Fix chronic back pain without doctors or medicine.

I used to have fairly chronic lower back pain.

Do not underestimate the importance of core strength. A weak core leads to bad posture, and injuries, as we age. Posture has incredible downstream effects for the entire body. Ever lift something over your head to reach a high shelf, or bend down to get some medium sized object, just to tweak your back or stretch something the wrong way? That’s the result of weak core and bad posture. Trust me, you don’t want that.

A bad back can be crippling. It can really have an impact on your entire life. I know, I used to hurt my back a lot. Complaining about back pain was something I was prepared to do for the rest of my life. It happened so frequently, it was almost “normal”. Scary thought huh? Especially at my young age.

I used to be scared of deadlifts. Sometimes I would try them, and end up injuring myself again.

But, after some reading and re-motivation, I decided to try it again and make them a regular part of my lifting routine. Boy am I glad I did!

After lots of slow, careful progression and attention to good form, I was able to build my deadlift up to over 300 lbs. Mind you, this has taken me a couple years, and a few set backs. But the fruits of my labor have ripened.

The benefits of zero back pain, and the ability to lift almost ANYTHING I need to, without fear of injury, is priceless! My posture is great, and it shows in my outward appearance, the appearance of greater confidence!

I never have back pain, even after sitting for 8 hours a day at my desk job. This is incredibly important, especially for all you desk-jockies out there with chronic low back pain. Strength and posture is everything. Especially as you age. Deadlift. Do it!

Deadlifts are super important. They are one of the major lifts that promote muscle growth and strength throughout your entire body. They support the core, legs, shoulders, and even grip strength. Everyone’s goal should be to deadlift at least their own bodyweight. That, I would say, is a fair assessment of good health and strength. If you can at least lift your own bodyweight in the big lifts (bench, squat, deadlift, pullup) you’re golden. Go for it!

True, when I started lifting I would hurt my back doing deadlifts. But I also hurt my back in other lifts as well. Overhead press, squat, even bench. Why? Because my core was weak. I would strain my back to overcompensate for the fact that I was just lifting more than my core could properly support, and I would get hurt. I’d have to take a break from lifting to heal the injury, and inevitably end up right back where I started.

What was the problem? Poor form. Poor form because I was trying to lift too much weight. I wasn’t adapted to it yet. I didn’t allow myself to progress at the proper weight.

A lot of folks make this mistake. They go too big, too soon, and hurt themselves. Then they convince themselves that “this type of lift is just not for me”, or “I don’t really need it”.

The fix? Start light. This is way more effective for newcomers than just loading the bar to a dangerous weight. Start at a light enough weight so you can build neuromuscular adaptation, and then strength, to hold the proper form. If you try a deadlift, and you can’t keep your back straight, its too heavy. GO SLOW AND LIGHT. Form is everything here.

Slow progresstion, attention to proper form, and patience are key. Once you build up your core strength and the ability to lift heavy, say bye-bye to back pain!

 

How (not) To FAIL At The Gym. (Get Muscles, Burn Fat Faster) III

 

This is part III. Make sure you read part I and part II.

Muscle growth is a defense mechanism. To speed growth you must force change.

Given the proper diet, your body will make more muscle as a result of certain environmental “threats” or stressors. To create the fastest muscle growth, you need to work your mucles to failure (I mean motherfucking cruel, unforgiving, uncomfortale, 100% absolute FAILURE) within a certain timeframe, or “time under tension”. Usually this is no longer than 60 seconds, and between 6-12 reps. That is why heavy weights are required! This ensures that all your muscle fibers are recruited before lactic acid buildup causes premature muscle failure.

Performing sets for too long with high reps does not allow you to reach the actual limit of your strength. With high reps, we are forced to stop, as lactic acid becomes too much for the muscle to handle, and ATP production becomes limited. Your muscles simply run out of energy before the limit of their strength is reached. There will be growth, but it is slower, and recovery takes longer. Therefore, high reps are a WASTE OF TIME, mang!

So, we lift heavy, and lay the foundation for muscle growth through adaptation.

We also eat right, to speed recovery and promote positive gene expression, while maximizing cognitive ability and testosterone production. We get sun (Vitamin D baby!), and we get plenty of rest.

Recovery is just as important as lifting heavy things

Rest between each set allows ATP to recover, and lactic acid to leave the muscle. If you aren’t resting for a few minutes between sets, you may as well be doing one of those stupid high-rep workouts like everybody else!

Rest days are just as important, because once you kick your own ass in the gym, you gotta heal up, baby! During a lifting session, you are actually in a catabolic state, but you are triggering something that comes after: the anabolic state! Adaptation can only happen if you give your body time to build new tissues and recover.

If you keep picking a scab, does it ever heal?

Don’t get confused by magazine programs and other useless crap.

Strength, power, size, mass, toning. Whatever you call it, IT IS ALL THE SAME. Building muscle and burning fat happen SIMULTANEOUSLY given a proper diet. I seriously hate anyone who says “I don’t want big muscles, I just want to tone”. Give.me.a.fucking.break! It is all the same, the only thing that matters is how fast you get there. Anyone with an elementary education should say “I want to change my body as fast as possible, and not waste hours in the gym every day”. If that’s not you, why are you reading this? 

I wrote this in “How To FAIL At The Gym pt II”.

Now ladies, don’t get all worried about “blowing up” or “looking like a dude”. Women naturally have less testosterone than men, so it’s naturally more difficult for them to build muscle and burn fat. That means women (for the most part) who train just as hard as men, given a similar amount of work, will see less results than men. Why would you want to fuck around wasting time at the gym, when you can do it faster and better with HARD WORK? Once you reach your desired body composition, you can maintain! Trust me, you won’t just wake up one morning looking like the Hulk. Progress takes time, but it takes less time when you follow the right method!

Over time, our goal is to overload the muscle by increasing the weight a little bit each week. Basically, once you reach about 12 reps for a certain exercise, add a little weight the next week. This keeps you within the anabolic threshold, while making sure you get measurably stronger. And if you’re getting stronger, you’re making PROGRESS. (fun fact, muscle strength is directly proportional to muscle size. Stronger IS bigger).

Strong is the new skinny.

How does this all relate to burning fat?

With a clean Paleo/Primal diet and lifting heavy, our muscles grow, and our metabolism gets better at burning fat. More muscle = more mitochondria, and more mitochondrial adaptation to fat burning. A common misconception is that we go to the gym to get big or burn fat. What actually happens at the gym? We are causing an adaptation, so that our muscles grow later on (recovery), and we burn fat all day long instead of glucose (#Winning).

Cardio has limited potential for changing body composition and burning fat, because it does not push your body to it’s limit and force adaptation. What we do in the gym should cause positive adaptations and changes LATER ON. Doing intense lifting workouts, along with high intensity interval training, or Tabata Sprints every once in a while, is going to give us more fat burning. Sprints rapidly deplpete your glycogen stores. The rapid glycogen depletion makes your body realize that your need for energy (ATP) has become much greater, and forces your body to create more mitochondria. This also forces the mitochondria to learn to burn fat for energy rather than glycogen. THIS is the outcome we are looking for: fat burning ALL DAY LONG, not just in the gym.

The side effect of this is greater stamina. A marathon runner who trains their body to burn fat will find it more difficult to “hit the wall”, or “bonk”. This is a good thing.

A good method for intervals or sprints is a quick warm up sprint, at about 80% effort. Once you feel ready, you will have to go ALL OUT with 100% effort. Pretend you are running for your life away from a hungry lion, or whatever.

You will sprint with all your soul and effort for about 20 seconds, then rest for 3-4 minutes. Do it like this a handfull of times, between 4 and 6 reps. You can do this on machines too set on high resistance, just don’t try it on the treadmill!

Ask me how I’m so awersome! yup!

I follow the free MuscleHack Gym Routines. Scientifically proven to work, dammit! (I’ll never promote name brands or anything that costs money. I don’t have anything to gain from promoting things. If it friggin works, I’m gonna friggin tell you about it! Because I’m that cool).

Tell me what you thunk about my post! And then? Go lift heavy shit brah!

How To FAIL At The Gym (There Are No Shortcuts) II

This is Part II. Make sure you read Part I and Part III.

The sooner you understand this one simple concept, the sooner you can thank me.

I see this every time I go to the gym. The people that HALF-ASSEDLY do any “workout”, incomplete, poor form, partial range of movement. They don’t track their progress. They don’t follow a consistent routine. They don’t fucking lift anything heavy. Explain to me how that can POSSIBLY do you any good? How can you PROGRESS without pushing your limits? You have no idea where you are going or what you are tryng to do, picking up random weights and swinging things around as if you’re actually working your muscles properly.

It goes the other way too. Huge guys come in, who got huge by eating everything in sight. They may have made progress, but their body composition is in the shitter. Yah, sure you can bench 220 for few reps, but your fat ass still hangs out of your shorts. Then there’s another guy, with a 55 pund dumbbell in each hand, swinging his body back and forth violently, as he completes half-assed reps, barely working his full range of motion, and definitely NOT really lifting that 55 lbs. These guys might be big (looking), but its mostly fat on top of muscle, and I don’t see them losing it any time soon.

It might be easy to blame the rag-mags, or the media for the mis-information. The conventional wisdom promoted by the “professional”. You want the real culprit? YOU are at fault for your laziness. Yah, the truth hurts. Now do something about it! Educate yourself, get some biology in ya! I consider it my duty to my body to understand how it works, reacts, grows, heals, and thrives. Besides that, it should be COMMON SENSE that the only shortcut to better body composition is HARD WORK.

Hard work creates progress that you can see and feel. Hard work is the only shortcut.

Hard work means pushing your limits to make your body adapt. Hard work means following a consistent routine that causes measurable growth and fat loss (including diet). Hard work means good form, heavy weights, and pushing yourself to 100% failure.

Hard work does NOT mean doing endless reps with little weights. Your body is a reactionary mechanism. It adapts and heals as a reaction of the stressors you place on it. (Your immune system is a perfect example). Lifting light weight does not create functional strength, because you are not forcing an adaptation. Doing 100 bicep curls with a 5lb weight will do nothing more than reinforce your ability to lift……can you guess?………FIVE POUNDS! Holyfuckamoly Batman! What use is that in your everyday life? What use is that in an emergency situation? (It is really useful for wasting a lot of time at the gym, though).

Hard work does NOT mean lousy form. If you have to use swinging momentum to curl that 50 pounder, you aren’t doing work, YOU ARE CHEATING. Don’t be a wuss! Stop trying to show off. You’re not impressing anyone. (I’ll get into gym etiquette with another post). Find a weight that allows you to use proper form, and you’ll find out how strong you actually are. Push yourself to failure within the anabolic rep range. Eventually you WILL grow and be able to curl that 50 punder the right way!

Hard work allows you to minimize your time at the gym, so you have more time for the fun stuff; sex, playing music, fixing your car, or writing a blog….

Women AND men should focus on functional strength. Strength is sexy.

It’s attractive. Muscle ALWAYS looks better than fat. (Muscle forms the foundation of your outward appearance, and you can control which aspects you change. Muscle enhances your metabolic flexibility, immune system, endurance, and resistance to injury). Now, I’m not saying that I’m attracted to women who are jacked like bodybuilders. I’m talking about natural shape, aesthetically pleasing form, that can deadlift AT LEAST their own bodyweight, or perform a handfull of decent pull-ups. That’s not asking too much, is it?

Now ladies, don’t get all worried about “blowing up” or “looking like a dude”. Women naturally have less testosterone than men, so it’s naturally more difficult for them to build muscle and burn fat. That means women (for the most part) who train just as hard as men, given a similar amount of work, will see less results than men. Why would you want to fuck around wasting time at the gym, when you can do it faster and better with HARD WORK? Once you reach your desired body composition, you can maintain! Trust me, you won’t just wake up one morning looking like the Hulk. Progress takes time, but it takes less time when you follow the right method!

Ah, the perfect example. Stacie Tovar, CrossFit champ. She lifts heavy and pushes her limits. This shows her change after going CrossFit.

Take a look at Lauren Plumey. She’s a good lookin’ CrossFitter too.

Now leave some love! In the form of comments. I also accept other forms of love. heh.

This is Part II. Make sure you read Part I and Part III.

Like this post? Want to find out more about how to get in shape fast? Check out these articles about getting in shape, feeling great, and controlling your genes!

Lower bodyfat setpoint.

Lose stubborn body fat. (Intermittent fasting)

Control your gene expression.

Heavy strength training is a required aspect of long term health. For everybody.

How to train your body to burn fat all day long. High intensity interval training (HIIT).

Why you should avoid too many polyunsaturated fats.

What is chronic inflammation. What to eat to avoid it.

The final word on grains and legumes: AVOID them.

The final word on Saturated fat and Cholesterol: EAT them.