The Ultimate Performance Center

No Excuses®

Brain Sensation: Part 4

BSMWe swallow a mouthful of food then, eventually, the entire meal is consumed. What follows is an incredibly complex chain of processes the brain and body must conduct to digest, assimilate and eliminate food.

To explain briefly, dozens of enzymes work tirelessly to break up the large chunks of swallowed food into microscopic bits, as large chunks simply cannot permeate the porous intestinal lining. Once they are broken down, or pulverized, these microscopic food particles can now pass through the intestinal lining and enter the bloodstream while, on the flip-side, an entirely different group of enzymes, with equal determination and faculty, re-assemble the microscopic food particles to construct brand new living tissue and repair old withered ones; i.e., muscle, bone, and organ included.

Eventually, food becomes us. We (really) are what we eat!

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Written by John Abdo, ©, All Rights Reserved

Excerpts taken from Brain Sensation & Motivation

December 10, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Brain Sensation: Part 2

BSMYou’ve finally had a chance to unwind from the day and are plumped on your sofa watching your favorite television program. As time passes the temperature in the room becomes hotter and hotter, and you begin to feel uncomfortable. As an innate (natural) defense mechanism, your body strives to maintain a comfortable body temperature; also related to homeostasis. Once your brain determines that you’re uncomfortable it commands various systems in your body to find, then push water to the surface of the skin to cool yourself off, creating perspiration. The water (sweat) is taken from within muscle tissues, organs, the bloodstream and even your brain.

According to many studies, muscles, on average, are comprised approximately 70% water, the brain is 80% and blood comes in at 90%; reason why many regard blood as liquid tissue.

This is yet another one of our survival mechanisms Mother Nature has equipped us with to cool us off in hot temperatures. And, in reverse, we’re also equipped to turn up the heat when things become too cold . . .

… You’re still trying to enjoy your favorite show, but now the temperature drops to freezing. Without telling your body to quiver it automatically triggers a homeostatic reaction that provokes your body to shiver and shake while your teeth begin to chatter. All of the shivering and shaking and chattering are the body’s way it can create friction that releases internal heat, much like starting a fire by rubbing two sticks together.

The brain also controls body temperature and hydration levels. So the healthier your brain is the more comfortable and productive your life becomes. And it’s a prudent idea to drink plenty of water and make sure your dwelling has a functional thermostat that compliments the one inside your body!

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Written by John Abdo, ©, All Rights Reserved

Excerpts taken from Brain Sensation & Motivation

December 10, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sweet Behavior

I’m sure you’ve heard many people say, “I get fat just thinking about food”. As bizarre as that statement sounds there really is a lot of (scientific) truth supporting it. Here’s a simple explanation.

Sugar ingestion of any kind, natural or man-made, releases insulin into the bloodstream. Produced by the pancreas gland, amongst other roles, insulin is a hormone that serves as a shuttling agent responsible for chaperoning glucose (sugar) through the bloodstream and into the cells of the body to provide the cells with energy. The more sugar a person eats the more insulin their body needs to produce placing greater demands onto their pancreas glands. Those who are addicted to sugar, and consume it consistently, condition their pancreas to release insulin more frequently and at greater volumes than normal; this is a classic maladaptive behavior habit.

What’s so ironic, the brain-pancreas system becomes so conditioned to releasing insulin for chronic sugar-holics that these people don’t even need to actually (physically) consume sugar to trigger this effect. Whenever their brain senses sugar a ‘conditioned response’ (neuro-programming) is trained to believe sugar ingestion is surely going to occur. The sensation or anticipation from the thought, smell, sound and even sight of sugar alone is sufficient instigation to trigger insulin production. So if you’re trying to lose excess weight make sure you close your eyes and plug your ears during television commercials advertising all those yummy-for-your-tummy deserts and insatiable dishes at famous pancake restaurants. This might sound pseudo scientific, but it’s as factual as a person who ‘thinks’ (fantasizes) about a sexual experience and concurrently releases a variety of procreative hormones.

Needless to say, excessive sugar consumption and insulin secretion becomes a dangerous habit that destroys cellular integrity and overall body constitution. It’s a process that inhibits useful blood glucose to enter the cells where it’s used as energy. So instead of yielding energy this process actually stores it away; and in places people just struggle to deal with like their love-handles, saddlebags, chins, etc.

Maladaptive behavior directly related to sugar consumption often leads to diabetes and obesity, epidemics that are completely out of control for adults and now youngsters in our high-sugar era of consumption. Additionally, sugar addiction degrades the integrity and vitality of the pituitary gland that, in turn, struggles to produce and release sufficient supplies of growth hormone that are necessary to keep the body charged with a healthy metabolism and to maintain homeostasis.

Insulin flow chart (basic understanding)

• Sugar is sensed by the brain; i.e., thought (memory or future projection), sight, smell or actual consumption.

• The brain reacts by signaling the pancreas to release insulin in preparation to manage energy.

• Insulin enters the bloodstream that then binds to sugar molecules chaperoning them into muscle cells.

• Muscle cell receptors will grant entry to sugar only when that muscle is depleted, or has room for this energy source.

• However, when muscle cells are already saturated with sugar; called glycogen at that point, the sugar is rejected by the muscle receptors returning it into normal circulation. When sugar is denied tissue access it has a higher (and easier) tendency to convert to fat and become stored within the body. (The genetic construction of the body desires to keep and preserve energy, it’s a caveman gene we haven’t yet outgrown.)

• Insulin-induced diabetes is linked to depression, hormonal imbalances and sexual dysfunctions, obesity, chronic fatigue, insomnia, and reduced quality of life.

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Written by John Abdo, ©, All Rights Reserved

Excerpts taken from Brain Sensation & Motivation

December 10, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Protein Requirements: by John Abdo

Protein is a super important class of nutrients our bodies need to survive and THRIVE.  Whether you’re a hard training athlete or someone who just wants to live a normal healthy life, living without protein is impossible.  Protein is needed for proper growth, maintenance and repair of body cells and tissues. Protein is made up of smaller compounds called amino acids (AAs).  When a protein food or supplement contains all of the essential AAs it is regarded as a complete protein. Essential AAs are those which the body cannot synthesize therefore they must be provided from food or supplementation on daily basis.

There are also many other foods which contain protein but are considered incomplete because they lack one or several of the essential AAs. If any one food source lacks an essential amino acid by simply eating another food might just supply the limiting amino acid and make the body accessible to the complete array of protein essentials needed for growth and repair.

When combining incomplete protein foods, even when both foods are incomplete, each one might just have its own missing amino acids that differs from the other food. So when combining foods, one’s chances for obtaining all the essential AAs are greatly increased.

In total, experts claim there are 22 amino acids needed for optimum human health. All of these 22 AAs must be available to the body on a daily basis if one is to live a healthy productive life. Of these 22 AAs, 8 of them are considered essential for human health. The term essential refers to the fact that it is essential one must eat or ingest these AAs on a daily basis from food or supplement sources. The remaining 14 AAs can be produced, or synthesized, by the body in the event they are not made available with food.

Proteins are complex molecular structures which are very interesting and versatile. Most other nutrients contain carbon (C), oxygen (O), and hydrogen (H). Protein contains COH but includes a backbone of nitrogen (N). The more N our bodies can retain the stronger and healthier we become.

When protein intake is adequate to meet normal daily requirements and no more, a condition known as nitrogen equilibrium is experienced. When one is deprived of adequate protein a negative nitrogen balance is the known condition. Of course, equilibrium is the better of the two conditions, but those who maintain a N equilibrium oftentimes remain at the same strength and size despite changes in training intensity.

Negative nitrogen balance is bad news. When one is sick, injured, or being deprived of food, their body immediately tries to fill its nutritional void by cannibalizing itself–also know as catabolism. The body actually eats, or atrophies away its own muscle tissues (heart and lungs included) to extract the amino acids needed for current biological operations. This is why I endorse the daily use of high-protein foods and supplements.

The ideal condition for all health enthusiasts and athletes is to obtain a condition known as positive nitrogen balance. Positive nitrogen balance simply means your tissues are receiving more protein, and retaining more N than what’s being excreted daily.

Physiologic dynamics         TISSUE REMODELING

I’ve explained that protein must be consumed on a daily basis if one is to achieve optimum health and performance. When one is deprived of protein, their body will fall into a catabolic state and literally cannibalize itself until protein is supplied by some food source or supplement. Muscle tissue is living tissue, which means it’s metabolically active. When one attains a healthy degree of lean tissue, they are healthier, and can keep off excess body fat easier as muscles need fuel to operate. In comparison, fat is inert and requires very little energy to maintain itself, that’s why developing muscle helps to keep off excess fat. The muscle maintenance process is fueled by fat. While stored fat, and the maintenance thereof, requires no energy so it remains right where it has decided to embed itself–usually on ones waistline, hips, buttocks, etc, get the point?

Scientists claim that in as little as every 6 months, all of the muscle tissue in our body is completely replaced by the food you eat. Since muscle tissue is constantly being remodeled it makes sense to feed our bodies with adequate protein on a regular basis–high quality foods and protein-rich supplements.

When you see a true health enthusiast, someone who eats correctly all the time, or an athlete who trains hard [and smart] year-round, you see individuals with a symmetrical tone to their physiques and exorbitant levels of energy that can only be explained by proper eating. As their bodies are growing, and at the same time remodeling, their exterior appearance looks very aesthetic due to the fact that the proteins [and other efficacious nutrients] they’ve been eating manifests in ultimate performance and appearance. Maintaining a positive nitrogen balance assures these benefits, and more!

I believe in food first then nutritional supplements to support nutritional voids and to empower the body with extra energy resources. The best times to eat protein is frequently throughout the day. Proper applications to nutritional strategies will produce dramatic benefits to muscle strength and endurance, overall health and, as a Bonus, you’ll look terrific as well!

http://www.JohnAbdo.com

August 6, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Cellular Receptivity: By John Abdo

Ever wonder how one guy can down a 12-pack and (seem to) carry on a normal conversation while another guy drinks one beer and gets smashed? The science of what’s occurring inside that person’s body, and brain, is immeasurably complex but it can be deduced by a couple of different terms like: tissue sensitivity or cellular receptivity.

To take this a step further, let me introduce you to a couple of wild and ambitious guys . . .

Let’s meet Joe and Tim. These two fellows hang out with one another constantly. In fact, they’re almost inseparable. They are the same age, height and bodyweight, and they share identical goals for building up their bodies and increasing the size and strength of their muscle.

Their goals are the same: Get big, get strong, get girls.

Joe and Tim start working out together – same exercises, same routines, same foods, same supplements. Within one week, Joe increases his bench press from 185 to 205, while Tim’s doesn’t budge an ounce. Joe’s biceps grow to 16” up from 14½”, in only 3 weeks, while Tim gets a measly quarter inch gain. The pattern continues. Joe is the front-runner, and Tim lags behind. Both guys remain faithful to their regular evening workouts together; they even eat the same amount of food and pop all the same supplements.

So why is there a discrepancy between Joe’s and Tim’s results? Receptivity. Gym lingo would tell you that Joe’s muscle cells are more sensitive (or more receptive) to receiving the anabolic (muscle-growing) trigger induced by the weight training and supplements while Tim’s cells are, compared to Joe’s, more stubborn.

Tim’s cells have a quicker down-regulation reaction that limits the amount of nitrogen-rich protein, and other energy-yielding nutrients, that enter into his muscle cells. Joe’s cells, on the other hand, are allowing more muscle-building nourishment to enter into his tissues as his internal cellular receptors are reacting much differently; this is often where genetics plays its favorites.

Both guys, internally speaking, can have similar hormonal profiles, but, as stated, Joe’s tissues are simply responding better – and faster. This response is not limited to weight workouts and protein shakes. The same tissue-entering phenomenon occurs with most others foods, alcohol (remember the 12-pack guy?), caffeine, cigarette smoking, drugs (especially steroids), and all ingestible items. Each person has an internal cellular monitoring system that possesses its own levels of sensitivity, and cellular entry.

So two people who are doing the same things – eating the same foods, performing the same exercises, taking the same supplements or drugs, or drinking the same beverages (12-packs or one can of beer) – will have different rates of digestion, cellular absorption, assimilation, metabolism, and, above all, effects.

This is one of the reasons why the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requests all advertisers of diet programs and supplements list: “Individual results may vary.”

The great news in all this is that when a person relies on nourishing themselves with natural ingredients that have been harvested from Mother Nature, and are then processed under ‘standardized’ production regulations, cellular integrity is supported that can only result in positive benefits.

In conclusion, when making decisions that concern the strength, vitality and health of your body, and it’s trillions of cells, it’s wise to be patient with the process and rely on natural substances.

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Written by John Abdo, please refer to the book

Ultimate Sexual Health & Performance

www.Androzene.com

July 28, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gaining Functional Muscle Weight: By John Abdo

It is ironic that a large segment of our population spends billions of dollars each year in attempts to lose excess weight (fat), while others exert lots of energy and also spend big bucks striving to gain weight—muscle weight that is.

No one needs instruction on how to gain fat, that’s easy; just eat and perform little, or no activity. On the other hand, gaining functional muscle weight is a highly sophisticated science, and complicated discipline. Let’s look at it closer.

To gain functional muscle mass, weight training with a specific range of resistances is one of the best prime stimulators, in addition to proper nutrition.

On a microscopic level, weight training actually traumatizes, or tears down muscle fibers; this is scientifically referred to as catabolism. Upon cessation of the catabolic phase, the body’s recuperative metabolism kicks into action; it’s known as the anabolic phase. The anabolic phase is the body’s reparation and rejuvenation metabolism that replenishes depleted energy storages while repairing damaged tissues and growing muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, bones and hormones. The catabolic/anabolic cycles are metabolic counterparts that are referred to as the ‘no pain, no gain’ cycle.

To stimulate the best anabolic state, strength authorities claim that medium-to-heavy resistances should be employed during weight training to induce the best catabolic phase. Generally speaking, many of the basic and/or multi-muscle weight-training movements; like bench presses, squats, power cleans, rows, leg presses and others, should be composed of sets that total between 5-12 repetitions. A weight that can only be performed for repetitions lower than 5 are typically too heavy a load, while a weight that can be performed for repetitions exceeding 12 means are typically too light.

The key to selecting accurate loads or resistances is simply select weights that allow failure between the 5-12 rep range. If a set for an exercise falls short or goes beyond this 5-12 rep range, the athlete simply adjusts their resistance on subsequent sets, or workouts, to remain within the range they need for progressive muscle building.

Although weight training is the main stimulus for anabolism, it’s nutrition that fuels both the catabolic and anabolic phases. Food and supplemental resources obtained from quality proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, certain herbs and adaptogens, all play essential roles in energy expenditure (catabolism/pain) and muscle growth (anabolism/gain).

Of course, gaining functional muscle mass, and the entire discipline of weight training for that matter, are far more complicated than my brief treatise, but there are always exceptions to most every rule. So have fun, experiment and watch your body grow stronger and bigger each and every week.

I Wish You Great Success!

John Abdo

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John Abdo is an Olympic Strength & Conditioning Coach, Master Fitness Trainer, co-formulator for Androzene® and author of the doctor-endorsed book Ultimate Sexual Health & Performance™. For more information please visit www.JohnAbdo.com.

July 24, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

It’s Mind over Matter; and your life ‘is’ the matter! 5-Step Success Plan

BSMGetting, and keeping yourself motivated to consistently improve in life; whether it’s in business, fitness, family, or all of life, is often a wrestling match even the elite experience from time to time. But don’t ever consider throwing in the towel when ‘tough’ times are upon you, as there are plenty of proven solutions that ensure success, and they’re closer than you think!

Tough times don’t last, but tough people do!

As a health, fitness and Olympic Strength & Conditioning Coach my profession extends beyond instructing physical exercises and sports performance skills. Great coaches must also integrate a variety of mental conditioning tools that inspire, educate, and motivate each of their athletes. These mental instruments are designed to train the MIND so the athletes (and students) can then train their bodies for higher and higher levels of achievement. These techniques are not confined to athletic enhancement; they apply to all goal-driven motives. However, in today’s fast-paced society too many people are approaching their transformational quests with an incorrect frame of mind, and this leads to failure.

As a prime example, let’s take two people who come into my gym to workout. Both are the same age, sex, and bodyweight, and have similar skill-sets and lifestyles. One guy approaches me “John, I have to get into shape. My doctor is demanding it”. The other fellow says, “Hey John, I want to get into great shape! Just tell me everything I need to do?

Of the two, the ‘have to’ guy or the ‘want to’ one, which ‘mindset’ would you place your bets on?

Body, sports, business or life, mental fuel comes in a variety of grades. And if a person desires high levels of achievement they must function with ‘high-performance fuel’ as the ‘mental’ energy charging their exertions, and this ‘between-the-ears’ focus is what makes a dramatic difference between success and failure. The ‘high-performance fuel’ I’m referring to is ambition, desire, and passion! Want to, not have to!

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It’s no surprise that there really is a mind-body-life connection. So when I declare the solutions are closer than you think, the answers that yield ultimate levels of achievement and success are (literally) located inside your (intangible) Mind; while your body and your manifested life can be regarded as the (tangible) Matter.

When the mind is properly conditioned; energized with ‘want to’ motivational powers and desires, one can enthusiastically, and confidently, approach their tasks, challenges, obstacles and goals with that “For Sure” attitude. They literally engineer their lives from the Inside-Out, and nothing stands in their way. Over time, that person continuously unleashes their truest potentials, a gift they always possessed but just needed to stay-the-course  until it was set free.

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5-Step Success Plan that REALLY WORKS!

STEP 1: Define your mental attitude. Do you resemble the ‘have to’ person or a ‘want to’ one? This is the first thing step you MUST establish, because it really is Mind over Matter. Once this seed principle is firmly implanted into your consciousness the success you’ve been striving for, and deserve, is not only possible, it’s inevitable!

STEP 2: Everyday—literally, you must write out your goals onto a sheet of paper. Make certain you write from an ‘already-acquired’ viewpoint, such as “I am a strong person” or “Everyday, in every way, I am better and better!” Something magical happens when the brain can generate a thought that physically, and visually, gets recorded onto paper.

STEP 3: Everyday, after you write down your goals, you must read them out loud. Again, there’s a phenomenon that occurs when you profess what you’re envisioning to manifest in your life. Simply hoping, or silently thinking or wishing for a goal to manifest has little or no stimulating power. Stand up, assume the role of your own coach and motivator, and say aloud, with conviction, “Everyday, in every way, I am better and better!” Affirmational vibrations connect with, and influence Universal Consciousness.

STEP 4: Write out two more lists; the first itemizes all of the things you need to do to obtain your goals, and the second list outlines all of the things you must avoid and/or eliminate that are standing in your way.

STEP 5: Make a date with yourself: Treat yourself every week to a positive engagement. Donate time to a pet adoption center. Visit a nursing home and hug an elderly person. Reach out and counsel confused kids and their parents. As you continue to improve in your own life you must ‘give back’ by inspiring, motivating and guiding others along their own life’s journey.

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Epilogue

Everybody, even the elite, experience tough times and often fall off track. It’s not that they fell off track that matters but how fast they get back up and move onward that counts. Be a champion. People love and admire success stories and heroes. Prove to yourself that you possess the skills, drive and motivation to obtain your goals, in spite of any setbacks. Develop the confidence; ego if you may, that failure is not an option. If you do fall off track, don’t stay there long. Just stand back up, dust yourself off, lift your chin and chest, kick yourself in the buttocks, then re-GO for it all over again. Remember, you are your own coach, motivator, and disciplinarian. Nobody is going to do it for you, that’s you’re responsibility. You are a success that’s always in the making!

Finally, investing in yourself pays huge dividends now and forever. Make up you ‘mind’ then watch your body and life (‘matter’) mold into the image your thoughts have impressed into your psyche. You and the world surrounding you are a much greater place because of YOU! Do it!

Think Up™ – Keep the Passion!

John Abdo

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John Abdo is an Olympic Strength & Conditioning Coach, Master Fitness Trainer, Life Motivator and author of numerous books and articles. For more information please visit www.JohnAbdo.com.

July 24, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Permanent Fat Loss

Losing bodyfat, permanently, is successful when using the right tools and formula:

Set goals. follow a plan, remain committed, and never give up!

Fat wants to remain on a person’s body when they have accumulated it.

ANALOGY: Fat is fuel, just like the gasoline in your car’s gas tank.

The trick is to shuttle the fuel from the tank (or your hips, love-handles, etc) and drive the fat into the engine, your muscles.

Proper activity, with healthy consistent eating, serves as the fuel-line and fuel pump that shuttles fat from your tanks into your muscles’ Mitochondria; these are your own fat-burning furnaces.

Once you have fat-burning under control you have RE-SET your metabolism and now you’ve become a fat-burning machine yourself.

Be a Doer™!

John Abdo: Olympic Strength & Conditioning Coach

http://www.JohnAbdo.com

June 9, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

BENEFITS OF FITNESS

The Benefits of Fitness

By John Abdo

 

Physical fitness has skyrocketed in the last few decades.  There are greater numbers of individuals performing various activities in attempts to enhance physical appearance, athletic performance, psychological states of well-being, and the overall quality of life.  Clinicians of all sorts, athletic trainers, physical therapists and body sculpturing specialists are prescribing the fitness lifestyle as the remedy for premature aging, obesity, muscular weakness, stress, fatigue, insomnia, hypertension, immune system dysfunctioning, headaches, joint ailments, depression, metabolic disorders, skeletal imbalances, poor circulation, and many others.

With all its growing enthusiasm and awareness people still need education and t remain committed, they require motivation. Here’s some information that keeps people dedicated to taking better care of themselves.

SOLVING THE FAT PROBLEM

            Every physical and psychological function requires energy.  If we had no energy we simply could not function or exist.  We obtain our energy from the foods we consume as they supply varying levels of energy.  Food energy is calculated in measurements known as Calories.  When we eat we’re supplying our bodies with caloric sources of fuel that make everything we do happen.  We release this energy by: 1) Moving; all physical activities, 2) Thinking; all psychological functions, and by, 3) Metabolism; the operational and recuperative functions of the body.  Of these three, Moving, “physical activities”, requires the greatest supply of energy to conduct its chores.  Metabolism, on the other hand, burns plenty of calories after the body has been stimulated with activity relying on additional calories to fuel the body’s reparation process.

“Thinking” is also an energy burner.  Our minds require energy to operate, but those who are experiencing the effects of being overweight cannot merely rely on this activity source for ample caloric elimination.  People who are depressed, angry, bitter, and easily agitated, burn a tremendous amount of energy. There are those however, who while imprisoned by negative thoughts try to combat and/or alleviate their pessimistic emotions by gluttonizing on pleasure-filled tasting [junk] foods, drugs and other deviant activities.  So even though they’re burning calories in their hypertensive state, the kinds and amounts of foods they’re consuming simply overloads their systems.

Metabolism

            [We need to keep a clear understanding that food is fuel and fuel is energy in the form of calories.  So whenever I’m talking about food, fuel, energy, or calories, basically, they’re all synonymous].

Each of us possess a specific rate of metabolism which converts food into energy for activity, the operational functions of life, and the repairing of damaged tissue.  This conversion/reparation process is always operating whether we’re active or sedentary.  The goal then of the athlete and health and fitness enthusiast is to periodically expend the effort with exercise or activity then allocate ample time to recuperate.  This cyclic process allows the body to burn off more calories both during exercise and the post-exercise metabolic periods.  So those who believe the fat-burning, strength-building, health-promoting benefits of fitness are confined to the actual times they are exercising are in for a big surprise!  The benefits of exercise extend well beyond cool-downs as metabolism takes the baton and runs its operation of repair that is fueled by calories.  In other words, we can lose fat while we’re doing nothing at all, that is, after you’ve performed something that stimulates the body in the first place. I call this metabolic momentum!

BENEFITS OF FITNESS

            Those who partake in an active lifestyle develop a greater number of benefits than initially expected.  Even though their intentions may be to reshape their bodies and lose some excess body fat, or increase the quality of their daily lives, fitness will not confine itself to just these benefits.  The fascinating fact about activity participation is that it produces a positive psycho-physiological chain-reaction influencing the entire being, as well as ones’ overall lifespan.

Energy

Many individuals engaged in physical fitness for the sole purpose of increasing their levels of energy.  The process of energy enhancement is scientifically complex, but a relatively simple one to apply.  All one has to do is perform an adequate amount of activity; without overdoing it, and eat correctly; Mother Nature takes over from there.  Since muscles are metabolically active, while fat is inert, those who are more physically fit and stronger are those who develop higher metabolic rates turning their bodies into fat-burning machines that possess incredibly high levels of energy.

The Mind & Nerves

The relationship between fitness and knowledge blends nicely especially when one understands how their own body performs under various conditions.  Consistent participation in activities develops a harmonious communication between the mind and body.  And with our nervous system headquartered in our brain, this intricate system relays electrical mental impulses messengering this data to various body tissues.  When an action is requested or required, the brain will consent to the demand by commanding an immediate impulse.  For those who are unfit, the deliverance of such commands has no assurance for accurate delivery, or may become delayed by weak mental signal-sending abilities.

Thinking makes us smarter, and activities force us to be thinking above the norm.  When we’re having fun performing our activities, we are happily thinking, and developing higher levels of fitness at the same time.  The better fit we are the better we can think and concentrate. The body is more alive.

Muscles & Bones

Our bodies are literally held together by a network of over 600 muscles and their relative tissues (i.e., tendons and ligaments).  Weakened muscles cannot hold our skeleton in proper alignment as the body shifts out of its natural position.  Our skeletal network is comprised of over 200 bones that rely on muscles to remain postural and functional. If we had no muscles at all our skeleton, and all its bones, would fall right to the floor.  So as our muscles strengthen with activity the better our bodies will be held together, and the better we move.

The Heart

You’re aware that the heart is a muscle?  It is!  In fact, the heart is a muscular pump responsible for the distribution of blood to all areas of the body.  When we are involved in activity, our hearts beat at accelerated rates.  This acceleration stimulates strength benefits to the heart similar to other muscles while increasing the supply of nutrient-rich blood to all tissues and organs throughout the body.

The Lungs

As the heart beats faster while we’re active so does our rate of breathing, or respiration.  Oxygen is our life-supporting gas that we cannot do without for very long.  We can go without food or water for days, but without oxygen we can’t last more than a few minutes.  As our respiration (breathing rate) increases, our lungs expand and contract beyond normal [or resting] capacities.  The lungs are two elastic-like sacks that collect the air we breathe.  As we inhale, the lungs absorb usable oxygen, and then as we exhale, eliminates toxic gases.  Millions of tiny holes called alveoli allow the oxygen to seep into our bloodstream from the lungs feeding the body with this most precious life source. The better we can breath, and the more oxygen we get into our tissue, the stronger we become.

Your Looks

Looks?  Certainly!  When you become active the benefits don’t stop below your chin.  Your face receives a tremendous number of benefits as well.  Since sedentary muscles become weak and sag, facial muscles are no different.  When your body muscles are strong and firm, your facial muscles often follow the same pattern of progression.  While you exercising you’ll notice that your facial muscles acquire a great workout.  To prove my point, try looking someone straight in the face while they’re doing a set of pushups or lifting weights. While they’re in a state of exertion their facial muscles twist, pucker up and contort during their exercise as the muscles of the face tone themselves at the same time.

Lifespan

It’s easy to postulate that the better you take care of yourself the stronger, healthier and more energetic you become. It’s also a fair assumption, which many anti-aging and longevity communities believe as fact, that by increasing the quality of daily living ensures extension of lifespan. The investment needs to be made early to yield health and longevity benefits. Pay now and enjoy the dividends of vibrant health as you continue to mature!

Keep Going!

Every once-in-a-while I’m asked, “John, when I reach my goals, can I quit?”. I promote fitness as a lifestyle, not a short-term plan. This is a way-of-life that enhances each of your days for the rest of your life.  Always maintain an active lifestyle and healthy mental attitude.  If you’ve reached your goals, be glorified with your accomplishments then shift over to a maintenance mode or, better yet, establish new challenges and strive to become an over-achiever!

I wish you the very best of health and success!

John Abdo

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John Abdo is a former Olympic Strength & Conditioning Coach, Inductee into the National Fitness Hall of Fame, Award-Winning Health & Fitness Expert, and the author of the critically-acclaimed book Ultimate Sexual Health & Performance™. For more information please visit www.JohnAbdo.com.

This information contained in this article should not be construed as medical advice.

June 8, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

When Women Were The Aliens

I began a career in strength coaching Olympic and professional athletes over 37 years ago. It wasn’t too long afterward that I also entered the fitness industry to instruct non-competitors as it was evident plenty of exciting new health and fitness trends were unfolding in the mainstream.

Back in the good ole days, I remember when fitness training centers segregated men from women dedicating alternate days for each sex, while Sundays were split in half; men in the morning and women in the afternoon. Much of that reasoning was financial – facility costs offered a much cheaper investment with one locker room and a couple of showers. The other reason was that men and women, so they believed, had totally different needs. This ‘specificity of needs’ lead to the invention and manufacturing of female-specific equipment; like the now popular ‘adductor machine’ many men wouldn’t ever consider using. However, as the mainstream caught the fitness bug, health centers around the country knew they were turning away potential member revenues due to their obsolete operational strategies.

This wasn’t the case in many sports training facilities. Let’s call this populace the hardcore or ‘competitor’ group. Sports like track and field, gymnastics, figure and speed skating, and volleyball, to name a few, have teams for men and teams for women who often (strength) trained in the same facility, at the same times and with the exact same exercises, drills and equipment.

Historically, it’s fair to say that men constructed much of the foundation for exercise development and technique that was fueled with the ambition, and often necessity, to strengthen of the human musculature. Perhaps the origin can be traced to a man’s genetic legacy as the strength-Gods were all men — Hercules, Apollo, Zeus, and Adonis, to name a few. The women who crept into the male domain, especially the weight rooms, received their education on basic-to-advanced level strength training and bodybuilding. It wasn’t too long that women commanded special techniques (and equipment) that would prevent, or undo, the unfeminine muscular hypertrophy that shortly followed.

As we’re often blamed, many men become creatures of habit and resist change. But as soon as leotards were invented no guy in his right mind would volunteer to police thong-clad females out of the gym. In fact, allowing women to train with men raised the (ego) bar to another level, which became, and still is, a great motivator.

‘Showing off’ is a terrific incentive to pump out more reps and manhandle heavier resistances. It’s also fair to claim that during co-ed training sessions stimulate upswings in naturally occurring androgenic-anabolic hormones, like testosterone, in both sexes. Perhaps Rocky’s trainer, Mick, was mistaken when he kept screaming at his prize fighter that “women weaken legs”.

The co-ed fitness revolution was officially in full momentum by the mid-80s. This phenomenon gathered scores of non-competitors, weekend warriors, and ‘females’, into one setting all motivated to achieve self-betterment, sexier and more athletic-looking bodies, and an improved quality of life.

In my opinion, women have not only spiced up the world of fitness they’ve also made it infinitely more creative and diverse. Unlike men – who basically work on their strengths, women have always approached fitness and body shaping with their ‘weaknesses’ as a priority. Women also enjoy dancing more than most men. So when women started to combine exercise with dance motions many men, especially the ones you’d label ‘gym rat’, wrote that off as a silly fad that would shortly die out. The skeptics were all wrong. Dance-fitness, and a plethora of other female-inspired exercises and routines, as we now know, has successfully evolved into high standard fitness sciences.

That said, men have learned a great deal from the alien invasion of women in our gyms. This especially applies to balancing out ones’ training, working on one’s weaknesses as a priority, and, no doubt, expanding our ranges of options for exercise and routines.

In addition to the already mentioned advantages, and much to everyone’s surprise, many solutions were becoming available for both the prevention and remedy to the chronic condition known as the ‘plateau effect’; AKA ‘hitting the wall’, AKA the ‘sticking point’. This was the result, and much of the credit to the female occupants in our gyms who turned things completely upside sown, and all while wearing thong-clad leotards. Who’d ever think it?

When results from training become sluggish, stagnant, or decline; i.e., the plateau effect, the prudent approach is to break old ‘stuck’ habits by challenging new techniques and strategies to provide the body, and the brain, with different patterns of actions; i.e., mind-muscle coordination or psycho-muscular facilitation. With the new energy and influence from the females, guys, even the macho ones, would cart their buttocks onto yoga mats, aerobic dance floors, and Pilates studios.

I must also add that women have taught men how to have fun during training replacing or, at least, redefining, the ‘no pain, no gain’ mentality by showing men how to have a good time in the gym as opposed to training like Rocky for each and every workout.

Numerous studies suggest that regularity in routines inevitably leads to imbalances, boredom, abandonment and even injury. Confusing a muscle and/or muscle group by applying new techniques by literally mixing things up stimulates new brain-nerve-muscle pathways of communication and the excitation of the homeostatic metabolic response mechanism that’s vital for recovery and consistent improvement.

Physiological Differences

Aside from their obvious physical, hormonal and sexual differences, men and women have (basically) the same muscular and skeletal anatomy. The main difference is women have a wider pelvis for child bearing, a Mother Nature design. Along with a wider pelvis come wider hips yielding an expanded angle of the femur bone starting at the ball-n-socket hip joint and traveling down the leg into the knee joint. This is known as the “Q-angle”; Q representing quadriceps, which are the four large muscles that rest on the top and sides of the longest and heaviest bones in the body, the femurs.

Understanding this anatomical fact, women are advised to focus a percentage of their conditioning to training all sides of their abdomen, mid-to-lower back, buttocks, hips, and legs. Lacking adequate strength and integrity, the pelvis and ball-n-socket hip joint inevitably break down for a high percentage of maturing females, something (I believe is) preventable.

Ironically, the entire region surrounding the pelvis also seems to befall the area where women collect most of their body fat. There’s a direct correlation between areas of the body that collect higher percentages of fat to weak underlying muscles, coupled, of course, with poor eating habits.

For men, need I say, they deal with love-handles, but there’s nothing lovely about them. The (main) underlying muscles for the love-handles are the obliques. These muscles are anatomical residents that surround the entire circumference of the core region of the body. The only skeletal support, or boney structures, in this region are the small vertebra of the thoracic and lumbar spinal column. Look at any laboratory skeleton and you’ll observe skeletal absence in this region of the body; and good reason why it’s often referred to as the body cavity or abdominal cavity; cavity meaning empty of bone. With a significant structural support void in our midsections, men, and women, must condition all sides of their midsections, or the area completely surrounding the spine on a horizontal plane and encompasses the entire upper ridge of the pelvis upward to the rib cage on a vertical plane.

If we compartmentalize the muscular anatomy in the midsection, the abs comprise (approximately) 20% – 25% of the core area of the body. So if one is striving to develop great symmetry in their midsection a 360º approach is essential. Put another way, the intelligent method to midsection training is to emphasize ‘all’ sides of this region; i.e., the abdominals, obliques, serratus, intercostals and lumbar erector tissues.

And the winner is . . .

Now that the ‘him’ vs. ‘her’ mindset is well behind us we can eagerly look ahead to even greater developments in the sports and fitness industries that inevitably result from a ‘working together’ campaign. Although men have passed many torches to women, especially from inside our weight rooms and gyms, it was the females who influenced an explosive expansion in the world of fitness that has paved the way into today’s enormous health and body consciousness phenomena.

Leotards or not, females are welcome to train at my gym anytime!

Best of Health & Success!

John Abdo

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John Abdo is an Olympic Strength & Conditioning Coach, Award-Winning inventor of fitness equipment like The AB-DOer® and Inductee into the National Health & Fitness Hall of Fame. For more information please email John at: john@johnabdo.com.

June 8, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment