Archive for category gym stuff

Growing Up And Working Out

Jonathan Lipnicki stole the show from Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire and is now a gym rat

I love to see how people change over the years and decades, so I was amused by pictures of child actors who work out as older guys. I was familiar with just one of them as a kid—Jonathan Lipnicki from Jerry Maguire—and felt badly that he built up his muscles for a movie requiring a buff body, and then his shirtless scenes were cut from the film. But he still works out 4-5 times a week, so he is on a healthy track…

Danny Bonaduce is funny: he goes to red carpet events topless. Maybe he should next follow Lady Gaga’s lead: she just stepped out bottomless.

Aaron Carter

Danny Bonaduce was in The Partridge Family

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Sports/Exercise Report for March Through August

I am finally catching up on a summary of my physical activity…but for the last six months. As usual travel and various responsibilities ate into the time available. I was too lazy to write it up each month. So here are the facts.

I feel very fit, my weight has stayed between 173 and 175 (low was 167, high was 178), and I am grateful that I can play tennis like I did three of the last four days…for 4.25, 4.5, and 2.5 hours. I know that many people my age can’t play at all, like the college classmate who received the invite to play tennis at our reunion next month and wrote sadly to me that “In my day, I could have whipped anyone’s butt. Now I’m lucky if I can even walk. So wish I could join you.”

The real challenge for me is after playing tennis for 2+ hours to have the strength—both physical AND mental—to then be more active, whether push ups, crunches or other exercise. I feel too tired, though I know my physical life is very respectable, even impressive, to some friends who live on their couches. And at least I am doing something physical, whether hours of tennis or five minutes of push ups, from 15 to 21 days each month.

My record for doing major physical activity in a month was 25 days in November 2009. Beginning this past March, I was active the following number of days per month (and I AM counting just push ups or some crunches): 17, 21, 15, 20, 16, 19.

My record number of tennis-playing days is 18 in June 2010. So my recent summaries are: 6, 17, 9, 17, 13, 12.

My record for playing tennis in a month is 42.75 hours. I recently did: 14.75, 35.25, 12.5, 37.5, 36.75, 26.

I only played squash in March: twice for 2.5 hours.

I only went skiing in March; twice for 6.5 hours. And one day of snowmobiling.

My crunch activity per month has waned: 2, 3, 0, 3, 3, 7.

I rarely go to the gym or do exercises (with weights) at home: 1, 1, 5, 0, 0, 1.

I have done a few push ups over the months: 4 (55 was the most), 2, 0, 3, 3, 5 (51 was the most). Maybe 11 times in January 2011 was my record.

I did wall sits prior to the ski trip in March. Six minutes was my best time.

In May I went hunting twice for nine hours. Never close enough to draw the bow.


When Goals Are Unattainable Fantasies

Last night at a party, I met two women over 60 who were full of enthusiasm and looked as fit as kids in their 20’s. They are so admirable. One plays tennis constantly and swims four times a week. The other does cardio/ellipticals/machines at the gym four days a week, even though she has a full-time job! How do they do it? Squeeze it in to their busy schedules? Not be diverted by all of life’s demands? What I really want to know is why doesn’t it inspire me to be even half that disciplined myself?

I know that role models are helpful. That if so-and-so can do it, then maybe I can too. That’s why sports stars, other celebrities and successes who rose from disadvantaged backgrounds return to the slums or orphanages and preach to youngsters that they can do it too. Have a vision, be determined, stick with it, and maybe you will reach your dream. Rocky climbs the steps at the Philadelphia Museum, and you can hear the same music when you reach your own new height or goal.

But it doesn’t seem to work for me. I can’t make myself get to the gym, do push ups at home, or lift a few weights in my son’s room. Why not?

Clearly I am not lazy—I can hit tennis balls for hours. And I have no trouble being disciplined about my diet, avoiding delicious tastes effortlessly, while others at the table indulge their food passions ecstatically. I am not tempted in the slightest, though I gave in to a half spoonful of homemade fudge on vanilla ice cream the other day that my daughter insisted I sample…while she ate three large scoops swimming in the sauce. Big deal. People laugh at my avoidances all the time.

I hear that people smoke for years, unable to stop, and then suddenly call it quits. I see that people gain weight for years and then unexpectedly decide to lose weight. What happens in their minds to change their behavior so dramatically? How are they able to lose their long-time—perhaps lifetime—addictions?

Something changes. Even when it isn’t life-threatening, like a heart attack or a fall from too much weight. Are you just supposed to wait around until you are so fed up with your bad habits or lack of action that your body has to take a different path? Or until your brain is simply restless for any kind of change? I need to know. But stopping yourself from doing something harmful is very different, it seems, from starting an action like constant exercise. It is so hard for me, feels like such hard work. Don’t you agree? It takes so much effort.

But I believe it shouldn’t be so difficult. Read the rest of this entry »

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Frustrations Of Not Practicing Or Working Out

Staying fit or playing sports well are constantly frustrating me…because I make some muscles or play my best tennis and then…I take a trip or become too busy with work and family and then…the muscles dissolve and I can’t hit the ball as well and win points. It’s a constant struggle. It drives me nuts.

I was playing my best tennis…then I went to London to visit my daughter studying there. I started going to the gym again…then I went to Boston to see a friend graduate from school.

All that effort that produces fabulous results that will disappear with the next trip or high-priority interruption. At least I love playing the sports, so that’s not a waste. But it IS maddening to have to start over again…maybe not from the beginning or zero, but somewhere back to where I was before. And all that working out that is such a strain, that is so difficult for me, and that feels so powerful and creates those beautiful cuts—they will once again go away with the pressures of daily life. Drives me crazy!…stay calm, Ira, stay calm. This is how life works: two steps forward, one and a half steps back.

In the gym I saw those young bucks with well-built bodies. They were always there, they told me they came four or five days a week. Most were single, some had girl friends. But when you have children, forget it. No way to keep coming, to find the time to make that trip to the machines. And how do you fit in the fitness routine when you are working during the day? I find it damned impossible to keep at it.

I do know a couple of guys who pack it in somehow. One wakes up at five and is pumping iron or pedaling by six. Another is a doctor who rows in a lake every morning at sunrise before seeing patients…until there is no lake, just ice. I could never rise that early—I go to sleep at between 12 and 1 each night. And I clearly lack the discipline to do that. Although I can easily make myself eat healthfully and do work chores. How do they do that? What gene or magic potion do they possess that I clearly lack?

So it goes in spurts, and I keep attacking the gaps. I want to not feel so overwhelmed that I can’t make it to the tennis court or the gym. But it is hard, hard, hard. For you too?

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Time Lapse Pictures of Muscle Building Transformations

That was a long writing break. Too jammed up with business and family matters. Even X-rays for a sore foot that isn’t broken, but I may have to skip tennis playing for a while and rest the injury. It was caused by way too many games and pounding on hard courts during this past winter.

Also stopped exercising. So this video sent to me by Josh Sobel is very inspirational. It shows a guy’s body changes EVERY DAY FOR ONE YEAR as he whipped himself into shape. Notice his underpants too. Quite aesthetic choices. When I have to avoid tasty, but unhealthy, food, I have no trouble being disciplined. Wish I had that same stick-to-it-iveness or perseverance when it comes to making muscles like this guy:

After watching this video, I discovered more similar stories. Other inspirations:

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Your Genes/DNA May Be Why You Like Exercise

I recently bumped into two articles (excerpted below) referring to studies that correlate exercise and fitness to your genetic makeup. One suggests that some people have genes that cause them to respond positively to exercise and its results—increased heart rate, sweating, feelings of exertion. The other article says that some people can do the same workouts as others, but not have the same physical or fitness results. This also is attributed to genes you have or don’t. What a bitch! You do all that work, and it doesn’t show more muscles? Hard for me to believe.

But if you can just get past that initial resistance, there is hope for anyone.

…even the sedentary among us can build up a physiological desire to exercise, just by sticking to a consistent routine.

“When you ask these people, did you like it the first time, they’ll say God no, it was awful, I was nauseous, I was sore for four days–they’ll tell you all kinds of horror stories,” says Geralyn Coopersmith of Equinox Fitness. “And if somehow they were able to push through the initial period, invariably they’ll tell you, oh my God, I can’t imagine my life without it.”

…The way that exercise affects your mood during and immediately after a workout is perhaps the most crucial predictor of whether or not you’re likely to keep doing it.

“Two people might feel the exact same pain running up a steep hill. One of them says, this is horrible, I don’t want to do this. The other one says, I’m building so much muscle, I’m so excited to be working this hard, I can tell my body’s getting stronger,” says Dr. Angela Bryan. “So it’s the interpretation of those physiological responses that seems to be pretty important in terms of how people view their exercise behavior.”

“People who exercise, by and large, they talk about doing it because they enjoy it. It’s not, ‘I’m doing this so I won’t get cancer in 50 years,’” she says. “That’s why we’re looking at some of the underlying genetic and physiological variables that might be associated with that intrinsic motivation. Because if we could figure out who’s got more of it and who’s got less of it, then we can potentially develop different interventions for those kinds of people.”

…Scientists long have known that when any given group of people faithfully follows the same aerobic workout routine, some increase their cardio-respiratory fitness substantially, while an unfortunate few seem to get no benefits at all. But what, beyond the fundamental unfairness of life, makes one person’s body receptive to exercise and another’s resistant? According to the new study, which will soon be published in The Journal of Applied Physiology, part of the answer may depend on the state of specific genes.

Dr. Claude Bouchard and his colleagues used a tightly controlled exercise intervention on nearly 500 subjects over the course of five months. They discovered that the extent to which their subjects did or did not become more fit was significantly determined by exactly 21 tiny variations on snippets of their DNA…

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Some Readers Becoming Fitter, Finding The LIFE LESSONS Inspirational and Sending In Their Own Stories

There are people I know who are acting more healthfully since I began writing two years ago about fitness and talking about this site. Some have said how much they like the philosophical anecdotes about life that I call LIFE LESSONS. Many like looking at the pictures of celebrities who’ve lost weight or muscled their bodies. I have OTHER PEOPLE’S STORIES AND PHOTOS on the site now for additional inspiration. This is great. Why not email me—or upload—your story?

After two years of going to a gym, I began in April 2009 to work on my abs. Then an August 2009 shoulder injury from too many pull ups gave me the perfect excuse to give up the gym. My muscles shrank, but I started playing more tennis. I did crunches at home for 18 months, and in November 2010 achieved a personal best: 500+500+600=1600 crunches with a minute rest between each of the three sets.

Since fall I barely exercised at home, because I was too tired from 29 to 42 hours of tennis a month. Beginning in November 2010, I completely stopped doing crunches and started doing push ups in addition to tennis 3-4 days a week. I admit I was lazy. And I gained weight from all those holiday meals. You can see my smaller abs in the photo on the left. At least I look better than two years ago. As a sometimes inspiration, I check out the guy with the talking abs in this video. You won’t believe what he can do…

70th birthday after gaining 12 pounds, not exercising for 11 days and almost no crunches for 5 months—4/6/11

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Female Bodybuilders

So I have discovered this female culture that exercises like crazy and makes giant muscles, competes in competitions, puts up with comments like “women shouldn’t have muscles like men,” and also a sub group that loves to display their developed bodies they have created in soft core videos and web cams. These women really are different from those thin little bods that the movie stars are showing off on red carpets.

Like ’em or not, their years of hard work and obsessive determination are certainly athletic achievements to be admired. Here are a few examples…and they sure do have abs! The videos will give you an idea of what happens in a bodybuilding competition, where certain poses are required that best display particular muscles.

Iris Kyle has won the Ms Olympia competition six times. If you go to this website, click on “competitions” and then on the third video from the left, you can see her winning posing routine.


Irene Anderson—2008

Iris Kyle—Ms Olympia (2006- 2010), Ms International (2006-2011)

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Sports/Exercise Report For February

A very physical month. I did something athletic 21 days, up one from last month, though below my record 25 days in November 2009. I am not counting four days, when I just did some push ups or wall sits for a few minutes, as compared to 2-5 hours of tennis. And there were only 28 days in the month. So I was active almost every day.

I played tennis 14 days, for only 32 1/4 hours, almost identical to last month’s 15 days and 32 1/4 hours and below my record of 18 days set in June, and below my all-time record of 42 3/4 hours. My tennis game is still improving, though I was crushed yesterday (only 6 games for me in three sets) by a player I have never beaten. I am hitting the sweet spot much more often on my forehand, thanks to a slight rotation in my grip…when I can do it quickly enough against a super fast ball coming at me.

I played squash once for for just one hour, went cross country skiing once for 1/2 hour, went downhill skiing once for 1 1/4 hours, did spinning three times for 2 1/4 hours, shoveled snow off the roof twice for three hours.

A third month of almost no ab crunches, just one 20 minute session. I went to a hotel gym once and really worked my lats and quads. I am now doing wall sits, where my back is against the wall, my knees are bent 90 degrees, and I just count the seconds of agony. This is all to improve my ability to bend lower in squash and ski on a planned trip to Utah in March.

Slight progress toward my goal of reaching 100 push ups, which I did on 10 different days…its been 11 days in each of the last three months. I had days of 51, 51 1/2, 53, and 54 all up from 50, which was my best in three previous months. The training program that supposedly takes six weeks is still impossible for me. I am stuck at the goal for the first day of the fourth week, which is five sets: 21, 25, 21, 21 and 32, each followed by a 60-second break. I remain unable to complete the fifth set, but did achieve 23 1/2 one time, up from last month’s record of 22. So this is a very slow climb up the path to my goal.

The real challenge for me is after playing tennis for 2+ hours to have the strength—both physical AND mental—to then be more active, whether skiing, push ups or other exercise. I feel like I get lazy, though I know my physical life is very respectable, even impressive to some friends who live on their couches.

Bobybuilder Bobby Church’s Gigantic Quads

There is something intriguing about seeing muscle development of this magnitude. I know there are numerous magazines and videos that display these outsized examples of human anatomy, but I don’t look at them. So this video I bumped into is very confronting. How many hours did it take Bobby to reach this level of musculature. And now he has to maintain it as long as he can. What discipline. What obsessiveness and devotion.

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Amazing How Few Americans Join Gyms And How Many Quit Each Year

Here is a New York Times article that has two impressive statistics: Only 15% of Americans belong to gyms. And 45% of fitness club members quit each year. I guess I helped fill out both those facts, when I belonged and then quit. While many people are plugged in to TV’s and ipods, it’s actually the socializing and community spirit that keeps lots of members coming. And if you do the same workout all the time, without varying it or learning different moves, your body plateaus, you don’t see improved results, and you might get disheartened and stop going.

I know a couple of guys who have gone to their gyms for decades. They always talk about their buddies there they work out and talk with while exercising. I could see them and others shooting the bull and not focusing on the work out. I was always concentrating on my routine. And look at my results…I stopped.

The article also describes a new kind of a la carte gym that lets you just pay for the services you want. If you want weights and machines, why accept a larger monthly fee that lets you take zumba and yoga classes. See if you can find one in your area. It certainly sounds attractive to me, but I am stuck with just two full service health clubs within 20 miles.

Wherever you go, maybe the lesson here is to make friends at the gym and change your routine. Hire a trainer now and then and keep your body guessing what is next. However Michael Grondahl, the chief executive of Planet Fitness, recently eliminated personal training at his 406 franchises. He does not believe that he is in the motivation business. A staff trainer still offers 30-minute sessions for groups of five, but Mr. Grondahl said he does nothing to keep members coming. “I can’t keep you motivated to do something you don’t want to,” he said. Honest guy…

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He Is Getting Back Into Shape

A friend who is usually athletic has been so busy traveling for work that for weeks—maybe a few months—he had no time to hit the gym or play sports. He gained some weight and wasn’t feeling great. Now that he has a break from his business projects, he is furiously active regaining better health and fitness. As I write, he is skiing in VT for the second time in a week, and in between ski trips, he sent me the following amazing email update:

“Hate to tell you this but I am back on the physical tread mill….

Two tennis lessons this weekend and we played twice
Working out at 6 am every day on the TRX I sent you
ERG training for an event in Feb
Today I did a double TRX in the morning and personal training tonight

I think I am going to get back in shape in the next 90 days…..if I don’t have to work ;-)”

(The TRX is an exercise program that involves two straps with handles that hang from the ceiling and are used to pull against and create resistance and balance.)

What amazes me is his determination and passion for physical activity. If I play tennis four times a week, I remember when this friend played tennis four different times in a two-day weekend. He has such astonishing drive, and clearly thrives on so much effort. But he always minimizes my awe and respect. He says that he has been active in sports and gym time since he was a kid. It had always been an integral part of his life that he took for granted.

As someone who grew up without those models, without parents who did anything physical and friends who hardly did any athletics consistently, it is all a huge effort for me and has been daunting my whole life, until I semi-retired and began playing tennis a few years ago. I love how I can urge friends from high school to do anything physical, because they are overweight, unfit and diabetic. They think I have morphed into a mad jock. But I know about the people who go to the gym each morning, play tennis six days a week, and have always included exercise and sports into their daily or weekly routine.

I have to report that as hard as it has been to keep doing crunches, as difficult as it became to spend the 3 hours visiting the gym each time (including 1 1/2 hours of driving), I can’t get enough tennis and squash playing into my life. I am scheduled this week to play on five consecutive days and that after two hours of squash planned for today. How attitudes and interests do change. It’s very interesting…and I am still awed by anyone who is at the gym at 6 am…

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Stefan Pinto: From Fat To Fit And From Geek To Chic

Stefan Pinto transformed—6/2009

I read about Stefan in the New York Times , went to his web site, and emailed him to learn an amazing story of his life and body transformation. Here is how he changed his life.

“Five years ago, the only vegetable I ate was the sauce from tomatoes. It was every Friday night that I dined on Pizza Hut’s Stuffed Crust Meat Lovers followed by a heaping three-scoop Baskin Robbins banana split chocolate Macadamian Marshmallow sundae. And five years ago I was 60 pounds overweight, taking prescription medication for allergies, migraine headaches and foot pain. And five years ago, I almost had a heart attack. I was only 33, and the short-lived, immediate joy of eating a poor diet nearly killed me.”

Then two things happened—he joined a gym and changed his diet.

“When I first started going to a gym, I hated it. I could not even ride the stationary training bike for five minutes without feeling as though I would suffer a premature stroke. Turns out, I had exercise induced asthma, a condition diagnosed by a certified trainer and common among the sedentary.

My warm ups on the treadmill ended up being my workout the majority of the time. So, I would “walk” on the treadmill for an hour. Even if I didn’t work out with weights, I would do my hour of walking on the treadmill. Even if I felt “too tired” to go to the gym, I went. But I didn’t really see the point. I suppose I was trapped in the “I want it now” scenario. It just seemed “too difficult.” I was being typical. Naturally, with such a fine excuse, I inevitably gave up after one month and skipped the gym for the next three.

a heavier Stefan—2005

What made me go back was the realization that I hadn’t really given it my best shot. I didn’t try to do anything different. I did what was convenient. And as soon as discomfort of changing a routine set in, I panicked.

the original Stefan—2005

Thankfully (and luckily), I realized that I DID want to lose the weight. I knew that I would not be able to answer to my older self as to what happened to my body. I made a commitment that I will lose 20 pounds by my 34th birthday (I gave myself one year).Where did the motivation come from to do this? Especially during the dead of winter (I lived in New Jersey). Looking back, I have discovered this when it comes to being—and staying—motivated:

It is all about attitude. Those with positive attitudes are more highly motivated than those who aren’t. If we see exercise as a “chore,” then it becomes this. If we see it as a “gift” — an ability to actually change our bodies—then, well, I am sure you understand.

After three months a trainer approached me and suggested I change things up. I ended up hiring that trainer…

By the time I moved to South Beach (two years later), I had already been re-trained and disciplined into a healthier lifestyle, so going to the gym was no longer a chore but a necessity. I worked out seven days a week.

a happier Stefan—2009

It was in 2005 that a model scout discovered me in a supermarket. All of these steps led up to a transformation on the outside, but my attitude towards life and expectations didn’t really change until 2008, when Miami experienced a financial collapse, and my life was set in turmoil.

It made me realize what was important and who I really was. I lost my home, my pet and all of my belongings (I didn’t even have money to buy coffee). Yet, I wasn’t afraid. People who knew my situation grew distant out of their own fear, but I just knew—it’s not that simple to explain—but I just “knew” I would be okay. I felt it here (points to heart). Perhaps all of the cardio offered me some mental clarity? But I am happy I didn’t give up.

I realized that I could just take a job. I actually interviewed at an insurance company and on the drive back home, my rationale kicked in and inquired on what I was doing. I knew I would hate working at that place. The universe stepped in and I never got that job. I decided I would do what I’ve always wanted, and go live in California. Moving to Los Angeles was one of the best things I could’ve done. I am happy with the man I’ve become.”

Today Stefan Pinto writes a health and fitness column for the National Fitness Examiner, has a radio show, is a model, and has a physique that earned him a Playgirl centerfold. Check out his web site to learn more about him and his diet.

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Do It For Yourself! By Rob Hunt

These past two years have tried to suck the life out of me, and they were on the way to achieving it. Between pulling my son out of his freshman year of college; a stock /retirement portfolio that was in a tail spin; and a business that was barely turning a profit, I was not happy. No, make that I was Mad, and not much company for either my wife or family.

Forever one to do things for others, and leave myself with the short end of the deal, I did an about face, and decided it was time to do something I wanted to do. I spotted a new sign in a building close to my office: TRAIN WITH SMITH. Tried to Google it, got nothing, finally drove in and then contacted “Smith” by email as I could tell from looking in the window that it was a small private gym studio. PERFECT: Close to my office in New Milford, CT, Small, Private, and I knew I’d have to really make a commitment versus my past failures of merely joining a gym.

I liked the few quick exchanges we had on email, so I set up an appointment to meet. I will be honest, I was slightly taken aback when I met Corey Smith, and she at first scared the hell out of me–an attractive young woman in classic proportion yet with arms so muscular that they are almost the size of my thighs. Yet there I was, setting up an appointment for her to personally guide me into better shape. Little did I know that what she really would guide me towards was a happier, better way to live.

I was not fat. I was not horribly out of shape. However, I knew that turning 60 was glaring me in the face; that I wanted to try to keep it at bay. After my first two training classes with Corey, I knew I was getting so very much more than what I would ever get in a gym. I know from past experiences that it is way too easy to make excuses to not go to the gym, or to go and believe you’re doing a work out. I now see that with the proper form and regimen, you get so very much more out of a private training session. I go four times a week, one hour each visit.
Corey really doesn’t believe in a lot of machines; they hold you up, instead of using your own body weight. What first appeared like some instruments of torture dangling from an overhead bar now support me while doing lower abdomen curls, pull ups, as well as a web with handles, which I plank off of while doing all types of arm and back work.

I next signed up for her CLEAN class where she teaches you how to eat more intelligently. What struck me the most that first evening at CLEAN was that it takes 4 weeks to break a habit….She was giving us the opportunity to break bad habits and create new ones…And I did. I now eat 6 meals a day and have more energy and stamina that I can ever remember having. Every three hours I’m eating another meal, not a snack, but a full meal, in a reverse triangle proportion.

(This means that breakfast is the largest and most heavy carb meal. Each subsequent meal is a little smaller and with less heavy carbs. Each is a full meal, meaning proteins, carbs and fats. But no, not a snack of just a piece of cheese and an apple. For breakfast I’ve been known to have 2 slices of whole grain bread, 3 turkey meatballs with tomato sauce, 2 eggs and a slice of avocado. My last meal might be 4 or 5 shrimp, a small salad with some feta cheese in it. My 2nd meal of the day (10 am) might be a cup of Quinoa with cranberries and toasted pecans. I now stop eating starchy carbs at my 3rd meal, which is lunch.

She also drilled into us P.P.P.P.P.P… Proper Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance….I do a lot of cooking for the week on Sunday, so it’s all there ready to pick up and cart with me to eat at the office again at 10, 1, and 4.)

While I don’t fixate on the number, I show that I’ve dropped 12 lbs. However knowing that I have gained so very much muscle strength who knows (or cares) what that real number might be. I’ve given up drinking my nightly beloved Cosmopolitans except for one on Cheat Night, and my evenings are now shared with my family with a smile, instead of just being sprawled on a sofa scowling and mad at my plight in these upsetting economic times.
I would never have thought that the mix of eating better, and exercise would have had such a positive mental re- adjustment on me. I’ve dropped weight, gone off meds, and reshaped my body. But more importantly: I’M HAPPY AGAIN.

Check out the studio and read some of Corey’s newsletters at this Facebook link.

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Progress And Discipline For Anyone Who Is Aging

I have been out of town, so not adding stories. But I did set a new record for the number of crunches: 1600 in three sets of 500+500+600 with breaks of 60 seconds and then 90 seconds. These are just lifts from the floor, while my calves are elevated on a couch or medicine ball. I am merely creating tension for my abs, not lifting up even an inch at the end. Still a Personal Best for me…

At my high school reunion, I sat next to a classmate who told me he is in the gym six days a week spinning and working out on the machines 3 to 4 hours a day…an average total of 23 hours a week. He was very scornful of all the overweight and flabby, out-of-shape, 70-year-old bodies he saw hobbling around and dancing. He did look more fit and youthful than the others. But he was too disgusted to say much. I didn’t remember him from the old days…many of the other old-timers looked good from their cycling, one climbed mountains, some played basketball, many still ski, one throws the shotput. It’s all a choice. You make it…

Mike Sorrentino’s Fitness Routine Gets Him The Girls

“It’s all about fitness for me. With fitness, you get the girls.”

the Situation

At least that’s what Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino promises on his website, where he describes some aspects of his abs workout. Many of you know that this “Jersey Shore” reality TV show star is supposed to be making over $5 million this year partly because of his in-your-face personality and also because he has great abs. In fact, when he takes off his shirt, there is this “situation” that always makes him irresistible to any human being who happens to be a female from New Jersey. Check out my previous story and picture.

So what are his secrets: first of all he goes to the gym 5-6 days a week, works out for 1 1/2 hours each time, including 30 minutes of cardio. He does abs and lower back exercises every other day. Some days he does 3-4 very difficult exercises, including crunches while he is hanging upside down.

He also uses a home exerciser and a colon cleanse “to help rid my body of the pasta alfredo from the night before. Let’s face it, when it comes to great abs, you can’ t have a digestive situation brewing with a heavy load underneath the six pack. You have to get rid of the waste, and…I normally just make a protein shake and within an hour or so, I’m hittin’ the toilet for a workout of an area of my body that the gym doesn’t cover.”

I love the way you talk, Mike…so intimate, so honest, so earthy…

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Aaron Carter’s Asymmetric Abs

Aaron's abs

Aaron Charles Carter (born December 7, 1987) is an American singer. He is the younger brother of singer Nick Carter, from the boy band Backstreet Boys. He came to fame as a pop and hip hop singer in the late-1990s, establishing himself as a star among preteen and teenage audiences during the early-2000s. He has also launched an acting career.

In addition to sports, Carter enjoys working out. At the age of fourteen, he took up weightlifting and boosted his body weight from 120 lb to 140 lb. He is also a gymnast, and he frequently performs back flips, handstands, and one-arm cartwheels in his concert appearances.

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Sports/Exercise Report For August

August was busy and broke a record. In spite of a four-day trip to help move my daughter into college, I was active 22 days, way above last month’s 17 days and closer to my record 25 days in November.

I played tennis or practiced during 18 days, equaling my record set in June, and for 42 1/2 hours, way up from last month’s 28 3/4 hours and exceeding my December record of 41 ¾ hours. I love the game, and I am definitely improving. Incredibly satisfying.

My four crunch sessions are pathetic, below last month’s five times and also way below my record number of nine sessions in May and in December. I did increase the numbers though and reached 400+400+400 (1200), way up from last month’s high of 250+250+250 (750 total), and not far from my record of three sets of 450 (1350 total) in May.

I did start doing push-ups again, believing that my wrist and elbow are healed well enough to avoid further injury. Over three days, I built up from 25 total to 30 and then 35. Nothing great, but at least I can do them now after a break of over a year. I also did 90 bent over rows a couple of times and spent 1 3/4 hours in a gym in Boston working some machines and doing abs exercises.

Miraculous Message Meant For My Abs

this magazine waited five years for me to find it

Not to get too weird, but I had this amazing coincidence yesterday at the dermatologist’s office. I go for a complete body exam every six months, because I grew up in Florida, was a cabana boy in the sun all the time, and my CT doctor told me years ago that “You have a lot of sun damage here and need to be checked out periodically.” So glad he insisted, because the skin doc found a very deadly melanoma cancer patch growing on my back. By catching it early, I am still alive and healthy over five years later.

Yesterday I was feeling a bit sad in the waiting room, because I remembered just last August I had the most muscles of my life. I was going to the gym two or three times a week for over two years. I was built. Then I did too many pull ups, tore some arm and shoulder joints, became very lazy and stopped the gym completely.

Can’t seem to get back into it, though I am playing lots of tennis and some other sports. I easily ignore the weights resting six feet from where I type. I don’t do push ups anymore. I admire the bodies of muscular men whose pictures I post on this site. But I just have no motivation to do anything.

Until yesterday. When I once again sat in the waiting room and reached for a magazine on the table next to my chair—there have to be 40 chairs and at least five tables of current magazines. Yet this time there was an issue of Muscle and Fitness with a cover story screaming “Abs Special, 11 best ab exercises.” How could I resist, though I never buy or read these kinds of magazines.

It was definitely inspiring. It did not seem to have been read at all. Those postcard-sized subscription cards were still in it, the pages were like new. Pretty understandable, I thought, because most of the patients are old folks with conditions that have surfaced after years of skin abuse. Many have canes and use walkers. Can’t picture them lifting weights or doing crunches. Some are barely alive.

a five year old issue finds me goofing off and shames me

Then I noticed the date—it was May 2005. This copy has been sitting there for over five years!! How can that be? You’d think the receptionist would have discarded it or replaced it with newer issues. But it appeared to be the only muscle mag in the room. Did someone bring it there just to give me a visual kick in the brain? Did the Universe send me a message to lift weights, because it knows how lazy I have been?

You can probably dismiss the strangeness of my collision with this particular issue and its abs cover story. You can also make up 10 other explanations of how a new copy came to be there five years after it was published. But I am going to see it as a sign, an omen, a miracle and an amazing shaming.

I’m going to lift some weights and do some push ups as soon as I post this message…and I did it: 25 push ups and three sets of bent over rows for each arm, 15 reps each time, 35 pounds. It’s a start. Felt/feels good.

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How John Isner Trains For Long Tennis Matches

I wrote recently about the dangers of playing sports like tennis in hot weather. Doing it is much more difficult than watching it. I remember during the 2009 Australian Open that announcers were commenting on record temperatures over 100 degrees—it reached 111 one day. I had trouble in Miami, where I grew up, when I visited last year and played in just 87 humid degrees. How do players survive it for hours?

Isner and Roddick—2007

I heard that John Isner trained for this year’s Wimbledon by practicing heavily at Saddlebrook Resort in Florida’s mid-day heat. He spent up to 3 ½ hours a day on strength training and endurance. He also drinks coconut milk. By the way, he is 6’9″ and weighs 250 pounds. You can get some sense of his size in these pictures.

John Isner

So I looked up his specially designed training program and found this story by Joey Johnston of the Tampa Tribune:

… Before Wimbledon began, Craig Boynton, Isner’s coach, told the player he was strong enough to play for 10 hours. It was meant as confidence-building inspiration. But he wasn’t far off the mark.

“We develop programs for a lot of different players – some of them follow the plan and others don’t as well as they should,” said Jason Riley, Saddlebrook’s director of sports performance, who serves as Isner’s strength and conditioning coach, along with Kyle Morgan.

“John is meticulous about it. He implements the plan. He really takes care of his body. Coming out of college, it’s just speculation, but I’m not sure if his body would’ve held up. Physically and mentally, I’m not sure if he could’ve withstood a match like that.”

The essentials:

Diet: Riley is a big proponent of coconut water, which mimics electrolytes. He stresses food that provides sustained energy, such as fish, chicken, brown rice, sweet potatoes, whole wheat pasta and “a ton of vegetables.”

“When you go 70-68 in the fifth set, there’s going to be a lot of inflammation in your body,” Riley said. “The more antioxidants and vegetables you put in there, the better off you’re going to be.”
Does Isner ever stray from his diet, perhaps getting spotted as a fast-food drive-thru?

“I’m sure he does – but not very often,” Riley said with a smile. “You’ve got to know the times you can do those things – and the times you can’t do those things. He’s in a good place with his body now and he doesn’t want to mess that up. That could mean gaining weight or losing weight.”

Strength and conditioning: Isner alternates between the weight room and exercises to aid his movement and agility. Read the rest of this entry »

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Jason Statham’s Workout Routine

After admiring his physique, I bumped into this Men’s Health article about how Jason lost 17 pounds in six weeks and how he grew all his muscles. It’s an eye opener to someone like me who loves sugar and spends 30 minutes doing only abs exercises. Jason’s entire routine takes just 35 minutes. But he does it six days a week, and the pictures show he is doing something very right. I love his comment in the article: If Statham’s workout is your model, you should understand that, at times during our talk, he referred to it as horrible, nauseating, bastard, murder, nightmare, and priceless, preceding each description with the word “f–king.”

Jason's muscles pop in Transporter 3

Statham’s Secrets of Superlean

Actor Jason Statham took on a brutal new training regimen and dropped 17 pounds in 6 weeks. So, what are you waiting for?

“He’s a bit lardy, isn’t he?” Jason Statham says in his gritty British voice, chuckling. He’s referring to the man in two pictures he’s holding, a pair of classic “before” shots, one from the front, one from the back. Indeed, the man in the photos has some extra dough, and not the green kind. There’s muscle there for sure, but no definition at all. Jason Statham isn’t ripping on just anyone: He’s the guy in the photos.

Jason Statham’s weight gain came the same way it does for most of us: a few too many beers and a couple of extra servings, compounded over time. Work out hard and you’ll crave calories as fuel at the same time you loathe the millstone they can form around your middle.

“I never gave a f–k about a calorie,” Statham says. “An apple? It’s good for me. I’d have five. Bananas? Eat the bunch.”

Statham was staying active at work, filming the shoot-’em-up War, in which he has his first fight scenes with a worthy adversary — Jet Li. But the pounds crept onto his torso and hung there like the remembrance of meals past.

Now Jason Statham brushes aside the ugly photos on the coffee table in his living room and gives me a dose of his current reality: He lifts up his shirt. He’s shredded — rumble-strip abs, cords in his chest, veins in his arms.

“That’s 17 pounds in 6 weeks, mate,” he says, and then plops down on his sofa again. “And that’s working out 6 days a week for, at most, about 35 minutes a day. I’ve never, ever gotten results like this before.”

That’s a bold statement from a man who used to be on the British Olympic diving team and lists mixed martial arts (that’s UFC-style fighting) as a hobby. In fact, he sounds like an infomercial. So what’s the secret?

Prepare to sweat. And hurt. And, well, eat. But only enough to stoke your fire, not smother it.

Jason in jail in Death Race

The Workout

If Statham’s workout is your model, you should understand that, at times during our talk, he referred to it as horrible, nauseating, bastard, murder, nightmare, and priceless, preceding each description with the word “f–king.”

What follows are his general guidelines and some sample exercises. For a typical week’s complete workout, go here.

He works out every day but Sunday with Logan Hood, a former Navy SEAL that runs Epoch Training ( Saturdays are reserved for hour long sustained trail runs in the Hollywood Hills while the other 5 days are spent at 87Eleven, a full service action film company and stunt studio located in a converted warehouse near the Los Angeles airport. Hollywood stuntmen own and train at the unique facility. There are trampolines, climbing ropes, heavy bags, barbells, kettlebells, crash pads, and a complex apparatus of pullup bars.

There are only two real rules to the workout.
1. No repeats. “I haven’t had one single day in 6 weeks that has been a repeat,” he says. “Every single day has had a different combination of exercises. Obviously, you repeat exercises over the course of 6 weeks, but you’ll never do that workout you did on Thursday the 23rd of August again. It always changes, and that’s what keeps it so interesting.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Spring Into Shape With Smart Exercise

When I started reading this article, I immediately thought, “Another author telling the same obvious tale—exercise is good for you. Don’t people get it yet? Is it really necessary to keep saying the same thing?”

But then I recognized one of the books Dr. Ni has written—I already own it and like it. And he talks about injuries, while I also was enduring a back pain that may have come from too many weights lifted or too many crunches after too long of not doing too much. So I am sharing a few excerpts. He also mentions and includes links to Tai Chi and acupuncture.

No Pain, No Gain? Think Again! I have a number of patients who are “weekend warriors”—people who don’t exercise much during the week but go to the extreme on weekends. They’ll engage in vigorous physical activities like mountain biking or high-impact aerobics—and then usually end up in my office with an injury. There is nothing wrong with these intense athletic activities, but when they are done infrequently, they often lead to injuries.

To reap the benefits of exercise, it isn’t necessary to work out to the extreme or get your heart pumping to its maximum. On the contrary, many studies show that regular, moderate exercise does more for your health and waistline than periodic intense workouts. Also keep in mind, when exercising beyond a healthy level of heart rate, your body switches from burning fat to burning carbohydrates for energy. The old maxim of “no pain, no gain” is destructive, and the wear and tear of physical strain takes its toll.

… From my clinical experience and research, I am convinced that it is best to exercise four times or more per week, for 30 minutes each time.

…In my 25 years of clinical practice and research on centenarians, I have never met a healthy person or centenarian that lived a physically inactive life. Exercise brings with it numerous benefits, from boosting your energy and reducing stress hormones to lowering your risk for heart disease, stroke, cancer depression, and diabetes.

Dr. Maoshing Ni, Longevity Expert
Author of Secrets of Longevity: Hundreds of Ways to Live to Be 100

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Sports/Exercise Report

March ended up being an exhausting month of activity: 21 days total of sports and gym time and four crunch sessions. This compares with records of 25 physically active days in November and nine crunch sessions in December. I did increase to 750 ball crunches twice, up from 550 in February, but below my record 1050 in January. I think the two weeks of vacation travel with restaurant meals was unsettling and used up exercise opportunities. I can’t yet play tennis on a plane.

The three draining days of downhill skiing (one of those on moguls) wore me out for the last two weeks. The week I returned home, I played squash and tennis 9 out of 10 days. I was tired. For the month I played tennis 13 days and 27.5 hours (record is 16 days and 41 3/4 hours), squash two days and 2 hours (record is 8 days and 7.5 hours), made it to the gym four times (just 2 hours), rowed 4 times and went to one Zumba class.

The last day I played tennis on the 29th, I was terrible…lots of unforced errors. Somehow I just couldn’t make it easily through 3 1/2 hours of tennis, when in previous months I was able to last for 4 1/2 to 5 hours. Maybe I will be recharged after my 69th birthday on April 5th.

The Dangers Of Exercise And Bodybuilding—April Fools

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Can Anyone Fit In An Hour Of Exercise Each Day?

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Healthy middle-aged women in America will be hard pressed to get in the full hour of moderate exercise it will take to avoid gaining weight as they age, and it may be too challenging for some.

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association on Tuesday found that middle-aged women need to get at least an hour a day of moderate exercise if they hope to ward off the creep of extra pounds that comes with aging.
“Time is a four-letter word,” said Eva Lazarra, 48, a pharmacist at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, Illinois, who was taking a break from work to lift weights at the facility’s fitness center.

“In a realistic world of a working mom with a family, it can be difficult. I’ve done my best,” said Lazarra. “I have done marathons. I have done triathlons. Unfortunately, we have to start looking at prevention, and that being part of our daily life.”

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama are already waging a war on childhood obesity. It may take a similar push in adults to help them avoid the health consequences of obesity such as heart attacks, strokes and diabetes.

Already, two-thirds of U.S. adults and nearly one in three children are overweight or obese — a condition that increases their risk for diabetes, heart disease and other chronic illnesses. Read the rest of this entry »

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