Can I Turn My Man Boobs Into Pec Muscles?

Dear Davey,

I’m overweight and I definitely have a case of the man boobs. Is there any way that I can turn my man boobs into pec muscles?

From,
Rob

perfect pecsHey Rob,

I get a lot of questions about man boobs, often called moobs. Urban Dictionary defines moobs as “a combination of the words ‘man’ and ‘boobs.’ This is what happens when fat gathers in a male’s chest area, and gives him the appearance of having breasts. Floppy, Jell-O like protrusions.”

Moobs or not, it’s important to know that fat can’t turn into muscle. Conversely, muscle also can’t turn into fat – despite the myth claiming otherwise. As such, strictly speaking from a technical standpoint, you can’t “turn” fatty moobs into muscular pecs.

Instead, you can first shed excess fat from your body. This will help flatten your chest. Then, you can add muscle to your body – and, in particular, to your chest. This two-step approach will build up your pectoral muscles and result in a strong, muscular chest.

When it comes to losing weight, there’s really no secret. Weight loss is achieved through a calorie deficit of moving more and eating smarter; decrease the calories going in and increase the calories going out. Keep in mind, fat loss is a total body experience. Though you want to lose your moobs, fat will come off your entire body including face, neck, stomach, butt and so on. It may take a considerable amount of fat loss to fully reduce your moobs.

Once a flat chest is achieved, it’s time to shift gears. Instead of focusing on fat loss, switch to a workout centered around hypertrophy – which refers to implementing a workout strategy designed to build muscle. Unlike fat loss, you can build muscle on specific areas. In this case, we’ll focus on your pecs.

Here’s the chest workout that I use:

  • 4 sets of 8 reps on the flat bench press
  • 4 sets of 8 reps on the incline bench press
  • 4 sets of 8 reps on the decline bench press
  • 4 sets of 8 reps of dumbbell pec flies alternating with 4 sets of 10 one-leg push-ups
  • 4 sets of 8 reps of pec fly machine

Once or twice per week, I complete this chest day workout.

Because you’re looking to increase the size of your muscles, it’s important to remember that you’ll need to progress to heavier and heavier levels of resistance on the bench press, dumbbell pec flies and pec fly machine. You’ll also need to give your body the fuel it needs by eating smarter.

While there’s no magic fix for moobs, the above formula is a real and lasting solution based on science. And, in addition to transforming your body, this solution will result in improved health, increased energy and better quality of life.

Love,
Davey

P.S. For more help increasing muscle size, download Size Matters: Davey Wavey’s Foolproof Guide to Building Muscle.

Is A Six Pack Worth It?

Hi Davey,

I’ve tried to get a six pack but it hasn’t worked and I can’t imagine putting more time into it than I already have. I honestly have to ask, is having a six pack really worth it? Why torture yourself over something superficial when there’s so many other more meaningful things worth doing in life?

From,
Audrey

caio-cesar-0402Hey Audrey,

Well, I think your email and question will strike a chord with many, many people. Indeed, for a lot of people, the energy and effort required to carve out a chiseled six pack might not be worth it. It’s a question all of us must ask ourselves and answer honestly.

But consider this.

I grew up overweight. Being a fat kid isn’t easy. The name calling and teasing was relentless – and it took a toll. By middle school, I starved myself and became dangerously thin. The ups and downs slowly leveled out in my teenage years; I slowly began the process of healing my relationship with my body. It’s still an ongoing journey, but I’ve learned so much from the experience and have come to realize my own strength.

It reminds me of a quote that I once came across: “What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.” And it’s a quote that’s very much applicable to the pursuit of a six pack.

Getting a six pack is a huge challenge. It requires changing the way you eat. It requires spending time engaged in exercise. In many ways, it can be a change in lifestyle for most people. And while the achievement of that goal is innately superficial, the process by which it is accomplished is full of very real and important lessons.

Moreover, I’ve never found it to be torture. Fueling your body with delicious and nourishing foods isn’t torture. Honoring your body with movement through exercise isn’t torture. Going to bed at night and sleeping well isn’t a torture. All of these things, in my opinion, are gifts. Sure, they all require energy and effort. But they also dramatically improve the way you look and feel.

There’s something to be said for dreaming it, wishing it and then doing it. Yes, getting a six pack is difficult. But life’s not about limiting your challenges. It’s about challenging your limits.

Love,
Davey

P.S. If six pack abs are one of your fitness goals, download Davey Wavey’s Six Pack Program – with a different 12-minute ab workout for each day of the week!

 

Does Blending Make Foods Healthier?

Dear Davey,

I’ve seen so many infomercials for blenders that claim to “unlock” nutrients that our bodies aren’t otherwise able to absorb. Is there any truth to this claim and should I be blending more fruits and vegetables?

Thank you,
Sean

more-men-are-learning-about-the-power-of-a-freshly-made-green-smoothieDear Sean,

Getting a nutrition education from infomercials isn’t a good idea. As you can imagine, infomercials are designed to sell products and not to educate consumers. Often citing unpublished or unscientific studies, these infomercials create unsubstantiated marketing hype that’s aimed at getting you to open your wallet.

When it comes to blenders, nutritionists note that the “unlocking” claims are unsubstantiated. Blending foods doesn’t release nutrients in a way that your body couldn’t otherwise accomplish. In fact, our bodies are better than blenders. During digestion, food is broken down far more effectively than any blender could achieve. Moreover, these broad claims would need to be tested ingredient by ingredient, and the results would likely change from person to person based on their activity levels, age and diet.

The notable exception is individuals who suffer from throat or digestion conditions that prevent ingestion of solid foods; for these individuals, blenders can represent a huge advantage.

Of course, none of this is to say that you shouldn’t buy a blender. If the convenience and taste of blended foods inspires you to eat more fruits and vegetables, then a blender can certainly be a smart and worthwhile purchase. Just remember that blended calories add up fast. To cut calories, use water or unsweetened almond milk as your smoothie base and avoid adding sweeteners like agave nectar or honey. Go heavy on the veggies and stay away from smoothies made with ice cream or frozen yogurt.

Love,Davey

P.S. For more science-based tips on improving your diet, download Davey Wavey’s Insanely Easy Guide to Eating Smarter.

 

7 Tips For A Healthier Weekend!

Be king of your weekend!

Be king of your weekend!

It’s Friday and you’re probably super excited for the weekend. Yay!

While the weekdays are often packed with school, work, appointments and other commitments, the weekends are all about you. Which is all the more reason to ensure that your weekends support your health and fitness goals.

To that end, I put together a few tips to make sure you get the most out of your weekend.

  1. Sleep! Use me as your personal excuse to be lazy. We know that sleep is extremely important to health and wellness. In fact, more than two dozen studies have linked less sleep to extra body weight. While there’s a lot we don’t understand about sleep, it’s benefits are undeniable. Use the weekend to recharge your batteries.
  2. Water > Alcohol. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 5% of the average American’s calories come from alcohol. That might not sound like a lot, but consider how many calories that is over the course of a year. Based on a 2,500 calorie diet, that’s some 45,000 calories per year. Even worse, those calories are empty – and thus not providing any essential vitamins, minerals or other nutrients. Just replacing a few alcoholic beverages with water will help improve your diet.
  3. Hit the gym… harder. While our weekday schedules are often packed, the weekend is a great time to spend an extra few minutes at the gym. I like to call it a workout plus. It’s everything you normally do with an extra boost. Maybe you can add on a short workout class. Or do a couple extra intervals. The weekend is the perfect time to step it up!
  4. Visit a farmer’s market. The USDA has a massive database of farmers markets – and there’s probably a great one in your area. A weekend trip to the farmers market is a great opportunity to stock up on locally grown, nourishing foods. These fresh fruits and vegetables are a great way to nourish your body as a special treat. It’s also a lot of fun and something that you can do with family and friends.
  5. Go outside! We are spending less and less time outdoors and more and more time sitting in front of screens. And, of course, our waistlines keep getting bigger and bigger. While I’m grateful that you’re reading my blog, I’d rather you be enjoying the outdoors and moving your body. As such, plan your weekend activities around the outside world. Instead of watching a movie with a friend, take a hike. Or a simple walk. Go camping. Swim. Run. Kayak. Climb rocks. Play! Whatever you do, get off your butt and go outside! Beyond benefiting your physical health, you may also discover that communing with nature is good for your mental health – as it can help promote relaxation and calmness.
  6. Remember that weekend calories count, too. It’s the weekend, so you can eat whatever you want, right? You deserve it, don’t you? NO! You deserve to be nourished with healthy foods that support your goals. The weekend is not a time to sabotage your diet with high-calorie foods loaded in saturated or trans fats, added sugars and sodium. Eat smarter every day of the week.
  7. Plan for the week ahead. Since most of us are busy during the week, the weekend is a great time to plan ahead. Write out breakfast, lunch and dinner menus and stock up on the foods and ingredients you need. Rather than having a crammed schedule during the week and resorting to fast food, you can even use your weekend to prepare some healthy meals in advance. Stick them in the fridge or freezer for use during the week. Set yourself up for success!

Use these tips to put your weekend to work for you! And, in the comments below, feel free to share some of your healthy weekend tips or plans.

P.S. If you’re looking for a fun workout to try this weekend, download Davey Wavey’s Bootcamp Workout for three, 15-minute at-home workouts that will help improve the way you look and feel!

Exit The Weight Loss Pity Party.

pity-partyToday’s guest post is by Davey Wavey’s good friend and spiritual weight release coach, Diane Petrella.

“I look so fat in this dress!”
“It’s so hard to lose weight.”
“I’m a hopeless case.” 


Sound familiar?

While we all need to vent our feelings, staying stuck in negativity isn’t venting at all. Rather than releasing emotions, it stirs up your frustration and poisons your mind and body. Your weight-loss journey becomes harder than it needs to be when you weigh yourself down with pessimism and join in negative conversations with friends. But when you make the decision to end the complaining, your journey—and your body—become lighter.

See For Yourself

Every word you think and speak produces a physiological reaction in your body. Try this simple exercise and notice what happens:

Get yourself comfortable and take a few deep breaths to settle yourself. Now, with your eyes closed, repeat the following phrases silently to yourself while noticing the sensations in your body:

“I hate my body.”
“I feel disgusting.”
“I’m a loser.”  

Now, bring your attention back to your breathing to clear those thoughts from your mind.   Close your eyes again, and repeat the following while noticing the sensations in your body:

“I am gentle with myself.”

“I am kind to my body.”

“I am strong.”  

Open your eyes. Most people notice some tension in their body when they say the first set of phrases and a relaxing sensation with the second. What about you?

A diet of toxic words and self-abusive insults harms your body and dampens your spirit. But when you make a conscious decision to feed yourself loving words, your spirit lightens and your body relaxes. You stop fighting with yourself and open the way for a peaceful—and more successful—weight loss journey.

Word Power


To release weight with less effort, be mindful of how you speak. Stop repeating unkind, disrespectful words to yourself and replace them with encouraging and kind words. I know… this may feel hard to do at first because you are so used to talking to yourself in a negative way. Changing any habit takes time. The important thing is to make the commitment to speak to yourself with compassion and then make it a practice that you develop. For example, if you catch yourself speaking disrespectfully to your body as you look in the mirror first thing in the morning or try on outfits for a special occasion, apologize to it by saying:

“I’m sorry. Please forgive me for speaking to you that way.”    

An apology to your body reminds you of your commitment to speak to yourself with kindness. Then, give your body a supportive message such as, “I intend to take good care of you” or, if this feels natural, “I love you” or “I want to love you.” You can also gently say the following words as a kind of mantra to infuse your body with calming energy: peace, love, ease, relax. Think of these phrases and words as anchors to help you stop, shift your focus and regain your confidence and strength.

Exit the Pity-Party

I know… we can all fall into complaining sessions with friends. And to a point, venting helps. But beyond the initial bonding through shared experiences or just needing a friendly ear to release frustration, complaining with others serves no useful purpose. If anything, these conversations weaken you. They taunt you to the cookie jar by justifying the limiting belief that, “Everyone agrees with me that it’s hard to lose weight, so what’s the point?”

But remember this: YOU are the point. Your health, your future, your dreams.

And when you join in toxic complaint sessions with friends and co-workers about how hard is to lose weight, how difficult it is to avoid sweets, or how impossible it is to find the time to exercise, you lose the point of you and your health. Reclaim your power and commit to no longer participate in negative conversations, in your head and with others. When you find yourself with people eager to jump on the complaint bandwagon, practice this: Say nothing, change the subject or, when possible, leave.

As you release the habit of complaining and speak supportive, encouraging words, you lighten your mind and heart. And when your mind and heart feel lighter, your weight loss journey becomes more peaceful… helping your body become lighter as well.

____

P.S. If weight loss is one of your goals, download The Davey Wavey Weight Loss Program, co-written by Diane Petrella. By building a stronger relationship with your body and through proper nutrition and a strategic exercise program, you’ll create lasting and sustainable weight loss with ease.

Can I Get Results Working Out At Home?

Dear Davey,

I can’t afford a gym membership so working out at home is my only option. Is it really worth it? Can I get results with a body weight exercise program?

From,
Dan

tumblr_md8smsfz661qgsxq9o1_500Hey Dan,

The short answer is that yes, you can get amazing results from working out at home with body weight exercises. For those who are unfamiliar, body weight exercises don’t involve equipment or weights; instead, you use your own body weight as resistance. A really simple example of this is a push-up.

There are a few things to note.

If you’re brand-spanking-new to exercise, you’ve probably got the most to gain from an at home workout. When you transition from little or no activity to a well-planned body weight exercise routine, you’ll certainly transform the way you look and feel.

It also depends on your goals. If you want the physique of a professional body builder or an Olympic athlete, you’ll need a gym membership – not to mention, lots of time, effort, trainers, energy and dedication. Getting larger and larger muscles requires progressing to heavier and heavier amounts of resistance. As you can imagine, with body weight exercises, you’ll reach the natural limit of your own body weight. There’s a distant but inevitable plateau which may exist before or after your goals.

Keep in mind, you can get pretty creative with your home workout. There are plenty of ways to switch things up and make them more challenging. With our aforementioned example of push-ups, you can do incline push-ups, decline push-ups, one-leg push ups, push-ups with a clap in between, climbing push-ups and so on. In other words, there’s a lot you can do – and a lot of results you can enjoy – before you hit that distant body weight training plateau. And if and when you do reach that plateau, you can always decide if a gym membership makes sense at that time.

Convenient, free and not requiring any equipment, body weight exercises and at home workouts certainly have their advantages. Having said all of that, the best strength training routine is one that you’ll actually follow. And if that’s an at home workout, embrace it!

Love,
Davey

P.S. If you want to try an amazing, heart-pounding body weight exercise workout that you can do at home, download Davey Wavey’s Bootcamp Workout.

Mixed Grip Deadlifts: When To Use It.

Deadlift-phase_1If you’re not doing deadlifts, you should.

They’re a great, compound exercise that works both your upper and lower body. Requiring minimal equipment and providing maximal results, the deadlift is often referred to as the king of mass building exercises.

If you have no idea what a deadlift is, then watch this helpful video.

When it comes to deadlifts, exercisers often debate different grips. Typically, there are two variations that you’ll see.

The first is the double overhand grip. This is the most common deadlift grip and it requires gripping the bar with both palms facing the lifter. If you’ve never performed a deadlift, this is the natural grip that you’d assume – and it’s a great way to start.

mixed

Example of the mixed grip.

However, when performing deadlifts, the weakest link in the chain becomes the limiting factor. And well before the back, hamstrings or glutes give out, many people can’t hold onto the bar. In other words, their progress becomes limited by grip strength.

Once grip strength becomes an issue, switching to a mixed grip may be beneficial. It requires gripping the bar with one palm facing the lifter and the other palm facing away. Though it may feel awkward at first, the mixed grip helps stabilize the bar and grip strength is often less of an issue.

Most trainers recommend using the double overhand grip until grip strength fails, and then switching to a mixed grip. Of course, the real solution is increasing grip strength; utilize forearm and grip exercises to build up strength over time. In the meantime, the mixed grip can be an effective workaround.

P.S. If you’re looking to increase muscle mass, download Size Matters: Davey Wavey’s Foolproof Guide to Building Muscle.

What Did You Do Today To Achieve Your Goal?

top-10-fitness-goals-1048808-TwoByOneWe all have fitness goals. Yours might be to lose weight, build muscle, increase definition or improve overall health.

Whatever it is that you want, each day is an opportunity to bring you one step closer to that goal. There’s no magic to it. The achievement of any goal is the sum total of many small steps taken over and over again.

This begs the question: What did you do today to bring you one step closer to your goal?

If you can list decisions that you made today in support of your goal, you’re on the right track. If you can’t, there’s good news. The day isn’t over yet and you still have time. Get on your gym clothes and treat your body to a workout. Cook up some vegetables. Search for a yoga class that you can attend. Don’t miss the opportunity that is today!

Goals can seem big and abstract. But even the biggest, most high-reaching goals can be broken down into individual, manageable pieces. Each day, make decisions in support of your goal. While each decision seems insignificant, the sum total of these small steps will be a big and dramatic change in your life.

P.S. For more help achieving your fitness goals, download one of my customized workout programs!

How To Lose Your Stomach Pooch!

Dear Davey Wavey,

I’ve started bulking at the gym to build muscle. I’m consuming 2,900 calories a day and I’ve made great advancements. But there is one problem. There’s a little pouch around my navel and I’m not a fan. I do your HIIT sprints once or twice a week and I’ve been eating well. I’m skinny by nature but this thing has always been there. Do you have any tips for getting rid of it?

Thanks,
Danny

best-way-to-lose-belly-fat-for-menHey Danny,

Ah – yes, that pesky pooch! It’s actually a very common problem and something about which I get tons of emails.

First things first, if a small pouch on your lower abdomen is your biggest problem, you’re doing really great. In fact, you’re leaps and bounds ahead of most people, especially considering that two thirds of Americans overweight.

Second, it’s going to be hard to lose the pouch while you’re bulking. Increasing your mass requires consuming more calories. Losing excess body weight means cutting calories to create a calorie deficit. In other words, building muscle and cutting fat are difficult to achieve simultaneously (unless you’re a beginner). Once you reach your desired musculature, my suggestion would be entering a “cutting” phase by reducing your calorie intake. You won’t be adding additional muscle mass during a cutting phase, but you can reduce the amount of fat on your body.

To cut that last five pounds from your midsection, follow these steps:

  1. Take a hard look at your diet. Because you only have five pounds to lose, your diet may already be pretty clean. But look for some areas where you can cut calories – including sugary drinks or fried, buttered or battered foods. Also be aware of your portion size. Reducing the portion is an easy way to cut calories and create the needed calorie deficit.
  2. Try HIIT sprints. If you can, perform HIIT sprints three times per week. I do 15 minutes of alternating between 1 minute balls-to-the wall uphill sprints and then 1 minute jogs. This gut-busting exercise will boost your metabolism and incinerate extra fat while minimizing muscle loss.
  3. Continue strength training. Many people looking to lose fat stop lifting weights. This is a huge mistake. By lifting weights, you show your body that you still need your muscle mass. This will ensure your body breaks down fat for energy and not hard-earned muscle.
  4. Be real. Everyone has a little bit of a pouch – even the models you see in magazines. In their case, it just gets photoshopped off. For some people, the pouch is the result of stretched skin from weight loss. It can be the result of pregnancy or sagging skin. For others, it’s largely genetic. Sure, do what you can to lose that last five pounds from your midsection – but also be realistic!

For many men, the lower abdomen is the very first place to gain weight and the very last place to lose it. Though you can reduce the pooch through diet and exercise, you might also find that it’s not worth the time, energy and effort to accomplish this cosmetic result.

I hope that helps!

Love,
Davey

P.S. If you’re looking to improve the way you look and feel through the foods you eat, I recommend downloading Davey Wavey’s Insanely Easy Guide to Eating Smarter.

Is Breakfast REALLY The Most Important Meal Of The Day?

largeWhen we hear something over and over again, we tend to accept it as true. Case in point, most people think coffee is made from beans. In actuality, it’s made from seeds. While that’s a silly example, it’s always worth questioning conventional wisdom.

We’ve all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But is it really?

A few recent studies are starting to cast doubts, including new research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. For the study, researchers from the University of Bath recruited 33 men and women and broke them into two groups. One group at a substantial breakfast before 11AM and the other group skipped breakfast entirely. Researchers recorded data including resting metabolic rate, cholesterol and blood glucose over a six week period.

What were the results?

As it turns out, researchers didn’t really find any measurable differences between the two groups. Breakfast skippers consumed fewer total calories over the course of the day. However, they also burned fewer total calories when compared to the breakfast eaters. Blood glucose was also very similar, though slightly more stable for the breakfast eaters.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that skipping breakfast is smart. Other studies have found that skipping breakfast increases the risk of coronary heart disease by 27% due to the likely connections between extended fasting, blood pressure, cholesterol and insulin resistance.

So, what’s the takeaway?

This newest study shows that there’s still a lot that we don’t understand. And while fueling our bodies with nourishing foods is important, some of the assumptions that we’ve made about breakfast might not necessarily be true.