Inspiration

Fitness isn't just about what you do - it's how you think. Here's some gym-spiration to supercharge your workout.

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!

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.

 

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.

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.