Category Archives: training tips

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Top Five Training Tips For Optimal Body Composition

By Charles Poliquin

Lose fat fast with a training program that will help you maintain body composition results for the long run. You will lose the most fat by training with a protocol that focuses on building muscle, burning fat and calories, and achieving the greatest hormone response from exercise. This article will give you my top five tips for incorporating those three strategies into a training program for fat loss.

Be aware that correct nutrition is necessary in order to achieve significant fat loss. It’s near impossible to out-train a bad diet. If were able to do so, you would undoubtedly compromise your health in the short- and long-term. Over the next two weeks, I will post my five supplement tips for fat loss followed by five nutrition tips—stay tuned!

The Run Down on Training for Fat Loss
The first goal of training for fat loss is to elevate your resting metabolic rate (RMR) by increasing muscle mass because this means you will burn more energy every day. The RMR makes up the bulk of energy you burn. Burning energy in addition to the RMR when working out is great, but the impact on total energy burned is fairly small compared to the total RMR.

Your workout time needs to include both strength training and anaerobic conditioning because both contribute to muscle building and they burn energy. The magic of strength and anaerobic training is that they boost your overall metabolic rate, burn a lot of energy in a short period of time, and elevate the RMR by increasing the amount of lean mass you have. Strength training and anaerobic conditioning affect the body differently than aerobic training, regardless of the intensity of that aerobic exercise, which means they will always be the priority for fat loss and body composition.

Tip #1: Train A High Volume, Short Rest Periods & Moderate Loads
Strength train with a high volume of work, short rest periods, and moderate to heavy loads using multi-joint exercises. Squats, deadlifts, chin-ups, bench press, lunges, and rows should make up the core of your training. A hypertrophy-type program that generally includes 8 to 12 reps of more than 3 sets is ideal, but can be manipulated for a greater muscle building effect. More sets will accelerate results, but the 8 to 12 rep, 3 set scheme is a good place to start training for fat loss.

Use weights in the 70 to 85 percent of maximum range with short rest periods of 60 seconds or shorter. This will provide a significant anabolic response by elevating testosterone and growth hormone (more on this below). High reps and short rest intervals will make your body a high-powered energy burning machine.

Circuit training and super set schemes are ideal, as are descending sets in which you finish with very high reps (25 reps of squats or 2 minutes of leg presses, for example) for an extra fat burning burst. Supersets with 10 seconds rest when switching from the agonist to the antagonist exercise and 60 seconds between sets is one option. Or a “death circuit” of heavy, high volume deadlifts followed by split squats followed by lighter high volume squats with 10 seconds rest between exercises is another.

Tip #2: Strength Train to Build Muscle and Create an Anabolic Response 
Strength train to build muscle and create an anabolic response to accelerate fat burning. Aside from the obvious benefit of burning a massive amount of energy quickly, working every muscle group hard, frequently, and at a very high intensity will elevate anabolic hormones that increase protein synthesis and fat burning.

Growth hormone (GH) is lipolytic, meaning it increases fat breakdown and the metabolism of glucose and amino acids. It increases protein synthesis, which is essential because you do not want to create a catabolic state that causes lean tissue loss when you are trying to lose weight. GH is released by the body in greater quantities in response to physical stress above the lactate threshold, which is the reason heavy, high volume total body training with short rest periods (30 to 60 seconds) is necessary.

GH is produced in bursts by the pituitary gland at night during rest, and women get the body comp benefit by elevating GH just as much as men. In contrast, the effect of exercise on testosterone for women is much, much smaller. GH is also involved in the release of another anabolic hormone, insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), which is important for protein synthesis. Manipulating time under tension with a varied lifting tempo or inter-repetition pauses is one of the best ways to boost IGF-1.

Testosterone (T) is the number one anabolic hormone. You will get the greatest elevations in T with slightly longer rest periods than the 30 to 60 seconds suggested for GH and weights on the heavier end of the range. Research suggests that T is elevated more with rest periods in the 2 to 3 minute range with very heavy lifts and a fairly large number of sets. You will still boost T with a very intense fat burning, GH-type protocol, making a variety of training protocols best.

Scientists are not yet clear on the perfect number of sets to elevate T, which is partly due to the fact that individual T response varies greatly, even among elite athletes who have similar training experience and background. More than 3 sets and as many as 8 have been found to significantly elevate T.

Tip #3: Perform Strength Training Instead of Aerobic Exercise
Strength training that is anaerobic, uses a high volume and intensity, and is made up primarily by traditional multi-joint lifts is always superior to aerobic exercise for fat loss. The evidence is clear on this, but because some studies have used inadequate resistance training protocols (single-joint exercises at a low intensity) to compare resistance and aerobic training, the fat loss outcome has not always favored strength training.

Plus, for some unfathomable reason, the media and many public health professionals suggest aerobic training, especially continuous, slow exercise, will help you lose fat, which is one of the most drastic misconceptions about weight loss and exercise. Strength training is anaerobic by nature—the opposite of aerobic—meaning it elevates fat burning hormones and burns energy, as mentioned above.

For example, a study in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise compared fat loss in three groups of overweight subjects. All groups were on a fat-loss diet and one group only did the diet with no exercise, whereas a second group did the diet with aerobic training, and a third group was on the diet and did strength training. The diet group lost 14 pounds of fat, while the aerobic group lost 15 pounds of fat—only one pound more, which was not statistically significant. The strength training group lost 21 pounds of fat, which was 34 percent more than the aerobic group!

Consider the amount of time spent on aerobic exercise (36 sessions of up to 50 minutes each) for only oneextra pound of fat loss! The six extra pounds lost in the strength training group is worth it, but one pound?!

Tip #4 Do High Intensity Anaerobic Training to Burn Fat—Avoid Continuous Low-Intensity Aerobics
Perform high-intensity anaerobic training (HIAT) to burn fat and avoid aerobics. There’s a mountain of evidence that anaerobic conditioning is effective for fat loss. HIAT is much more effective than aerobic training, whether it be steady-state aerobic activity or higher intensity aerobic exercise. HIAT works on the same principle as strength training for fat loss. It increases protein synthesis and can build muscle, although not as much as strength training.

A study in the International Journal of Obesity demonstrates this by comparing the effect of 15 weeks of HIAT (60 cycle sprints of 8 seconds each, 12 seconds rest) with aerobic exercise (60 percent of maximal oxygen uptake for 40 minutes). The HIAT resulted in significant decreases in overall fat mass of 1.5 kg, while the aerobic exercise group had a fat gain of 0.44 kg on average. The HIAT group also had a significant 9.5 percent decrease in belly fat, whereas the aerobic group increased belly fat by 10.5 percent at the end of the study. Of related interest is that the HIAT group decreased fasting insulin significantly more than the aerobic group (31 versus 9 percent), indicating better metabolism.

A second study in the journal Metabolism is indicative of the research supporting the superiority of HIAT over aerobics for fat loss. This study compared 20 weeks of aerobic training with only 15 weeks of HIAT in which participants did 15 sprints for 30 seconds and lost nine times more body fat than the aerobic group. They also lost 12 percent more visceral belly fat than the aerobic group.

What is so interesting about this study is that the energy cost of the aerobic program over the whole study period was 28,661 calories, whereas for HIAT it was less than half, at 13,614 calories. In less time, the HIAT group lost much more weight—nine times more weight. How do researchers explain it?
HIAT also boosts GH and T much more than aerobic training, which we’ve already seen helps create an anabolic environment and burn fat. HIAT results in something called post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), in which metabolism is elevated to a significant degree after training—the body is using more energy even though you’re not working out anymore. EPOC is elevated more when anaerobic training is involved—strength training and HIAT can elevate EPOC for as much as 38 hours post-workout.

Emerging research provides additional insight into why HIAT works and steady-state aerobic exercise doesn’t. A study in the European Journal of Applied Physiology showed that a HIAT program elevates the expression of gene activity by nearly 75 percent over aerobic exercise. A 15-minute HIAT protocol enhanced the activity of 69 genes that were not activated by a 30-minute aerobic trial. The genes that were upregulated were involved in energy metabolism and hormone growth factors such as GH and IGF-1. Basically, greater gene activity from anaerobic training explains what is going on “behind the scenes” in the body to build muscle and burn fat.

The one possible drawback to HIAT is that it is mentally challenging to push through an all-out workout even if it is short. There is an upside: research shows that near-maximal intensity sprints (greater than 90 percent of max oxygen uptake) can be completed in 10 to 20 minutes depending on the number of sprints and interval lengths.

Tip #5: Be Active in Daily Life to Improve Metabolism and Lose Fat
A sedentary lifestyle, even if you are already training at a high volume and intensity, will compromise metabolism and may lead to fat gain. Long periods of inactivity, even a few hours during the day, will lower the body’s glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity. This puts you at risk for diabetes and poor body comp.

Desk jobs are the primary culprit for fat gain and inactivity during the day in people who train hard. Studies have shown that in people who have a lean body composition and perform regular intense exercise suffer from a significant drop in metabolism if they are inactive for even a short period of time, as measured by glucose tolerance and insulin health.

For example, a recent study tested the effect of decreasing daily activity for three days in a group of lean, active individual with training experience. They normally averaged 12,956 steps a day and reduced their activity to 4,319 steps a day (they were told to take less than 5,000 day as measured by a pedometer and confirmed with an accelerometer), which resulted in a 30 percent drop in insulin sensitivity.

Blood sugar imbalances are another side effect of long periods in which you don’t move. The result is a slower metabolism, a lower resting metabolic rate (remember RMR from the beginning of this article?), and ultimately fat gain.
Take away a commitment to being more active and inspiring your loved ones and kids to do the same. Make sure you have incorporated tips 1 to 4 into your lifestyle and are strength training and performing high intensity intervals. Don’t forget, you can’t out-train a bad diet or overeating.

Take regular brisk walks—even a five to ten minute vigorous walk will make a difference. Shoot for 10,000 steps a day. Avoid plopping down in front of the TV or computer for hours after work. Extra physical activity can take the form of recreational sports participation, playing ball games, martial arts practice, bike riding, or whatever you enjoy.
If you have a sedentary job, always take the stairs and park farther away in the parking lot. Break the work day up with relatively brief spurts of physical movement, whether it is walking, body weight exercises, or more strenuous training. Even stretching, fidgeting, and getting an adjustable desk so you can stand as well as sit will help.

Finding Great Value In The Energy Sector – Seeking Alpha

Finding Great Value In The Energy Sector – Seeking Alpha: This will be the second in a series of articles designed to find value in today’s stock market environment. However, it will be the first of 10 articles covering the 10 major general sectors. In my first article (found here), I laid the foundation that represents the two primary underlying ideas supporting the need to publish such a treatise. First and foremost, that it is not a stock market; rather it is a market of stocks. Second, that regardless of the level of the general market, there will always be overvalued, undervalued and fairly valued individual stocks to be found.

The Best Exercise For Your Immune System: Rebounding!

Ok so I may have gotten a little carried away during the rebounding photo shoot…
Here’s the video I made about rebounding and below it is my blog post with more details.
Let’s be honest about the immune system, most of us really have no idea what it is, or exactly how it works, we’re just glad we have one.
The immune system is incredibly complex because your body has many lines of defense to rid itself of foreign invaders. In this post I’m going to address one critical component of your immune system. That is your lymphatic system.
Here’s a quick anatomy lesson (I’m going to try to keep this really simple)
Your lymphatic system is composed of your tonsils, thymus, bone marrow, spleen, lymphatic fluid, vessels, and lymph nodes.
The thymus and bone marrow produce white blood cells called lymphocytes.
Your blood vessels deliver oxygen and nutrients to your cells.
Your lymph vessels are like blood vessels except they are full of clear lymphatic fluid that carries white blood cells (B cell and T cell lymphocytes) throughout your body so they can attack invaders and infected cells.
Your lymphatic fluid also carries dead cells, metabolic waste, and toxins away from healthy tissue to be eliminated through sweat, mucus, urine, and liver bile which is carried out in your poop.
Lymph nodes are like holding stations that filter the lymph fluid and capture microbes for B and T cells to deal with. They are located in your armpits, groin, neck and around the blood vessels of your chest and abdomen.
(End of anatomy lesson)
Every day we are bombarded with toxins in our environment and in our food which is why detoxification is such a critical process in your body. If the detox process is hindered, toxins will build up in your body eventually causing acidity and toxemia. These are the root causes of nearly all disease.
You have about three times more lymphatic fluid than blood, but here’s the catch, there’s no pump!  Muscle contractions in your body encourage the lymphatic fluid to circulate through a series of one-way valves in your body. So the more you move your body, the more you move your lymphatic fluid.
One of the lesser talked about benefits of exercise is that it moves your lymphatic fluid, which promotes detoxification in your body.
Your skin is the largest detoxification organ and if you exercise vigorously enough to raise your body temperature  you will sweat, expelling toxins out through your skin.
The Best Exercise for the Lymph System
Back in 2004 when I first started to research natural therapies I read every natural cancer survival testimony I could find. I found many common threads, and one of them was jumping on a mini trampoline, aka Rebounding. I figured since so many natural survivors and health practitioners were doing it there must be something to it…
Rebounding creates an increased G-force resistance (gravitational load) and positively stresses every cell in your body. As a result, it strengthens your entire musculoskeletal system: your bones, muscles, connective tissue, and even organs.  And it promotes lymphatic circulation by stimulating the millions of one-way valves in your lymphatic system.
Sounds pretty good right?
In addition, rebounding is very low impact and allows you to do jumping and aerobic exercises for much longer intervals than you could on solid ground without tiring out or creating harmful oxidative and adrenal stress.
NASA produced an interesting report about the benefits of rebounding you can read Here.
Here are the three basic Rebounding Exercises:
The Health Bounce is gently bouncing up and down on a rebounder without your feet leaving the mat.  It is very low impact and very effective at moving your lymphatic system. Most folks can easily do this for an hour or more while watching tv.
The Strength Bounce is jumping as high as you can. It strengthens primary and stabilizer muscles throughout your body, improves your balance, and moves your lymphatic system like nothing else.  That’s what you want to work up to.
Aerobic Bouncing is jumping jacks, twisting, running in place, bouncing on one leg at a time, dancing, and any other crazy maneuvers you can think of. Doing these high intensity aerobic exercises will get your blood pumping and your sweat on.
If you are too weak to jump you can sit on the rebounder and bounce gently in a seated position. I bought my rebounder in 2004 a few months after abdominal surgery, and found it too painful to really jump on at first, so I just did the health bounce. As my body healed, the pain went away and I started doing the Strength and Aerobic Bouncing.
When fighting cancer I did this 2-3 times per day.
My typical routine is to warm up for a couple minutes with the health bounce, 5-10 minutes of strength and aerobic bounce variations, and finish up with another couple minutes of the health bounce. I put on headphones and listened to worship music or healing scriptures while bouncing. This is an amazing way to start the day.
To maximize the benefit of your rebound workout:
-Drink 12-16 oz of clean filtered water beforehand.
-Do it outside and connect with God and nature. (If nature permits)
-Take at least 10 deep breaths of fresh air. In through your nose, hold it for a few seconds, then push it out through your mouth.
-Get sunlight on as much of your body as you can.
-If possible do it with enough intensity to break a sweat. Give yourself 7-20 minutes.
Sweating is important but it also means you’ll need a shower afterward. The nice thing about rebounding is you can still get a benefit from it even if you don’t break a sweat. Try to get at least one sweaty rebounder workout per day. I do it first thing in the morning before I shower for the day. If you can’t do it outside, do it inside. Just do it!
My wife Micah even used rebounding workout dvd to lose her baby weight after Marin was born.
Not all rebounders are created equal.
The quality of the frame, springs and mat are extremely important. Cheap rebounders are harder on your joints and can cause injury, also they wear out quickly, and have no warranty.
I’ve used the ReboundAir Quarter-Fold Model (pictured above) since 2004 and I highly recommend it.
ReboundAir was founded by Al Carter, THE pioneer of rebound exercise.
In fact my mom even has his original book The Miracle of Rebound Exercise from 1979!
The ReboundAir is the only rebounder with a Lifetime All Parts Warranty.
They use them on The Biggest Loser campus and ReboundAir has been featured on CBS “The Doctors” television show twice. Cool right?
They make three models: the Standard rebounder, the Half-Fold, and the Quarter-Fold.
The Quarter-Fold model is really cool because it folds in half twice so I can store it under my bed and it’s easy to travel with. (I demonstrate how to fold and unfold it in the video)
If you order one over the phone please mention that you heard about it here. Thanks!

7 for 27: Random Thoughts and Tips

Weight Training Thoughts and Tips
Considering I turn 27 at the end of August and this article is the 27th I’ve submitted to T Nation, I thought it’d be cool to do a spin-off of one of my favorite ESPN shows, 30 for 30, and do my own 27 for 27where I share – you guessed it – 27 random thoughts and training tips that you can hopefully use to help you on your own journey.
Then I began writing and it started to approach Dostoevsky proportions, so I capped it at seven.
That’s a far cry from 27, but so be it. Quality over quantity, right?

1. Exercise vs. Application

Far too much time is spent debating the merits and demerits of various exercises. I have my personal favorites just like anyone else, but I don’t think there are any ubiquitous “best” exercises out there. Likewise, I don’t think there are many exercises that are intrinsically bad.
Sometimes I think the average lifter can be too swayed by the powerlifting mentality that the “big 3” (squat, bench, and deadlift) must form the crux of any good training program while everything else is relegated to “assistance” or “accessory” work.
That terminology annoys me a bit because it implicitly creates a hierarchy where some exercises are considered to be superior while others are marginalized. Such a distinction makes sense if you’re involved in powerlifting and need to increase those three lifts specifically, but if you’re just looking to build muscle, increase strength, and feel better, it’s shortsighted.
For general training purposes, any exercise can be a “main” lift if you treat it as such, meaning you do it early in the workout, push it hard, and focus on progressive overload. That of course includes the big 3 – which are all great exercises – but it also includes a myriad of other exercises, too.
To use a personal example, for years I religiously started every lower body workout with a heavy squat, and would sometimes follow that up with some lighter single-leg work. I got stronger and my legs grew. No surprise there.
Now, to spare my lower back, I start my workouts with a heavy single-leg exercise (Bulgarian split squats, lunges, single-leg squats, etc.) and sometimes follow it up with some lighter squatting. I’ve continued to get stronger, and my legs have continued to grow. Both ways work.
There’s more than one way to skin a cat. It comes down to exercise application as opposed to exercise selection.

2. Exercise Modification

Weight Training Thoughts and Tips
Speaking of exercise application, let me touch on exercise modification, as I believe the two are closely intertwined. I often share different ways to tweak exercises to better suit your needs, but rather than simply list a bunch of random exercises, let’s give those exercises some context and delve a little deeper into my rationale behind them.
Most of the variations I use are done either to make an exercise more joint-friendly or to alter it to where I don’t need to use as much weight.
I have meathead coursing through my veins and love lifting hard and pushing myself to my limits. However, as time goes on and I get stronger, I can’t tolerate just doing heavy deadlifting, squatting, and benching all the time without my body breaking down.
Consequently, to keep pushing the envelope without hurting myself, I’ve gravitated towards more unilateral work and advanced bodyweight training. I still focus on getting stronger through progressive overload, but I’m picking exercises that are a bit easier on the joints.
It’s been working great for me, but sometimes progression can be a little tricky because a lot of the exercises can be tough to load after a certain point, so I do other stuff to manipulate it to make it harder.
I’ll also modify exercises to satisfy equipment needs. Maybe I’ll see something I like but don’t have the same equipment at my disposal, so I’ll think of a way to get a similar training effect using what I’ve got.
That all being said, I want to be very clear that I built my foundation doing an extremely simple routine and just hammering away at the basics.
I wouldn’t recommend going into the gym with the intent to modify things just for the sake of modifying them. The basics work the vast majority of the time, especially for beginners, and if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
If you run into a problem – like something hurts, you need to make it harder/easier, you don’t have the necessary equipment, etc. – then try to come up with a solution to the problem.

I’ve toyed around for a long time and have developed a solid foundation of strength on the basics and a good knowledge of my body, so when something doesn’t feel right, I make small changes. Note the emphasis on small.
Whenever I progress an exercise, it’s because I’ve mastered the previous step first. That’s very important. It’s never really a big jump, just more of a natural progression.
Plus, I like to add in some variety from time to time to spice things up and keep it fun.
I’ll share an example to make my rambling more concrete. Here’s an exercise I’ve done from time to time to work my legs. For lack of a better name, I’ll call it deficit skaters squats using “1.5” reps.

If I saw someone do this exercise without any context, I’d probably think it looked pretty silly, so let me explain why I do them.
As mentioned, I used to squat religiously at the start of every lower body workout. I focused a lot on developing good technique and always pushed myself very hard. See the video below.

I loved it and saw good results, but as I started getting stronger and squatting over twice my bodyweight, I could no longer justify doing them so heavy, given my history of serious back issues.
To me that’s just common sense. If you’ve got a bad back and continue to load it with hundreds of pounds week in and week out, you’re going to be in for a world of hurt sooner or later. I’ve learned the hard way many times that when you try to fight your body, it always wins.
With that in mind, to continue to work my legs without loading my spine as much, I switched to more single-leg work, including skater squats. I started doing them standing on the floor, but when that became easy, I stood on a small aerobic step to increase the range of motion and make it harder. When that became easy, I started adding weight until I was wearing multiple weighted vests, chains, and whatever else I could find to weigh me down.
It’s extremely uncomfortable to load up that much and it takes forever, so after a couple bouts of slogging through that I decided to add in the “1.5 reps (do one full rep, come halfway up, go back down again, and come all the way up. That’s one rep.) to make it harder so I don’t need as much additional load.
So that’s how that one came about. I don’t do them that often, but it’s a tool in the proverbial toolbox.
Still though, while I do sprinkle in some weird exercises here and there, the vast majority of my lifting is actually  simple.
If you’re going to stray from the basics, make sure you already know them intimately well first, and make sure you have a good justification for what you’re doing.

3. Learn From Everyone, But Understand Where They’re Coming From

Weight Training Thoughts and Tips
It always bugs me when I see people criticizing the methods of very successful people. At the end of the day, results talk, so any time I look at someone who’s achieved success in a given arena – even if their goals are different than mine – I try to see what I can learn from them to make myself better rather than try to poke holes in their methods.
That’s certainly not to say I always agree with everything every successful person does, but at this stage of my life, I think it behooves me to keep my mouth shut and just try to learn as much as I can and keep things positive. The last thing this world needs is another hater and critic. Or another movie in the Twilightsaga. We’ve already got more than enough of those.
When I hear new ideas, I try to look at them through the lens of the person sharing them because that a) gives the ideas context and allows me to appreciate where the ideas are coming from, and b) lets me examine how (or if) I can apply those ideas to my own situation. Not everything will apply, but that’s okay.
I’ve taken bits and pieces from sports performance training, bodybuilding, powerlifting, strongman, gymnastics, yoga, physical therapy, you name it. It’s all good in my book, or at least parts of it are. Focus on the good and ignore the stuff that doesn’t pertain to you.
It’s amazing what you learn when you keep an open mind.

4. Read, Read, Read

Weight Training Thoughts and Tips
I’m an avid reader. I really enjoy it, which is a bonus, but even if you don’t, it’s important to do it anyway.
Earl Nightingale is quoted as saying that “one hour per day of study will put you at the top of your field within three years. Within five years you’ll be a national authority. In seven years you can be one of the best people in the world at what you do.”
I don’t completely agree with this notion because I think there’s a lot to be said for real-world experience that only comes from putting your time in, but at the very least, it gives credence to the adage that “knowledge is power,” which I certainly believe to be true.
If you’re an up and coming strength coach or trainer, an hour a day of reading is a good goal to shoot for. I usually end up reading more than that, but I’ll admit to being somewhat of a nerd.
If you have a different job though and just train as a hobby, an hour a day is definitely overkill, but I’d say two hours a week is reasonable.
The more varied your reading, the better. Don’t just stick to what you know or what you’re best at, and don’t just read things that reaffirm what you already think. Read different authors from different backgrounds – even if it goes against your current beliefs – and read with the intent to learn, not nitpick. You’ll almost never agree with everything an author says. Who cares? If I come away with a few (or even one) useful tips, I’m happy.
Here are six good books that I’ve read recently that I highly recommend:

  • Advances in Functional Training by Mike Boyle
  • Never Let Go by Dan John
  • Easy Strength by Dan John and Pavel Tsatsouline
  • 5/3/1 by Jim Wendler
  • Ultimate Speed and Agility by Jim Kielbaso
  • Warrior Cardio by Martin Rooney

Anything you recommend? I’m always looking for new reading material and would appreciate any suggestions you might have in the Live Spill below.

5. Put Knowledge Into Practice

Weight Training Thoughts and Tips
While knowledge is very useful, reading about strength training won’t get you strong. You can be smart as hell and weak as piss.
Don’t be that guy who skips the gym to banter on internet forums about the optimal training system. Any training system is better than sitting at home.
To see results you’ve got to put that knowledge into practice in the gym by busting your ass hard week in and week out for a long time.
In the quotation I shared in the previous point, Nightingale talks about one hour of “study” a day being the magic number to fast-track your success. I’m pretty sure he was talking about “study” as reading, but I’d argue that for gym rats, training counts as study, too. I know I’ve learned far more about training from just banging away at the weights than I have from any book, though both are important.
I’ve already suggested two hours a week of reading, so if we’re to follow Nightingale’s recommendation of an hour a day of study, that leaves five hours a week to train. I think that’s a good goal, too. How you break those five hours up is up to you, but I personally think 3-5 days a week is best. That might mean three longer workouts, four average workouts, or five shorter workouts. Your call, but take at least one day off (more on this below).
Five hours isn’t a hard-fast rule. For some that may be a little too much, while others may be able to tolerate more, so use that as a starting point and adjust accordingly.
If you spent two hours a week reading credible sources and getting smarter and another five hours a week getting after it in the gym and stick to that recipe diligently for a couple years, I think you’d be very happy with your results. It won’t happen overnight, but what separates the mediocre from the good and the good from the great is hard work and consistency over time. Remember that.

6. Off Means Off

Weight Training Thoughts and Tips
Just like no means no, off means off.
When I first started lifting I was so eager to get bigger and stronger that I never took days off from training. Like, ever.
I once lifted for over 50 days straight. I was worried that if I took time off I’d shrivel up and lose all the progress I’d made. It didn’t matter what was going on or how I felt, I lifted, come hell or high water. I went to a 24-hour gym so if I had plans during the day, I’d wake up as early as 3:30 A.M. to get my lift in, often times pushing through sickness and/or injury.
That led to more sickness and injury. Go figure.
Over time I’ve grown to embrace time off, and my off days have gotten progressively more “off.” I used to think of an off day as doing some high-rep work and maybe some low intensity cardio. Then it became foaming rolling, stretching, etc. Now I pee sitting down.
I take at least two days off every week, and every ten weeks or so I take a week completely off from anything gym-related. Once or twice a year I’ll take around two weeks completely off. For me, those breaks are as much mental as they are physical, and I always come back with a rekindled fervor to kick some ass.
Learn to embrace time away and realize that in the big picture, it’s bringing you closer to your goals.

7. Success Leaves Clues, But…

Tony Robbins says, “If you want to be successful, find someone that has achieved the results you want and copy what they do.” Great advice, and I’ve tried to do this both as a coach and as a lifter. I’ve been extremely fortunate to have great mentors, and I can’t overstate just how helpful that’s been.
Here’s the thing though: when you look to mentors for guidance, don’t focus on what they’re currently doing, focus on how they got there.
Many successful coaches will often talk about how they’re trying to live a more balanced life, sleep more, and other things of that nature. That makes sense once you’re already successful, but if you look closer at how these guys became successful, they usually did so by being unbalanced, working “too hard,” and not sleeping that much.
That’s the part I focus on. I hope to be in a position someday where I’m compelled to become more balanced, but for now, I’ll just keep my nose to the grindstone and keep chuggin’ away.
Same goes for training. Find someone who’s achieved the kinds of things in the gym that you hope to one day achieve. Study them closely and observe how they train, how they eat, how they rest, how they conduct themselves, everything. If they’ll let you, follow them around.
Then ask them how they got to where they are. Most of the time, it’s drastically different. Following an advanced lifter’s program before you’re ready will slow your gains more than it’ll accelerate them.
Be patient, and pay attention to the process, not just the result. Once you do that, the results tend to take care of themselves.

Closing Thoughts

I have a lot more thoughts running through my mind, but I’ll cut it there for now. Maybe I’ll come back to it later and finish my original 27 thoughts, hopefully before I turn 28. Most likely though, the original list of 27 will continue to grow longer as I keep growing.
I guess one of the cool parts of being young is that I have a lot of years ahead of me to keep working at it and trying to get better.
Hopefully some of my tips help you to get better, too

35 Ways To Save Money | Boomer & Echo

35 Ways To Save Money

We all know there are plenty of ways to save money, but some things are so obvious you can classify them as common sense rather than smart spending.  Drinking tap water and avoiding fast food certainly fall into that category.
Other ways to save money just don’t seem worthwhile.  Making your own deodorant or toothpaste will only save you a few pennies and isn’t worth the time.
My wife and I went through all the different ways we save money on everything from housing and insurance to investing and shopping.  Hopefully you find these more useful than the ubiquitous latte factor.

Here are 35 ways to save money:

1.  We took out a variable rate mortgage on our house at prime minus 0.80, which means the interest rate on our mortgage is an ultra-low 2.20%.
2.  Before we negotiated our low mortgage rate, we shopped around using a comparison tool like Rate Supermarket to make sure our bank gave us the best rate.
3.  We avoided CMHC mortgage insurance fees by saving over 20% for our down payment.  This meant waiting to buy our dream home for 18 months while we saved our money, but it was worth it.
4.  We turned down the mortgage life insurance product offered by our bank, instead opting for much cheaper term life insurance.
5.  We increased our mortgage payments by $800 a month to lower our amortization to less than 15 years.  We’ll save thousands in interest by paying off our mortgage early.
6.  I reduced my trading costs from $29 to $9.99 by combining accounts with one brokerage to reach the $50,000 minimum assets threshold.
7.  I make sure that my trading costs are no more than 1% of the total stock purchase.  For example, since a trade costs $9.99, I’ll make sure to buy more than $1,000 worth of stock.
8.  I use low cost index funds like TD e-Series instead of high MER equity mutual funds.  The MER on TD’s Canadian Index e-Series is 0.33% compared to TD’s Canadian Equity mutual fund at 2.18%.
9.  When I worked in the private sector I took advantage of my employer match for RRSP contributions, which worked out to a 50% return.
10.  We use a cash back credit card for our everyday spending and recurring bill payments.  We earned over $500 by using the MBNA Smart Cash MasterCard last year.
11.  We use a no fee chequing account at ING Direct for payroll, debit purchases and online bill payments that can’t be put on a credit card.
12.  We keep a minimum balance of $1,500 in our TD chequing account to avoid bank fees.
13.  We ditched our landline in 2009 and saved nearly $40 a month.
14.  We regularly call our satellite TV and internet provider to ask for discounts.  Wesaved more than $300 on our cable and internet bills with this strategy.
15.  I negotiated with my employer to pay for my cell phone bill, saving me $60 to $90 a month.
16.  We go to the library every 3-4 weeks to get books and the latest DVD’s and Blue-Ray’s for free.
17.  We took the floating rate, rather than the fixed rate option for our natural gas plan – a smart move with natural gas prices at historic lows.
18.  We use e-post to manage and track our bills online, which helps us pay our bills on time and avoid late fees.
19.  We shop at Costco and buy in bulk for the groceries and other items we use frequently to save on the overall price per unit.
20.  We make our own home cleaning products for simple wipe-downs and disinfecting using vinegar, water and rubbing alcohol.
21.  We try to cook extra for supper so we have leftovers for the next night, or at least for lunch the next day.
22.  The cost of beef and chicken keeps going up.  We started eating a meatless dish at least once a week to save money on groceries.
23.  I come home for lunch as much as possible and brown bag my lunch when the weather is bad or I have a busy day planned and can’t get away from work.
24.  We save money on gas because we bought our house close to where I work.  Our fuel expenses are between $100 and $150 a month.
25.  We reduce our gas costs even further by redeeming Air Miles for fuel gift cards from Shell.
26.  We’ve avoided upgrading our 2nd vehicle, which is a 14 year-old Hyundai Elantra that still gets me to work and back whenever my wife needs our main vehicle.
27.  We dropped collision coverage on our 2nd vehicle to save on auto insurancepremiums.
28.  We increased the deductible on our insurance coverage to lower our premiums.
29.  We bundle our home and car insurance to take advantage of the multi-product discount.
30.  We save money shopping online using Great Canadian Rebates, where you can earn cash back on your spending.
31.  I regularly look for online coupons and promo codes when shopping online.  I had to buy a new battery for my Dell laptop and a quick search for Dell promo codes saved me $15.
32.  We signed up for free samples from Pampers and Huggies before our daughter was born.
33.  We also use Proctor & Gamble’s Brand Saver site to get coupons for diapers and wipes.
34.  We try and reduce the clutter on items we don’t need (or use) any more by selling stuff on Kijiji.
35.  I avoid buying the extended warranty coverage on electronics and other big ticket items.  Our credit card automatically doubles the manufacturer’s warranty.
What are some of the ways you save money?

Pourquoi grossit-on quand on vieillit ?

Au fil des années, la prise de poids semble inévitable. En France, les femmes prennent en moyenne 7,5 kg entre 20 et 50 ans, contre une dizaine pour les québécoises. Pour certaines, le poids augmente progressivement durant toute la vie mais pour d’autres, cela se fait à l’occasion des grossesses et de la ménopause. A plus petite échelle, les hommes sont également concernés, surtout au niveau de la partie abdominale. Que se passe-t-il donc dans l’organisme ?
Avant toute chose, il faut savoir que les femmes ont une quantité de graisse plus importante que les hommes. On estime que 18 à 25%de leur poids corporel est constitué de tissu adipeux, contre seulement 10 à 15% chez les hommes.  Leurs réserves graisseuses localisées surtout dans le bas du corps (cuisses, hanches, fesses, …) ont servis de stocks, durant des millénaires. Elles permettaient  d’assurer la survie et la reproduction de l’espèce humaine en cas de famine. Ces réserves de graisse ont donc été conçues pour ne pas disparaître facilement, contrairement à celles des hommes, localisées sur l’abdomen, c’est d’ailleurs pour cette raison que les femmes ont plus de mal à maigrir que les hommes. Ce qui représentait un atout biologique autrefois, est désormais perçu comme un défaut de l’organisme dans nos sociétés d’abondance.

Le métabolisme de base

Une question de calories

La prise de poids avec l’âge s’explique d’abord par le métabolisme de base. Il représente les calories que l’organisme dépense pour assurer le minimum vital : plus il est faible,  et plus on peut prendre de poids. Le principal facteur qui influe sur lui est la proportion de masse musculaire, plus grande chez les hommes. C’est pour cette raison qu’ils ont un métabolisme de base plus élevé que celui des femmes : le cœur et les poumons doivent s’activer davantage pour couvrir toute la masse musculaire.
Exemple :
► Le métabolisme de base d’un homme de 20 ans, mesurant 1 m 80 et pesant 70 kg est d’environ 1510 kilocalories.
► Celui d’une femme de 20 ans, mesurant 1 m 65 et pesant 60 kg est d’environ 1320 calories.
Une baisse de la masse musculaire 

Avec l’âge, la masse musculaire diminue, entraînant la baisse du métabolisme basal : on estime qu’il diminue de 2 à 3% par décennie à l’âge adulte. Le nombre de calories dépensées au repos diminue,  alors que l’alimentation reste souvent la même. Par conséquent, les calories qui étaient autrefois brulées par l’organisme, sont stockées sous formes de graisse.

► Il est conseillé aux personnes âgées de plus de 50 ans d’augmenter leur consommation de protéines alimentaires pour freiner la perte musculaire.

Deux caps : la ménopause et la grossesse

Le rôle des hormones dans la ménopause

Lors de la ménopausela baisse des œstrogènes accélère la perte musculaire au niveau des parties inférieures de l’organisme. Elle va donc amplifier le phénomène expliqué précédemment.  La femme ne pouvant plus donner naissance à un enfant, ses réserves graisseuses n’ont plus lieu d’être. Le changement de la silhouette est alors inévitable : les cuisses maigrissent, au contraire de la taille et des hanches qui s’épaississent. La baisse de la masse musculaire entraîne globalement une prise de poids si le même mode de vie est conservé.
► L’augmentation du poids moyen chez les femmes ménopausées varie de 4 kg à 5 kg.
Eviter la sédentarisation 

Ces bouleversements hormonaux sont souvent accompagnés de changements importants dans la vie des femmes concernées (départ des enfants, stress professionnel). Pour éviter une prise de poids, il faut équilibrer son alimentation et surtout augmenter son activité physique. Cela permet de réduire la diminution de la masse musculaire et de maintenir son métabolisme de base.
Une étude menée à Genève a montré l’importance de l’activité physique dans la vie, et particulièrement au moment de la ménopause. Elle a montré que les femmes qui font 20 à 30 minutes d’exercice par jour (marche rapide, course, …) ne prennent quasiment pas de poids durant cette période difficile.
► Il est important, lorsqu’on vieillit, de consulter un médecin avant de débuter un programme d’entraînement.
Les grossesses successives
Il est parfois difficile de revenir au poids précédant la grossesse. Au cours de celle-ci, les hormones ont joué un grand rôle dans l’apparition des “kilos de grossesse”. Certaines contribuent à développer l’appétit tandis que d’autres vont amplifier le phénomène de stockage par l’organisme en prévision de l’allaitement. Il est conseillé de reprendre une activité physique après la grossesse. La plupart du temps, on recommande d’attendre 2 mois, après la rééducation périnéale. Cependant, dans le cas d’une césarienne ou d’une épisiotomie, il faudra attendre plus longtemps.

Les autres facteurs


Ce dysfonctionnement de la glande thyroïde est relativement fréquent. Il entraîne une augmentation du poids et s’accompagne généralement d’une fatigue inhabituelle. Cette affection qui touche surtout lesfemmes après 50 ans, ne se guérit pas mais se contrôle très bien en prenant quotidiennement deshormones thyroïdiennes de remplacement (ou de substitution).
La perte osseuse 

A la perte musculaire, il faut aussi ajouter une légère perte osseuse qui entraîne également une diminution de notre métabolisme de base. Il est donc conseillé d’augmenter son apport en vitamine D, surtout lorsqu’on sait que près de 80% des occidentaux présentent des carences en vitamines D !
Le laisser-aller
Au fil des années, le niveau de vie et la situation sociale changent. Cela favorise la sédentarité, la consommation d’aliments raffinés comme les boissons sucrées, le vin, les viandes rouges non transformées… D’autres facteurs interviennent également dans le gain pondéral : la consommation d’alcool, le temps passé devant la télévision ou encore l’utilisation de la voiture.
Ainsi, la prise de poids avec l’âge n’est pas inéluctable: adapter son alimentation aux besoins de l’organisme et pratiquer une activité physique suffisent à conserver un poids “santé”

Dividend Challengers Smackdown XXVII – Seeking Alpha

Dividend Challengers Smackdown XXVII – Seeking Alpha: In the most recent installments of the Smackdown series, I screened the Dividend Champions (which can be found here) starting with Beta and, last month, with the stocks’ most recent (percentage) increase.

(Note that I have separated the Champions, Contenders, and Challengers into different articles to fit more closely into the format preferred by Seeking Alpha. Champions are companies that have paid higher dividends for at least 25 straight years; Contenders have streaks of 10-24 years; Challengers have streaks of five to nine years. I use the same Roman numeral for all three articles.)

This month, I decided to focus on the relationship between earnings and dividends, since the former should drive the latter. So I screened as follows:

Dividend Champions Smackdown XXVII – Seeking Alpha

Dividend Champions Smackdown XXVII – Seeking Alpha: In the most recent installments of the Smackdown series, I screened the Dividend Champions (which can be found here) starting with Beta and, last month, with stocks’ most recent (percentage) increase.

(Note that I have separated the Champions, Contenders, and Challengers into different articles to fit more closely into the format preferred by Seeking Alpha. Champions are companies that have paid higher dividends for at least 25 straight years; Contenders have streaks of 10-24 years; Challengers have streaks of 5-9 years. I use the same Roman numeral for all three articles.)

This month, I decided to focus on the relationship between earnings and dividends, since the former should drive the latter. So I screened as follows:

Dividend Contenders Smackdown XXVII – Seeking Alpha

Dividend Contenders Smackdown XXVII – Seeking Alpha: In the most recent installments of the Smackdown series, I screened the Dividend Champions (which can be found here) starting with beta and, last month, with the stocks’ most recent (percentage) increase.

(Note that I have separated the Champions, Contenders, and Challengers into different articles to fit more closely into the format preferred by Seeking Alpha. Champions are companies that have paid higher dividends for at least 25 straight years; Contenders have streaks of 10-24 years; Challengers have streaks of five to nie years. I use the same Roman numeral for all three articles.)

This month, I decided to focus on the relationship between earnings and dividends, since the former should drive the latter. So I screened as follows:

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