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No Lying March 6, 2011

Posted by Mike Clipp in Diet, Exercise, Fitness, General, Health.
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The other day I was watching the movie, “The Invention Of Lying,” when a thought struck me, “If there was no lying then there would be no diet and supplement industry.” Just imagine – no ephedra commercials, no super abs infomercials, no miracle cleanse. Although I do think that I would miss the rear views on the Brazil Butt Lift infomercials.

 So what would this no lying world be like? If you wanted to get healthier or lose weight you’d follow a diet that gave you the proper calories and nutrition from eating real, wholesome food, and perform a workout routine doing functional, healthy exercises. HydroxyCut, with its preposterous claim that by taking it you can lose weight without diet or exercise, wouldn’t exist. We’d all be healthier, happier and richer. The multi-billlion dollar diet, exercise and supplement industry would be much smaller.

 We wouldn’t be drinking Gatorade or PowerAde to hydrate and increase our performance. Unless you’re an athlete who works out for hours a day and sweats out a ton of liquids plain old water will work just fine. 

 All of the gadgets, potions, pills, and devices that promise you that you’ll lose weight, get fit and healthy, or become a star wouldn’t exist. We’d all be healthier, happier, and maybe just all-round better people. Or so I would hope.

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First Criteria for a Good and Effective Workout January 1, 2011

Posted by Mike Clipp in Exercise.
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Let’s take a look at the First Criteria For a Good and Effective WorkoutDo multi-joint movements. Multi-joint movements are exercises such as pull-ups, squats, deadlifts, burpees, pushups and the like. Single-joint movements, also known as isolation exercises, are curls, bench presses, leg extensions, tricep extensions and the like. 

Multi-joint movements, also known as functional movements or exercise, most closely resemble the movements you make in real life. You squat down to pick up a child, lift and carry a bag of groceries, get up from sitting or lying on the floor, pull yourself up a ladder, or climb the stairs.

The functional exercises usually won’t give you the big, bulging muscles that the isolation exercises do. Body builders do the isolation exercises. They seek exercises that provide hypertrophy (increase in size of the muscle) as the primary objective of their workout rather than the ability to function better and more efficiently in everyday life. That’s fine for them if that’s their goal. If that’s your goal then there are better blogs and websites than StillFit that you can read. But, if your goal is to keep healthy and functioning well in middle age and far beyond then StillFit is the blog for you.

 Multi-joint/functional exercises naturally encompass the other four Criteria for A Good and Effective Workout. 

  •  Exercise On Your Feet: It’s nearly impossible to do squats, lunges, and jumping jacks while you’re sitting down. Likewise, pushups, Turkish get-ups and kettlebell swings are all done with your feet making contact with the ground.
  • Variety: There’s an almost unlimited number of functional exercises you can do. You can go online to find directions on how to do Turkish get-ups, farmer carry’s, lunges, sandbag cleans, rope climbing, kettlebell routines, tabata sequences, plus all the old standby’s such as squats, deadlifts, pull-ups, pushups and the like.
  • High Intensity: You can go to the gym, do a set, rest, talk, do another set, rest and talk for a while, do another set, take a couple of hours to complete your routine and see minimal improvement for the time you put in. Or you can go to the gym, charge through your routine, breathe hard and get your heart rate up for 30 to 40 minutes and see a lot of improvement with less workout time.
  • Fun: I have fun doing crab walks, sprints, rope climbs, frisbee, burpees, and a host of other different and functional exercises. You can design your workouts so that they’re fun and exciting.

 A couple of things to remember when you follow the StillFit philosophy in multi-joint/functional workouts. First, don’t overdo it.  Follow the StillFit guideline, Reason. Don’t start out trying to do your maximum effort or weight. Start easy and work yourself up to a maximum effort or weight. It doesn’t do you any good to injure yourself. Second, when you go to the gym, stay off the machines. I know, you’ll probably be the only person in the gym not using the machines. It’s hard to be the person not doing what everybody else does. That doesn’t mean you’re doing it wrong. It could be the other people who are doing it wrong. As Anatole France said, “Even if fifty million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing.”

Stillfit: The 5 Criteria for a Good and Effective Workout August 3, 2010

Posted by Mike Clipp in Exercise, Fitness.
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You  may have noticed by now that I like to break things down into sets of rules, or guidelines. This helps me cut through all the crap that people spout concerning the best ways to eat and workout. All you have to do is flip open a magazine or go to a website to see some new supplement or exercise gadget that will lose that weight and get you in shape, with no effort. Those things don’t work. The only thing that’s been proven to get you in shape and healthy is to eat right and exercise right. You have to get out and burn some calories. To lose weight you only have to burn more calories than you take in. To become your healthiest and fittest you have to eat the right things and exercise properly. 

Forget about running endless miles or the standard bodybuilder’s workout of 3 sets of 10 that we all learned in our younger years. There’s a new school of thought developing that is moving toward a more functional, varied workout to attain the best fitness. You don’t have to do hours per week of running, or spend hours pushing weights in the gym. Besides that, as you get older, your knees and other joints start having problems with all that pounding and strain – I know mine do.

For almost 30 years my workouts consisted of 3 sets of 10, 3 times a week, using weight machines and barbells plus running 3 or so miles 3 times a week. It didn’t take long for me to get bored with the routine. Over the years I tried different routines – slow lifting, high intensity, pyramids, descending sets, etc. The problem was that they were all just variations on the same old routine that everyone did. Nothing I tried overcame the feeling that there had to be a better way to work out and keep fit. Then, about five years ago I started hearing about and seeing online a lot of talk about functional fitness. Crossfit, primal fitness, The 300 workout (from the movie), and natural movement type training were all just starting to generate some buzz. Functional fitness lets you run, jump, lift, push, pull, crawl, twist and stretch your way to fitness. There’s an infinite variety of exercises and routines available.

The 5 Criteria for a Good and Effective Workout, shown below, build on the functional fitness concept. Just don’t forget the three guiding principles of StillFit: Knowledge, Reason, Consistency.

      Knowledge – If you’re unfamiliar with an exercise or routine get some training. Most gyms have trainers who can help, although a lot of trainers aren’t familiar with functional training. Or you can keep watching StillFit. I’ll delve deeper into exercises and routines in future posts. You can also search online for tutorials and information.

     Reason – Remember, it’s important to work out to your ability and fitness level. If you’ve been a couch potato, are overweight, or just haven’t exercised in years, take it easy in the beginning. You don’t have to prove your toughness by going all out your first couple of times working out. Start slow and light and work your way up. I like to follow the concept of Just One More: Every time you do an exercise or routine, try to do just one more repetition than you did last time, or finish a second faster than last time.

     Consistency – Work out 4 or 5 times a week. Working out only once or twice a week just isn’t enough, you’re as likely to hurt yourself as you are to get fit. So get out and have some fun working out. I try to schedule my workouts Monday and Tuesday, take a rest day on Wednesday, then back to my workouts on Thursday and Friday. Sometimes I’ll fit in a Saturday workout also. You don’t have to spend an hour or more per workout. By following the 5 Criteria for a Good and Effective Workout you can get a good, efficient workout in only 30 minutes or so. You also don’t need to go to the gym to get a good workout. You don’t need ab machines, back stretchers, swinging doohickeys, funny shaped shoes or straps and belts. You can work out at home, in the park, on the beach, while traveling, just about anywhere.

5 Criteria for a Good and Effective Workout        

1.  Do multi-joint movements

2.  Exercise on your feet

3.  Variety

4.  High intensity

5.  Fun

Let’s take a closer look at the five criteria.

  1. Multi-joint movements – Perform whole body, multi-joint exercises instead of isolation movements. Do pull-ups instead of curls, push-ups instead of bench presses, squats instead of leg extensions. For example, squats develop not only your quadriceps (the muscles in the front of your thighs) but also your glutes (butt), hamstrings (back of the leg), calves, back, abs, and the all important core (a.k.a. your trunk, the muscles that hold you up). To keep yourself upright and balanced while you’re doing squats, you use and develop the stabilizer muscles in your trunk. This helps strengthen your overall musculature and balance. Instead of striving for big bodybuilder muscles, go for strong, functional muscles that can support you in your daily activities.
  2. Exercise on your feet – Don’t just sit at a machine and move stacks of weight. Go grab a barbell or dumbbells and push or pull them, or do some bodyweight squats, pushups, and pull-ups. Jumping and sprinting are some other activities you can do on your feet. Remember: the more you sit, the less fit you git, and the more you weigh (pardon the pun, but if it helps you remember, it’s worth it).
  3. Variety – If you use barbells to do squats and shoulder presses one day, the next day do box jumps and sprints. The thing is, don’t do the same routine all the time. Mix in some burpees and Turkish get-ups. Do some Tai Chi. Lift heavy weights one workout, then for your next workout do sprints and core work, for the workout after that do bodyweight exercises, then jump rope and bike the next workout. You get the idea – try not to do the same routine more than once or twice a month to keep your body and muscles from getting too complacent and you from getting too bored.
  4. High intensity – Don’t just amble along taking it easy. Exert yourself. We’ve all seen the person who spends hours in a leisurely walk on the treadmill, reading a book or magazine, but they never seem to make any improvements or speed up. If they’d just break into a short jog once in a while and maybe even break a sweat they’d be amazed at the results. You don’t have to run for a solid 30 minutes or more to get the best results. In fact, interval training can produce great results in much less time. A simple interval running workout goes like this: walk 3 minutes, sprint 1 minute, walk 3 minutes, sprint 1 minute. Repeat this cycle 5 or 6 times.
  5. Fun – Have fun. Pick exercises and routines that you like, maybe something you enjoyed as a kid. Having fun is a big part of life. Make it part of your workout.   

Once you accept the notion that you don’t have to do a bodybuilder-type routine to get fit and healthy, the world is full of fun and healthy possibilities. For instance, my workout today will consist of jump rope, pushups (done 4 different ways), jump squats, rope climb, box jumps, and other fun activities. I’ll complete it in 35 to 40 minutes. 

Okay, now that you’ve finished reading this, what are you still doing sitting in front of your computer? Get outside and crawl around your yard. If anyone gawks, just smile knowingly and wave at them.

Welcome To StillFit July 14, 2010

Posted by Mike Clipp in Diet, Exercise, Fitness, General, Health.
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Are you over 40 and still fit? Over 40 and want to get fit? Tired of trying to separate the nutrition and fitness fads, the misinformation, the scams and untruths from the simple, straightforward facts and data? Now, StillFit is here to guide you through the confusing array of conflicting and overblown information. A lot of you have neither the time nor the desire to sift through all the often sensational and conflicting information that is thrown at you through magazines, television, newspapers, websites, advertisements, friends, family, etc. I started StillFit to analyze all that information for you, then give you just the facts you need to help you stay fit and healthy as the years go by.

I’ll keep it simple too. No long, boring lectures about vitamin this or antioxidant that. The StillFit program doesn’t require you to become an expert on exercise or nutrition. Just learn and consistently follow simple guidelines that will enable you to stay fit and healthy, or become fit and healthy.

StillFit is not a take it easy, low impact, eat what you want, exercise while sitting in a chair and still lose weight and get fit type of program. Those don’t work. StillFit is for the person who is serious about getting fit and healthy or staying fit and healthy and is ready and willing to work at it. It will work for both men and women, whether you’re 45 or 65, already fit or a complete couch potato looking to get fit and healthy. You’re never too old or too out of shape to get started. 

The guiding principles of StillFit are, “Knowledge, Reason, and Consistency.” Knowledge is knowing the facts about fitness and nutrition. It also includes knowing how to apply the facts to design and live a StillFit life. Reason is realizing that we’re not 25 years old anymore. We can’t get away with eating and exercising (or not exercising) like we could 30 years ago. Consistency is the continuous application and practice of our StillFit lifestyle.

I‘ve organized things into simple sets of rules or guidelines. We’ll start off with the 80/20 Rule. It basically means that if you follow the rules or guidelines 80 to 90 percent of the time, the other 10 to 20 percent of the time, when you relax the rules a bit, won’t kill you. In other words, if you want to eat dessert once in a while, or wolf down one of those 1400 calorie burgers, go ahead. Just fit it into your overall program. Or, if you miss a day of working out it’s no big deal. You’ll catch up later. It’s when you apply the 80/20 Rule the other way around, where you follow the StillFit program only 10% or 20% of the time that you run into big problems.

Next time, we’ll look at the basic rules for eating. They’re a lot simpler and easier to follow than what the multi-billion dollar diet and nutrition industry wants you to believe.