Strength & Speed


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S&S Articles

#AllTheRaces: Ensuring Success With Multiple Races

Posted by Strength & Speed on June 2, 2019 at 12:35 AM


If you are headed to North American OCR (Obstacle Course Racing) Championships (NORAM) or OCR World Championships (OCRWC) you are probably racing more than once over the course of the weekend. With up to five events occurring in one weekend (OCRWC has 100m, 3k, 15k, Team Relay and Charity Run), your pre/intra/post-race fueling needs to be on point. If you missed the previous articles about fueling for the 3k or 15k, give them a quick read. Here are some quick tips to help maximize your performance between each race.

First 30 minutes post-race:

-Don’t pull off your inov-8 race shoes just yet. Immediately post-race conduct a quick cool down consisting of a couple minutes of easy jogging just to help circulate your blood and bring your body back from a period of all-out effort to a resting state.

-Drink a liquid recovery drink like Recoverite that consists of 3:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio. Ideally your drink has the amino acid L-Glutamine in it, an amino acid known to promote recovery, like Hammer Nutrition’s Recoverite to help with recovery.


An hour post-race:

-If you are staying on site (like you’ve been told to do in the “Five Things You Need to Know About Traveling to NORAM”;) you can go back to your room and shower real quick to wash the dirt/mud off, take off your sweaty Akuma race jersey and get comfortable. If not, you might just want to change into some comfortable post-race clothes. I recommend MudGear socks for compression of your calves (for recovery compression you want it a little tighter than race/active compression. Personally, I go down a size in MudGear so they provide that tight feeling and help return blood flow from the legs. Check out Ashley Samples method of putting on MudGear socks here.) If it’s a little chilly now would be the time to throw on your dryrobe.

That evening post-race:

If you have a fancy recovery system now would be the time to use it. Companies like NormaTec have recovery pants that inflate by zones to help circulate the blood (of note, they are expensive like $1500 USD). A little more portable, convenient for travel and at a lower price, companies like Compex offer Electrical Muscle Stimulators (EMS) that help circulate blood via forced muscle contractions (starting at around $80). If you want to go lower tech (and cheaper) gentle massage via foam roller is a good option. Don’t go too deep though, you don’t want to show up sore from a deep tissue massage. A great option that requires no equipment or purchasing of bags of ice is the hot/cold shower. Take a shower and do 1 minute of as cold as the water goes followed by two minutes of warm water repeated three times. This hot/cold contrast dilates and constricts your blood vessels helping circulate your blood and making your legs feel better recovered.


Morning of the next race:

-Your legs might be feeling tight after yesterday’s race. Make sure you do a light warm up job pre-race to get your blood flowing and muscles loosened up again. The back to back racing may mean you are expending more calories than usual, so you are probably going to want to eat something light before your race. Hammer Nutrition recommends giving a three hour gap between breakfast and your race.

During the race:

-If you missed the fueling articles for the 3k and 15k race check them out by looking at the last couple of articles on this website. Having proper fueling during the race will avoid putting you in a huge deficit that could hurt performance the following day.



As always, don’t plan on doing anything new on race day. That includes nutrient timing, food choices, race clothing, shoe types or anything else you are doing. Therefore, practice the above plan on one of your training weeks when doing several challenging workouts back to back. Keep training and I’ll see you at the finish line!

Use ref #240887 for 15% off your first order from Hammer Nutrition (www.HammerNutrition.com)


Looking for more great tips of OCR? Pick up a copy of Strength & Speed’s Guide to Elite Obstacle Course Racing or if you plan on racing Enduro check out Mud Run Guide’s Ultra-OCR Bible which are both available in our online store.

15k Fueling with Hammer Nutrition

Posted by Strength & Speed on May 15, 2019 at 12:20 AM

It’s only 15k, why do I need fuel? Well if you are running the North American Obstacle Course Racing (OCR) Championship (NORAM) course in an hour and a half, you may not need fuel. If you are like most of the athletes on the course spending between two and six hours on the course, you are going to want to carry some fuel with you for the race.


Peaking:

REM Caps: REM Caps are a natural sleep aid we talked about last week in the “Fuel Up With Hammer Nutrition for the 3k Championships” article. Still a great product regardless of the distance you are racing.


Race Day Boost: Race Day Boost is loaded by taking pills for the four days leading up to your A race. The Sodium Phosphate contained in each pill helps buffer lactic acid buildup, the chemical correlated with fatigue in the muscles. A study reported a measurable increase in performance of 8%, making this something you may want to consider adding to your pre-race bag to ensure a successful peak.

(You can save money by picking up both Race Day Boost, Energy Surge and Anti-Fatigue Caps as part of the Race PR Kit.)


Pre-Race:

Endurolytes or Endurolytes Extreme: Regardless if the weather is hot or cool, you are going to be sweating on the course. As a safety net for my racing, I recommend an electrolyte pill. Hammer Nutrition’s Endurolytes or Endurolytes Extreme provide a full spectrum of electrolytes including sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium and chloride. They aren’t just “salt pills” but have been designed for endurance athletes by endurance athletes.


Anti-Fatigue Caps: A couple of pills pre-race are designed to reduce Ammonia in muscles and enhance blood flow via ingredients like Beet Root powder.


Heed: Finally, sipping on some Heed pre-race can quench your thirst. It also tops off your energy supplies by swishing the complex carb solution around in your mouth and swallowing some for easy access to a carbohydrate fuel source early in the race.



Intra-Race:

Gels: Fueling during a race can be tricky. You can’t nor should you try to replace all calories burned. Instead studies have shown that your body can only reasonably absorb 200-300 calories at most an hour. Hammer Nutrition recommends fueling lean with at least 120-180 calories.

At 90 calories per gel, if you are racing for three hours and following Hammer Nutrition’s recommendation of fueling lean that comes out to about 4-6 gels over the course of the entire race.

If you are the type of person who is going to use every available minute of the six hour cutoff to complete the course, you may want to consider a small water carrier. Of note, you will have to carry this across the obstacles so balance the risk vs. the reward of having constant access to water. For most athletes, I recommend leaving the water carrier in your hotel room unless the weather is unusually hot. If you decide to carry one, you are going to want to use Heed inside, Hammer Nutrition’s carbohydrate and electrolyte blend. It’s loaded with complex carbohydrates to give you that steady release of energy without a spike and crash.


Regardless of your fueling plan, make sure you practice it before hand with the same exact products to ensure you don’t get any gastro-intestinal distress. Personally, I find that I need much less fuel during a training run versus something like a race when my physical output is significantly higher so be sure to take that into account.


Check back next week, I’ll be talking about my favorite topic again, Ultra-OCR as we talk fueling for the 24 hour long OCR Enduro Championships in Australia this June. While you can get away with poor fueling for something like a 3k or 15k and still perform okay, not fueling at something as long as Enduro I guarantee will lead to disaster.

Use ref# 240887 for 15% off your first order from Hammer Nutrition (www.HammerNutrition.com)


Looking for more great tips of OCR? Pick up a copy of Strength & Speed’s Guide to Elite Obstacle Course Racing now available in our online store.

Fuel Up With Hammer Nutrition for the 3k Championships

Posted by Strength & Speed on May 1, 2019 at 12:15 AM

Adventurey is proud to have Hammer Nutrition back as the leading nutritional sponsor for 2019’s North American Obstacle Course Racing (OCR) Championships (NORAM). Whether you are headed to OCR World Championships (OCRWC) or NORAM you’re fueling for each event will look pretty similar. Here’s a complete rundown of what you may want to purchase so you are race day ready:



Peaking: Before you show up to the start line, Hammer Nutrition has full line of options so you show up at your peak potential.

REM Caps: REM Caps are a natural sleep aide that allow you to sleep deeply and thus recover better leading up to your race. While I think they are great year round, especially during heavy training, you are absolutely going to want them for your final taper. This is especially true if you are traveling across time zones for OCRWC. Don’t spend all that money and travel and try to save a couple of dollars by skimping on a sleep aid. Sleep deeper and recover faster.

Energy Surge: Energy Surge is made of consumable Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP), a complex chemical that is used to power things like muscle contractions. The logic is that by consuming some immediately before exercise you will have more available to be used while expending energy…like you will during the short and fast 3k. Try energy surge in the final thirty minutes before the start to make sure you are topped off and ready to go on race morning.

(You can save money by picking up both Race Day Boost and Energy Surge (along with Anti-Fatigue Caps) as part of the Race PR Kit. The entire line-up can help you peak for the 3k, but for brevity purposes I will focus on the one that is most applicable to this distance.)



Pre-Race: The 3k is so short that you will not need to fuel mid-race. Instead we will focus on what you may want to take in the final hour before the race:

Fully Charged: Fully charged is truly a pre-workout product that is good for aerobic, strength or obstacle training. Unlike other “pre-workouts” the product is focused on active ingredients to help you perform better aerobically and doesn’t just load your body up with caffeine. At only 15mg of caffeine the product gives you just a little bit to get you race ready and focuses the rest of their ingredients on products that enhance blood flow and buffers lactic acid.

If you want your pre-workout to be convenient for racing and traveling, order the “stick packs”. Instead of lugging around the whole container you can just throw a couple of stick packs in your bag and be good to go.

Frequency: One stick pack mixed with 5 oz. of water in the final 30 minutes before the race.

Heed: A final small influx of carbs can help your body access more energy when racing something as short as a 3k OCR. While some like to have a gel in the last 15 minutes before the race starts, I like Heed. It is made of high glycemic complex carbohydrates providing you quick access to energy. I’ve used gels in the past but you are going to want to wash it down with some carbohydrates last minute.

Frequency: Sip on a bottle of Heed to desired thirst in the final 15 minutes before the start of the race.


With every athlete being different, be sure to test out any of these fueling plans prior to race day to ensure they work for your individualized needs. The longer the race, the more important fueling starts to become. With the majority of the athletes coming to NORAM or OCRWC to run the main event, the 15k, we will explore fueling for that distance next week. Keep training and make sure you fuel right, so you feel great.

Head over to Hammer Nutrition (www.HammerNutrition.com) and use ref#240887 for 15% off your first order.


Looking for more great tips of OCR? Pick up a copy of Strength & Speed’s Guide to Elite Obstacle Course Racing available in the online store of Strength & Speed


Did you lose? Blame it on the booze. Race loss? Blame in on the sauce. Patron won't put you in the zone

Posted by Strength & Speed on January 7, 2019 at 6:05 AM

OCR has maintained the reputation of the party boy/girl lifestyle since the inception of the sport. And let’s face it, after a hard fought race who doesn’t want to celebrate with a few brews and good company in the festival area? Although the occasional post-race splurge is unlikely to dramatically affect performance, drinking in the days leading up to the race may be a concern. Research provided by the US Olympic Committee (USOC) indicates that binge drinking can decrease athletic performance by up to approximately 11.4% for up to 72 hours. This is particularly important for championship race series (example: OCR World Championships) that have three days of events or the ultra-endurance races (WTM, Toughest Mudder, Bonefrog Endurance, etc.) that last several hours. Alcohol consumption can affect performance through many mechanisms which include:


● Diminished motor skills, balance, coordination, and reaction time

● Poor circulation to muscle tissue and significant reduced strength/power output

● Increased risk of injury in athletes who drink vs those who do not

● Impaired use of carbohydrate and fat for exercise

● Increased rate of perceived exertion during exercise

● Imbalances of testosterone and estrogen which may contribute to a less than ideal body composition

● Disruption in sleep cycles which can inhibit physical and cognitive recovery from exercise

● Fluid losses and imbalanced electrolytes through diuretic effects

● Increased energy intake from nutritionally sparse sources that include the alcoholic beverages themselves and associated poor dietary choices while inebriated


How much is too much? Binge drinking is categorized as more than two alcoholic beverages per two hours. But how much is considered “one” drink? Generally, one drink is 12 ounces of a beer/cider/cooler with 5% alcohol content, 5 ounces of wine with 12% alcohol content, or 1.5 ounces of liquor with 40% alcohol content. Regardless athletes are encouraged to restrict their daily alcohol consumption to <2 drinks per day and it would be optimal to omit regular alcohol use.


Diagram and content courtesy of the USOC Sport Nutrition Team


With all of this being said, if you are an individual who races in open heats or non-competitively with no goals other than to finish a race -- a couple of drinks with your buddies the night before isn’t going to make a large impact….. BUT if you are A.) An athlete who takes performance seriously or B.) Racing a more demanding event (multiple day series or ultra-endurance race) it is highly advisable to avoid alcohol consumption at least 48 hours prior to competition.


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Luc is a registered dietitian with his M.S. in Nutrition and certifications in personal training and wellness coaching. Luc hones his professional skills through counseling athletes/fitness enthusiasts and through his career as a clinical dietitian at East Carolina University. As a member of the Strength & Speed Development Team, his main hobby is competitive obstacle course racing with notable appearances at Obstacle Racing World Championships (2014-16) and a 50 mile completion at Worlds Toughest Mudder 2013. Luc can be followed through his facebook (www.facebook.com/lrlabonte) and Instagram (www.instagram.com/lrlabonte_ms_rd_ld/) accounts.

 

High Volume Training for Short Success

Posted by Strength & Speed on February 17, 2018 at 9:35 AM

When my friends, peers and acquaintances see that I am sponsored by Hammer Nutrition I frequently get a flood of questions. Occasionally, they see my water bottle, shirt or sticker that lists Hammer as “Endurance Fuels” and they say something like “I only run 5ks though, these products cannot possibly help me.”

This line of thinking is both faulty and inaccurate. As I trained for my first attempt at qualifying for the Boston Marathon, I noticed something strange happening. Despite almost no speed training, I was getting faster by the week. In addition to getting a personal record (PR) my marathon by around 15 minutes, I also got a PR in my 5k and 10k within a month of my Boston Qualifying Race. This high volume approach to short distance success is nothing new, but runners who are trying to improve often miss this concept.




When explaining this to the average runner, I ask them “How far do you think a professional 5k or 10k runner runs in a week? Do you think it is 20 miles like most recreational 5k runners?” Looking at an elite 5k or 10k runner, their training plans will have volume a lot closer to an advanced marathon training plans available in running magazines or books. The reason is because high volume works at building aerobic strength and running economy. Both of these enable for short fast races. Adding in high volumes with some VO2max and lactate threshold work, has allowed me to PR for 5k almost every year.

Although I usually prepare for marathons in this way, I rarely use this approach for shorter races. This year, I decided to focus on Obstacle Course Racing (OCR). Most of the OCR races are short, around 5 miles, minus a couple of really long ones that occur later in the year that are ultra-distance in length.




After four months of high volume training that was fueled by supplements from Hammer Nutrition, I have started getting great results in OCR. Over the course of 2015I walked away with 10 podium finishes. My best results came in late July when I had four podium finishes in three weeks including a 2nd place overall at 24 hours of Shale Hell, an ultra-distance OCR in Vermont. This resulted in me being on the top 20 leaderboard in the world for OCR, reaching as high as the 9th spot. I show these results to athletes that race short distances to convey the message that just because you do not do long races, does not mean you should not do some long distance training to build your aerobic base. With high volume training, nutrition becomes very important and that is where Hammer comes into the equation.

Using Hammer Nutrition products I have found that they are the perfect counterpart to this type of training. Morning runs are fueled by a bottle of Heed to ensure I have energy throughout the entire workout and to prevent a loss of electrolytes. Post-run I refuel with Recoverite to ensure my muscles are full of glycogen for my evening training session run and protein to help rebuild. In the afternoon, I typically conduct strength training and follow that session up with some more Recoverite mixed with a scoop of Whey. Prior to bed, I take REM Caps and a scoop of Whey to maximize my deep sleep and boost growth hormone. The following day the cycle repeats itself, but I allow for 1-2 rest days per week.

For those that are reading this and think endurance supplements are not valuable to the short course racer, you are wrong. The products created by Hammer Nutrition are useful for any athlete that is serious in achieving results. Whether you run 5ks, lift weights, run ultras or are an OCR athlete, Hammer provides one of the key variables in the equation for success.  

For 15% off your first order from Hammer Nutrition use this link and enter Ref #240887 at checkout.

 

Are cramps seizing your performance?

Posted by Strength & Speed on December 16, 2017 at 5:05 PM

Exercise induced muscle cramps are often multifactorial and one intervention may not always immediately solve the problem. Unfortunately, there is no strong research behind the definitive cause and most of the recommendations come from expert opinion and/or athlete anecdotes. The theories regarding cramping are related to poor hydration/electrolyte imbalances and nervous impulse “misfire” that prevents a muscle from relaxing. In the past athletes would use pickle juice or mustard to alleviate cramps and noticed improvements almost immediately. This was credited to the sodium content but newer research indicates that this would not be an adequate amount of time for sodium absorption. Exogenous electrolyte consumption can take upwards of one hour for absorption if provided under optimal conditions. New discoveries suggest that certain flavors (like those present in pickles and mustard) trigger a neurological impulse that negates the misfire which allows for the muscle to relax. When it comes to preventing and treating cramps, the best approach is to incorporate all interventions.


General recommendations:

1.) Warm up effectively

2.) Pace yourself and do not push beyond thresholds experimented with during training for too long

3.) Stretch thoroughly and remain limber days prior to a race

4.) If you do cramp, stretch immediately and pursue myofascial release techniques


Nutritional recommendations:

1.) Maintain hydration for days leading up to the event

a. Do not wait until the night before the race to achieve optimal hydration

b. If dehydrated 2-3 days prior to an event, do not chug down water in high volumes. Increase water consumption by 8-16 ounces three times per day (with or without meals). Tapering will also serve to prevent normal fluid losses from reduced volume of training.

c. Urine should be relatively clear with a very slight yellow coloration. Once this has been achieved prior to the race, hydrate to match losses and maintain hydration status.


2.) Hydrate before, during, and after racing

a. Before: 16 ounces 2 hours before and then 8 ounces <30 minutes before

b. During: Enough fluid to prevent >2% weight loss during exercise

c. After: 16-24 ounces for every pound lost during exercise

d. Volumes may be subject to change depending on race length, temperature/humidity, and altitude


3.) Marginally increase electrolyte consumption days leading into the race and have an electrolyte rich meal the morning before a race

a. Example: oatmeal with peanut butter, banana, and a pinch of salt

b. If this is not possible, consume a sports beverage one hour prior to start of competition

i. Gatorade (or other equivalent product), Hammer Endurolytes, or Nuun electrolyte tablet


4.) Consider carrying a single serve packet of mustard or dill relish on the course for emergency cramping. These condiment packs can be found at most restaurants and grocery stores.


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Luc is a registered dietitian with his M.S. in Nutrition and certifications in personal training and wellness coaching. Luc hones his professional skills through counseling athletes/fitness enthusiasts and through his career as a clinical dietitian at East Carolina University. As a member of the Strength & Speed Development Team, his main hobby is competitive obstacle course racing with notable appearances at Obstacle Racing World Championships (2014-16) and a 50 mile completion at World’s Toughest Mudder 2013. Luc can be followed through his Facebook (www.facebook.com/lrlabonte) and Instagram (www.instagram.com/lrlabonte_ms_rd_ld/) accounts.

Top Comic Book Stars that are PED users

Posted by Strength & Speed on November 24, 2017 at 9:45 AM

1. Captain America

      As if there was ever a doubt…Captain America, the superhero created using drugs. Captain America’s “super serum” is real, but modern day people call it steroids and human growth hormone. They literally inject him with this stuff and he goes from skinny to jacked. While actual performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) require more work, the concept is still the same. Even my favorite group of nerds over at Dorkly agree with me. Check out this video:

You need Adobe Flash Player to view this content.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U9VylAHKVkg

2. Bane

     Batman’s juiced up, back breaking enemy is definitely on drugs. Instead of “super serum” he calls it “Venom”. I’m assuming that it is a mix of steroids, HGH plus probably a couple of other things. Maybe that singlet is hiding the gynocomastia around his nipples. I would say Bane is a pretty open and shut case too.


 

 

3. The Incredible Hulk

     While not quite as bad as the top two injecting themselves to achieve their massive physiques, I am pretty sure gamma radiation would fall be banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) if it gave you super strength instead of just making you sick and giving you cancer. At 7 ft. tall and 1040 lbs. I do not think there is much grey area there (unless you are Grey Hulk….nerd pun!)

1000+ pounds with chest striations and veins?


 

4. Batman

     Alright Bruce Wayne is not on the definite list, but I’m throwing him up there as very suspect. I mean the guy runs a billion dollar company, fights crime almost every night and still has time to train to be in top shape? Something has to give. He probably says they are “for recovery” like some of the baseball players were citing. Definitely suspect….luckily there are not drug tests to enter the Justice League.


 

      Do I really care my super heroes are doped up? No not really, but I think it is good to look at things from more than one angle instead of just accepting things at face value. What do you think? Did I miss any known super hero or super villain egregious PED users? Comment below or on the Facebook post that led you here.

 

The Overlooked Nutrient at the End of the Alphabet

Posted by Strength & Speed on July 31, 2017 at 3:05 PM

Between running mileage, skill work, and dedicated strength training, diehard obstacle course racing (OCR) athletes have a lot on their plate (both training and dietary wise) for peak performance. Along with this, the sport is characterized by obtaining ideal body composition to improve strength-to-weight ratio. Inadequate intake of certain micronutrients secondary to caloric restriction for weight loss in combination with fluid/micronutrient losses (I’m talking about sweat… and a WHOLE lot it!) can become disastrous. I can already tell what you are thinking… “Oh, not another article on iron, sodium, potassium, B-vitamins, blah-blah-blah.” Although all of these nutrients are important, today the focus is on an often overlooked nutrient that can largely impact your health and exercise performance. Cue zinc.


 


Zinc deficiency, a condition that is not well known or addressed by the OCR community, is quite common in endurance athletes. Dietary practices adopted by endurance athletes may lead to suboptimal zinc intake in up to 90% of athletes. Although zinc deficiency is associated with poor immune function, metabolic function, macronutrient metabolism, and wound healing, there are several other sports specific implications. These include decreased peak work capacity, decreased oxygen uptake and carbon dioxide output, and decreased muscular strength and endurance. In fact, there is research that has indicated that suboptimal zinc status is associated with decreased training mileage for distance runners. In some circumstances a suboptimal zinc intake will be mistaken for an iron deficiency due to the temporary mild symptoms similar to zinc deficiency. After all, inadequacy of both minerals will result in decreased endurance performance for runners. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it may not hurt to visit your physician to conduct lab work and then fortify your diet with this mighty mineral. 


The recommended intake for most athletes lies between 11-15mg/day (dependent on sport, weight, gender). Optimal absorption can be obtained through avoiding coffee with zinc-rich meals. Zinc absorption may be increased when paired with green tea. Foods rich in zinc include but are not limited to: various beans, peas, eggs, legumes, meats, fish, poultry, nuts, shellfish, wheat germ, and whole grains. Zinc found in animal-based foods are generally more bioavailable and easier to absorb. It is not uncommon for vegetarians, females, or athletes undergoing caloric restriction to require a dietary supplement to meet their needs. If relying on a supplement, avoid consuming multiple mineral supplements in one meal (especially iron); these minerals will compete for absorption in the gastrointestinal tract. Often times a well-rounded diet and generic multivitamin supplement (when taken with a meal) will meet the needs of even the most competitive athletes. Standalone zinc supplements are generally not required and may result in toxicity (>40mg/day). Always make sure to check with your physician before starting any new supplement practices.


-Luc LaBonte, MS, RD, LD


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Luc is a registered dietitian with his M.S. in Nutrition and certifications in personal training and wellness coaching. Luc hones his professional skills through counseling athletes/fitness enthusiasts and through his career as a clinical dietitian at East Carolina University. As a member of the Strength & Speed Development Team, his main hobby is competitive obstacle course racing with notable appearances at Obstacle Racing World Championships (2014-16) and a 50 mile completion at Worlds Toughest Mudder 2013. Luc can be followed through his facebook (www.facebook.com/lrlabonte) and Instagram (www.instagram.com/lrlabonte_ms_rd_ld/) accounts.

Why Are There So Many PED Posts?

Posted by Strength & Speed on June 5, 2017 at 10:15 PM



As a lifetime drug free athlete I post about Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs) a lot, probably more than I should. However, I try to provide Strength & Speed with new, interesting and fresh content. Many of my friends no longer subscribe to magazines like FLEX, Muscle & Fitness or do not pick up new ones like Bodybuilding.com’s Train because the content is just rehashed year after year. How long can you tell people to lift weights, follow rep schemes and eat high protein healthy food. There is only so much you can write about the topic without just reusing information.

None of the above magazines ever talk about PEDs. The only fitness magazine I have found that takes about PEDs is Muscular Development (MD). MD is generally “pro-steroid” but still gives out advice like consider risks and understand side effects prior to use. While steroid use seems very obvious to me when I look at bodybuilders or fitness models due to years of reading magazines, reading books and watching documentaries, it is not obvious to the average consumer. When I first started reading these magazines, I thought no one used steroids because drugs are illegal and bad, so why would anyone use them? However, after spending some time in the fitness industry you realize that major stars like Stallone, Schwarzenegger, The Rock, Mark Wahlberg and Van Dam have all used them at one point (they all admitted it or their usage signs were very obvious).

As a drug free bodybuilder (although I do not plan on competing for another couple of years), I struggle to find information that has not already been beaten to death. The social taboo of PED use leaves that topic relatively unexplored in many fitness magazines. While not an advocate of PEDs, I do think that not talking about them at all is worse for sports. To me, not discussing PEDs, is just ignoring the elephant in the room and sets false expectations for people.




Just as I have seen many people complain about the beauty magazines photo shopping their models and how people should be aware of this, I think the same should be true about bodybuilding magazines. Readers should know that being 240 lbs. at 5% is possible but only through the use of anabolic substances or even being a lighter weight than that and staying shredded all year. Anyway, I hope you enjoy some of these posts and learn something in the process and I try to space out the PED articles with some other relevant strength content that is not just rehashed Muscle & Fitness articles.


Arnold photo found via a Google Search

Big Ramy photo from FlexOnline

 

Why Do New Year???s Resolutions Fail?

Posted by Strength & Speed on January 3, 2017 at 9:55 AM

     While everyone talks about New Year’s resolutions in January, it is rare to meet someone still referencing them in June. I also do not recall ever meeting someone in December who is like “I did it, I accomplished my New Year’s Resolution.” Although I have not done any deep analysis, based off empirical data, I think most New Year’s resolutions fail (and so do most media websites who cite questionable data), and here is why I think that is….



     I think the main problem with New Year’s resolutions is people try to make a change based off a calendar day. Why make the resolution on 1 January. Why not make it tomorrow or on 7 April? 1 January is really just an arbitrary date that is no different from any other day of the year. If something is important enough for you to make a change, then change. Waiting for a specific date will not suddenly magically give you more discipline or more will power.

     Furthermore, most New Year’s resolutions involve drastic changes, which are often difficult to maintain and are usually unrealistic. So instead of saying “I am only going to drink alcohol once every two weeks” people say “I am done drinking alcohol period.” Try instead making a small change and also be sure it is specific. Instead of just saying I am going to eat healthy use a specific mark so you can tell if you achieved your goal or failed. For example, I am only going to order French fries with my meal once per week. This is specific and can be tracked. This is realistic if you are eating fries two or three times a week. If you are currently eating them seven times a week, you may want to set a smaller goal or one that gets more difficult with time. For example, January only eat fries six times a week, February & March five times a week and progressively lower.



     This is easier said than done and it takes some discipline. How do people have the discipline to change, it is a simple matter of priorities. Discipline is just choosing between what you want now and what you want most. So if losing that weight by the end of the month is more important than eating that extra piece of cake, then you should be able to rationally weigh your options to make a decision.

     One of my friends quit smoking a couple of years ago not by making a New Years resolution but because he got up one day and said “That’s it I’m done.” He threw away his cigarettes and changed immediately. If you are waiting for a day on the calendar to make a change, then you probably do not want it bad enough to actually change. So, instead of making a New Year’s resolution make a lifestyle change and start now, not tomorrow.