School and Calories

I’m baaackkk!

I can’t believe I haven’t blogged since last September, shame on me.

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One of the main reasons for my blogging absenteeism is academic. Yes, I am back in school.

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You know how some youngsters take a gap year while in school, in the name of personal growth? Well, I have had about about 15 years worth of gap life (only in academics, I have been working you know). I used my GI Bill to go to school, off and on, from 1996 to about 2000, and I completed a good amount of units. I didn’t quite finish school. I just focused on being a personal trainer, and I am proud to say that I have become fairly proficient at it.

Me and my crew after they completed a Dirty Girl Mud Run. You go girls!!!

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Oh yeah, about school. One day, yes, one day, about a year ago, I was training at a now defunct personal training studio, and I looked around at all the personal trainers and I realized that none of us really had a niche. Or, at least I knew I didn’t have one, and something told me to go back to school and specialize in an area which could help me grow as a person, and help my personal training business grow too. After thinking for a bit, and then asking my wife and friends for advice, I decided to major in Gerontology and Aging Services at UMUC, because I have noticed over the years that my “older” clientele has grown, and that there is a lack of understanding in the personal training world, on how to work with and train clients over 65 years of age. Hector to the rescue!! One of my senior clients calls me Hector Protector, and she even had a T-shirt made for me with an HP logo on it for Christmas. Thanks Rhona! And sorry Hewlett Packard, HP now stands for Hector Protector.

One last thing about school. I don’t like to curse, but I will say this, I have learned a shit-load. I figure that’s better than learning a load of shit.

Wait, one more thing about school! I recently completed a research paper that focused on different types of exercise modalities for fall prevention-intervention in the elderly. Studies have looked at physical therapy, yoga, tai chi, elastic band training, balance training, and weight training for their effectiveness in reducing fall rates in seniors. To make a long story short, nothing comes close to the effect weight training has on increasing strength and balance in the elderly. Interestingly, walking is not very effective as a fall prevention measure. This is all backed by research and is not “bro-science”. What is “bro-science”? This is…

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My training business is going great! I have a coed bootcamp on Saturday mornings at 8am. It is really cool to see men and women working out together. I keep pushing them, and they keep coming back! I love it. I am very lucky to do something for a living which has such positive effects on the well-being of others, and because of the coed bootcamp I have made new friends. I am truly blessed.

Rows from the push-up plank position.

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Squat and press before walking up the hill with weights.

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Hill sprints! 5 times.

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On a personal note, my workouts are going pretty well too. I run about twice per week, anywhere from 3 to 5 miles max (or hill sprints) and I lift weights about 3 to 4 times per week, mostly at home. My weight training routine is computed and formed by a hypertrophy power-lifting template I bought from Juggernaut Training (http://store.jtsstrength.com/collections/training). At 44 years old, I knew I needed something just a bit more scientific then doing “legs” today and “chest” tomorrow. I am not a competitive power-lifter, but I think it is impressive that by following a program based on research and results, I have gotten stronger, even at my age. When I am done with my first 5 weeks of training which is what the template calls for, I will let you all know the progress I made, strength-wise.

I also recently read a book by Juggernaut called “The Renaissance Diet”. It has great information about nutrition written by extremely knowledgeable people. Here’s a bit about the authors: “Dr. Israetel, Dr. Case and Dr. Hoffman not only have PhDs and are actively serving as professors and researchers, they are also high level competitors and coaches in powerlifting, bodybuilding, rugby, and combat sports. This combination of scientific knowledge and practical experience is the best in helping you achieve your goals.” Yes, they know there stuff. Or as I like to say, they know a shit-load.

I have read some of the book, and one thing that is clear from the authors, as far as weight loss goes, is that it still boils down to calories. Too many calories for your activity levels, you will gain weight. Not enough calories for your activity levels, you will lose weight. Of course, the book is much, much, more than just that, but I thought I would let you know that calories do count, as I am sure many of you already suspected.

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Before I forget, you can follow me on your bike or skateboard if you want, or you can follow me on Instagram @healthyhomeboy, which is much more convenient.

 

Let’s Talk About Losing 145 Pounds!!!

Meet Andrew.

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Yep, that’s him. That’s his before and after picture. Andrew has lost 145 pounds. No, you didn’t read that wrong. Andrew has lost 145 lbs !!! Or as one of my clients said when I told her about Andrew’s incredible body transformation. “It’s like he lost a whole human.”
Andrew is not a client of mine. I repeat, he is not a client of mine. He is just someone I know through my wife’s work. I train a group of ladies twice per week where my wife works (UCG in Gaithersburg, MD), and I had seen Andrew working out in the same facility where I train the UCG group.
First thing I noticed about Andrew is that he is a big dude. He’s not eff-ay-tee, he’s just a big dude. He’s 6’3’ and weighs in at 215 lbs, and that’s 215lbs of muscle! I am 5’11’, and 185 lbs, so he really looks big to me.

 
Andrew works out hard. He does weights, cardio conditioning, and is involved in UFC type training. Ok, he’s somewhat of a beast. What impresses me about Andrew the most is his weight loss. Because anyone can workout intensely, but if the diet’s not right, weight loss will be tough. I am so impressed with his weight loss that I asked him if I can interview him so I can share his story with anyone who reads my blog, and he obliged.

 
Andrew, what’s the most you ever weighed? “360lbs. I never weighed myself after that. I don’t think I went any higher.”

 
How old are you? “I am 31.”

 
How much weight have you lost? “145 lbs” WOW!!!

 
How were you built/shaped as a kid? “I wasn’t thin, but I wasn’t fat either. I was just a big kid. I would say I was thick.”

 
You played sports growing up? “Yep. I played basketball, wrestling, football, and soccer. Soccer was my favorite. I was really good at soccer, up until 7th grade, and then the kids started to outrun me because I got too big. So in high school I started playing football. I played tackle on both sides of the ball, and I wrestled in high school too.”

 
How much did you weigh in high school? “As a freshman I already weighed 275. I would say I was overweight, but I carried it well because I was an athlete. And I was always self-conscious about my weight. There was a big joke in my family because I was always breaking chairs. I broke so many plastic lawn chairs.” Thanks for the honesty Andrew.

 
How big were your friends compared to you? “My friends were always small guys. My best friend on the wrestling team weighed 115 lbs.” That’s funny.

 
Did you get teased about your weight? “I got teased and picked on. I even got into altercations. People tried to bully me so they could say they beat up the big guy. But me and my friends were usually pretty good in these altercations.”

 
Then you played football in college for JMU? “Yes, I played guard in college. I was a walk on. I played at around 325 lbs, and I was clocking about a 5.2 sec 40 yard dash. And I was the slowest lineman, for sure.” As a Hector side note. Most people have absolutely no idea how fast a college lineman, or an NFL lineman is. Those dudes are heavy, but they can haul ass! Literally.

 
How long did you play? “Sophomore year they found two tumors in my lower back, each the size of my fist, I had back surgery, and never played after that. And after that is when I went up to 360 lbs.”

 
So, Andrew, I have always had the belief that if someone doesn’t have a very strong reason, something they can hang on to, to lose weight, chances are they won’t lose weight. What was your reason to lose weight? “I was a very good athlete, but I knew my college football career ended abruptly, and I always regretted that. I always had that itch to compete, and I knew I wasn’t finished, and that led me to MMA (mixed martial arts). So I started to get in shape for MMA. Also, I wanted to be healthier, because being overweight is just uncomfortable. I didn’t want to be overweight anymore. It’s depressing. I had enough of being big all my life. It was either now or never.”

 
So how long ago did you start losing weight? “It’s been about a five-year process all together. I started going to the gym, and a big change for me was I started drinking only water. That was one of the first things I did.” Anyone who has trained with me, or asked my advice about weight loss knows that I strongly recommend to “drink water only”. If you’re trying to lose weight, put down the liquid calories. Andrew continued with the drinking water only topic. “Because for someone who weighs 360, to drink a can of soda is so easy. It’s not satisfying. I used to drink Gatorade, which is horrible. Once I switched to water only, just that alone was enough for me to start dropping weight.”

 
How much/many liquid calories were you drinking before your switch to water only? “Do you remember the Gatorade that used to come in the gallon jug? I would drink one of those a day when I was training  for football. Instead of drinking water, I was drinking Gatorade. I was basically replacing the calories I was burning. And I would probably drink a soda or two a day too. I wasn’t a beer drinker, but I did drink vodka. I think the college lifestyle played a part in my liquid calorie consumption.”

 
How was your diet when you were overweight? “In college I didn’t eat a lot of fast foods (fast food establishments), but I did eat subs and pasta, and way over-proportioned. A lot of cafeteria food. Burgers, fries, pizza, and cookies. Stuff like that. I would say I was easily consuming 4,000 to 5,000 calories a day.”

 
How many calories do you consume a day now, and how much do you weigh? “About 1,800 to 2,200 calories per day. And I weigh about 215, with about 11% body fat.”

 
How often do you workout? “I train about twice a day. I don’t think people need to do that to lose weight. That’s just what I do.”

 
What’s your goal weight? “I’m at the point now where I don’t look at the scale much. It’s more about how I look. I want to tighten up my core and stuff.”

 
What does your diet consist of? “I eat very similar every day. I wake up and have a protein shake. I eat a lot of egg whites. I use egg whites as snacks. I meal prep about 95% of my meals.”

 
So, 95% of the food you eat, you know exactly what you’re eating? Is that safe to say? “Yes. For sure. And If I do eat at a restaurant, it’s something like spinach and grilled fish, and I tell them specifically how to cook it.”

 
Do you eat fruit? “Yes, I eat fruit.”

 
Do you count carbs or calories? “I do more portion control than anything else. And I try to balance my macronutrients. I eat fruits and vegetables, and for my meats I do lean fish, lean turkey, and lean chicken. I eat a lot of vegetables. That’s about it.”

 
What has been the most difficult part of your diet? “I would say the meal prep. It takes a lot of planning and work. I dedicate much of my Sundays to cooking pretty much all my meals for the week, because I don’t have time during the week.” Below is his actual meal prep.

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So the meal prep is the time management part, how about the psychological aspect of the diet? “I think at first, it was a mental thing to learn to be hungry, but then when you start seeing the results, things fall into place. The hardest part was probably the first few weeks, but now I really don’t get that hungry. And sometimes, because I’m so busy, I have to remind myself to eat to keep the metabolism going.”

 
How about your self-esteem? How do you feel now compared to when you were overweight? “Believe it or not, I still have a fat-man complex (He shouldn’t, because he’s not overweight anymore and looks great), and I find myself sitting very gently in chairs sometimes. I’m still afraid I’m going to break a chair. But to have women approach me now when I’m out with friends, which never really happened before, is pretty cool (ladies, he’s single, tall, with muscles, educated, and employed!!). And physically I feel good when I run. And I tell you what else has changed. My back bothers me way less now. It may act up, but it has been night and day getting that weight off. It was the best cure ever for my back.”

 
Is there anything you would do when you plateaued during your weight loss journey to keep you going? “Yes. I remember that sometimes I would get frustrated because I had only lost 40 lbs and I had so much more to go. So I would pick up two 20 pound dumbbells and do stuff with them. Like walk up steps, or get on the treadmill, to remind myself of how much extra weight I was walking around with. It was a good visualization for me, to remember how far I had come. And for me, a lot of my weight gain was in the stomach area, so it would put direct pressure on my lower back.” Andrew continued “I just feel like a brand new person. Especially with shopping for clothes. I can shop in the regular section now. So like this shirt I am wearing, it’s just a regular Polo large. My biggest shirt ever was a 6X. That was a big and tall 6X.”

 
Do you allow yourself cheat meals? “Yes, I will have a cheat meal, like a burger or something. But I think a cheat day is too much. You have to be very careful because it can easily get out of control. And if I do have a really bad day, and eat poorly, I just get over it and get back on track.”

 
If you had someone sitting in front of you who wants to lose weight, and they have been through a lot, maybe physically and psychologically, what advice would you give them? “I would first and foremost say, start with just drinking water. I’m adamant about that. If they have been overweight their whole lives I would advise them to forgive themselves and get over it, find a reason to lose weight, and just take it day by day. Don’t look at the whole thing (weight loss goals), just take it meal by meal. Every workout, every meal, you’re progressing. Just take it a day at time.”

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That’s a great motto. What’s a motto? I don’t know. What’s a motto with you.

 

Thanks Andrew. You have officially gone from FEAST MODE, to BEAST MODE!!

Meet Two Fit Women

You want real-life health and fitness success stories? You want to read about people with careers and kids, who are fit? Well, I have two women’s stories for you. I know these stories well because I know the following two women pretty well. Say hello to Rebecca and Tanya.

Let’s begin with Rebecca. She is in her thirties (sorry Rebecca, people want to know the age of fit people, always). She works, has two children, runs a house hold, is a wife, has social commitments, and somehow she finds time to workout. Wow!! This is her before and after picture.

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As you can see, Rebecca has transformed her body. She was kind enough to write a testimonial for me that will be on my website soon, but I want to tell you about her from my point of view, and why, in my opinion, she has succeeded in shedding pounds.

First of all, she is very consistent with her workouts. Unless she absolutely cannot make my bootcamps, she will be there. Rebecca doesn’t have time for excuses. Even if she’s tired, or not feeling 100%, she shows up to exercise and gives it her all. Segundamente, and very importantly, she understands that food trumps almost all other factors when it comes to weight loss. She often says that she would rather eat her calories, than drink her calories (great motto. What’s a motto? I don’t know. What’s a motto with you!!).

She is so “matter of fact” about food/calorie consumption, that one day we were having a group discussion about dieting, and someone said that during the summer it can be a bit difficult to watch your calories because of all the cook-outs and such. Rebecca chimed in “It’s hard in the summer because of cook-outs, its hard in the fall because of candy during Halloween, and then Thanksgiving arrives. Before you know it, it’s Christmas and all the holidays. Oh what the heck! It’s always hard.” End of conversation. Yes, I agree with Rebecca. It is always a challenge to diet because food is everywhere, all the time, and much of what we do with family, friends, and even co-workers, revolves around food and drink.

And lastly, Rebecca pushes herself during exercise. Whether it’s my bootcamps, or training at the gym, she pushes herself. She is not afraid to lift weights, run, sprint, do pushups, run hills, or try anything else I can come up with to keep her and the rest of the crew fit.

Here she is in bootcamp, she’s the second one from the top, in the light blue top, walking up a hill with 15 pound weights in each hand. That means she shoulder presses, curls, and all other exercises that requires weights, with 15’s in each hand. You go Rebecca!

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Next, we have Tanya. Tanya is a busy professional, a mother, and a very fit woman, in her 40’s!! When it comes to fitness. Tanya is also like Rebecca, all business. Tanya does my bootcamps, and has hired me as her personal trainer.

As you will read in her testimonial, once it’s up on my website, Tanya came to me for strengthening purposes, more than anything else. Tanya is a runner. She ran track in high school and college.

Now she does mostly distance running, about 3 to 5 miles at a time. When she came to me she had bursitis in her hip. She asked me if I thought I could help her pain by strengthening her legs? I gambled and said “Yes”.

The gamble was the following: I didn’t know if strengthening her legs, specifically her hamstrings and glutes, would alleviate her pain, but I knew I could get her legs stronger, and then I hoped/bet (fingers crossed and all) that Tanya having stronger legs would help her pain subside. My gamble paid off!! Tanya is practically pain free. She’s back to running, and even sprinting hills.

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As you can see from the picture above, Tanya is lean. Some of you may be thinking “What’s Tanya’s formula for being lean?” It’s very simple. She follows a pretty strict diet. I believe she consumes about 1,500 calories per day. She lifts weights about three to four times per week, and she runs. She basically does all three facets of fitness. Portion control when it comes to food, resistance training, and cardio.

Cover your eyes if you dislike tough love when it comes to weight-loss. There is no magic bullet, miracle pill, or perfect workout, when it comes to weight-loss and fitness. Exercise, specifically cardio, does burn calories, and weight training the right way, does build muscle. But if the diet isn’t right, weight-loss will be quite the challenge.

Rebecca and Tanya are great examples of what it takes to be fit. I can only instruct them during our exercise sessions, and give them nutritional advice, but ultimately, they must execute the “fit plan” day in and day out.

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The sign says “No Parking” and not “No Kettle Bell Swings”. Good job ladies!!!

It’s All About Balance

Ok, time for some Hector-isms regarding weight-loss, exercise, and the such. These are just some simple fitness and battle of the bulge tips to keep in mind. My clients hear the following from me over, and over, and over again.

1. Women, mujeres, muchachas, you cannot eat like a man unless you want to weigh what a man weighs. Why can’t you eat like a man ladies? Because on average, men are bigger/taller than women, and men carry more muscle mass than women. Being taller and carrying more muscle mass allows for more calorie consumption. So ladies, every time you sit down to eat with a man who is bigger than you, make sure your plate’s amount doesn’t match his.

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2. Women, you cannot drink  as many adult drinks as a man does for the same reasons I just stated above. If your male friend has 10 beers over the weekend, and you do to, you will pay the price more than he will, in the form of fat accumulation.

3. Women, lifting weights will not make you buff or bulky. To be buff or bulky you would have to be really, really strong. Like WAAAAYYYYYY stronger than you probably are right now. Very few women have the genetic predisposition to get bulky/buff. If it was that easy to be buff, you would see buff men everywhere, and that is simply not the case. Ladies, don’t be afraid of getting strong.

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And now for my compadres, the men.

4. Vigorous exercise helps circulation/blood flow to all parts of the human body. Good blood flow helps your friend downstairs stand at attention. Get it!!!

5. Men, if you’re not sure if you have gained weight in the form of eff-aye-tee in the last 10 years, there is a simple way to find out. Go find a pair of pants and a shirt that fit you well ten years ago and try them on. If they are super tight or don’t even fit, you have gained weight. The four things that don’t lie about weight gain are clothing, the mirror, the scale, and children. If a child says “you’ve gained weight”, you probably have. I once was told by a kid that I have big ears, and guess what, I have big ears. But that’s ok because guess what they say about men with big ears? They say we hear well. (Get your brain out the gutter).

6. Men, do you like how women look who workout? You like a nice firm and toned body?  Well guess what? Women like how men look who workout too. You don’t believe me, just ask a few of your female amigas.

7. Men, take advantage of the testosterone you produce naturally and do resistance training. Your body will thank you for it, and you might build some muscle too.

Now some Hector-isms for everyone.

8. Just because you can stomach it, doesn’t mean you should eat it. Think junk food.

9. Your stomach is not a garbage can.

10. Do you have a car? Do you take your car in for its maintenance and scheduled tune ups? Well, guess que? Your body is a much more complicated piece of machinery than a car, so give it its tune-ups too, in the form of exercise, and provide it with clean fuel/food while you’re at it. You can always replace a car, but the last time I checked, you get one body. Yep, just one. True Dat!!!

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11. You don’t run on batteries. If you’re constantly tired and addicted to caffeine, check your food quality and sleep amounts.

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12. And finally, I believe life is about balance. Go ahead, have fun, eat some pizza, drink some beer, stay up late, but make sure you balance it out by eating clean, drinking water, exercising, and getting your sleep.

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How Much Exercise Do You Need?

How much and how often you should exercise depends on your goals. Are you trying to lose weight? Are you trying to get stronger? Are you training for endurance, like a marathon (if you are, you so crazy)? All of the previous goals require different routines, intensity levels, and frequency.

I have read and heard various theories on the amount of exercise one needs to maintain a decent level of fitness. I was recently asked by a client if taking 10,000 steps a day is a good goal? I couldn’t answer because I had no idea how far 10,000 steps is for the average person. So I Googled “10,000 steps”, and I was shocked.

10,000 steps is approximately 5 miles! That is f-a-a-r. At a 3 mile per hour pace, you would have to walk for one hour and forty minutes straight, without a break, to walk 5 miles. If you accumulated 10,000 steps a day, six days a week, you would be walking 30 miles per week, and approximately 120 miles a month. 120 multiplied by 125 calories per mile burned would be 15,000 calories a month used as fuel from walking. That’s almost 5 pounds of fat burned, in one month!!! Ok, did you feel that free-fall descent back to earth? Wheeeeee!! That was the realization that very few people walk 5 miles per day, erry-day.

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I used to tell people that they needed to accumulate 5 hours of exercise/movement per week. Boy, I tell you, I was being kind. Because if 10,000 steps a day is the going rate to stay fit, I was undershooting with my advice, big time. If you are one of those rare folks, rare like a flawless diamond and not like a steak, who walks 5 miles a day, you are a beast!!!!! Being called a beast in the exercise world is a good thing. So I guess you can call my wife and I “Beauty and The Beast”. (I had to write that one).

Now to be fair about calling myself a beast, I doubt that I walk 5 miles a day. I am sure that on days I exercise (cardio+weights) and work, I might get in 10,000 steps, but that’s a stretch.

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Let me share with you what I can do: I can dead-lift 315 lbs about 3 times. I can do anywhere from 12 to 15 full range of motion pullups without kipping. I can do about 5 to 8 pullups with 20 lbs attached to my body. I can overhead press (barbell) 105 lbs about 3 times without my legs helping (so it’s not a push-press). I don’t bench press anymore.  I can do a boxing class without having a heart attack. I can run pretty fast, and jump decently high. That’s me touching a 10 ft high basketball rim, but that was like a year and a half ago. I might have to try that again.

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Peep the Vans I’m wearing.

Please keep in mind that I am 42 years old, 5’11”, weigh 185 lbs, and do not use steroids. I was much stronger in my 20’s, without steroids of course. (I have nothing against roids, it’s just not my thing.)

The previous braggadocious paragraph does serve a purpose other than narcissism. It is to show you that I practice what I preach, because no one should hire an out of shape trainer, and that I maintain those fitness/strength levels with about 5 hours per week of not so easy exercise. I lift weights 3 times per week for an hour per session, and do a one hour boxing class twice per week (most of the time). That’s it!! The rest is diet. FYI, six-pack abs are created in the kitchen, and not in the gym. Sorry.

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Nutrition is the foundation of how you perform when you workout. The crappier your food, the crappier your workout. Your nutrition is also the main factor that will determine how you look, known as body composition, and how much of your hard work in the gym will show on the outside. The cleaner your diet, and the more you eat according to your desired weight, the more “tone” your body will reveal. Tone=reduced body fat levels. We often say “he or she has good muscle tone”, but what we are really saying is that he or she has body fat levels low enough to show muscle definition. Here’s the ultimate heart breaker. You can workout all you want, do millions of situps, lift weights, and walk everywhere, but if you have a crappy diet, you know what I’m talking about, pizza, burgers, fries, and beer, three to four days per week, chances are you won’t have much muscle tone. Trust me, I see these types at the gym I workout at, everyday. And please don’t forget your New Year’s Resolution, it’s only February. By the way, am I the only one that finds it kind of odd that the day many of us get plastered is the day we swear we’re going to make a positive change? It reminds me of a Hemingway quote: “Always do sober what you say you’d do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut”.

Ok, gotta go. I will keep you posted on my attempt at touching a 10ft high basketball rim later in the spring. The older I get, the higher the rim appears, and the heavier weights feel.

 

 

 

The Kitchen Tones

First, I would like to give a big thumbs up to all military veterans. Happy Veterans Day. And now for your regularly scheduled program. The kitchen tones.

No, not these kitchen tones.

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Or these.

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When I say “the kitchen tones”, that is exactly what I mean. You can lift weights, do cardio, Zumba your nalgas off, and do any other exercise you wish to do in order to “tone” your body, but if you don’t adhere to a clean diet, and you eat too many calories for your desired weight, chances are, you will not tone. Tone is created in the kitchen. That is why I say “the kitchen tones”.

Tone is muscle definition, and muscle definition is created by lowering body fat levels. In order to lower body fat levels we must lose fat (duh). Body fat is lost/lowered by moving more, eating healthier, and in most cases, eating less. I know, I know, some athletes like Michael Phelps eat 10,000 calories a day and still remain lean. But guess what? Unless you plan to swim for hours a day, almost every day, I suggest you stay away from the 10,000 calorie a day diet. Oops, my bad. I just Googled it, and because everything on the internet is true, I have to show you what I found about Phelps’ diet.

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And he still looks like this!!! What tha? Que la? (That’s “what tha” in Spanish). That’s not fair! But as my wife likes to remind me, no one said life would be fair. Right?

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If you are already working out hard with weights a few times per week, doing some intense cardio, and you have not seen any improvement in muscle tone, analyze your diet. That may be what is holding you back.

Let me explain it this way. Let’s say someone has good muscle definition. Their arms and legs are tone, and they even have visible abs. If that person increased their calorie intake by 500 to 1,000 calories a day, and their exercise routine remained the same, they would begin to gain fat and eventually lose muscle definition. They wouldn’t lose their muscles or strength, just their definition/tone. Translation: An increase in calories would lead to an increase in body fat levels.

If you are trying to tone your cuerpo, make sure you’re working out with weights at least three times per week, doing some intense cardio, and tightening ship on the diet side. The tone will arrive. But don’t look now, the ultimate de-toner is right around the corner, Thanksgiving and the rest of the holidays. Better double up on the cardio and not dessert.

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Diabetes Anyone?

The more I learn about the human body, not through school but just reading, the more it impresses me with its adaptability. Walk outside when it’s 100 degrees, and you will sweat to keep cool. Walk outside when it’s zero degrees  in shorts and a tank-top, and your body will eventually shake violently to keep you warm. Try to go more than 48 hours without sleep, and your brain will take over and you will start dozing off to encourage you to sleep. The body is constantly adapting to its external and internal environment.

I used to say that the body has not adapted to the excess food we consume, but I was wrong. It has adapted. The body, when given too much food, stores the excess as fat, and that is its adaptation. But give it excess food, over and over and over again, and it’s machinery of storing fat and releasing insulin to deal with the high glucose levels might start to malfunction and BAM!! type 2 diabetes might rear its ugly cara. So I downloaded “Sugar Nation” by Jeff O’Connell to learn more about type 2 diabetes, it’s manifestations, and if any solutions, other than medicine, are on the horizon. Here are some excerpts.

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“Beyond all science being presented at the ADA (American Diabetes Association) conference, type 2 diabetes really boils down to the sum total of a very long trail of personal choices, made over a lifetime. Whether you worked the treadmill for twenty minutes or turned on the television. Whether you stuck with your diet or ordered that fudge brownie with vanilla ice cream, promising yourself that you would repent later. The truth is, by the time you have or even flirt with type 2 diabetes, there’s probably a lot more out of whack with your life than just your blood sugar. That certainly was the case with me.” The author of this book developed pre-diabetic symptoms, and he was not overweight, so he was shocked when this happened. But looking back on his life, he realized that for many years he ate high carb, high fat (mostly bad fats), and highly processed foods. The irony of it is that he was a writer for several men’s health and fitness magazines. Because of his career, he had access to many respected nutritionists and doctors and he took it upon himself to learn as much as he could about type 2 diabetes.

“Diabetes, along with obesity, is looming as the biggest epidemic in human history” says Paul Zimmet, M.D., Ph.D., director of international research at the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute of Australia.

“Those diabetics who are obese, but who are at least moderately fit, have a much lower death rate than diabetic patients who are normal weight but unfit”

If you are diabetic or pre-diabetic “If you can afford it, see a personal trainer once a week, or a nutritionist once a month”. The doctors the author talked to, and all the nutritionists he talked to ALL agree on the importance of learning to eat right and exercising to combat type 2 diabetes, and even prevent it.

“Insulin helps the body metabolize the sugar in the blood, which is called glucose. This blood sugar can come from diet, but the liver and kidneys can also produce it. What isn’t needed for energy can be stored in the muscle tissue and liver. This stored form is called glycogen. But because storage space is limited, at a certain point, the liver begins turning excess glucose into triglycerides, which often become fat. The human body has evolved such that it possesses a very low capacity to store carbs but a very high-capacity to store fat. This phenomenon is evident in buffet lines across the heartland”… “Thats in a relatively healthy person” says Jeff S. Volek, Ph.D., R.D., associate professor of kinesiology at the University of Connecticut. “Even before glycogen levels fill up, people with insulin resistance dispose of carbohydrates by converting the majority of them to fat.”

“Particularly if you don’t exercise, those excess carbs will cause blood sugar to spike and then crash, at which point the body bellies up for another round of sugar.”

How about some scare tactics (with pictures provided by me):

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“Cancer as it turns out, has a sweet tooth. Recent research shows that the consumption of high amounts of sugar and refined grains boosts the odds for cancers of the esophagus, kidneys, and pancreas.”

“High blood sugar can sour your mood. In a recent study, researchers found that people who drink two and a half cans of sugary soda daily are three times more likely to be depressed and anxious than those drinking less pop.”

“High blood glucose levels can break your heart. When researchers study large populations, elevated blood sugar levels correlate with a greatly increased risk of heart disease, the number one killer of Americans.”

“Your joints might ache and creak prematurely, too.  A study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Rheumatology linked insulin resistance with rheumatoid arthritis.”

“The kidney disease rate is 22 percent higher among diabetic men than among all men, and diabetes is the leading cause of irreversible kidney disease requiring dialysis or kidney transplantation.”

“Diabetes skyrockets the risk of developing nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, as extra triglycerides produced from carbs overrun the organ.”

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“If passing on jelly doughnuts seems difficult, imagine living without eyesight. In fact, nothing causes more new cases of blindness among twenty to seventy-four-year olds than diabetes.”

The scary and alarming stats go on and on. From here on I will just talk in Hector terms. Basically, type 2 diabetes effs up the body really bad. But what get’s me is that its not a disease like cancer, where many times its diagnosis is a surprise and can’t be traced back or linked to anything in particular. Type 2 diabetes follows a well established trail of lifestyle choices (too much food, and not enough movement). “What you talkin-bout Willis?”

what you talking about willis.

Yes, that was pretty much the conclusion of the book. We just eat too much, especially carbs, and blood sugar skyrockets, day after day. Eventually our pancreas can’t produce enough insulin to keep up with the sugar levels, and we have to be given MORE insulin, think medicine, so we can function properly, somewhat.

I don’t know if I got the above paragraph correct, but I know I have been super-duper correct in what I preach now, and have been preaching for years: Put down the sodas and the rest of those sugar drinks,

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Pass on the big ass bucket of fries. No one needs a bucket of fries! Really America, a bucket? How does that go down? You are just hungry and decide “I know, I will have a bucket of fries.” Or even worse, “Oh, you’re hungry little Johnny, or little Juan in my case. Here why don’t you have a bucket of fries.” Stop, please. What’s better than a bucket of fries? How about a small serving of fries?

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Cut back on the pizza. Notice I didn’t say eliminate pizza. I just said cut back. Like no more than twice per week.

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Chill on the desserts. Unless your are in super-duper shape, six-pack abs, and you move everyday, you probably don’t need dessert. I just learned today that desserts is stressed spelled backwards.

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And M.Y.A. Yes, Move Your Ass!!!!! That means exercise.

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Do anything, I don’t care, just move. I also learned in the book that the more intense the exercise, the more your body can tolerate and process carbohydrates correctly.

And last but not least, there is one part of the book I didn’t quite agree with. When the author said that type 2 diabetes results from a lifetime of “personal” decisions (no exercise, too much food). True, but not. How about the 10-year-old boy with type 2 diabetes? He just ate and drank what his parents provided, for years. That young boy probably ate fast food day in day out, drank soda, and didn’t move much, and then developed diabetes. The effed up part is that those decisions were made for him, and not by him. Very few children under 10 or even 12 choose what they eat every day, and how much they are going to move. So when I see an overweight child, with regular soda in hand, of any race, I hate to think of their future health because I know chances are type 2 diabetes is on the horizon, with the rest of that very preventable disease’s complications.

And yes, some people are more susceptible to developing type 2 diabetes because of genetics. And guess what I know, and didn’t have to read a book to learn? None of us can control our genetics, for better or worse, but many of us, except children, can control what we eat, how much we eat, and how much we move.

If you look like this, that’s Christiano Ronaldo,

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or like this. (Just some guy showing off at the local park doing pull ups)…

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and sprinting,

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You can probably eat a bunch of carbs here and there without any ill effects.