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Posted by: 01dragonslayer - Yesterday, 01:20 PM - Replies (1)

In Denmark, 342 fitness centers participated in an anti-doping program. If you were a member and your physique looked just a little too damn good, they tested you for steroids. If you failed, your gym membership was suspended for two years.
545 men temporarily lost their bench-pressing privileges during a 12-year period between the years 2006 and 2018. Yeah, I know. It sounds a little Handmaid's Tale-ish. I wouldn't be surprised if the sinners were sent to reeducation camps where they were forced to wear long red robes and white flying-nun hats.
Anyhow, some concerned Danish researchers decided to study some of these temporarily banished gym goers to see if their steroid use had any adverse effects on their health. Turns out their concerns might have been at least a little well founded.
Bad Livers, Bad Hearts, Reckless Behavior, or All 3 Reasons?The scientists followed 545 of these young (average age 26), male, steroid users over a period of 10 years and found that use of the drugs increased their chances of death by a factor of 3. A separate Swedish study found that steroid use increased the chances of death by 19, but the men the Swedes tracked were criminals in their penal system.
That means the stats from the Swedish study might have been a bit skewed. While many of these men may well have died because of steroid-related medical problems, some of them could well have been beaten up, shanked, or, like Vacaville Prison inmate Nicholas Anthony Rodriguez, sawed in half and disemboweled, which, if I'm going to be fair, could have just been another routine wood shop accident.
Obviously, prison life comes with a set of dangers that are different from ordinary, non-prison life.
Also, we need to ask if steroids themselves lead to risky behavior that results in hospital admissions or death. Or, maybe it's just that people who make the decision to use steroids in the first place have an innate, risk-taking personality.
I'm wondering if it's like the people who drive BMW's. They're always cutting me off in traffic or tailgating me. I look back in my rearview mirrors and see their angry, red ferret faces, hands clenching the steering wheel with murderous intent. Did buying a Beemer turn them into an asshole, or is it something about being an asshole that makes them want to buy a Beemer?
The answer to both the Beemer question and the steroid question is yet to be resolved. However, there are clearly a bunch of non-behavior related problems associated with steroid use/misuse, most often cardiovascular or liver-related.
As the Danish researchers concluded, "Androgenic anabolic steroid users have an increased risk of dying and significantly more hospital admissions than their nonuser peers. Side effects of AAS and their metabolites were highly prevalent. Given the high rate of androgenic anabolic steroid abuse, these side effects are of public health concern."
That being the case, there are several things a steroid user can do to mitigate some of the potential dangers.

9 Things You Can Do to Make Steroid Use Safer[Image: Syringe-2.jpg]1. RESEARCH YOUR FAMILY HISTORY.Find out why Uncle Bob, Uncle Ed, and Uncle Julio all died in their forties and early fifties. If they were all shanked or disemboweled in prison, fine, but if they died of cardiovascular disease, act accordingly. Either use very low dosages while living a scrupulously clean lifestyle, or forget about the cycle entirely.
2. GET A MEDICAL CHECK-UP.At the very least, have a doc check your blood pressure and red blood cell count before you start, and then again at regular intervals. Having a stroke affect one half of your body and forcing you to do weighted carries in very small circles and only in one direction might be frustrating and counterproductive to making gains.
3. LOWER YOUR BODY FAT.Lose some excess weight so your heart doesn't have to work so hard. Also, if you have less fat, your steroids will give you more bang for their buck, as less of them will aromatize into estrogen.
4. KNOW THY WEAPON.Don't go into it blind. Know something about the steroids you'll be using. Are they more androgenic than anabolic? If so, they'll be more likely to make your hair fall out or for you to grow breasts – small, anorexic fashion-model sized breasts, coquettish even, but breasts nevertheless – and you'll need to take other drugs to ameliorate those effects.
5. HAVE A PLAN.Most steroid users plan their cycles on what and how much is available. Not smart. Not prudent. Know how much you're going to use and for how long beforehand.
You've read that the average pro bodybuilder uses up to 3 grams of anabolic steroids a week, but they ain't role models. Most of these guys probably won't live anywhere close to statistical averages for non-abusers, at least not without heroic medical interventions.
Go for moderation. The lower your dosage, the safer you'll be.
6. AVOID RECREATIONAL DRUGS DURING YOUR CYCLE.Steroids often cause you to get overly ballsy and take stupid chances. Caution is not only thrown into the wind, it's hurled into the vortex of a category F5 tornado. You may end up using stupid amounts, and some combos of steroids and recreational drugs gang up together on the heart.
Think twice about risky behavior in general. Avoid fights, don't jump into unknown bodies of water, and don't retaliate against aggressive people who drive Beemers. 'Roid rage ain't real, but if you have a propensity to act ass-holish, steroids might bring it out.
Philosopher Blaise Pascal said, "All of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone." Consider abiding by the spirit of his warning by doing whatever it takes to stay out of trouble.
7. NO INJECTIONS IF YOU HAVE COLD SORES.Viruses inhibit the immune system, and the last thing you need is to wake up with a huge mass of gangrenous flesh that corresponds with the location of your injection site.
8. DRINK. THEN DRINK SOME MORE.You're already presumably eating a lot of protein, which dehydrates the body. Adding in steroids can make the problem worse and you don't need to make things harder on the heart. You don't have to carry one of those stupid two-gallon jugs around so everyone thinks you're a moron, but make sure to drink plenty of water.
9. DO CARDIO, OR HEART-WORK IN GENERAL.Recent studies suggest that weight training is better for the heart than cardio. Regardless, other studies have shown that conventional cardio or endurance training ameliorates some of the dangers of steroid use. Add in some of the latter mode of heart-happy work since you're already weight training. Might as well play it safe.

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Posted by: 01dragonslayer - Yesterday, 01:19 PM - No Replies

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS"How can I look like George St. Pierre?"
"How about getting a body like that Chinese weightlifter, Lu Xiaojun?"
"I want to look like The Rock. Where do I start?"
[Image: George-St-Pierre-1.jpg] The answer: Get the same parents, train like a madman for 15-20 years, and eat a muscle-building diet without getting fat.

?Really, you can't train to look like somebody unless you have similar genetics. And you can't get the body of someone who's been training hard, with a purpose, for a decade without putting in the time yourself.
You can affect the way your body will look with training and nutrition, of course. But genetics determine the end product.
A St. Bernard will always be a St. Bernard no matter what he does. He'll never become a Greyhound regardless of how hard he tries.
TRAINING AND BODY TYPESGranted, someone who trains for marathons won't build the same body as someone who does powerlifting. But within the realm of lifting, the type of training you do won't have as much of an impact on the look you develop as your genetics.
You can absolutely increase the size of your muscles and get leaner through training. You can develop certain muscles more than others, but even that has some limitations.
Once you're past the beginner stage, adding seven pounds of solid muscle tissue in a year is pretty darn good. And you'd only get it if you train your whole body, which means the muscle you gain will be proportionately distributed across your whole body too.
You won't be able to add five pounds to your chest and two pounds on the rest of your body.
So while you can make small changes in the proportions of your muscles, the muscle dominance you're born to have will likely stay with you. You'll keep your genetic proportions. Your style of training just won't do much to change those proportions.
The way your body looks is a function of your structure – torso vs. limb length, clavicle and hip width, joint size, your muscle shape – which can't be changed to a significant extent.
Through training and diet you can add muscle, get leaner, and slowly work on improving muscle balance. But that's pretty much it. This means that you can drastically improve how you look, but you don't have total control over the end result.
DORIAN YATES VS. LEE LABRADABoth were world-class bodybuilders. Dorian was a mass monster who could walk through a brick wall; Labrada had the typical aesthetic body. One was 255 pounds on a thick 5'9" body. The other was about 175 pounds on a 5'6" body with a small waist.
[Image: Yates-Labrada.jpg] Dorian was known for looking like a rock, but didn't have great muscle separation. Labrada had deep separation between all muscle groups and profound striations.
You might assume that their training would be opposite to one another. But it wasn't. They both used HIT-style, heavy duty training which focused on low volume, heavy weights, and low frequency.
MARK DUGDALELook at Mark Dugdale. Mark has always had my favorite bodybuilding physique. I've been following him since the year before he turned pro.
[Image: Mark-Dugdale.jpg] Mark made solid changes throughout the years. He gained muscle and got leaner. He's a better version of himself, but he still has the same type of physique.
And you know what's interesting? Mark started out training like Dorian and Lee: HIT training.
He did that for at least ten years, then switched to high-volume pump work and eventually he started adding more functional stuff like the Prowler and loaded carries.
He improved, but despite drastically different training styles he maintained the same type of look.
WHAT ABOUT LINEBACKERS?You like how linebackers and running backs look?
That's the result of training for years on the big basic lifts, getting very strong at them, then doing plenty of assistance work for some individual muscles to prevent injury and gain more muscle.
[Image: Linebacker.jpg] They've also been doing a lot of running and agility work – sprints and different varieties of conditioning – for years. This allowed them to get lean and stay lean while eating enough food to fuel the muscle-building process.
They also use a full range of motion on exercises plus mobility work to stay loose. This made them walk like athletes, not like blocks of muscle. This also has an influence on the "look" you project.
Bottom line: They built muscle, stayed lean, and kept mobile.
You have thousands of high-level running backs and linebackers in the nation (college and pro). They all do the same things year in and year out, but they don't all look the same.
CROSSFITTERS AND THEIR "LOOK"I work with a lot of serious CrossFitters. People love the look of the top CrossFit Games competitors, but what is the CrossFit look? Go to a competition and nobody looks the same!
I train two high-level competitors, training partners, who do the exact same programs, and they couldn't look more different.
[Image: Froning-1.jpg] What all CrossFit competitors have in common is a decent amount of overall muscle mass while being lean.
Again: Add muscle, get leaner.
What CrossFit does is make people go hard at it – not always in a smart way, but they learn to push themselves very hard and that helps them get results.
THE BEST VERSION OF YOUThe intensity, discipline, and hard-headedness you have in training will determine just how much muscle you'll gain, and how lean you're capable of getting.
The way you train can have a minor impact on the type of look you have by overemphasizing certain muscles. But if your training is logical and complete, the muscles that will appear dominant are those naturally better at developing.
But there is one thing that different types of training can do for you: they can get you motivated.
If you find a type of training that fits your psychological profile, or if you're convinced that a certain program will work for you, it'll get you more amped up to train hard. As a result you'll be more likely to love the results you'll get.
Train to get strong, powerful, have good capacity, and get lean. The end product will simply be the best version of you. And the harder you work at it, the greater changes you'll stimulate.

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Posted by: 01dragonslayer - Yesterday, 01:17 PM - No Replies

If we had to choose one big health discovery from the last decade, it would probably involve gut bacteria (gut flora or microbiota).
In short, if your microbiome is out of whack – more bad bugs than good bugs living in your intestinal tract – you'll be more susceptible to a host of nasty conditions and chronic diseases.
From a bodybuilding perspective, too much bad bacteria may even affect your rate of calorie expenditure – you eat the same amount as before, only now the same number calories causes you to pack on body fat. Those bad bugs can even trigger cravings.

?Longevity researchers have been touting the importance of a healthy gut for a while now, but this new research really has them excited.
THE STUDYFirst off, yes, this was a study using fruit flies. And you're probably not a fruit fly. But the researchers here say that the fruit fly's biochemical pathways are very similar to a human's – about 70% the same. So we'll keep that in mind.
The scientists fed fruit flies a "symbiotic," a combination of probiotics and Triphala – a blend of three fruits used in a form of traditional Indian medicine called Ayurveda. Those fruits were amalaki (Indian gooseberry), bibhitaki, and haritaki.
The flies who were fed this stack of probiotics and Triphala lived 60% longer and seemed to be protected against chronic age-related diseases. Now, for fruit flies, that means they lived 26 days longer than the non-supplemented flies in the study.
Given the naturally short lifespan of a fruit fly, that's a remarkable boost in longevity.
WHAT THIS MEANS TO YOUThe researchers do NOT expect this stack to extend the human lifespan by 60%, but they do think it would help prolong human lives. And there's definitely a synergistic effect happening here between the probiotics and the polyherbal combo supplement.
For now, put this info into your "keep an eye on it" file. It sounds promising. You can find Triphala in capsule and powder form in many health food stores.

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Posted by: 01dragonslayer - Yesterday, 01:16 PM - No Replies

A lot of lifters say the gym isn't the place to meet people. But if you're single, wouldn't you want to find someone with your shared interests and healthier lifestyle?
The main problem for women? Guys at the gym can be creepy. They'll stare for too long, interrupt our sets, or flirt in a way that holds us up from getting on with our workout. So here's a short guide to increase your chances of success and save us ladies a lot of wasted time and discomfort.
[Image: Cardio-2.jpg]1. PICK THE RIGHT GIRLHere's a list of women you should probably leave alone:

  • The Cardio Girl:  Women don't generally want to stop their treadmills to chat. So unless you're going to do what she's doing and chat her up, don't bother.
  • The Hideaway Girl:  She's the one who drags a yoga mat and some dumbbells into a corner. She's hiding for a reason. Don't invade her space.
  • The Bandit:  If she's wearing headphones, a baseball cap, and a hoodie, she doesn't want to talk to you. I don't care how ripped your abs are and neither does she.
  • The Front Desk Girl:  She has to be there no matter what, so don't make it weird. Plus, if things go wrong, you're both screwed. And not in a fun way.
Here are some better options:
  • The Girl Who Lifts Like You:  She's a woman you see regularly and who seems to be integrated in the community. She's probably your best bet since you'll share common interests and she values lifting the way you do.
  • The New-ish Girl:  She might hang around the weights but doesn't seem as comfortable as the first girl on this list. She might welcome a wave or a quick, "Can I help you find something?"
  • The Group Fitness Girl:  She takes classes and hangs around talking to staff after. She's there regularly and is probably looking for people who share her love of fitness. Note: Even if her idea of fitness is group fitness, which you think is stupid, suppress the urge to share this with her.
Notice the thing all these girls have in common? You've seen them before.
It's probably not a great idea to approach a girl you're seeing for the first time, unless there's a very clear opening. A girl who goes to the gym as regularly as you do probably kinda-sorta knows who you are. I get a lot less of that stranger-danger feeling when I get a hello from a guy I've seen around than from a guy who appeared out of nowhere.
  • She'll make eye contact. Do you guys make eye contact a lot unintentionally? Then she's probably been sneaking glances at you, too. It's a good sign. If she seems like she's avoiding your eyes, she's either uninterested or shy.
  • She'll smile. This one's obvious, but if she smiles or says hello, it probably means she's at least down to chat. If she starts a conversation, don't be an idiot and cower away; she might not give you another chance.If you greet her and she doesn't say "hi" back (and she definitely heard you) then leave her alone. Just because she says "hey" to you regularly doesn't mean she's definitely DTF. It's just a signal that she's open to communication.
  • She'll keep physical proximity. If she hangs around after finishing up an exercise when you're nearby, she might be trying to give you an opening. If she takes her earphones off and then hangs around, she's trying to be even clearer. But if you move to a machine near her and she very obviously moves away, that's not such a great sign.
[Image: Douchey-Guy.jpg]3. BREAK THE ICE (THE RIGHT WAY)
  • Don't correct her form. You don't know what she's trying to accomplish and people don't like to be corrected by strangers.
  • Don't comment on her appearance. Giving a girl a compliment on her appearance, even a tasteful one, can come off as sleazy. You can pull this move after she agrees to go out with you.
  • Don't ask her out for drinks immediately. It reeks of desperation. Get to know her and keep the conversation centered on gym stuff at first. It's possible she's not even into drinking.
Here are some better introductions:
  • Ask about her workout. Ask the same way you might ask a dude who's moving a ton of weight or working on a program similar to yours. This is a great way to get the conversation rolling. It shows respect and gives the conversation direction.
  • Ask about her shoes. Any apparel will do actually. It's kind of stupid, but her sneakers, belt, knees sleeves etc. can provide an easy way to pick up a conversation. When I was running marathons, I'd see someone wearing the same shoes as me and always comment. I even picked up some new clients this way.
  • Just say hi. This isn't the best method because it leaves her to do most the work, but if she's already interested then she might be willing to pick up some of the slack. At least you'll have initiated contact and can come up with something more creative next time. Nothing wrong with being friendly.
BOTTOM LINEA lot of the females are fed up. They don't want to be approached by guys at the gym anymore because they've spent too many hours indulging some dude's awkward come-on when they'd rather be finishing their deadlifts.
But there are so few opportunities to meet people that it'd be a shame to make gyms no-flirting zones. My advice in a nutshell? Basically the same advice I give new clients who've been trying to lose the five pounds for the last five years: Don't give up, but cut the crap and implement a strategy that might actually work.

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Posted by: 01dragonslayer - Yesterday, 01:14 PM - No Replies

Abs and Direct Training[Image: Abs-Poll.jpg]Based on the Instagram comments, it looks like many of the people who make up the 39% of "no's" are skipping direct ab work because they believe the big compound lifts like squats and deadlifts will train their abs sufficiently.
You can't blame them for thinking that, but there's more to the story. A while back there were several studies that concluded that squats and deadlifts "activated" the core muscles nicely.
 But many missed the nuances in those studies. The lumbar multifidus, transverse abdominis, and quadratus lumborum core muscles were trained the hardest by squats and deads... not the muscles you think about when you think "abs" – the rectus abdominis (6-pack) and the obliques.
As Coach Nick Tumminello has noted, the boring ol' push-up activates the abs and obliques more than squats or deads (based on EMG testing). You also "activate" your abs when you take a post-cheat day poop, but that's not exactly hypertrophying them.
Yes, the abs need to be BUILT. Diets don't build or strengthen abs, they just make them more visible. You wouldn't tell someone who wanted big traps to just eat less so his puny traps will show up better, right? Same with abs. Abs need some direct training for aesthetics, strength, and athleticism. Lots of workout ideas here: Big, Thick, Chunky Ab Training.
Abstinence for Gains?[Image: Sex-Poll.jpg]Okay, 49% of you guys are just crazy. Or maybe just really, really dedicated to building muscle? Many of the commenters were also pretty honest, saying, "Um, I'm already going without sex, so I may as well get the muscle!"
This poll was just for fun, but for the record giving up sex doesn't lead to more muscle growth. The studies basically tell us that sex can temporarily lower male testosterone levels a little, but prolonged abstinence (several months of no action) might do that too.
Also, sex right before a competition (or leg day) isn't ideal for men. You might be a little, um, drained. There's also some evidence that being a little horny before you train could actually be a performance booster. Anticipation for sex may raise testosterone levels a bit.
 Now, post-workout sex might help with recovery, especially for women. The ladies actually benefit from pre-workout orgasms too, which lead to pain desensitization, less anxiety, and better focus according to Dr. Jade Teta. But men may temporarily lose some of their aggression, and aggression is handy on deadlift day.
But let's get real. There's more to life than muscle, and good sex is one of those things. Don't leave your significant other hanging because it might (but probably won't) lead to slightly better gains.

The Kettlebell Conundrum[Image: Kettlebell-Poll.jpg]This seems about right. Kettlebells have become another tool in the toolbox, but not everyone has access to them. Many also seem to associate KBs with CrossFit surprisingly, even though kettlebells have been around in their current form since at least the 1800s. The muscle mags starting writing about kettlebells years before CrossFit existed.
As with all things fitness, trends come and go. This sums up the kettlebell trend nicely:
[Image: KB_Meme.jpg]Kettlebells are superior to barbells and dumbbells... for a few things. But of course you don't have to use them to get big and strong.
Competitive Bodybuilding[Image: Fan-Poll.jpg]Let's talk bodybuilding... competitive bodybuilding. It may surprise you that this is a divisive topic. You'd think fans of a muscle-building site would be fans of the "sport" of muscle building, right? Not so much.
 Most who didn't like competitive bodybuilding said that the drug use had just gone too far and that the physiques had gotten bloated and ugly. But an overwhelming majority still had a lot of respect for the "classic" look.
[Image: Classic-Modern-Poll.jpg]If you think about it, lifting weights is sort of like riding a bicycle. You may love to ride your bike but that doesn't necessarily mean you can name a single professional bicycle rider. The fun and the reward is in the doing, not the watching.
Still, 29% said they've either competed or want to compete someday.
[Image: Compete-Poll.jpg]The 71% who had no desire to compete cited the rampant steroid use, thought flexing in their underwear on stage was creepy, or just admitted they didn't have the body for it.
Steroids[Image: Use-Steroids-Poll.jpg]Oddly, this poll triggered the nastiest debates in the comments. The most common comment was, "The 77% are liars!"
[Image: Comments.jpg]But why lie in an anonymous poll? Perhaps those with their panties in the twist assumed that following a site called "T" Nation meant that you used steroids. Strange because, last we checked, testosterone was a natural hormone produced by both men and women – an awesome hormone that we write a lot about, usually outside the context of injecting it in copious amounts.

Or maybe the 23% who do use have developed a psychological bias. They assume other people are doing or thinking what they're doing or thinking. This is called the "false-consensus effect" in psychology.
Related surveys have shown that the majority of bodybuilding magazine and website readers don't use steroids and related drugs. They just want the lifting and nutrition information.
But then things got interesting with this poll:
Although the previous poll was full of the usual folks yelling about "cheating" and "tiny balls," it seems that more than half of respondents would use steroids themselves if the legal risks were removed. Hmm....
Stimulate to Annihilate?Well, it looks like 50% of people are wrong! Which 50%? Well, who are we to judge?
Stimulants have their place, but most T Nation® experts agree that you need to save them for when you really need them rather than making them a daily pre-gym habit.
 If you're consuming a double-dose of your favorite pre-workout and not feeling much, or feeling even more tired soon after, then it's probably time to "clean out" and take a break for while, or switch to a new one with different ingredients. We like Spike®. No sugar, no crash, and great flavors.
Home vs. Commercial GymsLooks like most people would rather have a nicely equipped home gym. It makes sense: more freedom to do what you want when you want, no waiting around for equipment, no distractions, the ability to blast any music you want and train without a shirt, etc.
But most studies show that home fitness equipment goes unused. Of course, these studies are conducted on "regular" people who buy fitness gear from infomercials and Sears, not on hardcore barbell monkeys.
[Image: Comments-2.jpg]In the end, it comes down to personality type. Some lifters thrive in the solace of their garage gyms. Others need the regimented schedule of getting into the car and going to a gym.
Many also do better in an environment where they're surrounded by others, and they discover that there are actually more distractions at home: family, chores, TVs, computers, Lazy Boy recliners, the refrigerator, etc. Also, it's hard to meet women in your garage.
Do what works for you, just be aware that it's easy for home equipment to become dust collectors and expensive coat racks.

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Posted by: 01dragonslayer - Yesterday, 01:10 PM - No Replies

1. CHASE A NEW GOAL OR TARGETOne of the most common mistakes newer lifters make is not having a clearly defined goal or target. But not experienced lifters. They'll always have a target, whether that's a competition, an event, or just competing against their own previous PRs.
To keep the fire burning, look for new challenges and new goals. Re-focus and adapt as you achieve success and/or as the years and decades pass. Some keep their drive up by switching gears. For example, Mark Bell switched from powerlifting to bodybuilding, but it doesn't have to be that extreme.
?Remember, working towards a new goal often acts as a new stimulus on the body. Different targets give you the chance to succeed in a new area, and that will help with long-term motivation and confidence.
2. CONTINUE TO LEARN AND DEVELOPOne of the aspects of the fitness industry that I love is the need for continual learning and development to progress as a coach and lifter. Over the last two decades I've learned so much from certifications and courses, but the biggest area of learning has been seeking advice and reading research from industry peers and experts.
There are far too many to mention, but the vast majority have appeared right here. T Nation is a constant source of information and advice, and my toolkit is always growing.
Whether it's adding an additional exercise, using a twist or variation of a classic exercise, or adopting an entirely new training program, changing or upgrading your training can result in a positive response that will keep you fired up to lift. Just keep learning.
3. INVEST IN YOUR WELL BEINGTraining is a stress, plain and simple. Work, family, and life in general are all additional stressors on the body. While stress is a positive (and required) response, too much can be damaging and mentally draining. And that will significantly affect your performance in lifting and life, leading to disappointing results and lagging motivation.
It's important to focus on keeping the body in a parasympathetic state to help recovery, hormonal balance, and general well being. Basically, you need balance – counters to all that stress. Examples: Sleep at least 8 hours a night, get a massage, supplement wisely, having a morning protocol (meditation/breathing, movement, gratitude, hydration), and even a post-eating protocol, like a 10-20 minute casual walk after the main meal of the day.
4. DON'T GO IT ALONEFor anyone who's struggling with focus and motivation, a simple tip is to look for a training buddy or lifting group. The right partner or group can immediately and dramatically create a positive response in initial drive and motivation, and keep you accountable.
You can even "progress" this idea by seeking out a new training buddy or group when required. You should never be the number one guy in your group, but you should be striving to be in that position. Once reached, it's time to move on up. Adding training partner(s) can bring fresh ideas and concepts to the forefront.
As a bonus, training in a group can have huge social benefits. That camaraderie can build friendships and bonds that last a lifetime.
5. APPRECIATE THE IRONStep back and think about how beautiful, powerful, and impactful the iron can be. First, we should all be grateful that we have the ability to lift. Some people don't.
Second, remember that the gym can be our sanctuary – our place to forget, our place to switch off from the world, our rehab, our antidepressant, our place to right wrongs and to positively change our mindset.

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Posted by: 01dragonslayer - Yesterday, 01:08 PM - No Replies

First, understand that I've trained many physique competitors over the years, from pro bodybuilders to figure and bikini competitors. I really admire those who are serious about it. I've also competed in bodybuilding myself.
But I've noticed an ugly trend that's growing stronger every year.
?More and more people are competing in physique contests. A few years back you had contests with ten competitors. And if you were competing you were an oddball in the gym. But today it seems like everybody is preparing for a contest. It's now "in" to prepare for a show, and they all want to do it after only a few weeks in the gym.
People who have no business even thinking about doing a physique show... are thinking about doing a show.
People who are years away from having what it takes to think about maybe competing... are thinking about competing.
People who have as much genetics for physique contests as I do for basketball (I'm 5'8" with short arms)... start training for a show.
Don't Compete If...

  1. You aren't the best or close to the best in your gym (unless you train in a gym full of IFBB pros or national level competitors).
  2. You don't really stand out when you go to the grocery store.
  3. People don't turn around and stare when you walk down the street.
  4. Nobody has ever asked you, "When is your show?"
  5. You walk into a CrossFit gym and see 20 people who look better than you who aren't even trying to.
This applies to guys who want to do bodybuilding and women wanting to do figure.
What pisses me off isn't the fact that tons of people step on stage while having no business being there (although as a spectator it does make the competitions waaaay too long and boring), rather it's the reason why so many people are "doing shows" now.

Narcissistic, Needy Wannabes[Image: Beast-Mode.jpg]Social media is largely to blame. People want to be admired, they crave the attention, and they want to broadcast themselves. They want to be told how good they look. So they start to play "pretend physique competitor."
They live for their daily picture on Facebook or Instagram to see how many "likes" and comments they'll get.
I have some harsh truth for you: nobody really cares.
They're hitting the like button because they're your friends and it doesn't take any effort. They actually couldn't care less that you're "Pumping chest 30 weeks out! Yeah, baby!"
Then these pretenders start to dress and act like the men and women they see in the pro videos: guys dress up in hoodies with the hood up in the gym – acting like tough guys, throwing the weights around, being asses to other gym members.
Hey, you are preparing for a contest! You have something really important to do, not like all these peasants, right?
Women start to dress for the gym like they'd dress for a sexy photo shoot, basically wearing a costume that screams, "Look at me, look at me! Tell me how great I look! I'm the real deal! I'm doing a show!"
Then they all start acting condescending to other people in the gym, as if the other members are a subclass because they aren't competing.
I see it every day.

Love Your Selfie LessI've dropped clients because they were "selfie lovers." It's not the act of posting a picture that I hate; it's what it implies.
It implies that the person is not competing for the proper reason. They're competing to receive attention. They're competing so they can say they're competing.
No one is ever going to be straight with you. Promoters want more competitors. Heck, with a $120 registration fees, who are they to squash your dreams? Of course they'll tell you that you have what it takes.
Trainers and diet coaches love competitors. Competitors are so insecure that they make the best clients.
"I absolutely have to see you every week to see the progress. Yes, even 30 weeks out," the coaches will say. "By the way, we need to change your diet every week and your training every three weeks. So it's gonna be $150 a week. You wanna win, don't you?"
Friends want to look supportive so they'll always say positive things to you. "Yeah, you really look amazing! No, that's not a belly, you're just holding water."

You May Not Have It. And That's Okay!Listen, not everybody has what it takes to be a good physique competitor. Everybody can improve and build a body they can be proud of, but competing should be left to the elite or those who have the potential to be elite.
People understand that someone who is 5'8" doesn't have a great chance of becoming a pro basketball player, regardless of how hard he tries and how much he loves the game. But they don't understand that the same can be true for bodybuilding and figure.
If you have narrow shoulders and wide hips you won't do well in figure or bikini. Not everybody has the round muscle bellies that make for a good bodybuilding physique. And some people just can't get super lean without losing a ton of muscle. That's just the way it is.

"But I'm not doing it for a trophy! I'm doing it for me!"Of course you are. You're doing it so that "me" is receiving attention and being told that "me" looks great. That even if "me" placed 8th, "me" definitely deserved top three.
Anyway, tomorrow "me" can always post another Facebook picture with the caption, "Despite bad judging, I'm back at it hard, pumping chest 52 weeks out! Yeah, baby!"

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Posted by: 01dragonslayer - Yesterday, 12:58 PM - No Replies

What's the most important life lesson you can learn in the gym or from lifting weights?
Charles Staley – Strength CoachTRAINING TEACHES US THAT THERE'S A DIRECT, UNMISTAKABLE CAUSAL RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN HARD WORK AND REWARD.You work hard and good things happen. You don't work hard, and good things fail to happen. Much of life is "fuzzy" – sometimes you get lucky and experience rewards that you haven't really earned. But this will never happen in the gym because the weight doesn't give a flip about anything other than whether or not you actually lift it. And when you lift a weight that you've never lifted before, it's unmistakable proof that you're now better than you ever were before.
These experiences teach us to value work ethic and give us the confidence to apply it outside the gym as well: in our careers, our relationships, and in our various interests in life. The gym is a laboratory for life. – Charles Staley

Dani Shugart – T Nation EditorBUILDING MUSCLE MAKES YOU BETTER AT LIFE. IT WORKS THAT WAY FOR ME AT LEAST.Your entire body becomes more proficient. It's phenomenal. Heavy things feel lighter, hard tasks feel easier, big meals get used instead of stored. Moving your own body around becomes a natural, simple thing. You don't even realize your own physical capability if you've had muscle for a long time and have been taking it for granted. But when you go from not lifting to lifting, your body turns into this unrecognizable machine.
My very first taste of this was in high school when weight training made me go from the slowest girl on the cross country team to the fastest in a couple years. I didn't know the science behind it, but when everyone on a hill was slowing down, I could shift gears and pick up speed. It was a dramatic athletic transformation. And when it happened, I knew that building muscle was the key to living in the body I'd want.
You become more authoritative. Not in a domineering way, but in a way that simply keeps you from being a doormat. The more you struggle under the iron and master it, the more you realize your own potential. And this can embolden people differently. You might gradually become more self-reliant in the gym, more forthright in daily interactions, or just more of a "go-getter" all around... as hokey as that sounds. You start thinking that bigger things are within your reach.
One of the most stressful times of my life was when I was hired for a news job right after college. I felt stretched yet undervalued, and my paycheck would've been bigger flipping burgers. I had stopped lifting for a year or so when I took the position. But getting back under the iron gave me the impetus to look for better opportunities instead of living with this feeling of being stuck. It was scary to quit, but it was exhilarating to get back in the captain's chair and decide what to do with my life.
It makes you socially competent. Building muscle makes you more self-assured. It's just easier to talk to strangers when you're somewhat jacked. Maybe that's because you become comfortable with yourself and you project that feeling outward. But the more comfortable you are around others, the more enjoyable the gym (and everything else) is.
And if someone snubs you when you say hi, no biggie. You're still somewhat jacked. What are they gonna do? Sigh loudly? Roll their eyes? Snobby people are usually just insecure people.
Bonus: When you focus on building strength and muscle, you attract people who are into the same stuff, and having like-minded friends is powerful. These connections can open doors, keep you motivated, and improve your health all around. – Dani Shugart

Craig Weller – Strength & Conditioning Coach, Former Naval Special WarfareWHEN SOMEONE IS IN EXCEPTIONAL PHYSICAL CONDITION, IT TELLS YOU SOMETHING ABOUT WHAT'S INSIDE THEIR HEAD THAT ENABLED THEM TO BECOME THAT WAY.It illustrates that, for years, they've been getting out of bed early to put themselves through challenging workouts while nobody else was watching or making them show up. It indicates a high probability that the candidate is self-disciplined, conscientious, and accustomed to making daily short-term sacrifices for long-term benefits.
The people who run the selections courses for tier-one special operations units like to point out that the physical characteristics that they're assessing are ways of learning about the mental makeup of their candidates. Those characteristics are much more valuable in an operator than a great four-mile run time.
The mind ultimately drives the body, and the physical tests used in these selection courses – to at least the same degree that they're evaluating actual physical ability – are a way of assessing what's inside someone's mind. That's an important concept to remember during special operations prep training. Physical adaptations last a few weeks at best from workout to workout, but the mental patterns that those sessions are building can become a part of someone's mindset for life.
Many aspects of selection are evaluating physical and mental grit: the ability to just keep going under any number of conditions, from enduring hypothermia to running up and down sand berms until an instructor gets bored enough to say "stop."
This grit is a skill, which means that it starts with knowledge (a mental model) and is then cemented through practice. It's learned by experience. Few things are better for gaining that practical experience than physical training, and few things have more potential to go wrong.
Training must be designed so that these mental skills are developed in a way that makes sense in terms of the physical capacities desired, and without risking injury. – Craig Weller

Jade Teta – Integrative Physician, Naturopath, CoachTHE MAJOR INSIGHT ABOUT LIFE IS THAT NOTHING IS EASY.Easy is earned. And weight lifting is the perfect metaphor for life. In fitness we have a principle called SAID (specific adaptation to imposed demand). In other words, your body adapts to the way you train it. Well, so does your psyche.
Just like with weight training, in life you must continually challenge yourself with progressing difficulty to get better and grow. Your muscles respond only to new challenge. Same with your mindset. With each new challenge there's growth, and this incremental growth begins to snowball like compound interest.
Most people simply won't do it. They've never trained to have a resilient mindset. We are all inherently fearful, lazy, and ignorant. Some might see that as depressing. I find it inspiring. To me it's the secret to success.
All I have to do is be a little less lazy, a little less fearful, and a little more willing to question my assumptions and biases. Then I can achieve amazing things. And the weight room is my testing ground. A new PR in the gym helps me prepare for new fear PRs in life.
Your brain is always watching you and judging the type of person you are. When it sees you attacking the gym consistently day after day, month after month, it's more likely to believe you and support you when you attack something new in life. – Jade Teta

Chris Shugart – T Nation CCO[Image: Dumbbell-2.jpg]IT'S ALL ON YOU.Back in my fat boy days, I had a dozen excuses for being overweight. Most of them were directed outward: I was fat, I'd tell myself, because of things that were outside of my control. These were self-directed lies, of course, just flimsy rationalizations to make myself feel better.
In short, I wasn't taking personal responsibility. I wasn't being self-reliant. I snapped out of it, thank God. I even wrote a little mantra that I repeated to myself every day:
"The condition I'm in now is completely my fault. I caused this. I chose to slack off. I chose crappy foods. I'm the only one to blame and I'm the only one who can fix it."
It worked. I dropped around 65 pounds of fat and eventually added over 30 pounds of muscle. There were missteps, mistakes, and long periods of stagnation along the way. But there were also life lessons – tough, heartless lessons that transcended the gym.
Today, the pull-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps ideal has faded. Today, people are seeking out and adopting victim labels. And any victim label will do. Anything to shift blame outward.
And once someone finds his flavor of victimhood, he not only adopts the label, he begins to define himself by it. He begins to wallow in that perceived victimhood. Why? Because it releases him from personal responsibility and self-reliance.
Even our leaders have begun to preach this sermon of weakness, often to acquire political power. It's a simple plan: Convince people they're helpless and that you're the only one who can solve their problems. If the people buy it, you control them, gain power, and profit.
But it's hard for me to imagine that a dedicated lifter would fall for it. He or she has learned too many things from the barbell.
The barbell teaches you different lessons. The barbell holds the opportunities for getting stronger, changing your body, and building resolve. But (and this is the important bit) the barbell also doesn't give a shit about you.
You pick it up and you get positive, life-changing results.... or you don't and you get nothing. The bar doesn't care one way or another. It looks you right in the face and says, "This is going to be hard and it's going to take a lot of work but the payoff is awesome. Take it or leave it."
In today's society of entitled wankers and delicate snowflakes, it's a lesson many need to learn. Life is a barbell. The opportunities are right there. You just have to pick them up and start grinding. It's all on you. – Chris Shugart

Dr. Lonnie Lowery – Exercise Physiologist and NutritionistLIFTING IS ANALOGOUS TO LIFE IN GENERAL.Like life, bodybuilding is a series of tests that we confront. Self-imposed or more unexpected, they become training for "bigger" things. Each time we can either rise to the challenge or give in to our weakness. The more we succeed in effort, humility, discipline, or competition, the more habitual success becomes. We become comfortable in our own skin. More confident, more at ease under fire.
My buddy Rob "Fortress" Fortney calls it the Cycle of Dominance: You prove to yourself – repeatedly – that you have the courage and ability to overcome obstacles. The obstacles then become smaller, leading you do be even more successful. Caution is called for, though. Just like training results, gains in one's character or employment status or personal relationships require ongoing practice. "Use it or lose it."
The fortunate few make the connection that bodybuilding is a microcosm of life, a teacher in itself. – Dr. Lonnie Lowery

TC Luoma – T Nation EditorYOU CAN LEARN WHAT REAL MANHOOD IS, AND WHAT IT ISN'T.When I was a boy, I was in love with what I mistakenly identified as masculinity. I was overly sensitive and insecure and hated myself for it, so I gravitated towards men who didn't have feelings, or at least if they did, didn't talk about them. Likewise, I idolized those that appeared to be supremely confident, ignored pain, were never visibly weak, and believed in winning at all costs.
And I foolishly equated muscle with all of those traits. Maybe I saw muscle as a fleshy suit of armor that would shield me from my sensitivities and insecurities, so it was no mystery that I turned into a gym rat.
Sure enough, I found myself around men who displayed all of those supposedly masculine traits I admired. But thankfully, oh so thankfully, I started to learn by experience and not by imitation.
I started to see many of these men for what they were, vainglorious bastards who had the illusion of superiority because they were strong and they had muscle. Most were thin-skinned. Most thought little of women. They thought that they had a special place in the universe just because they could lift a lot of weight.
They worried incessantly about their appearance and how the people they supposedly thought themselves the better of perceived them. Even their gym clothes were part of well-orchestrated, tough-guy choreography. To the casual eye, their outfits might have looked random and haphazard, but much care, love, and pain had been taken to make sure they were just the right amount of snug, the right amount of faded, the right amount of tatter on the torn-off sleeves.
These men had made the colossal mistake of confusing masculinity with manhood; they misdirected all their energy into being "real" men instead of good men. They represented themselves as warriors on the outside, but were pussies on the inside.
So I discarded them as potential role models. I kept going to the gym, though. I kept my head down while continuing to work out and read about exercise and nutrition, studied other lifters (even the pussies), experimented with various ideas and techniques, and something great started to happen.
I started to develop competency, which led to a certain level of mastery of weight lifting and nutrition. In doing so, I started to develop the self-esteem I'd been lacking. The muscle I gained was a pleasant side effect. I also came to grips with my "overly" sensitive nature. It had nothing to do with being manly or not being manly and it wasn't a handicap at all; it allowed me to see and understand what was good about humans and what wasn't.
It also allowed me to see and recognize the occasional lifter who hadn't confused being a real man with being a good man; the lifter who was helpful to others, didn't denigrate women, and wasn't contemptuous of people who were weaker than he was. And if his clothes exposed his muscularity, it wasn't for approval, but because it was freaking hot outside.
Given our times, and the newly resurrected idolatry of warped masculinity, it was an especially good lesson to learn. – TC Luoma

Chad Waterbury – Strength and Conditioning CoachYOU MUST BE ADAPTABLE.It's Wednesday night and you have the perfect plans for a killer workout the next evening. You have 60 minutes set aside in your schedule, and you're amped to do a circuit of 10 x 3 for the chin-up, dip, and deadlift.
But you wake up Thursday morning after a shitty night of sleep and your throat is sore. After powering through the workday you realize that the workout drink container is empty. On the way to the gym you get stuck in traffic, and by the time you arrive there's only 30 minutes before it closes. To make matters even worse, you forgot your iPod and the gym owner's niece is in town: she has the sound system permanently fixed on a terrible pop channel.
This is a scenario that happened to me. And I know you've experienced a similar version. The key here is to embrace the challenge of cramming as many sets, reps, and exercises as you can into the 30 minutes. There's a game afoot, and the clock is ticking. No time to second guess yourself. No time to calculate what lifting tempo best corresponds with a specific time under tension for the lateral raise. No time to wonder which angle of the bench is most ideal to train the inner head of the biceps.
Nope, it's time to grip and rip as much iron as possible. It's been said that if you want to get something done, ask a busy person to do it. And if you want to know the measure of a man, don't judge his behavior when things are going well; judge him when life throws a 98 mph fastball at his head.
I get a kick out of people trying to plan the perfect workout because it never happens. There's always something that screws it up. And you know, that's life. Embrace the chaos and make the most out of what you have available at that given time, whether you're in the gym or lying in a hospital bed. That's how you build mettle and integrity. – Chad Waterbury

Mark Dugdale – IFBB Pro BodybuilderTHE OVERARCHING LIFE LESSON LEARNED IN THE GYM IS PERSEVERANCE.Without it I might be sitting on a sofa with a beer gut talking about the glory days, yet I'm still walking amongst the chalk and iron scheming of new ways to stimulate muscle growth.
I began training with sand-filled plastic weights at the age of 13 and my love for lifting hasn't diminished over the past 28 years. Sure, my fire for training raged and dwindled to a flicker at times due to varying circumstances, but the flame never completely went out.
Perseverance comes into play and is essential to all life stages of lifting weights.  In my teens I found that nursing hangovers disrupted my progress, so I made the decision to choose the iron instead of the alcohol. In my twenties I often trained to the point of getting sick, but I persevered with high intensity workouts until the nausea passed. In my thirties I suffered several muscle tears which forced me to either quit training or reevaluate my methods.
I reevaluated my definition of serious lifting to accommodate new training techniques. Now in my forties, I'm impacted daily with the injuries and overuse pains of foolish training in my twenties and thirties. My lower back forced me to completely eliminate conventional back squats which was almost enough for me say, "What's the point? Why continue to train if I can't squat?" I chose to bury my ego and find other ways to challenge myself in the leg department.
Today my workouts contain the same brutal intensity of my youth, but employed in a more intelligent manner. I learned to adapt with a level of perseverance which spills over and holds value in all areas of my life.
My gratitude and respect for the iron's ability to humble me keeps the fire alive to the extent that I see myself training until they put me in a box and cover it with dirt. – Mark Dugdale

Michael Warren – Strength CoachSUCCESS IN THE WEIGHT ROOM REQUIRES THE SAME PRINCIPLES AS SUCCESS IN LIFE.Your love life, your business life, and your gym life all require dedication, commitment, and consistency. In the gym you get results by showing up day after day, rep after rep. It's the same in business; successful people are constantly striving to perform each day. The best people in business have the same qualities as the best bodybuilders: ruthless desire, intensity, commitment, and drive.
A solid relationship requires you to be loyal and committed. Same with the gym. Results require your commitment. – Michael Warren


  1. I was raised to treat your word as bond. If you said you were going to do something or be somewhere, you better sure as shit show up and do what you said you were going to do. Those people whose strength feats make our jaws drop and whose physiques we admire most are the ones who show up. Day in and day out, they're the antithesis of most people's biggest weakness... consistency. Not only that, the irony (and real kick to the balls) is that the programs these same people perform are mind-numbingly monotonous and simple. Not only are they consistent, but they're consistent with the basics. It's a lesson many still need to learn.
  2. Lifting weights helps give you an appreciation of failure. Our society hates failure, it sees it as a sign of weakness. However, some of the most iconic people in recent memory – Steve Jobs, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Muhammad Ali, Oprah – have failed at some point or another. The difference is that they didn't see failure as being a failure. They saw it as a way to grow, get better, fix some wrongs, and come back stronger than ever.
We've all failed in the weightroom. Anyone who's dumped a squat or been stapled on the bench can attest to that. The ones who persevere are the ones who take those failures and use them as ammo to get better, to work on weak links or technique flaws, to not suck long-term.
In no place does one learn to build more resilience in life than under the bar. – Tony Gentilcore

Arash Rahbar – IFBB Classic Physique ProEVERY JOB I'VE EVER HAD HAS BEEN EFFECTED BY WHAT I LEARNED FROM BODYBUILDING.When I first started to lift at 12 years old, it served only one purpose to me: to look like Arnold, Sylvester, Bruce Lee, and Hulk Hogan. That was all I had in mind, but that's not all I got. Day after day I practiced, read, learned, failed and succeeded. I kept pushing the envelope, testing myself physically and mentally, and I grew.
Bodybuilding is very demanding in terms of training, nutritional consistency, adequate sleep, sacrifice, and discipline. These practices are usually learned later in life, so learning them early gave me a head start. All the food preparation, supplements, expenses, strict schedules, and structure gave me a sense of maturity you don't normally see in a teen.
I'm a 35 year old IFBB classic physique pro with a successful career, and there's an obvious relationship between my years of bodybuilding and current status. I was able to transfer the discipline that I learned from bodybuilding into any job I had.
Bodybuilding has played a tremendous role in my development as a man and it's almost become an outline for my life, a rulebook, if you will. What I've learned in bodybuilding I practice in everyday life. – Arash Rahbar

Chris Colucci – T Nation Forum DirectorTRAINING GIVES PERSPECTIVE.Conquering heavy weights is kinda fun, and building this meat-suit is gratifying, but at the end of the day training is a luxury that we're able to participate in until we're not.
I'm not talking about the luxury of going to a well-outfitted gym with the best machines, smoothest barbells, and most hardcore members. I'm talking about simply having the option to make your body stronger, healthier, bigger, leaner, whatever your goals are. The sobering fact is that not everyone has that choice.
Some folks have significant physical disabilities or disorders they can't train around. Some people get diagnosed with life-altering diseases out of the blue. And you're worried because it's chest day but your tri's are still sore and might interfere with your pressing?
Sit at someone's hospital bedside 35 hours a week wondering if they'll ever wake up again and tell me how important hitting your next PR seems. Step foot in the gym for the first time after attending a family member's funeral and see if you notice the fact that you can still take a breath while they can't.
And if you're the dude whose life orbits around eat-sleep-lift and you see a career and family commitments as "distractions," then you're living in a small, sad, sheltered world and either your mindset will be forced to shift due to calamity or you're on track to pump your way through life without recognizing the stuff that actually matters.
For sure, train for abs and big delts. That's fine. Go get that 4-plate bench. Cool. But understand that the ability to train, let alone set and reach goals, is just a hobby. That's it. The physical and mental benefits are great, but it's just a thing we do for a very small fraction of the 168 hours we get each week. Appreciating its role in the context of your entire life is important both for you and for the people your encounter day to day.
The only people who think it's not a problem to be eat-sleep-lift guys are other eat-sleep-lift guys; everyone else can see how much real life takes place outside those three points. – Chris Colucci

Dr. John Rusin – Doctor of Physical Therapy, Performance ExpertTHE IRON IS A METAPHOR FOR LIFE AND THE WAY IN WHICH YOU CHOOSE TO LIVE IT.Early on I realized that if I first had the drive to step through the doors of the gym and work hard, train heavy, and even grind out a set or two, I'd have a direct positive correlation between my training and the results that it yielded. But as we all know, training harder or adding more volume to any endeavor in life doesn't always mean more success. Many times it's the contrary.
Training will humble you quickly, even when you're seemingly doing everything right and leaving the gym with a sweat-stained shirt and some bloody hands. Training hard doesn't always equate to success. Evolving your practice and continuing to seek out the more effective and efficient methods to yield a desired outcome is the thing that allows continued progress for the long term.
Life is the same way. Doing the same old shit day after day, year after year, usually ends up getting you the same old results. But for many, we want and need more. We need to see results and positive outcomes, and I'm not just talking about more iron. Training makes you step back and look at yourself objectively, which a scale, a mirror, or your best buddies probably can't do for you. Are you making progress, or are you withering up and getting ready to die?
There have been times in my life that results haven't mattered in the gym; the training itself provided emotional, psychological, and social release from some of the hardest events I've ever experienced. And hell yeah that's important, and a mainstay of why I continue to train with passion and purpose. But creating a habit of results-based practice allows you to depend on your training in multiple facets of your life. It allows you to control every single variable you can for 1-2 hours a day before you step into a world of randomness. It allows you to free your body and mind to achieve something bigger than yourself.

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Posted by: 01dragonslayer - Yesterday, 12:55 PM - No Replies

SLEEP, FATNESS, AND SADNESSWe know from previous research that your sleeping pattern – whether you're a night owl or an early bird – can affect your eating habits and metabolism. In a nutshell, people who stay up late tend to be fatter, even if they consume the same number of calories as the "early to bed, early rise" types.
Yes, daily calorie intake matters most in the long run, but as the science guys say, the timing of energy (calorie) intake can have a big impact on your metabolism. Basically, late-night eating seems to do more damage than early-day eating or "frontloading" calories.
We also know from previous studies that there's a link between depression and binge eating. Which comes first, the depressed egg or the gluttonous chicken, is a matter of debate.
And now, thanks to a new study published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research, we know there could be a link between your chronotype – the time of day in which you sleep – and depression.
The StudyResearchers studied over 32,000 female nurses who did not suffer from depression and followed them for four years. First they figured out their chronotypes and categorized them as early risers, late nighters, or intermediate types.
After four years, those who went to bed early and woke up early (morning people) were 12-27% less likely to be diagnosed as depressed by a doctor, self-report depressive symptoms, or be medicated for depression.
The exact reasons for this aren't clear, and this doesn't mean all night owls will get depressed, but it does seem to increase the odds.

What This Means to YouI've been keeping an eye on sleep research for over 20 years and there just doesn't seem to be any benefit to the "stay up late" sleep pattern. From mood disorders to body fat, it looks like early to bed and early to rise does indeed make you healthy... maybe even wealthy and wise.
Researchers note that it's usually unmarried folks who stay up late, and that makes sense socially. But it doesn't do your physique or mental health any favors.
If you have the choice, try to become a morning person. It's stupidly easy – you just get your ass to bed earlier. If you need help winding down and staying asleep, look into ZMA®. Take 3 capsules an hour before you plan to hit the sack.
After a few nights you may be surprised to learn that you're an early bird after all. (From an evolutionary perspective, we all are. Our bodily systems were naturally synched with the sunrise and sunset, at least before electricity mucked things up. Stupid light bulbs.)
Also, remember that depression has been linked to magnesium deficiency and even taking seemingly unrelated over-the-counter and prescription drugs. (See Common Drugs That Secretly Cause Depression.)
Given the possible nasty side effects of mood meds, maybe going to bed earlier, taking supplemental magnesium, and avoiding certain drugs could alleviate depressive symptoms in many borderline-depressed people.

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Posted by: 01dragonslayer - Yesterday, 12:49 PM - No Replies

IS SWEAT A NATURAL APHRODISIAC?People communicate in nonverbal ways. One of the most interesting avenues is via chemosignals: chemical signals transmitted in bodily secretions, like sweat. For example, we can literally smell fear, although our awareness of that communication pathway is largely subconscious. Once science figured this out, the totally obvious follow-up questions were:

  • "Can we smell when a woman is turned on?"
  • "Does man-sweat make women horny?"
  • "Can you, in effect, make your own aphrodisiac?"
Is She Horny? Lemme Sniff Her Pits[Image: Pheromones.jpg]For this mini-meta study, the researchers needed some horny women and a handful of guys willing to sniff their sweat. (That had to have been an interesting classified ad.) Sure enough, 11 women and 24 men volunteered to be lab rats.
The females were instructed not to wear perfume or deodorant. Also, they weren't allowed to be in the test if they were using chemical contraceptives. The scientists were worried that the pill might inhibit these natural chemosignals and negatively affect their sex drives. (It can.)
To begin this weird study, the women first had cotton pads taped to their armpits. Then they cycled on a stationary bike for three minutes at 80% intensity.
Next, they were divided into two groups. Each group watched a different film clip and answered questions afterward.
  • Group one, the neutral-condition group, watched part of a boring documentary about bridge building. None reported feeling titillated. Sorry, History channel.
  • Group two watched a 20-minute clip from an erotic movie called "9 Songs," which featured unsimulated sex. It also had a plot, but who needs that, right? So the researchers edited out everything but the sex scenes. Sure enough, the clip really buttered their biscuits. All the women reported feeling frisky after viewing it.
The cotton pads were collected from both groups, divided up, and presented later to the sweat-sniffing males in randomized order.
THE RESULTSAll the men rated the armpit sweat of the aroused women as more attractive. As a result, the men experienced an uptick in their own "sexual motivation." The same men didn't feel any tingling in their special parts after smelling the sweat from non-aroused women.
The researchers concluded: "Men are sensitive to the olfactory signals of sexual arousal released by women. These signals, released along with corresponding visual and auditory expressions of sexual interest, can produce a stronger overall signal that increases sexual motivation."
In other words, concupiscent women release a particular scent via their sweat that men can sense. When men register that signal, they get pretty turned on too.

Does Man-Sweat Turn Women On?[Image: Chemosignals.jpg]The science of pheromones (scented sex hormones) is debatable, with some researchers saying that humans can't detect them and others saying that some humans can detect them some of the time.
Women are sensitive to male pheromones, particularly around ovulation, at least if they're not using sexually-blunting oral contraceptives.
In one study from The Journal of Neuroscience, women smelled swabs of androstadienone, a constituent of sweat, and a placebo. Researchers measured body temp, skin conductance, pulse, blood pressure, respiratory function, and cardiac rate. Those women who sniffed androstadienone displayed more signs of sexual arousal and even reported a better mood.
But not all male pheromones are the same. The pheromone androstenone isn't the same as androstenol. Fresh male sweat produces a scent of androstenol, which is attractive to women. But after around 20 minutes, that sweat gets oxidized, becoming body odor. Fresh sweat good, old sweat bad.
Men with higher testosterone levels give off more of these pheromones. So, fresh sweat from a low T male may not be as arousing as sweat from a high-T guy. Also, the oxidized sweat of a high-testosterone dude probably smells worse.
Other research shows that only around 70 percent of men and women can detect these chemical signals. Thirty percent smell nothing, possibly because of a missing gene. Based on DNA samples, those who can smell androstenone were found to have genetic variations in a single odorant receptor (OR7D4).
Lastly, the pheromone firepower may only work at close range. One experiment showed that pheromones could only be detected at a distance of about 18 inches.

Horny Sweat and Mommy Sweat[Image: Gym.jpg]Men's sweat smells different when they're aroused, and women can unconsciously tell the difference according to another study from The Journal of Neuroscience. The researchers collected the armpit sweat of men as they watched either erotic movies or non-erotic movies, then had women sniff the sweat while their brains were monitored with MRI. The "horny sweat" lit up different areas of the women's brains.
Another weird one: Half of the female test subjects in one study were asked to wipe their upper lips with cotton pads soaked in the sweat of nursing mothers. (The placebo group did the same but with benign smelling pads.) Those given the sweaty pads of breastfeeding mommies reported a 42% increase in desire for their hubbies and boyfriends. Single women even reported more sexual daydreams.
Does scent trigger primitive breeding instincts? Seems that way.

The Mating Instinct and Cortisol[Image: Female-Arousal.jpg]Here's another possible reason that sweating, or the result of frequent exercise that causes sweating, may trigger female arousal.
Males who burn 200 or more calories a day by exercising reduce their chances of impotence. Exercise also decreases stress, which contributes to erectile dysfunction and infertility.
Behavioral ecologist Fhionna Moore concluded that women prefer men with low levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Instinctively, females seem to know that high-cortisol men have suppressed reproductive function. That's not an attractive sign that a man would make a good baby-maker or provider. Like it or not, the base functionality of our brains still operates at that level. Sorry, feminists.
Much of what we think of as "attractive" is rooted in rather primitive-sounding mating signals. Certain physical features we think of as "hot" are actually just fertility indicators: youthful looks, full breasts, engorged lips, a muscular male butt, etc.
So women may be unconsciously attracted to men who sweat through exercise because it signals that these guys are less likely to be impotent and would make better candidates for pair bonding and procreation.

Or Is It All In Your Head?[Image: Gym-Flirting.jpg]Studies on perfumes and colognes generally show they have no real effects on the opposite sex. But they do affect the wearer. If the scent makes the man or the woman feel sexier, they'll behave differently, consciously and unconsciously.
A woman who wears a scent that makes her feel sensual may act sexier, indirectly increasing her attractiveness. The same could be said about man-sweat. If you think your fresh sweat turns women on, you may act more confident and sure of yourself, which does turn women on.
If you buy one of those questionable "pheromone" colognes, it may work for you, but probably because you THINK it works and will behave differently.

What Conclusions Can We Draw?[Image: Workout.jpg]
  • If a woman is both aroused and sweating, men can detect it.
  • The smell of fresh male sweat does seem to lead to arousal in females, at least if they're ovulating, not on oral birth control, have the right genes, and get close to you.
  • The smell of old sweat is just gross.
  • Your lady friend will be friskier after being around a nursing mom and her infant.
  • Being in good shape and feeling confident probably has more to do with your attractiveness than your excretions, but it's good to work up a sweat anyway because, you know, fitness and stuff.

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