Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Is 5-Hour Energy Bad?

The answer is: it depends. Caffeine is the number one drug in the world; its cheap, easily available, comes in many tasty forms, and provides an income for many businesses. With that being said, saying 5 Hour Energy is bad would require stating that caffeine is bad. Many people do not understand that caffeine is the only thing in all of these products that make them go and give you that buzz, or surge of motivation. A more educated way of looking at this would be to ask whether or not 200 mg of caffeine is too much (approximate amount in a 5 Hour Energy). Realize that when you drink a coffee, energy drink, or pre-workout that you are usually consuming around 200 mg of caffeine. So to say 5 Hour Energy is bad would be a somewhat ignorant statement. Most people who say this read it some where or have heard the horror stories of some body who drank seven 5 Hour Energy shots in a day, or had a pre existing heart condition. Just because it has been abused does not make it a bad product. Yes, if you have had a couple of cups of coffee, pop, and then went for a 5 Hour Energy shot I would probably hit your hand away. I believe taking a 5 Hour Energy, as long as there was little to no other caffeine consumption that day, is perfectly fine and I do it frequently for the convenience and B-vitamins. However, I am a 180 pound, 24 year old male, so others who are more sensitive to caffeine or have other conditions may find a 5 Hour Enery (or 200mg of caffeine) to be too much. In this case, don't bash the product -- buy something else!

The Nostalgic Prayer

We throw around this word "prayer" just as much as we throw around words like love and hate. Most people say "you're in our prayers" when something goes wrong or recently, "Pray for Boston." This also includes superstitious dinner prayers, pre-game prayers, and many more. This is a great thing, except for the fact that many are not actually sending up the prayer! Now it seems the "prayer" was simply the act of saying it or posting it. Prayer is not a word used between humans, and it's certainly not a status update or tweet. Praying is a real communion Jesus Christ has provided us with to talk to God. Understanding that prayer is actually a communion between you and the true God should motivate you to actually say the prayer, believing that God is absolutely listening and God will absolutely act upon your request. Saying that you're going to pray for somebody, holding a candle in a service, lining up in silence for the remembering of victims is all good and fun, but does not actually accomplish anything. In prayer there is a real work happening; if you wish to console a victim's family you will have much of a deeper impact spending an hour praying for them than you would standing in silence. We live in a culture that offers no consolation to pain; simply a superstitious gathering and a nostalgic use of the word prayer.

Over Training

Yes, I do believe over training to be a very real thing; however, many average people have never experienced over training and are most likely suffering from other stresses in life, or are simply out of shape. The physiological response of over training is the body's inability to return to homeostasis, or put more simply, it is having a hard time recognizing to not be in a training state. Think about it this way: while you are training your heart rate is elevated, stress hormones are secreted, the nervous system is stimulated, and many other acute adaptations occur. So, it only makes sense that if you spend too much time training and putting your body in the perpetual state of being it will have a hard time coming down from the stimuli of training. Symptoms of over training include, but are not limited to: elevated resting heart rate, insomnia, irritability, decreased performance, decreased focus, and many more. In my opinion, it takes weeks or months of chronic over exercise to reach an over trained state. This definition of over training is much different than the term lifters use. In the body building and power lifting culture, over training is a term that more or less means you are stunting your results of growing bigger. This is very true, lifting too much will result in minimal growth from the previous sessions. If you do more sets, then day after day you will see a decrease in gains and performance; but, unless you're doing significant cardio on the side or lifting 2+ hours a day (not counting rest) you are not over training as much as you are just not optimizing your growth. Hope this helps!

Monday, April 29, 2013

9 bible verses for life confidence

If you find yourself struggling to get through the day, the week, or even the year that your are currently facing off with remember these valuable words scripture gives us for times of adversity. 
  1. I will meet all your needs according to my riches in glory in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).
  2. My power will be made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).
  3. I will strengthen you and help you and hold you up with my righteous right hand (Isaiah 41:10).
  4. I will never leave you nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5).
  5. I will not let any testing befall you for which I do not give you grace to bear (1 Corinthians 10:13).
  6. I will take the sting away from your death with the blood of my son (1 Corinthians 15:55f).
  7. I will raise you from the dead imperishable (1 Corinthians 15:52).
  8. I will transform your lowly body to be like my glorious body, by the power that enables me even to subject all things to myself (Philippians 3:21).
  9. I will do this without fail because I am absolutely sovereign over everything and therefore, I can do all things, and no purpose of mine can be thwarted (Job 42:2).

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Exercise perspective

Why is it that humans exercise? Why is it good for us? Where does it fit into our lives? I commonly refer to life being a NASCAR race and exercise being the pit stop. If you try to go go go and never spend any time on your health it would be similar to a NASCAR driver refusing to take pit stops thinking he has no time. I understand the pressures of life, work, relationships, and all other obligations pile up and become overwhelming but it is essential you maintain the vessel (your body) that you have been given to do these things in! I make exercise and my personal fitness a priority so that I do not do poorly in the more important endevours such as my career and even to keep my wife attracted to me! It does not take much time to exercise, you don't need hours a day every day of the week. Make the time and you won't regret it, your life will be enhanced and with that will come success. On the other side of the pendulum there are those who spend all of there time working out. Whether you are an athlete or some body who just loves working out remember to keep it in perspective. Workout to excel in the more important areas, to finish the "race". This would be similar to a NASCAR driver spending all of his time in the pit stop and not participating in the race! Be happy be healthy, keep it balanced.

Defeat Love Handles!

"Love handles" the commonly used nickname for lower back fat. There no fun to have and many thin, in shape people  suffer from them. When I began swimming in high school I was very... Well... Fat. I swam and I swam and I swam some more and became pretty good and trimmed up a lot, but not everything. The summer going into college I was on a mission to destroy my body fat, I lowered down to 7-8% and had tremendous success as a D2 swimmer, but yet small pouches of fat still remained on my lower back. Even on a successful 7% body fat endurance athlete the handles remained. Now that I am not swimming and train for more aesthetic purposes I decided to declare war on my lower back fat, let me tell you how I did it. Follow my 10 steps and I promise you will burn off those hard to reach areas of fat!
1. Intermittent Fasting- I know I know you're thinking "Wait 6-8 meals is best for weight loss!" This may work well for decreasing body fat at first but your hard to reach areas will most likely remain untapped. IF is very simple, and its not a diet or starvation, you simply choose a 4-8 hour eating window and fast for the remained 16-20 hours. This is the famine or emergency situation that your body needs to burn the fat it stored for that purpose. And in case you're worried about burning off muscle, keep in mind the lower your blood sugar is, the more human growth hormone you will produce; the HGH will serve to protect your muscles while your body burns off its emergency fat storages. IF has enough content to fill thousands of blogs. To learn more, keep reading my other blogs or look it up!
2. Wait 2-3 hours post exercise to eat- Once again, a very shocking statement. Before you run back to the good old 30 minute eating window post exercise give this a read. Your body does not start to burn muscle for roughly 48 hours of starvation; you will be burning fat for recovery to your muscles! If you are an athlete this may not be ideal, but athletes also should not be concerned with body fat while in season. This is a tip for an athlete who is in the off season that may need to lower their body fat or for average joes, like myself now, who train for aesthetic purposes. By waiting this long, your anabolic hormones will be forced to compensate for the lack of macro nutrients. A combination of these hormones with no immediate fuel will inevitably result in the burning of fat. Tip: drink some aminos with a mutli vitamin post workout that contain little to no calories. This will provide some nutrients for your hormones to work with. After 2-3 hours give your body a good meal and your muscles will suck it all up.
3. Gymnema- This amazing herb prevents sugar from being absorbed in the liver and can stimulate the pancreas to secrete healthy amounts of insulin. Since love handles are a product of insulin resistance,  this herb will be a great addition to your diet. It has also been shown to control sugar cravings.
4. Fenugreek- This herb has been shown to slow sugar absorption and promote healthy insulin levels.
5. Rhodiola- While Rhodiola has no immediate effect on blood sugar it does promote healthy Seratonin production. This is critically important due to the fact that consuming carbohydrates raises Seratonin, a big reason why eating them is so rewarding! So when you begin to decrease your carb intake your brain will cry out for more Seratonin, instead of reaching for the bread, reach for some Rhodiola and satisfy your need for the happy hormone Seratonin.
6. Green Coffee Bean- There are many benefits to Green Coffee Bean. For the purpose of this blog all I will say is it helps preserve glycogen (sugar) to burn fat. This will help your burn a higher ratio fats to carbs and help while your are eating less carbs than you are burning.
7. Slow digesting carbs- This is common sense, just eat healthy carbs: Whole grains, fruits, quinoa, etc. This will prevent blood sugar from spiking and give you more prolonged energy during your calorie deficit.
8. High Intensity Exerise- Weight lifting, fast running, fast anything. Workout hard and with intensity. This burns off sugar and increases insulin sensitivity; and unlike most people who recommend either high intensity or low intensity, I am about to recommend both. After your intense workout and on your off days, walk, play, or do some thing low intensity for more fat burning and stress relief.
9. Apple Cider Vinegar/ Magnesium/ Chromium- All of these have been shown to promote healthy blood sugar and insulin.
10. Cheat Meal- Onces a week, or every other week if your prefer, allow your self an anything goes day. This serves to keep your metabolism strong, and gives a mental break. You will notice you will feel and look best after your cheat day, so long as you were good the other 6 days.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Train like a man!

Train like a MAANNN!

Many of us go the gym and we follow our little exercise parameters that we read from our trusty ex. Phys. Class book or from MensFitness Magazine. You know, sets of 8-12, 3-5 days a week, synergistic muscles together, blah blah blah. What if these parameters were not the key ingredient to success? IN MY OPINION it is far more important to train with attitude, with determination, with balls!'The human body is not a textbook and training is an art form. Use the knowledge you get from the research that has been done to set up guidelines but after that point you paint your own canvas, there is no better personal trainer for any individual than themselves. Train with no fear of over training, listen to your body, be aggressive, do it for the right reasons and you will get results. Human beings were made to use their bodies, and these bodies can do some amazing things, more than you've most likely pushed yourself to. Don't submit to the parameters that have been set, use them to learn, try them, take what you can from them but do not submit to them.