Is Form Or Weight More Important?

Hey Davey,

I want bigger muscles and know that I need to lift heavier and heavier weights, but I have a question. What’s more important? Lifting lighter weights with perfect form or heavier weights with decent form?

From,
Ben

deadliftHey Ben,

I know exactly what you’re asking – and you’re definitely going to hate my answer. Consider yourself warned.

First things first, you are absolutely right. In order to increase the size of your muscles, you need to progressively increase the amount of resistance that you’re working against. This signals to your body that it needs more muscle to get the job done. But it’s also important to do this in a way that’s both safe and effective.

In other words, it’s true that lifting light weights won’t make you bigger or stronger. But improper form can get you injured. Being injured will keep you home from the gym and prevent you from getting the results you want.

As such, the answer isn’t one or the other. It’s both. If you want to increase your size and strength, you’ll need to perfect your form and then lift heavier and heavier weights.

To focus on better form, I recommend taking a few steps:

  1. Check your ego at the door. The amount of resistance that you’re working with isn’t a measure of your manhood. Let go of the idea that you need to be lifting as much as (or more than) the people around you; compete with no one but yourself.
  2. Slow down and focus. Pay attention to each repetition. Don’t rush through it. And, most importantly, don’t use the momentum of your exercise to cheat on each repetition.
  3. Lighten your load. Lower the amount of resistance that you’re using until you’re able to complete a full set of slow, proper repetitions. It’s probably less than what you’re used to, but you’ll be able to build up from here over time.

I hope that helps.

Love,
Davey

P.S. If you’re serious about adding lean muscle, I recommend downloading my program, Size Matters: Davey Wavey’s Foolproof Guide to Building Muscle. It’s a step by step guide to building the size you’ve always wanted!

 

Should We REALLY Be Celebrating The Dad Bod?

635663018806338691127803170_zac.imgopt1000x70Unless you’ve been living under a rock with no WiFi, you’ve probably heard a thing or two about the so-called “dad bod” craze.

So what is a dad bod? And is it really something we should be celebrating?

First things first, a dad bod is a male body type that could otherwise be described as softly round. Maybe the guy with a dad bod played football in high school, but he probably had a few too many pizzas and drinks in college. Like many of our dads, the belly gradually increased over time due to inactivity and a not-so-great diet. The dad bod symbolically rejects mainstream societal standards for male physiques. Like six packs. Unless they’re beer.

On one hand,  it’s important for all people to celebrate their bodies. With the amount of body shaming and our culture’s unrealistic standards for both men and women, it’s great to celebrate our bodies and their many shapes and sizes. In fact, according to a new study about weight stigma from a researcher at UC Santa Barbara, the media’s characterization of overweight people as lazy, weak-minded and self-indulgent may actually be contributing to the problem rather than helping to solve it. Regardless of our body mass index, it’s important (though difficult) to look at our bodies with love and gratitude – and anything that is a means to that end is worth considering.

But, on the other hand, the dad body is built on inactivity and poor nutrition. While it’s important to celebrate our body, let’s not celebrate depriving ourselves of movement and nourishment. And with those extra pounds come increased risk for heart disease, diabetes and a whole bunch of things that none of us want. And if you are a dad, it’s also important to be healthy and productive for your family. This excludes having a heart attack at age 66 – which, consequently, is the average age for male heart attack victims.

I think there’s a middle ground between being a sculpted Greek god and sporting a dad bod. That middle ground is called being healthy – and it’s based on a combination of smarter food choices and increased activity. It means eating your veggies, skipping some of the beers and hitting the gym. And healthy is something that all of us can celebrate.

P.S. To turn your dad bod into a healthy bod, I recommend my bootcamp program. You can download it right now – and get started today!

How Much Does Eating Healthy Actually Cost?

Dear Davey,

I really want to improve my diet, but I’m on a tight budget. I know that I need to lose weight and eat better, but I don’t think I can actually afford it.

From,
Dan

For Skinny Athletes How to Gain Weight HealthfullyHey Dan,

There are certainly plenty of ways to eat healthy on a budget. Doing things like buying in bulk, buying foods that are in season, growing vegetables and stocking up on frozen veggies and fruits all can help.

But let’s not beat around the bush. Healthy diets do tend to cost more money. In fact, the Harvard School of Public Health released a comprehensive study about the cost of healthier foods. Researchers concluded that the healthiest diets cost about $1.50 per day more than the least healthy diets.

While $1.50 per day doesn’t sound like a lot of money, it actually is. On planet earth, 2.7 billion people live on less than two dollars per day. And when you multiply $1.50 by 365 days, eating healthy costs nearly $550 per year. For people that are trying to make ends meet, this number can be insurmountable.

Why does eating healthy cost more? Researchers suggest that existing food policies focus on inexpensive, high volume foods which has led to a complex network of farming, manufacturing and transportation infrastructure that favors high processed foods. Just look at the shelves of a typical grocery store and you’ll see the proof.

But it’s also worth noting that obesity accounts for 21% of U.S. healthcare costs. In fact, an obese person typically incurs medical costs that are $2,741 dollars higher than non-obese people.

In other words, the bigger, long-term picture is more complex. And while you may pay more in one area of your life, you’ll likely save more in another. Of course, when you’re living paycheck to paycheck, thinking long term is a luxury that not everyone gets.

I always say… do the best you can, where you’re at, with what you’ve got.

Love,
Davey

P.S. If you do want to make an investment in yourself and shed excess body fat, download The Davey Wavey Weight Loss Program. Use discount code “youtube” to save 25% during checkout.

Spend An Entire Day Cuddling: 3 Health Reasons!

IMG_4647If you only take one piece of advice from me, let it be this: Find someone you care about and spend an entire day cuddling in bed.

Forget taking exotic vacations. Forget scheduling expensive spa appointments. Forget even leaving your house. Simply cancel all your meetings, clear your calendar, ignore your inbox – and wrap yourself in the arms of a special someone for the entire day.

It’s one of the most awesome, powerful and centering experiences that I’ve ever had.

So why am I writing about my cuddle day on a fitness blog? As it turns out, cuddling has some very real health benefits.

  1. It’s good for your heart. According to researchers, frequent hugs between partners are associated with lower blood pressure and higher oxytocin levels. With about 1 in 3 adult Americans experiencing high blood pressure, it looks like many of us could use some more cuddle time.
  2. It boosts your immune system. Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University found that people who get more hugs are less likely to get sick: “The apparent protective effect of hugs may be attributable to the physical contact itself or to hugging being a behavioral indicator of support and intimacy… Either way, those who receive more hugs are somewhat more protected from infection.” Enough said.
  3. It lowers stress. In one study, researchers had young girls give unplanned speeches or solve math problems in front of strangers. After completing their task, the girls either received a hug from their mom, talked to their mom on the phone or watched a short video. The girls who received the hug had lower levels of cortisol. Cortisol is a stress hormone that, among other things, retains body fat around your body’s midsection.

Cuddling is a great way to connect with the people you love and to express your affection. But cuddling also serves some very real health benefits, too. So go ahead… and schedule a cuddle day.

P.S. If you’re looking for an at-home core workout, I recommend downloading Davey Wavey’s Six Pack Workout. You’ll get instant access to five awesome workouts that you can do without any equipment!

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.