ENTREPRENEUR | ATHLETE _
I am going preface this by saying blatantly that this post will be a concoction of my opinion, some academic literature, some anecdotes from personal experience, some tid-bits from the observation of others, and some taken from the opinions of expert chiropractors, nutritionists, and multiple bodybuilding coaches. Use it if you want. I suggest you read it though.
A common question that I am asked is “Neal, what the heck do I eat before I workout?” Although different diets have different functions, and what you consume on a day to day/hour to hour basis must be different than the person next to you, I am going to assume that your goals during your workouts is either functional, or body composition related. In other words, you are either looking to perform better, whether it is athletically, biomechnically, or physiologically or you are aiming to looking better meaning you want that bikini to look good in June, or those abs to become washboards.
Nonetheless, the objective of your pre-workout meal should be to fuel your workout so that you can optimally meet and obliterate your goals. Recently, I have taken a relatively anti-carbohydrate stance because of the host of insulin-spiking related and various other related health issues that recent academic literature (and not-so-recent literature that has been hidden by massive food conglomerates like Kraft foods and Coca-cola) has alluded to. Particularly, higher-glycemic or insulin spiking foods, and processed carbohydrates like maltodextrin are truly the devil. However, unprocessed carbohydrates like whole grains, fruits, beans, and vegetables, can and should be consumed at moderate amounts by those who don’t train (although practically everyone should workout), and ABSOLUTELY MUST be consumed by those who train.
Not only is it necessary for those who work-out to consume carbohydrates, but it would be most advantageous to consume carbohydrates in close proximity to your workouts. When you pound the weights, hit the pads, or play a sport, your body utilizes an energy source called Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP). To maximize your workouts, you should consume a high amount of ATP in close proximity to your workout! Guess what breaks down in ATP: You guessed it, carbohydrates.
The catabolism (break-down) of carbohydrates into useable ATP is a process that occurs every time you work out. The ideal workout meal in my opinion is a portion of oatmeal or steel-cut oats, with blueberries, bananas, and cinnamon. Here’s why:
Bananas & Blueberries
Oatmeal or Steel Cut Oats
Try this pre-workout meal for a week, and think about the following. How do you feel during your workouts? How do you muscles feel? Fuller? Flatter? Are you gaining muscle, body-fat, or neither when eating like this?
Your favorite trainer told you to eat carbohydrates so go do it without any guilt. Just make sure it is an hour or less before your workout. Otherwise, I’ll get mad. Go enjoy your oatmeal dreamers and crush your workouts on this lovely #FlexFriday!
My father is a great man, and indeed I respect a lot of the things that he said and did over the years. He has unwavering discipline, a laser-like focus, and a sense of genuine composure that I admire; it seems like nothing ever phased him.
At 21, I was entering my second to last year of college at Rutgers University pursing majors in Economics and English, with minors in Psychology and American Studies. I was an ambitious, high-energy, over confident and certainly over caffeinated bodybuilder, student, personal trainer, model, boyfriend, son, and aspiring entrepreneur. Inevitably, my thoughts were constantly racing. At times, this cognitive bedlam resultant of my irrepressible thoughts was destructive to my productivity, happiness, and overall health. I would feel stressed very often, unfocused, and even paradoxically directionless due to the many directions I wanted to go in.
It seemed like although my dad never alluded to how motivated he was, he seemed to get things done very efficiently, yet I always talked a big game and used various substances from coffee to Adderall to feel motivated and stimulated but never got anything done.
I could not stand it. I had to ask this old man what the secret was; which is exactly what I did – and he said “Meditation.”
“Ok cool buddha, now really, what’s the deal.” He simply smiled and said, “Try it, the answer is simple.” Arrogant me did not want to accept this for an answer; so I continued to live my cluttered life. My room was always a mess, my desk always unorganized, my to-do lists long and uncompleted every day, my stress levels constantly through the roof, and my life was simply unmanageable. It was not until I got into a car accident while texting and driving that I realized that something needed to be changed. I was not present anymore. My life passed me by, moment by moment, and I was getting no fulfillment because my mind was never where it needed to be: in the now. It got so bad that I put my life at risk.
“Dad, I want to learn to meditate,” I said the day after the accident. I researched various forms of meditation, and remembered an old boss mentioned TM, which stands for Transcendental Meditation. I signed up for a course, learned how to meditate, and my life was changed forever.
Fast forward about three years later.. In the past three years I have probably skipped about 35 days total. I have meditated a minimum of 5 minutes, and up to an hour and a half on rare occasions. The recommendation is to meditate twice a day for 20 minutes; my average is a little short of that, where I only engage in one meditation session a day for about 20 minutes as part of my extensive morning ritual.
Here are the benefits that I believe to have received from this magical practice. Of course, we cannot fall victim to the correlation = causation paradigm, but there are a lot of studies that confirm the wide range of benefits that meditation provides; some of these benefits are found in the studies while others are purely anecdotal. Regardless, it does not hurt to try!
1) More presence in the moment; I am not thinking about extraneous things whilst immersed in a task.
2) An increased sense of focus along with mental endurance especially when reading
3) An improved ability to shift attention away from a current task, and then back to it
4) A better control of my internal dialogue; I am able to catch cynical thoughts and prevent them from spiraling downwards.
5) Improved willpower when engaging in all forms of physical exercise and strenuous mental tasks.
6) The ability to fall asleep within minutes of putting my head on the pillow, no matter how much coffee, pre-workout powder, or other stimulants I have consumed.
7) Lower blood pressure upon completion of meditation.
8) A lower resting heart rate.
9) Less impulsiveness (Also could be a factor of age-related neuroplasticity and the full development of my prefrontal cortex)
10) Heightened sensory perception; improvements in my olfactory sense, and auditory perception. My vision, ever since I started meditating has actually drastically improved ever since I started as indicated by tests from the eye doctor.
11) 3.8, 3.8, 3.7, 3.5 GPAs my last 4 semesters of college which were improvements from my 3.0 GPA that I had earned during my previous years of college.
12) Improved intuition; my ability to sense unhealthy environments, negative people, and all forms of toxicity.
13) Improved pain tolerance
These are just a few of the most striking benefits that I have observed, but there are many more that I can name.
Meditation is not as rare of a practice as one may think; there are many high profile, successful, happy, wealthy, and fit people that meditate regularly, such as:
1) Jennifer Anniston (Actress)
2) Russell Brand (Comedian)
3) Gisele Bundchen (Fashion model & Producer)
4) Sheryl Crow (Singer)
5) Ray Dalio (Investment Banker)
6) Ellen DeGeneres (Talk-show Host)
7) Yukio Hatoyama (Former Prime Minister of Japan)
8) Paul McCartney (Singer)
9) Katy Perry (Singer)
10) Martin Scorsese (Director)
11) Russell Simmons (Music Producer & Entrepreneur)
12) John Stamos (Actor & Musician)
13) Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum (Cardiologist)
14) Howard Stern (DJ & Talk-Show Host)
15) Ivanka Trump (Real Estate)
16) Oprah Winfrey (Talk Show Host & Producer)
17) Barry Zito (MLB Player)
All I am saying is try it, it's simple. It does not hurt. How to meditate? Ah. Check out my YouTube video coming out in the next few weeks :)
Cold shower therapy is a metaphor for every-day reality. For us to be successful at anything that we do, we must be able to control our inner dialogue and fight the forces of resistance that prevent us from doing those things that we know we need to do.
Let’s play out this scenario and keep in mind how similar this is to your internal dialogue in your day-to-day reality.
Prior to entering the cold shower for the first time, our internal dialogue will be something along the lines of:
“Ok so in my head, I said I would do this but, honestly, it is so painfully uncomfortable, no one is watching, and I really don’t see how this is going to help me.” We will call this voice resistance.
Another voice will come into the picture and say, “No, you’ve committed to this, now do it.” We will call this second voice catalyst.
Many times, it’s as simple as choosing the voice catalyst over resistance. As human beings experiencing internal turmoil, the scenario is usually not that simple. A third voice of course needs to come into the picture – we will call this voice, prolong.
Prolong decides that it is not ok to give up, but it is also ok to delay. “You know what,” prolong inquires. “Let’s do this, but not today. I am running late and it’s freezing out so getting out may make me sick. Tomorrow is a Monday which is a good day to start anyway.”
Prolong, is arguably even more insidious than resistance, because prolong gives an open-ended offer that may not make one feel as guilty. Resistance we blatantly know is wrong. A true test of character is choosing catalyst in this scenario. And guess what - choosing catalyst in any scenario where you face resistance is the right choice. When you are about to do something beneficial but uncomfortable, BE MINDFUL of justifications that occur in your head, whether it is going to the gym, pushing through a set, working on a proposal, going above and beyond on an assignment, practicing your instrument an extra hour, or stepping your naked self into the cold shower, Cold shower therapy is a great way to train the mind to not justify and to face your fear of discomfort.
How does it work? The brain is a neuroplastic organ, meaning that is malleable; this malleability is a function of its external influences. By embarking in an activity that tests our character and fortitude, our brain is responding to this. Our brains will start to behave the same way in similar contexts. When we are able to fight the voice of resistance, and able to force ourselves to side with catalyst, our brains will be more inclined to do so in other situations. The more we fight resistance, the easier it gets, and the neurological pathways in our brain will actually physically change in response to this. For any of my research junkies who are interested in the neurobiology of this, check out the book “The Brain That Changes Itself,” by Norman Doige.
So what are the benefits?
So who are some notables who have benefited from this unorthodox method?
Protein is for bodybuilders only. Oily, shiny, tan, hairless, bodybuilders. That’s a myth.
Everyone has an opinion on protein, so naturally I had to research for the facts. If there is one supplement to take as an athlete or any high-performing professional – it’s branched chain amino acids.
Twenty percent of the human body is made up of protein. Yes, everyone’s body, not just a shiny man in a thong has protein within them. In fact, protein plays a crucial role in almost all biological processes and amino acids are the building blocks of protein.
A large proportion of our cells, muscles and tissue is made up of amino acids, meaning they carry out many important bodily functions:
What they do : What does it mean
Improves cognitive function by regulating neurotransmitters : You will be happy, healthy, relaxed, and non-spastic
Healing wounds and repairing tissue : You won’t fall down your stairs after leg day
Maintenance of nitrogen : Increase blood flow to transport nutrients
Regulates blood sugar : Maintains mental and physical energy, prevents insulin spikes
Makes you a savage : You’ll be a savage, duh
As humans, we have 9 essential amino acids, and we have 11 non-essential amino acids. Essential amino acids are those that are absolutely essential for us to have in our diet because our bodies cannot produce them on its own. Non-essential amino acids are the exact opposite. Our body can produce non-essential amino acids on it’s own and does not need to acquire them through diet, hence they are not essential to our diet.
Because being big, full, shredded, and juicy is everyone’s priority in life, I want to discuss 3 essential amino acids called branched chain amino acids that will aid the transformation of your dad bod to a beach bod. You can find information on all the rest of the amino acids on my YouTube Channel, but for now, let’s elaborate on these 3 bad boys known as branched chain amino acids (BCAAs).
Anyone that engages in any sort of physical activity could benefit from consuming a branched chain amino acid supplement. Quite frankly, BCAA’s are necessary for optimal physical performance, but most diets are deficient in the appropriate amount of BCAAs. These specific amino acids have the functions of preventing muscle-break down, aiding in protein synthesis which is the process responsible for building muscle, enhancing immunity, and resisting nutrient loss.
Valine, Isoleucine, and Leucine are the three branched chain amino acids found in a ratio of 1:1:2, respectively, in your muscles. To clarify, for every one unit of valine in your muscles, there will be one unit of isoleucine, and 2 units of leucine in those swollen biceps and pumped up booties. Although all three work in synergy and are all important to have in your supplement, the most important BCAA is leucine, and your BCAA supplement should have anywhere from 3 – 10 grams of it. If you’re looking for some high quality amino acids with the listed ratios along with other essential nutrients, head on over to the shop.
Although I do not think that any supplement is absolutely necessary, (although I do think a great many provide phenomenal value), Branched Chain Amino Acids are the closest thing to necessary in my opinion. If anyone has anymore questions, check out my YouTube video series that not only elaborates on BCAA’s, but also talks about the BCAA supplements that I carry and discusses the functions of the rest of the amino acids mentioned in this blog post.
The Magic of MCTs for Losing weight, and Feeling more Energy Than You Have Ever Felt Before
First of all, fat praising is a hell of a lot nicer than fat shaming, so I am justified. Second, I WILL continue fat praising, because fats are magical at the physiological and neurological level and have been blamed for so many things they haven’t done… *goddamn it mom I’m telling you I didn’t do it, stop blaming me for everything all these years ughhh* Sorry. Anyway, fats, the macronutrient is what is being discussed here. Like the thing on the nutrition facts label. Not that layer of fat that prevents you from fitting into those jeans you just bought. (JK)
Now of course, some fats are better than others; so, this doesn’t mean suddenly you have the right to raid the pantry and clean out all the Twinkies. Most fats are not magical at all. However, there are these specific fats, called MCTs that do make wonderful things happen.
An MCT, as opposed to a long chain triglycerides (LCT), which are found in most foods stands for Medium Chain Triglyceride. MCT is comprised of primarily caprylic and capric fatty acids, and is a light-yellow, odorless, translucent liquid at room temperature. MCT oil occurs naturally in coconut oil and other foods. When MCTs are absorbed into the blood stream, they bypass the digestion process that longer chain fats go through. MCTs provide quick energy for the body and are thus less likely to be stored in the fat cells. Furthermore, when a meal includes medium chain triglycerides, there is a significant increase in the number of calories burned (thermogenic effect). When more calories are used, fewer are stored as fat, which helps to reduce body fat levels. Boom, yet another way fat burns fat.
Weight management is the first benefit that one could see with the introduction of MCTs into his or her respective diet, but for nootropic Neal, that’s lame. What excites me and many others alike is the sustained mental clarity and sharp focus that MCTs provide. The reason why this happens, is very simple; ketones have been proven time and time again to be a more efficient energy source than glucose. When MCTs go through their quick digestion process described above and eventually make it as the liver where they are metabolized, they release a plethora of ketones. Think of ketones as premium fuel and glucose as regular. I’m taking the premium.
“So great information Neal, but what the heck do I do with it, you may be wondering.” Here’s the first step. Do yourself a favor, and get coconut oil. I like to keep it very simple and so I just take a heaping tablespoon of coconut oil and dump it into my black coffee without any sugar or milk. And then move on with my day. An actual brand called Bulletproof has manifested as a result of this coconut oil in coffee phenomenon; and has now expanded into a multimillion dollar company that sells bulletproof coffee beans, butters, oils, and even accessories; and essentially takes what people have been doing for a while, claims it as their own, and attempt to fool consumers into purchasing a proprietary recipe that is unoriginal.
Last time, I said "eat fat to lose fat". This time, I’ll leave you with this; drink fat to get smart.
This post is intended for anyone who takes pre-workout or is considering taking it. For those of you who do not know whether you should take pre-workout or not; I will say the following. If you find yourself struggling to get through your workouts due to fatigue from a long day, caloric depletion, or just simply since your workouts are becoming longer and more grueling, a pre-workout supplement may be something for you to consider adding to your repertoire. This, along with house music, and a 5-minute viewing of pictures of your ex-girlfriend/boyfriend prior to your lift are clinically proven methods for you to make unmatchable gains (Just kidding about the latter two).
If you consume an adequate amount of carbohydrates prior to your workout, and still find yourself struggling to get a “pump,” or that skin tearing feeling of your muscles being full, you may also want to consider a pre-workout. To simply it as much as possible, this feeling of your muscles being pumped is an indicator that there is an adequate amount of blood volume in there; more blood in the muscles equates to more growth.
I only recommend pre-workout supplements to those that have been working out for at least six months or more. If you have not been working out for more than half a year, your workouts are not that grueling. Sorry, but that is the harsh reality of it. So for any of you that are considering buying a pre-workout, or for any of you that currently take pre-workout but want to be sure that you are buying the most effective tub on the shelves, read on. I’ll fill you in on what NEEDS to be in your anabolic elixir:
Dosage: 1.0 – 2.0 x BW mg.
Although there are many sources of caffeine, it is still essential that your pre-workout contains it. Caffeine is the most widely consumed psychoactive substance part of the methylaxinthine class and serves as a central nervous system stimulant. And yes, it works. All pre-workouts should contain caffeine because it will have a thermogenic effect on the body, synergize well with other nootropic (cognitive enhancing) ingredients, and will cause an increase in focus, arousal, alertness, and reaction time. It improves performance in aerobic, and anaerobic conditions, and actually delays the onset of muscular fatigue.
Dosage: 4,000 mg
L-Citrulline is an amino acid that serves as a vasodilator and a very potent one too, for that matter. L-Citrulline is one of the three dietary amino acids in the urea cycle, alongside L-arginine and L-Ornithine. It is used as a sports performance and cardiovascular health supplement and results in reduced fatigue and improved endurance for both aerobic and anaerobic prolonged exercise. After supplementation, L-Citrulline is converted into arginine in the kidneys. Supplemental L-arginine provides a spike of L-arginine in plasma, while supplemental L-citrulline increases arginine plasma levels over a longer period of time. L-arginine and L-ornithine are subject to reduced absorption when supplemented in doses of 10g or more, which can result in diarrhea.
L-Citrulline does not have this side-effect, and since it increases plasma levels of all three amino acids, it is generally preferred as a supplement over L-arginine.
2-Aminoisoheptane OR 1-3 Dimethylalanine OR 4-amino-2-methylpentane OR Synephrine
Dosage: 100 – 150 mg; 10 – 60 mg; 10 – 60 mg; 10 – 20 mg.
So first, you are probably wondering why could I not have just picked one over the other? Second, what the heck are each of these four chemically sounding things? The four of these are ALL central nervous system stimulants, and all four of them are super potent. Without getting into the specifics of how each of these works, I will say one thing; if any of your pre-workouts have 1 of these 4 ingredients, YOU WILL BE WIRED.
I subscribe to this philosophy; if you are going to put something in your body, it might as well actually do something substantial and noticeable. I do not believe people should take pre-workout before every workout. Along with that, I do not think people should take a weak pre-workout. Instead, people should utilize powerful pre-workouts, granted they are healthy and experienced in order to get over plateaus, push through longer workouts, and perform after long days at work. Thus, a pre-workout, must be powerful and for this to be the case, it needs one of these four bad boys in it.
Dosage: 2,000 – 5,000 mg
THE TINGLES BABY. Many users that take beta-alanine report a tingling, itchy, super empowering feeling when taking beta-alanine. It has been shown to enhance muscular endurance. Many people report being able to perform one or two additional reps in the gym when training in sets of 8–15 repetitions. Beta-alanine supplementation can also improve moderate- to high-intensity cardiovascular exercise performance, like rowing or sprinting. When it is ingested, it turns into the molecule carnosine, which acts as an acid buffer in the body. Carnosine is stored in cells and released in response to drops in pH. Increased stores of carnosine can protect against diet-induced drops in pH (which might occur from ketone production in ketosis, for example), as well as offer protection from exercise-induced lactic acid production.
So, there you have it folks, the 4 components that a pre-workout must have, in my opinion. You can check out the store www.brainandbodysupplementation.com, and pick up an Innovapharm Pre-workout as ours have all those ingredients in there, but I would never push my product upon anyone. There’s tons of other great pre-workouts out there that have those ingredients in them. Enjoy your Monday people.
The Truth about the Sugar Industry and the Addictive Potential of Sugar...
You think of white powders. They both are the catalysts to pleasurable experiences; the mind numbing, finger tingling, spine chilling bliss a cocaine user may describe is actually a result of the same neurological firing that an ice cream sundae smothered with hot fudge and sprinkles stimulates. Of course, just as both provide intensely pleasurable sensory experiences in the present, both will also have detrimental effects on one’s overall health in the long-term.
Most people probably have the notion that that cocaine is both more detrimental and addicting but at least one if not both of these two postulates is likely untrue as supported by scientific evidence. Cocaine the highly addicting street drug is actually less addicting than sugar, according to a study on rats conducted by Dr. Serge Ahmed, of the University of Bordeaux in France. The study reports that when rats were allowed to choose mutually-exclusive between saccharin and intravenous cocaine, 94% or 40 out of 43 rats chose the cocaine over the sugar. The test was conducted again using sucrose a natural sugar, and similar findings came about. Lastly, the dose of cocaine was increased at various quantities but yet the preference for the sweet compounds was surmountable. The study leads to the two conclusions:
1. Intense Sweetness surpasses cocaine reward on the brain
2 Sugar is more addicting than cocaine
I guess it really is not a big deal. I mean, sugar is not all that bad right? Processed sugar is so ingrained into my diet so it cannot be that bad right? Right Neal? (Lol, you guys are such junkies)
Uh, well. It is fully or partially responsible for the following conditions (along with many more that are not listed):
3. Heart damage
4. Cognitive Decline
5. Reduced lifespan (as a result of all the conditions I name plus many more)
6. Chromium Deficiency
7. Diminished ability to absorb calcium, magnesium, and protein
8. Lowered good cholesterol levels
9. Lowered vitamin e-levels
10. Increased adrenaline, Anxiety, and Drowsiness
11. Increased risk of antisocial behavior,
12. Increased risk of sedentary behavior
13. Emotional instability
14. Drug addiction
16. Increased Systolic Blood Pressure
17. Formation of kidney stones and gallstones
18. Reduced insulin sensitivity
21. Increased risk and symptoms of chronic degenerative diseases
24. Parkinson’s disease
26. Diseases toxemia in pregnancy
27. Development of ADHD
28. Suppression of immune system
29. Weaker eyesight
30. Reduced tissue elasticity
31. DNA structure impairment
32. Skin aging
33. Reduced function of many enzymes
34. Increased liver size
35. Increased kidney size
36. Reduced function of adrenal glands
38. Growth of cancer cells
This may be bothersome to many, as it should be. In fact, it’s not just bothersome to me; it’s sickening, enraging, and quite frankly, a war needs to be waged against the FDA. I will be putting a lot of content out about the complex nature of this intriguing and highly polemical topic: the sugar industry.
The point of this blog post is just to scratch the surface about the corrupt nature of the sugar industry in regards to the research and misinformation perpetuated due to the unethical practices of some of the industry and the people associated with it. Earlier this month, many news sources, most notably the New York Times and CNN reported that in the 1960s, the sugar industry shifted the blame for America’s health problems to fat from carbohydrates. This was recently discovered by a researcher at the University of California and published in the JAMA Internal Medicine, a medical publication on Monday, September 12th, 2016.
According to the New York times article the Sugar Research Foundation, Coca-Cola, and various other organizations and corporations paid millions of dollars to scientists to skew or publicize research that down-played the link between sugar and health risks, most notably obesity. The article identifies that “One of the scientists who was paid by the sugar industry was D. Mark Hegsted.” Guess what. This motherfucker just happened to go “on to become the head of nutrition at the United States Department of Agriculture, where in 1977 he helped draft the forerunner to the federal government’s dietary guidelines.” In my eyes, he murdered many for money and this is not something that sits well me.
Well great. We are a nation ADDICTED to sugar and most of us are unaware of it. We have large corporations trying to make us sick; guess who else benefits? Big Pharma. The food industry is making us sick, and the pharmaceutical industry is making us sicker. Fuck the FDA. Fuck Coca-Cola. Fuck big Pharma. Fuck Kraft. Fuck a whole bunch of other corrupt assholes involved. I’ll be here exposing the truth for a while. This is not a problem. This is an epidemic, and we need to go to war.
What male does not like booty? I actually have never met any male who does not enjoy a nice, firm, shapely, round, voluptuous, full, round, firm, tight, toned, plump, pair of glutes. In fact, both males and females alike have expressed their admiration for glutes in the opposite sex, and I must say, I myself do like a nice derriere over there. (How ya doin?)
Whether you questioned why you were attracted to this feature, or you kind of just accepted and enjoyed the visual appeal that this feature provides, biological reasons do exist for your inclinations to just squeeze. Sexologist Alfred Kind suggested that the buttocks is the primary sexual presentation site in primates. When a female has developed glutes, it indicates fertility, health, and a feminine hormonal balance due to the fact that estrogen levels are high in glutes and high estrogen levels cause the accumulation of fat tissue.
A very common goal that a lot of my clients express to me, particularly females is the desire to get a bigger butt. This request has increased rapidly over the course of the past two years; my intuition as to why this phenomenon occurs is due to the excessive amount of booty selfies (belfies) on Instagram. I’m not kidding.
The influence that social media has had in inspiring people to commit to the fitness lifestyle is remarkable and a very positive consequence of this disruptive technology. Of course, sex sells, and vanity is prevalent in both the fitness industry and social media. Because social media is very much centered around validation, sex sells, and posting fitness related content is more common and socially accepted than it ever was before, it would make a sense to post a picture of your butt. Pictures of my butt coming out soon. Lol jk, not happening bruh.
Regardless of whether you are trying to get more likes than your sister, (Kim, Kylie’s catching up) trying to fill out some denim, look better for a significant other, or have really striated raisin looking glutes for a bodybuilding competition, I am here to help. Let’s start by listing four reasons as to why one remains a pancake ass. There may be more, but these are the four most common that I observe.
So what should you do address these issues?
Effective thigh-extending exercises:
Effective thigh abducting and exercises:
Ladies, I am sorry, but the answer to your question, “Can we do crunches, I have a trip coming up this weekend and I need to burn my belly fat?” is “Nah yo.” In some rare cases I’ll say “No,” but for the most part, its “Nah yo,” or “Nah bruh.” I refuse to explain the answer to this question again, so listen with open ears and an open mind. Trust me, I know you have big ears, I saw that snapchat with the bunny filter your sent me yesterday.
Ok, I digressed, sorry. Anyway, I refuse to spend an entire session of a client’s hard-earned money simply doing crunches in order to burn belly fat because that does not work and I want to do my job with absolute integrity. I assume that the logic or intuition behind this request is centered around the fact that by targeting and isolating a specific muscle group, one will eliminate the visceral body fat that conceals it. This is simply not true. The truth is that your body decides where to store fat first, and where it will remove it first; NOT YOU. Hehe suckz 2 b u. Jk.
Where your body decides to store and lose body fat is very much based on genetics and biomechanics. We all seem to notice (or experience) a common trend; that body fat stores around the abdominal region in many people. Why is this?
Remember, the body’s number one job is simply to SURVIVE. So why does the body store all those nachos and corona’s in that beer belly or that pouch and how is that contingent to survival? “Damn it, go to my biceps, I am trying to fill out this new George W. Blue Polo!” you frat stars say. Unfortunately for you it makes more sense for the body to store it in the abdominal region because it is located in the middle of your body and thus requires the least amount of energy to carry around; this conservation of energy allows your body to allocate it for other survival processes. The further away you go from the center point of your body, the more distance the limb moves when the body is in motion. Your fingers and toes then would be the least efficient place for your body to store body fat, while the abdominal region would be the most.
Another point I want to make that may seem glaringly apparent at first but carries great significance is that your body stores fat wherever there are fat cells. For survival reasons as discussed before, fat cells are by far the most prevalent in the abdominal region for most people, particularly males. For females, fat cells are very prevalent in both the abdominal region along with the glutes and breasts because this will help females attract a male mate.
The body will cling on tightly to this stubborn belly fat, and so for all you weekend warriors, non-dieters, and short cut seekers, stop being those things. Sorry, tough love from your homie. The harsh and tough reality of the matter is you need to take a whole body approach to this weight loss thing, stay consistent with your diet, weight train consistently, and adhere vehemently to a cardiorespiratory training regimen. No diet pill, cream, drug, or procedure will get you to your goal of targeting abdominal fat specifically, and crunches certainly won’t do it. Topical creames are highly, (I’ll say it again, HIGHLY) toxic.
Liposuction is a more polemical and complex topic and something I get asked about frequently. I will preface by saying that if one consistently over consumes, lives a sedentary lifestyle and as a result slows his or her metabolism a liposuction procedure is just a recipe for disaster. Habit change and behavior change from my observation and is not an acute and simple process especially when it comes to fitness, but instead a conscious and deliberate commitment that requires integrity and patience. This individual will most likely return to their old gluttonous ways and although will not be able to store body fat in the abdominal region, will store it in other regions with fat cells at a much more rapid rate. 6 months later, this individual will wake up and realize that an extra couple chins, and sagging triceps with a flat stomach is not really the greatest look. I am not totally opposed to surgical solutions as there are many instances where I think they are necessary for survival, or could provide necessary momentum or confidence in dire cases of obesity, but for my readers who have considered it, ask yourself if it’s the lazy self that wants to go this route or it is the actual best thing for you.
So what then is the best progression to reduce body fat in the abdominal region? Guess what…. It’s the same way you would reduce fat in any other region:
This is a bold claim that definitely counters most of our population’s intuition in regards to weight training and cardio and each of their respective functions. The notion that cardiorespiratory training is more effective for fat loss is simply that; a notion, and not a fact. My speculations as to why this notion exists is based on the following two perceptions:
1. The perception that energy expenditure and oxygen intake is greater with cardiorespiratory training than weight training.
2. Our perception of athletes, their training styles, and the correlation we make to their body composition.
Let me start with this before diving into all my scientific mumbo-jumbo. Everyone is impacted by a countless number of different factors; our body composition and its ability to perform is no different. Thus, we must not fall victim to correlation and causation. Instead of making the assumption that our college girl in her pink Nike’s going absolutely haywire on the elliptical is efficiently burning fat by doing cardio just because she is skinny, we must recognize that she is impacted by MANY different factors. Perhaps she was a soccer player growing up and metabolically has been conditioned to utilize nutrients more effectively than you were. Maybe she just experienced a traumatic event that has made it difficult for her to eat. She may be genetically blessed. What applies to her may not apply to you, and what applies to you may not apply to that guy at work giving you advice who is an exercise science professional because he finished a 12-week bodybuilding.com workout plan. What about the offensive lineman who is pushing 330? Did you ever look at the 1,000 carbohydrates he ate daily? Did you get a chance to see a picture of his dad or mom and know his genetics?
So what’s the best thing to do then to figure out what is best for me? Use science. Let’s start then with this scientific fact: The majority of calories you burn in a day are not through activity, but instead through your resting metabolic rate, (RMR). So you may be confused. Do I really mean to tell you that the majority of calories that I burn are while I’m NOT active? YES, this has been proven over and over again in studies and what has also been proven is that there is a direct positive correlation between lean body mass and your RMR. Weight training’s getting you that lean body mass increase, not cardio. The paradigm to create in your mind based on this is that the fat-loss benefits of cardiorespiratory training are acute, while the fat-loss benefits of weight-training are around the clock! You hit the treadmill for 25 minutes, you get 25 minutes of benefit. That’s not the case with weight training. Your body is expending energy and burning calories when it is attempting to repair your muscles after that killer bench day. Processes like protein synthesis (which is an example of one of many) are going on for hours (36 – 48 to be exact), to help repair your muscles after an intense weight training session and during this time you are burning far more calories than when you are in the gym!
So you may be thinking now that all that cardio that you do is pointless. Not true. I am absolutely not saying not to hit the stair-master. If you want to go to that spin class, go. Prepare for that 5k in a few months; I would never advise you not to. In fact, I am not even saying that these things would not help you burn fat because they will; just understand that their benefits when related to fat loss are simply acute. Cardiorespiratory training, especially distance running is proven to be the most beneficial type of fitness for cognitive functioning and enhancement. All forms of cardio are beneficial for your heart health, and will increase your capacity to take in oxygen. DO YOUR CARDIO. In a perfect world a program would consist of a balance between resistance training and cardio-respiratory training. However, what you should take away from this is that if your goals are to burn fat and you had to choose between the stair-master and the squat rack, take the latter. Weight training is simply more efficient for fat-loss. Science says so.