5 Fitness Tips on Fat Loss and Muscle Gain

One of my challenges for the month of May is to add a decent amount of muscle while losing fat. I have not done any measuring. I weigh myself once a week or less and look at myself in the mirror a lot. I am also well aware of my energy levels throughout the day as well as my fitness progress.

About a week and a half ago I did 14 straight pull-ups. I will test myself again in June. If I manage to do 20 then I would say its pretty clear I have gained a fair amount of muscle while losing fat. If I beat my 8:33 time in the Primal Blueprint Fitness Challenge then I will be certain that my fitness capacity has expanded.

The following tips are my personal fitness tips in order to gain muscle and lose fat. I do A LOT of reading. This includes The 4 Hour Body which I dove into last night. I am not an expert but am progressing at a reasonable rate while loving life.

1) Quit Cardio

It is completely unnecessary. Two summers ago I thought I enjoyed running. I ran in 9 5 Kilometer runs over 2 summers in shoes. My best time was 21:03 which is about a 6:47 mile pace. In reality I hated it. I love to compete but running sucked ass. I love to hike and jog barefoot or in my Vibram Five Fingers. I will run in 5 kilometer in the future but will gladly take a 30 minute finishing time while running barefoot.

When you engage in long and intense cardio you get hungry. You then eat to make up for it. This is the main reason why most diets fail. Unless you want to starve yourself then quit cardio. It does nothing except harm you.

A brisk walk, jog, hike or any other activity that has you moving frequently at a slow pace is perfect.

2) Don’t Go to Failure

When lifting heavy things, such as your body, go as close to failure as possible without going to failure. Why do I advise that you don’t go 110%? Because you will be sore the next day and will hate it. At least this is where I stand. I engage in a very intense primal fitness challenge once per month. I am sore for the next 2 days. I would literally hate my life if this was the case after every intense strength workout I did.

Go intense. Be smart. Enjoy the workout. Feel amazing.

3) Focus on Proper Form

I have been really focusing on form this month. Ten picture perfect push-ups is a hell of a lot better than twenty quick, half-hearted push-ups. Go slow and concentrate on what you are doing.

I also think of symmetry. For a pull-up most of us will pull ourselves up and then drop down as quickly as possible. I have been slowly lowering myself down. Guess what? I am able to do …

American Health Care Trends: Old, Fat and Lazy

The recent AMA Executive Summary "Health in the United States: Health Care Trends" contains both a little hope and a lot of gloom.

Population Trends

By 2050 the segment of the population over 65 will double from today to 83.7 million. This means that the prevalence of chronic illness will rise dramatically. Since 1990, smoking has decreased from 29.5% to 18.1% of the adult population. Probably as a result, stroke has declined 34%, heart disease 27%, and cancer 17%. This sounds good but …

Fat and Sluggish

Since 1990, the obesity rate in adults (defined as BMI over 30) has increased from 12% to 29.6%. During the same time diabetes increased from 4.4% to 10% of all adults. Not old adults, all adults. The CDC predicts that by 2050, thirty percent of adults will have diabetes. As a result, obesity is now the leading cause of heart attacks. Physical inactivity is a major reason. Only 21% of adults get the US Department of Health and Human Services recommended 150 minutes of exercise weekly. My observation is that most get no exercise. Many employers now offer wellness programs that give financial rewards for healthy behaviors. This could be a big step in the right direction. Of course, punitive actions denying health insurance to the morbidly obese or uncontrolled diabetics could also be coming, especially if the federal government leaves the health insurance business to private companies.

Is There a Doctor in the Zip Code?

The AMA reports that primary care doctors are closing their practices and either retiring early or moving to non-clinical areas like insurance, quality management, the pharmaceutical industry or even medical informatics. Since the demand for health services will increase dramatically, an increasing percentage of primary care will be provided by PAs and Nurse Practitioners. I expect they will have increasing independence. This is not necessarily a bad thing, many of these caregivers are excellent and offer compassionate and comprehensive care. A possible byproduct of this trend may be an increase in demand for referrals and subspecialty care, such as sending diabetics to endocrinologists and COPD patients to lung specialists.

Take Responsibility or Someone Else Will

A dystopian future looms where the cost of medical care is greater than our resources can manage. In this rather terrifying situation, someone will have to be denied services, probably either the powerless or those who refuse to adopt mandatory health guidelines. It hasn't come to that yet. We still have time to make recommended changes in diet and activity. Remember, who could have predicted everyone would stop smoking?

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