Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Is It Time to Re-think Cardio?

Fellas, the wifey and I are in the process of moving, so I'll finish up my story about Willy next week. Nevertheless, I wanted to leave you guys with a blog post from one of my personal health and fitness heroes: Steve Maxwell.

He is a physical and conditioning educator, who has been in the fitness and martial arts fields for over 40 years! As you can see from his physique, this brother knows what he's talking about.

Oh, did I mention that he's

OK, pick your jaw up off the floor and read the 10 top reasons why he does not do aerobic exercises. This was taken from his blog, and I encourage you guys to check out his website too.


I spend my days at a corporate gym. It's a sweet gig and a temporary livelihood.

One morning, while observing a female member endlessly running the treadmill-to-nowhere-fast, I realized I see the same people returning day after day, iPods silently blaring or, worse, mindlessly captivated by one of the ten wall-mounted television screens, while grinding away on those steppers and treadmills.

The drudgery of their Sisyphean tasks compels their attempts to lose self-awareness by inundating themselves with external stimuli. Often, their bodies reflect this lack of self-awareness in skewed gaits and other imbalances.

These same people come in religiously to get the feel-good fix, believing somehow their mindless, movement addiction is in some way benefiting them. Interestingly, they stay fat, show no progress, and sometimes even get fatter, especially after holidays. Most of these people are loathe to touch a weight, much less engage in any kind of productive strength-training. You see this same phenomenon in gyms all over the country.

Some will say, "Well, some exercise is better than none,"

But I say, if you're going to spend the time, why not produce something worthwhile?

Here are ten reasons why I don't do aerobic exercise:

But first, what is aerobic exercise? Any steady state locomotion elevating the heart rate into the zone for twenty minutes or more. The zone is determined by formulas based on age and resting heart rate.

Now, ten reasons why it not only doesn’t work but is a poor use of exercise time:

  1. Oxidative Stress
    Which causes a breakdown of tissues. It also predisposes one to cancer and heart attack.

  2. Elevated cortisol production
    Which causes a breakdown of muscle tissue and increases fat storage or depot fat. People do aerobics to alleviate stress yet end up creating more stress.

  3. Lowered testosterone and HGH levels
    For men, aerobics are a form of chemical castration. Low T-levels are associated with lowered libido, depression, anxiety, increased body fat and decreased muscle tissue. This contributes to muscle-wasting and lowers the basal metabolic rate.

  4. Increased appetite and a tendency toward binge eating patterns
    Aerobic exercise makes people hungry!

  5. Excessive Muscular Fatigue
    Making it difficult to do other more productive forms of activity. Aerobics creates muscular weakness.

  6. Conversion of fast-twitch muscle fibers to slow-twitch
    The loss of fast-twitch muscle fibers contributes to aging and the loss of explosive power and speed. People become slower and slower.

  7. Burns a relatively small amount of calories vs. the time spent
    One large meal completely offsets the pitiful amount of calories burned in an hour aerobics session.

  8. Overuse injuries to the feet, ankles, and knees from excessive, continual force transmitted throughout the body
    This is exacerbated by over-engineered running shoes which cushion the feet in such a way to create a neural amnesia.

  9. Shortening i.e., deformation, of the muscle tissue from repetitive mid-range (partial range) movements
    This creates inflexibility, immobility, and muscle imbalances. Besides being tight, the bodies postural alignment becomes compromised. Aerobics create tight, inflexible bodies that are in chronic pain.

  10. Adrenal burnout
    A consequence of the “feel good” neurotransmitters which also stimulate the release of adrenaline. Adrenaline is the fight or flight hormone. Excessive adrenaline creates an addictive response and people going routinely for the so called “high” of running end up with adrenal burnout, e.g., chronic fatigue and depression.

Dr. Kenneth Cooper, the father of aerobic exercise (and the person who coined the term) completely recanted his assertions regarding aerobic exercise. After observing a disproportionate number of his aerobic-enthusiast friends die of cancer and heart disease, he reversed his ideas on the benefits of excessive aerobic exercise. He now claims anything in excess of 20 minutes has greatly diminishing returns. In fact, he's now an advocate of scientific weight training.

In strength and health,


I have always hated doing cardio even though I owned a club quality elliptical machine, which I used on and off when I first started my weight loss journey. The thought of getting up only to spend 30-45 minutes doing the same motion over and over was very uninspiring to say the least. Once I started working out with kettlebells, I came across Mr. Maxwell and other physical culturists who wrote about the diminishing returns of doing too much cardio. I'm happy to say that I've made the most dramatic changes in my physique through proper nutrition, anaerobic exercises (read: weight resistance training), and HIIT (high intensity interval training), so I couldn't agree more with what Steve is saying here. However, not everyone agrees with his view on aerobics as you can read in this one Judo discussion forum thread about Steve's blog post.

OK, so I'm really interested in hearing your views on his points. So, please feel free to post a comment and/or vote in the poll to the left.

Keep working out guys and new pics are coming soon . . .

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Want Six Pack Abs Like A Gymnast?

Well, train your abs like they do!

Guys, you know that I've been doing bodyweight exercises solely with great results. So, when my friend Kris, over at shapefit.com, posted these five ab exercises that gymnasts do to keep their core strong and tight, I thought I'd pass them on to you. However, I have to warn you that these are advanced movements, and there are a couple that I can't even do yet! Ahhh, the smell of a challenge makes my body tingle all over with motivation . . .


Monday, March 10, 2008

When Willy Wouldn't Wake-up ... Part II

In natural (read: non drug using) individuals who have dieted down to extremely low bodyfat levels, say 5%, you see a common hormonal pattern. Testosterone levels are typically bottomed out (some studies even find castrate levels, which is why a lot of natural contest bodybuilders can't get their dick hard, not that they have a sex drive in the first place), thyroid levels are bottomed out, IGF-1 levels are bottomed out, sympathetic nervous system output is way down meaning decreased caloric and fat burning, appetite is through the roof, cortisol is through the roof, on and on it goes. This makes good evolutionary sense: at 5% bodyfat, you are starving to death. Your body is turning off every system (metabolic, reproductive, immune, etc.) that it can to keep you alive until you get some food.
I read the above quote in Lyle McDonald's Ultimate Diet 2.0; however, I never thought that this applied to me. Hey, I was just some fat college professor who wanted to see how far I could take my weight loss. I could care less about bodybuilders or the problems they had. Well, that is until it affected me, or should I say my Willy!

Back to my story:

So, the second time I couldn't get an erection, I was literally scared. The thought of having caused myself to be a eunuch was not very appealing no matter how much I had transformed my body. Guys, it's amazing how well you can recall what you've read when you're faced with such a huge problem. LOL!

I don't know why, but Lyle's quote came to mind, and there I went tearing through loose pages of my fitness ebooks trying to find the quote. Once I found it, I read it in disbelief because he basically described what I was experiencing. I started to think back to the months preceding my failed horizontal mambo sessions, and I realized that my interests in sex wasn't really there. Now, for someone who has an enormous sexual appetite, this was far from normal. But, I was so focused on my training and diet, that I really didn't pay it much attention. However, my body, or should I say my hypothalamus, more specifically, definitely was.

If given the choice between the ability to have sex or survive, I would say that many of us would be dead fellas. Hell, I know I would, and I guess that's why I'm glad that the body has checks and measures to keep us alive. A discussion of the body's metabolic adaptations is way beyond the scope of this post, so I strongly suggest that you read Lyle's UD 2.0 and Ellis's Ultimate Diet Secrets, which are the only books that I've read that devote an entire chapter (or two) to how the body reacts, on a cellular level, to overfeeding and underfeeding. (Lyle's explanation is the more technical of the two.)

OK, so we all know that when you start a diet that your body recognizes this and starts to make adjustments. The more severe you cut calories or expend them through exercise, the more your body makes adjustments. Well, these adjustments are much more severe and noticeable when we attempt to push our bodyfat under 10%. Now, I'm referring to guys who are dieting down to this level, and not genetically gifted bastards who have no problem remaining lean.

Your body monitors how much bodyfat you have and could really care less about how much you weigh on the scale. And, when you think about it, this only makes sense. If you were a complex machine, you would care just as much about how much reserve energy you have in the tank, especially if you think that you are starving to death, as Lyle points out. And, similar to your car's gas gauge, the body lets you know when you are pushing it to its pre-detemined limits. However, unlike your car's gas gauge, the body's way of alerting you that it's approaching E is with a limp Willy and not an annoying light or beep.

After re-reading Lyle's chapters that deal directly with all the systems he mentions in his quote above, I was really ready to absorb the information in Dr. Wong's book, The Care and Feeding of a Penis. Well, so I thought because he had one quote that smacked me dead in the face:
We can’t help it, it happens to all. Somewhere after 27 our body processes begin to turn against us. The natural mechanism that causes aging and deterioration kicks into gear round about 27 and from then to 35 it’s the steepest drop in health and conditioning levels we’ll ever face. After that the down hill slide slows but only some. It’s round about 35 that men start to come into the beginnings of their “change of life”. This happens because our hormonal balance changes. As the years progress we make less testosterone and make more estrogen. After 40, Andropause, the male menopause kicks in and with it comes an almost total cessation in the production of testosterone! It’s a safe bet that by 45 or 50 a man has more estrogen than his wife does!
Now, this was the first that I had ever heard of Andropause or that I was well into the age range (read: middle-age) where all of these hormonal changes start occurring. Alright, now I felt that I was on to something and armed with my new Male Bible, I started to try and find out exactly what I needed to do about resurrecting Willy.

One of my bodybuilding buddies suggested that I look into taking Tribex, which is a super-concentrated formula of the Bulgarian herb tribulus terrestris, to boost my T levels. He also suggested that I take avena sativa to keep my E (estrogen) levels in check and to stop the conversion of my free T to becoming E, the real enemy of our manhood fellas. After doing some research, I also started reading a lot about ZMA, which is a supplement developed by BALCO founder, and former bass player for Tower of Power, Victor Conte. Don't worry, it's not CLEAR or anything like that; ZMA is simply a combination of the zinc, magnesium, and B-6. Dr. Wong highly recommends Maca too as a natural T booster and E inhibitor.

Next week, I'll detail my experiences with some of the above supplements and if they indeed help me wake up Willy. Nevertheless, I can't leave you without mentioning an herbal product that has done wonders for me and some of my other buds.

Guys, if you are interested in having rock hard erections and the ability to control them like you did when you were 18, then there is one herbal supplement that I highly recommend. I read about what many call herbal Viagra from Dr. Wong (who has personally used this product also), so I decided to give Super X, by Dr. Chi Enterpises, a try. Without sounding like a paid endorser, which of course I'm not, let me just say that Super X is one sexual enhancement supplement that's free of side effects that any man over 35 should have in his medicine cabinet.

I'll tell you what--I'll do a review of Super X in my next post because, man, do I have a lot to say about this supplement!

BTW, just wanted to let you guys know that my loose skin is really tightening up. Adisa, sorry about the camera angle playa ... ;)

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Low T Levels Linked to Depression in Elderly Men

I thought the timing of this report was really great since my last post, and the next couple, will talk about the male sex hormone Testosterone (T). Again, if you're over 35, I strongly suggest that you start doing some net research on T, so you can start to understand its importance in our being MEN!

Here's the url to the BBC report:


Monday, March 3, 2008

When Willy Wouldn't Wake-up ... Part I

Hey, before I jump into what this week's post, I'd like to personally thank all my readers, friends, and family who have congratulated me and my new wife, Crystal, on our recent marriage; we really appreciate it. However, let me be clear about something fellas. Marriage has not tamed the burning desire I have to complete my journey and share what I've learned along the way. If anything, as I stated in my last post, it has motivated me that much more!

To my female readers, whom I appreciate and respect, I have to warn you that this post is all about the male love muscle (i.e., Willy). So, you've been warned ;)

Guys, I believe that it's time that we have a real heart to heart about our bodies, especially our main reproductive organ. I know many of you that read my blog simply want to lose weight or get tips on how to build a lean and muscular body, so the following discussion may seem a bit out of place if not too damn personal to be sharing with the blogosphere.

Hey, if I'm able to put half-naked pictures of myself on the internet and announce my marriage to someone who is half my age on my blog, do you really think that sharing a story about my problems getting an erection is too personal, especially when it was a direct result of my weight loss? OK, before you answer, take a look at some pics of my back that the wifey took of me today, sit back, and read on to see why I was literally on the verge of committing suicide . . .

"Wait a minute, I'm too damn young to have problems getting it up!" was the first thought that ran through my mind when my Willy (read: penis) stayed asleep when it was time for us to go to work. Yes, I realized that I was no longer the sexual stud, or at least that's what I thought of myself, of my late teens and early 20s, but I've been able to "hold my own" in the bedroom without the thought of not keeping an erection. Well, a couple of months ago this was far from the case, and it has taken me this long to research and figure out just what in the hell was going on!

OK, let me start from the beginning. As you guys know, I've been working out and dieting on a consistent basis for more than three years now; the first two years of my journey were basically hit and miss. During this time, I've come across fitness books that dealt with the various ways that bodybuilders (natural & "not so" natural) achieve their ripped and defined physiques. A couple of these books talked about the relationship between sex hormones and working out, but I usually skipped over these chapters since I wasn't interested in becoming a bodybuilder and they were too damn technical. I'm an English professor for christ's sake.

Well, this was a big mistake on my part because who else would know and understand how to achieve low body fat percentages and the body's reaction to this than those who participate in a sport where having excess body fat is a liability. So, I had to ditch the muscle head stereotype that I had of bodybuilders and started to learn what processes, especially hormones, that are involved in becoming lean and ripped. However, I'm getting a little ahead of myself . . .

Alright, there I am staring, or should I say goggling, at the sexy body of a woman who wanted to do things to me that's probably illegal in most southern states. Many thoughts were running through my mind, and all of them would be rated TV-MA; however, I realized that there was one piece missing in this sexual puzzle which seemed to be having G rated thoughts: Willy was still asleep! I didn't think much of this as I just chalked it up to pre-intercourse jitters with a new partner that I know most fellas can relate to. So, I didn't think much of it and figured that everything would snap back to normal, and I would chuckle to myself about this a little later.

30 minutes later, I'm lying on my back, staring at the ceiling, and assuring the puzzled woman next to me that it usually doesn't take this long for me to get an erection and no it's not her. After another 15 minutes of failed attempts to wake Willy up, I decided that it was simply one of those un-explainable sexual thangs that we men experience once in a long while or even in a lifetime. Well, that lame excuse only held up until my next attempted, and failed, romp in the sack.

Guys, this is one time that I really wasn't interested in three strikes and you're out, so, putting my male ego aside, which you know is not an easy task, I finally decided that I could no longer do my ostrich impersonation about my little problem. After making sure to give away all the knives and sharp objects in my house, I sat down with my books to try and figure out why Willy went on an extended . . . uhh . . . prolonged vacation.

I felt that if I could deal with my problem myself, then I wouldn't have to explain to my doctor why a 36 year old man, who works out 5-6 days a week, and is obviously in great shape is having problems with maintaining an erection. Fortunately, I didn't have to go too far for some possible answers.

My readers know that I'm a big fan of Mike Mahler's ebooks and training DVDs. In his e-book, The Aggressive Strength Solution For Size And Strength, he devotes a chapter to the secret relationship between sex hormones and training. Basically, he gives an overview of the hormones Testosterone (T) and Growth Hormone (GH) and how they are affected by the different types of training one does; he also quotes from a couple of other books. One book in particular stood out from the rest because of its title: The Care and Feeding of a Penis by Dr. William Wong.

Considering my little problem, and not to mention the suicidal thoughts I was having, you can imagine how fast I ordered this e-book.

* * *

Preview of Part II:
  • why your body hates you but really loves you
  • why middle-age starts at 35
  • estrogen dominance, bitch tits, and moody men
  • big "hypothalmus" is watching
  • natural/herbal testosterone boosting supplements
  • herbal erection and sexual performance enhancers (no BS!)