Monthly Archives for April 2015

Archives for April 2015

Do Sauna Suits Help You Lose Weight?

Hi Davey,

What are your thoughts on the use of sauna suits and toning wraps while working out? Do they help you lose weight?

Regards,
Jerry

4731Hey Jerry,

Let’s dive right into it. Do sauna suits and the like help you lose weight? Yes. But not really.

First, let’s differentiate between losing weight and losing body fat. Losing weight can happen for a variety of reasons. If you become less muscular, you lose weight. Heck, if you amputate a limb, you lose weight. Losing body fat, on the other hand, is very specific. When most of us talk about losing weight, we’re really just using an inaccurate synonym for fat loss.

Having made that distinction, let’s talk about sauna suits. They’re made of waterproof fabric and cause the wearer to sweat profusely. Because the waterproof fabric blocks evaporation, the body isn’t able to cool properly. As a result, more sweat is produced.

Indeed, sauna suits will help you lose weight. But weight loss doesn’t mean fat loss. By hijacking your body’s natural cooling system through a sauna suit, you really only lose water weight. Once you rehydrate, the weight comes right back on.

It’s also worth noting that sauna suits are actually quite dangerous. After all, your body cools itself for a reason. Through excessive sweating and increases in the body’s core temperature, dehydration and heat stroke could result. In addition, there have been many reported cases of fainting, weakness and even heart attacks from sauna suits.

Love,
Davey

P.S. If you’re actually looking to decrease body fat, I recommend The Davey Wavey Weight Loss Program. Rather than gimmicks or tricks, the program is based on real science and rooted in practicality.

 

The Definitive Guide to Unsolicited Advice at the Gym.

don't breatheUnsolicited advice at the gym. You almost always know when it’s going to happen. First, you feel their eyes watching you. Second, you feel them come up next to you. Third, you hear, “Excuse me, but…” followed by a (probably) well-intentioned but totally uninvited suggestion.

Excuse me, but did you know that you are squatting too low?

Excuse me, but you really need to keep your shoulders up when you run.

Excuse me, but you shouldn’t train two body parts per day because your protein gets confused and doesn’t know where to go.

Excuse me, but stop.

The first thing to know about unsolicited advice is to not give it. Why? Because not everyone agrees on the best way to exercise, and the individual may actually be following the advice of their trainer or doctor. Because you may actually embarrass someone who is already uncomfortable or insecure about exercising in front of strangers. Because they’re probably going to think you are a dick, and won’t listen to you.

dwfHaving said that, there is one exception. It’s appropriate to intervene if – and only if – the person is doing something that’s potentially dangerous. In this instance, notify a gym employee of the situation – and let that person step in and do their job.

The second thing to know about unsolicited advice is how to respond when you receive it. The truth is, most of us don’t like receiving fitness advice from strangers. We tend to take such instances personally, but remember that it usually comes from a good place. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Laugh it off. I know of someone who says, “Thanks, but I’m trying to stay amateur. I’m not trying to go pro.” And then get on with your workout.
  • Listen to it. Sometimes they might actually have a point. For example, I had someone point out that I was cheating on my barbell bicep curls by using momentum. In fact, I was. I didn’t like receiving the advice, but I knew he was right. And I adjusted myself accordingly.
  • Smile and say no thanks. If being more direct is your style, just smile and say, “Thanks, but I’m training for something specific,” or “Thank you but I’m good.” Most people will get the hint and move on.

In the comments below, I’d love to hear your approach to unsolicited gym advice. Do you think it’s appropriate to give it? How do you respond when you receive it?

P.S. For some very solicited advice on building mass, download Size Matters: Davey Wavey’s Foolproof Guide to Building Muscle. It’s a simple, step-by-step guide to building muscle and increasing strength.

 

It’s Not What You’re Eating; It’s What’s Eating You.

Hello Davey,

The reason I’m reaching out to you is because I’ve hit that point in my life where I am ready to make some major changes. Right now, I am 20 (I’ll be 21 on Apr. 26th), I weigh 259 and I’m about 6ft. I’ve always been the big kid that everyone bullied, and I always used that as an excuse to justify my over eating. Now, I’m tired of justifying my excuse, and I’m ready to change it. What advice do you have for someone who is just starting out in the gym and starting to eat well?

Thanks,
Jayden

Change is possible!

A dramatic before and after: Change is possible!

Hey Jayden,

Thank you for your email and congratulations on taking the first step.

When we increase our food intake as a way to cope with negative emotions, it’s called emotional eating. For a lot of people, food can become a distraction from painful feelings, and overeating results. As such, I once heard someone ask: Are you unhappy because you’re overweight… or are you overweight because you’re unhappy?

In other words, sometimes it’s not what you’re eating; it’s what’s eating you.

As I’ve said so often before, losing weight isn’t as simple as moving more and eating smarter. Yes, both diet and exercise are important. But we must also examine the relationships in our lives – and, perhaps most importantly – the relationship we have with our body. As such, the best advice that I can give is to seek out professional help by finding a psychotherapist in your area. There’s no reason for you to do this alone.

Whatever diet and exercise plan you choose to follow (of course, I recommend The Davey Wavey Weight Loss Program), you’ll be encouraged to increase physical activity and decrease your calorie consumption through a healthier, proportioned nutrition plan. My advice is to lean into whatever changes you’d like to make; don’t make big changes too quickly. We are creatures of habit, and big changes are rarely sustainable. This means going to the gym once or twice a week (at least, at first) rather than six times a week. It might mean 30 minutes of exercise per day instead of 90 minutes. As these changes slowly become habits, you can gradually increase your commitments.

Someone bullying or hurting you isn’t a reason to further hurt yourself. Overeating and weight gain are preventing you from living the healthy, vibrant life that all of us deserve. Congratulations on taking your life back.

Love,
Davey

P.S. If you’d like to get started with The Davey Wavey Weight Loss Program, use discount code “YouTube” to save 25% during checkout.

Are You Beach Body Ready? YES!

Across London, advertisements were posted featuring a bronzed model and a question: Are you beach body ready?

The reaction has been loud and swift. With complaints of body shaming, Londoners have responded by defacing the signs with their own commentary.

Here are a few of my favorites:

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Am I beach body ready? Yes. We all are. And it has nothing to do with size. Period.

The beach isn’t a privilege for women that are size two. Or for men with six packs. It’s for all of us to enjoy, and to imply otherwise is both ridiculous and potentially damaging.

Though the company behind the campaign is completely unapologetic (and claims 5,000 new customers have signed up in 4 days), it can easily be argued that fitness and nutrition products have a responsibility to avoid contributing to a culture of body shaming and insecurity. While campaigns like these may generate sales, it’s blood money.

Instead of emphasizing body size and further marginalizing individuals who might already feel insecure about the way they look, marketers ought to focus on health and well being. Rather than profiting off of insecurities, be part of the solution.

And that’s something that all of our bodies are definitely ready for.

What’s Really In Your Food: 101 Ingredients in McDonald’s Filet-o-Fish.

20081210-filetofish-sandwichThe fast food industry is a very interesting place. Though many chains are working to improve the nutritional content and ingredients of their offerings, we have a very long way to go.

Case in point, my previous blog post about the nearly 20 ingredients in Subway’s chicken breast. No, not 20 ingredients in the entire sandwich. That’s 20 ingredients in just the chicken breast.

Today we examine another popular food item: McDonald’s Filet-o-Fish. With a piece of fried fish between two slices of bread, topped with cheese and some sauce, how bad could it be?

Pretty bad.

In fact, the entire sandwich has 101 ingredients. I don’t have that many ingredients in my entire kitchen.

Screen Shot 2015-04-24 at 1.56.16 PMSome of the less appetizing ingredients include cellulose gum (which isn’t harmful, but can’t be digested by humans), Tertiary Butylhydroquinone (also called TBHQ, which the FDA limits to 1 gram per 5,000 grams in cooking), azodicarbonamide (the so-called yoga mat compound that the Environmental Working Group recommends removing from the food supply) and more than a teaspoon of sugar.

A few things to note. First, I don’t think anyone is under the assumption that a McDonald’s Filet-o-Fish sandwich is healthy. Second, just because the sandwich contains some pretty bizarre ingredients doesn’t necessarily mean that the level of those ingredients are toxicologically significant.

Still, there’s something to be said for eating simple foods with recognizable ingredients. It’s about making our food more like actual food. And even if a little bit of TBHQ isn’t going to poison us, it’s about honoring your body with food that it actually deserves. And in that regard, a 101 ingredient Filet-o-Fish sandwich is a fish out of water.

Is Gay Marriage Good For Your Health?

Kiss: Sean Chappin + Juan Valdez / 20100117.7D.02121.P1.L1.BW /In June, the United States Supreme Court may (finally!) legalize same-sex marriage in all fifty states. It’s a huge and historic decision with many implications. As such, it’s worth examining how the ruling may actually impact our health.

No, I’m not kidding.

As it turns out, researchers at Columbia University found a link between marriage equality and health. By analyzing health data from a group of Massachusetts gay men twelve months before and after that state’s same-sex marriage legalization. According to researchers, there was a 13% drop in healthcare visits after the law was enacted. And this was regardless of the participants’ relationship status.

Researchers found a drop in blood pressure problems, depression and adjustment disorders. As such, the study’s lead researcher concluded that “removing these barriers improves the health of gay and bisexual men.”

But why?

Federal marriage comes with 1,138 benefits, rights and privileges. To be denied those benefits, rights and protections may lead to stress, low self-esteem and higher risk factors for drug use, alcoholism and even unsafe sex. Though somewhat speculative, it’s likely that being treated as a second class citizen has some very real health implications for the LGBT community.

In other words, there’s a lot to celebrate about the (hopefully!) favorable Supreme Court decision in June. An improvement to our health is just one of the many reasons.

 P.S. For a fat loss program that’s about more than just diet and exercise, download Davey Wavey’s Weight Loss Program – and rebuild a more productive relationship with your body.

You’ll Never Look Like This… And That’s Okay.

bodybuilder_117_by_stonepiler-d52at3sThis weekend, I was totally honored (and flustered) to film a video with seven elite, professional bodybuilders and fitness models. And I’m super excited to share the video with you in a few weeks.

There are guys with great bodies and there are guys with great bodies. And these guys had great bodies.

Even my dad noticed. After checking out my Instagram pictures, he called me and said, “Wow, they have muscles on muscles. Even their ears have muscles!” I think he was a little bit into it.

At any rate, I loved chatting with the guys and asking them about their fitness and nutrition routines.

One of the buffer individuals noted that he goes to the gym three times a day. Once in the morning for cardio and abs. Then around noon to lift. And then again at night for cardio.

I also went out to dinner with two of the guys, and was astounded by their appetite. They both ordered three meals. Three!

Suffice to say, being a fitness model or bodybuilder isn’t just a lifestyle. It’s a full time job.

In fact, it would be nearly impossible to have a 9 – 5 job and still look the way these guys look. And yet, these are the guys that we see in the pages of fitness and health magazines – and, more notably, these are the guys that we measure ourselves against.

And, lest we forget, there’s also a darker side to bodybuilding involving things like steroids, Human Growth Hormone, diuretics and even injectable oils that add volume to muscles.

On one hand, I think it’s great to be inspired by the hard work, dedication and physique of fitness models and athletes.

On the other hand, it’s also important to be realistic – and kind –  with ourselves. Despite what fitness marketers may want us to believe, these bodies weren’t built with just 10 minutes a day and three easy payments of $29.95.

It reminds me of a question that I often get asked, and that I’ve answered on this blog. Guys want the perfect six eight pack. I often respond with another question: How important is it to you? Perhaps you could look like a fitness model or bodybuilder. But do you want it badly enough to dedicate your entire life to it? For most of us (and myself included), the answer is no.

I love working out. I love fitness. I love health and nutrition. All of those things are a big part of my life. But I also love being able to make YouTube videos, spend time with family and friends and honor other aspects of my life. I also like cake. And maybe you do, too.

Let’s all challenge ourselves to be healthy… in every sense of the word. But part of that means having healthy goals, healthy expectations and a healthy relationship with our body. And it means being inspired by bodybuilders and fitness models without being destroyed or discouraged by the images we see of them.

5 Nutriton Mistakes “Healthy” People Make.

a-shirtless-friday-5A healthy diet can improve the quality of your life. And it can help you achieve your fitness goals. But with so much marketing hype and misinformation, making smarter decisions isn’t always easy – even for people who consider themselves healthy.

In fact, here are a few nutrition mistakes that “healthy” people commonly make.

  1. You salads are covered in shit. There’s no doubt that a salad full of lettuce and vegetables is a great start. Unfortunately, many of us cover all the goodness in things like cheese, creamy dressings and bacon bits. Make a salad that tastes like salad – and not a 1,500 calorie gut bomb.
  2. You’re juicing. Fruit juices have become increasingly popular; in Los Angeles, there’s a cold pressed juice stand on almost every corner. And while eating fruits is a smart decision, most fruit juicing processes remove the fiber that helps give fruit its nutritional punch. You’re left with a sugary beverage that is marginally healthier than soda. If you want a healthier and cheaper choice, opt for water, water and more water.
  3. You fall for misleading labels. Marketers are geniuses when it comes to misleading consumers. Words like detox, low-fat, fat-free, reduced-fat, low calorie, low carb, all natural, organic and gluten free all seem to convey a nutritional benefit. Unfortunately, they don’t. These are misleading buzz words; instead, determine whether or not a food is healthy by reading the nutrition label and ingredients.
  4. You eat energy bars and consume sports drinks. Except for grueling physical activity like an intense workout or hike, there’s really no place for energy bars or sports drinks. The former is often a glorified candy bar with just as much sugar and the later is a mixture of water and sugar. Only consume these products to power through intense physical activity.
  5. You avoid all carbs. Obviously, simple carbohydrates like those found in candy, energy bars, sugary drinks and refined grain products like white bread aren’t a smart choice in most situations. But, carbohydrates aren’t entirely bad. In fact, complex carbohydrates like those found in quinoa, whole grains and beans are absolutely part of a healthy diet – and something that your body needs to function properly and power through a workout. Workouts are powered by carbohydrates, not by protein; don’t get it twisted.

What are some other nutrition mistakes that healthy people make? Share them in the comments below!

P.S. If you want a clear, simple and science-based approach to eating smarter, download Davey Wavey’s Insanely Easy Guide to Eating Smarter and get started TODAY!

Ready To Take Your Ab Workout To The Next Level?

wr01qe6b80o1_500Are you happy with your abs? Great, keep doing what you’re doing.

Not happy with your abs? Let’s talk.

And let’s assume you already know the basics. You understand that everyone has abs, and that showcasing your abdominal muscles is really all about reducing body fat through an effective workout program and proper nutrition. And let’s assume that you’ve put these foundational principles into practice – and have seen some results.

But what if you want more? What if you want carved, cobblestone abs that really pop?

In this instance, it’s about more than just reducing body fat to make your abdominal muscles visible. It’s about actually building up those muscles and increasing their size. The secret to building those ab muscles isn’t really a secret at all. It’s the same strategy that we use to build our biceps, pecs or glutes.

In short, you need to incorporate resistance. And, over time you need to progressively increase the amount of resistance so that your muscles build back stronger and bigger than before. After all, your body won’t build muscle unless more muscle is needed to get the job done.

Incorporating resistance with abdominal workouts takes some creativity. In this instance, using cables can be extremely effective. You can also simply hold a weight plate over your head while performing crunches or situps. Over time, increase the weight of the plate or the resistance on the cables. Keep doing this until you achieve your desired results.

Remember, you have have the biggest, baddest abs in the world – but if you have even a small layer of fat over your belly, they won’t be visible. You’ll need to keep your body fat down to really achieve the desired effect.

Sound like a lot of work? It is. While having a strong, powerful core provides many important benefits, carving out a magazine-quality six pack isn’t necessary – or realistic – for most of us.

P.S. If you want some guidance for improving your core, download Davey Wavey’s Six Pack Program and get started today!

Am I Gaining Fat Or Muscle?

Dear Davey,

I’ve recently started strength training at the gym and eating more calories because I’m trying to build muscle. Over the last two months I’ve gained 12 pounds. How do I know if it’s muscle or just fat?

From,
Shaun

muscle-mirror-selfie-manHey Shaun,

Congratulations on starting with a strength training program and kudos for sticking with it.

When it comes to exercise, evaluating results against our goals is crucial. Beyond helping us stay motivated, tracking progress lets us know what works – and what doesn’t work. By evaluating results, we can make changes toward a more efficient workout.

In your case, building muscle is the goal. Gaining weight, as you’ve noted, is an incomplete metric to measure against your goal. Excess weight can be indicative of added fat, increased water retention, muscle mass or any combination thereof. This is why it’s important to think beyond the scale.

Though there are fancy body composition tests that you can take and equations that can be utilized, there is a very simple trick for measuring muscle gains versus fat gains. Get a tape measure. Using a tape measure, record the circumference of your biceps, neck, chest, forearms, etc. Every few weeks, mark down your new measurements.

As a general rule, larger muscles and an unchanged waistline means that you’re gaining mostly muscle. If your muscles and waistline are both increasing, it means you’re adding both muscle and fat. And if you’re just noticing an increase around your waistline, then it’s mostly fat.

Taking a picture of yourself under the same lighting conditions (i.e., same time of day) every few weeks can also be helpful in observing changes. You can also notice how your clothes fit differently over time. Or, if you have the resources, take a monthly body composition test and crunch the numbers.

Love,
Davey

P.S. If you want a guaranteed strategy for adding lean bulk, download Davey Wavey’s Foolproof Guide to Building Muscle!