Monthly Archives for April 2012

Archives for April 2012

Study: Sit More, Die Sooner – Even if You Exercise.

According to a new study, it's important to shift our leisure time into more active pursuits - like walking, hiking and enjoying the outdoors.

According to a recent study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, sitting down for several hours a day increases your risk of dying.

The study, which followed 222,497 Australian adults for several years, found that individuals who sat for at least 11 hours a day had a 40% higher risk of dying within the next three years than people who sat for less than four hours a day.

And exercise doesn’t necessarily mitigate this risk. While regular exercisers had a lower risk of death than non-exercisers, the death risk still rose for active people who sat longer. In other words, your 30 or 60-minute gym routine doesn’t necessarily counteract the increased mortality risk from excessive sitting.

According to the researchers, excessive sitting can’t be blamed entirely on long work hours. In fact, it’s estimated that the average adult spends 90% of their leisure time sitting. And, if you think about the time we spend reading, watching TV, playing computer games or chatting on social networks, I’d have to agree.

The takeaway is pretty simple: Spend more time on your feet. While a stand-up desk could help, it’s important to shift our leisure time into more active pursuits – like taking hikes, walking, playing sports or enjoying the outdoors.

Answered: Which Muscle Building Theory Works Best?

Hey Davey,

I’ve started working out this year at college, but before I do I did what a good college kid does and researched what the best way to gain or define muscle is, and I found two different theories.

The first theory is that you need to go all or nothing, meaning you have to lift as much weight as you can for as long as you can, and each time you work out you add extra weight to it.

The second one is working out with any weights, at least an amount that has resistance, to the point of muscle exhaustion.

I wanted to know your take on these two theories and which you follow by or would advise others to follow.

Thanks!
Kevin

Hey Kevin,

The short answer is that it depends on your goals.

The first theory that you mentioned is more in line with gaining muscle mass. If you want to add bulk, perform exercises with large amounts of resistance (i.e., heavy weights) until you reach muscle failure. To make increases in size and strength, you’ll want to aim for 7 to 12 repetitions of each exercise. You’ll want to be fully fatigued on your last repetition – and, if you’re not, increase the resistance. In order to continue adding bulk, you’ll need to work with greater amounts of resistance (i.e., move to heavier weights) over time. This process is called progressive overload.

The second theory that you mentioned is more in line with endurance training. Endurance training is useful for athletes and individuals looking for sustained strength over longer periods of time rather than adding bulk. You’d user lighter weights and aim for 12 – 15 repetitions of each exercise set.

I hope this helps!

Love,
Davey

Ask Davey Wavey your fitness or nutrition questions!

2nd Heart Attack Grill Victim Collapses Mid-Meal.

Back in October, I posted about the newly-opened Heart Attack Grill in Las Vegas. The restaurant celebrates gluttony by featuring such menu items as the quadruple bypass burger, flatliner fries (deep fried in pure lard) and milkshakes made with butter. You can even buy a pack of unfiltered cigarettes with which to enjoy your meal. And, if you’re over 350 pounds, you eat for free.

The restaurant is trying to make a jock about America’s obesity epidemic by celebrating overindulgence – but, personally, I don’t see the humor. With millions of Americans dying of heart disease each year (it’s the leading cause of death in the United States), it’s not really a laughing matter. We don’t joke about cancer, suicide, accidents or strokes – so why are obesity and heart disease the exception?

All that aside, just over a year ago, the restaurant’s 575-pound spokesperson died of obesity-related illness. Then, in February, a man collapsed of a heart attack while eating his meal. This week, less than two months after the previous incident, a woman in her 40s collapsed mid-meal. She was consuming a double bypass burger, drinking a margarita and smoking cigarettes.

It’s worth noting there’s no evidence that eating unhealthy food can trigger an immediate heart attack. Nonetheless, it hasn’t stopped people from debating: Who’s at fault? Though the woman doesn’t plan on suing, is the restaurant to blame? Or is it a matter of eater-beware?

Personally, I think the Heart Attack Grill is a terribly toxic establishment. But I don’t think the owners are to blame; individuals need to take responsibility for the consequences of their actions. If I make the decision to speed – and, as a result, get in a debilitating car accident – then I wouldn’t turn around and sue the car company. The decision to speed was mine.

What we eat is a choice. Smoking is a choice. How we treat our body – and whether or not we make time to exercise – is a choice. All of these choices have consequences – and, for those, I think all of us need to take ownership.

But what do you think? Who is at fault? The woman? The restaurant? Both? Let me know in the comments below!

Good Carbs Vs. Bad Carbs.

Here's a simple rule to remember: If it can sit on a shelf for a long time, it can probably sit on your body for a long time, too.

Let’s face it: Carbs get a bad rap.

Contrary to what some diets might have you believe, your body needs carbohydrates for proper function and improved results. For one, carbohydrates give you the energy to power through your workout and, as a result, make strength and muscle gains. Moreover, low-carb diets deplete glycogen stores. Once glycogen stores are emptied, your body will burn protein – including protein from muscle tissue – to meet its energy needs. That means you’ll actually lose muscle mass!

Because low-carb diets are so widespread, most athletes don’t get their required carbohydrate intake. For active individuals, experts recommend 6 to 7 grams of carbohydrates per kilogram of bodyweight per day. At 71 kilos or 158 pounds, my daily carbohydrate intake should be upwards of 450 grams.

Does this mean I can eat as much white bread and pasta as I want? No.

The real story on carbohydrates is that you should select natural, unrefined, complex carbohydrates. These are the so-called “good carbs” and can be found in such foods as brown rice, oats, barley, buckwheat, apricots, oranges, prunes, plums, broccoli, spinach, turnip greens, lettuce, lentils, kidney beans, black beans, soy beans, soy milk, any many others. In other words, good carbs can be found in whole grain foods, fruits, vegetables and legumes – many of which are high in fiber.

Refined carbohydrates, like those found in pastries, sugary drinks and other highly processed foods, are not a friend of smaller waistlines. With the exception of your post-workout recovery drink (when your body needs a quick shot of carbohydrates), these are to be avoided.

The bottom line: The war against carbs has no winners; carbohydrates are your friend. Just be smart about the type of carbohydrates that you consume.

Your Fitness Pep Talk.

It’s not easy.

Getting into shape and achieving your fitness goals takes time. It takes energy and effort and dedication. It takes willpower.

You will fall down. You’ll get up. And then do it all over again.

It takes sweat, tears and even blood.

It requires sacrifice.

You will find your limits. And then push through them.

It’s hard. But it’s the hard that makes it great. And when you achieve your fitness goals, I promise that you’ll know: It’s all worth it.

Study: 95% Chance You’re Not Getting Enough Fiber.

High fiber diets are essential for good health - but 95% of us aren't getting enough!

The importance of fiber to health and wellness has been well-documented for decades. High fiber diets may lower the risk of colon cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes – and fiber helps normalize bowel movements and lower cholesterol. Fiber even facilitates weight loss by minimizing blood sugar spikes and helping dieters feel full and satisfied.

But, according to a survey of American adults, 95% of us aren’t getting enough. It’s worth noting that the survey was conducted by the Kellogg company – and, with a number of high fiber breakfast cereal brands, they certainly have an invested interest in the subject. Nonetheless, the numbers seem realistic and it’s no secret that most of us aren’t getting enough fiber.

Since coronary heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States, the heart-healthy benefits of fiber are of particular interest.

So just how big of an impact does fiber have in preventing coronary heart disease? Is it a 2% reduction in risk? Maybe 5%? 10%? According to Harvard researchers, high fiber intake is linked to a 40% decrease in the risk of coronary heart disease. Yes, 40%. That’s huge. Moreover, the study’s findings have been confirmed by subsequent research.

According to The National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine, men 50 and under should consume 38 grams of fiber per day. Men ages 51 and older should consume 30 grams. Women 50 and under should consume 25 grams of fiber per day. Women ages 51 and older should consume 21 grams.

It’s not hard to get your daily fiber requirement. Though cereal fibers were found to be particularly beneficial to heart health, fiber is also found in a number of other foods like fruit, nuts, seeds, brown rice, some whole grain products, vegetables and legumes. It’s important to read the nutrition label to find the exact fiber amounts.

For me, the research on fiber has changed the way that I eat. In addition to eating high-fiber bran cereal for my breakfast, I snack on Fiber One bars with peanut butter. Contrary to the popular belief about fiber tasting like cardboard, I find it quite delicious.

The bottom line: Getting your daily intake of fiber is crucially important to your body’s health.

The Ultimate Plank Challenge.

This seems to be the week of challenges. Yesterday, on my personal blog, I invited readers to simplify their lives through the transformational 100 Thing Challenge. Today’s challenge is much more physical – and, dare I say, far more difficult.

The Ultimate Plank Challenge has been going around YouTube and the Internet. In it, one must assume a lowered push-up position…. and hold it… and hold it. You get the idea. The longest that I have seen is three minutes and eleven seconds. I recorded myself participating in the challenge on my Davey Wavey Fitness YouTube channel. For the record, I made it to one minute and thirty-seven seconds.

Record a video response of you participating in the challenge. And, if you beat my time, you’ll be automatically entered into a raffle for a $50 gift certificate to Lululemon. Give it a try!

Grocery Shopping with Davey Wavey.

Dear Davey,

I’m curious. What do you buy when you go grocery shopping? I’d love to know!

From,
Sue

Dear Sue,

Your wish is my command!

Actually, my grocery shopping habits have improved greatly over the last few years. I’ve moved away from processed foods, simple carbohydrates, high sugar products and red meat to a healthier diet rich with vegetables, fruits, complex carbs and some lean meat.

In fact, I went shopping yesterday – and took a picture to share my purchases.

Check it out:

Here are the items pictured above:

  • Corn
  • Avocados (for my famous guacamole)
  • Fresh almond nut butter (which is great for snacking with apples or bananas)
  • Hummus
  • Black beans
  • Butternut squash (for vegetable quesadillas)
  • Whole wheat tortillas
  • Whole grain cereals
  • Whole grain bread
  • Cheddar, feta and Cotswold cheese
  • Soy milk
  • Organic milk (organic milk is healthier and contains much less saturated fat)
  • Free-range, organic chicken breast
  • Slice turkey meat (for sandwiches)
  • Minimally processed chicken patties (my favorite!) by Applegate Farms
  • Coconut water (it’s a natural alternative to sports drinks – and has more potassium than a banana!)
  • Tortilla chips (for my guacamole)
  • Frozen Brussels sprouts
  • Frozen adamame
  • Apples
  • Vine tomatoes
  • Poblano, Anaheim, yellow and Fresno peppers
  • Strawberries
  • Broccoli
  • Bananas (my favorite pre-workout energy boost)
  • Brown rice sushi (for lunch)
  • Lettuce
  • Carrots
  • Red onion
  • Cilantro
  • Garlic

As you can see, my shopping cart is filled with lots of (mostly) healthy food choices – but it’s not light on flavor. People often think that eating healthy means eating foods that don’t taste good. I couldn’t disagree more. I truly LOVE eating and think that – through smarter shopping – I manage to select colorful, nourishing items without losing any deliciousness. Moreover, this diet helps fuel my active, high-energy lifestyle and supports my fitness goals.

Were you surprised by anything in my shopping cart? Is there anything you plan on doing differently next time you’re at the market? Let me know in the comments below.

Love,
Davey Wavey

Earth Day: Caring For Your Extended Body.

If your immediate body is the temple of flesh, blood and bone in which we live, then what is your extended body? It’s this planet. And because our personal health is so interconnected with the health of the environment around us, it’s important to care for both.

With Earth Day just around the corner on April 22, it’s worth giving this planet a little extra loving.

My condo association doesn’t offer a recycling program. In order to recycle, I have to save up paper, cans and jugs – and then take a trip to my town’s recycling center. Because it’s inconvenient, it’s easy to shrug off. Sometimes I can’t help but wonder, “Why bother?”

According to a new smartphone app called iWarm by the Environmental Protection Agency, there’s good reason to bother. If you’ve ever wondered how much energy you save through recycling household products, the app puts everything into perspective.

Here are a few examples:

  • Recycling a gallon plastic milk jug saves enough energy to run a CFL light bulb for 56 hours.
  • Recycling a 2’x2’x2.5′ cardboard box saves enough energy to run a laptop for 29 hours.
  • Recycling the Sunday newspaper (does anyone still read the newspaper?) saves enough energy to power a television for 23 hours.

Recycling men and lovers, on the other hand, is not advised (and consequently requires more energy than it saves). Just saying.

The moral of the story is that recycling matters – and that the energy savings do add up fast. And what’s good for the planet is, of course, good for you.

This Earth Day, honor and care for your extended body through a new or renewed or vamped up commitment to recycle.

Yesterday You Said Tomorrow.

This morning, I came across a great Nike ad. It’s just four words:

Yesterday you said tomorrow.

The ad certainly resonates – and it may sound familiar to you.

When it comes to fitness, we’re often full of good intentions. It can be an intention to join a gym, attend a fitness class, download a workout program or to start running again. But our intentions don’t always meet action.

The excuses come up. For a lot of us, it’s about time. There just aren’t enough hours in the day. Or maybe it’s about insecurities. I’ll join a gym when I lose 5 pounds. Or maybe it’s about fatigue. I’d hit the gym but I just don’t have the energy today. The excuses are innumerable.

And so we put it off… until tomorrow.

If we spend our lives waiting for the ideal circumstances to achieve our fitness goals, we’ll wait forever. Instead of paralyzing ourselves with these excuses, we just need to take the first step – even if the conditions don’t feel perfect. Maybe you’re still busy, insecure or tired – but, by exercising, you’ll extend your life (and thus have more time), build confidence and increase your energy. It’s win-win, so what are you waiting for?

Today is the tomorrow that you promised yourself yesterday. So get started. Right now.

Exercise and Nutrition Plan

Researchers at the the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center released a study about obesity and weight loss.

Analyzing more than 4,000 obese individuals with a body mass index of 30 or more, researchers found that 63% were trying to lose weight. Forty percent of these individuals reported weight loss of 5% or more – and another twenty percent experienced weight loss of 10% or more. According to researchers, “This is great news because studies have shown that even a five percent reduction in weight can lead to improved health.”

Individuals are losing weight – but how?

The researchers found no association between use of fad diets, liquid diets, nonprescription weight loss pills, diet foods, etc. and actual weight loss. In contrast, people that exercised more and ate less fat were significantly more likely to lose weight. Moreover, researchers found an even stronger correlation between weight loss programs and actual weight loss – which may speak to the importance of structure in a weight loss regimen.

The study, which will appear in the April 10 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, is good news. Not only does it reinforce what we already know (namely, that fad diets and diets pills don’t work and that proper nutrition and exercise do work), but it also means that weight loss is accessible and affordable. Fad diets and diet pills can be expensive – but anyone can take a walk, be more active and modify their diet and portions.

The bottom line: When it comes to losing weight, nothing beats a healthy diet, exercise and the right mindset to support it. It’s that simple.

P.S. If you’d like more structure in your weight loss regimen, I recommend downloading your own copy of The Davey Wavey Weight Loss Program. Combining nutrition, exercise and a foundation of self-love, I have no doubt that this program will transform your life.

Prevent Sore Neck / Neck Strain During Ab Workout.

To prevent neck pain and soreness, avoid placing hands behind your head.

It’s fairly common to hear exercisers complain about neck soreness or strain from abdominal workouts. This discomfort is most often caused by improper form – and it’s very easy to correct.

When the head is pulled forward during abdominal exercises, immense strain is placed on the posterior neck muscles. Many exercisers lace their fingers behind their head and pull forward during crunches, for example, thereby making the crunches easier – but also placing unnecessary pressure on the neck muscles.

To prevent neck soreness, change the placement of your hands. Instead of placing your hands behind your head, fold them across your upper abdomen. Alternatively, keep them by your sides. If you want to keep your hands by your head, just touch your ears lightly with your fingertips to prevent any forward pull.

In addition, it may be helpful to concentrate on the ceiling. Doing so prevents your head from lifting forward. It may also be helpful to imagine an apple tucked under your chin – allowing for space between your chin, neck and chest.

Alternatively, you can try exercises – such as the reverse crunch – that work the abdominal muscles without involving much upper body movement.

Beyond preventing neck soreness or strain, you’ll also be increasing the effectiveness of your abdominal workout. Because lifting your head forward makes the exercise easier, some intensity and effectiveness is lost in the process.

If muscle soreness persists, it’s always a good idea to consult with your physician.

How to Get V Cut Abs.

Dear Davey,

What is the best way to get that “V” formation in the navel area? How can I most effectively work that muscle? Thanks.

From,
Jake

Hey Jake!

Whether you’re a guy or girl, the so-called v cut is one of the more desired fitness aesthetics. Sometimes called a money maker (no joke), it’s the v-shaped cut in the lower abdominal/pubic region that starts from the obliques and funnels downward toward the groin.

First things first, the v cut is purely aesthetic. As sexy as it is, it isn’t a necessity for general health or physical performance.

Having said that, the formation is caused by a number of oblique and abdominal muscles made visible through a low percentage of body fat. And yes, genetics do play a factor; some people are able to achieve the look with little effort. For the rest of us, it’s hard work.

Obviously, the foundation for having a v cut is well developed abdominal and oblique muscles. There are any number of effective ab and oblique workouts that will build these muscles.

But much like showcasing six pack abs, the v cut is only visible with lower body fat percentages. I recommend meeting with a trainer or healthcare professional to get your body fat measured. Generally, you’ll need to target a number below 10% – which is no small feat.

Once you know your starting body fat percentage, create a plan for reducing it through intense exercise and diet. Diets rich in steamed veggies, lean meats, nuts, healthy salads, fruits, berries and some complex carbohydrates are helpful in reducing body fat. Fried foods, alcohol, pastries, sugary foods and simple carbohydrates (like those found in pasta), are to be minimized.

Though it takes time to lean out, there’s really no magic to achieving the v cut. It’s just a question of how badly you want it – and if you’re willing to put in the work.

Love,
Davey Wavey

Rethink Your Drink.

This sobering diagram shows how much sugar is in each of these sugary drinks.

The accompanying picture is really worth 1,000 words – and even more calories.

When losing weight, one of the easiest – and most effective – changes occurs when we modify our liquid intake. Rich in sugar, these drinks often contain few other nutrients and have a very negative impact on our overall health.

Drinking just one soda a day can equal an extra 25 pounds of weight per year. And sugary beverages are the single biggest source of added sugar for the average American – equaling about 50% of the typical person’s increased calorie consumption. All of this can lead to obesity, heart disease and diabetes. Sugary drinks are truly poison for our bodies.

It’s time to rethink your drink!

Here are just a few great drink substitutions:

  1. Coconut water. Gatorade can’t touch nature’s own secret sports drink recipe! Coconut water contains all the electrolytes and carbohydrates you need, but without the artificial flavors, refined sugars or coloring found in manufactured sports drinks. And, coconut water has more potassium than a banana.
  2. Sparkling water. Add a touch of fruit juice to a glass of sparkling water or seltzer and you can cut 90% of the calories that you’d otherwise consume from a can of soda.
  3. Green tea. Hot or cold, green tea has a number of benefits and it’s a great alternative for anything else you might order at Starbucks. Studies have shown that it may help reduce the risk of several types of cancer, heart disease, hypertension, kidney stones and more. Add a touch of honey for a little treat.

Beyond these recommendations, water is always a smart choice – and fresh vegetable juices can be a wise replacement for other, less-healthy drink options. I always keep a bottle of fresh carrot juice in my refrigerator.

If you still have a hard time giving up the sugary drinks you crave, portion control is another option. Cut the size of the drink in half – and, no magic here – you reduce your caloric intake by 50%.

Was the above drink diagram eye-opening for you? What are some of your favorite and healthy drink alternatives? Let me know in the comments below.

100 Foods to Try Before You Die.

Fish tacos. #33.

When in Toronto, one of my favorite activities is to shop for food in the city’s Chinatown. There are so many different dishes, fruits and vegetables that I’ve never even seen – let alone eaten – and it’s always fun to push my boundaries and try something new.

It never ceases to amaze me how many delicious foods there are on this diverse planet – and yet how narrow our personal menus tend to be. Many of us stick to what we know, but there’s a whole cornucopia of exciting flavors out there just waiting to be experienced.

Moreover, when we try new foods, we broaden the base of nutrients and vitamins and minerals that we’re consuming. Man can not live on bread alone, and so discovering new dishes is a great way to expand your options.

Yesterday, while on Facebook, I came across a list of 100 foods that you “must” try before you die. From what I can tell, the list seems to be very representative – though, not particularly nutritious. But fear not; life is about moderation and it’s fine to splurge on the occasional funnel cake (#42) or Hostess fruit pie (#52).

Using the list below, count off how many of these 100 foods you’ve already tried. I’ve crossed off the 53 foods that I’ve eaten. What’s your number?

  1. Abalone
  2. Absinthe
  3. Alligator
  4. Baba Ghanoush
  5. Bagel & Lox
  6. Baklava
  7. BBQ Ribs
  8. Bellini
  9. Birds Nest Soup
  10. Biscuits & Gravy
  11. Black Pudding
  12. Black Truffle
  13. Borscht
  14. Calamari
  15. Carp
  16. Caviar
  17. Cheese Fondue
  18. Chicken and Waffles
  19. Chicken Tikka Masala
  20. Chile Relleno
  21. Chitlins
  22. Churros
  23. Clam Chowder
  24. Cognac
  25. Crab Cakes
  26. Crickets
  27. Currywurst
  28. Dandelion Wine
  29. Dulce De Leche
  30. Durian
  31. Eel
  32. Eggs Benedict
  33. Fish Tacos
  34. Foie Gras
  35. Fresh Spring Rolls
  36. Fried Catfish
  37. Fried Green Tomatoes
  38. Fried Plantain
  39. Frito Pie
  40. Frogs’ Legs
  41. Fugu
  42. Funnel Cake
  43. Gazpacho
  44. Goat
  45. Goat’s Milk
  46. Goulash
  47. Gumbo
  48. Haggis
  49. Head Cheese
  50. Heirloom Tomatoes
  51. Honeycomb
  52. Hostess Fruit Pie
  53. Huevos Rancheros
  54. Jerk Chicken
  55. Kangaroo
  56. Key Lime Pie
  57. Kobe Beef
  58. Lassi
  59. Lobster
  60. Mimosa
  61. Moon Pie
  62. Morel Mushrooms
  63. Nettle Tea
  64. Octopus
  65. Oxtail Soup
  66. Paella
  67. Paneer
  68. Pastrami on Rye
  69. Pavlova
  70. Phaal
  71. Philly Cheese Steak
  72. Pho
  73. Pineapple & Cottage Cheese
  74. Pistachio Ice Cream
  75. Po’ Boy
  76. Pocky
  77. Polenta
  78. Prickly Pear
  79. Rabbit Stew
  80. Raw Oysters
  81. Root Beer Float
  82. S’mores
  83. Sauerkraut
  84. Sea Urchin
  85. Shark
  86. Snail
  87. Snake
  88. Soft Shell Crab
  89. Som Tam
  90. Spaetzle
  91. Spam
  92. Squirrel
  93. Steak Tartare
  94. Sweet Potato Fries
  95. Sweetbreads
  96. Tom Yum
  97. Umeboshi
  98. Venison
  99. Wasabi Peas
  100. Zucchini Flowers

The best thing about trying new foods is that you’re bound to discover something that you love. 53 down…. 47 to go!

In the comments below, let me know how many of these foods you’ve tried!

Born to Run: Runner’s High.

Though many of us live sedentary, couch-potato lives, our not-so-distant ancestors were high-performing endurance athletes. Being hunters and gathers, they traversed large stretches of land and led extremely active lifestyles. For them, it was a matter of survival.

Researchers from the University of Arizona wanted to see if evolution pushed people to exercise through reward pathways. Spoiler alert: The answer is yes.

If you’ve ever engaged in cardio at a high level of intensity, then you’ve probably experienced the infamous runner’s high. This very real phenomenon is caused by endocanabinoid signalling in the so-called reward centers of the brain. It makes us feel good. Maybe even great.

But is this runner’s high feeling exclusive to animals – like humans and dogs – that are built to be endurance athletes? Or do less active animals also experience this high?

Researchers used blood samples to compare endocanabinoid levels between humans and dogs to less-active ferrets. According to the research, ferrets did not experience elevated endocanabinoid levels after exercise – or the pleasures that accompanies it.

In other words, evolution used the endocanabinoid system to motivate endurance exercise in humans, dogs and other active species. It’s a remarkably clever way to motivate exercise for those species whose survival requires it.

Though the runner’s high can certainly help motivate individuals to stay fit, it’s not something that inactive people will necessarily experience – at least, right away. According to one researcher, “Inactive people may not be fit enough to hit the exercise intensity that leads to this sort of rewarding sensation.” But it’s definitely something to build up to.

Lower Back Dimple / Venus Dimple Workout.

Of all the hundreds and hundreds of posts that I’ve written about meaningful topics, none have had as many views as a silly article that I wrote about getting back dimples. Also known as Venus dimples, these are the sexy impressions that you’ll see on the backsides of some men and women. And, apparently, they’re in demand!

In the post, I outlined a few exercises to help strengthen the muscles that help make Venus dimples pop – but today I’d like to follow up with a lower back workout that you can do at home!

Check out the video via my Davey Wavey Fitness channel on YouTube.

Is the Smith Machine Good?

Dear Davey,

I am new to working out and recently joined Planet Fitness, but the free weights are very limited. A majority of the exercises that I want to perform use barbells and the closest thing they have is a Smith Machine. How do you feel about the Smith Machine?

From,
Jason

Hey Jason,

Congratulations on joining a gym and prioritizing fitness. The first step is always the hardest – and so you’re well on your way to achieving your fitness goals!

As it turns out, the Smith Machine was invented by fitness guru Jack LaLanne – and then later improved by fitness executive Rudy Smith in the 1950s. Basically, the Smith Machine is an apparatus with a barbell that runs vertically along two guided rods. By twisting your wrists, you can rack the barbell on any of the many joints that run along the frame.

Because the barbell runs along rods for guidance, the idea is that it’s a safer alternative to typical squats which are often performed in a power cage. Because the Smith Machine helps stabilize the barbell, lifters can generally use heavier weights – and no spotter is required.

It sounds good on paper, but the reality is quite different.

Proper Form and Bar Movement

Whether you are using the Smith Machine for squats, bench pressing or shoulder lifts, one must consider that – in real life – barbells rarely follow a straight vertical path. Our bodies are all different and we all have varying flexibility, imbalances and bodily dimensions. As we squat, for example, there is constant shifting and balancing as we perform the exercise.

Because the Smith Machine takes a one-size-fits-all approach, there is additional strain placed on joints, tendons and ligaments to accommodate the straight vertical path. Over time, this can create discomfort or even injury.

Stabilizer Muscles

A friend of mine switched from the bench press to the Smith Machine. On the bench press, he could lift 200 pounds. Within a month or two, he was up to 240 pounds on the Smith Machine’s chest press. This seemed like great progress – until he went back to the bench press. He could only lift 180 pounds, meaning he had actually lost real-world strength.

The Smith Machine gives a false sense of progress because it does all the stabilizing work for you. The bench press, for example, doesn’t just involve your chest muscles. Smaller stabilizer muscles must also work to help balance the bar – and this is a good thing. For real world strength, those stabilizer muscles are absolutely necessary. When using a Smith Machine, you cut them out of the picture.

Conclusion

I’d keep my distance from the Smith Machine and stick with free weights whenever possible. Though your gym may not have barbells, there are many effective dumbbell exercises that you can use to train your muscles effectively. Down the road, if you find that the lack of equipment is limiting your results, it may be time to find a new gym.

Love,
Davey

Is “Pink Slime” Healthy?

The processed meat-ish byproduct known as "pink slime." Bon appétit.

In the last few weeks, you’ve probably heard a lot about so-called “pink slime.” Otherwise known as “lean finely textured beef trimmings,” pink slime is a processed meat byproduct found in 70% of packaged ground beef in the United States. Rather than being made from muscle tissue, this meat-ish byproduct is created from connective tissue and treated with ammonia hydroxide to kill salmonella and E. coli.

Doesn’t sound too appetizing. And really, the publicity about pink slime was one of the rare instances where mainstream consumers peered behind the veil and saw the unpleasant reality of industrial farming. The family farms and red barns that adorn product packaging are far cries from the shocking truth about how our food is made.

Despite the unappealing process by which it’s created, the USDA considers pink slime safe for human consumption. Moreover, when it is added to ground beef, current regulations do not require that it’s disclosed on labels.

Of course, safe and healthy are two different things. Twinkies are safe for consumption, but certainly not part of a healthy diet. The truth is, most Americans eat far too much red meat – pink slime or otherwise. In fact, a recent study by Harvard researchers concluded that 9% of male deaths and 7% of female deaths would be prevented if people lowered red meat consumption to 1.5 ounces (or less) per day. That’s a sobering statistic.

The moral of the story is to eat less red meat. Period. It’s not that we need to exclude red meat entirely, but most of us would be significantly healthier with less red meat in our diets. Back in January, I made the decision to limit my red meat consumption to twice weekly. Instead of including red meat as a staple in my diet, it’s more of a special treat – and, when I do eat red meat, I usually opt for healthier, grass-fed varieties.

If you hold the mindset that your body is a temple, then you’d want to fill that temple with those things that honor it. Twinkies, pink slime and the like certainly don’t make the cut; make those food choices that nourish, energize and lift up your body.

5 Thoughts That Stop You From Losing Weight.

Today’s guest post is by Davey Wavey’s good friend and spiritual weight release coach, Diane Petrella. Diane is also one of the contributors to The Davey Wavey Weight Loss Program.

If you’re feeling stuck with your weight loss progress, chances are it has nothing to do with what you’re doing and everything to do with what you’re thinking. Change your thoughts and you will get back on track.

Here are five common limiting thoughts that sabotage weight loss progress and how to change them.

Limiting Thought #1: “I’m afraid I’ll never be able to lose weight.”

This immobilizing thought erodes your confidence and keeps you feeling helpless. Unless you have a physical disorder or are taking medications that inhibit weight loss, remind yourself that there is no reason why you can’t release weight.

Solution:

When this fear-filled thought enters your mind, stop and take a deep breath. Simply notice the thought and observe it with detachment. Say, “Oh, there you are again. That’s ok. I don’t have to give you power. I want to lose weight and I commit to doing what I need to do to succeed.”

Limiting Thought #2:  “Even when I lose weight, I always gain it back. What’s the use?”

Just because something always was, doesn’t mean it always will be. Trust in your power to make permanent change. If it was hard for you to succeed before, chances are your limiting beliefs got in the way. Decide to practice healthy thinking in the same way you practice healthy eating.

Solution:

When thoughts of past self-defeating patterns creep in, tell yourself, “It doesn’t matter what happened before. All that matters is this moment. I’ll take one positive step today to honor myself and my body.” Then, follow through and do one kind thing for your body that reinforces your commitment to taking good care of yourself.

Limiting Thought #3: “I’ve tried everything to lose weight and nothing seems to work”

There are many sound nutrition and exercise approaches. They work. It’s just that we become impatient and give up too soon. Or, it requires a commitment that we’re just not ready to make. It’s sometimes easy to say, “It didn’t work” instead of taking responsibility for how we got in our own way.

Solution:

Once you decide on a sound nutrition and exercise approach that feels right to you, make a decision to stick with it no matter what. Understand that your fear-based mind will try to weaken you with thoughts of “it’s not working”. When that happens, use it as an opportunity to strengthen your strong side. Say to those sabotaging thoughts, “OK, I expected you’d be here. But I’m not listening to you anymore. I’m committed to what I want and I’m getting there.”

Limiting Thought #4:  “I hate my body.”

Do you really “hate” your body or do you “hate” being overweight? Notice the difference. “Hating” your body dishonors everything your body does for you, like allowing you to walk along a beach, hug your child, or enjoy a flower’s fragrance. When you appreciate how your body serves you, you’ll change your attitude about your body, even if you carry excess weight.

Solution:

Soften your tone. Instead of a toxic word like hate, simply say, “I’m unhappy with my weight and I’m changing that.” You can learn to love taking care of your body, even if you don’t love how your body looks right now.

Limiting Thought #5:  “It’s taking too long. Nothing’s changing.”

Impatience sabotages even the best efforts. Remember, it took a long time for you to get where you are and it will take time to get where you want to be.  For your results to be permanent, time is necessary to help you shift your self-concept and “grow into” the person you’re becoming.

Solution:

Create a personal support team so you don’t remain isolated. Consult with a trusted nutritionist, personal trainer, life coach or your medical practitioner for ongoing support and to help you make adjustments to your plan when necessary. Join Calorie Count’s groups to connect with others. With a solid plan in place and personal support for encouragement, the time it takes to lose weight will matter less than the healthy lifestyle changes you’re making to ensure you get there.