PJ's Fitness Blog

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The X Gym Resolution Revolution


Did you know that over 90% of the people who make New Year’s resolutions fail? It’s actually more like 95%, but about 5% of the ones counted in the “success group” are lying about it because they are too ashamed to come to grips with the fact that they failed, or they “tweaked” their original resolution along the way to make it more achievable. I call the 95% who fail, “Resolutionaries” because they tend to make the same unrealistic resolution over and over, year after year and keep failing. Maybe this is where Ben Franklin’s quote came from: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

Are you tired of being a Resolutionary? Are you ready to revolutionize your resolutions and try something new, instead of that same old thing that hasn’t been working for you? (more…)

Fit Past Forty (or Fifty or Further!)

People often use age as an excuse for why they aren’t as fit as they were in their 20s, but did you know that from a purely physiological standpoint, your metabolism shouldn’t slow down more than 3% per decade after turning 30 years old? This means that when you’re 40, your metabolism should still be 97% of what it was when you were 30. When you’re 70, it should still be 89% of what it was when you were 30.

Why is the decline usually faster than that? The answer is simple: We become more sedentary and/or exercise wrong.

Most people also think that muscle is harder to acquire as we age, but that’s not the case either. Numerous studies have shown that people who keep exercising, lose little to no muscle past the age of 40, even up to the age of 80! Hard to believe, right? Don’t take my word for it. Google it for yourself. It’s astonishing.

People who want to be fit past 40 should however, change some of the ways they are exercising. There are certain things people can get away with in their 20s that aren’t such good ideas past 40, like long-duration cardio for instance, or heavy, ballistic weight training. Instead of long-duration cardio (like running) that is usually high-impact and breaks down joints over time, shorter duration High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a great alternative and also saves a ton of time, which is another important factor for people past 40. Instead of heavy, ballistic weight training, methods like those found at the X Gym are ideal because they are much safer, yet even more effective at building strength and muscle tone than traditional strength training.

Cardio may fight fat in younger years, but it can have the opposite effect as we age, especially as we acquire more and more stress in our lives with more responsibilities and more pressures in our careers. Yes, I said it: Cardio can actually turn into a fattening activity as we age, due to its unique ability to increase cortisol and other hormones, in addition to a high-stress life. IT can even shrink muscle mass and speed aging! The HIIT training I mentioned above and strength training (especially X Gym style) is particularly effective at reducing stress and belly fat, increasing strength, endurance and the metabolism.

Strength training is especially important for people past 40, because they are generally less active as they are more involved in the sedentary workforce than they were when they were younger. People passed 40 also are more prone to accumulating visceral fat (belly fat), which is the most dangerous type of fat. Strength training is particularly effective at keeping visceral fat in check.

Sure, there are certainly hormonal shifts that take place in the body as we age, along with other changes that warrant modifications in the way we exercise and the X Gym workout is already perfectly suited for all those changes. RachelMcLish

You can see Herschel Walker at 53 years old in the picture top left, who is in better shape than 99.9% of the 20 year olds out there. Sure, he’s genetically gifted too, but he also doesn’t touch heavy weights or long duration cardio. And then there’s Rachel McLish, who many people think looks even better over 40 than she did in her “prime” in her 20’s as you can see pictured right. And she doesn’t touch heavy weights or long duration cardio either. It’s not just Rachel either. Heck, if I had a dime for every woman who told me they want “Madonna arms,” who showed off her best guns after she turned 40…

Does Meat Cause Cancer?

expelledYou may have heard about the report issued on 10/26/2015 by the World Health Organization (WHO), which found that the consumption of processed meats causes cancer.

Based on a review of studies they picked from around the world, the health organization’s Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) claimed that processed meats, such as hot dogs, sausages and bacon can cause bowel cancer and red meat is likely to cause the disease as well.

You might be surprised to hear from me that I agree with their conclusion. They are absolutely right about PROCESSED meats. Red meat from a conventional farm isn’t much better either (if at all). Those meats are toxic and cancer is just the beginning of the health problems you can acquire from eating that garbage.

Organic meat from wild, grassfed animals is a totally different story though. That stuff is REALLY good for you. Just ask the Eskimos (from 100 years ago – before their diet became “Westernized”), or any other hunter-gatherer society for that matter. Cancer and other diseases for that matter are virtually non existent in those societies, despite the fact that 90% or more of the calories in their diet come from wild animal products. They are the healthiest humans in human history. And that is a fact. Research it for yourself. 

Organic meat that is not grassfed is certainly better than conventional farms. In fact, it’s about 10 times better, but “organic” usually means those farms still feed their animals grains and other stuff they have no business eating. For this reason, grassfed is about 10 times better than standard organic, which makes it about a bazillion times better than conventional.

Hopefully, the word will get out about processed meat and conventional farms so we can stop eating it and feeding it to our children!

Is getting enough sleep all that it’s cracked up to be?

Oh heck yes! It’s bad for the brain to cut your sleep hours. It’s also bad for your health and your fitness – including your ability to burn fat!

sleep infographic

Source: http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/6LaUfw/:1hE-SJ7MF:iTM!3dxl/mic.com/articles/118618/scientists-may-have-figured-out-why-it-s-so-hard-to-get-out-of-bed-in-the-morning

Worrying is Bad For Your Brain!

Worry2Let’s start this topic with a couple questions I have for you:

Would you rather:

  1.) Create a scenario where there is a possibly of being disappointed later or, 

  2.) Create a scenario where you have a 100% guarantee of being disappointed now?

When you make up a Worst Case Scenario (WCS) in your mind, your subconscious brain immediately experiences that scenario as if it has already happened, along with all the disappointment and upsetting emotions that accompany that experience. Those emotions then release chemicals and hormones in your body that are detrimental to your health and are actually even fattening.

When you make up a Best Case Scenario (BCS) on the other hand, opposite chemicals are released in your body that prepare you for open-minded, outside-the-box thinking, so if the bad things do happen, you can quickly find a creative way out or will find it much easier to come up with a great solution or remedy.

WCS thinking puts you in a crummy state that shuts you down, traps you in fight or flight mode, closes the mind down and paints you into a corner. Now if the bad things happen that you were fearing in your WCS state, you have effectively trapped yourself and will find it extremely difficult to come up with any creative ways out.

WCS thinking is also bad for your brain. Blood vessels restrict when you are in that state, so the blood flow to your brain is reduced. Your breathing becomes shallow, so the oxygen to your brain is also reduced. Cortisol and other flight or flight chemicals and hormones are released and if sustained, will cause inflammation, which is also bad for your brain. You won’t sleep very well at night either and this has been shown in numerous studies to also be extremely bad for your brain. I could go on and on, but I’m sure you get the picture.

Here’s the bottom line: When you find yourself creating a WCS in your brain, catch yourself doing it. That’s the first step. Then think of the opposite scenario, which would be your BCS. Then dwell on that.

Your brain is designed for stories. It has to have them. If you don’t feed it stories you make up, it will make up some of its own. You don’t want it to do that though because it will make up WCS over BCS about 95% of the time. Why? Because it’s programmed for survival and preservation first and foremost and that programming makes it notice danger and things to avoid and move away from, over of cool, awesome things to move toward. It’s “away from” motivated instead of “toward” motivated. You can consciously create “toward” motivation though, with BCS stories, so why not?

That vast majority of your WCS stories never come true anyway, do they? But simply creating that WCS puts you through the experience as if it did happen, along with all the fattening and unhealthy chemicals that go with that state.

If you take all those WCS stories and turn them into BCS stories, they might not come true either, but at least you put yourself through that positive experience instead.

People tell me, “I would do that, but if it doesn’t come true, I’ll be disappointed, so I’d rather not get my hopes up.” Yes, that is true and there is a chance that you might be disappointed later, but there’s also a chance that you won’t. With WCS thinking, it’s a 100% chance of disappointment, immediately, and then for as long as you are mulling that WCS over.

Since your mind is going to make up stories on it own anyway, why not take over the process and create BCS stories? Of course this is easier said than done because it goes against our wiring, but with time and practice, that wiring begins to change and with enough diligence, it can become your new automatic response and then you are getting healthier, happier and thinner!

A wise Jewish carpenter had this whole thing figured out more than 2000 years ago and gave us some amazing advice. He said, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?  Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Young people jumping on Mission Beach, San Diego, California, USA

WCS or BCS? It’s your brain. It’s your body. It’s your health. It’s your choice.

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