Josh Bowen: 3 Reasons Why Soreness Doesn’t Mean Results

joshBack when I first started working out, I loved the feeling. When I first started working with clients, I loved hearing them tell me about it.

Soreness.

One of the first questions, in the old days, we use to ask clients who had been working out on their own, “are you getting sore still.” With little to no scientific research to back up our clams, we obliterated body parts into submission, thinking that everyone need to be sore to get results.

I was wrong.

To this day, I have attracted a client base that loves to be pushed and I love to push them. At times I can be relentless and somewhat domineering. However, I don’t believe the old school “Arnold rules” that says in order to achieve maximum results you must be so sore you cannot walk or move your arms. To be that sore every time you workout seems silly and counterproductive. Every once in a while is OK :) I look to a segment of our population for proof that get paid to workout, professional bodybuilders. Ask any athlete, especially physique athletes and they will tell you the last thing they want to be is sore. It messes with their routine and training. It will happen from time to time but it doesn’t define their progress.

For research to back up my claim, here is a popular research article from the National Strength and Conditioning Journal by a couple of guys I have met and have heard speak several times.

Shifting through all the research jargon I took the following statement to heart, “the applicability of DOMS in assessing workout quality is inherently limited, and it therefore should not be used as a definitive gauge of results.” OK moving right along. Let us get out of the research world (secretly I dislike it) and move to the practical side of things.

You want to be sore? That is great but it does not actually mean you are progressing. It does mean you either broke down your muscle tissue down significantly to create DOMS (delayed onset of muscle soreness) or you introduce a new workout, exercise or rep scheme that your body was not ready for, thus causing soreness. Again, I love to be sore but the point is not to workout every time until you are are so sore you cannot move. This is counterproductive.

So here are my 3 reasons:

1. Soreness can interrupt to today’s workout: Recovery is important, being able to recover after a workout is even more important. If I am training a client full body 2-3 days per week and their legs are so sore they can barely lunge, squat or kettlebell swing this impedes my ability to program correctly for that day. Sure, if your legs are really sore, you can always do arms. However, I love when clients are pushed hard and have the ability to recover (because of adequate protein and rest) fast enough to workout at the same intensity or higher. How you recover workout to workout is more important than how sore you get workout to workout.  *Reminder…this applies to people who push themselves. If you are not pushing yourself, there is no need for recovery, you are already recovered.

2. Intense soreness could mean a lack of quality nutrition and rest A little soreness hear and there is great. Not being able to move (unless you first started working out) is not so good. This could be an indication of improper rest and inadequate nutrition, in particular a lack of high quality protein intake. Protein’s job is to help build and repair muscle tissue. Without it, the muscle will break down and will continue to break down to the point of injury. Same thing goes for recovery. If your muscles never recover you can never get to your full potential.

3. Your body can only take so much I have to tell myself this all the time, “you can only workout so much.” I don’t get as much sleep as I would like and there are some days where I have to rely on protein shakes as my main food source. There is no way I could handle soreness that would prevent me from training myself day to day. Your neuromuscular system is not designed to take a pounding every single day. It needs rest and needs food. 3-4 days of vigorous workouts, coupled with some active rest or complete rest days is enough for most people to get where they want to be. Less is more in this case.

The point I am trying to prove is that you do not need to continuously push your body to point where how sore you get should be a concern. A little tenderness is OK, outright muscle pain, after every workout does not mean your muscles are growing and you are getting better. Do not use this as an indicator of such. Rant over.

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Ebola

jyb_musingsOk. For what it’s worth….and I’m not a doctor or anything ….but I am very intuitive about things like pandemics and mass diseases. And I am starting to get a much better feeling about this whole Ebola thing and how it is going to play out.

I’m predicting in a few days we can all go back outside again.

Probably.

Just a feeling. But it’s a pretty strong one.

The exact same feeling I got with Avian Flu and SARS just before we found out they weren’t going to cause our extinction. So there’s even a track record here for me with these sorts of things.

===

My wife and I are on our laptops and I peered over to see what she is reading. It is –again–an article about Ebola.

I have tried to reassure her that she won’t catch it and even if she does to try to look on the bright side: She looks really great in yellow and will rock that Hazmat suit.

Unfortunately, I don’t look good in Hazmat. They make me look bloated and I have really worked hard to slim down. One more reason I hope I don’t get Ebola.

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Game on, Hawking!!

jyb_musings

Smarty pants astrophysicist Stephen Hawking has joined Facebook and said in his first post “I have always wondered what makes the universe exist. Time and space may forever be a mystery, but that has not stopped my pursuit.”

Oh brother. Whatever.

Well, you know Mr Hawking, you may be the smartest man alive but a lot of us on Facebook have some pretty brilliant moments ourselves. I am upping my scientific and intellectual Facebook game. Be forewarned. And remember, it’s OK to hate the player but don’t hate the game? Feel me? You are no longer in the ivory tower on Facebook. You are now on the street. And it’s about to get real.

So, for starters, you aren’t the only one on Facebook who wonders about what makes the universe exist and about space and time and stuff like that. I think about them too. Not all at the same time. But I think about them sometimes. And think about many other complicated sciencey things too.

When I am on an airplane I like to look out the window at the clouds and think to myself, “Let’s see. There are three kinds of clouds. Stratus, cumulus, and one other.” See? You are probably already realizing we are a lot more alike than you originally thought. That’s OK. That will happen to you a lot on here. Keep an open mind on Facebook. Ok? That’s important for everybody — but especially for guys like us.

10580031_10154805192810515_2724657550179636568_nOh…and after I think about the different types of clouds, I’m not done. I keep going. I saw this one recently (see below) I keep staring at the cloud formations until it comes to me, using my vast imagination (again like you) and I figure out what the cloud shape reminds me of. This one reminds me of a puppy dog.

I am interested, Mr Hawking, to find out if your mind works this way too and if you agree the cloud looks a lot like a little puppy dog? Cutie, huh?!

Anyway, congrats for joining Facebook. This may be the most exciting and surprising intellectual journey of your life. And I suspect — if you give it a chance–you will finally get some answers to all your questions about the universe.

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Fridays at 51

jyb_musingsWhat makes Fridays nice at age 51 is the vague but pleasant recollection that 15 or 20 years ago something really fun –maybe even edgy and exciting– used to happen on Friday nights.

Even though you can’t quite remember what it was.

You realize that was a long time ago and isn’t going to happen tonight. Because you are too tired and have to pick up the kids later.

But the fuzzy memory that something fun used to happen to you on Friday nights still sustains you.

And is enough to still make you “thank God it is Friday.”

Just with a lowercase “T.”

Josh Bowen: 3 Thoughts We Should Stop Having About Fitness

joshI have been traveling the last few days and have had several conversations with people on the planes I’ve been on about fitness. One in particular with my taxi cab driver who picked me up at the airport in Florida.

The lady must have been in here early 40’s and in decent shape but really wanted to be in better shape. After finding out what I did for a living she instantly started probing me for information. And as it is in many cases the person will ask questions or state beliefs only to validate their own beliefs regardless of my opinion on the subject matter.

15 minutes into our ride she had told me how diet X didn’t work for and neither did diet A-R but diet W and Z were the bomb.com. What?! She also referred to anything lifting related as the “man zone” and quickly wanted to tell me how doing an hour of cardio was great but was boring and she wasn’t sure she could tell a difference. You don’t say?

So, as only I can do, I referred her to my book 12 Steps to Fitness Freedom as a step in the right direction for her. Maybe the book could do a better job of explaining the components of fitness than I could do. Either way these random conversations with people boggle my mind. I still cannot understand why we have such a hard time understanding the core principles of fitness. We continually over diet, we look at food as either bad or good and we have no concept of what is too much or not enough.

Let’s set the trend here with the 3 Thoughts We Should Stop Having About Fitness:

Thought 1: Diets Work
If diets work then why is obesity and the number of diet books on sale at an all time? Diets don’t work. Have never worked. Will never work. They are often too stringent and restrict our favorite foods. They are also not nutrient driven and only focus on the amount of calories you eat, forgetting about the nutrient value of protein, carbs and fats.

Thought 2: More Exercise is Better
Using exercise to lose fat is like using a band aid to on a gun shot wound. Thinking you can go workout to eradicate that pizza you just ate or that bottle of wine you just drank is lunacy. The average person cannot eat what they want then go workout and expect to look the way they want. You also can workout TOO much. Your nervous system can only handle so much (this is where the value of rest comes into play) exercise thang it can become fried and will need a break. 3-4 days of vigorous exercise is usually enough for most people, anymore than that and the body will not be able to handle stress (unless nutrition, rest and genetics intervene).

Thought 3: Lifting Weights Makes Women Look Like Men
It doesn’t. Never has. Never will. There are outliers to everything, however those are few and far between. Want to be leaner? Want to have a defined waist, shoulders and back, pick up heavy things. With the help of great nutrition habits, lifting weights will make anyone look great naked. And that’s a great thing!

My hope is I can put these to bed and never have to discuss them again. But the majority of you reading this already know these so if you could forward to friends and family, it would help he education of the exercising public and maybe increase my subscribers! Until next time.

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Dear God

jyb_musingsDear God,

When you invented shaving every morning for men, what were You thinking? I know it was a long time ago and there was a good reason for it at the time. Just help me to understand.

P.S. I have lost 29 lbs this year. Since you don’t follow me on Facebook, you probably hadn’t heard. Pretty good, huh?

Hope the shaving question didn’t make You mad. Not questioning you. I am just curious. I think losing weight has given me more confidence and allowed me to be more assertive. And ask questions I wouldn’t have asked last year when I was heavier.

Let me know on the shaving thing.

And good job on most everything else.

P.P.S. I noticed in pictures of you at church you are carrying a few extra pounds than you probably should at your age. Do you know your BMI? I know we are all very busy, especially You, but we still have to take time to take care of our health. And that goes for You too. Since you don’t shave, maybe you could take those 5 minutes every morning the rest of us guys spend shaving and try running in place. Or doing jumping jacks. You will notice a difference pretty quickly.

Not judging. Just notice others wieght issues more than I used to. A more slimming and darker colored robe might help too. Just a thought.

Beth Gamulka: Worrying About Mom

Beth GamulkaDinner conversation topics in my home can vary from the serious to the mundane. My kids (all pre-teens and teenagers) still communicate with me in more than a series of grunts. They acknowledge each other’s existence. It’s fantastic. Imagine my chagrin when we spent a whole meal discussing their fears for my well-being. My kids are pretty aware of the world around them. They listen to and read the news. They also have a clear understanding of what I do every day. So, when they hear about health care workers who have contracted Ebola in Texas, it is no giant leap for them to worry about and for me. As a hospital-based health care worker in a city rich with citizens who hail from hundreds of countries, it is likely that there will be many Ebola scares close to home in the near future. I practice in a hospital that was at the epicenter of the SARS outbreak in Toronto in 2003. While my children were too young at the time to remember it, they have heard about it and have even seen the movies-of-the-week that were based on it.

I remember the first child who had contracted SARS from family members who had already succumbed to the disease. When that child was admitted to hospital, my colleagues and I (all young professionals with young children, except for one single guy) looked at one another and tried to decide who would don the N-95 mask, gown, face-shield and gloves and care for the patient. Those early days in the outbreak were filled with many questions but few answers. We were faced every day with new instructions and new rules about how we were supposed to be screened, to protect ourselves and to care for our patients.   One of my colleagues, the unmarried physician in our group, selflessly volunteered to expose himself to that first patient so that the rest of us could minimize our risk to ourselves and to our young families. We all remained healthy throughout the SARS outbreak, which lasted for several months but the memories of working in those conditions are still quite vivid.

Now, my children are old enough to understand what might happen with Ebola. They are concerned for me, and for the fallibility of PPE (personal protective equipment). They ask me about resource allocation, too. What will happen if there are not enough ventilators or ICU beds for all the sick patients? Who will decide who receives intensive care and how will those decisions be made? Are all states and provinces approaching preparedness in a consistent fashion?

These are all excellent questions. Unfortunately, no one yet has those answers. The real risk of an Ebola outbreak in North America is low. However, past experience suggests that we will have to be prepared so that if there is an outbreak, we will have the answers to my kids’ questions before we need them.

Josh Bowen: Don’t Drink And…Train?

68d5575d-dae6-4f15-b862-33d000b038f5A common question I get from clients, “can I drink alcohol and still get results?”

As with most questions I receive, there is no yes or no answer, it simply just depends. It depends on how much and how much of what you are drinking.

I am a firm believer in moderation and balance. I believe you can achieve your fitness goals and still have a drink or two, here and there. So for argument sake lets define moderation; no more than one alcoholic drink for women and no more than two for men, per day. An alcoholic drink is defined as 4 oz. of an “adult” beverage.

So JB what are the drawbacks to drinking alcohol as it relates to my workout?

Glad you asked, here are 5 side effects to drinking alcohol and working out:

Dehydration
Muscles are composed of 75% water.Inadequate water intake zaps the muscles of strength. When alcohol is in the system the kidneys must filter large amounts of water to flush the alcohol out of your system, causing dehydration. Too combat this, after drinking alcohol drink 32 oz. of water. This should help with the dehydration and lessen your hangover.

Fat Storage
Although alcohol is a carbohydrate, it does not convert to glucose like most carbohydrates but becomes a fatty acid and is more likely to be stored as fat. If you exercise and drink alcohol, it causes your fat metabolism to be put “on hold.” The caloric content of alcohol adds up to seven calories per gram. A 12-oz. beer, on average, contains around 146 calories, 13 g. of carbohydrate and a few vitamins and minerals. A shot of gin has around 110 calories.

Vitamin Depletion
Alcohol depletes vitamins A, B, C, calcium, zinc and phosphorus.This nutrients are vital in the retention and increase of your muscle. To combat this depletion, if you are going to drink take a multi-vitamin prior too. This will help decrease the depletion because you are taking in excess nutrients.

Lowered Testosterone
Alcohol increases estrogen in men, thus lowering the free testosterone in the body. Testosterone helps build muscle tissue.

Beer Belly
This could go with fat storage but a common characteristic of a man or woman that drinks too much beer is the beer belly. Because alcohol is a toxin, the liver must filter it out of the body. If taken in excess over the course of years the liver will secret a fluid that will build up in the abdominal wall. Causing the dreaded beer belly.

2 “Healthier” Options

There are better options to drink than others. Again, these options are lower in calories but anything in excess, regardless of caloric value, will derail your progress in body transformation.

Wine
Is the most friendly of all alcoholic beverages, averaging just 20 calories per ounce for most wines. Check below!

Wine Calories Per Ounce      Carbs Per 5-oz Serving
Chardonnay 20 0.4 g 100 calories, 2 g carbs
Pinot Grigio 20 0.4 g 100 calories, 2 g carbs
Zinfandel® White Wine 20 0.4 g 100 calories, 2 g carbs
Cabernet Sauvignon 20 0.8 g 100 calories, 4 g carbs
Merlot Red Wine 20 0.8 g 100 calories, 4 g carbs

“Hard” Liquor
Not exactly sure why it would be called hard but these are more caloric intensive than wine but not as bad as liquors, mixed drinks or some beers. Refrain from adding sodas to the mix or the calories will go up.

Hard Liquor Calories Per Ounce Carbs Per 1.5-oz Serving
Vermouth 32 0.2 g 64 calories, 0.4 g carbs
Coconut Rum 51 5.3 g 77 calories, 8 g carbs
Beefeater® Gin 65 0 g 98 calories, 0 g carbs
Rye Whiskey 69 0 g 104 calories, 0 g carbs
Scotch Whiskey 69 0 g 104 calories, 0 g carbs
White Rum 69 0 g 104 calories, 0 g carbs
Vodka 69 0 g 104 calories, 0 g carbs
Cognac 69 2 g 104 calories, 3 g carbs
Tequila 69 5.3 g 104 calories, 8 g carbs
Gilbey’s® Gin 79 0 g 119 calories, 0 g carbs

A life with synergy requires balance and drinking alcohol has its benefits but also its drawbacks. Anything in moderation will be fine, the probably lies in excess and will lead to lower muscle tissue, increased bodyfat and lower quality of life.

Josh Bowen: 5 Tips to Eating Out Smarter

69a6794b-9ea3-4895-babe-eb358190f2abWe live in a world that goes 100 miles per hour…everyday. Sometimes the last thing on our mind is preparing food. Though a necessary evil, preparing our food is always the best practice, instead of eating out. However there are times where going to a restaurant are warranted. 

For nearly 7 years, I traveled up and down the roads and eating out was the only option I had. Through that experience, I developed some “tips” to eat my body full of nutrients and to fuel my workouts at the same time eating out. 

Here are my 5 tips:

1. Game Plan
If you know you are going to be traveling, Google the restaurants close and if need be look at the nutritional facts. If you are in a hurry or you have a business meeting, plan where you are going that you know has healthy options. To use the excuse of a meeting or didn’t have time, is not acceptable when there are so many better options. 

2. Survey the Menu
There will always be better options and most places have a “healthy” option selection on their menu. Just look for it or ask the waitress. Texas Roadhouse in Lexington has the JB Fit Menu


3. Learn How to Order
When I order at a place I tell them specifically what I want:
“No seasoning” “No butter” “Grilled no fried” “Sweet potato plain”
To most this may seem like a pain but it saves you in the long run. Most cooks at restaurants will pile on the margarine and salt, making for an unnecessary nutritional nightmare. Just ask to not have it. I do it all the time, it will be OK!

4. Substitute 
So you steak comes with fries? Hey yo, substitute green beans for those fries or a plain sweet potato. Over the long run this will help you. Meal comes with two sides and everything looks like old school country fixings? Sub out a house salad (salad dressing on the side). Easy substitutions will save the calories in the long run.

5. Control the Portions
They give you too much food. You don’t need all the food they give you. Eat half and save the rest for lunch tomorrow (if healthy). No reason to big out if you do not need too.

Bonus..

5.1 The Table Setting
Some places will give you bread (for free) when they seat you. Resist or tell the host you do not want any bread. Resist the temptation before you gorge yourself on bread before a big meal.

5.2 Cookie Monster
“Would you like to see a desert menu.” Answer no! Again, you will fall into temptation that you will not be able to recover from. Just say no to cake!

Take it from me, I have done my fair share of eating out. But it should not interfere with your fitness goals and the way you feel. Hope you enjoyed this post!

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: We Never Stop Learning

jyb_musingsWe never stop learning.

This morning I learned that if I cut myself shaving to be sure not to make a nick so deep that it bleeds for 28 minutes. That is too long and just a bad idea generally.

I also learned that if I do cut myself badly shaving and tissue isn’t enough to stop the bleeding, an excellent alternative is a small article of clothing, like briefs. Hanes seems to be particularly effective. They are soft and very absorbant and last longer than a tissue. And you can even take them with you if the bleeding hasn’t stopped and you have to get to work.

And, finally, I learned that if I cut myself shaving and am using a pair of underwear to stop the bleeding while driving to work, no matter how badly I want a cup of coffee, I shouldn’t walk into the coffee shop pressing a pair of men’s underwear against my face. It makes it hard to get good service.

Trust me on this last one.

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