The 4 Types of People Who Use Steroids
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Posted by: 01dragonslayer - 03-26-2023, 01:13 PM - No Replies

STEROIDS AND GRAY AREASWhat is a steroid user exactly? Seems obvious enough, but things are a little more "fluid" these days, and not just with issues concerning your perplexing private parts.
Today, the steroid issue has gray areas. Most men can go to a doctor and get a 'script for testosterone if their blood tests come back low. Are those men "steroid" users? Well, yeah, sorta. But they're just legally getting their T levels back to normal because low T is a medical condition (hypogonadism). If they took twice as much as needed though, yeah, we could call them steroid users.

?So let's define it: A steroid user, in this context, is a person who's obtaining steroids and/or related drugs, usually illegally, and using a big bunch of them to greatly exceed their genetic limits.
But they're not all the same. And I'll say that the average steroid user doesn't fit the stereotype floating around in your head right now. Let's kick off the list with him.
1. The Good Guy User[Image: Bodybuilding-Drugs.jpg]This, in my experience, is actually the most common steroid user. Scan the rest of the list below real fast. See all those assholes and assholic personality traits? Well, the good guy has none of them.
The good guy is often a family man with a real job who doesn't own a single "beast mode" T-shirt. Except for how he procures his juice, he's a law-abiding citizen. He just wants to be bigger than most other people.
Usually, this guy is past the age of 35. He's put in plenty of time under the bar without the assistance of drugs. He's a lifting and nutrition geek, always has been. The good guy is seldom a regular competitor in bodybuilding or strength sports. He's not using steroids to "cheat" at any competition. Dude just likes muscle.
If asked by a friend, he doesn't mind talking about his steroid use. He doesn't lie about it, claiming to be just really good at lifting weights and eating.
Usually, this is the type of guy who never goes crazy with the drugs. His cycles are well-thought-out and modest. He takes care of his health. He knows that the drugs have negative side effects, and he does what he can to ameliorate them.
He's mentally sound. He's not the type of guy who touts his superiority or belittles others. He knows very well WHY he's packing more muscle than the average guy in his gym, and he's pretty humble about it.
The good guy often flies under the radar. Yeah, it's sometimes obvious he's "enhanced," but since he's not a peckerhead, people are pretty cool with him.

2. The Douchebag User[Image: PEDs-2.jpg]This is probably the image you had in mind. Some stereotypes are stereotypes for a reason – because those human caricatures do exist.
This guy is the gym's showoff, desperate for the attention he didn't get as a kid... or something. He's a braggart that acts as if his extra muscle mass was directly bequeathed by God. He's quick to lie about his drug use, wanting you to think that he just works harder, believes harder, and grinds harder than you do.
He's a loudmouth. He's the guy who's downright predatory toward women in the gym. Does he have a chin-strap beard? Probably. The vastness of his muscles is belied by the vapidity of his mind.
This guy seldom makes training and good nutrition a lifestyle. He's often a risk-taker in other areas of life as well. His steroid cycles are poorly planned and haphazard. Actually, he's pretty ignorant about the science of it all. "Eat clen and tren hard!" is his motto because he heard someone else say that once and it sounded cool.
Maybe he's overcompensating. Maybe he's trying to bolster his self-worth by cowering other men. Maybe he needs a hug from his domineering mommy. For whatever reason, he's weak and broken on the inside.
And he's actually giving steroids a bad reputation. Like alcohol, steroids often enhance and amplify what's already there. In his case, he has a preexisting medical condition called "being an inflamed asshole."
We should feel sorry for him, but we mainly want to see him drop a barbell on his Adam's apple because he has the personality of a belligerent doorknob.

3. The Dirty, Dirty Cheater[Image: Athlete-Drug-Test.jpg]The cheater can possess the traits of either the good guy or the douchebag. What differentiates him? He knowingly takes banned substances and uses them to get an edge in a sport or competition that forbids their usage.
An argument can be made for drug-using powerlifters and bodybuilders who compete in untested events or shows. "Untested" basically means "use whatever the hell you want." Everyone knows it, and most of the other competitors – at least at the higher levels – are on plenty of performance-enhancing substances too. So they're not "cheaters" in the strictest sense of the word because there's no enforced rule against drugs.
But if someone breaks the written rules and uses drugs, he's a cheater. This gets complex in some sports. Track & field and cycling are full of cheaters. If everyone is cheating, then is it really cheating? Yes, you prick, it's cheating!
But it all gets murky because some athletic organizations turn a blind eye to it or only pop the low-level athletes to maintain their clean images.

4. The Social Media Influencer[Image: Social-Media-Influencer.jpg]This person uses drugs, lies about it, and tries to sell you their "secret" diet or workout plan (which is usually generic or stupid) on Instagram. They're hucksters preying on those who don't know any better.
But I get it.
The "fitfam" audience has more respect for the bigger or leaner trainers and fit pros. It's natural. It's hard to take advice from the guy promising "boulder shoulders" if his shoulders are mere pebbles or if he's just a regular-looking fit guy. Maybe he's a smart cookie with a backpack full of degrees, but that's not enough for the shallow, starry-eyed audience.
So the social media "coach" does what they often have to do – uses drugs to look the part and make a living... or make a killing. It's not honest, but honesty takes longer to pay off.
Let's get really, really honest here. Your favorite strength coaches or fitness experts have probably tried steroids or related drugs. They may be the "good guys" we talked about above. Usage doesn't always void a good, experienced coach's training or diet advice. It doesn't always cancel out their work ethic or smarts.
But the social media clown is different. He's often just looking for the shortcut to the fast buck. If you dislike these types of people, stop paying them with YouTube clicks.

It's a Muddled WorldI wish steroids and other drugs didn't exist outside of their medical uses. I wish we could look at someone in the gym who's muscular or shredded and not have to wonder if they're natural or not. I wish we could cheer for athletes without all those asterisks dancing before our eyes.
And sometimes, part of me even wishes that steroids could be legalized so we could all just get over it and move on.
But that's just not how it is. The steroid world is gray and cloudy and questionable. And we can't just pigeonhole those who use. They're all just people, and people are good and evil and gloriously strange and fun to watch. So be it.

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User Avatar Forum: General
Posted by: 01dragonslayer - 03-25-2023, 03:22 PM - No Replies

THE RISE OF THE SQUEEMThere's a growing obsession with turning a woman's body into a caricature: huge behind, huge boobs, and a waist that's excruciatingly small. Though it's far more prevalent in Latin countries, the look is catching on in the US, promoted on social media by celebrities like the Kardashians and Nicki Minaj. This twisted exaggeration of femininity has even begun to infiltrate the fitness industry.
[Image: Celebs.jpg] On these women, the ones who promote health and fitness, their waists are artificially squeezed-in to the degree that it looks cartoonish. My problem isn't with small waists in general, but the ones that have been deformed to become that way. The culprit in this case is not some radical fad diet or dangerous exercise. No, it's actually worse.

?Women with these unnaturally pinched waists are getting the look with a device called a "waist trainer." And it's nothing new. Waist training is just the updated healthy-sounding term for an archaic strategy that goes back centuries. Only then, they were called corsets.
Today most women refer to them as squeems, fajas, waist cinchers, or waist trainers, which is odd since nothing is being trained when your fat is merely getting pushed up toward your armpits and down below the belt. If you grab a tube of toothpaste in the middle and keep the lid on, the toothpaste won't actually leave the tube, it will just get squished elsewhere.
WHERE THE SQUEEZED-WAIST FAD STARTEDCorsets can be traced way back. Old advertisements used to promise that you could tame your midsection, and even increase your health, by wearing the thing continuously.
But today, even with limited use, doctors warn that waist trainers can cause serious long term damage. Scientifically, the claims made by waist-trainer manufacturers about shrinking the size of your waist are ridiculous.
The only difference between an old school corset and waist trainer is that the corsets were stiff, had bone or metal supports, and were laced up. A waist trainer closes with little hooks and is made of elastic that squishes you in, giving you the same result... or an even more pronounced one when you "graduate" to increasingly smaller sizes as some competition coaches often recommend. And while that result might look desirable, it's at best ineffective for fat loss, and at worst, dangerous.
Though they're more popular in Latin countries, many in the US, particularly the bikini and figure competitors, are relying on them just as much as they are diet plans and cardio.
Since I live in Mexico, and own a rather large gym in a big city, I'm able to tell you, without exaggerating, that at least 90% of my female members wear a waist trainer, or "faja," every single day. The women wearing them are either ignorant about the repercussions or they're in denial that anything bad could ever happen to them.
Here are the myths they believe...
MYTH 1 – WAIST TRAINERS MAKE YOU LOSE WEIGHT.If you hacked off your arm the scale would indicate that you've lost weight. But the "weight" we all need to lose should be from fat. So, do waist trainers help you lose body fat? No. Yet, Nakeitha Thomas, owner and founder of Waist Gang Society (whose products Kim Kardashian has endorsed), says, "Perspiration while wearing the waist trainer creates the equivalent of a 30-40 minute workout for the user."
On one company's website, a section titled "Health Tips" says, "Waist training is a gradual process of waist reduction using our corset." The only thing wrong with those statements is that they're not true. If you lose any weight while wearing a waist trainer it's likely you're losing water weight from sweating; rehydrate and it'll all come back.
MYTH 2 – WAIST TRAINERS MAKE YOU EAT LESS.Some contend that because a waist trainer applies pressure to your abdominal area, that you'll eat a little less because your stomach is being squished. But that doesn't necessarily mean you'll stay in a caloric deficit. When you take the thing off your appetite may make you overcompensate for the calories you missed earlier.
A study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Primary Health Care sought to prove whether waist trainers could be used to maintain weight lost after participants followed a low-calorie diet. Study subjects were instructed to wear a waist trainer for at least five hours a day, five days a week, for nine months. Unfortunately, most study subjects found the waist trainer to be too uncomfortable to comply with the study guidelines, leaving the researchers to conclude that regardless of whether the waist trainer would have been effective or not, "corset treatment doesn't appear to be an option for sustained weight control."
[Image: Kim.jpg] MYTH 3 – WAIST TRAINERS ARE HARMLESS.First, they can contribute to dehydration, which probably doesn't sound serious to you, but sweating profusely from the midsection while only being able to take small sips of water is not the pinnacle of health. Nor is the bacterial infection that can happen as a result of the sweat trapped against your skin for long periods of time below that waist trainer. Rashes are common.
They also cause acid reflux because of the pressure on the abdomen which pushes stomach acid into areas where it shouldn't be.
And ironically, while these trainers are intended to make the waist smaller, they can actually decrease core strength and atrophy abdominal muscle. The wearer doesn't have to keep her muscles tight because she's basically wearing a gigantic constricting belt. You can relax your stomach and get sloppy because the belt is doing the work of holding everything in.
MYTH 4 – THEY TRAIN YOUR WAIST TO BE A SMALLER SIZE.If you wrap an ACE bandage tightly around your arm and leave it there for an hour, you're going to have an indentation in your soft tissue when you unwrap it. But, it's not going to be permanent. An hour later, your arm is going to look normal again. So, by the same process, any waist slimming is going to be temporary. Unless it's actually deforming the structure of your bones and organs.
And when that's the case, the damage caused by a waist trainer could be permanent. Some doctors contend that there could be damage to the spine. The pressure exerted by the trainer effects the bones, ligaments, and nerves with prolonged use. That should make anyone with a brain ask what the hell kind of "training" is this anyway!?
The biggest cause for concern is what happens to your organs when they're squashed for prolonged periods of time. Women have also been known to pass out after wearing a waist trainer because they can't get enough air in their lungs.
Waist trainers can also place excessive pressure on organs like the bladder, causing women to leak involuntarily. Can't get sexier than that, right? (Men don't love pee stains, FYI.)
Waist trainers can damage the diaphragm, colon, liver, stomach, and intestines which can all be shifted around inside the body and can alter the way you function as a self-sufficient adult who shouldn't need diapers by the age of 25. (This is called "visceral displacement.")
These bodily structures actually have jobs that keep you alive. When you mess with them you can make your life a living hell. The negative side effects can be long term, permanent, or even deadly, and far outweigh their proposed benefits.
WHY HISTORY LEFT THE CORSET BEHIND[Image: Squeem-Damage.jpg] At the turn of the 20th century, a French doctor, Ludovic O'Followell, published a paper titled Le Corset, exposing the dangers of too-tight corsets. While X-ray technology was in its infancy, he was able to show photos of squashed ribcages and displaced organs.
The companies that sell waist trainers sometimes say you should be wearing the device for 10 hours a day. But the fine print says users need to eat healthy and exercise to actually see results. Ya think?
A FIGURE COMPETITOR'S WAIST TRAINING NIGHTMAREMercedes Carlita de la Vega (name altered for her privacy) was a sultry Mexican figure competitor. She was plumped up, pumped up, pushed out, and augmented in every way. She desperately wanted to strut her sizzling stuff on the Mexican National bodybuilding stage in the figure division, but she had an insatiable appetite for sopes, fried yucca, and churros dipped in cajeta.
So she approached a competition judge who advised her to wear a "faja" which literally means "belt" or "wrap." Mercedes cinched herself up during her next workout and set out to "train" her waist. Then she kept herself squeezed into that thing for the rest of the day. Then she bought more of them, one tighter than the next. Eventually, she wore a waist trainer 12 to 15 hours a day.
She took selfies in them, from all different angles, accentuating her squished waist and became a local social media sensation. With enough girls asking her about her faja and her dwindling waist, Mercedes actually became a distributor for one the largest waist trainer manufacturers in Columbia and began selling them to girls at the gym. She got so busy with women wanting a smaller midsection that she opened a small boutique selling the full line of Columbian waist trainers, Spanx, and traditional corsets.
All was well and good for several weeks. The weeks turned to months and Mercedes squished herself into tighter and tighter waist trainers. Soon, as she was starting her prep for the Mexican Nationals, the problems started. One day her back started hurting. Even though her waist trainer was elastic, she had a very hard time bending over, so most of the exercises she did that required any bend of the waist had become impossible. Of course, taking off her trainer to do them (to her) was out of the question.
As her contest grew near her problems grew worse. Her back pain became excruciating. Her lower ribs were getting pulled in, putting pressure on her vertebra. Indigestion and heartburn became a daily occurrence from the waist trainer exerting so much pressure and pushing stomach acid up out of the stomach, making it hard for her to eat. She also had a hard time breathing for the pressure on her diaphragm and would become dangerously light-headed during her cardio sessions.
One day she passed out on the treadmill, fell, and took a nice chunk of skin off her knee. But in her mind, these discomforts were a small price to pay for a thinning waist, which only seemed to be thinner while she wore her waist trainer. As soon as she took it off her belly poked out – probably because her abs had atrophied from not being able to train them.
As the contest grew closer, Mercedes took off her waist trainer even less – she even slept in it. Nothing could keep her from dwindling her waist enough to win the Mexican Nationals. Problem was, she was pretty much losing muscle everywhere, especially her core, and the lines of her physique were becoming blurred. But she didn't see any of that because she was totally fixated on her waist.
As many women do during a contest diet, Mercedes became constipated. But Mercedes endured the discomfort, focusing only on her contest. On the sixth day of not having a bowel movement, she woke up with scorching abdominal pain, she felt nauseous and started vomiting and running a high fever. Now she was scared. She finally gave in and removed her waist trainer.
Almost instantly a shooting pain ran up and down her spine, her stomach distended and a pain set in so bad that she passed out. Her roommate found her unconscious on the floor and rushed her to the hospital where the emergency room physician diagnosed a bowel obstruction that had caused her small intestine to burst requiring emergency surgery.
So much for Nationals. Mercedes had a long road to recovery. Her back pain had become chronic and she experienced some peripheral nerve damage in her legs from sitting while compressed in her waist trainer. She also found a few varicose veins that weren't there before. It took her several months to fully recover from not only her surgery and her back pain, but also from the organ compression.
And after all that, when Mercedes was fully recovered, guess how many inches her waist had shrunk? ZERO.
THE DISTURBING TRUTHSqueem users can literally bend or break their lower ribs and rearrange their organs. Where do you think all that stuff goes when you squeeze it so tight?
Sure, if you're a young woman interested in fitness, you likely know women who've been using a waist trainer without repercussion (so far). That's probably true. Temporarily wearing one that's not too tight may not result in such devastating problems, but one thing is still true: you're not going to TRAIN your waist to do crap using a waist trainer. The only way you're going to get it leaner is through your diet, exercise, heavy lifting, and patience.
The mentality that would make a woman use a waist trainer is cause for alarm. Taken to extremes, this can be likened to an eating disorder or "tanorexia." If you insist on using one, maybe don't try to graduate to tighter and tighter versions. Use one that's not so tight it causes breathing and circulation problems, and wear it sparingly.
And also, try to remember, they don't work.

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User Avatar Forum: General
Posted by: 01dragonslayer - 03-25-2023, 03:20 PM - No Replies

We live in an interesting era. It's an era in which food selection can actually define you as a person. It shouldn't, but if you're looking for significance or purpose, it's an easy way to feel like you've found it.
This new phenomenon was catalyzed by the explosion of social media. We can now broadcast our chosen identities for the world to see. This leads many to fabricate a persona that'll garner attention, respect, and admiration.
It's easy to use your diet to gain "social points" and feel more significant... far easier than actually helping someone in real life.

?Those who make their diet a part of their identity will defend any perceived attack on it. After all, if anyone argues against that diet, they're attacking the identity of the dieter. Even the most objective, science-based, unemotional argument is perceived as a vicious personal attack.
In fact, the better supported the argument is, the more it hurts. Remember, you're now attacking a person's core identity. Any perspective rooted in truth hurts a lot more than half-truths or opinions.
All extreme diet groups have a large number of these "diet as identity" members. Keto and veganism are the two most represented. By their nature, diets based on exclusion (exclusion of certain food groups or nutrients) attract more extreme people who are more likely to build their eating styles into who they are.
Why Can't Your Diet Be Your Identity?It prevents you from being objective when it comes to nutrition. Any opposing view, even if there's a lot to support it, must be destroyed. And if it's impossible to counter it with facts, that's when personal attacks, virtue signaling, and shady ethical associations come into play.
Vegans are worse than other groups in that regard because they feel morally superior for not "eating dead animals." Go ahead, argue with a vegan. The moment you bring up a scientific fact supporting the consumption of meat, the discussion will turn to ethics in a matter of seconds. When a vegan suddenly changes the topic to the ethical issue, you know you actually won the debate. That's all they've got.
Sure, extreme diets can have positive effects and can work for some people, but they also carry a greater risk of creating nutritional deficiencies that could lead to health issues. These diets are not adequate for every person and every goal. For example, keto and veganism aren't optimal for maximizing muscle growth and strength development.
Every extreme diet has shortcomings. These are well documented. Knowing and accepting these shortcomings would actually allow you to adjust your nutrition to make it better.
But for those who make their diet their identity, admitting that their nutritional approach is flawed hurts just as much as admitting they're flawed themselves. It's something many people just can't do.

Lose Weight (And Friends)Extreme dieters can be annoying. I've seen plenty of them lose close friends who couldn't stand being preached to all the time. When it comes to the point where your way of eating is more important to you than long-lasting friendships, you might have a profound problem.
The extremists will rationalize it by saying they have new friends in their diet community. But really, these aren't their friends. It's just people getting together to feel better about their own beliefs and (because it's part of their identity) about themselves. It's an ego-boosting circle jerk, and everyone is just waiting their turn.
The way you eat to survive, thrive, and enjoy yourself should never become part of who you are. I have no problem with anybody following the diet they desire; keto, vegan, intermittent fasting, Zone, IIFYM, or photosynthesis for all I care. You do you.
But I do have a problem when you try to convert people around you, or make people who aren't eating the same as you feel bad or morally inferior, or start making personal attacks to take over a debate you can't win with facts and logic.

Everything Can Work[Image: Vegan.jpeg]There's no such thing as a universally perfect diet that works best for everyone under all circumstances. But at the same time, every (reasonable) diet can work. It can work better for some and worse for others. It can be very effective for certain goals but sub-optimal for others.
You can use certain types of diets for a limited period to achieve a specific physiological objective. For example, I'll often use a keto phase at the beginning of a fat-loss plan to improve insulin sensitivity, reduce water retention, and up-regulate the enzymes responsible for mobilizing fat and using it for fuel. But I rarely keep someone on a keto-style diet for long since the drawbacks will quickly start to materialize.
I'll also use intermittent fasting from time to time. It actually fits my preferred eating pattern and makes me more productive throughout the day by increasing adrenaline. When I give a seminar I always intermittent fast because it boosts my performance.
But that increased energy and focus from intermittent fasting is due to higher adrenaline levels. The issue? This is caused by higher cortisol levels (cortisol increases the conversion of noradrenaline into adrenaline). More cortisol can make it harder to build muscle or maintain muscle mass in a fat loss phase. Too much adrenaline for too long can burn out the beta-adrenergic receptors, leading to a feeling of burnout.
Intermittent fasting is certainly not a good way of eating for high stress/anxious people as adrenaline will magnify their issues.

Feeding the BrainNutrition isn't just about fat loss and weight gain. It's about feeling good and being healthy. The type of foods you eat make a difference. Nutrition can have an impact on brain chemistry and on how you feel.
For example, higher carbs normally leads to lower adrenaline levels, which calms you down. On the flip side, low blood sugar (low-carb or fasted period) will lead to higher adrenaline levels. If you need to get amped up more easily, you can eat low-carb meals then have carbs later when you need to calm down, like in the evening.
The more anxious someone is, the less adrenaline he wants. Anxiety is the brain going too fast for you, and adrenaline is the main neurotransmitter than amps up the brain. For these folks, a low-carb diet is a bad idea. They need higher carbs. It's not just about calories in versus calories out.
Why do some people feel great on a keto diet while others become borderline depressed? We all have a different brain chemistry. For some, a keto diet will make that chemistry better (for a while) and for others it will make it worse. The same could be said with other ways of eating.
No diet is optimal for everyone or every goal. The moment you associate yourself with a single way of eating, you paint yourself into a corner when you have issues to fix.
Think about the raw vegans who start to have health issues because of nutritional deficiencies. A lot of them refuse to modify their diets – even after they get medical advice to do so – because they built their identities around it.

You Are NOT What You EatFood is something you need to survive and live optimally. It's also a source of enjoyment. But it's not who you are.
It doesn't prove whether you're a good person or not. You're not morally superior if you eat a certain way. Nobody cares if you're a vegan/keto/carnivore/faster, etc.
Preaching and trying to convert others is annoying. Most people won't tell you that. They'll just feign interest and smile (and later avoid you).
Subconsciously, you're only doing it to feel better about yourself or feel reassured in your beliefs. Try to think objectively about it for a minute. Is it normal to take more pride in the way you eat than in your professional accomplishments? Is it normal to put your diet above your friends or to make food one of the largest parts of your life?
It's just food.

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  Knife Fight!
User Avatar Forum: General
Posted by: 01dragonslayer - 03-25-2023, 03:17 PM - No Replies

The terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon have reminded us that there are times when regular people are going to face inescapable, violent confrontations. The weapons of choice this time were box cutters and knives with blades under four inches (Leatherman tools according to reports). No special plastic guns, no exotic explosive devices, just simple tools you can purchase at any hardware store.
Yet these simple devices were enough to hold off 60 to 80 people in three of the four doomed airliners. Passengers on United Flight 93 took action and seemingly thwarted the efforts of the terrorists. Although unable to save themselves, these heroes most certainly saved lives by denying the terrorists yet another high profile target by forcing the plane to crash in rural Pennsylvania.

?I place all the blame for these actions on those zealots who committed the atrocious attacks. Their paymasters and so-called leaders will soon pay the piper. But I do think it's critical that we all take a close look at edged weapons and learn the "do's and don'ts" when facing an attacker who wields them.
The Real Threat of an Edged Weapon
You need to understand that knives, razors and other edged weapons enjoy a tremendous psychological intimidation factor. Most people assume they're doomed if they try to attack a knife wielding thug. That's not always the case if you possess just a little knowledge of the true dangers of edged weapons.
The real threat posed by any edged weapon is penetration of the blade. Any blade piercing more than two inches into your body can rapidly produce lethal results. Vital organs, major arteries and veins all are in danger when the blade penetrates the body.
The Roman Legions conquered the world realizing this fact. The famous military tactician and historian, Vegetius, writes of how the Romans would make fun of their much larger opponents who would slash and hack with the edge of their weapons rather than stab and thrust. The smaller Romans found these much larger, more physically powerful foes easy prey to the straight thrusts of their short swords. Why? Because they knew slashes and hacks rarely killed, regardless of how powerful the blow. The Romans would trade a twelve inch long slash for a two-inch stab any day.
So what does this history lesson have to do with the gang banger with a Ginsu who's trapped you in an alley? Well, it seems like times haven't changed. According to the Department of Justice statistics on edged weapon assaults, the first three to five strikes in a knife attack are slashes and more importantly, these first strikes are not lethal in nature!
Many studies have been done not only on the criminal use of edged weapons but on the military use of edged weapons in combat. The conclusions are the same: there's a strong, innate revulsion by the majority of the human population to stabbing edged weapons into another human. There are many psychological reasons given for this aversion to penetration, but what you need to know is that this little known fact can save your life in a lethal confrontation.
A "Knife Fighter" vs. "Fighting With A Knife"
You need to know the difference between a "knife fighter" and "fighting with a knife."
But first, let's be really clear about something: if you ever face an attacker who pulls a knife and you can escape to safety, then run! Leave the Hollywood hero crap to the actors in the action films (or, more accurately, their stuntmen). If you can get away, then do it. For the purposes of this article, we're assuming you can't avoid a confrontation.
Most knife wielders would be put into the category of a knife fighter. A "knife fighter"
is an attacker who focuses solely on the weapon he grips in his hand. It's his ultimate tool of intimidation and if he didn't possess the knife he'd feel weaponless. On the other hand, a person trained to "fight with a knife"
realizes the knife is just a tool and that he has a myriad of effective body weapons available to him whether he possesses the knife or not.
Very few people are trained to fight with a knife, so in 99% of the cases you'll likely face a knife fighter. Since you understand that your danger comes not from the knife itself, but from the brain of the attacker holding the knife, then you have an advantage.
Weapons Systems of The Human Body
Think of the body as a set of weapons systems. Your primary weapon system is your brain and your secondary weapon system is your body. Every other weapon you can think of – knife, club, or firearm – is ancillary or useless without the first two systems in place.
Without the brain, you can't command the finger to pull the trigger or thrust the knife or swing the club. So it only makes sense that your mission in a life and death situation is to shut down your attacker's brain or central nervous system (CNS). That is your guarantee to defeating your attacker as this diagram clearly shows:
No CNS = No Body = No Knife = No Threat
Facing an edged weapon threat, you now know you have a high likelihood of facing a non-lethal slashing attack first. Also, when you face an attacker who's focused on the knife giving him his power, he'll focus on using the knife to fend off your attack rather than protect his central nervous system. So your focus needs to be on attacking his primary weapon system while he focuses on using his ancillary weapon (his knife) against you. This leads us to the next step.
How To Take Out Your Knife-Brandishing Attacker
Quick review on the principles covered so far:
• Stabs are lethal. Slashes or cuts are rarely lethal.
• Most knife attacks are initially slashing attacks.
• You need to focus on destroying the knife fighter's CNS.
So how do you get to the attacker's central nervous system? I'm about to present a simple set of strikes that are combat proven, extremely effect, and deceptively simple to execute. Speed and strength aren't required to execute any of them, just your sheer determination.
As there are numerous methods of attacks, I'm in no way implying this is the only way to handle this type of attack. But I've trained hundreds of clients successfully with these methods and received numerous testimonials as to the effectiveness of this approach.
One Proven Approach
First you need to close distance; no good if you stand off and dance in and out with an attacker. That allows him to slice and dice you at will. You need to be close. Your focus isn't on the knife but on his neck; your target is his CNS.
The body weapons of choice are your forearms. That three inches of bone above the break of your wrist is your body's own personal piece of lead pipe. The hand has approximately 72 bones in it and can easily break or fracture if not properly set. The forearm needs no special position and is an extremely powerful striking weapon.
As you quickly close distance, merely attack with full downward circle strikes. Imagine your arms rotating in front of your body like two propellers –
your left rotates clockwise, your right counter clockwise. The striking surface of your wrists rotate six to eight inches in front of your torso. This attack not only provides protection of your torso area but generates incredible striking power for this assault as you rush in.
This is a violent assault designed to strike the assailant in multiple targets of his body. Your first strikes will hit his arms and rapidly advance up his body. With your focus on his neck, you'll soon find yourself well above his knife and in his center core. There, you can use your forearms strikes to:
1) Crush his windpipe; the windpipe has the consistency of copper tubing and crushes easily.
2) Strike the Vagus nerve (follow the neck from the earlobes down, this nerve runs up and down that line on either side). You'll know when you hit the nerve because it's an instant knockout. Your attacker's eyes roll straight up, his knees buckle, and he collapses straight down in a lump.
3) You can also use your thumbs to gouge out his eyes. Simply open-hand slap him on the ears and place your thumbs in the sockets and gouge.
Any one of these three strikes will take out his central nervous system and immediately allow you to control or kill him as the circumstances dictate.
You'll notice I didn't discuss what happened with the knife. During that confrontation you probably received a couple of cuts or slashes and you may need stitches...
but you're alive and he's either dead or out of commission. Most likely you never felt the cuts or slashes because you were focused on your mission to take him out. Your wounds can be healed and you can go home and kiss your kids goodnight.
Final Notes
This is just one of a myriad of possible ways I teach normal guys – as well as the most highly trained commandos – how to take out an attacker wielding an edged weapon. The main focus is to maintain the offensive state of mind in a high threat environment. Focus on what you'll do to your attacker rather than trying to defend against what he's trying to do to you.
Make no mistake, edged weapons are very dangerous, but you can increase your chances of victory in an unavoidable life or death scenario using the above principles. Don't get caught up with the martial arts knife fighter scenarios. It's highly unlikely you'll ever meet a highly trained martial artist or well-trained operator who fights with a knife. It's far more likely you'll be dealing with a criminal who's used to everyone cowering when he pulls his knife.
Imagine his surprise when you decide not to play his game.

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Posted by: 01dragonslayer - 03-25-2023, 10:53 AM - No Replies

I fully understand why a lot of people think that wearing a mask to prevent spreading or catching a disease is stupid, especially when it comes to viruses. At first glance, wearing an ordinary cloth mask seems illogical. Viruses are infinitesimally small and expecting one to get "trapped" by the fibers in a mask seems far-fetched.
It's like shooting a basketball into the Grand Canyon from an airplane and worrying about hitting the rim. Not bloody likely.
That may make sense, but maybe we have to look a little deeper than that. Viruses don't sprout wings and fly out of your lungs into the atmosphere like vampire bats looking for their next long-necked victim. Instead, they're coughed, sneezed, or breathed out of the respiratory tract in water or mucus droplets.

 These water or snot Ubers then ferry the viruses into the air, where they form an aerosol cloud that, in the absence of a breeze or ventilation, could linger for 3 to 5 hours – one that hapless victims could walk through and become infected.
So while naked viruses are too small to be blocked by anything but the most sophisticated, medical-grade masks, mucus and water particles are generally not.

Furthermore, if you're not wearing a mask, any sneezed or coughed-out droplets quickly evaporate and shrink, making it possible for the viruses to both travel farther and remain in the air longer.
The opposite is true if you wear a mask. The humid conditions that exist between your mouth and the mask prevent droplets from drying out, so much so that it takes about a hundred times longer for them to evaporate. That enables the size of the droplets to remain large and greatly increases the chance they'll be trapped by the mask.
 Regardless of whether you buy that line of reasoning or not, mask wearing is mandatory in most places, including gyms, so rather than debate it, let's take a look at how wearing a mask affects exercise performance and see if we can find if that adorable kitty-face number you're wearing during your squat workout contains a silver, antiseptic lining.
[Image: Kettlebell-Squat.jpg]THE BIG PROBLEM WITH WEARING A MASK IN THE GYMQuite simply, masks make it harder to breathe, decreasing airflow to the lungs. As you work out, the mask becomes increasingly damp, which makes it ever harder to breathe. And, as you get more and more tired, you begin to mouth breathe, which gives the lungs less time to extract oxygen from the air than nasal breathing does.
Plenty of people try to give themselves some solace by thinking that wearing a mask while working out mimics altitude training, where athletes gradually reduce the amount of oxygen being breathed in by adjusting valves affixed to the mask. Over time, this improves oxygen efficiency.
Nice try, but it doesn't work that way with masks intended to stop the spread of disease.
 Altitude training requires, as stated, the reduction of oxygen. Wearing a plain old mask doesn't change the proportion of oxygen in the air you're breathing (20.93% at sea level); it just allows you to breathe in less of it.
HOW TO MAKE THE BEST OF ITThe authors of a paper on the effects of mask wearing on physical performance (Santos-Silva, Greve, Pedrinelli, 2020) have suggested a possible benefit of wearing one while working out. They say that it makes the lungs work harder to obtain the same amount of air, thus potentially strengthening the lungs and diaphragm.
If and when seasoned mask wearers eventually forgo using their masks, so the argument goes, they're actually more fit and could potentially do more work than they otherwise could.
Hey, at least that's something.
 In the meantime, until you adapt to wearing a mask, these same authors suggest you practice nasal breathing. It helps prevent "sauna face," which is the accumulation of sweat, humidity, and probably tiny, naked Finnish people that can occur when you breathe through your mouth.
Nasal breathing also, as implied above, allows the lungs to extract more oxygen from the air because exhalation is slower. Of course, nasal breathing is pretty hard to keep up, especially when you're doing heavy lifts, high reps, or metabolic conditioning of some sort.

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  The 7 Fitness Journey Dropouts
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Posted by: 01dragonslayer - 03-25-2023, 10:50 AM - No Replies

FITNESS JOURNEY FAILTons of people embark on a fitness journey but struggle to get anywhere. Their "before" never becomes an "after." But why?
Here's what no one wants to talk about: Those who never see results think a certain way. And this thinking allows them to continue being out of shape. They make excuses, blame others, and let themselves off the hook.
 It's time to address these issues so people can face reality and hopefully move in a healthier direction. If you relate to any of these descriptions, a reality check is coming. You'll know that one of these is YOU if it hurts to read it.
1. The Guy Who's Too Injured[Image: Eat-This-Way-to-Stop-Achy-Knees.jpg]He never starts because he's milking the same injury he got a decade ago. Of course, injuries are nuanced, and the road to recovery is an individual thing, but that's still no excuse to sit idle on the couch. Research consistently shows that exercising is beneficial for working around and rehabbing injuries (1-6).
Not only can you exercise while injured, but you can also still get great results. Ask anybody who's gotten appreciably lean and jacked. I guarantee you they had to work around a few injuries. To put it bluntly, we all have injuries and mishaps. Yours isn't special.
Outside of some severe exceptions, anyone can find a pain-free exercise for each body part. Even in the worst-case scenarios, you can still train other muscles while letting your injury heal. Training one limb while the injured counterpart is healing can even boost strength in both (7).
Stop convincing everyone, including yourself, that you're too broken to even curl a dumbbell or do a bodyweight glute bridge. You're not.

2. The Guy Who'll Start Later, After This Event[Image: Office-Party.jpg]He promises to start working out and eating healthy after a specific event. Heck, he might even start on Monday.
He's apparently waiting until after work settles down, after the holidays, after his brother's birthday weekend, after his wedding, after the Super Bowl, after his sister's baby shower, or after the holiday weekend. The list goes on and on... for years.
Here's the truth: Life never gets less busy. New people will enter your life next month. Responsibilities will accumulate every week. There will always be another event quickly approaching.
Thinking your schedule gets freer as you progress through life is like thinking your hair grows thicker as you approach your 60s. That's some cute wishful thinking.
Instead, proactively carve out a few hours each week to train and have healthy food readily available. These designated hours are precious, and apart from the rare exception, you must mercilessly fight for them to stay on track. It sounds extreme, but so is procrastinating for decades.

3. The Picky Eater (Adult Toddler)[Image: Picky-Eater.jpg]The picky eater consumes an excessively hypercaloric diet simply because he can't handle the thought of swallowing something green. He complains more about nutrition than a group of entitled third graders:

  • "I only enjoy, like, two fruits. And all vegetables taste like garbage! Who eats rabbit food? Rabbits!"
  • "Drinking water is so bland; I'd rather just drink soda or something from Starbucks."
  • "Turkey bacon and cauliflower rice are such lame alternatives. They're not worth eating."
If you're a picky eater, you might think fit people are weirdos who jump for joy when they see chicken breasts and broccoli. Let me clarify it for you. Fit people can appreciate the exact same foods you do. We salivate over the smell of wings, fries, and donuts. We don't think turkey bacon is as good as regular bacon.
We eat the way we eat because our fitness is more important than a quick dopamine response from a jelly donut. We also like to think about how we're going to feel AFTER the sugar bomb. (Hint: It's usually not good.)
So we find ways to make food swaps, and eventually, nutrient-dense food and low-calorie alternatives become more enjoyable. You don't believe it, but they actually do.
Obviously, they'll never taste as good as a deep-dish pizza or a plate of gooey nachos, but picky eaters need to stop exaggerating how bad healthy foods taste when you've never given them a real chance.
We've somehow gotten to the point in American culture where we think that just because high-calorie foods are hyperpalatable, somehow nutrient-dense foods are unpalatable. Believing this lie will keep you dependent on junk food.
All it takes is some lifestyle change and a basic understanding of cooking and seasoning. There's an endless stream of internet cooking videos if you don't know how to make chicken and broccoli taste good. You can even make a healthy, protein-packed cheesecake.
You can complain about chicken breasts all you want. But it doesn't show that you have superior taste in food; it just shows that you're incompetent in the kitchen. If you still think healthy foods taste whack, you just need to stop being a child and eat like an actual adult.

4. The Guy Who Thinks His Job Counts As Training[Image: Construction-Worker.jpg]Blue-collar workers are awesome. What they do is hard, no doubt. But I've met a lot of them who wonder why their bodies are soft, undefined, and don't reflect their hard work.
The answer is simple. General hard work is much different than the training required for your muscle to grow and look awesome. The construction site is your job, not your workout. Yes, you might lift heavy stuff, burn a lot of calories, and get sore from that work, but it still doesn't count as true training.
True strength training that produces results involves mindful muscle contractions in various rep ranges. It trains your body in a variety of patterns (many of which don't get performed at work). Also, true strength training doesn't value soreness much, so there's that too.
The good news? Strength training will help you on the job, and your job may actually give you an advantage in the gym. You know what it's like to strain, and you've got the work ethic needed to succeed.
Find time for the gym even if you have a strenuous job. Just a few weekly hours in the weight room on top of your demanding career is sufficient. Make it happen.

5. The Forever Thinker[Image: Sad-Food.jpg]Forever thinkers are those who've started a diet and an active lifestyle many times but give up quickly because they irrationally fear their sacrifices are permanent.
They agonize over training hard, reducing calories, and giving up their favorite foods because they feel like the suffering will last forever. They see a commercial for cheesecake and immediately start binging because they worry cheesecake won't ever touch their lips again.
Sounds pretty illogical, but people who think this way. The good news is that the sacrifices it takes to maintain a lean body are different than the sacrifices it takes to get there. The other good news? You may start to like the sacrifices (and the results they produce) and not want to return to your old ways.
If you're a forever thinker, you don't have to stay in a miserable deficit forever, just long enough to get to where you desire. You might not be able to have your favorite pizza while trimming down, but it will still exist after your diet's over. And over time, you can learn how to have it in a sane way that allows you to hang on to your results.

6. The Minutiae Worshipper[Image: Inspecting-Food.jpg]The minutiae worshipper loves trivial things that make marginal differences while avoiding crucial foundational practices because effort and sacrifice are involved.
These people love to discuss (and debate) fitness semantics, GMOs, microwave radiation, pesticides, celebrity diet trends, gimmicky gadgets, and conspiracy theories while their health and body composition remain poor year-round.
They'll talk your ear off about how the pH of your water is unhealthy, yet get really quiet when discussing regular exercise, a balanced diet, and caloric control. Minutiae worshippers never experience any results because they're experts at missing the forest for the trees.

7. The Chronic Obstacle Finder[Image: How-to-Stop-Making-Excuses.jpg]The obstacle searcher doesn't train or eat healthy because no solution is good enough for them. They'd rather search for obstacles than accept a solution and put in the work.
The obstacle searcher will often complain about not having enough time to exercise. If you suggest they train on the weekends, they'll say that's family time. If you suggest they train after work, they'll say they're too tired. If you suggest they train before work, they'll say they're not a morning person.
The same goes with dieting. They'll say they want a simple diet. If you show them how to go low carb, they'll say they love carbs too much. If you show them low-fat diets, they'll then say they love fat too much. You might suggest eating a balanced diet while sticking to whole foods to ensure a deficit... and they'll call you crazy and say they can't live without cake.
Finally, you suggest they track macros so they can still fit cake into their diet while losing weight, but they'll still complain about having to track.
This cycle of complaining repeats itself ad nauseam. Obstacle searchers don't want solutions. They want more obstacles to avoid the fact they're unwilling to make any sort of compromise regardless of how many solutions are provided.

Stop Making Excuses. Start Seeing Results.[Image: Fitness-Results.jpg]People are now offended when they see the question, "What's your excuse?" anywhere on the internet. And those who take offense are either chronic excuse-makers or sycophants who enable the excuse-makers to get in worse and worse shape.
The solution? It ultimately comes down to taking ownership of your health and physique. This starts with ignoring the enablers and recognizing whether you fall into one (or more) of these profiles. Facing reality stings a bit, but you'll be better for it. The sooner you get honest about it, the sooner you can change.

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Posted by: 01dragonslayer - 03-25-2023, 10:48 AM - No Replies

This is not a personal attack on trainers.  These are not my beliefs just an interesting article I found.
SOME TRAINERS DON'T GET ITAs a gym owner, it never ceases to amaze me how much of an impact the trainers can have on a gym, both good and bad.
Compounding matters is the fact that since trainers are humans, and subject to human nature, there's an inevitable drama that brews among the trainers at any given gym. From stealing clients from each other, to having affairs with their clients, to who's copying who, the list of all-too-human foibles goes on and on.

 If you're a personal trainer and you can feel your spandex starting to knot, the odds are that I'm not talking about you. There are indeed a great many well-qualified, highly certified, conscientious, and accomplished trainers out there who are worth their weight in gold, particularly to the gym newbie. I'm not lumping you in with these characters.
Having said that, it still remains a fact that the greatest potential threat to the ongoing success of a gym is the personal trainer, particularly when it comes to new members.
Some trainers, however, seem to be at odds with that concept. They seem hell-bent on driving our members to the nearest Krispy Kreme, never to return. Here are a few categories of trainers that make we gym owners want to close up shop and become florists.

1 The Mack DaddyI don't think many gym owners would be happy knowing their gym is referred to as a pick-up joint. Public image is vital and there's a lot of competition out there. When my gym first opened there were three competing gyms within a 3 kilometer radius. Today, there are 57!
My normal "I don't care what people think" attitude had to reconcile with the bank account. So, if a trainer wants to squeeze or fondle the fruit, the fruit has to agree to be squeezed and fondled, and only away from the gym.
C'mon, your motivation to become a trainer shouldn't be to open up new dating vistas! It's like a guy wanting to become a hairdresser so he can run his hands through women's hair.
Granted, legitimate relationships can be born in the gym, but if your definition of "romantic" involves throwing someone a wad of Kleenex when you're done and giving them cab fare, I don't want it in the gym.
But there are of course exceptions. I have one ultra suave trainer from Venezuela who trains about 12 chicas with big, fake asses and he's working every one of them like a kid drying off cars at the car wash. Oddly, the women eat it up and he's the most successful trainer in my gym.
Am I proud of it? No. Will I take the money? Yes, but that money doesn't come free. I have to allot more of my time to monitoring him and keeping an ear out for anyone complaining about him, but so far everyone seems to love him.
 But there are those that not only cross the line, they splatter the line with kerosene and light a match to it. Case in point, a month ago I fired a trainer on the spot for walking past a changing stall and snapping a picture with his phone over the top of the door because his victim was trying on a sports bra. Yes, creeps like that really exist. News of this leaking out doesn't bode well for not only the gym, but trainers in general.
2 The Over-Innovator[Image: Bosu.jpg]There's absolutely nothing wrong with being creative in devising various fitness routines for your clients. However, there's absolutely no reason on this earth that a trainer should take a normal Midwest housewife who's perfectly content in her snug fitting Lane Bryant stretch pants and try to get her to balance one foot on a Bosu ball, while holding a kettlebell over her head with one hand and curling a dumbbell with the other.
The best, most effective thing you can do for a newbie is suggest positive changes to their lifestyle and teach them basic moves. Anything else is purely ridiculous and reflects badly on you and on the gym.

3 The CreeperI think it's great when a personal trainer starts out a new client with a fitness assessment, but the idea of a "physique assessment" makes me cringe. I was getting complaints about one particular trainer who was giving new male members his special brand of physique assessment.
I walked into the locker room one afternoon and, camped out right in the middle of the most traveled area, under the requisite harsh light in the ceiling, was the trainer in question, who had his client standing at attention under the light in nothing but his not-so-white tighty whities.
The trainer was parked a few feet away, sitting half way on the sink counter, doing the seated "Thinker" pose. He was deep in thought, scrutinizing the body before him, a body that had clearly not ever completed a single rep of a single exercise, ever.

He was forcing this pudgy little guy to go through quarter turns like he was competing for the Mr. Olympia, taking a full two or three minutes to study each view while throngs of other dudes criss-crossed in between them on their way to the showers, the lockers, or the sinks.
Talk about uncomfortable! The guy looked like he was going to cry. What the hell was this trainer doing to this poor guy? This guy had clearly never been to the gym before. This was his first experience in my gym and the last one, too. He's probably off somewhere developing an eating disorder, and not just any eating disorder but a Jeffrey-Dahmer-eating-the-brains-of-his-victims eating disorder.
If you're seriously going to assess someone's physique, he or she should probably be a competitor getting ready for some sort of physique contest and they should be wearing posing trunks or at least some kind of cool underwear with superheroes on them, not tighty whities, and you should do it somewhere private, not in the middle of Grand Central Station.
A person's very first day in a gym should not be met with that shit, or anything like it. It's not good for any of us.
4 Mr. Over-Qualified and He Knows ItThey don't give out PhDs in personal training, but just in case you've got one in some applicable field anyway, don't ever answer me with some polysyllabic drivel about kinesiological principles and scientific studies when I ask you to explain what you're doing with a client. I may just be curious. Or, I don't think you know what the hell you're doing and I'm calling you out.
Now, I can respect the pursuit of higher education and the passion you may have to make something meaningful out of your interest in fitness, but there's a reason why there's not a doctorate offered for personal training. It's not freakin' rocket science!

So, don't quote me some obscure study that demonstrated something that's already been demonstrated 30 years ago and has no bearing whatsoever on why I'm watching you count off 12 reps of your client doing something absolutely stupid.
5 The SlobYou wanna really piss me off? Then don't put away your shit. It's bad enough I have 3000 shaved apes with questionable hygiene skills leaving weights and equipment strewn all over, from the parking lot to the pool, but a trainer?
I expect you to be extra conscientious about the neatness of the gym. I expect you to not only rack the weight you just used, but other people's weights, too. I expect you to sop up sweat, report broken equipment, not break the equipment, pick up empty water bottles, flush the toilet, and take forgotten crap to the lost and found. I expect you to act human.
6 Getting Ready For a Show Guy[Image: Jug.png]Anyone getting ready for a body competition is hugely annoying. A personal trainer getting ready for a competition is annoyance on steroids.
All I have to do is look in the break room and see a gallon water jug with the wrist straps threaded through the handle and my toes start to curl. They might do their job adequately in the morning, but as the water jug starts to empty and three meals have vanished, the fatigue begins to set in and images of Haagen-Dazs morphine lollipops start dancing in their heads and things get a little tight.
It's bad enough I have to worry about some yoga master octogenarian burning out my Excellerator hand dryer while blow-drying his balls, or the hairy, wet, naked guy running towards me out of the steam room with his hand outstretched for me to shake and tell me not only of his long and checkered membership history with my gym, but also how much more inviting the steam room would be if its entry door were trimmed in decorative tile.

It's bad enough that the utility guys are on the roof filling the gas tanks and peeping into the women's locker room skylight, or that there are three motorcycles parked so close to the front door that people have to walk into the street to get around them, and 20,000 other things.
So the last thing I need is to also hear that trainer-getting-ready-for-a-show is threatening a normal trainer, out in the open, for putting the 8-kilo kettlebell where the 10-kilo kettlebell should be, or something equally sophomoric and petty and causing a profanity-laden scene in front of the child care area.
I don't care if you're getting ready for the Olympia, if you can't handle your business like a gentleman, then hang up your bedazzled competition trunks and get back to work.
But no, really, I love personal trainers!

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Posted by: 01dragonslayer - 03-25-2023, 10:43 AM - No Replies

If you walk into the gym most days and you're thinking about what to watch during dinner instead of focusing on the lifting that's about to happen, you need to refocus with some serious changes ASAP. Here's what to do.
1 Grab a CalendarNow count out 12 weeks from today and put a giant X on the spot. You now have just 84 days to reach your goal.
The consequences of missing the deadline? You end up letting yourself down. If the idea of that doesn't sting just a bit, your ego is way too big. Get a grip, buddy, nobody's that awesome.
Setting the timeline is a fundamental part of basic goal-setting, but the stumbling block most people trip over is that they never actually set goals, they just meander towards general ideas. The problem with chasing vague, unreachable things is that, eventually, the chase doesn't seem worth it, so you lose interest and fizzle out.

2 Get SpecificAsk any guy in the gym what they're training for and it's a safe bet you'll hear, "I wanna build size and strength." Do 'ya? Do 'ya really? Lemme guess, you also study "words" in school and had "food" for breakfast.
Specifics matter. And since we've already started to narrow the focus with a strict 12-week timeframe, the next step is choosing one of three things:

  1. You can lose fat.
  2. You can add size.
  3. You can build strength.
Pick one. Only one.
With 12 weeks of dialed-in training and nutrition, you can get abs (for the first time in who knows when) or you can put on about 10-15 pounds of decent scale weight (not all lean muscle, but definitely not all jiggly bits) or you can increase a lift by a significant amount (maybe a plate a side if you're more of a beginner).
After you've picked the single goal, narrow the focus even more to have a better idea where you're headed. Are you carrying 30 pounds of gut over that hidden six-pack? Do you want to put on 15 pounds and finally weigh in at a solid 190? Has your overhead press been stuck at 155 for months?

3 Choose Your PlanThe last step is choosing the right approach and then sticking to it. Hundreds of training routines and just as many nutrition plans mean you just have to grab the right goal-focused program and follow along.
This will almost-definitely require stepping outside your comfort zone instead of doing the kind of diet and training you've gotten overly comfortable with, but that's where the results are. Crack down and do the hard work for a few months. Your mind and body will benefit from the challenge.

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Posted by: 01dragonslayer - 03-25-2023, 10:41 AM - No Replies

DRINKING CRANKCASE OILBy most definitions, I've been a success in my chosen field. I've built a career in bodybuilding over the course of 20 years. I've won Israel's national bodybuilding title 5 times. I earned my pro card and had a respectable showing in the Mr. Olympia. Perhaps more importantly, I've coached hundreds of athletes.
But looking back on it, I can see that there are things I sacrificed that weren't worth sacrificing. So when I walk into a commercial gym and see a motivated young kid who'll do anything and everything to get a pro card, my instinct is to sit him down and have a conversation about his goals and dreams.

?I want to make damn sure he understands what he's getting himself into. He needs to realize his chances of actually becoming a professional bodybuilder are stacked against him and the path is often ugly and soul draining.
The late Steve Michalik once said he'd drink crankcase oil to get further in the sport, and that was for the Mr. America contest, an amateur competition. I would ask this motivated young kid if he's willing to "drink crankcase oil" to get where he wants to go, because that would be the easy part of the journey.
I'd then make sure he understood the following points:
1 Bodybuilding is a very selfish and mentally destructive sport.To do well, you need to become a self-centered asshole. It's the nature of this sport and it's not a matter of "if" it will affect you, but by how much.
Some individuals are more affected than others, but the use of certain "supplements" for an extended period of time will cause profound psychological effects, including changes in personality. You'll experience increased aggression and anger. It may be over something as inconsequential as someone talking too loud or looking at you the wrong way. The most trivial incident might become goddamn HUGE AND ANNOYING.
You'll have no patience, a short temper, and will feel sluggish during most of your day. Simple things will become huge chores. Increased libido will plague you. If you have a girlfriend or spouse, you'll probably end up cheating on her.
If you have any underlying, previously dormant mental issue like OCD or an eating disorder, these "supplements" will make it rear its ugly head and increase exponentially in power.
Depression, anxiety, and shortness of breath will all become part of your daily life. And rest assured, if you're planning on becoming a pro bodybuilder, you're going to need and use a lot of these volatile drugs (there, I said it). It's just another thing that needs to be done in order to compete at the highest levels (the same as every other professional sport, for that matter).
But when you combine all this with an obsession with your body fat and how much you weigh, with looking at yourself in the mirror multiple times a day, and, in general, living a life where every action from eating, to breathing, to sleeping is about improving your outside appearance, selfishness and self-centeredness are inevitable.
It'll affect your personality, and at the end of the day when you leave the gym and the competition is over, these changes don't disappear and you'll still need to deal with life outside of bodybuilding.

2 You will hurt the people you love and you may end up alone.To this day, after more than twenty years in the industry, I still haven't met a bodybuilder who's prepared for a show without seriously affecting his or her marriage.
When you diet, you become cranky, tired, and moody. You hate the world. When you diet, the first person you lash out at is typically your spouse – the person who generally provides you with the most support. Ironic, isn't it?
I've seen couples break up, separate, and even get divorced after lousy show preps. The higher the level, the more drugs involved, the more severe the drama. And don't think you'll treat your friends or family any better, either.
The drugs, combined with the brutal diet, the hard training, the cardio, and the final pre-contest week with its dehydration and carb load/depletion will take any bad situation and exponentially increase it.
Anyone who thinks this won't happen to them is naive. You'll do a lot of shows, and if you're actually serious about getting to the highest level possible, you'll use quite a bit of drugs. That's the nature of the sport when competing against the best.
So, is professional bodybuilding worth risking the loss of your closest family members and friends?

3 You may end up broke from chasing a pro card.[Image: Amit-Sapir-1.jpg]The amount of money you'll end up spending while chasing your dream to become a professional isn't something you truly comprehend when you're starting out. The expenses are minimal in the beginning, but as you grow, so do your bills.
Coaching, clothing, ridiculous amounts of food, posing lessons, tanning, supplements (legitimate and illicit), and traveling will put almost anyone in debt.
And then there's the marketing. If you want to make money, you'll have to sell yourself online and offline. You're just a product like any other and you need to stand out. Maybe you think you can do this on your own, but you won't have the energy when you're preparing for competition. You'll have to hire someone to do it for you.
All of these expenses can add up to the purchase price of a very nice house. That's the cost of chasing your dreams and it gets even worse if your dream is as elusive as a pro card often is. Most competitors chase their pro card for years before they get it – if they ever get it.
And then, just when you get your pro card and start to chalk up all your previous expenses as just an investment you made in your glorious future, you're met with a rude awakening: There's no sponsor waiting for you.
Competition itself doesn't generally pay much either, except to the winner. Most of the time, your winnings won't come near to covering your expenses.
Only if you happen to be very lucky and pick up a few sponsors along the way, and maybe even win a few small shows, will you break even (maybe). You won't become a millionaire from being this type of professional athlete. At best, you'll make a modest to "okay" living. More likely you'll end up broke.

4 Bodybuilding may cause you to ruin your health and cause you to die young.When you begin bodybuilding as a young kid you feel invincible. You don't think about what may happen at 40, 50, and 60 years of age, but there will be a physical price to pay when you commit to the goal of becoming a pro.
Bodybuilding is an extreme sport and the demands and standards for what's considered a winning physique have become harsher and more dangerous in the last few years. The amount of muscle mass, crazy condition, and dryness (getting rid of interstitial water) that's required to win a big show can make it impossible to avoid extreme dieting and drugs. This will impact your health negatively. There's just no way around it.
We beat our bodies up for years. We do insane dieting where we routinely whittle away our body fat to single digits, only to balloon up again in as short a time as a month or two. We use insanely dangerous diuretics to hone our on-stage esthetics. It's all damn unhealthy.
When I weighed 244 pounds at 5'4", walking up stairs left me breathless. I couldn't tie my shoes. Even sex became a challenge. My pursuit of perfection will likely shorten my life.

There Is a Good Side, HoweverAs negative and discouraging as all this may be, it was important for me to acknowledge the downsides. But there are also many positive experiences and lessons to be gained through this kind of journey.
You'll meet great people. You'll gain inner strength. You'll learn a tremendous amount about your body and mind, along with creating a lot of tools that will make you a more determined, passionate, intense, human being.
By knowing the good and the bad, the next motivated kid who has a dream of becoming a pro might use this knowledge to decide whether this sport and lifestyle are worth the downside.
Maybe he'll decide instead to keep bodybuilding as a hobby that's in balance with the rest of his life, and there's certainly a lot to be said for that.

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Posted by: 01dragonslayer - 03-25-2023, 10:39 AM - No Replies


  1. Your underlying beliefs about training directly determine your current habits and practices.
  2. You'll never successfully install a new habit if it conflicts with your beliefs.
  3. It's a valuable practice to regularly review (and possibly revise) your beliefs to make sure they're as accurate and productive as possible.
Before I begin, let me aggressively assert that this is a practical subject. I know, when anyone throws around words like "values" and "beliefs," your eyes glaze over – you just want something that you can put to use right away, right? Yet I can't think of a subject that can have a more immediate and profound effect on your training as the one I'm going to share now.

?If you're a fan of personal productivity books, you've no doubt heard that values play an important foundational role for successful habits. Here's a simple continuum that clearly describes human behavior, both in and out of the gym:
BELIEFS → ACTIONS → OUTCOMESIn other words, your results in life are predicated by the activities you habitually perform, and those activities in turn are driven by your beliefs.
Something that many people miss, however, is that attempting to improve your outcome isn't as simple as changing your behavior, because if your behavior isn't in sync with your beliefs, it won't be sustainable. If the goal is really permanent change, then what we really must do is to change our underlying beliefs.
Looking at it in a different way, your beliefs are like the software program that runs, usually unseen, beneath the surface of your behaviors. This is why it's commonly said that you can determine a person's values by his actions – if your behaviors aren't congruent with your values, they won't last for very long.
With all this in mind, it's a valuable exercise to identify and evaluate our beliefs about training and nutrition to make sure we're running the best possible software.
Are your beliefs productive? Are they rational? Do they spur you to positive outcomes? Further, do you hold the same beliefs today as you did say, 10 years ago? If not, you either had it all mastered then, or (and this is far more likely), you haven't grown much over that time.
Incidentally, your personal growth occurs in direct proportion to your willingness to expose yourself to, and be open to, ideas that conflict with the ones you presently hold. Of course, it's much more comfortable to surround yourself with people that agree with your view of life, but there's also no faster way to put the brakes on your personal growth.
Here's a list of beliefs that I used to hold, contrasted with my current views on the same subjects. Looking at this list, clearly I've grown over the years, and I'm grateful for that.
MY FORMER BELIEF:MACHINES ARE "BAD."This characterizes my view on machine training for most of my career. My belief was that machines were simply the lazy man's way of trying to get results without bothering to learn any real skills. I also argued that machines had little transfer to real-life, "functional" activities.
MY CURRENT BELIEF:MACHINES HAVE CERTAIN ADVANTAGES THAT FREE WEIGHTS DO NOT.I must credit Bret Contreras for helping me to see the light on this one. Specifically, Bret argued persistently that my lack of quad strength and development was holding back my squat progress, and that I should include leg extensions in my regular training.
Now to give you a bit of background, my quads suck mostly due to long levers and several knee surgeries, both of which contribute to my difficulty in doing any type of squat that hits my quads to a significant degree. Even doing front squats only results in hamstring and adductor soreness for me.
I hadn't done leg extensions in many years and I was still dubious when I strapped in for the first set back in July. As soon as I took my first rep, I could feel a very pronounced burn in my quads. It was so significant that it felt like it was the first time my quads had ever contracted.
Sitting here today, I still don't have quads that would turn anyone's head on the street, but they're bigger and stronger than they've ever been at any previous time in my life, and I'm 54.
As far as transfer goes, I've been wrong about it all these years. Think about this: when you first did a bench press, how much could you lift? It doesn't matter what your answer is, you could bench press some amount of weight, right? So where did that strength come from? Certainly not from bench presses, since up to that point you'd never done them before.
This example illustrates the concept of positive transfer. Sure, strength transfers better from one "like" activity to another, but these movements don't need to be as similar as we might assume. Your knees extend during a leg extension, and they also extend during a squat – that's similar enough to create a degree of positive transfer.
[Image: front-squat-heavy.jpg]
FORMER BELIEF:THINGS ARE EITHER "GOOD" OR "BAD."The human mind is incredibly predisposed toward bifurcate thinking. Life just seems a lot easier if you quickly categorize everything as good or bad, smart or stupid, healthy or poisonous, effective or ineffective. The only problem is, almost nothing in life really works this way. If you run this software, your behavior will not be as effective as it could be.
CURRENT BELIEF:IT'S NOT AN EITHER/OR PROPOSITION.I initially arrived at this change of belief when I observed hardcore "natural" food advocates debate their dirty-eating Facebook friends online. I noticed that to many people, foods are either absolutely good or absolutely bad, with no middle ground whatsoever.
As someone who enjoys many "non-approved" foods on a daily basis (while maintaining a very high standard of health and fitness), I posited a question: Would it harm one's health in any way if he or she ate one serving of the worst food imaginable once a month, while eating the healthiest foods imaginable the rest of the time?"
When I posed this question to my most hardcore, raw vegan, Monsanto-hating Facebook friends, all I heard was crickets – because, of course your health wouldn't be harmed!
The truth is, nothing is inherently good or bad. Every exercise you perform and every programming philosophy should be viewed as tools that have varying degrees of utility depending on the larger context of how they're applied.
MY FORMER BELIEF:STRIKE WHILE THE IRON IS HOT.For much of my career I held the belief that you never know when you might hit a big lift in the gym, and that when such moments seem imminent, you should seize the opportunity while you have it. Part of my reasoning was that the confidence-boost from hitting a great (albeit unplanned) lift was worth taking advantage of.
MY CURRENT BELIEF:TRAINING IS A PROCESS, NOT AN EXPERIENCE.While I still believe that it's a great confidence and energy boost to hit a new PR, my thinking over the years has gradually changed. From my experiences with and observations of the world's most successful athletes and coaches, I've come to believe that training should be viewed as a process. The fact is, the more an athlete views his training this way, the more mature his approach to training is.
One of the most valuable features of using a program like Jim Wendler's awesome Beyond 5/3/1 is that it imposes a level of maturity on you that you wouldn't otherwise achieve on your own.
All well-designed programs institute a gradual, progressive increase in loading, which allows a base to be developed before your fitness levels reach a peak. In other words, they force you to be patient and mature. Let's face it, the constant desire we all have to hit a new PR (or to take a bigger attempt than what reason would suggest) is frankly a sign of insecurity.
A better approach is to adopt a more sober, mature, workmanlike approach to your training. When the PR's come, enjoy them, but it doesn't change the fact that you'll be back in the gym tomorrow, grinding away as always.
Similarly, a bad workout isn't the end of the world, either. Good and bad workouts will come and go, but the best athletes are focused on the process, not individual experiences.
SELF EVALUATION LEADS TO BETTER PRACTICESIf you've ever tried to adopt a new habit or practice only to find that you couldn't make it stick, it's probably because that new habit didn't line up with your belief system. In such cases, it's useful to consider whether the underlying belief is in need of revision.
I regularly review and revisit my own beliefs because I know they ultimately determine how I conduct my training and nutritional habits. I also regularly "reverse engineer" my behaviors, which includes not only the things I do, but also the things I don't do.

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