Archive for the ‘Weight Training’ Category

Are You a Captain America?

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I consider my sister-​​in-​​law, Dana, a real sister to me.  She is kind, compassionate, fun, wonderfully opinionated and loves me unconditionally.  I always welcome her advice and recommendations and she has never steered me wrongly.  Last summer she said I must watch The Avengers movie.  What a fun ride!  It was cool to see so many of my favorite characters like Thor, Ironman, and the Hulk joining forces to fight evil.  The only challenge was that I knew nothing about Captain America.  Friday night, I finally watched the first Captain America movie and can’t wait to see the sequel that apparently was a blockbuster at this past weekend’s opener. What caught my attention was the desire this scrawny little guy had to serve his country and sacrifice for the greater good of mankind.  Fortunately, you don’t have to look too far to find those willing to raise their shields to protect our country.  From our incredible service men and women to every day difference-​​makers, we all have a little bit of Captain America in us.

Plyometrics and Vertical Jumps

Plyometrics became popular for Olympic-​​bound athletes. And many professional and elite athletes are familiar with workouts that include vertical jump training to improve their performance on the track or on the court. But you’re a soldier. Is it possible that plyometric training can provide some value for the military?

The short answer is yes. Let’s talk about what plyometrics is, and isn’t, and how you can use it to improve your performance on the battle field.

The Key to Avoiding Back Pain: It’s not What You Think

They key to the best workout plan is balance. You need just the right amount of push and pull and you need to protect your back. Avoiding back pain while working out is all about balancing the muscle groups your strengthening and stretching, and how often you are rotating those exercises.

The goal is to keep the muscles that support your back strong and flexible. And while most of us work our core, we either do too many of one type of exercise and not enough of the other (causing an imbalance that leads to back pain), or we think we are working one muscle group when we are actually working another and thus NOT getting the results we really want.

Pre-​​Training Meals: Make it Count!

There is more to bodybuilding than just pumping iron. True, resistance training will result in crucial muscle tears that are required to build muscle; however without providing your muscles a strong foundation at the most basic level you won’t get the results you desire.

Think about building anything — like a skyscaper. Wouldn’t you agree that it’s important to build that physical structure, with quality building materials all laid out on a strong foundation?. Your body requires the same kind of thought and planning. Just like a building that is intended to be around for year, it requires the best quality and best mix of nutrients. This helps to sustain your gains for the long haul and allows you to build muscle to last.

Bottom line: Nutrition is crucial for muscle growth and retention.

Making it TO and THROUGH Training

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Many people confuse the training programs groups like active duty Special Ops perform to maintain their fitness levels for the demands of the profession with how they prepare for challenging schools like BUD/​S, SFAS /​ SFQC, and PJ training to name a few.

Here is a question to better describe a very common issue with candidate training program selection:

Stew, I have been watching some Youtube videos showing active duty special ops guys working out like SEALs, Rangers, SF, and others.  They are huge and lifting very heavy weights so I have been lifting more and doing less cardio.  Is this OK?  I am preparing for BUD/​S for the next year and trying to gain some muscle mass.

Mix TRX with PT, Weights, Kettlebells

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Every now and then, I get motivated by a workout week that I created.  This week I created a program that is centered around suspension training, but each day has a combination specialty that challenges you in a variety of ways.  You need variety to your workouts, but make sure the workouts you select are still specifically developed so you will still reach your goals.  Whether the goals are weight loss, military service, special ops preparation, or law enforcement, adding suspension training can enhance your overall workout experience.  Below are some fun and challenging sample workouts recently tested by our group:

Veterans in the Fitness Business

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1runptI often get emails from people young and old about getting prepared for military training, and also from veterans who want to be in the shape they used to be when they served in the military. Many are looking for veterans to help them get into “fighting shape”.  Here is a list of many former military officers and enlisted who train civilians to not only lose weight and get healthy, but prepare for military training too. If you are a veteran in the fitness business, send me a paragraph and link of what you do and I will add to this page.

Military Fitness programs are popular. In fact, many former military personnel of all ranks and services are now getting into the fitness business — myself included. Check out the list of veteran-​​owned fitness businesses around the country:

Boot Camp Fitness, Inc. — Created by former Army sergeant, Jay Johnson of Dallas TX, who has become the Official Fitness Trainer of The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders (Enough said! THAT is a success story in the fitness business!). He has been featured on many television shows and magazine publications for his creative workouts that yield great results.

British Commando Fitness — British Army Commando “Sol” Sollerer has retired from the British Army, married an American, and has started his own fitness business in the Annapolis MD area.  Also working as an assistant boxing coach at the U.S. Naval Academy, Sol has planted roots in the US and helping active duty and future military candidates prepare for service.  Still competitive as well, Sol assists with the Heroes of Tomorrow program in Severna Park, MD giving the students a taste of how nice a drill instructor will be when they join.   He is also involved in high school /​ college team sport mental toughness and team building training.

Brad Haag of Haag’s Athletics provides online personal training and endurance coaching to anyone, anywhere in the world. As certified personal trainer, triathlon coach, and Naval security veteran Brad specializes in working with endurance athletes (triathletes, cyclists, runners) and “warrior class” athletes meaning individuals involved obstacle races, police, military, etc. If you have fitness goals that you want to achieve please contact Brad via the following link and he will certainly help you out. 
CPT SMASH FITNESS - Jess “Captain Smash” Howland graduated from Oregon State with a BSc in Exercise Science, got certified by the National Sport and Conditioning Association (NSCA-​​CSCS) to be a certified strength coach, and became one of the top selling personal trainers at Gold’s Gym. Over the past 13 years, Captain Smash was a member of the US Armed Forces, in the constant personal pursuit of optimal human performance. As a personal coach, his focus is on resistance training, running, sprinting, dragging and pushing heavy objects, cycling, hiking and all those other crazy activities that most people regard as insane.

Hostyle Conditioning - With the help and support of Curd Hos, Owner and Operator of the best training facility in Orleans, Ontario—Curd is helping CPT Smash take the youth strength coaching platform by storm, as well as developing ongoing programs for older adults to help increase the awesomeness within Ottawa, CA. The youth program engages kids as young as 9–13 years old in our bootcamp style training, that will help them move better, get stronger and enhance their overall level of conditioning far beyond what the other kids are able to achieve nowadays. The upper level athletes  (15–20+) are slotted into semi-​​private training sessions to really focus on certain performance goals for their sports in order to make them super tough athletes that are unstoppable on the field, ice or track!

ElijahSacra​.com - A 360 ° APPROACH TO HOLISTIC HEALTH AND WELLNESS TRAINING & EDUCATION.
Holistic Nutrition & Health Coach | Functional Movement Systems Professional | Personal Trainer |  Yoga Teacher Executive & Corporate Wellness Coach | Tactical Strength & Conditioning Facilitator | Personal Defense Instructor
Elijah is a United States Marine Corps Veteran, a career health and wellness practitioner, trainer, and educator.  He has worked extensively with private clients, teams, military and law enforcement, executives, and in corporate wellness.  His services are targeted to the beginner all the way to the elite athlete, in addition to special populations. These include amputees, the blind, cancer patients, and those who suffer from chronic illness and injuries.  Elijah’s philosophy and methodology is grounded in Postural Alignment, Breath Connection, Mindful Functional Movement, and Holistic Nutrition. Utilizing his knowledge of human performance, wellness, holistic nutrition, and health coaching as a blueprint, he guides his clients to achieve optimal wellness and become their own guru.

Extreme SEAL Experience - Former SEAL Don Shipley puts on a great training program complete with shooting, survival, mission planning training in the Chesapeake VA area.  See his youtube channel for great footage of the training they put on for civilians and wanna-be’s.

The Health Colonel – Bob Weinstein, LtColonel, USAR, (ret.) can be found on the beaches of Fort Lauderdale, FL conducting early morning workouts with his students. Training many out of shape and overweight people per year, he also prepares young men and women for the physical demands of the military. If you are looking for a motivational/​health speaker, The Health Colonel is your man. He motivated me by telling me that “the United States has enemy soldiers within its borders — they kill more than 3,000 people a day, their names are cancer, heart disease, and stroke.” I immediately responded, “yeah and over 20 million people are being held hostage by diabetes in America.”

MMA in Bowie MD — head coach Charles Cherry - Coach Cherry is an Army veteran who wrestled on the All-​​Army team and is a current special agent w/​ DHS. Bowie MMA offers Cardio Kickboxing, Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Judo and boxing instruction in Bowie, Maryland. Veteran discounts are available.  

NavySEALs​.com, SEALFIT​.com, UnbeatableMind - Mark Divine has evolved into a fitness /​ mental toughness powerhouse.  His programs /​ store enable any fitness enthusiast, SpecWar candidate pick and choose what he needs to make himself better — mentally, physically, and more.  For gear, books, ebooks, training, hellweek simulation, etc.  

Owen Richardson — NeoLife:  Owen is an active Navy Reserve IS1 and promotes the neolife club products for two reasons: “When I was deployed to Iraq in 09–10, I saw you guys (SPECOPS) everyday with tons of energy. Last year I was talking with Chris (SEAL Team 8) and he told me this was the same vitamins they took day after day. I started on it without promoting for 3 months, once I saw the benefits personally, I started telling everyone about it.”  NeoLife has different products for different lifestyles, and at a reasonable price. A months supply of vitamins or weight loss shakes will run about $40

Platoon Fitness​.com – The folks at Platoon Fitness located in Philadelphia PA and throughout Pennsylvania and New York City was founded by Todd Scott, a Navy veteran.  They have been in business for over 10 years and have indoor and outdoor training facilities with over twenty fully certified trainers who train everyone from working men and women, stay at home Moms, and kids too.  They also offer franchising opportunities and training for instructors.

The Sergeants Program – Patrick Avon opened one of the first military group training businesses in the U.S. Patrick is a former Navy enlisted man who has created a military fitness empire in the DC/​Virginia area, catering mostly to overweight executives — he also gets several students per year who seek a career in the military. He has over 45 instructors in 35 locations, all certified with a nationally recognized program. He also has his own outdoor boot-​​camp certification program. Check out his site for his annual Jolly Fat Man’s run/​party.

The SEAL PT Course  – Jack Walston — former Navy SEAL in Houston TX and Central Park Manhattan NYC — has been doing SEAL PT for over a decade. He has weekly workout plans for locals as well as a SEAL Training/​Special Forces mini-​​camp that will test you to your limits. This program actually mimics many of the events experienced in Hell Week at SEAL Training, including a 24 hour non-​​stop period of training.

CrossFit Santa Monica was founded by Navy SEALs Kaj Larsen and Carter Gaffney, long time CrossFitters who know what it takes to succeed at the highest levels of physical and mental performance. All aspects of the CrossFit Santa Monica program were designed specifically to help our members achieve their health and fitness goals regardless of their level of experience. Whether you are a seasoned athlete that is looking to take your physical performance to the next level or if you are taking your first CrossFit class, there is a home for you at CrossFit Santa Monica.
CrossFit Xiphos (www​.crossfitxiphos​.com) is owned and operated by Darrin Ingram CW4 USA retired. CrossFit Xiphos is an out of the box minded crossfit affiliate and Spartan Group X training facility located in Huntsville, AL training everyone from school teachers, first responders, military to extreme endurance athletes. Darrin trains athletes locally at his facility and abroad through wilderness fitness camps and distant personal training.

SEALGrinderPT​.com - Brad McLeod, born in Thomasville, GA, grew up in Tallahassee, FL. He is a former Navy SEAL and graduated from SEAL training in BUD/​S class  132 against all odds.  Despite having no athletic background and having life long asthma Brad climbed his personal Mount Everest and made it through BUD/​S the second time and went through Hell Week  twice.
Training Philosophy for Spec Ops: Our philosophy on workouts is to try to keep as many functional movements as possible that have carry over to your day to day sport or occupation. SEAL grinder PT is dedicated to working out and improving your mind and body to unleash the inner warrior in you.   The grinder PT is a mixture of the same exercises that SEAL recruits perform on a daily basis at the BUD/​S training camp  in Coronado, California.  We are also throwing in a few CrossFit style drills, some exercises from SEALFit, Mountain Athlete, Gym Jones and a few others you may not have seen before.

SWAT Personal Training – Ron Holland (former USAF) out of Tucson AZ, created an outdoor and indoor fitness business in 1991 after a career in the military and police department. He has a one week in-​​residence boot camp where they create a military indoctrination environment (0500am wakeup!) He has recruits run, PT, eat a well balanced and nutritious chow, and hike 2 –12 miles in the Tucson area desert. Also water skills, aerobics, yoga, stretching, and other anti-​​aging programs are taught in a teamwork/​military style program. It is very informative and positive feedback and teamwork is highly encouraged.    

SEAL Team PT – Former Navy SEAL John McGuire has translated his experience into a one-​​of-​​a-​​kind, non-​​military fitness program, offering the dual benefit of world-​​class fitness and team-​​building to people of all ages and walks of life. Offered in the Richmond, Virginia area since 1998, SEAL Team PT has legions of satisfied, fit, and fulfilled graduates of all ages. To date, SEAL Team PT has graduated over 175 basic fitness classes, conducted more than 50 custom-​​tailored corporate team-​​building programs, and led more than 40 SEAL Teen and SEAL Pup classes for youth and children.

Semper Fidelis Health & Wellness (SFHW​.ORG)  is a community based 501© 3 nonprofit organization founded by US Marine Corps Veterans and a Holistic Health & Wellness Counselor in 2009. We provide holistic, and integrative health and wellness training and education to Wounded, Ill, and Injured service members and their caregivers within the active, reserve and veteran components.

StewSmith​.com – My website/​fitness business has evolved since 1998 when I resigned from the Navy. At first I had a fitness business with as many as 40–50 hours of group PT and personal training a week. Now, after writing everything down for years, I created programs that have helped thousands prepare for military, special forces, and law enforcement physical fitness tests. I still do some online training and local group training in the Baltimore/​Annapolis MD area, but my group workouts during the week and weekend are free to those who want to join me on my swims, runs, PT etc. Once on month, we test with a variety of PFTs and we also do quarterly Spec Ops Triathlons — Run, Swim, Ruck. These workouts now give me ideas which to write as I see issues, troubles, and ways around personal obstacles with a variety of students.  I figure if I am going to write about training — I need to train.

VO2MAXUSA​.com — With 24 years of fitness programming experience, Kevin Hite of VO2MAX,LLC is uniquely qualified to serve his community’s preventive health care needs. A former US Navy search and rescue swimmer with a B.S. in Health and Wellness (The Citadel, 1990) and member of The American College of Sports Medicine, Kevin offers health risk appraisals, fitness assessments, personal training and 24/​7 gym membership from his studio in Chapin, SC. 803.422.8584.

Products Invented by Vets — SEALS /​ SF Specifically:

The TRX - Fitness in a Bag! Former SEAL Randy Hetrick has created another device that is easy to carry and so versatile I still cannot name all the exercises you can do with this thing.  My latest count is over 200 exercises.  In an article, I compared his TRX to a Universal Weight Machine and for a 1/​10 of the price it easy outperforms the machine tenfold!  This is great for travelers as the straps are easy to pack and unfold in seconds.  See some of the videos on his site.

The Perfect Pushup and Pullup - My former SEAL buddy Alden Mills has created awesome fitness products that capture the most beloved and most hated exercises we do in the SEAL Teams and at BUD/​S.  The rotational motion of his products challenge the best pull-​​up and pushup performers.  In fact, his products cut my reps in half and after a few years of using the Perfect Pushup, they still work like new and continue to make my pushups tougher. Supplemented with some weights, the Perfect Pushup and Pull-​​up are great additions to a home weight room.

The Fit Deck - Former SEAL Phil Black is probably the real genius of the bunch to take an idea and turn it into a successful business.  When on a deployment or just bored, the SEALs as well as other military groups, do a workout with a deck of cards.  Usually it required some imagination:  face cards = 10 pushups, aces = 25 pushups /​ 25 abs, jokers = 50 reps of anything…BUT what Fit Deck does for you is take out the mystery and when you shuffle the deck and start to flip the cards you get told what you need to do.  Now he has Pull-​​up Decks, Kettlebell Decks, Navy SEAL Decks, Navy SEAL Audio Series on  Acing  BUDS, Combat Sports Decks and so many more — even some for kids.

Refactor Tactical - Army SF veterans create tactical gear that works.  Designed by the operator for the operator.  Check out the gear list and training videos.  Anything from bags, caps, survival bands, medical gear, fun t-​​shirts and more — you can find it on their store and talk with other operators on their blog.

Any of these make great gifts for your fitness guru in the family or those seeking a profession that requires some form of fitness test.

After a brief discussion with the veteran trainers, we all agreed upon a few things. We focus on teaching on a basic level of fitness, habit building, and just adding basic fitness as stretching, walking/​running, light PT, and drinking water to people’s lives. Let them see and feel the progress they are making. Take them as they advance and PT them harder, but you have to give them a plan that works.

The plan I have here works…it will help people lose up to 25lbs if they just following the simple directions:

1-​​  Stretch Daily! This is very important if beginning a fitness plan. See Stretch article. 
2 — Drink more water — up to a gallon a day
3 — Do something everyday for 45 days straight – even if that is just walk after dinner.
This FREE 45 day plan shows you how.
4 — Repeat above — do not worry about food intake yet, but if no results are seen in 3–4 weeks then focus on a food plan as mentioned in plan above.

Look up one of the above veterans and try a boot camp workout program this year.  If you know of another veteran operated fitness business that is not listed, please send the website address/​contact information and I will place it in an updated article archive so I have close to a comprehensive list. Please email me atStew@​stewsmith.​com with your questions.

The ABC’s of Getting Ripped

building muscle

Here’s a question: Is there a supplement you can take to get ripped and get better results from your workouts?

Anyone who has spent time researching fitness and athletic performance has heard about nutritional supplementation. By providing your body with additional amounts of certain natural nutrients you can promote performance, boost your immune system, and aid muscle recovery. This combo allows the body to function at a higher level. It also leads to improved workouts and muscle growth. However, it can be difficult to determine which supplements are effective. Here are some of the most popular supplements to get ripped.

Better Food: Better Performance (Yep…it can be that simple!)

benefits of protein

Are you training for a military sport? Are you training so that you are ready for your next mission? Or are you traiing so that you can keep up with your kids once you get home?

It is important, both as an athlete and as a normal Joe or Jane looking for quality of life, to have a well-​​rounded diet that consists of a variety of healthy foods. And I’m saying healthy as in “real” food so you think that the variety pack of donuts counts as a well-​​rounded diet (even though most donuts are round)!

Think about it…you wouldn’t go putting lesser quality gas into a Ferrari, now would you? Here are some great foods that can be found in a healthy diet.

Tactical Fitness: The Dirty Dozen Test

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I was recently asked by an Army veteran if there were other fitness tests out there to challenge/​ test people who want to be “Tactically Fit”. This particular veteran likes to stay as fit as he was while serving more than 10 years ago and still manages an above average Army PFT for age groups 20 years younger.   These are great health and fitness goals to ace a basic PFT, but is it really a Tactical Fitness Test?  No — See the multiple dimensions required in creating a foundation to be “tactically fit” in order to have the ability to perform some of the most dangerous jobs in the world — defending /​ protecting our country and communities.

Tactical Fitness is the new fitness genre and I personally define it as:  The ability to perform military, police, and fire fighter job related skills such as running, rucking, swimming, buddy rescue, equipment carry, requiring upper body and lower body strength and muscle endurance.  I have been wanting to make an all inclusive tactical fitness test for a while now.  The test below has no scientific study behind it, these are simply my opinions what tactical athletes should be able to do.  However, all these events are commonly used testing events used by many military, special ops teams, SWAT Teams, police and fire fighters.

These are the twelve events I call the Tactical Fitness Dirty Dozen that I pulled from various military, police, and fire fighting fitness tests to create an all inclusive fitness challenge for those of you who want to be ready for anything.  There is a grading system that is quite generous in basic pass /​ fail standards as well as a max point system of 100 points.

The events justification:

25# Pullup — Weighted pullups are required as most gear a tactical operator wears will weigh anywhere from 15-​​25lbs minus the back pack.  Minimum is 2 reps /​ maxing is 10 reps.  1 point for each rep for a total of 10 points and minimum of 2 reps.

Body Weight bench press — Upper body strength with combination of moving your body weight for multiple repetitions to test pushing power of the tactical athlete.  Minimum points for 5 reps (2 pts) and maximum (10) points for 15 reps.

Dead Lift (1.5x BW) — Can you lift more than your own body weight.  Practicing this event alone will help a tactical athlete learn proper lifting techniques and build a stronger foundation to move heavy weight when required.  1 rep P/​F but 2 points per rep until 5 reps for more points. Minimum points for 2 reps (1 pt) and maximum (10) points for 5 reps.

Fireman carry — Can you rescue your buddy and carry for 100yds?  Pass /​ Fail criteria (5 pts pass)

400m sprint - Can you run fast (no gear)?  60 seconds max points /​ 80 seconds minimum standard.  Sometimes speed is essential.
Minimum points for 80 seconds (1 pt) and maximum (10) points for 60 seconds.

300yd shuttle run - Can you run back and forth quickly (6 x 50m shuttle)?  60 seconds max /​ 80 seconds minimum standard.
Minimum points for 80 seconds (1 pt) and maximum (10) points for 60 seconds.

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Illinois Agility Test — You will have to zig and zag while running at full speed, changing direction often.  Max points of (5) if completed under 15 seconds.  Deduct a point for every second slower than 15 seconds until 19 seconds(1 pt).  Slower than 19 seconds = fail.

Plank pose - Can you hold the plank pose for 1 minute minimum.  Get extra points for every minute after that and max out at 5 minutes.  1 point 1 minute. Add a points for each minute up to 5 minutes.  Max points 5 points.

3 mile timed run — The three mile timed run.  Can you run 3 miles without stopping?  Then you pass.  If you get 18 minutes you max the test and can pick up a few more points if you can keep it under 23 minutes.  10 points for 18 min /​ 1 point less for each 30 seconds until max point time of 23 minutes.

50 lbs ruck in under 1 hour (4 miles) - This is the minimum standard for Army rucking times.  Can you pace yourself at a perfect 15 min mile with 50lb back pack or weight vest.  No need to go too fast on this event.  It is about finishing on a steady pace.  No extra points for getting under 1 hour.  10 points pass or fail.

Swim - Can you swim?  -  If you cannot swim you are ineffective on 75 % of this planet.   Be an asset not a liability to your team, yourself, and your family.  This is a basic survival skill we all should know how to do.  5 Points for just knowing how to swim.

500m swim — Any stroke.  Swim 500m non-​​stop and you pass.  Get 500m in 6 min or less and max out the swim test.  You can get extra points until the 11th minute.  5 points for maxing the swim /​ 1 point less for every minutes until the 10th minute.

25m Life saving buddy tow  - Can you dive to the bottom of a pool (8-​​9ft) grab a unconscious buddy and tow him 25m to the other end of the pool?  Pass or fail — 5 points.

Here is a chart to make it easier to understand:

Exercise Pass /​ Fail Criteria
4 mile ruck (50lbs) 1 hour maximum time
25# Pullups max reps 2 – 10 reps
Bench press (bodyweight) Pass or fail 1 rep:  5 reps — 15 reps for extra points
Dead Lift (1.5x bodyweight) Pass or fail — 1 rep
(2–5 reps for extra pts)
Fireman Carry (P/​F) 100yds of equal bodyweight
400m sprint 60–80 seconds
Shuttle run 300yds 60–80 seconds
Plank pose (P/​F) 1 minute minimum /​ 5 min max
3 mile run (P/​F) 18 minutes to 23 minutes for extra points
IL Agility Test <15 secs to >19 sec
Swim – can you swim?
(P/​F)
Yes /​ no
Swim 500m timed 6 minutes – 11 minutes
Swim – Buddy Tow Pass/​fail – 25m rescue swim

Max points is 100 points if you ace everything.  You can still pass with as little as 40 points.  You must pass all events to pass the test. Give it a try and see where you stand.  Practice and your weaknesses and think your way through this test as you can arrange to best fit your optimal scoring potential.  The interesting thing about this test is you can arrange the events in any order you wish.  Get creative and develop your own strategy for better performance.  The test can be broken up into two sessions or challenge yourself and go for all events in one long testing session.

“The Dirty Dozen”  Tactical Fitness Test eBook is here.

 

Can Vegan Bodybuilders Win Competitions?

benefit of a vegan diet

Are Vegan Bodybuilders at a disadvantage?

Many bodybuilders may avoid vegan diets because they believe that it will prevent them from winning any bodybuilding competitions. After all, how can you possibly compete against a bunch of meat-​​eating “meat heads?” However, vegan bodybuilders say that their vegetable-​​based diet actually enhances their training program because going vegan improves their overall health and decreases fatigue. This has all sorts of beneficial side affects when you’re training!

Building Muscle without Meat or Milk

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What’s up with a Vegan Bodybuilding Diet? Many people worldwide have a vegan diet. However, in other places (such as the States) becoming vegan is something new. It’s also something becoming more common, especially as specialty grocery stores pop up like Whole Foods. Even so, there are still lots of misconceptions about this diet and lifestyle.

Primarily…where’s the protein?

Ripped and Responsible: Vegetarian Bodybuilding

best muscle building supplements

To date, few studies focus directly on vegetarian bodybuilding because, simply put, there is absolutely no evidence that a vegetarian diet affects bodybuilding performance.

None.

In fact, many bodybuilders will agree that the overall health benefit of removing meat (and sometimes dairy and eggs) from their eating plans allows them to feel better because it reduces fatigue, clears that “mental fog”, and improves their overall sense of well-​​being. And, they can still build muscle and get all the protein and nutrients they need when they are fully aware of what needs to be replaced (like B12, zinc, iron, and Vitamin D)

Myth: Vegan Diets Lack Muscle-​​Building Protein

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A common myth is that Vegans don’t get enough protein. For a bodybuilder and athlete, lack of protein could make all the difference in the world! So, does that mean that you have to resort to eating animal based products in order to achieve the results you want in Previewthe gym, on the sports field and even on the field of battle?

Not at all! The reality is that plant-​​based products possess an abundance of proteins. You just have to know which ones will give you the most bang for your buck.

Bodybuilding: Vegan vs Vegetarian (Part 1 of 5)

bodybuilding vegan

Though red meat is rich in protein, many people are paying attention to the potential negative health effects from consuming meat (especially pork and beef). This can cause some problems, especially when you’re active, working out, or building muscle because protein is needed to maintain your physique and your muscle. While there are other sources for protein, many people are raised in a “meat and potato” kind of environment so making the jump to a more plant-​​based diet can be challenging…at first.

So what’s wrong with meat? Many cuts are rich in fats. These aren’t those “good fats” like you find in avocado or olive oil. In studies, animal fats seem to contribute to a number of health conditions such as obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, arthritis and diabetes. Some also believe that certain compounds found in meat-​​based protein promote different types of cancer.

Endurance Supplements: Natural Energy from Mother Nature

natural supplements

Endurance training and endurance sports can be tough on your body. They challenge you beyond what you think you’re capable of. They also allow you to reach levels of fitness so you can experience peak performance and health. That’s why many people try to improve their endurance by using endurance supplements.

When herbs and supplements are paired with proper diet and exercise, you can see amazing results. Endurance Supplements can play a KEY role in helping you reach your fitness goals by improving your body’s endurance.

If you’re interested in improving your endurance, look for products made with these endurance boosting supplements.

Cordyceps: The mushroom that will keep you going!

The slow transfer of oxygen from red blood cells to mitochondria is one of the biggest problems people exercising to improve their endurance face. The obvious solution is to improve that transfer, right? Cordyceps is a Tibetan mushroom which has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for lung protection and to balance Qi. In clinical studies the mushroom has been shown to cause significant improvements in feelings of fatigue, oxygen uptake, and endurance exercise performance.

Rhodiola: Improved Oxygen Transfer, Energy and Endurance

This natural energy booster comes to you from the rugged altitude of the Himalayan Mountains.

Rhodiola has been shown to help improve oxygen transfer from lungs to red blood cells. The root’s anti-​​fatigue effects are a result of an enhancement of oxygen efficiency.

When the root has being studied on people living in high altitudes, they saw that the root had beneficial effects on blood oxygen levels, time to exhaustion, VO2 peak, and pulmonary ventilation during endurance exercises. Himalayan Sherpas were the first people to discover the health benefits of this Himalayan root. They would chew on the root for an energy and endurance boost when they would climb high mountains.

Quercetin: The Nutritional Supplement that Improves Blood Flow

Quercetin is an antioxidant that improves blood flow by dilating blood vessels. This antioxidant has been used to improve blood flow in individuals with high blood pressure and heart disease. On the sports training front, research has shown that taking 500 mg of quercetin twice a day for 3 weeks before, and during 3 days of long and intense cycling sessions, reduces the number of upper respiratory infections in the 14 days following heavy exercise.

Siberian and Indian Ginseng: Centuries-​​old Natural Energy Boosters

People have been using ginseng, a natural energy booster., for thousands of years. However, there are two particular species of the ginseng plant that can help you improve your endurance. Siberian ginseng (also known as Eleuthero) and Indian ginseng (known as Ashwagandha) can provide resistance to physical stress and also help boost your energy levels. They used in traditional medicine as “adaptogens”, herbs that can help the body adapt to stressful situations. Some people claim that Eleuthero tends to have more of a noticeable affect on energy than Ashwagandha. High-​​quality supplements that use Siberian Ginseng as part of their formula offer someone working in extreme climates and in high-​​stress situations an advantage. Adapt is the name of the game, right? NS Formula.

Resources for Endurance Supplements:

What Did You Do Today? January 2014

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Each month (or more often if this series is popular enough), I am going to post some fun workouts that I would recommend you trying if you are in the intermediate /​ advanced level fitness zone.  Here, we mix weights and calisthenics with some unconventional exercise options.  One of the new favorite unconventional exercises is the stair crawl — which is just an advanced version of the bear crawl where you crawl down head first a flight of steps and then change directions and crawl back up FEET first (this is the hard part).

So check out this fullbody workout circuit:

Repeat 3 times
Pushups 1 min
Pullups 1 min
Situps or abs of choice 1 min
Walking lunges 25 yards
Stair crawl UP /​ DOWN a flight of steps — NOTE:  If there are no steps to do this or your gym will not let you — simply bear crawl 25m or farmer walk carrying a 25–50 lb. weight.

Where’s the Meat?

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These days, it seems like everyone is trying out a vegetarian or vegan diet of some sort for environmental, ethical or health reasons. Documentaries like Forks over Knives, Vegucated, and Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead have shined a spotlight on some of the effects of the typical Western Diet on overall health, and there have been numerous studies linking plant-​​based diets to better cardiovascular health.

But what happens when you remove meat at a source of protein? Is it really good for you and if not, then what do you need to know before embarking on a plant-​​based diet?

The Busy Dad and Busy Mom Workout

Stressed Father Feeding Little Daughter and Using Cell Phone

No matter what technological advances come out to make our lives more efficient and effective, we seem to have less and less free time in our daily lives.  With the daily responsibilities of being a parent, it seems nearly impossible to consistently make time for the gym.  But don’t worry; there are exercises you can fit into your existing day that can be surprisingly effective.  If you want to lose weight and have more defined muscles, fit the below routine into your daily schedule for 4 weeks.

Insanity Workout Plan: Worth It? Or Just Insane?

Dietary supplements

The makers of the Insanity workout plan claim that it’s the wildest and most intense workout that anyone ever saw. Coming hot on the heels of the P90X program, it ushers in a new era of workouts. Men and women who previously thought they could only get the ripped abs and great arms they wanted in a gym can now tone up at home. Beachbody states that anyone can get in shape using the workout plan, but not everyone has the same experience.

The Insanity workout comes with ten discs. One of those discs is a fitness test that users take before using any of the workout plans. According to the manufacturer, this test lets users see how strong they are in different areas, and they can compare their strength and fitness to how they feel after using the program. Even those who do well on the fitness test might still have problems with the workout plans.