Five common exercises you should never do

In a recent Best Life article posted on MSN.com, exercise physiologists listed five exercises that should be taken out of daily routines.

The five:

- Posterior (Behind-the-Neck) Pull Downs
- Behind-the-Neck Shoulder Presses
- Straight Ball Curls
- Leg Extensions
- Sit-Ups

I’ve heard sit-ups are bad for the back and some personal trainers aren’t big on posterior pull downs, but avoiding straight ball curls and leg extensions are news to me. Regardless, the article gives a brief description of why the exercise should be avoided, as well as safer alternatives.

To read the entire article, click here.

Is mandatory exercise in school a good idea?

Lawmakers in Kentucky won an approval to pass a bill requiring public elementary and middle schools to make physical activity a part of children’s daily routines.

Under the bill, schools would have to include a half hour of moderate to vigorous physical activity each day, or 150 minutes a week, by the 2008-09 school year.

Personally, I think this a fantastic idea. According to an About.com article, experts estimate that 15% of kids are overweight and another 15% are at risk of becoming overweight. Anything that could potentially help get these numbers down should at least be experimented with. I don’t see how teaching children about daily exercise and proper nutrition could ever be a bad thing, especially with obesity being a major problem in U.S. adults too.

Not all are thrilled about the idea, however.

Sen. Jack Westwood, R-Crescent Springs, expressed some misgivings but voted to advance the bill.

“I’m nervous about the potential that this is going to take away some time from the classroom,” he said.

Sen. Westwood has a valid concern, but I doubt 30 minutes of daily exercise is really going to take away from a child’s normal studies. Plus, daily exercise is great for keeping the mind active and alert, which should only heighten a child’s learning capabilities.

Thinking about getting a massage?

Everybody knows how good it feels to get your back or neck rubbed, but most don’t know the benefits of a full body massage by a therapist.

According to a CNN.com article you can expect the following benefits:

Reduces Pain. Anyone who’s had a massage knows the pain releaving effects. I have used a therapist to help with lower back pain.

Wake-up. Research shows brain wave activity stimulated by massage is linked to improved attention.

Goodbye colds. Massage has been shown to boost “natural killer cells”, which helps the immune system defend against illness.

Increased left lobe activity. Research shows an increase in the left side of the brains activity, which is activated when we’re happy. This explains why people “feel better” after a massage.

Decreased PMS symptoms. Self explanatory.

“Gain 10lbs of Muscle in 10 Weeks.” What the F**k!!

It is 2007 right? I just can’t believe that I still see articles like the one in the March 2007 issue of Muscle & Body, “Gain 10lbs of Muscle in 10 Weeks.” Just the title alone should be enough to let people know how ridiculous the following information is.

The article starts off with a bang. “To add mass, you have to take in more calories than you need for body weight maintenance. It’s that simple.” The recommendation is to eat 1000 extra calories per day. That’s right it’s not a misprint, 1000 calories per day.

The author Steve Stiefel’s rational for prescribing such a drastic increase in calories is just as ridiculous. He writes, “In fact, if you’re training hard with weights, and you’re not adding as much muscle as you think you should, the most likely reason you’re not attaining your goal is that you’re undereating.” The author Steven Stiefel has his head up his ass.

The article goes on to give recommendations on the proper way to add 1000 calories:

Eat More Protein. This is the only recommendation I agree with. Most people who are looking to gain muscle don’t eat enough protein. Protein maintains and repairs everything in our bodies, if you don’t consume enough you be spinning your wheels.

Eat More Carbs – Increase carb consumption by 150 grams per day. The way in which people process carbohydrates varies greatly from person to person. This will do nothing but make the average person fat.

Eat More Fat. Do most people need to eat more fat? Absolutely. I couldn’t agree more. However it’s the type of fat that’s recommended that I emphatically disagree with. Avocados, canola oil, nuts and seeds. If you’ve read my article, “Fats, Cholesterol and the Lipid Hypothesis”, you know where I stand with polyunsaturated fats. Not only do they wreak havoc on our bodies, they promote fat deposition. If you’re looking to increase your fat consumption use virgin coconut oil and omega-3. Both are extremely healthy and both promote a lean body.

The rest of the article is not worth commenting on. Just more worthless info. There really isn’t anything else to say. The only thing, however, I can say for sure this prescription for gaining 10lbs will do, is get you bigger. And as long as you don’t mind 10 lbs of more fat, you’re set.

Eat fat and forget about your cholesterol.

The lipid hypothesis states there is a direct link between the amount of saturated fat and cholesterol in the diet and the incidence of heart disease. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Before the mid 1920′s cardiovascular disease was literally unheard of and eggs, butter and lard were conumed in abundance. In 1900 when heart attacks were nonexistent, egg consumption was three times what it was in the mid 1950′s when cardiovascular disease was already the nations #1 killer.

Scientific data just doesn’t support the supposed benefits of reducing saturated fat and choesterol. 20 studies have shown that people who have had heart attacks haven’t eaten any more saturated fat than other people, and the degree of atherosclerosis at autopsy is unrelated to diet. On the contrary, saturated fats have been nourishing societies for millenia.

Below is a list of guidelines we can and should follow to be healthier and reduce our risk of the nations number one killer:

Read food labels.

Consume whole, unprocessed foods.

Don’t consume any product that contains trans fat.

Don’t be fooled by products that advertise “zero trans fat.” Always read the ingredient list and if “hydrogenated vegetable oil,” “partially hydrogenated vegetable oil” or “shortening” are listed, understand that it has trans fat. By law, companies can claim “zero” if there is .5 grams or less of trans fat per serving. There is no safe level of trans fat.

Don’t consume any product that contains vegetable oil, hydrogenated vegetable oil, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil or shortening listed as one of the ingredients.

Only use oils that are labeled “Cold Pressed,” “Expellar Pressed” or “Extra Virgin.”

Consume eggs laid by free range chickens. They are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, biotin, and vitamins A, D and E.

Use peanut oil, sesame oil or olive oil for cooking if you do not want to use animal fats. These oils can also be used for one-time frying.

Use coconut oil for cooking or frying. It’s very stable, and has strong antimicrobial properties.

Use butter, not margarine.

Don’t use trans fat-free spreads. They are still made with highly processed oils that are rancid.

Keep your consumption of polyunsaturated fats to a minimum. They are high in omega-6 fatty acids.

Consume meat.

Don’t eat like a vegetarian. We do not possess multiple stomachs, nor do we chew cud. Our stomachs produce hydrochloric acid, which is not found in herbivores. We are omnivores. There are essential nutrients in animal products that cannot be gotten in sufficient amounts by eating plants.

Don’t feed your children a low-fat diet. If they’re fat, it’s because they sit on their asses too much and eat too much junk. Not coincidentally, these are the same two reasons many adult Americans are overweight.

Supplement your diet with vitamins and other nutrients: A, D, E and C, CoQ10, fish oil (omega-3), selenium.

Don’t smoke.

Exercise at least three days per week.

Taken from, “Fats, Cholestarol and the Lipid Hypothesis

Bringing back an old abs favorite

After sifting through a magazine about a month ago, I came across an abdominal exercise that I hadn’t done for awhile: the hanging leg raise.

For about three weeks now, I’ve done the hanging leg raise at the end of my workouts, every few days. It has done wonders for me, not only targeting my lower abs, but also working my entire midsection. A bonus is that it has also helped me with my grip, which is obviously used in other exercises.

While this exercise is great for strengthen your midsection, don’t forget that abs aren’t made in the gym; they’re made in the kitchen. Like Mike Furci always says: Working your abs is not the key to attaining abs.

Omega-3 in orange juice?

Omega-3 fatty acids have become all the rage over the last 3 years with good reason. Some of Omega-3′s benefits include the following:

Prevents depression
Used to treat bipolar disorder
Improves immunity
Counteracts autoimmune diseases
Prevents and treats cancer
Protects our brains
Fights cardiovascular disease
Prevents and treats arrhythmia
Essential for healthy cell walls

There was a time when omega-3 fatty acids could be found in high concentrations in many different foods like beef and dairy. This is back when farmers supplied local consumers and their animals fed on their natural foods. The vast majority of animals in the U.S. that are raised for human consumption unfortunately are fed garbage like soy and corn, which yields products with sub par nutritional value.

So where do you turn for your omega-3′s? Without a doubt the best sources for omega-3′s are from fish oils. However food giants would like you to believe otherwise. According to USAToday.com omega-3 showed up in 120 new food products in 2005, and in 2006 it showed up in around 250. Omega-3 fatty acids are being added to everything from yogurt to orange juice. Why? Money. It’s a marketing dream for the food industry ever since the Food and Drug Administration and the American Heart Association gave omega-3 the thumbs up.

Looking at the track record of the food industry in this country do you really think they take your health into consideration? Hell no.

Get on your feet!

Think about how many weight lifting exercises we do sitting or lying down. Just to name a few, there is the flat bench press, incline bench press, military press, lateral raises, bicep curls, triceps extensions and lat pull downs.

I’ve read several publications that recommend standing up for as many exercises as you can. The more we sit down, the more likely we are to weaken our backs and abs. Also, if we don’t develop the core strength, we’re more likely to suffer an injury too. I’ve read that this especially works for hardgainers, because it forces you to work more muscle groups at one time.

Now granted, there are some exercises – like the bench press for example – that standing up is just not an option. However, the more times we get up on our feet while working out, the more likely we are to build core strength and overall balance.

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