How Your Lifestyle Affects Your Fitness

By Anne Keckler | March 19, 2008

We moms are a busy bunch of people with hypertension all the time due to the amount of work we do on a daily basis. We’re constantly interrupted with questions, have to settle disagreements (especially if we have more than one child), drive children to activities, and chase after them on vacation. We are called upon to practice their sport with them in the back yard, to clean up after them in the house, and to stay up late to help them with homework. Whew!

So why do we gain weight and have so much trouble keeping it off?

I thought about this while I was on a trip with my family for the past few days. We drove from Tallahassee to Miami Beach, walked all over South Beach, played in the surf, attended the state boys’ gymnastics meet, drove to Orlando to go to Disney for a couple of days, and then drove home. You’d think that with all that walking around I’d have lost a few pounds. You’d be wrong.

Even though I’m sure I logged more than 10,000 steps per day, they were slow steps. You can’t hurry through the crowd at Disney when you have kids in tow. You have to take everything at a slightly more leisurely pace, even though it feels frantic trying to keep track of where everyone is and taking care of everyone’s needs. I was certainly exhausted at the end of the day, but it was more of a mental or emotional exhaustion than one brought on by strenuous physical activity. I wasn’t out of breath in the slightest because I was on a daily intake of vital supplements and vitamins I got from Functional Medicine Associates which helped me significantly. If you were to click here to read more about what I really ingested, you’d have an insight of what my diet was all about.

And that’s the thing. We are often tired at the end of a long day, so we skip real exercise. Or we eat because we’re tired or slightly dehydrated. We don’t take care of ourselves the way we should because our minds are preoccupied with taking care of everyone else.

How has your lifestyle affected your fitness?

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Topics: Exercise, Losing weight | 2 Comments »

Net Carbs

By Anne Keckler | March 11, 2008

BreadIf you’ve ever been on a low-carb diet, you might be aware of the term “net carbs.” Since fiber (cellulose) is not digestible by humans, you only need to count the carbs minus the fiber. This will give you the “net carbs.”

In an effort to consume fewer net carbs and more fiber, you should make sure that most of your carbs come from whole, unrefined foods. To this end, J.D. over at GetFitSlowly compared whole grain breads commonly found in his local supermarket.

I’ll probably do a similar taste-test in the near future, with breads available here in the Tallahassee supermarkets, I’ll talk about my favorite french baguette loaf as well. For now, though, I give you my famous whole grain bread recipe, which requires almost no kneading:

Keckler Bread

4 2/3 cup warm water (about 110 degrees fahrenheit)
2/3 cup honey
2 Tablespoons active dry yeast

Mix honey with warm water and sprinkle yeast over this mixture. While you’re waiting for that to get foamy, mill about 14 cups of flour (about 10 cups of hard red wheat).

Mix together the following:

2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon sea salt or Real Salt
2 Tablespoons liquid lecithin
1/4 teaspoon vitamin C powder

Add this to the yeast mixture. Gradually mix in flour until dough is the right consistency. The actual amount of flour will vary depending on the humidity that day, the moisture of your wheat, etc.

Knead for 10 – 12 minutes.

The dough should fill about 5 medium bread pans, so get them out and grease them. I use a mixture of liquid lecithin and olive oil. Pam works well, too. Plain old butter or lard would probably work fine.

Separate your dough into five equal balls. Roll each one out, and then form into loaves and put into the greased pans. Let the dough rise in the pans until it is about 1/2 inch above the top of the pans.

While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. I routinely u se an oven thermometer, and I recommend it unless you’re absolutely sure your oven is accurate. I’d still recommend it because oven temperature can fluctuate with the seasons.

When the dough is risen to about 1/2 inch above the top of the pans, bake at 350 for 28 minutes. You might check it after 25. The crust should be golden brown – not too dark, the sides should be slightly pulled away from the pan, the loaf should come easily out of the pan, and when you tap the bottom it should sound hollow.

Do not slice for at least half an hour, as the inside continues to cook for that long.

This bread will provide you with plenty of bran, healthy vitamins and minerals from the germ of the wheat, and no artificial preservatives or other ingredients. I hope you’ll try it out some day soon, and let me know how you like it. It’s one of the few whole grain breads my children will eat!

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Nutrition: Carbohydrates

By Anne Keckler | March 8, 2008

I can hardly believe it’s been three weeks since I wrote about protein. I hadn’t intended to wait this long between posts about nutrition.

What Are Carbohydrates?

Carbohydrates are our main source of energy. They are the optimum fuel source for muscle energy, and for brain energy. seems to have the best and simplest explanation of what a carbohydrate is that I’ve seen anywhere.

Glucose Molecule

All Carbohydrates Are Broken Down Into Glucose in Our Bodies

You may have heard of simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates take longer to break down into glucose, and so give us the glucose over a longer period of time. This is easier for our bodies to handle than when we get a huge shot of glucose at once, which explains why it’s better to get our carbs from plants, such as vegetables, and legumes, rather than from pure sugar. These plant foods contain complex carbohydrates. Fruits, however, are high in the natural simple sugar fructose, so they should constitute a smaller part of the diet than other plant foods.

Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load

The Glycemic Index ranks carbohydrates based on how quickly our bodies convert them into glucose, with foods that cause the most rapid increase in blood sugar given the highest number. Glucose is ranked 100, for example. Note that potatoes and white bread score higher on the Glycemic Index than table sugar!

While the Index provides important information, total Glycemic Load is probably even more important. That’s because a small amount of a food that is high on the Glycemic Index won’t produce much of an insulin response, but a large amount of a food lower on the Glycemic Index would produce a higher insulin response. A high insulin response will give you that “sugar crash” that leaves you feeling down, and high fluctuations in blood sugar aren’t healthy for a variety of reasons. To keep a steady blood sugar, eat foods lower in glycemic load, and eat frequently.

Also, it’s better to eat unrefined foods because they contain cellulose. We cannot digest cellulose, but it is important for adding bulk and keeping our digestive tracks healthy. It appears to effect our cholesterol levels, as well. It also takes longer to digest the unrefined foods, so the sugar is delivered to our bodies more slowly. Whole fruit and natural flavored foods from are much better than fruit juice, for example, and beans and veggies are better than cake. If you are eating white bread and pasta, your body treats it about the same as if you are eating cookies or ice cream. You don’t necessarily have to eliminate these things from your diet altogether, but you shouldn’t think of them as a healthy part of your diet, either. They can be occasional treats.

What About Low-Carb Diets?

When we eat very few carbs for a few days, our bodies begin to live off of our stored fat. We then enter a state called “ketosis,” where the fatty acids which have been released into the bloodstream are converted into ketones. (This is not the same as ketoacidosis, which is highly dangerous to diabetics and alcoholics.) Most of our organs and tissues will utilize the fatty acids for fuel during ketosis, but ketones provide fuel for the brain in the absence of glucose.

Ketogenic diets, which are diets low enough in carbohydrates to produce a state of ketosis, are used for weight loss (Atkins is a popular one), but they have also been proven to reduce epileptic seizures in those prone to such, and to treat pre-diabetes. In January of this year, the American Diabetes Association endorsed the use of low-carb diets for weight loss in diabetics. Bodybuilders use a low-carb diet to lose fat prior to a competition. Lyle McDonald wrote a great e-book called The Ketogenic Diet which thoroughly explains the science behind a low-carb diet, and tells you how to use it to accomplish your goals. I only recommend it if you have an interest in the science behind the diet, though. It gets a little technical (which I like).

Low-carb diets are especially good for sedentary people who want to lose weight quickly, but they should not be followed long-term. A gradual increase in carbohydrates will eventually be necessary. Still, there is nothing like getting that quick weight loss at the beginning of a diet to give one the motivation to continue! Just remember that a large part of that initial weight loss will be water weight. Ketones have a diuretic effect, so drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.

Some people are under the misconception that they can eat as much as they want and still lose fat on a low-carb diet. The truth is, you can lose *weight* without a caloric deficit on a low-carb diet, but you won’t lose *fat* without a caloric deficit. You absolutely must eat fewer calories than you are burning. On many low-carb diets you will naturally consume fewer calories. Ketosis tends to reduce the appetite, as does the limit on food choices.

How Many Grams of Carbohydrate Do You Need?

If you are like the average American, you probably need less than you are currently consuming. Excess calories from carbohydrates will cause you to store fat. Don’t consume more calories than you can use! Also remember that carbs are used for energy, so if you’re just sitting around all day you need a lot less carbs than someone who is active.

The brain is the only organ that continues to need some glucose, so let’s see how many grams of carbohydrates we need each day to maintain a healthy brain. The brain typically uses about 100 grams of carbohydrates per day, but this drops to about 40 grams after a couple of weeks on a low-carb diet. Keep in mind that some glucose is stored in the liver, in the form of glycogen, so the brain can utilize this for energy at first. The liver and the kidneys will also continue to produce glucose from some amino acids and other things as time progresses, and they will probably produce enough for you to survive. But to thrive, you will need to consume some carbohydrates.

Carbohydrate needs vary, especially with the activity level of the individual. The average person can safely consume 100 grams of carbohydrate per day, or more, and still lose weight if a caloric deficit is achieved. In order to ensure that the weight loss is primarily fat, however, and that muscle is spared, the individual should consume significantly less carbohydrates than that, while eating enough protein and doing resistance exercises to signal to the body that the muscle is needed. By consuming less than 30 grams of carbohydrate per day, and maintaining a caloric deficit by eating less and exercising more, one can expect to lose a significant amount of fat.

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Topics: Nutrition, Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

Strength Goals

By Anne Keckler | March 7, 2008

One of the things I like most about weightlifting is that it’s so easy to measure success. I also love to feel strong and capable. My appearance is secondary to this, but I have to admit that I like to look strong.

As some of you may know, I hit my weightlifting goals just before I left for Cancun. Here are the stats, which are the same as before my surgery ten months ago:

Squat: 205
Deadlift: 255 (could’ve done 260, but didn’t want to search for the tiny plates to put on the bar)
Benchpress: 135

So I guess it’s now time to set some new goals! How about this:

Squat: 275
Deadlift: 315
Benchpress: 160

This would put me at the level of female competitive lifters in my weight class. I’m thinking it might take me a year to get there, though.



I’ll be writing about carbohydrates very soon. Stay tuned!


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Losing Weight vs. Losing Fat

By Anne Keckler | March 6, 2008

A lot of people join a gym to lose weight. When I first speak with them, they might tell me how many pounds they want to lose, and that they want to get “toned.” Of course, what most of them really want to lose is fat.

The Hydration Iv Drip Therapy for weight loss is designed to help you burn fat. However, this therapy is not a magic cure-all. Instead, this treatment is an ideal adjunct treatment, meaning that it is most effective in conjunction with healthy eating and regular exercise.

Our formula contains a unique blend of vitamins, minerals, and lipotropics that can help accelerate your metabolism. The lipotropics in this formula, which are compounds that help your body break down fat naturally, help you burn calories faster.

In addition to boosting your metabolism at the cellular level, IV therapy naturally detoxifies your body by removing heavy metals that can cause damage to your cells. Your body can process heavy metals naturally in small amounts, but overexposure can lead to heavy metal toxicity and further cell damage. Over time, this added damage ages your body and contributes to a slower metabolism sooner.

Now, it seems that what most people mean by “toned” is that they want to lose some bodyfat that is overlying their muscles so that they have a little more definition. What “tone” really means, with regard to our bodies, is to have a healthy elasticity to our muscles. But as you can see, that’s not really what people mean when they use the term.

So let’s get this straight from the beginning — There are basically two changes you can make to the appearance of your body through diet and exercise. You can alter the amount of fat in your body, and you can alter the amount of muscle. That’s it. Furthermore, unless you are an absolute beginner to resistance exercise or you’re coming back from a long layoff, you cannot both gain muscle and lose fat at the same time. To gain muscle, you’ll have to have a caloric surplus while doing the right resistance exercises to signal to your body that you need to build muscle. To lose, you’ll have to have a caloric deficit while doing the right resistance exercises to signal to your body that you need to maintain the muscle.

“But I don’t want to get all bulky!” I can hear all the women now. They’re so afraid they’re going to look like goons if they put on any muscle! What you need to realize is that women don’t get huge and bulky by accident. You have to work hard for that, you have to have a caloric surplus, and to get really huge you have to have the genetic potential. On top of all of that, you might still have to take steroids to get as big as those masculine-looking women you see online! It’s not going to happen by accident, and it’s not going to happen just by lifting weights. Don’t fear the weights!

Now that we have our definitions straight, and we know what we want, how can we measure it?

Up until now, if you want to get “toned” you’ve probably watched the scale, trying to lose weight. That’s not the best way to go about this. The scale will tell you if you’ve lost weight, but that weight could come from water, or even muscle! You definitely don’t want to lose muscle, but if you try to lose weight by eating less and doing cardio without resistance exercises (ie. weightlifting) you are more likely to lose muscle. This will actually make it easier for your body to gain more fat when you quit starving yourself! You’ll get caught in a nasty spiral of losing muscle, gaining fat, losing more muscle, and gaining more fat. Each cycle it will become more difficult for you to lose weight.

Muscle burns more calories when we are at rest. When we have a decent amount of muscle, it’s easier to maintain a healthy weight.

So are we agreed that we want to have some muscle and lose some fat? Good. But how do we know if we’re on the right track?

Get your bodyfat tested. There are several ways to do this. Your bathroom scale might even have a way to tell you, but this is the least accurate method. Instead of relying on that bathroom scale, call your local gym and see if there is someone there who is experienced with measuring bodyfat. They will probably use calipers to gently pinch a small fold of skin on several locations of your body, such as your upper arm, your back, your tummy, and your thigh. Your bodyfat will be calculated from these numbers. It’s not 100% accurate, but if you have it done occasionally it will tell you whether you are going in the right direction. You can also consult with the skilled experts in fat loss like plastic surgeons in boston, MA to give you effective solutions for maintaining a well-toned body.

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Topics: Losing weight, Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Gym Etiquette

By Anne Keckler | March 5, 2008

DeadliftingGym etiquette seems to be a tired subject. Everyone has already said all there is to say, right? Don’t hog the equipment, be considerate, blah, blah, blah.

Well, I have some unique opinions, so I decided to write my own post about gym etiquette!

Let’s start with the basics.


Share the Cardio Equipment

Don’t stay on the treadmill for hours if there are others waiting to use it, and all the treadmills are in use. This is common courtesy! Some   fitness training gyms have posted time limits, but if yours doesn’t, be considerate of others who are waiting. If you are training for a marathon, or just having your personal training, try to find a track or running path in your town, or simply use the treadmill at a time when your gym is less busy.

And if you’re waiting to use the equipment, don’t stand there sighing and tapping your foot while you wait. Either find something else to work on, or sit down nearby and read a magazine. If this is a common problem in your gym, you should alert the manager. If it isn’t addressed, you might want to find a gym that has more cardio equipment or fewer members who are using the gym at the time you need to use it. Make sure you get a recumbent bike at heyfits to start working on your ideal body.

A related question is whether it’s okay to read while using the cardio machines. Some people get unreasonably upset whenever they see someone using cardio machines and reading a magazine. I don’t see a problem with it, as long as it doesn’t keep you on the machine past your allotted time when there are others waiting. Nobody else has any way of knowing whether you are just getting over an injury or surgery, or you have a chronic health problem, and this is the best you can do! So read if it helps you to pass away the time, but be aware that it may not be the best workout you could have gotten if you are in reasonably decent health. If that’s okay with you, it doesn’t offend me. And it shouldn’t offend others, either.


Share the Resistance Equipment

If you are waiting to use a machine or other piece of equipment, it’s perfectly acceptable to ask someone, nicely, how many sets they have left. Then you can decide whether to wait (without sighing or foot-tapping, please) or to use something else while you wait.

Likewise, if someone is waiting to use the equipment, you should offer to let them work in with you, if possible. “Work in” is gym-speak for taking turns doing sets. You’ll do a set, and then while you are resting between sets the other person can do a set. Repeat as necessary. This isn’t always possible, of course, such as when one of you is doing a lot of weight and the other is doing light weight, and it’s not easy to change the weights (such as on a barbell). But whenever feasible, this is the courteous thing to do.

Don’t be like the woman who got all upset when I asked if I could work in with her on the calf raise machine:

Me: How many sets do you have left?
Her: Three.
Me: May I work in with you?
Her: (sighing and rolling her eyes) How rude! Fine!! Go ahead and use it. I’m done! (Walks away in a huff.)

There is absolutely nothing rude about asking to work in with someone, especially when it is a machine where the weights are so easily changed.


Share the Water Fountain

If you’re filling a water bottle and someone wants a drink, it’s polite to step aside and let them get a quick drink rather than standing there and making them wait while you fill your entire bottle. Really, this should go without saying.


Clean Up After Yourself

Always take a towel to the gym. You will need it to wipe the sweat from your face so that you don’t drip on the person you’re spotting on the bench press, and you’ll need it to wipe your sweat from the benches and other equipment. There are few things as nasty as stepping onto a treadmill to find it covered in someone else’s sweat. Yes, it will eventually dry, but it’s only the water that evaporates. The body oils and salts are still there. Always clean up after yourself!

And while we’re on the subject of cleaning up, be sure you put your weights away when you are done with them. It is NOT a courtesy to others to leave weights on the bars, and over time it bends the bars. Dumbbells and weight belts lying around on the floor are a danger to others who might trip over them. It’s not the job of the gym employees to pick up after you, so put your weights away as soon as you are done with them.

Oh yeah. And put your gym bag in a locker! If everyone were to drag their gym bags all over the weight room, it would be a hazard. You’re taking up more room than necessary. What’s in that gym bag that you’re going to need while you’re working out?


Be Helpful

When you see someone struggling, spot them. If you’re not sure how to do so, it might be a nice idea to learn.


Watch What You Say

I remember the days when gyms were full of muscle men, grunting and swearing and talking casually about the chicks they banged the night before. Well, most gyms aren’t like that today. Someone’s grandmother might be working out within earshot of you, so watch your language! You aren’t going to be judged as more manly based on how many four-letter words you know.

Don’t give advice to people unless you are *absolutely positive* of what you’re talking about, and you are capable of saying it in a way that allows the other person to accept it or reject it while saving face. Even then, it’s usually better to at least wait until you know the person better. Don’t say I didn’t warn you about this.

And don’t talk to someone during a set. I’ve probably been guilty of this. I love to talk to people, and I sometimes forget myself. This is the one I probably need to work on most.


Don’t Smell Bad

Do I really need to say this? Apparently so. There are some people who think it’s okay to show up at the gym smelling bad. I guess they figure they’re going to just get all sweaty, so they’ll save the shower for after their workout. Please, don’t be this guy! There is no law against taking more than one shower in a day. Really. It’s okay to take one before working out, as well as after. I’m not saying that everyone should do this, but if you already have body odor it’s only going to be worse when you begin to sweat. Don’t subject the rest of us to your stink.


Don’t Get Between a Weightlifter and His Mirror

Besides the fact that we need to see how good we look, we also need to check our form. Someone preparing for competition might want to practice poses. It’s impolite to get between someone and the mirror they are using.


Be Quiet?

I see a lot of advice to be quiet in the gym. One gym actually cancelled a guy’s membership because he was grunting! I think this is ridiculous. A gym is not a library. If you need absolute quite to be able to concentrate, maybe it’s time for you to have a home gym. In a gym you are likely to hear talking, grunting, weights clanging, and music. Deal with it.


Cell Phones

As long as we’re talking about noise, I want to address this issue of cell phone use. Why is it considered so rude to use a cell phone in public? People seriously seem to be offended by this, and I cannot fathom why they should be. I’m not harming you in any way if I choose to talk to my daughter or a friend on my cell phone, so why does it bother you so much? Every time I see a discussion of gym etiquette, this issue seems to get a lot of people upset. They actually get angry because someone else is talking on a cell phone and (oh no!) they can hear it! I just don’t understand. I suggest that you talk on your phone whenever you like, as long as you’re not hogging the equipment.


Proper Attire

Another thing I don’t understand is why some people want to tell others how to dress. Again, as long as you’re not doing anything that actually harms me – you’re not hogging the equipment or leaving your weights lying about – then I don’t really care whether you’re wearing slouchy sweats or hot pants and a sports bra. Wear whatever makes you feel comfortable.


Don’t Drop the Weights

I’m going to partially disagree with this. You shouldn’t go throwing weights around for no good reason, but there are times when it’s acceptable to drop weights. Just be prepared to pay for any damage you do to the weights or the floor.



So there you have it. My best advice for how to get along with others at the gym. If you are really concerned about it, you could refrain from using a cell phone, grunting while lifting, or reading while on the cardio machines. I guess I just don’t care *that* much. But I want you to feel comfortable in the gym, and to know what to expect and what others will expect of you.

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Topics: Exercise | 10 Comments »

I’m Back from Cancun

By Anne Keckler | March 3, 2008

I returned from Cancun on Saturday, and I’ve been trying to catch up with everything since then. I’m in the middle of writing a post about gym etiquette, and I’m preparing to review another great book on resistance training. But first, let me tell you a little about my trip.

I love to fly, so I always get a window seat. I love to watch the ground go by below, and see the clouds outside the window. I’ve taken a few flying lessons, and when I can do it again I definitely will. So the flying was great, even if I did have to get up pretty early on Tuesday to get to the airport.

The weather in Cancun was sunny and breezy when we arrived. After unpacking, we went to the beach and signed up for a scuba diving trip for later in the week. Lunch was incredible, with a good variety of foods at the buffet.

Each day we took the stairs up the seven floors to our room, at least twice. My calves were sore by the second day, but it was a good kind of sore. I felt alive, and strong.

I napped a lot. I joked that I must be terribly sleep deprived at home, if I can sleep that much on vacation. I do it every time! Maybe it’s not really a joke. I probably do need more sleep than I get, but I have no idea how I’d ever manage that.

By the time Friday came along, and it was time for our scuba trip, I had a touch of Montezuma’s Revenge, so I stayed in bed. I’m disappointed that I missed the dive, but my husband went and told me all about it. He saw five sharks, a moray eel, sea turtles, and lots and lots of different fish. He had a blast!

So now I’m home. I’m catching up on stuff. I’m reading. I’m writing a little. I got into a debate about training frequency in an online forum this morning, which sent me off on a search for more information on that topic. Of course, I’m also spending time with my children and doing things around the house.

But I’ll have something more substantial to share with you very soon. I promise. 🙂

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Farewell, Dear Friends…

By Anne Keckler | February 25, 2008

Parting is such sweet sorrow.

I’m leaving on a jet plane.

Don’t forget about me when I’m gone. 🙂

Seriously, though. I’m heading to Cancun for three and a half glorious days of sun, and four wonderful nights of Latin music and dancing.

I will miss you all, and I hope you won’t forget about me while I’m away.

You can follow me on Twitter by clicking here. I promise not to flood you with messages. I’ll only update once or twice a day. You can get updates on their website, via IM, or on your phone. Probably email, too.

Right now, while you’re thinking about it, you should subscribe to this blog so that you don’t forget to check back with me when I get back. Go ahead and click. It only takes a minute.

See you all when I return!

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Book Review: New Rules of Lifting

By Anne Keckler | February 25, 2008

New Rules of Lifting: Six Basic Moves for Maximum Muscle

I’m delighted to say that Lou Schuler managed to not make me curse while reading this book. That’s really saying something when it comes to me and fitness books! Ha!

In fact, I agree with him about almost everything, and I love the fact that he cites his references rather than just asking us to take his word for everything.

Lou recommends “Six Basic Moves for Maximum Muscle,” but this book really goes beyond just getting “hyuuuge.” He explains why weightlifting (or resistance training) is so important for weightloss and fitness. He has so much practical information about what to do and what not to do that I’ve read it through twice, and I have it in front of me now while I’m writing this, to be sure I don’t misquote anything.

The six basic moves are pretty much the same ones I recommend to all of my clients. I learned it from reading a lot, and sifting out the chaff to get to the good stuff, so I can’t really say where I learned it or who said it first. Lou admits that others have recommended this before him, too. These basic exercises are the squat, bend (deadlift), lunge, push, pull, and twist. I do six basic exercises that amount to a push and a pull for each part of my body. I do a squat (push), deadlift (usually stiff-leg or Romanian – pull), bench press (push), row (pull), shoulder press (push), and pullup (pull). I’m thinking of adding a twist to my repertoire now. What do you not see? That’s right – curls. Lou seems to have about as much use for curls and other isolation exercises as I do, and I love him for that.

Right up front he gives us his own “Rules of Exercise.” These are very simple, and I stress them here on my blog all the time.

  1. Do something.
  2. Do something you like.
  3. The rest is just details.

On to the New Rules!

Here they are, in the order in which they appear in the book:

  1. The best muscle-building exercises are the ones that use your muscles the way they’re designed to work.
  2. Exercises that use lots of muscles in coordinated action are better than those that force muscles to work in isolation.
  3. To build size, you must build strength.
  4. To build size and strength, you must train hard but less frequently, with plenty of recovery time between workouts.
  5. The goal of each workout is to set a record.
  6. The weight you lift is a tool to reach your goals; it is not a goal in itself.
  7. Don’t “do the machines.”
  8. A workout is only as good as the adaptations it produces.
  9. There is no magic system of exercises, sets, and reps.
  10. Don’t judge a system by the physique of the person promoting it.
  11. You’ll get better results working your @ss off on a bad program than you will loafing through a good program.
  12. Fast lifting is not more dangerous than slow lifting.
  13. A good warm-up doesn’t have to make your [whole] body warm.
  14. Stretching is not a warm-up.
  15. You don’t need to warm up to stretch.
  16. Lifting, by itself, can increase your flexibility.
  17. Aerobic fitness is not a matter of life and death.
  18. You don’t need to do endurance exercise to burn fat.
  19. When you combine serious strength training with serious endurance exercise, your body will probably choose endurance over muscle and strength.
  20. If it’s not fun, you’re doing something wrong.

He goes into enough detail on most of these for you to understand them, and he cites his sources.

On to some very minor nit-picking.

Sometimes the weight you lift is the goal in itself, but maybe he’s saying that the goal is to become stronger. Still, it’s hard to separate “be stronger” from “lift this weight, which is heavier than anything I’ve ever lifted before.”

I disagree about stretching cold, and he even admits that if you are specifically trying to increase flexibility through stretching, you will make better progress if you stretch when the muscles are warm. For more information on stretching, take a look at this online guide: Stretching and Flexibility. Having said that, I do agree that lifting can increase your flexibility. A lot just depends on how flexible you want to be, and for what purpose.

Finally, I don’t always find weightlifting or exercising to be fun. Sometimes I do, but mostly I do it for the results. Nothing on earth will give you the same results as resistance exercise, even if those resistance exercises are mainly comprised of bodyweight.

Alwyn Cosgrove, the co-author, designed the workout programs in the back of the book. If you can find a good personal trainer, I highly recommend a customized training program. If you can’t, then I can find nothing wrong with the programs in this book if you do them as prescribed and change what you’re doing as necessary. At the very least, though, find someone to help you learn to properly squat and deadlift, and always have a spotter when lifting heavy weights (or anything overhead, including bench press).

I think the nutrition recommendations may be unrealistic for many people, but if you want optimum results, it’s better to go to extremes. If you don’t want to give up everything you’re used to eating, you can at least read the information to see what you should be eating less of.

I hope you’ll read the book and let me know what you think!



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Hiring a Personal Trainer: After the Interview or First Session

By Anne Keckler | February 24, 2008

The other day I gave you some thoughts on questions to ask a personal trainer. Today I want to give you some ideas of questions to ask yourself after that initial interview or first session.

So there you have it! I hope that you have learned something from these two articles on hiring a personal trainer, and that you will benefit from that knowledge.

I haven’t forgotten my promise to review New Rules of Lifting: Six Basic Moves for Maximum Muscle. I have finished reading the book, and I found very little to disagree with. That’s almost unheard of for me! 😉

I will pick at it just a little, and also tell you what I love about it sometime in the next day or two. Be sure to subscribe so you won’t miss it!

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