Weightlifting Gloves, Straps, and Belts… Just for Show?

Jul 15 2010 |

“Manly” men think they’re for “girly” men.  My brother asked me once, “do those gloves and weightlifting belt actually do something for you, or do you just have those for show?”

I smiled.  Then I explained.

When I was asked that question umpteen times back in the day, when the “fitness craze” was just hitting full stride, I answered simply that “a girlfriend in the past had said the calluses on my hands were too rough, so she bought me a pair of gloves and asked me to wear them. “  And then I explained the other benefits.

Gloves help keep calluses from forming on your hands.  They also help you grip the bar, weights, machine handles, and everything else in the gym.  Dumbbells with knurled metal will tear your hands up, so a good weightlifting glove will save them, if not prevent calluses, completely.

While I’m at it, I may as well round out this short post by mentioning weightlifting straps, as well.  Arguments against are that your grip strength won’t be as good if you use them, because your hands and forearms won’t have to work as hard.  Well, I’ve had a disc slip in my lower lumbar when trying to get situated with 120 lb dumbbells on an incline bench.  I happened to forget my straps that day, and that was the last time I attempted to handle poundage like that without straps.  All it takes is the tiniest of miscues or slips.

Plus, you can always get another rep or three if you’re using straps on a lift that really utilizes grip strength.  Hanging wide grip chinups are a good example.  Your grip can be a limiting factor if your back is strong enough and is capable of doing more reps than your hand grip will allow.  Use straps and you can focus on your back, doing as many reps as possible that your back strength and endurance allow… not grip strength and endurance.  If I’m working my back, I want my back to fail, not my hands.  Same with every other muscle group.

And then there are weight-lifting belts.  They have their place.  For powerlifters, a necessity.  For others, depending, they can help, especially if you’re injured.  If you’re otherwise healthy and uninjured, I would suggest lifting without a weight-lifting belt, unless you’re lifting massive amounts of weight.  Then use one for those super heavy lifts, but not otherwise.  Your core, your abdominals… will work a bit more without a belt.  And your form will probably be better as a result.

But that’s just my take.  Opinions vary!    Try it both ways and let me know what YOU think!

Get Rid Of Acne… For Good!

Jul 11 2010 |

I was looking for my Clear Skin book to give to a friend, but I couldn’t find the damn thing. I searched for it on Amazon, Googled it… lots of alternatives, but not THAT book. So, I used my recollection of it, and typed out a long email. I decided to include it here, because one thing is for sure. Acne affects almost all of us at one time or another. And the treatment method laid out in that book was straightforward, simple, and gave amazing results!

Search for yourselves, but if you’re looking to get to the bottom line quickly, just read the following.

I think that this is definitively the best way of getting rid of acne and it’s remnants. Over-the-counter products, no “drugs”. I don’t think they work any better, anyway.

In my experience, I used a sulfur/salicylic acid combination cream that worked great for me. You can find it over-the-counter… either sulfur, salicylic acid, or benzoyl-peroxide based (or a combination) cream. You apply it morning and night. The key is to dry the skin and let it flake. Drying/Peeling agents are what does that. Apply it and let your skin dry out. Obviously, you apply it to the affected areas and don’t need it elsewhere. You can go hard core or slowly, using an oil-free lotion to keep the skin from looking too weird as it peels, but I went hard core, used lotion to keep it from looking like a lepur, and in about a month had it reversing direction.

It can really be dry, it can make your skin flaky, and make you think something may be wrong. But it’s supposed to be that way. Again, that’s going at it hard core. Obviously, if you immediately have a reaction to it, then you might be allergic to whatever you’re using. So once you’ve been using it for a few days or more, your skin dries out, begins to flake, you know it’s doing what it’s supposed to.

The thing that the book explains is that if you keep using the stuff, your skin (hair follicles, actually) will eventually (about a month) be in a constant state of peeling from beneath the skin. But you won’t be visibly flaking at that point. You scale back on the amount you use, but you still apply it morning and night. So you’ll have cleaned-out follicles instead of clogged follicles, and the problem won’t occur again as long as you keep it that way. As for the left-over skin condition from the problem up to now, I was amazed at the before/after photos… what appeared to be scarring due to acne, was cleared up completely. So there is more than just hope. I would say follow the protocol, and it will be cleared up… almost miraculously.

Note: the book described a lot about your hair follicles, bacteria clogging them up, different types of side-effects (pimples, blackheads, whiteheads, implosions, etc), and some science behind it all. But the treatment for all of those conditions was all the same.

The Basics to Health (and Fitness)

Jul 5 2010 |

The Basics? Seems like it’s always been “Eat a balanced diet, and exercise”.

The exercise part could be replaced with “lead an active lifestyle”, or “be active”, but there aren’t too many of us who are healthy, fit, and trim into our adult lives who don’t put forth at least some effort on it.

Does the following describe you?
Your body weight remains at a healthy level, your nutrition is pretty good, you’re a generally happy person who doesn’t stress much, you have fulfillment in your life, whether career, family, or whatever. And all you do is eat nutritious foods, walk the dog, play with the kids, mow the lawn, clean the house, and viola’, you’re healthy, and you look and feel great!

If so, good for you! Las Vegas has odds set at about 99 to 1 against that being you!

Unfortunately, with the obesity level in the U.S. rising to 26.1% of our population in 2008 (read the CDC obesity report), I doubt that there are many healthy people who don’t work at it at least a little. And for those of us who aspire to being very healthy, remaining young/youthful (anti-aging is the buzzword), or being very active, functional, fit, and looking the part, we either have to really enjoy the lifestyle, or work at it despite how much we wish we didn’t have to.

A Quick Note on Body Mass Index – don’t worry too much about this, but it’s good to understand it. It’s kind of out-dated, but it’s still being used.

As far as obesity and body mass index correlation, they are loosely correlated, but not absolutely.

My body mass index indicates that I’m overweight, though I am extremely fit, and my body fat level is usually below 10%.

Height: 5 feet, 10 inches
Weight: 190 pounds (my weight fluctuates between 188 and 195, while my body fat fluctuates between 7-12%, usually being roughly 8%.

My BMI, according to the adult CDC Body Mass Index Calculator:

“Your BMI is 27.3, indicating your weight is in the Overweight category for adults of your height. For your height, a normal weight range would be from 129 to 174 pounds.”

Conclusion? If you’re a sedentary person, body mass index charts are a fairly good indicator. If you have a lean, muscular physique, your BMI will be almost meaningless.

On the other extreme, the stereotypical anorexic “waif” model body type often has a higher than healthy bodyfat level, with poor health, but their BMI is “perfect”.

Ok, so back to the basics of being healthy and fit…

My take on it is this – you don’t have to kill yourself or hate the process to be healthy, fit, and energetic, and to look and feel good as well.

  • If all you want is to be somewhat fit, somewhat trim, be healthy by medical standards, and look and feel pretty good, regardless of your age, you can do so with a modest amount of time and effort.
  • If you want to be super fit, ripped, chiseled, and rock hard, super healthy, and look and feel great, you’ll have to work at it, and you’ll probably either love it, or love the results so much that you train your mind to “just do it”.

The amount of time and effort you have to put into it will depend on:

Time and Effort Factors

  • your genetics
  • your age
  • your beginning level of fitness, bodyfat, and health
  • your level of athleticism
  • your relationship with food
  • the fitness activities you choose
  • there are other factors, but they don’t matter as much

The Year Long Plan:

I’ve taken 50-something men and women who were entirely unathletic, and helped them completely change their bodies over the course of a year. They worked out 3 times/week, and gradually changed their eating habits until they were at a B- grade level with regard to nutrition.

The Fast Track to Health/Fitness:

It can be done faster, but how fast depends on a number of factors. I’ll say that 6 months is likely for many people, and 3-4 months for some.

The time frame for you depends on your goal, as well as the Time and Effort Factors listed above. But the beauty of it is that the basics are pretty much the same for everyone, while advanced goals require advanced exercise and intensity, and a more “scientific” nutritional plan. I use the term scientific because that’s what it is, but the common terms you hear are “more restrictive diet”, “eating super clean”, “a tighter diet”, or other similar-sounding terms.

Note: I will refer to the term “diet” often, meaning your day-to-day eating habits, as opposed to a restrictive caloric intake strategy to lose weight.

DIET = eating plan NOT a restrictive caloric intake strategy for losing weight

The Bottom Line:

Eating right and exercising are the prescription for good health. If you’ve neglected your body for a long time, you can start turning things around now. Just decide to start. Make a change. Start with one thing. When you’re accustomed to that, add one thing at a time, and before long, you’ll be living a healthier lifestyle. If you’re fairly healthy, but you want to improve in one or more areas, the answer is the same… just start to implement a new and improved plan. If you’re looking for a particular plan, you’ll find one that fits your needs on this site.

Go ahead, you can do it. Get started today doing something, and it will lead to much, much more.