Your Songs Are Lifting Me Higher II

16 Feb

Here is my Top 10 (in no order) Hip Hop songs for lifting:

1. Lap Dance (feat. Lee Harvey & Vita) by N.E.R.D.

2. ‘Til I Collapse by Eminem

3. Moment of Clarity

4. Say It by Beastie Boys

5. Run This Town/Posthumus Zone Medly by Jay-Z feat.Rihanna & E. Posthumus

6. Hate Me Now (feat. Puff Daddy) by Nas

7. Jesus Walks by Kanye West

8. Remember the Name by Fort Minor

9. Rising to the Top by KRS One and Marley Marl

10. H.A.M. by Kanye West and Jay-Z

Breaking News: Toning Shoes About As Useful As A Jar Of Doo Doo Butter

28 Sep

How long has this Toning Shoe fad been around? Long enough for to sell millions of pairs to hapless Americans looking to un-fat themselves while continuing to gorge themselves on fast, and processed foods. I mean, really, if Kim Kardashian uses them in lieu of training then they’ve gotta work, right?

Turns out that Reebok (and hopefully soon Skechers will join them) has to pay a cool 25 million in customer refunds for their false claims that its EasyTone footwear had been proven to lead to 28 percent more strength and toning in the bum muscles and 11 percent more strength and toning in hamstring and calf muscles than regular walking shoes.

Listen The American Council on Exercise is a non-profit fitness certification organization. Recently they put the claims of MBT, Skechers, and Reebok to the test and released the results (PDF) to the public. In this study they found that oxygen consumption, heart rate, perceived exertion rating (RPE), caloric expenditure and even muscular activity were no different that subjects wearing regular shoes. The only benefit this shoe has provided is that very little some people have decided to get their ass of the couch and go for a walk in them. Even so since when does walking provide such a calorie burn? You know what exercise leads to strength and “toning” in the butt, hamstrings an calfs? I’m going to let you in on a little insider secret here… Deadlifts!! You want a tighter butt? Squat! (and I’m not talking those wimpy 1/4 squats that Mr. Brovey Brotastic does to jack up his quads!). Why not try the Hip Thrust? Come on people… stop falling for fads. You aren’t going to see results unless you put in the effort!

The other thing is there is no “toning” a muscle; it can only grow. Muscles just can’t get longer unless the bone gets longer. You won’t experience ANY growth in muscle from these shoes due to a little thing called “progressive overload.” You see the muscle grow in response to stress, so once they adjust to that level of stress you are placing then that’s your finished product. Lastly, training on an unstable surface (toning shoes, BOSU ball, balance boards) doesn’t translate to stable surface training; it only makes you better at… Bueller? Training on unstable surfaces!

In closing if you still want to jump on a fitness fad then I recommend minimalist shoes. My recommendation is the New Balance Minimus line.

I have a pair of the Trail Runners featured in the above video, and I lift in them. I haven’t tried the Cross Trainers although they definitely pique my interest. Check it out:

How does that not fire you up??

I Hate Bulgarian Split Squats…

26 Sep

I mean I really hate them. A list of things I would rather do at the gym include: taking a digger on a treadmill in front of at least 30 people, dropping a 25lb weight on my toes, missing on a 36″ box jump and breaking my face and even worse than that…. cardio.

First, allow me to answer a few of your questions before you even ask me. (occlumancy)

What is a Bulgarian Split Squat and why does it suck?

A Bulgarian Split Squat is commonly referred to as a Rear Foot Elevated Split Squat. Since that is a mouthful and “Bulgarian” sounds more manly I will be referring to it as the former. It is also referred to as a Bulgarian lunge regardless of the fact that it is not a lunge. It also doesn’t originate from Bulgaria either. You can’t perform this movement without obviously elevating your foot; a bench is always a good option. Take a step or so perpendicularly away from the bench and place your foot on the bench behind you. You know what? Why don’t you do it right now? Do it on a chair or something. I’ll give you a minute to located said chair………

I’m getting hungry…. I wonder what’s in the refrigera–

OH HI!! You’re set! okay! great…

The next step is lower your body down so your rear knee almost kisses the ground. Remember to keep your front knee from tracking over your toes. You should look a little something like this:

Awesome right? Now get back up in the starting position. This is a good move in that it develops balance and hip flexibility, along with adding strength, size, and some serious mental toughness because it SUCKS! Don’t believe me? Try doing that same move holding dumbbells. No not those pink ones you got with your aerobic video… the heavy ones.

Wow that sounds awful! Why the hell would you do that?

Well aside from the back loaded Squat the RFESS is probably the best movement for building bigger, stronger legs. It is awesome for developing balance and hip flexibility and most importantly mental toughness…. because it sucks. The most important part of this exercise is that you can work around any spinal issues you may have due to how you load the RFESS. This is not a post on why you should be doing the RFESS, but more a post on why you should do things you hate doing. It is my single most hated exercise to do, but because I suck at it and it has so many benefits I make sure to include it in my training.

Take a look at your training. Are you doing movements you enjoy doing? Are they easy? Do you not load them for a challenge? You won’t see ideal results in this case. I implore you to find a movement that you’ve always avoided because you don’t like it or it’s too hard or it makes you sweat too much or it causes you to poop your pants at the mere though of doing it.

Find that exercise and do it. Do it until you’re good at it and then add weight. Do it until you destroy the back of your pants, buy new underwear and do it again!! You are doing yourself no good by taking the easy road in the gym. You got yourself in there now make the best of it!

What is your least favorite exercise to perform?

Fitness Hierarchy

22 Sep
ex·er·cise
\ˈek-sər-ˌsīz\

: regular or repeated use of a faculty or bodily organ
: bodily exertion for the sake of developing and maintaining physical fitness

work·out
\ˈwərk-ˌau̇t\

a: to practice or exercise to test or improve one’s fitness for athletic competition, ability, or performance
b: to test one’s ability, capacity, stamina, or suitability

train

a : to form by instruction, discipline, or drill
b : to teach so as to make fit, qualified, or proficient
c : to make prepared (as by exercise) for a test of skill

These are the dictionary definitions of three different approaches to fitness. For the most part I agree with each of them, but let’s discuss it a bit further. When you go to the gym you see all types of characters. At my old Bally’s we had Garlic Guy, The Smelly Grey Sweat Suit, Greg the Grunter and so on… These individuals can easily distract from what goes on around the gym. Take a look and see how much effort people are putting in then ask yourself how much effort you are putting in. See those two MILFs on the treadmill walking at a decent pace and talking to each other? See the guy in the corner rocking his body with the rhythm of the bicep curls? Hear the dance music coming from the classroom? What about the guy with the gallon of water, playing air guitar and sweating like Niagra Falls? See him?

These are all different levels of intensity. This is the Fitness Hierarchy.

For me exercise defines a low level activity with little focus and effort. These are your elipitical machines, treadmilfs, guys who do a few light bench presses then chat about the game, mirror gut sucker in-ers and mall walkers. (Sorry Grandpa!) Unfortunately this race of gym rat make up most of the population.

Then you have those that workout. These are the people that you see breaking a bit of a sweat and following some sort of loose programming of their own design. Some examples include those under the supervision and direction of a personal trainer, girls in LuLuLemon with pink kettlebells, the skinny guy going sit up crazy on the decline bench and of course the bro following the bro workout (Bench, Bis, Tris, Lat Pulldowns, 1/4 Leg Presses and abz 3 times a week).

Fist pumps! Push Ups! Chapstick!

Then you have those that train. These are the people with gym bags full of equipment….headphones that drown out the PA even for people within arm’s radius…they drip sweat, they log everything and they watch the clock between sets. These are the people that make you nervous. These are the people that are banned from Planet Fitness. These are the people that see results. They are  most likely the ones that clog the gym toilet as well….

Now ask yourself which category you fall under. If you aren’t getting the results you want maybe it’s time to rethink your commitment. Think of your goal as the mall. You live about 7-8 miles away from the mall and you need to go buy a brand new pair of New Balance Minimus to get your fitness on. Are you going to walk, bike or drive your car there? Obviously you’re going to drive there because that is the most efficient means. Take the most efficient path to your goal in the gym.

Your turn. Do you exercise, workout or train?

CrossFit: Elite Fitness or Sport

21 Sep

Hi.

My name is Chad Macomber.

I am a recovering CrossFit addict.

Two years ago I was introduced to CrossFit by a friend of mine who is now a partner in running CrossFit Conquest in Davie, Florida.

It was love at first WOD. The intensity, the competition, the sweat and even the audience sucked me in. For a full year I kipped, muscle-uped and Fran-ed my way to elite fitness. My numbers were respectable if not competitive against some of the top CrossFitters in the country.  I was prepared to do anything just as Coach Glassman said; I thought I was an athlete.

With the 2011 Reebok CrossFit games on ESPN 2 tonight I thought it would be a good time to write a little on the aftermath of my CrossFit adventure.

Basically CrossFit is HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) on steroids. The WOD or workout of the day is a series of seemingly random movements to be performed in succession against the clock. Instead of recording loads and movements in your journal you are tracking WOD titles and times. CrossFit insists that a healthy, fit person requires proficiency in each of ten general physical skills:

  • Cardiovascular
  • Endurance
  • Stamina
  • Strength
  • Flexibility
  • Power
  • Speed
  • Agility
  • Balance
  • Coordination
  • Accuracy

The CrossFit community stands by the Paleo or caveman diet (if a caveman didn’t eat it then neither should you). The foundation of this diet involves plants, animals, nuts, fruits and seeds; no grains. Aside from jogging I can’t think of a fitness trend that has grown so fast and so big and actually hung around for a while. They have Reebok as a sponsor now! (Which is kind of silly since they have no true option for a minimalist shoe).

Look, CrossFit will get you shredded. There is no debating that statement. The diet and HIIT alone will get you there. With that being said us humans aren’t just aiming to look fantastic with our clothes off; we want to move well and continue to move well throughout old age, right? Okay okay I’m bullshitting… we actually want biceps that tear shirtsleeves, abs to scrub clothes on and an ass to crack a walnut, but you don’t want all this if the package comes with joint pain, inflammation and muscle imbalances. Ah yes… finally.. the point of the article…

CrossFit is fun. It’s exciting. It’s competitive and it’s even communal, but is it a complete fitness program? My answer is no partly in that NO fitness program is a complete program. The other part is the risk vs. reward factor. Sure squat cleans, pullups, kettlebell swings and handstand push ups are fantastic exercises, but put them together in a work out with no rest done at a high intensity and you are inviting your shoulders to murder you in your sleep. What CrossFit is missing is an intelligent programming. I’m sure you can find a coach that will put together a WOD that won’t lead to injuries or imbalances (and if you do hold on to them!), but for the most part it’s a rare beast.

Go to CrossFit Wicked in Middleton, MA and ask for Dennis Floyd

While CrossFit isn’t a fantastic exercise program it does translate well as a sport. Watching the games on TV got me thinking about it in this light. Football is a very physically demanding sport (Go Pats!), with the hits, the throwing, the running and the manwiches which eventually leads to broken down bodies riddled with injuries but people still play in spite of the danger.

Football players don’t train the same way they compete. They train the movements and the abilities you need to succeed on the field. This is how I view CrossFit. It is an awesome sport (or event) that provides intense competition and entertainment. I would even recommend a CrossFit class a few times a month to anyone in need of spicing up their boring workouts. So practice your muscle ups, practice your squat cleans and practice your sprints but if you tell me you are about to join CrossFit I’ll tell you, “Be Careful and you’ll love it.”

CrossFit as a sport is Awesome.

CrossFit as Fitness is far from elite.

Your Songs Are Lifting Me Higher I

19 Sep

You’ve found time to make it to the gym and this time you are motivated to actually spend some time in the facility. The work out is planned and you’re ready to get going. From your gym bag you remove your iPod, put in your head phones and scroll to your Ultimate Gym Playlist. With each swipe of your thumb you pass over song after song looking for the perfect catalyst… Wham!, Duran Duran, Justin Beiber and even Jock Jams… nothing is doing it. Suddenly you feel less motivated and nearly defeated.

Listen… we’ve all be here before. Sometimes the music you have is starting to tire and maybe wasn’t even that great to begin with (I’m talking to you, Bon Jovi fans!) I’m going to be writing a series of blogs with my Top 10 songs for each facet of fitness. Whether it be Lifting, Cardio, High Intensity Interval Training or even a calming walk through the outdoors this series will provide you with a few new songs and maybe some that you never thought to add to your playlist!

So here is the list of my Top 10 13 rock songs to lift to…

1. Fuel by Metallica

2. Her Name Is Alice by The Days The Nights

3. Supermassive Black Hole by Muse

4. Bullets by Creed (yeah.. Creed sucks but this is pretty decent)

5. Dragula by Rob Zombie

6. Maggie’s Farm by Rage Against the Machine

7. Fuckin’ in the Bushes by Oasis (You might remember this song from the big fight scene in Snatch)

8. Crazy by Mushroom (yeah… this is the Seal cover. It’s on this list because Seal’s version is in my top 10 songs in life)

9. It’s All About the Benjamins by Puff Daddy (and a bunch of other people)

10. Mama Said Knock You Out (DJ Z-Trip Remix) by LL Cool J (This is my all time favorite song to work out to. If you’re wondering what song is being sampled it’s “Rock and Roll is Dead” by Lenny Kravitz)

Runners Up (because I have so many):

Lakini’s Juice by Live (I put Creed on there. I couldn’t put Live too, but this is an awesome song)

Devil’s Rejects by Rob Zombie (Didn’t want a repeat artist)

I Don’t Care by Fall Out Boy (I really hate this band, so I couldn’t put it on the top 10)

I’m always looking for new gym music, so feel free to comment on your favorite rock songs for lifting…

Stand Up To Sitting!

14 Sep sitting1

 

I ran into this interesting graphic while exploring the world wide intarwebz. This image speaks for itself, and I don’t feel like I need to add any commentary. 

Note: Sitting while pooping is still acceptable.

 

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