Thursday, May 19, 2011

Bottom To Top: Dealing with the Aging Ass

The Butt or Gluteal region is often an indicator of aging. When a loss of muscle tissue is common with aging, it is glaringly apparent in the largest muscle group, the gluteus. There is no need to give an anatomy lesson here. The muscles you sit on get smaller when you stop lifting heavy things, stop squatting and don't practice moving quickly. The reduction in strength and size is often accompanied with a gain in fatty tissue. When you don't lift, squat or move, you burn less calories. Therefore the extra calories are stored as fat. The fat does not have a pleasing shape when it is not stretched over the surface of large, strong muscles. The above photograph is a vivid example.

The simple process of maintaining the ability to squat throughout life is a good method to ensure at least minimal gluteal development. If you cannot squat butt to ground, then you have some training to do. They are not bad for your knees. They are actually good for your knees. If you find the action of squatting flat footed nearly impossible, then you may need some instruction to regain this fundamental process. From that point, learning to squat with weight is the appropriate next step.

There are other exercises for strong, muscular glutes. Any type of squat, lunge, leg press, step up or hip extension drill will activate what is the largest and most visible muscle in the body.

Let us detail the idea of hip extension and how we can enjoy good results with a minimal of equipment. Many of you are already familiar with the GLUTE BRIDGE, which is common in many exercise classes and media.

Simply lay supine on the floor with the heels near the butt. Smoothly and slowly raise the hips by contracting the gluteus and not extending the back. You want to feel like you are pinching a quarter between your cheeks and producing two dimes and a nickel in change.  Then lower slowly to the ground. Some trainees like to maintain tension by not touching the ground till the end of the set. Others prefer singular hard contractions. Repeat until you reach the recommended level of exhaustion or fatigue. Always focus on the trend towards improvement workout to workout. Doing the same thing and expecting different results is an indication of insanity. 

The flaw in any body weight exclusive drill is making the exercise harder. That is why we need the stimulus of adding external weight. This has the benefit of adding strength, muscle size and bone density. Getting stronger is the most result producing component of fitness. 

Below is a photograph of Robin White performing 30 repetitions with just under 100 pounds on the barbell in her studio

She started with lighter weights, but as you see, the amount of repetitions has become ridiculously high and she will be adding more iron shortly. She has ordered an appropriate pad for the barbell since the pool noodle she was using has limited protective qualities. Robin has no doubts will be handling 180+ pounds for multiple sets in the Glute Bridge.  Her results have been outstanding. She has maintained a 36 inch hip measurement despite getting leaner. This is because of the hypertrophy of the glutes. She will continue to focus on size and strength over the next year. She has added a full inch to her gluteus region.
If the Glute Bridge has piqued your interest, there are other high performance exercises such as Hip Thruster. This requires a barbell of course and a padded bench that is locked in an immobile position to prevent sliding. Very heavy weights can be used to achieve maximum effect. Watch model Kellie Davis in this video.
Kelly is using a weight that would intimidate most men but is doing so under the watchful eyes of her trainer, Brett Contreras. The results speak for themselves.
The basic idea is to focus on result producing, heavy exercises such as squatting, dead lifting and any type of loaded hip extension movement. Beginning with Glute Bridges using just bodyweight is a good starting point for any one to avoid unhealthy aging.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Three Secrets and Body Composition Update

The word, "SECRETS" catches everyones eye. However there are no secrets. The above items are available at almost any large store in America. They can change your life.

They are protein, (supplement shown above), Fish Oil, and Weights for training. Simply by increasing the protein you consume, the amount of fish oil you consume and adding proper strength training you can do miracles.

For the BEST possible guide to protein I highly suggest Lyle McDonald's Protein Book. It is simply an incredible resource that has been painstakingly researched and organized. Suffice it to say that most women in particular DO NOT eat the correct amount of protein for good health and fitness.

The second item is fish oil. This article gives the basics of fish oil consumption. However on Reverse Magazine we linked to a Fish Oil Calculator that customizes what you should be consuming. It is an easy way to understand how many capsules to take.

Lastly, strength training. No other component of fitness produces work without muscular contraction. By simply training the source of movement in the human body you can increase muscle size and strength, bone density, range of motion, as well as having better sleep, mental well being and resistance to injury. A very reputable source is the STARTING STRENGTH WIKI. This is FREE and very much a balance review of strength training for men or women.

These three items are available for everyone at affordable prices and can change your life and well being. What are you waiting for?

 Robin White, age 54
We have been keeping track of Robin White's physical changes since the holidays. She embarked on a fitness program and made her weight and measurements known to the public in a courageous manner.

The first update was HERE.
The second update is HERE.
Now is the THIRD update.
Bodyweight - 126lbs
Hips - 36 inches
Waist - 24.5 inches
Belly - 27.25 inches
Thighs - 20.5 inches
Chest (under armpits) - 33.5 inches
Height - 67 inches
Neck - 12.6 inches
Calf - 14.5 inches
Percentage of body fat - 17.62
Total body fat - 22.2 lbs.
Lean body mass - 103.8 lbs.

All measurements, (by tape and skin calipers) were repeated three times with the average being used. I also went over the calculations three times to make sure of accuracy.
In 30 days her change has been-
.74% drop body fat
.5 lb loss in body fat
1.3 lb gain in lean body mass.
Robin's waist to hip ratio is now .68.

I will repeat again. Dehydration, a good bowel movement, water retention, etc can skew these results. The trend is what is important. However the trend has been positive and the improvements have been consistent.

What are Robin's goals? "Improving fitness and well being. Preventing injury and reversing the aging process."

She currently wants to increase the thickness of her chest and back and the size of her hips and thighs while continuing to reduce her waist. She wants visible abdominals by summer.

What is the exact program she used? Stay tuned for future articles on Reverse Magazine.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

You Can't Out Run a Donut!

The plan that changed the way you think is now available as an EBOOK. For just FIVE dollars, the cost of a trip to Starbucks, you can change your life forever. 
[Please note. This was formerly published as "7 Steps to Lose Those Extra Holiday Pounds"]

Monday, May 2, 2011

Anyone Looks Good At 22!

Youth is amazing. Flawless skin, strong bones, ample muscle and endless energy. Truthfully, even with variables such as height, weight and less than perfect presentation, there is little that is not incredible about being young and nearly indestructible. But Father Time marches on. Days become weeks, weeks become months, months become years and years become decades. What we took for granted in our youth is stolen from us slowly as we age,... or is it?

How much can we prevent excessive components of age and what can we do? Here is a link that perhaps over simplifies things, but it is rather vivid. Take a LOOK
One does not have to be a scientist to understand some of the apparent things going on.
Here is a list of some powerful tools to resist aging.

  1. First and foremost, strength train. As we age there is a loss of muscle size and strength. You must simply add proper strength training to the mix. This fundamentally means moving resistance that is heavy for you, two to three times per week under proper supervision.
  2. Don't gain excessive weight. WEIGH DAILY. This keeps tabs on how food affects your body and how salt, carbohyrates, constipation and dehyration can cause your weight to shift.  When you gain excess weight you are stretching your skin and enlarging and even creating fat cells. You are placing mechanical stress on your orthopedic structure. Imagine going through life wearing a 50 pound back pack that you never take off.
  3. Eat a balanced diet. Extremism is usually that. Too much of a deviation past common sense. Your diet should include most everything whole and fresh. There is little evidence that organic does anything special. Adequate protein is always the first step.
  4. Avoid the sun. While getting enough Vitamin D is the current headline, you must avoid excessive burning or tanning. Burns cause cancer and tanning is aging despite what anyone tells you at a cocktail party. If you are in a northern climate, consult your physician about appropriate Vitamin D supplementation.
  5. Limit alcohol consumption. Moderate amounts of alcohol seem to add years to life. Excessive alcohol will age you. Your organs and your skin.
  6. Don't smoke. Period. It is NOT A NASTY HABIT, IT IS AN ADDICTION. Many ex heroin addicts claim that quitting smoking is tougher. That is not letting anyone off the hook. Forget the health issues. Smoking ages the skin of the face and around the mouth causing wrinkles. 
  7. Get active. The body is meant to be used. Moving about in nature is part of our being. Get out and run, walk, bike, swim or play. 
  8. Learn new skills. Treat the brain as a muscle and exercise it daily. Reading, music, problem solving, art, language skills and writing. 
  9. Social Interaction. Humans as a group do better with a sense of community and awareness of a higher power. 
  10. Humans also do better paired in a relationship.   
The onslaught of time can not be stopped, but it can be managed. Aging is normal, but we are avoiding abnormal aging at all costs.