Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Skippy vs. Natural Peanut Butter

It was suggested somewhere recently that you should try to eat natural peanut butter but if you really can't stomach the taste of it you can opt for Skippy instead. The inference was that fake peanut butter is not that much worse than natural peanut butter. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Skippy, Peter Pan and all that other crap is simply a Reece's Peanut Butter Cup without the chocolate. Yes, it's that bad. It has sugar, trans fats, hydrogenated oil and quite a bit of other crap.

It's your choice to eat that way, but don't ever be tricked into thinking it's healthy; it's dessert.

Natural protein powders

I have been getting a lot of questions about how to avoid aspartame and what kind of protein powder I recommend to those that still like to drink shakes. First of all, let me point out that there are several studies which show numerous detrimental effects from artificial sweeteners, such as memory loss, birth defects, links to cancer and erectile problems in males (if all the other ones don't scare you, I'm guessing the last one might cause you to raise an eyebrow). Mysteriously, none of these studies are conducted in the United States. I'm sure everyone can figure out the reasons why.

If you drink protein shakes, I recommend an all natural shake mix, something that is not made with bodybuilders in mind and does not contain all kinds of ridiculous "mass building" ingredients. One that comes to mind is Whey to Go by Solgar. This contains nothing but whey protein and and natural vanilla bean flavoring. The taste is very minimal but it's probably better than ten packs of Nutra Sweet.

Jay Robb also makes a protein shake in which the protein comes from cows who have not been exposed to steroids and other chemicals. This contains no artificial ingredients either.

You may find that you do not fill up or bloat as easily with these natural shakes as they contain no fillers and are fairly easy to digest.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Whatever Makes You Happy

Someone brought up a very good point recently and I wanted to share it with you. While people are always searching for the perfect training system they seem to miss one very important point; what makes them happy. If you do something that you like and something that makes you happy, you are more likely to put greater effort into it and thus get better results.

For example, I like to train heavy on big exercises. If someone said I should train lighter on isolation exercises because I would get way better results, I would ignore the advice because I would hate doing it. If I am unhappy when I train, my results will suffer. I would rather quit training than start doing leg extensions for 20 reps.

Some people like body building splits better than any other split. If I trained someone like this and tried to force them to do full body workouts, which they hated, their results would suffer. We would both be miserable and they would get nowhere.

If you love doing body part splits and hate all other options, stick with body part splits; it will probably yield you the greatest results.

Some people like extremely overcomplicated, planned out, scientific training programs. Others like the most basic, simple plan they can find. The science guys hate simple programs because they over think everything and believe that if they are not counting rep speed and measuring angles with a protractor during their training, they are not achieving optimal results.

The "keep it simple" guys hate overcomplicated programs and don't like thinking that much during training. Training is a hobby that they love and a release from the stress of every day life. If they have to think everything out and break out the Pythagorean Theorem to plan every set of their workouts, they will be miserable. These kind of guys like to go in and lift; that's it.

There is nothing wrong with any of these approaches. While I prefer full body workouts or upper/lower splits to body part splits, and simple workouts to complex science projects, it doesn't mean that this is the optimal approach for you.

Being happy in what you are doing is a very important factor that can not be overlooked.

There have been times in the past where I have designed a program for a client and after seeing their dissatisfaction with it after the first day, have completely scrapped it and started over with something completely different.

It's a universal law in life; do what you love and the results and success will follow.

So what's the best way to train?

Whatever makes you happy...