Archive for the ‘Fitness’ Category.

Fitness Journey 001

When I was growing up, I was kind of active. A little bit. I did ride my bike around town quite a bit. In the summers I would go to the pool in town once in a while.

But I was never good at sports. In the USA, that is an unpardonable sin. I also had little interest in sports. An even worse thing.

In this country I think a lot of people equate sports with fitness. Gym class had little to do with health, and a LOT to do with sports. So you had a few people doing something, and a lot of people standing around.

I think this might be part of the reason our country is so fat. A lot of people do not get the hang of a lot of games quickly. The few who do dominate the game. I think the use of sports in gym class gives people the idea that exercise and sports are the same thing, and that it is something other people do.

My Fitness History

In addition to talking about how my habits and views on money and investing have changed throughout my life, I also plan on talking about my thoughts and habits with regards to fitness as well.


Thoughts On Lifting From Long Ago

I  have a degree in exercise physiology, and for a while I was a personal trainer. Here are some notes I wrote years ago to help answer a question I got a lot about weight training: How much weight should I lift?

First off, it depends on what change you want to induce in the muscles. Lifting for 15-20 reps will primarily cause muscular endurance. Lifting for 8-12 reps will primarily cause muscular hypertrophy (making the muscles bigger). Lifting for 2-6 reps will primarily increase muscular strength. I think if you are going to lift you should lift in all three ranges.

How much you need to lit to be in each range is something you have to figure out for yourself. Pick a light weight that you know you can handle, and see how many times you can lift it. If you pick a weight that is really easy, you can always add more for another set. If you start out too heavy, you could put yourself out of commission for a couple of days.

I cannnot tell by looking at someone how much they should lift for a particular movement in any of the three ranges. If I said something like, “You should bench press 200 pounds for hypertrophy” without seeing how much you can lift or how well you can control that much weight, then that would be irresponsible.

Review for The Four Hour Body

four hour bodyOn my way back from Texas I listened to some Bloomberg podcasts. On Taking Stock they interviewed Tim Ferriss, author of The Four Hour Body. It sounded pretty interesting, so I thought I would check it out from the library and read it.

He wanted to get into the best shape he could get, so for about ten years he tried many different types of diets and workouts. He essentially experimented on himself. He talked to a lot of different professors, experts and coaches and learned everything he could from them. There is a lot of good information in this book and it could be a good reference. I think that most people might not be interested in everything he has to say. But even then, I would recommend buying it.

For example, I have not been to a gym in more than a year. But a lot of the exercises are easier to do at a gym, or in some cases can only be done at a gym (like barbell squats). And some of his techniques and methods are a bit brittle. There are a few chapters where he says that he gained 20 pounds of muscle in a month by only exercising for a total of thirty minutes that month. Then when you read the chapter, you realize that he ate a very specific meal at a very specific time of day, then did a very specific lift (sometimes a one-rep max, which a lot of people in the USA cannot do), had a very specific protein shake, and was done exactly two hours before going to sleep.

To be fair, he does try to bring his knowledge to the masses, and is upfront when his techniques are brittle. Another example is with sleep. He found out that you can sleep a lot less than eight hours a day. You only sleep four hours at night, and take a few twenty minute naps during the day. But, this can be hard to do if you have a 9 to 5 job, it takes some time for the effects to kick in, and if you miss one of these midday naps, you have to start all over again. But he does tell you this.

He talks quite a bit about a low-carb diet. He has a lot of practical suggestions on how to add some variety and literal spice to a small number of foods. One great suggestion he gives is to log everything that you eat and drink. Some people improve their diet by doing this. When I was a trainer for a brief time back in the mid-1990s, one of the big frustrations that the other trainers at the gym I was at had was that it was hard to get their clients to change their diets and to keep a food log.

One part that I like is his section on kettlebell swings. I may be going to a gym in Texas while I am there. He says that some people get great results doing only kettlebell swings. I have gotten good results by doing squat thrusts, so I might be changing things for a while.

He also talks about why women should strength train. Getting women to realize that they won’t look like bodybuilders just by touching a weight has long been a frustration.

I will buy a copy of this book. I might get one soon to have in Texas. I have not decided.

Note: I also wrote about this book here.

Image from the Four Hour Body website