29 Sep 2015

By John L. Boos, L.M.T., N.S.C.A., C.P.T.

No one is more important than you! When you finally decide to stop intending and take that first step towards doing –please, step with caution. Remember when you were a young child and your mother or father were standing waist high in the swimming pool and wanted you to jump in so that they could catch you? Remember how cautious and concerned you were about your safety?

But after you gave it some careful thought, gathered your trust and realized your parent’s care and commitment towards you, you jumped. Everything was OK 99% of the time. The reason for all of the hesitation and anxiety in the first place was that you, yes you, were and still are very important. You were truly worried about succeeding, but once you realized your parents were trustworthy, committed to you and cared very much for you, you and your parents became a working team.

I then ask you–why don’t people use this same attitude in picking a trainer? In the past 10 years I have had and still do have personal trainers as clients. It surprises me when I talk to them about why they want me to work with them, without fail they all say they don’t know enough. There is nothing wrong with that comeback. (I’m the first to admit that I’ll never know enough).

The big surprise to me is how little most of these so-called personal trainers know in the first place. They know some anatomy and even less physiology. Their knowledge of the top five pathologies is nil and their understanding of common bio-mechanical physics is zip, to say the least. If your trainer doesn’t have a clue of these things, then your results will be very limited and the trainer’s ability to work progressively with you through life situations could generate more harm than good.

The trainer’s I’m speaking of are the ones that have no formal education in exercise physiology or health and have less than enough years of personal experience in a learning environment. Do you need a degree in the field to be good? No! But it’s a good start. The reason I say it’s a good start is because to have all of the knowledge of what exercise can do is one thing, but to know exactly how to exercise is another.

A book may show and tell you, but it will never give you the in-depth understanding of experience. Most exercise-related educations over emphasize the cardiovascular system and under emphasize the brain (neurological), bio-mechanical level and the function of physics. This has been expressed to me by numerous people who are trainers and hold various degrees in the health field.

Nevertheless, having an education in the exercise field is a good start if you know how to acquire the much needed requirements. In addition, many clients think that because their trainer works out and has big muscles -he or she is therefore, a good trainer. Nothing could be further from the truth.

A trainer has to be a good analyst –of both themselves and others. A trainer must be able to assess and evaluate physical concerns that arise as the client deals with life’s physical challenges. The trainer must be able to negotiate each session based on those assessments with confidence and accuracy. The trainer must know when to refer out to other health professionals in a situation that calls for additional evaluation, assessment or another mode of care. A trainer must have a solid network of highly competent medical and health professionals for this.

These people should have a good understanding of the trainer’s competence and experience in order to assure that their goals are safely and properly obtained. A trainer should understand proper injury response. This can assist the client in reducing the negative effects of injury in the event of a mishap (sports, work, etc.). The trainer should be on call for common sense assistance or recommendation.

At our facility, we are available for assessment, evaluation, treatment or referral. We don’t just handle strength and fitness issues, because there are many other aspects to a client’s life. A good personal exercise professional should have many aspects to those services available. I find that most so-called personal trainers have little knowledge and experience yet are especially exuberant on fees.

Personally, I feel a trainer shouldn’t try to ask for the most from their clients. Trainers should give the most and expect the client to pay for the true worth of the service, of course, upon agreement.

So, when it comes to picking a trainer, please be advised that there is a lot to consider. No weekend course or 20 hour certification program is close to what is required to give an adequate service. Most quick certification courses are designed to make big bucks for the course developers at the expense of the person paying for it. That expense gets passed down to the consumer (as usual) who pays too much money and puts in too much time for inadequate results. It’s bad enough that the consumer pays with time and money but to get little in return, is worse yet.

There is also always the chance that injury can occur (an added insult to the wasted time and money). I realize that a lot of readers feel I’m exaggerating a bit. That’s your prerogative but if it were the case, I wouldn’t have clients that had so-called trainers and received little to no results. The compliments we receive for what we do for such clients are gratifying but also alarm me of the shortage of truly good professionals.

You have to use your head on this as well as your gut feeling (even if they come highly recommended). Can you trust them? Are they committed to you? Do they really care? Find ways to answer these three questions. Add their experience and knowledge. Follow it up with talking to several of their clients and then decide. Remember you’re worth it!

25 Sep 2015

By John L. Boos, L.M.T., N.S.C.A., C.P.T.

Three of the 20th centuries most outstanding weight management and fitness myths are: 1) Aerobic exercise will considerably increase your muscle shape and build strength. 2) Aerobic exercise burns a greater number of calories and fat than strength training exercise. 3) Low carbohydrate / high fat diets are the best methods for reducing body fat.

The low carbohydrate /high fat/ high protein diet seems to be gaining a second wind of popularity. The scientific fact, is that it is not only unnatural to the needs of the body and brain, but it can accelerate the aging process by reducing the muscular strength and tone. This is especially true if you attempt to build muscle while the carbohydrates are low (50% or less of the total calorie intake). Half of the weight loss on this diet is muscle, which leads to a lower metabolism.

These diet demons claim that fruits, vegetables and grains add too much sugar to our diet. The over abundance of blood sugar in the American vascular system isn’t from too much fruits, vegetables and grains. It’s the added sugar (28% increases since 1983) in the so-called fat free foods and foods, in general. This fact along with the desire to do as little proper exercise as possible culminates into poor decision making when the weight loss panic sets in. Most of the poor decision process takes place because of lack of education that is linked to a love for magical formulas for the quick fix.

I began weight training in the early 1960’s at 115 pounds. I didn’t have above average genetics. I didn’t have a lot of money. I especially had no help from bodybuilding drugs that are now being digested at greater than epidemic rates (even by women) to increase muscle shape and reduce body fat.

In 1970, I entered my first serious body building contest. I began my contest dieting at 207 pounds and entered the contest at 160 pounds. I can honestly say that the last 20 pounds I took off were pure muscle due to the ever-so popular above diet formula that I used.
Between 1970 and 1973, I struggled with low carbohydrate diets and aerobic exercise to get the fat loss and muscle definition I would need to be a serious contender. I ran and bicycled 4 or 5 days a week. My fat and protein intake was high and my carbohydrate intake low (just like the book recommended).

My strength levels dropped and were the lowest ever since my second year of training. I was tired all the time, dizzy and no fun to be around. It didn’t matter, because I didn’t want to get laughed off the stage by not having the muscle definition I needed.

Even though I did fairly well from 1970 to early 1973, it wasn’t until I nearly ended up too sick and weak to continue that I ran off to a doctor for a check up. My problem was that I was continuing to lose body weight but failing to get more muscle definition –“cut up” as it is referred to in the body building world.

After a full check up by an internist, the real reason reared its head –I was in the state of ketosis, otherwise known as starvation. I was doing anaerobic (strength building) type exercise as well. You can’t do strength building exercise (anaerobic) if you are in the state of starvation or ketosis (low carbohydrates).

My Doctor was an athlete and explained to me that you are unable to develop maximum muscle strength and shape without the muscles’ (and the brain’s) primary fuel source–carbohydrates. This is a biological and physiological fact of exercise science. Try running your gas car on diesel fuel and watch the fun (hope you like pushing cars)!

After the doctor convinced me to reverse this total nonsense, I increased my carbohydrates and lowered my fat intake. A miracle seemed to happen. In less than 3 months, I gained 11 pounds of muscle and better yet, lowered my body fat which improved my definition. I also cut my aerobics down as my energy for strength building increased.

The bottom line: I gained weight, lost body fat, improved my overall shape and won the outstanding physique of the year award along with the Mr. New York State and Mr. World contest. Not bad for a start (I continued to compete until 1980)!

Today’s bodybuilders are able to reduce the carbohydrates and maintain muscle through the magic of chemicals (anabolic substances). This is not a good idea.

I learned that if you want to build muscle, build strength and increase your energy and well being (without bodybuilding drugs), you must supply the muscles (and the brain) with adequate carbohydrates. The healthiest way is through fruits, vegetables and grains. Fat also must be present, but not in abundance. (Never above 30% of the total calorie intake). Protein must also be present–somewhere in the 15%-20% range to maintain and repair the body.

I know how boring all of this sounds, because there is no promise of magic or unusual gimmicks. It’s not like I didn’t try all of the special diet twists and turns that the so-called “Health Houdinis” promised would work. I did! But nothing worked better than regular and proper exercise and eating.

Allow me to make a clear and honest point. You cannot obtain excellent physical shape without weight training. You cannot weight train without the necessary energy. You cannot obtain the energy without the proper amount of carbohydrates. If you listened carefully to the advocates of the low carbohydrate/high fat and protein diets, you will not see a muscle building exercise regimen included in their program.

The simple fact is, you are unable to do the exercise that requires the muscle build up at the same time that the body is using the very same muscle to feed off. Where there is an inadequate carbohydrate source (and you are strength training), the brain orders chemicals to break down muscle tissue to convert to sugar for energy. Muscle weighs more than fat, so the weight loss becomes greater if you can breakdown muscle. In addition, muscle is 80% water and the water is lost as well.

This is how the low carbohydrate diet trick works at the expense of your youth-providing muscle tissue. Nice thought isn’t it! Don’t be fooled by the Phantom Menace! Break the cycle: Build muscle, reverse aging, gain control and may the “Force be with You!”