Tag Archives: getting strong

Building Muscle & Losing Fat (Myths of Fitness)

Myths of Fitness might not be the greatest name for this series but it’s all we have for now. The whole reason that I made up such a boring and vague name comes from my immediate desire to spread this information. Now, I am sure that we have said this before, but it IS possible to lose fat and build muscle at the same time. Here I will explain it shortly without getting into detail about the scientific and specific aspects that are better explained through some links below. This is a better explanation for people who want to know the truth and those links provide the better explanations for those who want to know the reasons that make it true.

Hittin da gym in Iowa

Hittin da gym in Iowa

First and most importantly, you as an individual need to figure out what your goal is! The reason why I have a general problem with P90X, Insanity, Total Immersion Swimming, and other similar programs that are products you need to pay for is because they act like these programs are the solution to everyone’s needs. This obviously is not the case since all individuals interested in getting in better shape are different anatomically, physiologically, psychologically, etc. Basically, everyone is physically and mentally different from everyone else. So you need a program that caters specifically to your needs. While I have many problems with those products the one reason why I do like their popularity is that they are helping get people off of the couch. (Just be careful that once you get off the couch you don’t get hurt because it’s in the nature of some of those programs to accidentally let that happen.) But my rants about those products, triathlons, obstacle races, and Crossfit will come at another time. (It will be a “the good, the bad, and the ugly.”)

Going back to how I started the last paragraph… what is your goal? If you want to be massive then your goal is hypertrophy and mass gain. If you want to be super lean then you’re on the other side of the spectrum. If you want to maintain your appearance, it’s another different story. Professional bodybuilders, pro athletes, endurance athletes, martial artists, dancers, professional eaters, and everyone else on this planet should take different approaches to reaching their goals and this is where we come back to that myth of not being able to build muscle and lose fat at the same time.

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If you focus on one goal (I struggle with this) then it is typically easier to achieve. Or at least you can achieve it quicker. Bodybuilders go through a bulking cycle where they pack on extra mass and fat in order to help their muscles go through hypertrophy. Once they have achieved their desired size in terms of specific muscle groups, they continue to exercise rigorously while cutting. While they are in a cutting cycle, they will lower their body fat and mass significantly while maintaining a significant amount of their hypertrophic progress in their muscles. That is the end result of what you see when you watch the Olympia or the Arnold Classic. I won’t go into significant detail about their diet and supplementation other than the fact that they try to eat more calories while bulking and a caloric deficit while cutting. This is the optimal way to maximize gains in a mere aesthetic manner.

However, if you are more interested in building “functional” muscles (don’t take me using functional literally. Every workout leads to the growth of functional muscle. Some would argue that some forms are more “functional” or useful than others) then you should consider find what program suits you best. Everyone can be classified as a mesomorph, ectomorph, or endomorph. (See our old glossary of fitness terms for an explanation.) In order to find the perfect mix of macronutrients and exercise in order to build muscle and lose fat you need to go through something called… trial and error. I cannot be convinced that there is a single “adonis ratio” that calculates every person’s needs equally. We are all far too different. You can hire “coaches” to help you and guide you but be careful and make sure they have your best interests in mind. You might hear of a coach telling a client to eat under 20 grams of fat a day. Please do not listen to them. You need fat to control hormone production and for hundreds of other functions. But that is another post we’ll talk about at another time.

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Bottom Line: You can build more muscle if you are just trying to build muscle. You need the excess calories and other factors to help you gain mass. You can cut more fat is you are just trying to cut fat. You need the caloric deficit and other factors to help lose fat. However, if you are interested in doing both at the same time… you can. Obviously it isn’t possible to maintain a caloric surplus and deficit at the same time but for beginners, overweight individuals, and exceptional people it is more likely to be able to build muscle and lose fat at the same time. Also, depending on your macronutrients, you can “build muscle” (in various ways, not mass necessarily) while on a slight caloric deficit or a caloric balance. You won’t build quite as much muscle or lose quite as much fat, but you can still be efficient and help reach YOUR goals. Don’t listen to anyone else since you have YOUR goals and it is YOUR body. My goal right now… be happy in life. If I want ice cream then I’m having ice cream. And you should do the same because happiness is a key factor in staying hungry and fit.

Gettin' some Frisbee Golf on

Gettin’ some Frisbee Golf on

Here are two great links to two great individuals that I look up to in the scientific side of the fitness industry. Jim Stoppani provides individuals with hundreds of phenomenal workout programs… many for free. Congratulations to Dr. Layne Norton in the birth of his son. Best of luck to your family.

http://www.cutandjacked.com/CutAndJacked-Ask-Dr-Layne-Norton

http://www.jimstoppani.com/home/questions/187

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Ultimate Chest Workout – Machine Militia Meetup

Last Thursday morning, after sleeping about zero hours for two nights in a row, amidst an absurdly busy 70-hour work week, I “woke up” at 4:30 a.m. in order to travel down to Wheat Ridge, Colorado in order to meet an expert in the fitness industry. Marc “The Machine” Lobliner of Tigerfitness.com and iSatori (A Golden, CO based supplement company) was hosting a meet up at Armbrust Pro Gym.

Armbrust Pro Gym in Wheat Ridge is the home of Phil Heath and many other professional bodybuilders, including Alina Pope. Let me start by thanking Armbrust for letting us all work out that morning. It was the best weight lifting and strength training facility I have seen in Colorado and one of the best in the country. If you ever have the opportunity, stop by for a workout. I hope to return in the future. It isn’t too far from Boulder. It is clean, well-organized, well-run and the equipment is legitimately top of the line.

David Sandler, iSatori’s Director of Science and Education, was accompanied by some other iSatori representatives. I would like to thank him and the company as well for helping put this together. I left early so I’m not sure what happened at the end of the workout and I have not yet finished watching the YouTube videos of the event. David has put together some great natural products and I might even sell some of their products in the future. They stand apart from competition in the industry by offering more natural supplements. I think they could be extremely popular in Boulder, Santa Monica and other health-conscious cities. I will keep you all informed on my relationship with them.

The real reason I decided to wake up so early and train chest for a second time in 72 hours was because of Marc. Tigerfitness is one of my favorite online supplement and fitness equipment stores. They offer products you cannot find anywhere else, including Marc’s own “Machine” Whey and Drop Factor. Fit is currently using that same whey in her week long Spartacus challenge. Marc is the CMO of Tigerfitness, a pro heavyweight bodybuilder, the CEO of his own supplement company, and the vice president of the ANBF. Here are three of the reasons I dragged myself down there.

The protein I'm using

1. I wanted Marc to write Fit a motivating note in one of his books. He did it without a second thought and I appreciate that greatly. Whether it’s helping her or not, I think she was happy that I got it done so it had to have been beneficial in some way. It reads: “Alana, winning contests is not a game. ML

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2. I wanted to introduce Hungry & Fit to Marc and his 60,000 plus subscribers and fans online. I tried a cheap plug while they were filming me doing cable flyes and asked him jokingly if it would make it onto YouTube. He said of course. I thought it wouldn’t happen but Marc seems to be a brutally honest person and sure enough… it made it. Hopefully this will help spread the word about what we are doing here. Although we are not aspiring professional bodybuilders we are all in a similar industry.

3. Tying into the last point, I wanted to ask Marc about professional physique competitions. While I have no interest in becoming a professional bodybuilder, I am interested in earning a pro card in natural physique competitions. I asked him what organization I should involve myself with and as I expected he answered the ANBF. Unfortunately, the majority of their events are on the East Coast, but if I ever return home there will be plenty to do. I can always travel as well, if I feel I am ready to compete and win, of course.

Basically, we all met up and split into groups. You can see this all on his YouTube video by following the link below. I recommend subscribing to his channel for great information about anything related to fitness. He knows his stuff, obviously. He’s also a very honest family man and although the language isn’t always G-rated, I don’t mind. The substance is worth it and it’s entertaining.

Marc and I

Marc and I

Despite training chest on Tuesday and being extremely sore and in recovery mode, I pushed myself relatively hard. Although I wasn’t putting up 365 for reps like in 2010/2011 I was proud to push 245 on the incline, despite a spot from Marc that gave me a ton of help. Marc said that he got the workout from the great Dorian Yates while they trained in Australia. Once again, see the video for the workout. Otherwise here is a quick summary of what I did.

Incline Bench 3 sets working up, one main set to failure

Flat Chest Press Machine (looked like a transformer) – 2 sets to failure

Incline Dumbbell Flyes2 sets to failure

Cable Flyes – 2 sets to failure

Then I left to make it to work right on time. Not a minute early. I believe they threw in some biceps after. I hope I didn’t miss any free giveaways but I can always buy another blender bottle or t-shirt. Still would have loved to stay until the end but life is life and work is work. All in all I am very grateful to all the parties involved for the opportunity and remember, staying hungry and fit IS NOT A GAME!

The link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HZ8v0zfkquk&feature=c4-overview&list=UUzzYnZ8GIzfB1Vr3hk2Nj9Q

Oh, please ignore the comment section below the video. YouTube viewers are known to “talk” quite a bit and it doesn’t bother me one bit. I have seen that problem grow ever since I joined YouTube the year it was introduced. There is an unfortunate lack of support and positivity in that community.

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Fit is Entering a Contest

Some of you may have heard of BodyBuilding.com. No, I am not trying to become a body builder (though, that is what all of us do when we exercise or even eat–building our bodies in different ways), but I am trying to win a contest, and more importantly, show myself up. This is to prove myself that I can always be better than what I am and that I can use willpower to achieve whatever I want. I am entering the Strong to the Cor Challenge sponsored by Cellucor (a popular supplement company).

Buff chicas

It is a contest for already fit people (though I’ve seen some men with 27% body fat…not exactly “fit” for men) to get extremely fit. This means cutting down fat and building up muscle. If you know me already, I’m fit, but there’s always room for improvement. I want to get stronger, faster, and more capable. I have Hungry as my coach and I could ask for no better as he knows me best and also happens to live with me.

Me during a pull workout a few months ago

There’s a $10,000 1st place grand prize (in additional to like 2k worth of supplements and products) with some 2nd and 3rd place prizes too. And it’s 10k to both a female and a male. But that’s not why I’m doing it. I don’t think I’ll actually win the grand prize in the face of all the other females who are doing it–especially those starting with 27% body fat and able to get such a larger transformation. I’m doing this, like I said, to prove to myself that I can push myself farther than I ever have before and really see what my body can do.

Recent arms workout

Recent arms workout

It’s a 6-week transformation, ending in early August. Tomorrow, I truly start. For the past 10 days, I did a cleanse to prime the body and now it’s ready to kick butt. So today was my in-between day, eating whatever I wanted to savor it all up. Pancakes for breakfast, big cheesy burrito for lunch, and pizza and ice cream for dinner. I had been off dairy for 10 days so today was a goooood day. Tomorrow, I start a week of 4 water protein shakes a day, doing what the cast from Spartacus did to get lean and ripped. It’s probably going to be one the hardest tests of my willpower yet. But, I’m excited for it. It will be a week of hell, but I believe I can do it if I set my mind to it.

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So support me! I know that sometimes the killer workouts and nutritional plan are gonna make me want to quit, but I want to see how far I can go. Here is my BodySpace, I’ll try to be updating as much as possible. After watching Man of Steel, I’d love to be paid to workout every day and prime my body to become a superhero, but we can’t have it all, right? So with you guys supporting me and Chris there for me every step, I believe I can get far. Let’s do this! Time to be hungry and fit! 

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BONUS KITTY PIC

Nymeria found herself in a doll house in the house we're sitting at

Nymeria found herself in a doll house in the house we’re sitting at

Welcoming Spring

Hello springtime, or should I say, I can’t wait for you to come. I still haven’t gotten used to this Colorado weather, and I never really want to. Freezing cold one morning, and hot and sunny a few hours later. Then repeat something similar every day. It just makes it hard to dress efficiently but we have to deal with it. Friday, it was nearly 80 degrees, or felt that way with the sun. We went out at night and I wore shorts and a t-shirt. This morning it was 20 degrees. Not fun.

Alana was so excited to wear a dress on that Friday

Alana was so excited to wear a dress on that Friday

But with all that aside let’s think about what we can look forward to Spring 2013. In our last last post we talked about May’s awesome movie lineup. Also, my favorite… spring cleaning. Make sure you get rid of anything you don’t need. If you see something that you haven’t worn since last spring, you should probably donate it unless it’s very special to you. For every five things I donate, I’ll buy myself one thing. It is my way of downsizing efficiently.

Also we have Easter coming up, which means egg hunts and baskets. But in all honesty, try to take advantage of this season. Now is the time to start getting into shape for summer. Anyone who has been bulking should think about cutting soon. Otherwise, just do some physical activity. A little something can go a long way. This is the season to save your pennies for the summer and holiday season. I don’t have much to say about it, just hope for good weather and take advantage of your time!

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Stay hungry and fit!