Supplement Review: BSN Dessert

I have found it.

The mother load.

I have my all time favorite protein ever.

This is it. THIS is the big one.

The one I’ve been waiting for.

If there is such a thing as having a staple supplement,as in something you will always find in my kitchen, this is it.

BSN Lean Dessert. This has got to be the best Protein on the market. Seriously. Let’s get right into this.

This is a protein blend product that has 6 forms of protein in it. It’s made a little thicker than their staple Syntha –  6 product. If you’re someone like me who struggles with sweets, this is the perfect supplement. I have a problem with balance when it comes to sweets. I either eat the whole bag of peanut butter M&M’s or I swear off all sweets for 3 years! I can’t seem to get the proper moderation that is necessary.

Also, I’m one of those people that gets hungry at night time: which is one of the worst times to ingest a lot of carbs. I have the stretch marks to prove it.

How does one get a great taste of sweets while remaining fitness and nutrition minded? I’ll tell you how. By calling up your local BSN Rep and saying, “BRING ME SOME DESSERT…ON THE DOUBLE!!!”

And that’s what I did…

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Where’s my manners? Before doing anything, you always need the proper gear. And this time, it would be the limited edition BSN Shaker Cup, brought me by the greatest girlfriend a guy could be blessed with. I love you, sugar, with all my heart!!! Armed with her love and this shaker bottle, it’s time to conquer Earth life!

The Pour. 

IMG_3898I like to add a packet of Quaker Oats, just to make it even thicker. It’s a great quick meal replacement, especially if you add a banana to it.

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I elected to try the Cinnamon Roll flavor.

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Incredible.

To say the taste is fantastic is an understatement, that’s for sure. This fills me up for a few hours and keeps me going through the night time. Also, on those days at school, where I know it might be longer than I wish before I can get my next meal, I usually opt for this instead of the Syntha 6 since I tend to burn through that quite fast. This is just a great supplement, and the price? Almost unbeatable. On Amazon, this hovers around $25.00 making it one of the cheaper proteins. The quality is great for the price and will last about a month.

I’m really surprised. Normally with protein shakes I suffer gas or some type of gastrointestinal issues. I’m amazed that with this? Nothing. I fully expected that my stomach would be bothered, but not at all. As part of a nutritionally rich diet, I can say that I will be ready for this summer as long as BSN (and the love of my Pretty Lady) are around.

Thank you baby for helping me to Finish First!

 

 

Identity Crisis

I’ve had a struggle with this blog lately.

The truth of the matter is, I am having a crisis of identity of what to actually do with this blog. I don’t know if it’s writer’s block, so that I can’t get the words my from head to the blog. I don’t know if I need to scale back…if there’s actually the opposite problem where I have TOO much I want to write about and not sure how to move forward.

Lately, whenever I log onto this thing and begin to write, I inevitably have the same problem.

Somedays, I want to post meals I made (yes…I actually eat more than protein shakes, believe it or not).

Other days, I think about posting about workouts or new fitness routines.

Some days, I just want to post about the love of my life. Because really…nothing else matters more.

Still other days, I want to go on rants about the fitness industry. There’s a post that’s been rotating in my mind for weeks about how bikini models are overtly objectified in the fitness industry.

India Paulino Nude

Of course, that speaks to a bigger problem about the objectifying nature of bikini competitions. But to a further point, seriously, though, do I even have the right to write such a post? I’ve read the article behind this latest picture of the current Bikini Champion, India Paulino, in this months Muscular Development. She’s worked hard for that body so she should be able to place photos of it wherever she likes.  Who am I? Plus, I don’t know anything at all of her “real life” and where she learned that her value comes from how well her body looks or her ability to turn others on. Or maybe it’s far simpler— maybe she just likes taking pictures!! So I can’t really write that post or write it fairly. She indeed takes nice pictures, but at the end of the day, I don’t know her “story”.  Not to mention the other problem— she probably is a very nice person and just signed with one of my favorite supplement companies. Conflict.  Of.  Interest. I’m not trying to burn any bridges right now, since I don’t know what opportunities might lie ahead.  Not to mention a post like that is just begging to raise the ire of my feminist readers. Put your guns down ladies. I come in peace.

I’ve recently figured out that my body is very carb intolerant. I need less carbs to function and higher protein and healthy fats. A simple change and acknowledgement of this would see me drop loads of weight in less than 3 months. Does anybody actually care about that? Why would someone care that I ate an avocado today instead of the cheese pizza?!

If I’m going to be honest, (and I always am!!!) the truth of the matter is, that all these things…seem done before. I’m not sure what the “unique” thing is that I bring to the plate of fitness blogging anymore. This could be the result of all the time I spend at school (it’s Friday, I am supposed to be working on several various papers. I’m taking a short break right now to write this post before spending the rest of the night crying over analyzing my data). Somehow I have lost my way, the owner of a blog that is trying locate or perhaps revamp its voice.

I’m just not sure what to write about anymore. I don’t know what to say on here that you can’t just find on Youtube said in a far superior way. I’m not sure what to say on here anymore that you won’t find on Twitter or Facebook. I don’t know what my “THING” is, to where someone would be online and think to themselves: “I need to check the Orange Mask…that’s where the answers are that I need.”

So besides the crazy hours of work at school,  I have a blog right now searching to find its place. It’s niche.

Even supplement reviews are becoming a little troublesome— I’ve made the mistake of having several favorite supplement companies now. SO spending $$$$ to test out other lesser products to see if they work seems silly, and not financially smart (especially given that I’m a graduate student). Also, my hunch is that for Supplement Reviews, most prefer to watch them online on Youtube.

We’re coming upon the 2 year mark of this site, so maybe that’s why I feel I need to shift gears and change focus. I’m not trying to figure out what to do in the gym anymore. If I’m going to be mature, I already know what foods to eat and not eat. I just need to adhere to that. I have a good idea too, which supplement companies are good and worth your time as a consumer and which are using you. I’m not a newbie starting out anymore going to Planet Fitness. I actually want to “bring it” with the big boys at Gold’s Gym.

On an even more personal note, I’m not under the faulty assumption anymore that my value comes from how my body looks. When I started this site that was a basic premise. It was actually a basic premise in my life.  “My body looks bad, I will work out, it will look good and you will like my stories of how I made it good. Then you will like me.” But my belief in myself comes from something a little more sterner. As my baby says it best,

”In all honesty there is really only one answer I have for that, and its: God. God is a very important part in my life. He is the Love of my life. And it wasn’t until I got to a place where I realized that beauty DOES NOT come from the outside, but from within. No amount of makeup or fitness can create it. I had to open up the Bible and read what God said about me. He created me. He said I was beautiful. He said that everything He created was good. When I started to believe THAT, that is when I found my confidence. But remember my confidence is not in MY LOOKS. So on my bad days, which I have— I have cellulite, I have acne scars, I have stretch marks—even on those days, I still know I am beautiful. Because I know that God created me. That Jesus loved me so much He died for me. My confidence is in the God who gave me my looks, not the looks I was given. Time and age will quickly put an end to what we define as “beauty”.  Apart from the Lord, I would still be struggling. The idea of “beauty” will always change. So what you base your confidence in needs to be something that is unchanging. For me, that is God.”

Whether my bodyfat % is 30% or 10% (which I may reach one day…maybe), I’m still loved and still valuable. My baby loves me so well, she loves me perfectly, better than I have ever been loved before. In the time we’ve been together I’ve fully learned and accepted it’s not the gym that defines how good I am or how great a personality I have…OR how deserving of love and respect I am. Until I met her, I was pretty convinced it’s what a person does that merits all that stuff. And when you stop doing stuff, you’re no longer worthy of love. She taught me, it’s who a person IS. That’s a long winded way of saying, God loves me for me…not for how many macros I ingested today. So does my Queen. If I show up bloated from too many carbs? My baby says, “I love you”. If I show up fitness model ready, looking like a million bucks with abs you can bounce a penny off of? My baby says, ” I love you”. It is unchanging and for that I will always love you, sugar.  Truly, deeply and eternally. So it’s hard for me to write a post detailing how many lbs I lost, or how many inches I gained on my biceps these days. It just seems superficial.

A freshness needs to be added here. A new direction. A change of pace. An Orange Mask 2.0, if you will. Still fitness related…but what? And that’s my central problem right now. I don’t know the next evolution of the site.

This could be a reflection of a larger issue with life. Maybe I need to add some new things in to get inspired to write. Enter a bodybuilding competition? Enter a triathlon? Enter some 5K, 10K and train for that? Attend a competition and live report from there (that’s actually something I DO want to do, with my baby sometime in the future…I would love to turn this into a fitness news site at some point. Whenever I can get out of my lab, haha).

I’m still around. The site will always be around in one iteration or another. There will always be an “Orange Mask” around to inform you, defend you, and give you fitness insights. It’s just that my “heroically superior adventures in fitness”, don’t seem grandiose enough to write about at the moment.

I need to figure out where my place in fitness blogging / bodybuilding blogging is now.

Supplement Review: BSN Syntha-6

Let’s waste no time getting right into this one. Today’s supplement is BSN Syntha-6 Protein.

Instead of giving you my usual description, here’s a video for you to see.

As if I really need to say anything further, this was so good, that I actually purchased some for my girlfriend.

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I almost feel that this whole review can be summed up in the words: “BUY THIS STUFF”. One of the best proteins on the market, I have to say. Pretty much every good thing you’ve ever heard about this stuff…TRUE.

I DO think the price is a little high end (around $52 per canister). YET…it’s worth it. But I think it might be smarter to get the smaller canister, (2.91 pounds as compared to 5.04 pounds) and you can get this from Amazon for about $26.00. You know how I support Bodybuilding on a budget.

The taste of this stuff though…my word, that’s good stuff! I need to get my body in shape for the summer and you can rest assured BSN is going to be the center piece of those efforts.

Supplement Review: BSN Amino X

Today, I have the pleasure of presenting to you the 2012 BCAA Supplement of the year, BSN’s Amino X!! One taste and it’s very easy to see why it won such a prestigious award.

You’ll remember that sometime ago I received a special care package from BSN. Here’s the first of some of the reviews of the products I received from them. It takes a lot to win my heart…well…unless you wear your invisible crown. But BSN has slowly crept in as this company that I thought was vastly overrated to an actual brand producing high quality products.

Let’s begin!

As stated from the website,

Over the years, BSN® has supplied the supplement world with a host of novel muscle-building products. In our undying quest to bring exciting and innovative products to the marketplace, we have developed the newest supplement breakthrough with BSN®’s highly-anticipated entry into the amino acid market: AMINOx™ – the first Effervescent Instantized Amino Acid Endurance and Recovery Agent. AMINOx™ is designed to support:

  • Protein Synthesis*
  • Muscle Sparing*
  • Recovery*
  • Endurance*

Are these true? Let’s see…

I began by drinking Amino X as a way to do three things: 1) Replace Soda and high sugary drinks in my diet and 2) as a pick me up after a long day of school and 3) to help power me through my workouts—as an intraworkout or post workout, since I’m not taking a preworkout right now. The flavor I received? Green Apple!

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First and foremost, the taste is amazeba—-, er… quite satisfying. I can say this is the best Amino tasting product I have ever tried. BSN definitely knows how to flavor some stuff, that’s for sure.

I would come home from a long day, and have one of these and I felt my energy return to me for about 2 hours. When doing cardio, at the end, it was a great refreshing drink as well. And quite frankly, this tastes better than many protein drinks on the market, most of which upset my stomach.

Online, you are looking at about $34.99 for a month supply. Unless we go to Amazon, and you get it for anywhere from $18-$26. Bodybuilding on a budget strikes back!

This was a great product! I will probably get this again, and definitely this as the clear favorite among BCAA needs.

Wednesday “Win”spiration: Mighty Warrior edition

Super Fit woman

 

I think about all the ways that there is to describe her. And this picture pretty much covers it all. You all know I love super heroes, right? Well, she is mine. She’s so brave. So strong. So tough. So wise. So knowledgeable.

She can perform permutations and combinations in under 20 seconds!

She can without the use of a calculator, determine the variance, standard error and confidence interval for the population!

She even knows when child psychopathology was first entered into the DSM (even I couldn’t figure that one out)!

She can eat as much cake as she wants and still sport a mean set of abs!! (by comparison, merely writing the word “cake” has given me 5 extra pounds AND 2 new stretch marks!!)

In short, when I am weak, her bravery inspires me. When am sad, her giggles, bring me joy. When I feel bad about that extra slice of pizza I had…she joins me and offers some southern style dishes…just because!

She knows that fitness isn’t something that you just get in the gym. It’s your inner beauty. And I’ve never seen anyone more beautiful on the inside than her.

I just finished stats about 4 hours before pulling yet another all nighter. But I had to write this before going to sleep. I had to. At her best, and with whatever so called “flaws” she might find with herself, to me, is and could only ever be perfect.

I love you, baby. You’ll always be my Mighty Warrior. You’ll always inspire me. I know you have a big day ahead, baby. But we go through it together. Afterwards, we should do some cookies and cream ice cream, with caramel on chocolate cake. Then to pretend we’re really healthy, wash it all down with a Protein shake :-)

Seize the day, my love. And know that with prayers backing you, you will conquer all. I love you!

Supplement Review: MHPStrong Dopamite

Here it is, a long awaited supplement review, my first in forever. I spent some time on this one because quite frankly…my heart was involved. I have to start out by saying that this particular supplement review would not have been possible without the love and support of my baby. Thank you, sugar for your undying support and unwavering encouragement. I love you! We’re partners so I fully dedicate this post to you and the strong presence of love, faith, truth and joy that you place in my life. Thank you for all that you are…and for never forgetting to wear your invisible crown. You are a princess.

Let’s get right into this.

This year, I wanted to change the focus of the site some, with less emphasis on just pre-workouts but also with other stuff: Proteins, BCAAs, and also Fat Burners. Fat Burners have long enthralled me, and this goes back to my days as an obese 20 year old, entering freshman year at college. The very first fat burner I ever tried was Hydroxycut by MuscleTech. I had long been a reader of Muscle and Fitness as it was my first fitness magazine (trivia point: today I do not read this magazine because I consider the men in it to be too “puny”. This is what happens when your mother’s favorite comic book super hero is the Hulk).

I tried Hydroxycut for a bit in the early Hey days of MuscleTech. Man, that formula was awful! It was like 95% caffeine, 5% other stuff you can’t pronounce. I didn’t lose a single pound on that stuff. Instead, I broke out into a cold sweat, and I started having heart palpitations.  Then of course, there was Stacker and Stacker 2. That stuff was filled with Ephedrine and it was the worst stuff on the market. I’ll never forget, my 2nd week of taking it (this was I’d say near the middle of my first semester of grad school),  I suffered a crazy reaction. I started being able to see sounds and after a few days, I could see about 4 seconds into the future.

Not. Making. That. Up.

So in having the thought of reinstituting fat burners into a supplement stack, I searched long and wide to find one I’d be interested in trying. Sure enough, in looking at the companies that I really love, MHP Stands out. I wondered if they made a fat burner, and sure enough…they did.

I give you, Dopamite.

Going on the company’s site, MHP has uploaded a Youtube video that tells us:

To find more scientific information, you can go to a website, I’ve linked…here!

In layman’s terms, unlike most fat burners which raise your heart rate and resting metabolic rate in order to burn your adipose tissue, this pill works by stimulating the release of dopamine into your system, and activating your pleasure center. Additionally, a feeling of energy is supposed to overtake you as well as reduce cravings. You’ll hear that a lot in the Youtube video above. This in turn is supposed to help you not eat as much since eating is such a pleasurable thing though being on a cut is not. I wondered if those claims were really true. Sure enough, a happy, giggly angel decided to quell my curiosities and before I knew it, Dopamite was in my hands.

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To give basic stats, I’m 5’11 (hold up, now I’ve been 5’10 forever but I come up at 5’11 on trips to the doctor. I’m claiming it, give me my 1 inch!!!) and about 190-192 pounds before taking this stuff. Now, I’m not the delusional type (regardless of the fact that I named my site after a super hero and sometimes I wear a costume at night. Let’s just ignore this, ok?).  It’s unrealistic to take a fat burner and then hope for the best. Instead not only did I take Dopamite, but I am on a bit of a cut right now. I lowered my calories by 500, cleaned up the diet (no more Crown and Cokes, I’m afraid) and increased my cardio. Remember folks, it’s a supplement. It’s supposed to support what you’re already doing, not do everything on its own.

I started by taking one pill a day for a week. By week two I couldn’t “feel” the pill working anymore. So I started taking 2 pills every morning before heading off to school. There’s  a great mood enhancing quality to this supplement. I would almost qualify this as more of a mood enhancer than a fat burner. It felt like I had eaten a whole chocolate cake for breakfast and could come back for seconds. Funny since really, I’m not a fan of dark chocolate. From a starting weight of 192 lbs, my off season weight, I am currently down to 187. That’s remarkable. Cutting calories always is hard. You have to meet your nutritional needs, while not starving but still having enough energy to get through 20-40 minutes of cardio, which in my case was running on a treadmill. I definitely think the mood enhancing qualities helped out a lot. Dropping calories usually makes you grumpy but I felt good all the way through.

Now, here’s the downside. This pill has caffeine in it which is designed to promote your metabolism and give you energy. But I honestly didn’t feel a thing. I flirted with the idea of taking 3 pills at a time to see how it would feel but then thought better of it since this was a gift and I didn’t want to run through the bottle. This is definitely not for someone with a high caffeine tolerance. Also, it’s not for “body sculpting”. It’s to help you get over the mental hump of lowered calories. I didn’t find my alertness or focus anymore increased than before I took the product. Another downside is just basic physiology: if you keep releasing high levels of dopamine, you’re going to need to reduce larger and larger amounts to feel the same amount. So I don’t think this is the kind of pill you take for a long period of time. I think you cycle it and I’d be conservative: maybe one bottle every 4 months if you were just sticking with the MHP Brand.

The price of this is competitive: You can find this on Amazon for around $20-$25. I almost never recommend buying directly from any supplement company if you’re on a budget. In this case if you do, the price jumps to $40. Try to be smart with your finances since supplements can be expensive but I’d say it’s worth the Amazon price.

Overall, you can’t go wrong here unless of course you don’t have a sweet tooth.

MHP will long be one of my favorite brands just because they have superior athletes, great supplements, fairly priced items and was one of the first brands given to me as a gift from the love of my life. So they will always be special. I say give this a try. It’s one of the lower intensity fat burners out there and is probably good for a beginner.

As with all products though, you only get what you put in. Workout, clean up that diet and get 8 hours of solid sleep. Adding this into the mix will easily help you achieve the body you want. Then, like me…you’ll be happy and giggly.

Supplement Review: Jack3d Micro

So the last time USP Labs made an appearance on the blog, things didn’t quite go so well for me. So of course, I was very skeptical about giving this supplement a try. But alas…my body is for you to gain insight (and laugh at hysterically, in some cases). So I present to you, Jack3D: The Sequel… Jack3d Micro.

I wanted to try a pre workout but to be quite honest, I’m a little sick of Beta Alanine. There’s nothing more distracting than trying to lift heavy, but it feels like someone surgically installed a pin cushion into your body. It’s hard to get in your fat burning zone when it feels like a colony of fire ants is attacking you. So needless to say, I’ve taken a long break from Pre Workouts that include this amino acid that every one swears by. I just haven’t wanted it.

When I realized that there was a new Jack3d that didn’t have either Beta Alanie or 1, 3, DMAA in it, I had to give it a try.

With my normal schedule right now, normally I pull all nighters on Tuesday nights, work all day Wednesday and don’t get to sleep until late Wednesday night, before sleeping in a little on Thursday mornings. So the best way to test this out was by trying it on a cold, rainy Thursday morning when I didn’t want to get up early or out of bed. To me, that’s the best measure of a pre workout: if I can feel like it’s 4:00 pm even though it’s 7:00 a.m.

At 7:00 a.m. no one wants to be at the gym. I don’t care what any one tells you, no one wants to be at the gym that early. You HAVE to be at the gym that early so you can get other things done during the day. But no one wants to be there. The conditions were great for me to try this out.

It was an “easier” day for the gym with me. Arms and treadmill. I took 1 scoop for the first week, before having to go up to two the next week.

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As you can tell from the pictures, Jack3D micro retains the original small scooper from the first Jack3d. I grabbed the Lemon Lime flavor. Let me tell you…the taste of this product was, as grown folks desperately trying to hold on to the last few vestiges of their coolness like to say “Amaze-balls”.  (By the way, because I actually am a grown man with a modicum of self respect, that is both the first and last time you will ever see me use, say, write or refer to the phrase “amaze-balls”.) This could easily be the best tasting supplement I have ever tried. It says lemon lime, but I would describe the taste more as sour apple.

The product kicked in about 20 minutes after drinking it on an empty stomach. I felt a little more awake but it wasn’t obvious at first.

The good thing is that my running went so well, I didn’t want to stop. I had to literally say, “I have to stop running or I will be late for other stuff!” I never knew the meaning of  when other people say a supplement gives you “clean energy” before. But I do now. It was light, it worked and I got through my workout effectively.

The bad thing is this product is wicked weak. I was maybe more alert than entering the gym, but I think it’s because I was on a treadmill and didn’t want to fall off…not because of this product. It does have caffeine but this stuff is way weaker than the first Jack3d. People who love the first formula really shouldn’t even bother picking this stuff up. Also, although I took two scoops, it became apparent that by week 3, I would need 3 scoops, though it says on the container “don’t take more than 2 scoops”.  I think this is the kind of product for someone with a low caffeine tolerance, and is just beginning supplements and maybe needs an extra “kick” in the morning. But if that’s the case, I think I would just try a cup of coffee or maybe the new B4 by BPI Sports, which is a pre workout and fat burner all in one.

I think this stuff is great IF you can get it for free or as a gift. I just can’t recommend buying it. I think there’s better pre workouts out there for the price ($34.49 on Bodybuilding.com). I just hope the industry moves toward releasing products that don’t have Beta Alanine or least Beta Alanine free versions.

There are those people who swear by USP Labs. I think they are a great company with great products geared towards the advanced bodybuilder who wants a hardcore experience with usually powerful ingredients. But I can say now that for whatever reason, USP Labs and my biochemistry do not seem to mix. I may possibly try Oxy Elite pro…there’s a new 1,3 DMAA free version of that product. But really, I think it might be a while before another USP Labs product appears on the site. That’s just my thinking.

What are you favorite USP Labs products? Why? How long have you been a user of them? What USP Labs products do you not like? 

The Cancer War

Ok, this is a serious post for me.

July is always a weird month for me. It’s like the “Calvin new year’s celebration”. In July, usually good things happen to me and bad things happen to me. My year begins and ends in July.

Today is July 5. It’s my mother’s birthday. Today, she would have been 60 years old. Unfortunately, her life was cut short almost a decade ago due to being on the losing side of a very courageous and valiant fight  against Cancer. She fought it the first time, and she KICKED ITS ASS.

But it returned 5yrs later. More violent. More aggressive. Unyielding. Ultimately, during this 2nd time it was a bit too much for her.

This was all nearly a decade ago. Since then, I’ve grown up, been in love, fallen out of it, gained money, wasted money, worked a lot, had a lot of friends, lost a lost of loved ones and lived life to the fullest. I’ve done this in honor of her memory. I loved her. I love her.

The one thing I want to do more then anything else in life now, is to give back. I want to take my #Fitblog status and make it into something more. Something better. Something so powerful that one day, no child will ever have to think about a world where he saw his mother suffer with a disease that ultimately ended her time here way too soon.

Personally, I try to eat right, exercise, watch the alcohol do the things that will put me in the best shape to be here a while. To fight cancer in my own life.

I do have a villain. And although I’ve swore to fight off fat, laziness and improper nutrition, the biggest villain of all is that jerk called… BREAST CANCER. What an absolute bitch.

There are few things that I hate. I can’t think of any actually. Outside of 1. And I HATE Breast Cancer.

I hate it for what it does to women. I hate it for what it does to families. I hate it for what it does to those left behind.

I’ve had thoughts here and there and what I know at this point is that I wish to DO something… something that both helps to educate to prevent as much as possible Breast Cancer as well as help women who are currently dealing with the disease and need to be reminded that they are not alone and that even now, regardless of what happens to their hair or breasts, THEY ARE BEAUTIFUL.

I’m enroute to entering a Ph.D. program in the fall. But that’s not an excuse. My mother passed nearly a decade ago and I’ve done nothing to give back. So today I start.

I’m trying to lay the plans to open a foundation dedicated towards Breast Cancer research and treatment. It’s the one thing I want to leave on Earth, whenever the time comes for me to not be here anymore. Obviously, I’m naming it after her, my mother.

I’ve never loved so much in my life than that woman, that I can say. As an expression of that, I want all who deal with what she dealt with to know there is at least one person thinking of you and on your side— me. I’ll keep you posted. But a year from today, I want to say I have a tangible organization in which to help Breast Cancer patients, and women at risk.

I want to say that I value my friendship with Krysten, who reminds me that there is always the opportunity to “do more” and not let your circumstances define you.  (Follow her on Twitter!) She has her own story to tell. It’s time for me to catch up to her, who inspires me with every post. She was the first guest post I allowed on here because her story is so compelling.

And of course, I want to write that I still love you, Mama. I always have. I always will. And even now I feel your presence in my life. I am going to do something to keep your struggle and your fight alive. And the time is NOW.

Some thoughts on Intermittent Fasting: Lean Gains

Alright, prepare yourself, this is going to be a bumpy ride.

As you know, I’ve spent some time among the Youtube Bodybuilding community (I even have a brand spanking new channel, that soon will have vids. Go ahead and subscribe now, eh?)

Making it’s way through the Youtube community is a new craze (no, not the preworkout). Called Lean Gains: Intermittent Fasting. The inventor is Martin Berkhin.

There are tons of videos on Youtube about this lastest diet.

There are those that love it (Here, Here) (these have NSFW language so be warned. Also keep in mind the twins are trying to get to 4% BodyFat)

And there are those that do not.  (Here [compared to replicating an eating disorder], Here [Thinks no Serious Bodybuilder can or should do this. At all. Ever] and Here ["IF? Hell No. I'm going to Eat when I'm hungry."]

Also a General Overview of IF. Thanks Campbell Fitness.

Intermittent Fasting: 16 hours no eating at all. 8 hours to eat. Other variations can be 19/5 or however you manipulate.

8 hours to get in all your calories. For the entire day.

Chris Jones states it best.

Burning fat is simple: Calories in vs. Calories out.

Take in more than you need, you will gain weight. Take in less than you need, lose fat. Got it?

Once you get 8% Bodyfat or lower, the harder it is to burn fat, and this is because the body is designed to store energy in the form of fat. Under 8%, it becomes harder to lose weight, as the body tries to hold on to that fat even harder than before. It’s of evolutionary benefit to us to have fat on our bodies.

This Brings us to IF.

I see a few problems with this diet. For starters, when you starve yourself for 16hrs, you are more likely to gorge yourself for those 8 hours you can eat. It’s very difficult to train your willpower to only hold to say 2000 calories, when you will most likely wind up eating 3000 calories longterm. Why? Because you’re STARVING!!!

I think you need food for energy, food for growth, food to help your many supplements work better and to keep your body functioning normally.

Your body hates to burn fat. The chance is too great that you’ll lose weight— but it’s because your body burnt Protein. That’s right, that muscle you’ve been spending all that time in the gym building.

You want to lose fat? There’s much better ways to do so!

1) Fasted Cardio. Cardio on an empty stomach. Burn Fat. Increase cardio time, too, to about 30-40 minutes.

2) Drink more water. Make it COLD. Your body will burn more calories trying to warm it up in your system. This has the additional benefit of turning your metabolism on overdrive.

3) Weights: Low weights, Hi Reps. Burns Fat.

4) Caffeine: Guess what? It burns fat. A cup of coffee is fine, though you can try a great fat burner like Fusion Bodybuilding’s Sub Q or Cellucor Super HD. These are the only 2 real fat burners I stand behind at all. (The Cellucor post is coming, soon) no doubt.

5) Practice Mindful Eating. Don’t just stuff your face. Chew slowly, notice tastes and texture as your begin and continue eating it.

That’s the end of my rant on IF. I think it’s a throw away fad diet that will cause more harm in the long term than good.

There are NO SHORTCUTS. Just hard work in the gym day in and day out.

But to do that work… you need food.

Muscle and Fitness Should Rethink their Standards on Beauty

I’ll give you a bit of context. Here’s the latest issue of Muscle and Fitness Magazine.

It’s a Swim Suit issue. I usually don’t read this magazine, I prefer their body building sister magazine, Muscular Development. It’s just a more fun magazine, with way more information on exercises, bodybuilding industry news and of course the latest supplements. M&D, you’re welcome for the free plug.

Not going to get on any soap boxes, especially since we like to keep things fun and light around here. We’ve dealt with things of a racial matter before Once or Twice . Overall, I think racism, discrimination and the like is a dying phenomenon. Overall. Attitudes are changing and although we have a really long, long way to go, we are so close to getting there. But that makes the instances of it when it does occur that much more visible.

I’m not posting any images of the latest issue because first, that pushes the upper limit of fair use laws, plus I think to get the full effect of what I’m saying, you need to actually pick the magazine up and look through it.

What will become painfully aware to you if you are 1) Not American 2) Objective 3) Not Caucasian or 4) Find women sexier if they weigh more than 103 pounds (I kid…kinda) is that women in the current issue of Muscle & Fitness (July) magazine represent the standard archetypal beauty in America. Very thin, and as one of my inspirations, Genevieve, wrote, not very if at all muscular. There’s no definition, no vascularity…and no diversity.

America has long been a hodgepodge of different cultures, religions, ideals and ways of living. Far from perfect, true, but still the ideal society where our differences allow us to learn from each other and grow. So why is Muscle and Fitness pushing an ideal of beauty that is based in 1950′s America? Especially when the women from that era actually were better looking thicker?

No Seriously, when did it?

That just the first problem with M&F’s latest issue.

There’s also the diversity issue. They couldn’t find 1 African American, Asian or Arab fitness model to place in their pages?

I found a few. You really need not go any further than Twitter to find healthy, muscular women with exotic beauty, both inside and out. This was a simple case of lazy journalism by Muscle & Fitness. They got magazines to sell, so they went with the old tried and true method instead of being a leader in changing ideas of women’s beauty.

I challenge Muscle & Fitness to stop resting on their laurels and to go beyond the usual homogeneous images of women and to make their fitness spreads both more inclusive and more diverse and actually…more healthy. I shudder to think of the diets some of this month’s models had in order to fit into the magazine. Overall health should include great dietary choices which to me, it just looks like the women aren’t making.  We are well beyond the antiquated ideas of what makes women attractive today.

And will someone please get the word out… muscle on women is HOT. One of my favorite blogs demonstrates this daily. It’s okay if women lift iron and do more than just run 13 miles daily.

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