When life gets in the way Volume 4: Loss

One of the things that keeps people out of the gym is depression. Depression, in my opinion, is at its worst when you are upset over something you’ve lost. Something was yours, and now it’s not anymore. This can take many forms.

Your health. A marriage. A loved one who passes. A job. An opportunity. Trust. It could be something as small as quitting caffeine or stopping smoking. In any case, when we lose something that was once so valuable to us, we have a sense of vulnerability

Usually something happen that sets you off. And this causes you to feel lower than you originally did before.

Often times this reflects in the gym. Or your lack of motivation to actually go there.

What can you do?

1) First and foremost— talk to someone. A friend. Spouse. Relative. There are people out there who care. Shoot an email. Make a text. Do NOT be a hero and try to bear this on your own. Depending on what the loss is, it could take months to get over it. Once, I was out of work for about 8 months. Save prayer, determination and LOTS of conversations with family members, I would have been a wreck. By month number 5, hopelessness started setting in. “Why can’t I find work?” “Am I just not qualified?” “Why don’t they want me?” Talking with others reminds you that you are not in a bubble. That brings me to my next point.

2) Don’t give in to self doubt and hopelessness. It could be you were fired. It could be your spouse left you. It could be you were in a horrible accident. Whatever the case, as dark as it is today… the sun always shines tomorrow morning. Of course, it’s easy to write that behind the safety of a computer. But also, I’ve gone through the storm. And there is always an After the storm.

Just ask Monica… who dropped this album about a year after her boyfriend committed suicide and she went into a major depression because of it.

3) Remember the rule and apply it: “Every little bit helps”. Sure you might be a weight lifter. Keep lifting. Even if it’s light. Or skip the weights and head to the treadmill. The point is— show up.

4) Eat regular. Not too much. Not over eating. Eat regular.

5) Watch the alcohol. Look, too many people use alcohol as a coping mechanism. They want to “numb the pain”. Or “experience joy”. It’s masking your hurt. And it will cause you to hurt yourself further. Don’t drink. Don’t turn to the bars. Don’t turn to promiscuity. Don’t do anything that in your normal mind you’d look at yourself and say “What the hell did I just do to myself and my values?” Instead go the beach. Weekend trip to the mountains. you should…

6) …Get away. I’m a firm believe that many times, the problems we experience are merely reflections of the geographic location we are in. Hop a flight somewhere if you can and get away. You need YOU time. You need more than just lifting weights— you also need to lift your spirits.  Get a clear mind.

7) It’s wise to express yourself in some how. Blog, journal it’s all the same. Youtube vids that are private. Whatever. Don’t hold anything in, cause you’ll be surprised what comes out in the most awkward moments.

I’ve experienced enough loss in life… loved ones, relationships, jobs, opportunities, etc. to know it is never easy. And there’s always the tendency to want to “give up” whatever “give up” means to you in that situation.

I’m saying don’t. Try to get to the gym. Try to workout to remove some of that stress. But also practice “self-care” during this time.

That darkness is for a short time, regardless of how it feels. Life runs in cycles. You may be out of work for 8 months— then find a fantastic job for over 2 years leading you to the school of your dreams.

This thing called life is hard. But you can make it.

When life gets in the way: Vol. 3 – Too much travel

Some of us have to spend time away from the gym not out of a real desire but out of a necessity. In this day of global communication the world often seems as one. But the truth is, we still sometimes need to get to the places that Skype can’t take us.

Often times it’s hard to get to the gym when traveling, especially if the area is international and you are not fully aware of the surroundings. Plus with a language barrier— things can get hairy real fast.

Travel usually falls in one of 3 categories, I’ve found.

1) A vacation – You and other people go to the islands or some other place for fun in the sun. Have fun and be careful out there.

2) Travel to see family – Often times, you haven’t seen them all year, or you are seeing them due to an impending holiday or birth or death. Usually this evokes some type of emotional response from you throughout your trip.

3) You’re the quintessential jet-setter. The only time you are on the ground is when you’re at the airport. But work requires that you live out of your suitcase.

In either case, as you go from city to city, you can lost track of time and eventually your bearings. What are some things to do when this happens?

1) If you are a jet setter, it’s going to be really important that you figure out the location of gyms nearby. Often times if you are a member of a health club, they will offer you a keychain that you can use at any of their gyms. Most times the General Manager will have no issue with it. Most of the time.

2) Workout DVDs could be handy. Especially if you are in a hotel. Believe it or not, I’ve done Insanity and P90X in a hotel room. If you’re doing one of the cardio based routines, you can do it pretty quietly without upsetting the people below you.

3) Get hotels that have gyms. Find out which ones do, avoid the ones that don’t.

4) Don’t use travel as an excuse to take in too many calories or spend too much money. Tomorrow is still coming and if the scale isn’t your friend, you’ll know why.

5) When it comes to family don’t be afraid to take time away and walk around the block, or go running. Often this will clear your head, no matter what’s going on. Or ask them to come with you!

6) Be sure you pack gym clothes. On those trips where I decided I was just going to sleep in, seeing those workout clothes there made me remember my promise to remain fit no matter what.

7) Even on those long air trips stretch! The constant movements will help keep your muscles tight. Constrict and release them.

These are only slight helps with allow travel to be easier for me. Hopefully, you’ll see some benefit to them, too.

Supplement Review: Fusion Bodybuilding: SubQ

Fusion Bodybuilding week continues! I received my stack and we began with Agent M, their great BCAA product.

Today, we’ll be looking at non other than their fat burner: Sub Q.

It’s time to get beyond ripped!

REAL-WORLD TESTED, COMPETITION-PROVEN

I wasn’t sure what to expect given that I’ve not really been fond of fat burners before. Indeed, most have proven to be all hype, no substance. As a whole, I most likely would never add a fat burner to my supplement stack, especially if I was using a good pre-workout.

Or at least that’s what I thought before taking this guys. Wow.

From the site: SUB•Q® is designed to retain your hard-earned muscle while incinerating body fat, including subcutaneous fat – making your skin paper-thin. To do this, SUB•Q stimulates cellular energy production1 and norepinephrine release,2 and this increases your metabolic rate and the number of calories that you burn from fat. By increasing your metabolic rate, you incinerate existing body and subcutaneous fat, and continuing to take SUB•Q helps you keep it off for good. By maintaining a positive nitrogen balance, promoting muscle sparing3 and promoting muscle growth,4,5 SUB•Q keeps your metabolism high, accelerates your recovery time and allows you to exercise with increased frequency. This all amounts to more calorie burning and the incineration of fat. Also, to really thin your skin, SUB•Q contains strong diuretic properties that eliminates excess water from underneath your skin.6 This is a bodybuilding must and will really make your muscles “pop.”

Those are some mighty big claims and words that need to be backed up. I’ve found that many fat burners use “Science-ese” to try to make you think that you’re taking some revolutionary product that will shred you solid in 2 weeks.

I thought for sure that would be the case with Sub Q, as well.

It wasn’t.

Once you get acclimated to the dosage, it’s 3 in the morning, 3 in the afternoon and prepare for the ride!

My new favorite early morning snack.

Now, let me set the stage. First, lately, I’ve increased my cardio. Secondly, I’ve cut my carbs as well. Third, I’m getting back to doing fasted cardio which really takes SubQ to another level. And finally, I’ve been spending lots of time watching vids like this:

Hey, you do what works for you, I do what works for me. My goal is to get my heart pumping. Jodi tends to have an easy time helping me out with that.

My work day would start approximately 8:00 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and I would pop 3 of these bad boys. I discovered the first day I took these that I can actually skip the 1 Pill in the morning and 1 in the afternoon adjustment period and head directly to 3 in the morning and again in the afternoon. My energy was very “clean”! I was expecting either jitters or racing thoughts, or some type of crash. No. I didn’t feel tired, or sleepy, I felt focused and alert. Now this will definitely crank your metabolism into overdrive. I think it’s going to be important that you are eating clean, foods a few hours after taking this. Or you’re going be hungry soon. Without working out, I tend to have a very slow metabolism, but this cranks it up a notch. Taking this before a workday will really dial you in— this was the most productive period I’ve had at work since earlier in the year. Easy.

I would take my afternoon pills around 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. This is usually the time for some reason where I am done mentally and feeling like I’m going to crash. I popped 3 more and the I’m back to being alert and feeling refreshed. I’ve noticed that the energy is very long lasting. I work out around 9:00 p.m. and still feel ready to go. So this product, to me, completely eliminates the need for any type of pre-workout. For an even stronger pre-workout effect, I would take these directly before working out by about 30 minutes.

But more important than all of that…

I lost weight on it. 

As of this writing, I’ve lost 8 lbs. A pair of dress pants I’ve not worn in a while due to being tight now have extra room in the waistline. So I’ve dropped at least a pants size. And, I received compliments of “Hey, have you been losing weight?” from loved ones and friends. The first time I heard it was from an office mate. Then 1 after another, after another, after another.

This picture explains why: The Subcutaneous fat has been melted away, and the muscles have grown bigger.

A fat burner that works. Without any chemicals under review by the FDA. Scientifically backed, factually based and truth over hype.

This product will run you about $47.00 on BB.com. I say it’s worth it. I’ve had no adverse problems, side effects and being a budget, I think it gets you the most bang for your buck in terms of fat burners. Easily Sub Q is the only fat burner you will ever see me recommend on this site. That’s 2 for 2 on products with these guys. I wonder how their other supplements are?

What do you think, Big J?

Oh, Glutamend and Purple K, are good, too, you say. Looks like I’ll be getting these on my way to Intensity-ville, brother.

On the whole this company sets an industry precedent. They offer unrivaled supplements to aid you on your journey and unparalleled customer service.

My goal at this point is to try all of their products. It simply makes no sense not to. I’ve seen companies where I try a few and it’s a certainty that as a whole, that company is horrible. But Fusion simply takes it to another level.

Overall, these have been some of my most favorite experiences interacting with a company and trying their products. I can’t wait to try more and you can bet my body fat percentage that I will try them in the near future.

How good is this product? I’m redoing my summer budget to get some more. For someone like me, who struggles keeping those stretch marks to a minimal, this is the MUST have of the Fusion line.

Needing supplements? Advice? Great customer service? Inspiration from larger than life bodybuilders who know what works?

Fusion Bodybuilding should be your very first stop.

Often times, you’ll find that it’s your only one.

Supplement Review: Fusion Bodybuilding

Fusion Bodybuilding At my doorstep!

Do you know who this is? Do you know what this is? If not, it’s time you found out. For the longest time, I’ve wanted to try the products from that great Canadian supplement company, Fusion Bodybuilding. I’ve fallen in love with these guys ever since I discovered the lovely Jodi Boam is actually sponsored by them (while we’re on honesty hour, very high percentage I’m actually in love with Jodi, too… but that’s neither here nor there. :-) After watching her explain how she uses each supplement and how the company makes her a better competitor, I knew one day, I would have to try these products. I’ve been hesitant for fear that they would ruin me for other supplement companies…and I’d be too happy to succumb to them. These guys are so awesome, even Big J from Big J’s Extreme Fitness endorses them. These guys are awesome!

Well, I knew Fusion had my heart. And with the high quality of products they make, I can be assured they have my muscles, too. But thanks to the world of Twitter, they also have my back!

Big shout out to Chris Breckenridge, who I contacted through email. He graciously sent these products out to me and even included a free shirt!

Let’s get to the goodies:

In case you’re not sure, this refers to Purple K, Fusion’s premier creatine brand.

Train Past the Pain, Baby!

What do we have here???

Orange Mask…meet…”Agent M”

Now, honestly, this is a product I’m really interested to try. I’ve long thought BCAA’s were really… useless. I don’t know, I’ve just never really bought into them, especially since you can get most from the protein you are taking. BUT what if there’s actually one that “works”? I’m going in with an open mind. “Agent M” talks a great game, and if half of it is true… WOW. This could be revolutionary.

The Fat Burner Extraordinaire…SUB Q!

That’s right. I’m going to try a fat burner. I knew that if I was going to do that, I would start by using one of the best ones on the market. “SUB Q” has a revolutionary formula. And it has the distinction of being the very first fat burner featured on this site ever. When you see me at the beach, most likely wearing a cape and swim trunks… if I’m shredded, it’s all the Sub Q. What I like about this product already, is as the site says:
What makes this technology unique is its micro-channels. During the disintegration process, these micro-channels are created in the Bullet Caplet structure, and the ingredients in SUB•Q are released from the inside of the caplet to the outside, dissolving it from the center. This allows immediate and accurate dosing, making sure the ingredients work together as designed.” In other words, it works faster and doesn’t just sit in your stomach for a while.

They even included a temporary costume change! YEAH!

And yes, I’m rocking this out. You better believe it.

Stay tuned. And expect me to keep you posted in a few weeks with how these products worked!

Update: For an awesome look into the Fusion Bodybuilding Supplements I’m not looking…

Check this out. (Warning: it’s INTENSE)

Your Favorite Fitness Hero. His all time favorite Supplement Company.

It’s going to be a wonderful ride!

When life gets in the way Vol. 1: Can’t get to the gym

Not sure if this post will ever see the light of day, but tonight is one of those nights, I can’t sleep.

This is an idea for a new series that I’m thinking of crafting here. I call it, “When life gets in the way.” Sometimes, the best laid plans of mice and men fail. For example— I suffered a car accident last week sometime. Don’t worry, I’m fine, but my car has been in traction for a while. I haven’t been able to get to the gym as frequently as I like, since the one I attend is on the complete opposite side of this city. It’s been hard enough just figuring out how I’m getting to work given that I work in another city.

So it occurred to me, though. Sometimes, life gets in the way of your fitness goals. Bills arise, and you can’t get the organic stuff you know you should be. A loved one passes away. And you find yourself unable to focus emotionally enough to make it through. You move to a new city and need to discover where the gyms are. In short, life happens and your fitness, diet and sleep often take the hit.

May hasn’t been a great month for me. But it got me to thinking, sometimes, despite life, you still have to get your workouts in someway and make slight alterations to maintain your peace of mind, fitness level and force yourself to take time away from the disaster. Thus, the creation of a new series.

This entries problem: I can’t get to the gym.

There I sat driving, when I heard it. The noise that would prove frustrating and very scary. “POP!!!” Suddenly, whilst on the highway, the car I was driving slinked to the left. With every bit of strength in my arms, as the car pulled left, I pulled the steering wheel right and came to rest on the shoulder of the nearest exit ramp. Talk about being blessed.

I was too shocked to take pictures, now I regret it. But believe me when I say… my car was missing the front wheel on the driver’s side. The @#$% thing apparently rusted off the frame and just… fell off. That could have been real tragic. I’m happy it wasn’t.

Fast forward a week, and I have no car still and thus haven’t been able to get to the gym. How  do I conserve the gains I’ve been making?

1) Continuing to do Cardio – I’m obviously walking a lot of places right now. It was a 2 hour walk from the repair shop to my home. That gave me a lot of time to think about things.

2) Finally found a use for online workouts – I typically don’t use these, but lately so I can get in some type of workout, I’ve been looking at some of the online workouts like ZWOW, and BodyRock. Those are HARD, but fun. And of course, I’ve gone back to the old reliable:

To keep the muscle I’ve gained, I’m going at a slower intensity than Shaun, but I’m still pretty up there. Anything helps, right? I won’t be doing this for longer than another week. Cause after 20 min— burning muscle. Not cool.

3) Increased Sleep – With the amount of walking I’ve been doing, I’ve been knocked out by 9:30 p.m. most nights and getting up around 7:00 a.m.

4) Diet – I’ve lowered my carbs some, but increased my healthy fats (nuts, avocados, etc). I’ve increased my protein as well. I’m walking pretty much everywhere now except work. I’ve not picked up any excess weight as I’m extremely carb sensitive and not lifting for a week tends to cause my fat to increase. This has not happened.

This is certainly all short term fixes. But the point is, even if you can’t get to the gym you can still do whatever you can to maintain a healthy lifestyle until you can return again.

Into the Zuzka Light!

Day in and day out, the most popular post on this site consistently is the one I did some time ago on Body Rock, and their blatant use of Sexual innuendo in order to gain viewership.

I’ve haven’t really known what to do with that information. At least not until I stumbled upon this little gem.

Zuzana Light…the original Body Rocker. She was married to the male Body Rocker, Freddy, whom you see in the current iteration of the program. Until of course, they got divorced (as a gentle aside, I’m still not sure what that post is actually saying other than “We realized we’re friends, so we divorced. But wouldn’t you want to be friends with your spouse? That’s neither here nor there). Since then, Freddy has moved on to Lisa-Marie and the two are officially dating. (which is also kinda weird in and of itself, since it’s only 5 month after his separation was announced but that’s neither here nor there, either).

It’s no secret that while on BodyRock, Zuzana posed in the same sexual manner that we see of Lisa.

It’s actually not that shocking when I discovered that a simple search for her Facebook page revealed that Zuzana is in fact a former porn star named Susana Spears.

The line in the fitness industry between sex and fitness is a thin one, but BodyRock has melded the two together in a marketable format for savoring eye candy and getting your fit on…and they may actually be the smartest one of us. Think of it…take a porn star, who already has quite a fan base, tone her down into a fitness model/ trainer. Unleash on Youtube.

It is actually one of the most brilliant marketing ideas I’ve run across in the fitness industry.

Normally, fitness ads only ever hint at sex or are suggestive of it.

How many people tuned in to the first iteration of this show after realizing a former adult star was the lead?

Darkness before the Light

But looking beneath the surface a somewhat recent piece by the Huffington Post tells a story, not of a sex vixen looking to use her wiles to ensnare hapless victims into subscribing to her channel for T&A. Instead, we see the very real results of what the sex industry can do to a woman, who is used, then spit out until the next hot woman comes along. For all the hours spent in front of cameras

In the article, Zuzana states how a life in porn “almost killed her”. European girls (Zuzana is Czech) are spit out at a fast rate as they are sold into a life before the camera. Some will escape. Most will become prostitutes, drug addicted, alcoholic and forgotten and abused on a daily basis.

Zuzana, showing bravery but with a smile that seeks to hide her pain states that she got away and found new life in fitness. She owns her past and her attempts at survival while candidly stating that she regrets her past life in porn.

The danger with an industry that only looks at women as sex objects is that it ignores the role that fitness played in that woman’s life, besides getting those buns of steel. Fitness, literally saved her life and as a result of that we are blessed by her presence every day as we strive to be as fit as she is. Doing Tabata style workouts? Easy. Escaping a life of literal sex slavery? Not so easy. But she did it. And every day her smile inspires other to lose weight within 10 minutes a day.

Zuzana’s story is compelling and should push us to value women for more than their measurements. Or their past. By escaping the sex industry, she has both a story to tell and life to emulate. Too many woman are stuck there and will meet their demise on the streets.

Of course fitness models are sexy. But that sexiness may betray a story deeper than you could ever understand.

Body Rocked: The Sexual Exploitation of Lisa-Marie

For the longest time, I wanted to know what so many of my #FitBlog friends were talking about. Eventually, I decided to tune in and catch it. You see, normally, I’m up and about by 6:45 a.m., so by 7:15 a.m., I’m usually on Twitter seeing what everyone is doing for the morning. Many of my buds have tweets which give clear indication. They’ll be spending the next 12 or so minutes sweating it out to  BodyRock! Imagine a truly intense, at home workout that gets you going and gets those veins popping with minimal cost. So instead of the $140 you might spend for something like P90X, you pay almost nothing and get ripped out of your mind.

Body Rock has been sweeping the nation and the movement is something like a hurricane. These folks have a dedication to fitness and want to see everyone look better naked. And they are out to prove it. Almost quite literally.

While it’s no secret that there is a thin line in the fitness world between fitness modeling and overt sexuality, those lines are blurred quite regularly, not just on BodyRock but also in many fitness magazines, videos and especially all over youtube. Let’s be honest, here: Sex sells. Sex sells a lot. So of course a sexy woman working out and motivating you but making you think you will have even more sex with women just as sexy as her once you yourself get sexier… well…. that has some appeal.

The point is that the fitness industry is male dominated and often times, women are left in the place of not only having to have fit bodies but also having to present those bodies in sensual, erotic or sometimes outright sexual ways in order to attract the same notoriety and opportunities as a Phil Heath or a Jay Cutler. We want to see our men strong, with big round muscles. But we want the women to have strong muscle too, yet the same women then have to show they have maintained their femininity by posing and placing emphasis on their sexual prowess.

The case of Lisa Marie

Lisa Marie has been a Body Rocker for sometime. With her encouraging spirit, bright personality and never say die attitude, not to mention outrageously cute accent, she will push you to do your best, and then… do better. As far as trainers go, you couldn’t get anyone better, more attractive, fun or encouraging.

BodyRock wants you to know, you won’t find any better eye candy anywhere, either. When accessing the Bodyrock Facebook Page (the source for all the following images), this is what you get when it comes to images of Lisa Marie:

In some of those pics, she’s reduced to a headless / faceless body that only shows her breasts, abs and lower body in underwear.

Do these pictures push the boundaries of selling sex in a fitness industry designed to make one feel good about their own self?

I placed that last picture of her bent over the couch up there on purpose, because I think it really captures the slow change we are seeing from Body Rock. The message seems slowly to be going from “Get in shape so you are healthy” to “Get in shape so you are healthy, and outrageously sexy!” The problem though, is that this can also be interpreted as “Get in shape and be sexy, because if you’re a woman, all that really matters is your ability to sell sex!” Now, women ought to be sexy if that’s what makes them feel beautiful and special. But BodyRock seems to be stating that that should be their only motivation for any workout. Because of course, you want to attract the attention of a man… sexually… don’t you?

Here’s another example (you don’t need to watch the whole thing, maybe a few seconds to get the idea):

We have Lisa working out in what just a little less than shorts. Was this truly done for the females in the audience who wish to copy the moves to look like Lisa? Was it done to inspire the women to shoot for something more with their own bodies? Or was it done for males in the audience who will watch this vid, and whose clicks will increase this video’s ratings making it easier to find and promote on Youtube? Maybe both? Maybe reducing Lisa Marie to a sexpot works for marketing, since at the end of the day this is a business. BodyRock needs the views and they want you to buy the products sold on the site. Lisa Marie in a thong, jumping up and down and bending over multiple times will most certainly accomplish that.

Bigger than her Body Rock gives her credit for

It’s easy to discount all of this and just say, “Well, it doesn’t matter, she loves what she’s doing”, “I have no problem with it!”, “She’s happy and she’s just trying to help us look our best!”, and “You’re grasping at straws! She can control her sexuality anyway she wants to. Shut up, you’re just a man!!!”  To an extent, I concede that all of those statements are correct.

But let’s look deeper.

Lisa-Marie, is more than just the girl with the washboard stomach who can put your wife to shame in the looks department. It can get easy to get caught up with how her body oozes sex.

But she’s a human being. And she, like the rest of us has a story that goes beyond how long she can jump rope.

You only need to watch the 1st full minute of this vid.

Did you catch any of that? She’s crying. She’s lonely. She’s completely disconnected from her family. And despite how many of us are watching those vids, she finds it incredibly hard to make friends (i.e. people who see her as more than a possible sexual conquest and as a sexual object). You’ll also note that she is almost fully dressed in this vid. The problem with a fitness industry that constantly packages women as sex kittens is that we forget Lisa-Marie is a unique human being, as beautiful on the inside as she is fit on the outside (It’s Laura Michelle Prestin all over again). We forget that she goes through many of the same challenges that we do, just that she doesn’t get to talk about them that much to someone who will look her in the eye and listen… not stare at her chest and imagine. I think it can be tiring to only be seen as a sexual object day in and day out. To me this video proves that.

What we see in the fitness industry is merely a reflection of our society. In this video, she’s sad, yet in the comments section, the statements from viewers range from flirtatious to down right vulgar in reference to imaginary romantic romps with her.

It’s a mighty fine line between fitness and sex, since of course being fit IS sexy. But let’s not forget that our fitness and bikini models in the Bodybuilding and fitness industry are more than objects to satisfy our lusts. They are valuable women, many of them wives and mothers. BodyRockTV should remember that it’s okay for Lisa-Marie to workout in clothes that the average woman at Planet Fitness would wear. We will still love her just the same, and I guarantee still try our own best to get and stay fit.

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