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March Newsletter

The summer is knocking on the door... (positive thinking!) and it's time to focus on the gym AND the nutrition, what do you think? We have two more months and then we strip off to all these short shorts and tiny T-shirts and reveal how the winter was treating us. Last month, I did a "summer trial" and ripped off all my close in front of my mirrors in the bedroom and got disgusted... Is the holiday season worth all that eating and pigging out? (yes, it is! It was sooo good). From February 1st, I switched from Don Lemmons Know How  back to my  nutrition and everything is going just fine, I'll be ready for the summer. Dropped about 6 lb. fat, and gained 4 lb. of muscle. I like that. And I still don't do any cardio, just walking/jogging my doggie Peanut - which sometimes turns into interval training because we both sprint after the kitty in the next yard.

Do you want to know a good thing how to look leaner when the time to show off comes? Get some tan... I always say this to my clients who don't want to be disciplined with their eating. A good tan makes you look better. Guess if I have been spending lots of time in the tanning saloon? I've bought unlimited access and my tan is summer ready. That's a good start. Now the question remains: are these 6 lb. lost through the tan trick? Nope, I do a weekly body fat measurements. Just to see how my nutrition is going and if I need to change something.

outgymtric.JPGMy weight is 197 lb. now. Compared to 200 lb. last week in January. I also went back to my training 5 days a week. I just feel more comfortable than 3 times a week. I am less tight, and I feel lighter - especially when we sprint after these neighborhood cats. My split is as follows:  Sun - bic, tric, abs; Mon - off; Tue - 20 min Olympic lifting + delts; Wed - back, lower back; Thu - 20 min Olympic lifting + chest; Fri - legs, calves; Sat - off. I will to this split for another month or two and then do some changes, pre-contest training will start sometime in April/May. All my workouts are under 60 minutes including the warm up - we don't want the hormone cortisol get wild and crazy. And the workout is intense and heavy, so the growth hormone raises as much as possible. My warm up is 4 sets of 30 lunges with about 115-135 lb.. This worked for me really well last year, when I needed to tighten my glutes.

Training Notes

Now the question is (and for ever will be, I guess) "how many sets is optimum"? Honestly, nobody knows and what works for you maybe won't work for me. We basically have two groups of main thinking 1) the volume training with the idea that performing 3-4 grueling sets per exercise is the best way to build strength and mass and 2) high intensity training, that prefers just 1 all out set per exercise. Sometimes these two main streams proponents fight until the blood is streaming, bones are broken and muscles are pulled (some good imagination, huh?). Now finally, Dr. Michael Pollock at the University of Florida presented a series of studies  (Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise: Supplement 30(5); 116 & 165, 1998). The studies scientifically compared strength and muscle size increases for those performing 1 set versus those doing higher volume 3 set training. Both groups worked within the 8-12 rep range, and sets were taken to failure. Each of the individual studies in the series measured different aspects of strength and size gains. Here's some of the key conclusions:

Component 1 Set Group  3 Set Group
1 Rep Max +33.3% +31.6%
Poundage Increase  +25.6% +14.7%
Muscle Thickness +13.6% +13.12%

While the 1 set group did show a significant advantage in "poundage increase", the researchers concluded that
overall there wasn't a statistically significant difference between those using a 1 set to failure program and those following the more traditional 3 sets volume approach.

Mental Notes

How about your mental state? Your focus on training and eating? Are you consistent or "take off" sometimes? Remember, no matter how great the things are going right now, no matter how lean or how strong and muscular you are getting, it can be gone in a moment if you stop attacking your goals with commitment and intensity. What do you need to do to continue your great progress?

  • Stay focused all the time. Once you lose your focus, it's much harder to re-establish it. So the easiest way is just to maintain your focus all the time.
  • Write down why you want to reach your goals, write down every reason, and keep your list somewhere close, so you can refer to it every day.
  • Stay hungry. Reinforce yourself mentally all the time about the payoff and also about your more successful Self.
  • Challenge yourself.  Push yourself. Do something difficult every day,  just to develop discipline and to keep your senses sharp.  Obstacles creates a strong person. If something is easy, everyone would do it.



    And now, if you are interested in cultivating of your personal power and spiritual maturity, I would recommend you to pick up the following book:  "Anatomy of the Spirit", written by Carolyn Myss, Ph.D. The book is based on 15 years of research in energy medicine and it's awesome. You can learn how every illness corresponds to a pattern of emotional and psychological stresses, beliefs, and attitudes that have influenced corresponding areas of the human body. Reading the book, you start seeing your body and spirit in a new way. Here are some small notes from the book:

  • All circumstances can be changed in a moment, and all illness can be healed. The Divine is not limited by human time, space, or physical concerns.

  • Be consistent: live what you believe.

  • Change is constant. Every life goes through phases of difficult change as well as peace. Learn to go with the flow of change rather than try to stop change from occurring.

  • Never look to another person to make you happy --- happiness is an internal, personal attitude and responsibility.

  • Life is essentially a learning experience. Every situation, challenge, and relationship contains some message worth learning or teaching to others.

  • Positive energy works more effectively than negative energy in each and every situation.

  • Live in the present moment, and practice forgiveness of others.



    Nutrition Notes

    oceantric.JPGHave you noticed that to older you get, the harder it is to stay in shape? Too often we can hear "when I was young, I used to eat a whole pizza at midnight and never got fat". Now, you watch the pizza commercial on TV and the fat seems just to jump on you...  Here is the reason why. Muscle is very metabolically active and uses about 35 calories per pound per day even when we are not exercising.  Other tissues use far fewer calories.  Fat, for example, uses only two calories per day. Without any exercise, we are losing 10-15% of our muscle per decade. So we soon find that we need fewer and fewer calories just to stay alive. A loss of 10 pounds of muscle means that we use 350 (35 calories x 10 pounds) fewer calories per day.  If we continue to eat as we did before we lost the muscle, we will gain 32 pounds of fat over a year's time! Scary, huh? What we need is more muscle that will allow us to use more calories even when we are not exercising, not less food.

    Are we stuck with the metabolism we were born with?

    There's no doubt that we  can significantly raise our metabolic rate by becoming more active and eating more
    intelligently. Here are some methods for speeding up the metabolism: 1) Add more muscle. Muscle is a fat-burning machine. Increasing our lean body percentages can increase our metabolism by 5, 10, even 15 percent or more. 2) Eat small, frequent, evenly spaced meals throughout the day. Shoot for having each meal well-balanced and roughly the same size in terms of calories. At a minimum eat 4 meals per day -- 5 or 6 or 7 is even better. The absolute worst thing  to do if we're trying to drop fat is to overeat at one single meal; our bodies are extremely good at storing excess calories as fat. 3) In case the summer is too close and we need to get our six-pack visible as soon as possible, supplementing with EC stacks (ephedrine/caffein) can boost metabolism and help us burn calories and fat more efficiently.

    Guest Writer

    This month I have a little something from a guest writer, Dr. Pamela Pine, a Marriage, Family and Child Therapist, Psychologist, and Psychoanalyst in private practice for 14 years in California, USA.

    How to Maximize your weight workout and Minimize Pain at the same time?

    "The goal of this exercise is focus and concentration on what you are doing and not on how much it hurts or how difficult it is. The mechanism is visualization.  For example, if you are doing triceps exercises you would want to actively visualize your triceps muscle by imagining what it looks like throughout each repetition. You don't have to be an anatomist to be successful at this exercise just be able to concentrate on what you think the muscle looks like and how it moves. When you are contracting the muscle you can focus on the contractility watching how the muscle gets bigger as you continue to exercise it. If you can do this during your workout, while maintaining your form,  you will really maximize your muscle training.  Visualization will help you get better results from your workout, decrease your agonizing, and maker it more fun, especially if you visualize in color."

     Dr. Pine is a member of the California Association of Marriage & Family Therapists, The American Psychological Association, and the Psychoanalytic Center of California, a member-organization of the International Psychoanalytic Association. If you are interested in asking a question you may email it to:  drpine@counseling-online.com

    From the Mecca in Venice

    Ironman Pro, February 19 Chris Cormier took first, followed by Flex Wheeler. At the Arnold's Classic last weekend they switched places. It seems like Chris Cormier is on a mission... Is he going to win the Olympia 2000? Craig Titus and Tom Prince who both were making a comeback after a layoff time, and who's physiques look very similar, placed 8th and 9th. Craig spilled over a little bit, and Tom was a little bit too flat. Craig's girlfriend Kelly Ryan won the fitness at Arnold's, followed by Timea Majorova, who was looking just astonishingly beautiful. Also preparations for the Night of Champions are going on. Marvelous Melvin visits Gold's Gym for his contest training more often and is looking just marvelous. I bet his perfect routine is all ready.

    Funny Notes    This could be taken from a diary of some of my clients  :-)

    For my birthday this year, my wife (the dear) purchased a week of private lessons at the local health club for me. Although I am still in great shape since playing on my high school varsity chess club, I decided it would be a good idea to go ahead and give it a try. I called the club and made my reservations with a personal trainer named Tawny, who identified herself as a 26-year old aerobics instructor and model for athletic clothing and swimmer. My wife seemed pleased with my initial enthusiasm to get started. The club encouraged me to keep a diary to chart my progress.


    Started my day at 6:00 AM. Tough to get out of bed, but found it was well worth it when I arrived at the health club to find Tawny waiting for me. (She is something of a goddess with blond hair, dancing eyes, and a dazzling white smile. WOOHOO!) Tawny gave me a tour and showed me the machines she took my pulse after five minutes on the treadmill. She was alarmed that my pulse was so fast, but I attribute it to standing next to her in her aerobic outfit. I enjoyed watching the skillful way in which she conducted her aerobics class after my own workout today. Very inspiring. Tawny was encouraging as I did my sit-ups, although my gut was already aching before I began from holding it in the whole time she was around. This is going to be a FANTASTIC week!!!


    I drank a whole pot of coffee, but I finally made it out of the door. Tawny made me lie on my back and push a heavy iron bar into the air...then she put weights on it! My legs were a little wobbly on the treadmill, but I
    made the full mile. Tawny's rewarding smile made it all worth while. I feel GREAT!!


    The only way I can brush my teeth is by laying the toothbrush on the counter and moving my mouth back and forth over it. I believe I have a hernia in both pectorals. Driving was OK as long as I didn't try to steer or stop. I parked on top of a Geo in the club lot. Tawny was impatient with me, insisting that my screams bothered the other club members. (Her voice is a little too perky for early in the morning, and when she scolds, she gets this nasally whine that is VERY annoying.) My chest hurt when I got on the treadmill, so Tawny put me on the stair monster. (Why in HELL would anyone invent a machine to simulate an activity rendered obsolete by elevators?) Tawny told me it would help me get in shape and enjoy life. She said some other shit too, but I was too busy trying to block the annoying screech of her voice to listen.


    Tawny was waiting for me with her vampire-like teeth exposed as her thin, cruel lips were pulled back in a full snarl. (I couldn't help being a half hour late. It took that long for me to tie my shoes.) Tawny took me to work out with dumbbells. When she was not looking, I ran and hid in the men's room. She sent Lars to find me, then, as punishment, put me on the rowing machine ... which I sank.


    I hate that WITCH Tawny more than any human being has ever hated any other human being in the history of the world. (Stupid, skinny, anemic little cheerleader wannabe WITCH.) If there was a part of my body I could move without unbearable pain, I would beat her with it. Tawny wanted me to work on my triceps. I don't have any triceps! And if you don't want dents in the floor, don't hand me barbells or anything that weighs more than a tissue.You alone will be responsible for the damage. The treadmill flung me off and I landed on a health and PE teacher. Why couldn't it have been someone softer, like the drama coach or the choir director?


    Tawny left a message on my answering machine in her grating, shrilly voice wondering why I did not show up today. Just hearing her made me want to smash the machine with my planner. However, I lacked the strength to even use the TV remote and watched eleven straight hours of the damn weather channel.


    I'm having the church van pick me up for services today so I can go and thank God that this week is over. I will also pray that next year my wife will choose a gift for me that is fun ... like a root canal or a hemroidectomy.

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