Should you really hate Planet Fitness?

By Big Dan aka Coach Motivation

By now, you have heard people absolutely bash Planet Fitness. Whether they are ragging on “Pizza Mondays”, “The lunk alarm”, or the purple and yellow equipment, people really seem to hate this place. I’ve heard the commercials, talking about a “judgement free zone” where “lunks” are not allowed. I get how easy it is to make fun of this place because they chose to be different with their marketing and their slogan, when perhaps; they are really just making this a “douche free zone.” I’ve been lifting seriously since 2002; I’m 6’4, 255 lbs with 20 inch arms. I know from that description you probably immediately think “he’s a lunk.” I am also a personal trainer in Wichita, Kansas which is known as “the mecca” of YMCA facilities. The facilities are amazing, sprawling thousands of square feet with innumerous amounts of machines, free weights, squat racks, swimming pools, each one a first class facility. While literally thousands of people come through these facilities every day, hundreds to the weight room, I have to observe people using the worst form, I have to constantly tell people not to drop the weights, I hear the weirdest sounds of people grunting, squealing, and whining, instead of breathing correctly. I can tell you, if you don’t want to go to planet fitness because you can’t do these three things, you probably shouldn’t be in any gym until you correct yourself. Chances are, you are lifting too much weight, using incorrect form while using that weight, and making minimal gains. In my opinion, “lunk” is a kind word, douche is more appropriate and every gym should have an alarm! First they should have an introduction to the weight room video you watch before you are allowed in!

Note: If you are a true bodybuilder, powerlifter, or serious athlete and you use correct form and truly need heavy weight, Planet Fitness is not meant for you and that’s OKAY. However, you don’t have to hate because you think they called you a “Lunk.” You are not a lunk.

First off, what is a good definition of a “lunk?”

Look, unless you are a powerlifter, you shouldn’t be doing any less than 8 repetitions. Anyone can argue with me to the cows come home on this one, but the fact is, when building muscle, you want to focus on the concentric and eccentric motion of the lift, and the time under tension. If you didn’t comprehend what concentric and eccentric motions are, then you probably should go ahead and stop hating planet fitness now and start educating yourself. I don’t know how many times, high school age people would come into the gym, load the bar or machine up, let the weight come crashing down, only to use every muscle but the one being worked to get the weight up. Then, after making the sounds of a dying Spartan warrior, they leave without racking their weights. Ego lifting doesn’t get you big muscles, and it won’t get you the girl wearing the yoga pants who is doing endless Romanian deadlifts in front of the mirrors, in front of everyone either.

Another “lunky” activity is attempting to do crossfit lifts in a crowded commercial gym or health care facility. Crossfit is like Walgreens, there is a facility on every corner that will allow you to do 1 rep Max while dropping your weight from above your head with horrible form, ensuring that only Chiropractors rival the amount of Crossfit gyms, and Walgreens on every corner. (Nothing against chiropractors, there are just a a lot of you, however, some of you are really good)

Look, I get those 90 lb dumbbells are heavy, but, unless your name is Ronnie Coleman, 8-time Mr. Olympia, or Brian Shaw, 2 time world’s strongest man, and you are using 200 lb dumbbells working out in your own garage gym, or the Metroflex in Arlington, Texas, you shouldn’t be dropping the dumbbells. When finishing a set of dumbbell presses, if you can’t sit up and bring them to your knees and set them on the floor, you need to be using less weight.  Not only are you endangering people around you, you are loosening the dumbbells making them dangers and unstable for others to use. If you focused on lowering the weight with control and contracting the muscle on the way up, you will get a better pump, tear down more muscle fibers, and maximize gains all the while not being a “lunk” and sending a thunderous roll of “look at how strong I am” through the gym.

Now, I haven’t met anyone that was really intimidating at the gym. In fact, the biggest guys in the gym have always been the nicest, often offering advice, a spot, or just a laugh. They also typically use the correct form, don’t drop the weights, and re-rack their heavy weights. If you do run into someone who is big, makes rude remarks at people that are not his friends, takes weight from other people without asking, or laughs at you, this person is a douche and should not be allowed in a weight room. I have yet to encounter a gym bully in the 13 plus years I have been lifting. However, if you are intimidated by people with muscular physiques, that work out hard, and lift heavy weights correctly, then you are for sure the problem, not them.

In summary

Perhaps you are a member of another commercial chain, health club, or home gym, if so, congratulations. However, if you are “hating” on a facility that in fact isn’t trying to cater to YOU, whether you are a “serious lifter” or just a jerk that does all the things listed above that define a “lunk”, then you are just a bully. If you look at it, Planet Fitness isn’t trying to tell you that you don’t belong at their gym; they are just saying they don’t want douche-baggery at their facility which is described in politically correct terms as a “lunk.” If you are a serious lifter, bodybuilder, powerlifter, cross-fitter, be proud of it! You aren’t considered a “lunk” as long as you don’t, drop your weights obnoxiously and dangerously, grunt like a dying Spartan, 1 rep-max using the incorrect form, or do crossfit in a crowded area endangering everyone around you while dropping your weights from 6 feet in the air. While it may seem like Planet Fitness hates “fit people”, they are really just  trying to cater to people who may be scared to enter a “Gold’s Gym” or another facility where a lot of “Lunk” related activity happens. Admit it, you hate it when people do that crap too. So next time you are working out be conscious of the way you are lifting, chances are, you probably hate the activity described above. I’m sure you’d love to warm up before you hit the leg press, but not with the 800 lbs the person used last left on there! So let’s give Planet Fitness a break, if you truly embrace a healthy lifestyle, you should be happy there is a place that people may feel more comfortable working out at. The whole pizza thing, well, maybe it fits their Macro’s? Just remember, “haters gonna hate, and potatoes gonna potate!”

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Before and After..

Motivation: The Ultimate key to success

By “Big” Dan McCarthy aka “Coach Motivation”

My motivation for writing this blog today, on February 24, 2015, was an episode of “My 600lb life” on TLC. When I first started watching the episode, I was sitting down; I’ve seen the situation all too many times, a person continuously putting the wrong type of foods in their mouth causing them to gain weight. As a personal trainer, I began to look at the food and add up the calories, and then I took into account non-active lifestyle, coupled with adopted attitude of “I don’t care,” a phrase often thrown out to mask the person’s inability to admit the health risk of obesity. Those who are overweight, obese, use the “I don’t care, this is who I am” as a way to shun those who look at it from a purely vane aspect rather than a life threating danger. The fact is, being overweight can bring on a slew of health issues, from high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or type 2 diabetes, heart disease just to name a few. So as I began to further watch the episode, I found myself standing, I had already solved the diet issue, obviously the exercise would be minimal as she was so large, anything more than some arm movements and walking from one side of the room to the other might not only discourage her already weak mindset, it may cause intense pain or even worse, a heart attack. However, let’s go! I’ve solved this! I can help this lady! Then as I was watching, she entered the grocery store, sat down and began to cry, her mother at her side, she began to talk about how hard it was for her to move, how it made her sad, how it made her scared, then after catching her breath, they proceeded in filling the grocery cart with chips, cakes, pies, and anything else that would contribute to pushing oneself further into the void. It was at this point I realized, she didn’t need a trainer, she needed a therapist. Someone who could help her find that motivation, to help her realize she hadn’t reached the point of no return. When you think about it, the point of no return means the person has come to the conclusion that the distance to return to a healthy state is much farther than it is to keep going and face what could be their ultimate fear: death.

So how can a personal trainer play the role of both a therapist and physical coach when approached by someone who is looking to make a change?

In the above question I said “looking” because looking and “wanting” are two completely different things. If I am looking at getting a new car, I haven’t bought in, but if I want a car, I am already sold and want to take it off the lot. So how can you have someone want to make a change rather than someone who is “forced” to make a change? Well, anyone can have you run on the treadmill, show you how to lift weights, make you do endless push-ups, until you want to turn right around and head back to that couch or that buffet that put you where you were, because that’s your comfort zone. The food is what you know, the buffet, or junk food aisle is where you have been comfortable at, and eating it is therapeutic and has made you happy. However, the food is also what has made you where you are, uncomfortable, at risk for disease, or even worse, increasing your chance of death.

A personal trainer must not look at an obese person from the outside only, they are not just body fat percentages, BMI charts, or measurements, they are people who are struggling with mental and emotional issues and are looking up this proverbial Mt. Everest of weight loss thinking, I’ll never get to the top!  As a personal trainer, you must find that person’s source of motivation. “Why are you here?” or “What has motivated you to make the change?” If they tell you, “The doctor sent me” you must realize that they are in front of you under doctor’s orders, not because they have the positive motivational factors to make a change. Ask them questions like, “Do you have kids, do you have grandkids, do you want them to see them grow, or stay active with them? Tell me what it means to you to see that happen.” Or “When you were at your healthiest, didn’t you feel great? Wouldn’t you want to feel that way again? If so, tell my why you want to feel that way.” These are all powerful questions that will help you find that source of motivation to ignite the spark, to get them to realize, not only do I HAVE to do this, I WANT to do this! The effort someone will give you when they want something or desperately need something is ten times the effort someone will give you when they have to do something. Once you find their source of motivation, you can now turn that spark, into a fire by letting them know you will be there with them every step of the way, they will climb Mt. Everest one step at a time, setting small goals along the way, and nailing every one of them. Yes, you will fall at times, but you will get back up and keep moving forward, that’s with anything in life, but the ability to get back up lies within the person who falls. The person who is helping them can only offer encouragement, guidance, and lay out the plan. In order to succeed, you must truly know the motivating factor in the person seeking help. Have them right down that they are committed to succeed followed by their main motivational factor and constantly remind them of why they are making these changes. They have to believe passionately in their motivational factor in order for them to seek change.

Changing the way someone looks at healthy eating and exercise is important, if they hate running and push-ups and that’s what you have them doing, they are more likely to fail. Finding something they can do that is fun for them and keeps them active is critical. Exercising and eating healthy should not be a punishment, but rather a valuable time in our day allowing us to relieve stress, improve our health, and extend our life. Once the negative views of the gym, exercise, and healthy foods are cleared and they are seen as things we get to do, to keep us out of the doctor’s office, out of the operating room, and out of the morgue, the motivation levels should continue to increase.

When you are talking with a person who has not sought help, but they have expressed unhappiness with their current lifestyle, you must find out their fears of change. What makes them so scared to take that first step? Is their main fear simply the fear of not knowing where to start? Perhaps it’s the fear of being judged, or just the impossibility of climbing that mountain? It is the personal trainer’s role to bring out those feelings, to get them talking about their fears and relate with them on the fear of change. Talk to them about your experience with exercise, how you first came about trying something new, the fears you had, and some of the things you used to get going. When I first started lifting, I wanted to be big like Hulk Hogan, I was a 160 lb cross country runner and my end goal was looking like Hulk Hogan, a 300 lb beast with “24 inch pythons.” I was afraid everyone was going to look at me in the weight room like, “what’s this skinny kid doing in here?” I soon realized everyone in the weight room was there simply to better themselves, not to sit around and judge who was skinny, fat, or weak.  I knew my goal wasn’t going to going to happen overnight, but after years of training, persistence, and commitment, I was able to get 21 inch arms, weigh 285 lbs, and bench press 525 lbs. People don’t believe me when I tell them, but when I let them know I have been down that road, even if my goals were completely different, they can relate to the struggle I had, and they can also see the mountain I had to climb.  For you, perhaps it was the accountability of friends, the desire to want to get back to a size you used to be, the desire to attempt to lower your blood pressure or cholesterol without medication. Developing a rapport with someone through relating or understanding will certainly help them achieve a level of comfort, and allow them to open up and eventually  commit to THEMSELVES that they want to make the change with their newfound motivation being the driving reason to change.

Had I not watched that episode today, I might not be as motivated to share my thoughts, opinions, and ideas to help inspire those who are currently training people, or those who have the opportunity to help someone make an impact on someone who needs to make lifestyle change. Regardless of the person’s age or weight, it’s never too late to start improving yourself, you just have to find the motivation to change, and never be afraid to ask for help! It’s not just a physical change you are making; it’s a mental change as well! Just as the saying goes, “Its 80% mental and 20% physical!”

Any questions? Feel free to e-mail me at danb.mccarthy@yahoo.com

Family at Disneyworld

Interaction, love, and attention….a heartfelt reflection.

Although my wife and I come from two different backgrounds, were born on opposite sides of the world, were raised by two completely different parenting styles, we still manage to do our best in raising our son. Obviously there is no perfect way to do so, there is no magic formula, book, or checklist to complete to ensure it’s done correctly. However, the one constant we can grant in a child’s life is love. Love can be shown in many different ways, as we know our families show love in different ways, from food, to gifts, to helping out, but perhaps the most impactful way of showing love in a child’s life is simply attention, interaction, and affection.

We live in an era of fast paced everything, from I pad’s, I phones, e-mail, text, groupon, the chive, Facebook…. I could go on forever. There is plenty to keep us distracted from our family, especially children as they are the most moldable and often suffer the most from the lack of interaction. I am far from perfect and often get caught up in the cyber world. However, I look into my child’s eyes and see the innocence of a little boy that will only last for a few more years, as innocence seems to disappear earlier and earlier as society constantly forces our children to grow up too fast. Once I see that look in my son’s eyes, the look of joy, I see a little boy who has such a vivid imagination; the world is an unknown place waiting to be explored! I’m not talking about travel, but taking an adventure through a book, or perhaps I make up a story to make him laugh, state some awe inspiring facts about the tallest mountain in the world, or at the end of my 18 hour day, take him down in the basement to participate in a ball fight with him, in which he repeatedly hits me in the head for at least an hour.

Am I super dad? Hopefully to my son I am just as my dad is and was for me. My dad suffered from a sleep disorder that was undiagnosed for years, he would stay up 24,48,72 hours in a  row never knowing when he was going to bed. He was self-employed and worked his butt off to pay for my clothes, college, and trips to Disneyland. Along with the financial support the things I remember the most were him coming to my school over recess to play kickball, coaching my little league baseball and basketball league, playing “big guy vs little guy” in the basement in an indoor basketball challenge. Even through my high school years, he would have just fallen asleep for two hours and then wake up to be at my cross country race even though he was going to suffer from a heart attack. On a lighter note, I dedicated my two JV cross country championships to him. He would also wake up Christmas morning if he slept, and he would have the camera out to record our family Christmases.  Perhaps the thing I remember the most was him staying up 72 hours on a trip delay going to California, and instead of getting to the hotel and taking a nap, he took me to Disneyland right away. I looked over next to me and he had fallen asleep on the ride, it was at that moment I wanted to cry thinking of all the selfless sacrifices this man has made for me as a father, friend, and hell of a role model.

When my son was born, I knew I may never be able to financially provide for my son like my father had, but I could damn sure be there for my son to raise him, teach him, and interact and play with him. Often times I question if I am doing enough, or when I get mad at him for doing something wrong, if I really should have got mad or tried a different method of communication. I don’t have a manual to refer to, only the parenting tips my loving parents have shown me. I want him to tell me all about Godzilla, his school day, his favorite game he plays at grandma. We read books, go to the zoo, say prayers, and sometimes I just don’t know if I’m doing it right or enough.

There is no doubt life is challenging and the trials and tribulations we face unexpectedly, or the ones we bring on ourselves, we will undoubtedly have to face. In that time of difficulty, are we as parents able to put aside our needs, thoughts, and feelings, to ensure our children get that extra attention? We only get one shot at this parenting thing, and I’m certainly not saying we neglect our medical needs or disabilities, but when we are tired, sad, or upset, we still have  a responsibility to a child we brought in this life. Perhaps we can put our feelings a side at least until they go to bed, or even explain to them why we had a bad day.  I only hope that I will have raised a wonderful young man who will look back and say, “My Daddy was a great father, he taught me, played with me, and was always there.” While there is no guarantee in life, there is a guarantee that I will give him all I have to offer while I am here on this earth. I deeply love my wife, son, and my parents and sometimes love comes with self-sacrifice, I just hope this article helps us reflect on the time and attention we give our children, they are our future and need our attention and guidance now, more than ever. To those of you conflicted, those of you doing a good job, those of you who perhaps haven’t been, it’s never too late to try to change. At the end of the day, only God can judge us, but the man or woman in the mirror can tell us an awful lot. Thank you, and may you be blessed.

Have today’s bodybuilders gone to far?

by Dan McCarthy

Bodybuilding has certainly evolved since its inception well over 70 years ago. The images of former super heroes like Charles Atlas and Steve Reeves when compared to today’s behemoths almost make us pose the question, “did they even lift, brah?” Of course gyms, dietary knowledge, supplements, and yes, even steroids, have evolved significantly since those days. Professional bodybuilding should be considered a science as calculating macros, timing your protein, analyzing the best lifts with the right amount of sets and reps, is all part of the well planned out regime of a bodybuilder. However, like in any sport, performance enhancers, though illegal, are easily obtained and utilized for athletes to get the competitive edge and simply perform better. Now keep in mind, performance enhancers are just that, enhancers. Yes they can make you put on muscle easier, recover faster, and get bigger, but at the end of the day, you still have to eat right, train insanely hard and to be a professional bodybuilder, you have to have the right genetic makeup. So no, if you attribute a bodybuilder’s success to steroids, you are uneducated on bodybuilding and uninformed. Barry Bonds goes out and hits 70 plus home runs and everyone says it was due to the performance enhancing drugs he possibly took and the same for Lance Armstrong winning the Tour DE France. The fact is, if you trained exactly like Barry or Lance, took everything they took, you still would not beat them because they are just better. I cannot hit a baseball to save my life, if you gave me performance enhancers, I would not be able to hit it any better. My goal in writing is not solely about performance enhancers, it is about the overuse of them in professional bodybuilding and the freakishly big, un-aesthetic physiques of today.

 

Pumping Iron

If you are an avid gym rat, bodybuilder, power-lifter, strongman then you probably have seen Pumping Iron with Arnold Schwarzenegger and his band of lovable cohorts that meet up at gold’s gym in Venice daily to train and build the best bodies in the world to hopefully take home the Mr. Olympia trophy. Watching this movie back in 2002 I thought these physiques were unbelievable and so big, I was 19 and just really started lifting, so the thought of ever achieving a physique like that was a long way down the road.  Arnold was 6’2 235 lbs at his biggest for the Olympia; he was ripped and had huge arms. In my eye, and the eye of many others, this physique is probably the most perfect to ever walk the planet. Arnold had huge arms and chest with a tiny waist and perfect symmetry, and big defined legs. Being that he was probably 6% body fat or less at 235 lbs is by no means easy, and the fact that his genetics allowed him to develop the peaks on his biceps, the perfect chest, is also helpful. As you can see from the picture below, the physique should be considered a work of art. Arnold has admitted that they used the oral drug dianabol and possibly a testosterone form as well; however, like I said before, these physiques cannot be obtained by just taking these enhancers.  These physiques were born from genetic gifts, extremely hard work, and diet.

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Generation Iron

Physiques in the 90’s and 2000 had drastically changed in the bodybuilding world compared to the days of Arnold, competitors grew bigger, leaner, and developed more cuts and striations in their muscles. In the days of Arnold, Lou Ferrigno competed around 275 lbs at a height a 6’5. Today competitors are 5’10 and competing near 290-300 lbs. Along with the growing weight has come growing waistlines, albeit the bodybuilders still have 6 packs, their stomachs have grown bigger too, eliminating the symmetry and true v-taper which is what bodybuilding used to be. Arnold mentioned in the movie Generation Iron, that today’s bodybuilders have 23 inch necks and have seemingly gone too far. Today’s pro’s claim that the people want to see a freak show, muscle on muscle ripped to the bone. Along with superbly calculated diets, top of the line trainers, god given genetics, and undeniable hard work, comes the performance enhancers, which undoubtedly have changed the physiques to become much larger through the use of insulin and growth hormones. I’ll say it again, give me all the enhancers they take and I still wouldn’t look like them, they just have a better genetic make-up for bodybuilding. (Ronnie wasn’t in Generation Iron, but competed at nearly 300 lbs before)

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The aesthetic movement

While there is nothing more impressive than huge arms, a well-defined chest, and a mean set of wheels, some people are pushing for a return to a more aesthetic physique. A “founding father” of the “aesthetic movement” has to be the late youtube star Aziz “Zyzz” Sergeyevich Shavershian. Zyzz was a natural ectomorph who worked hard to put on every ounce of muscle, and with every ounce of muscle he looked ripped and shredded due to his genetic make-up. Regardless of possible performance enhancing use, the physique was very aesthetic and the women no doubt loved the ripped and not overly muscular look. Zyzz died tragically in 2011 at the age of 22 in a Bangkok Sauna.

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How big is too big?

They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder so as long as people attend the Olympia, purchase the magazines, I don’t see the physique changing anytime soon. Perhaps if one of the top bodybuilders tried to come in lighter, with a more aesthetic physique to make a statement and won, then, and probably only then, would there be a move back to a more aesthetic bodybuilding competition. I don’t purchase bodybuilding magazines anymore because I know that no matter how hard I train, how much I eat, I can never be a mass monster like those guys on the current covers. An aesthetic physique seem more attainable, so I am more likely to follow a routine of a more “natural” looking bodybuilder or wrestler with a muscular but not overly done physique. I am not concerned whether or not they take a performance enhancer as that is their choice and I know how much hard work and commitment went into their physiques. We may never see a return to a more aesthetic physique unless the judges determine the distended bellies with six packs on top are no longer pleasing to the eye. Until then, train hard, train smart, and lift!

 

 

 

Dietary musts for children

by Dan McCarthy

One cannot enter a grocery store without being bombarded with the onslaught of temptations for sweets, chips, and sugary drinks. The advantage of being an adult is the ability to be educated on the contents of the often vibrantly packaged and clever marketing tactics of these food companies. By being educated, we can make healthy choices for our children to help the fight against childhood obesity. However, through clever marketing these food companies entice our children with  toys, celebrity endorsements, or a cute cartoon characters,  and often leave us the “bad guys” when saying no.  Instead of being the bearer of bad news, we can educate our children on the benefits of healthy eating and the importance of the nutrients fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and water, has on their growth and development. Below you will find some helpful “Do’s” and “Do not’s” to help you plan your child’s daily food menu.

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The Do’s

All children need the same food and nutrients as adults just in smaller amounts

When selecting food for your children you don’t have to do anything out of the ordinary or special as they require the same nutrients as you, just in smaller amounts. These nutrients are all the same vitamins and minerals that you get from eating healthy fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, grains, and dairy.

 A 2-3 year old will require about 1,000 – 1,400 calories a day, while boys that are 4-8 will require 1,200 to 2,000 based upon activity, and girls 4-8 will require 1,200 – 1,800 a day

 

Keep portions small

When you are preparing a meal for your children, you may want to consider using a smaller plate. This will help you regulate the serving size, prevent them from wasting as much food, and help you ensure they are getting the right amount to eat without overfilling their plate, and then encouraging them to “clean their plate”. Encouraging them to clean their plate can force them to eat too much. Instead, give them a smaller plate with smaller portions, they can always get more.

 

Healthy Snacks

Keep fruits and vegetables washed and ready to consume so they will be easy snacks for your children to grab. Explain to them the various vitamins and antioxidants each one contains to help encourage them to make healthy snacking decisions.  The occasional bag of chips or cookies is okay and its part of being a kid, but make sure you read the serving size on the back to help ensure you child doesn’t get too many bad calories.

 

The Do not’s

Avoid Breakfast Cereal

I’m sure we all remember the excitement of digging to the bottom of the cereal box in a mad frenzy to capture the toy that lay at the very bottom of the box. The thought of getting a “reward” for eating cereal was almost as thrilling as purchasing one you wanted from the toy aisle. Whether it’s John Cena encouraging your child to apart of “team fruity”, or a funny little leprechaun encouraging you to “follow the rainbow”, the cereal aisle is loaded with colorful boxes filled with sugar and toys. We are often hard pressed to believe that a box with cartoons on it could be unhealthy to our children, but the sugar content of ¾ of a cup of Kellogg’s Honey Smacks Cereal is 15 grams! To put that in perspective that’s 4 teaspoons of sugar!

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Drink’s that say “No added sugar” are not as healthy as you think

Sugar, whether added or natural, is sugar! With all the drinks marketed to children, and all of these loaded with sugar, it’s no wonder why were in the middle of an obesity epidemic! An 8 Oz serving of Sunny Delight is 130 calories and has 30 grams of sugar, that’s almost 8 teaspoons of sugar! A 12 ounce can of coke contains 140 calories and 39 grams of sugar; it is drinks like these that are contributing to the rapid weight gain among our youth!

 

Bake instead of fry

In an age of fried Twinkies and pretty much fried anything; it’s easy to get something quick and fried. While chicken tenders are my favorite food, it’s hard to deny they are certainly less healthy and provide extra calories and fat versus the much healthier baked option. Many recipes offer baked alternatives to our fried favorites that do not sacrifice the taste, but they exclude the calories.

 

Just remember to keep it simple with fruits, vegetables, lean cuts of meat, fish, chicken, whole grains and dairy.  All of these items are found on the exterior of the grocery store while all the boxed items are located on the interior. Children can easily drink most of the caloric intake with sugary juices and soda pop so remember; “no added sugars” does not mean the drink is healthy; water is always the best form of hydration. If your kids think that water is too bland simply squeeze lemon or lime into the water or you can look how to infuse water with various fruits. Childhood obesity is an epidemic, and this is a simple way we can help the keep our children healthy, not a statistic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

                

Why you should be drinking green tea

Why you should be drinking green tea

by Dan McCarthy

 

 

Green tea is said to be the healthiest drink on the planet. It’s the healthiest thing I can think of to drink,” says Christopher Ochner, PhD. He’s a research scientist in nutrition at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital. “Green tea is beyond a super food.(1) Originating in China, it has spread all over the Asian continent and is now drank throughout the world by many people seeking to take advantage of its powerful anti-oxidative and anti-carcinogenic properties.

 

 

Anti-oxidative and Anti Carcinogenic properties

Green tea has very high amounts of polyphenols like flavonoids and catechins which all operate as anti-oxidants. The role of these anti-oxidants is to reduce the amount of free radicals in the body. Free radicals can cause cell damage and are often the catalyst in the aging process and many other diseases. Green tea was studied and was shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer by 22% in women! For men, the results were even better! Men who drank green tea regularly had a 48% less risk of getting prostate cancer, that’s almost reducing your risk by half! There was also a study done on 69,710 Chinese women and the green tea drinkers had a 57% lower risk of developing colorectal cancer. So to sum it up, drinking green tea may significantly reduce your risk of getting cancer and prevent cell damage related to aging.

 

Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Improved Dental Health, Type II Diabetes, Cholesterol and Bacterial Killer

As I mentioned before, the polyphenols found in green tea may be a preventative measure, as well as a treatment for Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common neurodegenerative disease in humans and a leading cause of dementia The polyphenols work to protect dopaminergic neurons from malfunctioning.(2)

The catechins in Green Tea have been proven to kill bacteria and even inhibit the growth of the influenza virus lowering your risk of infection. Streptococcus mutans is the primary harmful bacteria in the mouth that causes plaque, tooth decay, and cavities.  Green tea can also reduce bad breath!

Green tea can also help with Type II diabetes which affects over 300 million people worldwide it reduces insulin sensitivity and reduces blood sugar levels. One study found that you have a 42% lower risk of developing type II diabetes.

Green tea has also been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol level and prevents the LDL from oxidization; green tea drinks have a 31% lower chance of cardiovascular disease.

 

Weight Loss

People have shown to have lost weight while taking green tea extract. Like with anything else, you have to maintain a decent diet and exercise routine. Also, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. In large doses of green tea extract liver damage can occur. It’s important to follow the recommendations on the bottle found at your local drug store.

 

The green tea verdict

Green tea is a must in your daily diet. It is loaded with all the health benefits and anti-oxidants you need to stay healthy and ward off diseases. It is the closest thing to a miracle herb there is! For dosing I recommend having two cups of caffeinated green tea and two cups of decaf green tea. The higher the quality of the tea, the more polyphenols it will contain, and the better the results. The local health food stores may sell green tea leaves which would be ideal for consumption. Also, keep the water of your tea about 160-180 degrees for maximum benefit and to not kill off all the polyphenols. You can also add lemon to your tea for added vitamin C!

See you at tea time!

 

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_tea(1)

http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/health-benefits-of-green-tea

http://authoritynutrition.com/top-10-evidence-based-health-benefits-of-green-tea/(2)

Vitamins, Supplements, and Challenges are they smoke in mirrors? By Dan McCarthy

We have all opened magazines and have seen the sad, out of shape guy, holding a newspaper, and then next to that picture is the “after” picture of him smiling looking shredded as “fuarrk”(thank you zyzz for this word) with two girls on each arm hanging out  in a pool. Of course this would all be attributed to the supplement on the page that the guy is eluding you to believe that it’s what made him look like that. Of course it would not be the Photoshop, airbrushing, possible steroid use, actual hard work in the gym, and very strict diet. If you have seen the documentary “Bigger, Stronger, Faster” you know what I am talking about, and you know for a fact that’s what happens. They even showed us how it’s done!  For those of you who have not seen this fascinating documentary, I want to hopefully help you save money and refocus your attention to where those bodies, or just a healthy body is built, and that would be no other place than the gym, not the supplement store.

 

The supplement industry facts:

The supplement industry is a 23 billion dollar a year industry, and is currently shares many commonalities to the Wild West. Supplement manufacturers are running wild as the FDA does not oversee it as to ensure the safety and quality of the product like they do our pharmaceutical products. So that “fat burner” you are taking, could very well just be 80% rice powder, or just a ton of overpriced caffeine. In an age when more than half of American adults are taking vitamins and supplements, it is important to look at what we are possibly putting into our bodies and just how these “miracle pills and drinks” may cause you to fall short of your health and fitness goals. This next bit is taken directly from American Aljazeera and states “Most major health bodies – including the National institute of health, The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Deitetic Association, The Mayo Clinic, and Harvard Medical School – do not recommend supplements because their alleged benefits have failed to withstand scientific scrutiny. That last part is extremely important because it preludes to the next part from the same article that states “According to consumer reports, only a third of 54,000 supplements in the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database have any scientifically supported level of safety and effectiveness, and 12 percent are linked to safety concerns or quality issues. Mounting evidence suggests that most vitamin supplements, including the the popular daily multivitamin may be useless — and some could even increase the risk of disease.” One could very easily be playing Russian roulette with a supplement that is useless or one that could increase disease.

 

What is in these miracle bottles?

In the spirit of American capitalism, I am not bitter nor do I hate the supplement industry, I just simply want to call an ace and ace, and I want people to realize that supplementation is only 2-3 % of what it takes to build a healthy strong body, and chances are, you are not taking the right supplements. Most all supplement companies put a “proprietary blend” on their bottle, this is done to “allow supplement makers to include a number of different ingredients without disclosing the amounts used.” So in essence, your Echinacea supplement that you take to help you with various issues could be in fact 90% rice powder or some other filler  leaving you out the money you spent on it, and without the benefits of the supplement you sought out when you purchased the item. Two other fillers used in supplements are Magnesium Stearate and Carrageenan.  Quoted from Tom Nikkola, “Carrageenan is derived from seaweed; it’s used as a stabilizer in foods, as a fat replacement in protein powders, and in beverages to enhance mouth feel. There is also evidence suggesting that carrageenan can contribute to glucose intolerance and insulin resistance (Bhattacharyya et al., 2012). The use of magnesium stearate is a topic of great debate. Magnesium stearate is used as a flowing agent to make nutritional supplements. Including magnesium stearate in a formula allows the ingredients to flow through tableting equipment faster or allows the two ends of a capsule to be pushed together faster. However, research has shown that magnesium stearate can reduce the bioavailability of nutrients. Although it might not be allergenic, it might compromise the effectiveness of the supplement.”

 

“Weight loss Challenges” 

In my 12 years in fitness and bodybuilding I’ve seen and tried a lot of things, mainly all the magazine ads of the bottles with the guys shredded as “fuarrk”, (thanks zyzz,) who were standing next to two hot chicks. In the end, none of these bottles worked and I fell victim to overpriced rice powder in a gelatin tablet with some clever marketing. I am all for people looking for lifestyle change, something to spark their interest into finding a healthier self, but once again, marketing seems to be the big bad wolf promoting expensive “Challenges” to make people think they have to have this to lose weight. I am here to tell you, YOU DO NOT!  I am not saying they are bad, but you do not need these items to lose weight, once again, they get celebrities to endorse these things and it’s all a marketing ploy.

Would you like to take the Big Dan challenge? I won’t charge you a dime; all you have to do is replace two meals a day with a cup of Greek yogurt and a banana, and 4 oz of tuna and an apple. Do this for a week and cut out all sugary drinks and bread and tell me how much you have lost. I can mix it up for you with many other sources of protein but hopefully you see what I am saying. As much as we want to buy into a system, we can create a much cheaper, healthier one by ourselves! Fat supplements do not burn fat; they are supposed to increase your ability to burn fat, typically by increasing your heart rate. Not only are these dangerous, but you can get the same boost from a cup of green tea and it is loaded with anti-oxidants.

What should I take to help reach my goals for weight loss?

First, I would recommend a trip to your doctor to do a physical and blood test to check for any thyroid, diabetes, or deficiencies. Once these tests have been completed I recommend evaluating your diet. Do you have a weight loss goal?  If so, I recommend the app, my daily calorie counter. You can punch in your current weight and target weight to determine how many calories you need to achieve your goal weight. To simplify the weight loss process the formula is simple, Calories burned > Calories consumed. Track your calories, write down everything you eat. Try to consume lean protein sources, eat green vegetables and complex carbohydrates and increase physical activities. Avoid starchy foods, sugary drinks, alcohol, and be sure to regulate your carbohydrate intake.  I will get more in detail with this on my next blog.

What supplements do I take?

The only supplements I take as a bodybuilder are Whey Protein and Creatine Monohydrate. Protein is mandatory for muscle growth and to building a lean fat burning body. Creatine is found naturally in the food we eat and his been proven to increase strength, stamina, and aid in recovery. It is critical to drink a lot of water with this supplement. The Dymatize Whey Protein I take is loaded with Branch Chain Amino acids which are the key resources for building muscle.  I have pretty much tried everything else in the stores and can attest that these two products produce results. Looking for a pre-workout? Drink a cup of coffee, in essence, that’s all a pre-workout is. Don’t believe me? Look at the proprietary blend.

In conclusion:

Supplements have convoluted the weight loss process and have changed the chart to read “A healthy body is 80% supplements 10% workout, 10% diet” when in reality, a healthy body is 70% Diet, 29% workout and 1% supplements. If you can keep that mindset and realize the supplement industry is making 23 billion dollars a year on mostly false hopes and quick fixes, then in the words of Zyzz, “We are all gonna make it brah.”

 

Check out this video that demonstrates the supplement industry disparities:

 http://www.doyoueven.com/2014/06/article-do-your-supplements-even-work-are-you-getting-scammed/

 

Sources:

 

http://www.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/04/13/supplements.dietary/index.html

http://america.aljazeera.com/opinions/2013/11/vitamins-herbal-dietarysupplementsregulatefda.html