. Although I don't train heavy pecs anymore, last time I did, I was doing 6 reps with 125s on the incline. So for this program I took about 50-60% of that; 70 lbs on workout 1, 75 lbs on workout 2,and 80 lbs on workout 3. On the last one, I had to drop to the 75s to finish all 3 rounds and even then I needed some forced reps towards the end.

You may need to decrease the weight on the 2nd or 3rd round, but if at all humanly possible, do NOT reduce the weight during each round. Doing all four angles at the same poundage is the whole idea.

What may happen, especially if you even slightly overestimated your starting poundage, is that reps may drop with each angle change within a round. First angle – 6 reps is easy. second angle, a little harder, but still no problem. Third angle, you might only squeeze out 5 reps or hit honest failure on the 6th rep. 4th angle (flat), you might hit total failure on the 4th or 5th rep.

Now this is also where a training partner comes in. This routine should not be attempted without a spotter. Sorry, but you are a dork if you try to do this without a spotter. This program causes HONEST muscle failure (I'll explain that in more detail shortly), so you need the spotter for safety, but moreover, you will need a spotter's assistance to complete forced reps, at least on the final round or two, if not the first round. In general, forced reps should not be overused, but they play an important part of this program.

Ok, where were we? Oh yeah, you just finished your 3rd round. You might be finished! Yeah. some people will be DONE, KAPUT, ZONKED, BONKED, NUKED, GAME OVER, after 3 rounds of that (think about it – that was 12 sets, disguised as 3 sets!) However, for those who want the full course…. come with me and lets finish off those pecs with the pump (oh, you thought were already pumped… heh.. just wait…you'll see what a pump is!)

The second exercise (exercise B) is going to be an isolation exercise.. ie., DB flye, cable crossover, machine flye (pec deck), etc., and you will perform 20-25 reps, non stop in piston-like fashion. use a steady quick tempo, but not so fast that you use momentum.

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This isolation /pump exercise will change with every workout:

B1 Workout 1: standing cable crossover
2-3 sets, 20-25 reps

B1 Workout 2: machine flye or pec deck
2-3 sets, 20-25 reps

B1 Workout 3: decline dumbbell flye
2-3 sets 20-25 reps

B1 Workout 4: flat bench cable flyes in cable crossover machine
2-3 sets, 20-25 reps

That's it! That's the whole program. Three rounds of multi-angular rest pause, then finish your workout with 2-3 sets of 25 reps on a pumping, isolation movement.

This routine is performed within a standard bodybuilding type of split, so it should be done once in 5-7 days, no more. You would probably do another body part after chest,such as biceps or triceps, depending on how you organize your split routine.

I would recommend advanced bodybuilders use this program a couple times a year if and when they need a boost in chest development. This is not the type of program you would use all the time. You would burn out and overtrain.

There's one more very important part of this routine – progression.

On the Incline Dumbbell Presses, you will increase the poundage with every workout. Keep in mind, you will not be able to complete all 3 rounds at all 4 angles for 6 unassisted reps. Its going to get harder each time, even as you get stronger. You may have to use a spotter more with each progressing workout. You may also find that on workout 1 or workout 2, you can complete all 3 rounds with the same dumbbells, but on workout 3, by the 2nd or 3rd round, you have to drop the weight or you'll barely be getting 2 or 3 reps.

Now let me re-emphasize the importance of a spotter. Theres something thats going to happen when you do this routine that does not happen often. You will hit what my training partner and I call "HONEST FAILURE." This means that your muscles literally fail, or give out right underneath you. Mind you, this is not something you would usually aim for, but that's just the nature of this program and this is only a 4-workout high intensity "shock" type of routine.

When I say your muscles will give out, I mean that literally. On the last rep or two of 3rd or 4th angle, of the 2nd or 3rd round, your arms may literally buckle underneath you. That's honest failure.

You see, there are several types of failure… First there is "sissy failure".. that's when there is a lactic acid burn or a fatigue in the muscle (you're tired) and because it hurts or youre tired, that causes you to stop. Thats sissy failure (sarcasm).

Then you have positive failure. This is where you can no longer push the weight up in a concentric motion, but you are still able to lower the weight and exert an upward force against the weight. For example, you're bench pressing and you hit the "sticking point," but you are holding that bar at the sticking point (its not coming back down), and you're still exerting force to push the bar upward, but the bar simply isn't moving up!

Then you have honest failure. This is where the muscle simply gives out.. it buckles. you have reached concentric and eccentric failure. This type of failiure is rarely discussed. In fact I don't recall anyone ever writing about it except for Arthur Jones and Ellington darden and the rest of the High Intensity Training (HIT) camp.

Rarely does any bodybuilder tread in this territory, and for good reason, as it is really not necessary and can be dangerous for anyone but a veteran who knows what the heck he is doing – and all the kidding aside for a moment, Im serious about this. Its no joke if your chest and arms give out from underneath you and you dump a 70 or 80 pound dumbbell on your face. (you do like your teeth, don't you?)

However, as a technique you use on rare occasion for a shock routine that breaks through progress plateaus, that untrodden territory is there… for those who dare. There is something about this particular program (multi angular rest pause) that takes you there. You've been warned! Train hard, but be safe!

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Did You Inherit Fat Genes? The Truth About Biology And Body Fat

"Battle Your Biology? Fat Chance," proclaimed a headline recently in the health section of the New York Post newspaper. Quoting new research and citing psychologists, dietitians and physicians, the article says that more and more evidence proves that your weight is genetically determined, and if you're fat, "it's not your fault." "We've known for a while that genes – more than environment and behavior – explain obesity" argues Dr. James Rosen, an eating disorder specialist and professor at the University of Vermont.

While genetics are definitely a factor, believing you are destined to be overweight for life because you've inherited "fat genes" is the most disempowering and self-defeating attitude you could ever adopt. The only way you'll lose weight permanently is to accept total responsibility for yourself and acknowledge the fact that you have the power to change, regardless what mother nature has given you to work with.

There's no denying that heredity plays a major role in how difficult it will be for you to lose fat. You inherited a body type, a predetermined number of fat cells, a metabolic rate and body chemistry just as you inherited your eye color and hair color. In the 1930′s, Harvard psychologist Dr. William H. Sheldon developed a classification system for these different body types called "somatotyping." While there are no absolutes, Sheldon identified three basic somatotypes: ectomorphs, mesomorphs and endomorphs.

Ectomorphs are the lean, lanky types. They are usually very thin and bony, with fast metabolisms and extremely low body fat. An ectomorph can eat like a horse without gaining an ounce. Mesomorphs are the "genetically gifted." They are lean, muscular and naturally athletic. Mesomorphs lose fat and gain muscle with ease. Endomorphs are the "fat retainers." Characterized by round features, excess body fat and large joints ("big bones"), endomorphs usually have great difficulty in losing body fat. They have slow metabolisms, they are often carbohydrate sensitive, they gain fat quickly if they eat poorly or don't exercise, and they lose fat slowly – even on a healthy diet.

The tendency of endomorphs to store fat easily can be partly attributed to metabolic problems. For example, endomorphs often metabolize carbohydrates inefficiently. Normal people can eat lots of carbohydrates – up to 60% of their total calories – and they still stay lean. Endomorphs produce too much insulin when they eat carbohydrates and this leads to increased fat storage and difficulty in losing existing fat. This condition is known as "insulin resistance" or "Syndrome X."

Scientists claim that the tendency to gain weight easily may also be due to chemical imbalances in the brain that cause people to overeat. Researchers at Johns Hopkins recently announced the discovery a compound called C75 that blocks an appetite-regulating hormone in the hypothalamus. In mice injected with the substance, 30 percent more weight was lost because the drug caused the mice to eat less. More research is planned to develop a similar appetite-suppressing drug for humans. Unlike Xenical, which blocks fat absorption in the intestine, this new drug would affect the brain's chemistry so that people feel full sooner.

Many physicians and health professionals consider these metabolic disorders and chemical imbalances as genetically transmitted "diseases" that require medical treatment. "Obesity is a disease and should be treated like one" says Jackie Newgent, spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association . This idea should be viewed with a great deal of suspicion however, because weight loss is potentially the biggest market in the world for drug sales.

According to Justin Gillis, a staff writer for the Washington Post, more than 45 companies worldwide are trying to develop new obesity drugs, and the stakes couldn't be higher. Gillis writes, "In world where a blockbuster drug is worth $1 billion a year in sales, analysts give $5 billion as the low estimate for sales of an important obesity drug. If a company developed a truly safe, effective weight loss drug, and sold it for $3 a day to one quarter of the 97 million American adults estimated to be overweight, sales would exceed $26 billion a year in this country alone."

Basically, what the medical community is trying to tell you is that if you are overweight, it's not your fault; you were born fat, so don't feel guilty – and don't worry, we have a drug that can "cure" you. Sounds like there's an ulterior motive at work here, wouldn't you agree? Before you run to get a prescription for the next "miracle" drug, you'd better wonder whose interests are being served; yours or the pharmaceutical giants.

Besides, drugs can never be the solution if they treat the symptoms and not the cause. Drugs should be considered a last resort for the morbidly obese who have already tried everything else without success and who will face serious health consequences if they don't lose weight. The editors of obesity.com said it best: "Weight loss drugs do not take the place of diet, exercise, patience, and perseverance."

"Dieting can be an uphill battle against your genes." says Post writer Joyce Cohen. Unfortunately, if you're an endomorph, Cohen is right. Losing weight is definitely easier for some people than for others and that doesn't seem fair. But that's the way life is. Life isn't fair. Let's be honest; not everyone is going to become an Olympic Gold medallist, a Mr. America or a fitness model. But don't despair – you are not doomed to live a life of fatness if you don't have "athletic genes."

Obesity is the result of many influences. Genetics is only one of them. Like it or not, the primary cause of obesity is your own behavior. Most of the factors that affect body composition are entirely under your control. These factors include how much you eat, what you eat, when you eat, what type of exercise you do, how frequently you exercise, how long you exercise and how hard you exercise.

If you have the genetic predisposition towards obesity, you can lose fat like everyone else, you're just going to have to work harder and longer at it than other people. "There is a genetic component to weight," Says Dr. Thomas Wadden, a psychologist from Syracuse University, "but no one is destined to be obese. If weight has been a major problem in your family, you may not be able to become as thin as you'd like, but you can lose weight."

If you find losing weight to be a slow and difficult process, the empowering thing to do is to look at it as asset, because overcoming this obstacle will force you to develop discipline, determination and persistence. These traits will carry over to other areas of your life and make you a stronger person all around. Arnold Schwarzennegger said, "Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strength. When you overcome hardships, that is strength."

The first thing you must do if you want to lose weight or succeed in any area of your life, is to accept complete responsibility for your situation. In a short but powerful little book called "As Man Thinketh," the author James Allen wrote, "circumstances do not make a man, they reveal him." What he meant was that we are not products of our environment or our heredity (our "circumstances"), instead, we products of our own thinking and belief systems.

We create our own circumstances through positive thinking and positive action and we create negative circumstances through negative thinking and lack of action or wrong actions. In other words, we are responsible for where we are, what we have and how our bodies look.

Some people get very angry with me when I tell them this: They say, "Wait a minute. Are you trying to tell me that when bad things happen to me, it's my own fault? That I brought unemployment, financial hardships, failed relationships, weight gain or even health problems onto myself? Because if that's what you're saying, that's totally unfair!"

Well, my friend, with very few exceptions, (some things really are out of your control) that is exactly what I am saying.

If you refuse to accept the fact that you are 100% responsible for your weight, you will never be successful. When people find themselves in undesirable situations or they aren't getting the results they want, it's all too easy to make excuses: It's my genetics, I have big bones, I have a slow metabolism, I don't have enough time to exercise, etc. etc., etc. Making excuses is relinquishing control. It is conceding that you a victim of circumstances instead of the creator of your circumstances. Stop blaming and start taking responsibility for your life. Take action! Start working out. Eat better. Do something – do anything – but don't just sit there on the couch and curse your chromosomes.

So, are you a frustrated "endomorph?" Do you feel like dieting is an uphill battle against your genes? If your answer is "yes," please don't just quit and chalk in up to "bad genetics," and don't believe that drugs are the answer either – they're not. Your genetics will largely dictate your athletic ability and how easily you will lose weight. That doesn't mean you can't get lean; it only means that you're going to have to adjust your diet and training to fit your body type and you may have to work harder and be more persistent than the "genetically lucky" ones.

Maybe obesity really should be classified as a genetically inherited "disease." But frankly, if you have a "disease" that forces you to learn more about exercise and nutrition, to eat nutritious foods, to adopt a healthier lifestyle, to develop a strong work ethic and to become a more persistent person, that sounds like a blessing in disguise to me.  <<< Watch This Amazing Video For More Information >>>

Does Hypnosis Work For Weight Loss?

Hypnosis conjures up images of a bearded man with piercing black eyes and a mesmerizing deep voice swinging a pendulum back and forth, chanting, "You are getting very sleeeeepy." Hypnosis is terribly misunderstood and the only exposure to hypnosis most people will ever have is a Las Vegas stage show. But stage hypnosis for entertainment and hypnotherapy for behavior change are completely different animals. Could "real" hypnotherapy help you get leaner?

I've wondered the same thing myself for decades, since I first started bodybuilding.

In the late 1980's, Dr. Judd Biasiotto published numerous books about the mind in sports including one called, "Hypnotize Me And Make Me Great."

That 70-page book, which has long since gone out of print (but still holds a hallowed place on my shelf), was one of the books that sparked my interest in mind power and hypnosis.

In case you're not familiar with strength sports, Dr. Judd is the guy who squatted 605 pounds at a body weight of 132 pounds – a staggering feat, as any powerlifter will tell you. When a world class lifter who also holds a PhD in sports psychology says there's something to hypnosis, and that his mental training regimen was instrumental in his success, a teenage wannabe bodybuilder, desperate for muscle, listens!

All these years later, my interest in hypnosis and the powers of the mind have never waned. I've used self hypnosis as well as hypnosis CD's, which were directed at improving performance in the gym, generating maximum intensity during workouts and pushing through the pain barrier. While I don't see hypnosis as anything magical, I do believe it has been helpful. I also believe that a comprehensive mental training program, which may include hypnosis, can make or break your weight loss program success and give athletes a competitive advantage.

Any seasoned coach can tell you that which diet or training program you follow is irrelevant if you can't follow it consistently. Many of the problems such as non-compliance, self-sabotage, inconsistency and lack of motivation are mind problems, not body problems.

One misconception about hypnosis is the fear that you'll lose command of your faculties during a session or that it's some kind of "mind control." This is not true to any greater degree than your family, friends, peers or culture have "controlled" your mind.

The fact is, the mind is amenable to suggestion, (especially the mind of a very young child), and in that sense everything is hypnosis. Reading the newspaper or watching TV is hypnosis or "mental programming" in one sense. You get "programmed" by societal norms to become one of the masses, unless you make a choice to be different and become what you want to be.

Another source of misconceptions about hypnosis comes from stage hypnosis, which has virtually nothing to do with hypnotherapy for personal change. The stage hypnotist intentionally ferrets out the most susceptible individuals in his audience – who happen to be willing participants – and then induces some hypnotic phenomenon for entertainment value.

Hypnosis, as used in personal change work, is simply a relaxed state of altered consciousness and heightened focus where the conscious mind gets out of the way, allowing a message from the hypnotherapist to reach your subconscious more easily. When your subconscious gets the message, it stimulates positive behaviors, so hypnosis is simply a tool for behavior change.

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Self hypnosis (by yourself), is as simple as taking long, deep breaths, getting relaxed (sometimes using progressive muscle relaxation techniques), then doing your visualization or repeating affirmations, or even listening to your own home-made affirmations tape.

Many people report great success with hypnosis, but others do not. The mixed results probably have to do with the practitioner, and some with the subject. What kind of results can you expect from hypnosis? Could hypnosis help you lose weight or change your body in other ways?

I believe that there is a mind-body link and that it's entirely possible that the brain, central nervous system and subconscious mind can literally "talk" to the various cells of your body and that this may be a factor in healing from illnesses. I believe that the body is a remarkable self-healing machine and its own natural pharmacy.

I think it's pretty difficult to prove, but being that a legitimate science exists on this subject (it's called psychoneuroimmunology), the scientific community seems to think enough of the mind-body connection to spend time, money and resources to formally investigate it. There are many exciting and plausible theories. We also have the placebo effect to consider, where a belief can affect biology in truly amazing ways.

That said, when it comes to hypnosis, I think you should view it with an eye of caution as well as interest. First and foremost, and perhaps exclusively, you should see hypnosis as a tool to change behavior. When you look at a claim made for hypnosis, you should ask yourself whether that claim is a result that can be achieved through a change in your behavior. 

For example, if someone promotes hypnosis for muscle growth, is it possible that your behavior might change in a way that you gain more muscle? The answer is yes. The hypnosis might help you change your eating habits, and you might just push yourself harder in the gym. Therefore, the muscle growth occurs as a result of behavior change – eating better and training harder – rather than the hypnosis itself.

It's the same with body fat reduction: Will hypnosis magically increase your metabolism from a mind body connection? While I like to keep an open mind, I seriously doubt it and I'm not too enthused about hypnotherapists who say they will hypnotize you and your metabolism will speed up. If it can happen, I'm not sure it will ever be provable using the scientific method, so it may ultimately come down to your will to believe the claims.

So, could hypnosis help with breast enlargement? Well, maybe. A thought might bubble up from your subconscious mind that it's a good idea to save up your money, go visit the doctor, and fork over the three grand for implants (sarcasm intended).

Guys, I could give the same warning about hypnosis for enlargement of your…. uh… your amount of hair… yeah, hair growth, that's it… watch out for those hair growth hypnosis claims. I'm not so sure I believe them (grin).

What about weight loss?

Although the results are not definitive, there's some clinical psychology research that's been published in peer reviewed journals which shows successful results from hypnosis for weight loss. In part 2 of this series, you'll hear more about what those studies found.

Even more eye-opening in my view are some of the documented cases of medical hypnosis, which range from simple pain relief from dental work to surgery without anesthesia (which is pretty freaky if you think about it). The mind does affect the body.

In my opinion, hypnosis sessions or hypnosis CD's can be a valuable adjunct to a comprehensive fitness, nutrition and lifestyle program for some people, if you get them from a reputable and skilled hypnotherapist.

Even better, I believe the ideal type of session would include conscious coaching and education as well as traditional hypnosis, not just a passive situation where you listen and expect your mind to be positively "programmed."

Then again, I think this is why weight loss hypnosis CDs sell like gangbusters, because they're often sold under the pretense that you do absolutely nothing. Just listen and get slim – the perfect "quick fix."

I don't think it's that simple or easy. You have to accept responsibility for change, take an active role in creating change and have a bias for action if you really want to be successful. You have to work on the physical and mental plane simultaneously not just "think positive" or rely on self help CD's of any kind.

So while I DO believe hypnosis can be a valuable tool, at the end of the day, programming your mind for success all boils down to what you say to yourself (and see/read/listen to), most of the time. You can't work with a hypnotherapist every day for the rest of your life, but you do talk to yourself non stop every single day, and repetition is a proven way to condition the mind.

The way you talk to yourself, most of the time, IS "hypnosis" if you think about it… it's self-hypnosis.

If you already have a structured training and nutrition plan, Like Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle, but you're having challenges with the behavior change side of things, I hypnosis or positive mental programming CD's might be worth trying as an additional tool in your "mental training" took kit.

Just remember that in the long run, you are your own best hypnotherapist and when it comes to the claims, let the buyer beware.

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Don’t Let These 8 Mistakes Sabotage Your Bench

 Did you know the average weight training enthusiast can barely bench press their own bodyweight? That statistic doesn't even account for the people that don't work out. Give yourself a pat on the back if you've conquered the feat of benching your own bodyweight. Don't worry if you're not there yet, you're about to learn eight sure-fire methods that will help you earn bragging rights in and out of the gym.

So what's the big deal about the bench press anyway? You're not playing sports or trying to compete, why is this legendary exercise so vital to an attention grabbing physique? In fact for those of you who think the bench press is simply for the ego, you're wrong. It's true no other exercise is more frequently talked about. However it's not so strange when you think about it. The bench press is a core fundamental exercise for developing upper body strength. You're not only working your pectorals (chest), you are also working your anterior deltoids (front shoulders), triceps brachii, and latissimus dorsi (back). If you could pick just one exercise to acquire a full round chest with some functional power to go with it, you would be wise to go with the bench. You just can't develop the same upper body with any other exercise.

As a personal trainer I have seen hundreds of people strive for a 300-pound bench. The truth is most people make the same mistakes, but they can easily be changed to help you start an explosive growth spurt of your own.

Mistake #1: Less is more.

By far the biggest mistake people make is "wanting it" so bad that they overtrain. It's human nature, if we don't see the gains we're looking for the common sense solution is to work harder and harder. I can tell you from personal experience that last time I hit a plateau in my training I took a week off from the gym and came back stronger than the last time worked out. Be on the look out for warning signs of overtraining such as lack of motivation, trouble sleeping, poor nutrition, and of course lack of progress.

Mistake #2: Full body workouts.

Let's get you set up on a new split where you can give each muscle involved in the bench press the attention it needs. Remember, there's more to the bench press than just your chest. For maximum recovery you should only train each body part once per week with an optimal workout split. If you still think you need to bench two or three times a week, see mistake #1. You have time to workout 45-minutes a day, 4-days a week don't you?

Mistake #3: Self-doubt.

Hopefully you don't need a pep talk, but here it goes anyway. Excuse me as I impersonate motivational speaker Anthony Robbins for a moment. Your subconscious mind believes whatever you tell it, so do yourself a favor and program it with positive thoughts. I cringe every time someone asks me for a spot and they bash themselves before they even start the lift. Comments like, "I don't think I'll get very many reps," or "I can't do this much, but I'll try." If you're not confident, fake it, and tell yourself you're going to succeed. Trying is a part of failing. If you're afraid to fail, you're afraid to try.

Bench Press Blunders Mistake #4: Bad form.

Let's work on some mechanics. After practicing a few of these techniques you should be able to boost your bench press by a minimum of 25 pounds.

Is this cheating? Not at all, this is a regulation lift. If you want to completely isolate your chest head over to the pec deck machine to finish up. It's good that you're learning to use more than just your chest when you bench press. Don't be surprised if two days later you feel sore in your back, chest, shoulders, and triceps.

Mistake #5: Too many warm-up sets.

Don't get me wrong you certainly need to properly warm-up. However you should do so with some very light weighst, push-ups, and stretching. You don't want to exhaust your muscles before you get to your working sets. Most people pyramid up and then wonder whey they can't get the weight on their last set. By doing lighter warm-up sets you will save your energy for the heavier weights and a big finish.

Mistake #6: Neglecting your back.

Strong lats or "wings" are very important to the negative phase of the bench press. Your back is the center of support for the weight as you lower it to your chest. That's why blasting your back is so important and must not be skipped. Try some T-bar rows, or bent over barbell rows to strengthen your back. You'll notice that it's almost the exact opposite or antagonistic lift to the bench press.

Mistake #7: Lack of goals.

So you want to increase your bench press. That makes the two of us. The problem with this statement is it's much too vague. I want you to pull out your pen and paper. Write your goal down on four separate sheets of paper in bold letters. "ACHIEVE A ______ POUND BENCH PRESS BY ______." The simple task of writing your goal on paper brings you closer to completion. This act will make your goal more concrete, increasing the likelihood of achieving it. Now post these pieces of paper on your fridge, dashboard, computer screen, and dresser to constantly remind you of your goal.

Mistake #8: Lack of variety.

The human body is an amazing system. Whatever you throw at it, it can adjust and learn to handle. Keeping it off guard, mixing things up, and adding variety to your workouts will ensure your body responds positively. Always stay one step ahead by changing your workouts when you feel you're not making the gains you expect. If you're like me and want to look good while, while having some strength to back it up you've probably been training with reps between eight and twelve. Try lowering the reps on your bench press sets to the six to eight repetition range for a few weeks. You'll be pleasantly surprised to see how your body reacts if you haven't tried this before.

If you can avoid these common pitfalls and you're open-minded enough to try something new you'll soon be bench pressing more than you dreamed possible. Take it from me, the man who was stalemated at a 275-pound bench press for more than three years! Learn from others mistakes and watch your bench press sore. Your wife or girlfriend will be admiring your muscular upper body while your friend's are dying to learn your secrets.

Bench Press Mistakes The Split

Monday: Chest/Biceps
Tuesday: Legs
Wednesday: Off
Thursday: Shoulders/Traps
Friday: Back/Triceps
Saturday: Watch the game
Sunday: Rest

The Bench Blastoff Routine

Day 1: Chest/Biceps

Flat Bench Press 4 sets of 6-8 reps
Incline Dumbbell Press 3 sets of 8-10 reps
Cable Crossover 3 sets of 10-12 reps
Alternating Dumbbell Curls 4 sets of 8-10 reps
Seated Preacher Curls 3 sets of 10-12 reps

Day 2: Legs

Squat 3 sets of 8-10 reps
Leg Press 3 sets of 8-10 reps
Leg Extensions 3 sets of 10-12 reps
Leg Curls 3 sets of 10-12 reps

Day 3: Off

Day 4: Shoulders/Traps

Font Military Press 3 6-8 reps
Upright Rows 3 sets of 8-10 reps
Lateral Riases 3 sets of 10-12 reps
Dumbbell Shrugs 3 sets of 8-10 reps

Day 5: Back/Triceps

Pullups 3 sets of 10-12 reps
Bent Over Barbell Rows 3 sets of 6-8 reps
Lat Pulldowns 3 sets of 8-10 reps
Close Grip Bench Press 3 6-8 reps
Tricep Extensions 3 sets of 8-10 reps

Day 6: Off

Day 7: Off

Points To Remember:

? Make sure you're not overtraining.

? Work your bench press only once per week.

? Ditch the self-destructing negative thoughts.

? Don't waste your energy with surplus warm-up sets.

? Train your back just as hard as your chest.

? Set a specific goal.

? Try performing less repetitions when benching.

? Drive with your heels, widen your grip, arch your back, and retract your shoulder blades!

About The Author:

Mike Westerdal is the President of Critical Bench, Inc. He earned his BS from Central CT State University and holds certification as a personal trainer with the American Council on Exercise. Westerdal also has experience coaching and playing professional football. His articles are published throughout the Web and in numerous weight lifting magazines including Monster Muscle. His best RAW bench press is currently 450 lbs. He is the author of the Critical Bench Program.

More Information About Muscle Building Click Here

Fat Burners: The Unadulterated Truth

QUESTION: Dear Tom, I am not currently using any fat burners. However, in many magazines where I see advertisements for fat burners, they always have a model with a six-pack and the headline is something like, "It takes more than training and nutrition to get a six-pack." Once a person hits a plateau, do we really need fat burners to achieve that "ripped" or "six-pack" look? I am having a really hard time getting my stomach to look the way I want it, and I really respect your opinion, so I appreciate your thoughts on this. Thanks Tom!

ANSWER: The short and sweet answer is NO, you do not ever "need" fat burners.

While I won't dismiss the fact that there are some ingredients in some "fat burner" products that might help a little bit, I take great displeasure in seeing those kinds of misleading headlines as well as the misleading use of models who are often paid to endorse the product even though they may never have even used it (they're just models!)

Many "fat burner" companies have been sued by the Federal Trade Commission for false advertising, false claims and falsifying before and after photos.

The best you get is a slight thermogenic effect and possibly some slight appetite suppression. A few products might work through other mechanisms like improving thyroid, but if you forgive me the generalization, I consider the effects of all these "fat burner" products to be minutia. In a previous newsletter, I wrote that in my opinion, 97% of your results come from nutrition and training and maybe you get an extra 3% advantage from supplements.

Just so you know those numbers arent something I just pulled out of thin air, lets take an example:

I have reviewed scientific data that EGCG, the active ingredient in green tea extract, if consumed in enough quantity, could increase thermogenesis / metabolic rate by an average of about 75 calories in 24 hours. Since ephedrine was taken off the market, green tea extract appears in many ephedra-free formulas these days. What is a typical calorie expenditure for an active male in 24 hours? lets say 2700 calories per day. 75/2700 = 2.7%. That slight little extra doesnt hurt, especially when its delivered in a healthful package such as green tea, rather than central nervous system stimulants, but its minutia in the bigger picture. Another way to put this into perspective is to make a list of what other things would burn 75 calories (for 150 lb person:)

 

Ah yes, but why move your body when you can take the pill and metabolism increases while you sit and watch TV? How about for your health? A body that is not moved, rots away. Unlike a car which only has so many miles on it and wears out from over-use, people are the only "machines" on earth that fall apart from under-use.

Here's what any good personal trainer will always tell you: No amount of calorie restriction or pill-popping will ever give you FITNESS. It willl never give you STRENGTH. it will never get you MUSCULARITY. It will never give you FUNCTIONALITY. At best it will help you reduce body mass slightly.

On one hand, I'm tempted to say that everything counts and that yes, 75 calories here, and 75 calories there, it ALL adds up, because it does. After you're exercising regularly and all your fundamentals are in place, details and little things do matter.

I'm simply asking you to put the benefits of any fat burners in proper perspective and realize that (1) there is no "need" for taking them and (2) the claims made in the ads are often erroneous or exagerrated.

My advice on fat burners:  <<< Watch This Amazing Video For More Information >>>

1. NEVER buy a fat burner unless you get independent verification of the claims made for the product.

How do you KNOW they really work? Are you SERIOUSLY going to take the advertisers word for it? Are you SERIOUSLY going to take someone else's testimonial as fact? Get verification for yourself by going to the pub med data base and looking for research (try www.ReleMed.com too, as their search results are very thorough and relevant and they provide links to the pub med citations).

2. Put it in perspective

With those products that work, such as those providing a small thermogenic effect, put that in perspective as compared to how easily you could burn that many calories with even light exercise like walking or housework. Keep in mind the additional fitness and strength benefits you will obtain from exercise as opposed to doing nothing and popping a pill.

3. See if there are any side effects or health warnings.

With all supplements and especially with prohormones or stronger thermogenics like the ephedrine and caffeine stack, (if you still have access to them), understand the risk to benefit ratio, and be certain you know the dangers and contraindications.

4. Read the label and see if the product contains enough active ingredient to even work.

A classic scam is when a "fat burner"product quotes research that a certain inredient boosts metabolism, which might be true. What they may not tell you is that all the research with positive results used a large dosage of the ingredient, which might not be cheap. So the supplement company includes a "pinch" or "light dusting" of that ingredient just so they can say it's in the bottle, even though its nothing more than "label decoration." Then they have the audacity to invoke the research studies in their advertisements when the amount of the ingredient in their product is no where near what was used in the research!

5. Proprietary blend scam.

Some companies, DONT LET YOU SEE how much ingredient is in the product formula, because it contains multiple ingredients and they say their formula is a "trade secret" aka "proprietary", so they list WHAT is in the product but not HOW MUCH. If you don't know how much is in there then how are we (the consumers) supposed to get independent confirmation of the facts and analyze whether this product is any good?

6. Make sure there is human research, not just rodent research.

In many cases, advertisements cite studies on rats and mice as "proof" under the assumption that the product will produce the same results in humans. Animal research is an important part of the scientific method, as it is often used to help find areas of research where human study should be pursued, or in the other direction, to trace back the mechanism that makes something work. However, for obesity research in particular, a positive finding in rats does not mean the same thing will happen in humans.

7. Look for more than one human study.

Consider trying a supplement after it has human research that has been replicated by different research groups which are not industry-sponsored. My policy is that I will usually only give a "buy" rating to a supplement when a product has an intitial well-designed human controlled trial published and then similar research has been replicated by another research group that is not supplement-industry funded.

Actually, I think it's a good thing that nutrition and supplement companies fund and sponsor some of the research. They should. They should not only back up their claims with published clinical trials, they should share some of the cost of this expensive research.

However, a basic principle of the scientific method is replication. Other researchers should be able to duplicate the findings. Therefore, while the funding source does not necessarily prove bias, if there is only one study available on a supplement and it is company or industry sponsored, I usually take it with a grain of salt and put an asterisk next to it while I wait for confirmation from another study. (You might be surprised at how IN-frequently this type of confirmation occurs).

Do you REALLY need "more" than nutrition and exercise??????

Now, when you weigh the fact that even the products with research backing them only help a little, with the fact that many of the ads lie to you about research, exagerrate claims and hide vital information about ingredients, and with the fact that you can do a few more minutes of exercise per day and get the same results for free, how enthusiastic are you about fat burners? Yeah, that's why I'm not real excited about them either and based on the fact that I use no drugs and no "fat burner" supplements and I compete in bodybuilding – very successfully – I'd say that the assertion, "it takes more than nutrition and exercise to get six pack abs" is patently false.  <<< Watch This Amazing Video For More Information >>>