Myth 1 – To get six pack abs you must do hundreds of crunches every day.
Or one of my favorites from an infomercial… “you can now have rock hard sexy slim six pack abs in only 8 minutes a day! ” Yea, and I have a twelve inch… never mind. I’ve heard this one more times than I can remember. First let me tell you the one true secret to getting six-pack abs. Are you ready, because you only have to do two things! Here it is – eat less and exercise more! That’s it. That’s the BIG secret! 90% of getting those six pack abs is getting rid of body fat. You already have abs, you just can’t see them because of the layer of goo that’s covering them up! The other 10% is doing some ab exercises, such as crunches to help strengthen, and build ab muscles giving that nice rippled look.
Myth 2 – You have to go to a gym or buy expensive weight training systems at home to get fit and have a good workout.
Absolutely not. I do everything at home, except for most of my running of course, with a set of dumbbells, a basic weight bench and a pull up bar. Some people might also want to use a yoga mat if you don’t have a nice rug, or carpeted floors for comfort. You may also prefer resistance bands to weights. I prefer the free weights. A weight bench is very handy but not necessary. Also, an extra chair or stool that you may have lying around will come in handy as well. So what does all of this mean? It means don’t waste your money on stupid gimmicks, quick ab machines or pills that you see on TV! Save your money and buy some healthy food next time your at the grocery store instead.
Myth 3 – Spot fat removal.
I’ve been asked by many people what certain exercises just target the love handles, or abs, or my man boobs to get rid of that fat? The answer is, there’s not. You can’t spot fat remove. As you start losing fat your body will determine where the fat comes from. It may pull some chicken back fat off from your lat area, or some from under the arms. It might pull some thigh cheese from your legs or your ass. Maybe a little from your love handles or around your spare tire gut. So I’m sorry to have to say it, but you don’t get a choice. You will notice that you are slimming and shaping up in multiple parts of your body at the same time. Now, in this regard, it is called “stubborn belly fat” for a reason. Typically, when your body stores fat the lower abdomen is the first place it gets stored, and again, typically, the last place from which it is removed.
Myth 4 – I saw Rocky eating raw eggs in that movie before he whipped Mr. T’s ass! Eating raw eggs must be good for you right?
I think I blew a wet fart from laughing so hard the first time I heard this one! Let me say this – NO! Raw eggs are NOT good for you! Unless your trying to be sick from salmonella and you don’t want to be able to work out for weeks while you recover from diarrhea cha cha cha, and puking your guts out! I will cover more on eggs in the nutrition section and why you should and shouldn’t eat them, but for now just don’t eat any raw ones OK?
Myth 5 – I can do certain exercises to just “tone” selected areas.
A lot of people have asked me what they can do to tone just abs or tone just arms or chest? First let me start of by saying there is no such thing as a “toning” exercise. What you will need to do exactly all depends on what your trying to achieve. For example if you want to make your muscles stronger and bigger you need to do resistance training. If you want to become leaner and more defined and get rid of the goo that’s covering up that sexy body of yours, then you need cardiovascular exercise and good nutrition.
Myth 6 – I can lose weight just by dieting.
I get this one a lot also, so let me just go ahead and get the whole dieting thing and why it will never work out of the way. Diets are bad. Even saying that your “going on a diet” implies that you only intend on having better nutrition for a predetermined period of time, and at the end of it your going to return to your butt-crack nasty eating habits again. You need to change your mindset completely about dieting and understand that good nutrition should be a permanent change in your life. Here’s a quickie about why diets don’t work. When you eat less your body (and metabolism) adjusts to the lower caloric intake. So after about a month you lose six or eight lbs because your not eating enough and then you feel happy about where your at so you start going back to your bad eating habits again. Well, it takes your body almost twice as long to speed your metabolism up to compensate for taking in a lot more calories now that your off your diet, than it does to slow it down, by eating less. So not only do you gain the weight back, but most people end up fatter than they were before they started by screwing with their metabolism.
Myth 7 – If you want to be super ripped or super huge you have to use supplements or steroids.
How many times have you seen an advertisement for the “magic fat burning pill. Just take two a day and you’ll get ripped without ever having to do a single exercise!?” Or another one of my favorites “Take our mega muscle 10,000 powder shake and you can gain 40 lbs of muscle in only four months!” The fact is, if it were that easy then everyone walking around would be ripped and cut and there wouldn’t be such an obesity problem in America.
OK your reading this because your wanting my opinion, so here it is. I am extremely picky about the supplements that I use because I want to know exactly what is going into my body. “But Sgt E, I heard Arnold say “creatine will pump YOU up!” Look, the truth is the supplement industry recognizes the obesity problem in America and is making a fat ass gangster-knott roll of cabbage off of desperate people spending money on it. Supplements while legal, are unregulated, and untested. I could get a Bunsen-burner and my trusty spoon and make a crack rock out of some caffeine, aspirin and exlax and call it Mega Bulk 10,000 if I wanted to.
For example, let’s look at a popular brand named supplement named Hydroxycut. On May 1 2009, WebMD Health news reported 14 Hydroxycut products were being recalled by the manufacturer after the FDA received 23 reports of serious liver injuries ranging from jaundice to even death. Don’t think I’ll be taking that gamble today.
What YOU need to know is what is effective and safe to use. Because of the nature of the supplement industry, I only recommend Nutrilite vitamins and supplements. Nutrilite offers a good variety of snack bars, vitamins, fat burners and carb blockers that I have had great success with. Nutrilite has a proven track record of success and many professional athletes also recommend the Nutrilite brand. I also use 100% whey protein powder because I just don’t want to eat a pound of chicken or turkey breast every day to get the full amount of protein that my plan requires. Now depending on your goals you may not need as much protein as I do, or you may need more, but we’ll cover that later on as well. To see a full list of the supplements I do recommend just Click Here.
“But Sgt E, Barry Bonds and Mark McGuire broke records using steroids. Should I hit the juice too?”
The quick answer to this question obviously is no. You don’t need to get juiced to get ripped and bulk up. Now do roids actually work? Yes and they are very effective. They are also illegal and a lot of people have ruined their lives by misusing them. Most steroids are counterfeit and getting them from your gym rat buddy on the black market only means you really don’t know what’s in it. So, the roids do not get Sgt E’s seal of approval. They are not necessary to achieve results and not worth risking the side affects such as stunted growth, gyno, acne, hair loss, fat gain, “beer belly” and not to mention a shrinking of your “cash and prizes.” That’s right, I just went there.
Myth 8 – I can gain 20 lbs of muscle in only two months according to some magazine articles.
Ever heard that saying about never believing anything you read and less than half of what you see? These same magazines are in filled with advertisements for products claiming to get you ripped and bulked and this and that, not because they do, but because that’s how they make their money. The simple truth is, outside of adolescent years one can expect to gain about six to eight, maybe ten pounds of muscle in a years time. That means doing resistance training five days a week for about an hour a day, with focus and intensity, and having a good nutrition plan.
Myth 9 – I can still get ripped while stoning out on pot, or getting smash hammered drunk every night after playing guitar hero!
OK let’s start with the pot first on this one. It reminds me of the commercial with the kids smoking pot in the basement talking about “nothing ever happened in their lives.” This is pretty much what’s going to happen to your fitness routine if your smoking a lot of pot while trying to workout and exercise. There are a couple of problems here because of the side affects of dancing with the talented Mary Jane. First is the munchies. When you smoke weed you get the munchies and trust me, you don’t go to the fridge and reach into the veggie tray for cauliflower and carrot sticks! You end up eating stacks and bags of mega nacho cheesy-poofs and just getting fat. Another problem is the mellowing affect that pot has, which is what reminded me of that commercial. When your working out and staying fit you need to have drive and desire, and the ability to stay focused and determined. After a joint or two you usually just want to chillax naked in a bean bag chair eating Cheetos… or so I’ve heard. The last problem with pot is also the same for people who also smoke cigarettes and that is, it lowers your bloods ability to deliver oxygen to your muscles.
Now lets look at alcohol. Drinking alcohol and fitness are like those nasty cement mixer shots your stupid friends trick you into drinking. They just don’t go well. Now, I’m not saying that it’s not OK to have a beer or glass of wine a couple of times a month, that’s fine and dandy. I’m talking about daily use and excessive weekend-warrior syndrome (Binge drinking). I tell people to stay away from drinking lots of alcohol for the same reason I tell them to stay away from sodas. It has no nutritional value what-so-ever and is full of empty calories. Imagine taking in an extra 450 calories from two or three beers every night to have to work off with tons of extra cardio! Alcohol also lowers your strength and endurance for up to as much as forty-eight hours, making it that much more difficult to have a focused and intense work out.
Myth 10 – It’s impossible to lose weight and gain muscle at the same time.
A lot of people ask me whether they should try to lose weight or bulk up first. Well the answer is why not do both at the same time? I’ve never been a big guy. At my largest I was about 160 lbs. And while some would say this is about right for a guy that’s only 5’8″ I wasn’t happy with my physical appearance or mental health. Most people are just looking to slim down a little bit, and that’s ok. But, others are wanting to burn the goo and add some muscle nuggets at the same time. This requires the addition of heavier resistance training to your exercise regime, and some more protein to your already excellent nutrition plan. For example at 150 lbs, I should be taking in about 150g of protein a day to help give my muscles what they need to recover from workouts. I still eat low fat, low carb, higher fiber foods though. I keep my calories lower and still do at least three hours of cardio a week to burn the fat away. So it certainly is possible, you may just need to adjust your nutrition plan a little and make sure your doing six to eight reps of heavier weight during your resistance training.
Myth 11 – No pain. No gain.
OK I know we’ve all heard this at one point or another. Even Marines are used to saying “pain is weakness leaving the body,” but it’s time to clear up what is good pain, and what is bad pain.
Lets start with bad pain. Any joint pain is bad pain. For example, I have problems with my right shoulder after flying from a Humvee and landing on it a few years ago in Iraq. It grinds and hurts any time I do uppercuts or certain circular motions such as blocks in martial arts. It is not a good idea to try and “muscle through” the joint pain thinking your hard core. If you are having joint pain you should stop your exercise immediately. Try using a different grip, or exercise to work that particular muscle group. For my shoulder I simply can’t do some exercises, but instead of giving up I do exercises that don’t cause me to have joint pain. If you insist on a particular exercise you may consider limiting your range of motion, or lowering your weight and adding more reps.
Next is bad muscle pain. Any signs of sharp, sudden or bolts of pain are usually an indication that an injury has occurred such as a tare. If you experience this kind of pain you should also stop immediately!
Finally lets talk about “feeling the burn” or good muscle pain. During resistance training, whether your bulking up with low reps or shaping with higher reps your last three reps with good form should be tough to achieve. You should feel what starts as a slow burn which becomes more intense as your last few reps are completed. This is caused by a buildup of lactic acid in your muscles and is a good indicator that you are pushing yourself hard enough and you have good focus. The other type of good muscle pain is also called delayed muscle pain or the soreness you normally feel hours or a day or so after an intense workout. When you workout with enough intensity you cause micro- tares in your muscles which your body then has to repair. This soreness is a sign that your muscles are being repaired and rebuilt bigger and stronger. Also remember to wait until the soreness is gone to work the same muscle group again. You should only be working on one concentrated muscle group every five to seven days.
So is it true that if you don’t have pain your don’t have gain? The answer is no. Not all muscles will give you delayed muscle pain or soreness even after intense workouts. For example I never had delayed soreness in my biceps or shoulders, but I always do in my chest, lats, abs and quads. So if you don’t have this soreness in a certain muscle group, it does not necessarily mean you did not have a good, intense workout. If your really wanting to see the noticeable difference in your strength workouts, use a logbook and record your reps and the amount of weight your pushing.