Cleanses are still bullshit

batmancleanses

Slap the toxins right out of your mouth

 

“Rid your body of toxins”… “Jumpstart your metabolism!”… “7 days to a flatter stomach!”… Sounds great, doesn’t it? The thing is… It’s bullshit. As nice as it would be to be able to “get a flat stomach in 7 days”, or to “jumpstart your metabolism” – things aren’t that simple, and frankly, they don’t work that way. Juicing, cleanses, detoxes, free radicals – oh my! It’s no wonder that in today’s world people tend to believe in these products when the companies that sell them do such a great job marketing them by preying on people’s fears and emotions. Here’s the thing, you don’t have to fall for it.

Let’s go over a few things real quick. First, let’s outline some information that will help understand just exactly why these things are bogus.

  • Toxins & Free Radicals: Ever notice how whenever the word “toxin” is used, no one can identify what toxin/toxins they’re specifically talking about? It’s usually more of a generalization. Free radicals, on the other hand, are a bit more specific, but still pretty generalized.

What people buying these products don’t know, is that the human body has a “detox system” built into it already! Your renal and digestive system (kidneys & liver specifically) do a FINE job of “ridding your body of toxins”. Furthermore, your body produces antioxidants to deal with free radicals. So if you’re drinking enough water and eating a reasonable amount of fruits and veggies – you’re probably good.

  • Weight loss: I’m talking about real, sustainable weight loss. It takes time! Losing body fat requires you to be in a caloric deficit (burning more calories/day than you consume). At best, you can expect to safely lose about 1-2Lbs/week of body fat depending on the individual.

So with these bits of information in mind, let’s quickly examine these “detoxes” and “cleanses”. First off, do they work, and if so, how?

  • Cleanses/Detoxes work primarily by putting the person in a heavy caloric deficit (good right? Not exactly…) The issue with this is that typically the reduction in calories is so great, that once that person starts eating food again, their weight will creep right back up to where it was before. So in other words, not sustainable. Some even use diuretic herbs to help “cleanse the body” of demons, taco bell, and other toxins. So all of that water weight you shed will be coming right back once you’re no longer running to the toilet every 30-45mins. Sounds like fun!…
  • Real, sustainable weight loss takes time and effort. PERIOD! Repeat after me, there are no shortcuts, there are no magic pills or Brazilian fruit juices that will give you a six pack, or make you look 15 years younger. Those things require consistency, dedication, time, effort, and probably a time machine. Again, you need to be in a caloric deficit in order to lose weight and drop body fat. This, combined with a quality exercise program or an adequate amount of daily activity – is what will coax the body in a healthy direction. Remember, to keep the weight off you need to do so in a rational and safe manner. This combined with an appropriate lifestyle adjustment will help ensure success. Not sexy, but it’s the truth.

So do yourself a favor. The next time you consider paying for a cleanse or a detox, save yourself the time, money and suffering, and spend it on something useful – like food and water. Eat your fruits and veggies, get your protein, don’t fear carbohydrates – you need those for energy, and consume healthy fats. If you have any more questions about losing body fat and increasing lean muscle mass, let me know!

     Justin

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Alternative Exercises: Choosing the right exercises for your body

Today’s guest post comes from my friend, Matt Immerman. Matt is a recent graduate of The Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at Mercer University in Atlanta, GA. Matt has been in the health and fitness industry for ten years. He started out as a trainer helping people to get stronger, and more fit. Like many trainers, Matt had to work around his client’s various limitations. Knowing what exercise is appropriate for you (or your client) is vital to long term progress and injury prevention.


Picking the right exercise for your body

Who this article is for:

Those who are new to weight training or exercise.

Or those who have had a history of problems with their knees, back or shoulders and want to continue strength training without further aggravating old injuries.

So you have decided to pick up weight training! Right on! The benefits of lifting relatively heavy weight are too innumerable to list. However, the other side to this coin is that there are potential risks (like with any physical activity) when you engage in weight training. Fortunately, there are many ways to minimize this risk by picking the right exercise for YOUR body. With a little knowledge you can enjoy the many benefits of strength training while minimizing the potential risks that come with it.

In this article, I will offer alternative exercises to the “staples” of weight training which include barbell squats, deadlifts, and shoulder presses. Now, before you completely tune me out, please know that I am a HUGE fan of these exercises. When done correctly with proper form they can be extremely beneficial in building strength, improving bone density, helping with balance, and the list goes on. However, not everyone is able to perform all of these exercises for a myriad of reasons… whether it’s a previous injury, tight muscles and joints, bony anatomy, or even lack of space or proper equipment available at your gym. And that’s okay! Just because something may be preventing you from doing squats or deadlifts or presses doesn’t mean that you still can`t train hard!

What follows are a few of my favorite alternative exercises which I like to perform which target similar muscle groups and still provide an awesome bang for your buck much like the aforementioned “staples.”

Walking Lunges

These are great for working the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings. You can also add plenty of resistance to this exercise simply by holding dumbbells in each hand. Unlike the back squat, your torso is vertical and the weight is down at your sides which means the lower back is not having to work as hard as it does in a back squat which means you can work the legs as hard as you want while `working around the back.` This is a great option for those whose backs don’t tolerate the back squat as well especially as the weight gets heavy.  As an added bonus, the walking lunge can also challenge your balance and ability to decelerate which is key for sports as well as just staying fit and healthy.

Sled Pushes

Sled Pushes

The sled push is an awesome exercise which also is fairly easy on the joints because it is purely concentric in nature. Furthermore, it is very easy to make sure your back remains nice and straight and that you are only using your legs to push the sled. This exercise is great for building lower body strength and as added bonus it gets you breathing pretty hard! Plus there is nothing more satisfying knowing you just pushed a ton of weight across the gym! Be careful on these though…get too good at these and all your friends will start calling you when their cars are stuck in the snow!

Landmine Press

Landmine Press

This exercise is great for hitting the same muscles that you would target with a traditional shoulder press but with the different angle, you are much less likely to impinge some of the smaller muscles in the shoulder. Furthermore, it is much easier to keep your back straight and abs tight with this exercise thereby ensuring you are working the shoulder and not putting undue stress on the back by over -arching.

Those were just a few examples of alternative exercises you can play around with and see what works best for you. Ultimately the best thing is to see a professional trainer who can help you along your path to fitness! Thanks for reading!

Matt Immerman  PT, DPT, CPT

The Goblet Squat:

Anyone who’s engaged in a resistance training program has most likely heard about the multitude of benefits obtained from squatting. The squat is an amazing exercise capable of building copious amounts of muscle mass, increasing total body strength, burning body fat, maintaining and enhancing mobility/stability/flexibility, and improving just about every aspect of our physicality.

Basically, doing a set of squats is like taking a sip from the Holy Grail – You remember what that did for Sean Connery in The Last Crusade, right?

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“Oh good, some pre-workout. Junior, throw 405 on the bar!”

However, despite the cornucopia of benefits and super powers squatting bestows upon us, there is a time and a place for everything. Barbell squatting may not be the best choice for everyone, even if it is the most badass. With this in mind I would like to direct your attention to an incredible exercise for both beginners and advanced trainees – The Goblet Squat.

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The goblet squat is an exercise created by Lifting and Throwing coach, Dan John. This squat variation is typically much easier to perform as a beginner, but can be made challenging enough for advanced trainees. The squat is a complex movement pattern that blends strength, stability, mobility, and flexibility together. Despite the many benefits of performing this exercise, the reality for most people is that if they don’t “groove the movement pattern” regularly, they lose the ability to perform it correctly over time. This is unfortunate, because squatting is awesome. It is for this reason that the goblet squat can and should be performed often, even daily if possible.

Performing the goblet squat is fairly simple compared to its counterparts (Back Squats and Front Squats). The way the weight is positioned and loaded through the body makes it a more comfortable exercise for beginners. It can be performed as a warm-up exercise and as an alternative to traditional squats. Of course, you typically won’t be able to use the heavy loads that you would in a traditional barbell squat, but that doesn’t make it any less challenging or beneficial (split squats anyone?).

Bret Contreras is a certified strength and conditioning specialist who wrote a great article detailing the goblet squat; which can be found here. I would highly recommend you check out his website and blog if you haven’t already. Seriously, do it now

If you are a beginner, the goblet squat should be a staple in your exercise program. One of the biggest mistakes a new lifter can make is to jump right into barbell squatting (Back Squats or Front Squats) too soon.

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He chose…poorly…

If you don’t currently possess:

– Ankle mobility (dorsiflexion)
– Hip mobility
– Strong Spinal erectors and thoracic extensors
– Core strength/stability
– Strong/responsive Glute function
– Strong Quadriceps

Then you have no business performing a barbell loaded squat yet.

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Let’s take a closer look at why each of the above attributes is vital for squatting:

– The ankles must be mobile to allow the knees to travel forward
– Mobile hips to allow for adequate depth and hip flexion
– Strong spinal erectors and thoracic extensors to maintain a neutral spine, keep the chest up, and to maintain lumbopelvic stability throughout the movement
Core strength/stability to keep from folding forward (excessive forward lean), maintain neutral spine, and to support the load
Strong glutes are needed to keep the knees tracking properly, the eccentric load stable, and to extend the hips as you come back up
– The quadriceps have to be strong to aid in the ascent and to help maintain an upright posture

If you’re lacking in these areas, you should address those issues first, and then try the goblet squat. All too often I see people performing a barbell squat that have no business performing the movement yet. It’s well worth it to put in the time developing the movement pattern correctly, rather than to jump right into a squat rack and getting under a barbell. Don’t get me wrong, the absolute last thing I want is to shy people away from working with a barbell, but if you’re new to lifting and your squat pattern is poor – you need to start with the basics. If you’re a trainer, simply cuing the bejesus out of your client may actually do more harm than good. Especially if they’re new to lifting in general. You need to take the time to address the deficiencies in the movement pattern first.

When performing the goblet squat, focus on the following:

– Keep the weight (Dumbbell or Kettlebell) close to the chest
– Feet should be positioned just outside of shoulder width apart
– Feet can be turned out up to 30 degrees
– Keep the chest up and core musculature braced
– Sit down into the squat position
– Keep your elbows in
– Keep knees out, tracking over the feet
– Push through your heels

Doing goblet squats regularly will help you improve and maintain the mobility, flexibility, stability and strength required to perform them. Depending on your goals and limitations, goblet squats may be an introduction to barbell squatting. Either way, whether you reach the promised land of the power rack or not, goblet squats should always be a tool in your training regiment. Now excuse me as I majestically ride off into the sunset wearing my fedora.

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To the squat rack!

Pick up something heavy