[ Q ] I have a problem. I love working out, but my husband keeps complaining that I go to the gym. I want my legs to get bigger, and doing squats at home isn't working any more. Whenever I go to the gym he becomes angry, and accuses me of being obsessed with exercise; he also mentioned that he wasn't happy about my exercising because my arms are getting bigger and he fears I will become manly.
He says I should do "normal" things.
What can I do to fix this situation?
A: While your situation is difficult, it is not impossible to change. Notice how I didn't say "fix." For me to suggest that this situation requires fixing would be to make a judgment that it is somehow "wrong." It sounds to me like more judgment is the last thing you need in this situation; judgment about what is "normal" is exactly the thing that has produced this tension in the first place. The solution lies somewhere else other than the source of the tension.
My first recommendation is for you to accept this situation as it is. But, that does not mean that I want you to like it, endorse it, or agree with it. Simply accept the fact that your husband is who he is, the situation is as it is, and you have the opportunity to change it. It is only by acknowledging something and accepting it as it is that you can then begin to take steps to modify it. First, see clearly, then modify.
With the above in mind, there may be many reasons for how he feels.
It is clear that your husband has some common misconceptions - i.e. that exercise is an obsession.
The Strategies For Change...
1. Be Active Together
One strategy that I would recommend is that you two begin doing active activities together. Clearly, he has an opinion on exercise, and the best way to modify his view is not to argue your position, but to show and demonstrate it. You can't change his mind - only he can - and the best way to get him to do this is to provide the situations that will allow for him to modify his view on whether exercise is "normal."
Doing active activities together will also strengthen your relationship. All couples should be working together toward a common goal of health and happiness. If and when you do begin to be active together, go slow and at his pace.
2. Use "Expected Reward"
This condition of expected reward will cause an association in his mind between pleasure with exercise - and when he gets to the point where he feels physical pleasure from improved health, he'll no longer require external cues to motivate him - his cues will be internal, and the deal will be sealed.
3. Don't Negate His Fear
Your husband may also believe - as many people in the general public believe - that people who exercise suffer from distorted body image disorders.
Admittedly, it's quite reasonable to understand this position: almost every magazine you open today is an
advertisement designed to pimp dietary supplements, and almost all of them try to get you to buy products after implying - or stating outright - that the way you now look isn't "good enough."
Again, arguing your position against this one is pointless, and will probably serve only to reinforce his current belief. Instead, be active together and show him that the active lifestyle is about feeling good and being healthy - not simply a way to escape feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem. He will know the truth once he feels a difference in his own body, and then there won't be anything to argue about any more.
The other aspect of your question that I want to address is regarding his fear that you'll become too muscular and become less feminine by exercising and lifting weights. To change this, you need to understand several very important things.
First, understand that he is afraid that you will change - that your morphology will change and you'll begin to lose your feminine appearance.
With this in mind, do not try to negate his fear. You cannot use reason to overcome an emotion. The image that he has in his mind is of the muscular female that he doesn't want you to become, and the thoughts that he has in his mind are "I don't like muscular women and I fear that my wife will become muscular - something I don't like." So, instead of trying to reason with him about his emotion, substitute an image of what he likes for the image that he fears. And, what's the best way to do this?
Show him pictures of fitness girls you think he'd like, and say things like "She's got a great body... don't you think?" Then, tell him "I'm working to look and feel that healthy."
Once he realizes - on an emotional level - that you're not working to lose your femininity - only to enhance it - he'll be on board and you'll be free of the tension that this situation has produced. In fact, he might start encouraging you to exercise, and then you'll have the opposite situation!
You can easily change this situation. Give the techniques outlined here a try and let me know how it works for you.
At first, I thought that supplements like the new Labrada Super Charge worked like creatine and also had added stuff that made them better. A lot of people that I see are now using NO2 supplements along with creatine at the same time.
My question is: how much more effective is it to take NO2 and creatine together versus taking either alone? Should I take both?
A: NO2 stimulators use the amino acid
L-Arginine (and its derivatives) to increase nitric oxide product and to stimulate the nitric oxide pathway.
This may result in vasodialation, an enhanced muscular pump, and an increase in exercise endurance; NO2 stimulators may also be effective at enhancing your motivation and focus.
The amino acid L-Arginine has been clinically proven to elevate nitric oxide levels and stimulate growth hormone secretion when taken in high amounts. An increase in somatropin levels may result in greater muscle growth and visible decreases in adipose tissue.
Elevating nitric oxide levels may increase the intensity of your workouts and the muscle growth seen from your efforts in the gym. Increasing your intensity is important because intensity is one of the key variables that you must manipulate to build muscle.
While you can take L-Arginine and its derivatives (i.e. AAKG, Arginine Ethyl Ester) on their own, they are generally ineffective for promoting muscular hypertrophy.
To build muscle quickly and easily, use creatine monohydrate alone, or for even better results, use Labrada's Super Charge! This product has added ingredients like creatine, caffeine and other ingredients.
I'm going to explain why it is important to use NO2 stimulators and creatine derivatives together.
Creatine Monohydrate increases your ability to do work in the gym through the production of ATP. NO2 is known to enhance your exercise endurance, thus allowing you to do more work. Intensity is, simply, an expression of total power - i.e. work done over time.
By doing more work in the same amount of time, you increase your intensity and the amount of power that your muscles produce. This is the principle behind the idea of progressive resistance - i.e. increased work over time.
Super Charge! By Labrada in your question; I like this supplement for a number of reasons.
The first reason that I like it is that it contains NO2 stimulators and creatine derivatives together in one convenient product. This saves me from having to buy several supplements, makes it easy to take, and it cuts down on costs. But, Super Charge! also contains a large dose of caffeine - and you can feel it working in the first dose.
While some people have speculated that caffeine interferes with muscular creatine saturation, recent studies have disputed these claims - caffeine actually increases the uptake of carbohydrates by skeletal muscle - and the same may be true of water, and creatine, intake.
I also like Super Charge because it has a recovery complex that contains Humanifort - a product that's been shown in clinical studies to enhance growth and speed recovery from exercise. Other so-called NO2 stimulators lack this recovery agent and for this reason, I think that they are less than ideal.
While it's my view that NO2 supplements on their own are generally ineffective at achieving muscular hypertrophy, I do think that using NO2 stimulators in conjunction with creatine and its derivatives is worthwhile and will improve exercise performance, and promote gains in lean muscle mass.
I'd recommend highly that if you are going to use a all-in-one supplement, use Super Charge! by Labrada. It will not only give you the benefits so far listed, but it will enhance your recovery - making lean muscle mass gain much more likely.
[ Q ] I'm writing because I am a bodybuilder with stomach problems. When I went to my doctor, he said I had a "hiatal hernia" and gave me acid-blocking drugs. He said that if my situation didn't clear up, that surgery would be required.
Are there any natural remedies for this condition?
A: I'm glad you wrote in to me before your doctor had a chance to further poison your body with harmful drugs or cut you apart like a piece of fabric.
The condition you have - "hiatal hernia" is often discovered when you suffer from heartburn and indigestion, and this condition can be very serious. While treatment from a physician is recommended to rule out any threats to your life, natural treatments exist that remedy this condition in most cases.
| Hiatal Hernia
Hiatal hernia is a condition in which a portion of the stomach protrudes upward into the chest through an opening in the diaphragm. The diaphragm is the sheet of muscle used in breathing that separates the chest from the abdomen.
The cause is unknown, but hiatal hernias may be the result of a weakening of the supporting tissue. Increasing age, obesity, and smoking are known risk factors in adults.
Children with this condition usually have it from birth (congenital). It is usually associated with gastroesophageal reflux in infants. Hiatal hernias are very common, especially in people over 50 years old. This condition may cause regurgitation of gastric acid from the stomach into the esophagus.
Antacids and acid-blocking drugs can provide temporary relief, and while the pharmaceutical industry may want you to rely on drugs for the rest of your life, I'm sure that you'd be more satisfied with a healthier and cheaper alternative. But first, some background.
Doctors usually attempt to reduce excess acid levels by using calcium or H2 antagonist drugs. Calcium works well and is the base ingredient in products like Rolaids. H2 antagonists like Zantac and Tagamet block acid production in the stomach. Another drug, called Losec, is a new drug that is a proton pump inhibitor, and it also prevents acid production in the stomach. If these drugs do not produce the desired effect, antibiotics may also be used.
Unfortunately, the use of these prescription drugs can prevent efficient digestion, so you end up trading one problem (the acid) for others (indigestion and constipation). As with most things, natural solutions are best, and you have a number of natural options to treat this condition.
The Natural Treatment Options...
The first solution for this condition is cabbage juice. Granted, cabbage juice doesn't taste very good, but it works very well. Best of all, cabbage juice is inexpensive and works relatively quickly.
Your other natural treatment option is Darn Good Licorice (DGL) - deglycyrrhizinated licorice. This kind of licorice is not the same licorice that you find in the local convenience store; in fact, the licorice candy that you find in the local convenience store does not contain any licorice root. Darn Good Licorice does, and has a licorice molecule removed to prevent the water retention that can result from sodium retention.
DGL licorice is effective because it protects your stomach lining from the effects of acid by encouraging mucous secreting goblet cells to multiply in number and increase the amount of mucous secreted. Most of the participants in the scientific study were symptom free after twelve weeks of taking DGL licorice.
Surgery & Prescription Drugs
Surgical options are not pretty, and involve severing your vagus nerve. This kind of surgery is unnecessary, painful, and potentially harmful. So too are prescription drugs.
Becoming dependant on prescription drugs is good for the drug industry (they make money when you're sick!) and your doctor (who gets a kick-back on any prescriptions that are written) but drug dependency is obviously no good for you.
Give these natural and proven remedies a try before you consider surgical and pharmaceutical drug options. And, always remember that you are the one that makes your medical decisions. A doctors role is to provide consultation and services - should you chose to accept his or her advice.
Good luck, and best of health.
[ Q ] I've been overweight my whole life, and my doctor keeps telling to "eat less, exercise more." I've always heard that exercising is important, and that eating right will improve my health, but I look around, and other people my size seem to look and feel healthy.
The truth is that I don't want to exercise, but I want to lose weight and get healthier. Is there a supplement that will transform my body?
A: Thank you for writing; I appreciate it.
The first thing that I want to say is: you are not responsible for becoming overweight at a young age when you relied on others for guidance on nutrition. You depended on the guidance of others by necessity, and you followed their best (but misguided) advice without knowing your alternative health choices.
That being said, you are responsible for the conditions of your life today, tomorrow and forever. It is not the trail of the boat that guides its' path and future direction - it's the captain at the wheel. The same is true about your life: you control your destiny from today forward.
No Magic Pill
Improving your health does not come from a pill or from following fad diets. Often, these methods only harm your health, leaving you worse off than when you started. The key to losing weight (and keeping it off), and improving your health, is through intelligent eating and intelligent, goal-oriented, exercise. Health and wellness result from the intelligent application of your will.
Your doctors advice to eat less and exercise more is accurate in an obtuse sense, and is a good starting point. It is, simply, the "what" part of the equation - and next comes the "how" part - i.e. how to "eat less" and "exercise more" to accomplish your goals of weight loss and improved health.
A State Of Mind
Realize with the above in mind that "healthy" eating and feeling "healthy" is relative and depends upon your state of mind. To eat in a healthy manner, you need to understand what that means, and you have to know why your current eating patterns are less-than-ideal. And, to feel healthier, you need to understand what that means, and why your current level of health can improve.
Sadly, even people who consider themselves as "well fed" rarely eat well enough to satisfy basic health needs.
Your body needs vitamins, minerals and nutrients in certain amounts to function optimally, and eating three times per day is not enough to give the body these vital nutrients. What's more, because modern farming practices rob the soil of nutrients, most foods today are not as healthy as they once were - slowly, over time, the human diet has become less suitable and less healthy, all the while food prices have risen.
The best analogy I can offer is: the difference between exercising and not, and eating in a healthy manner and not, is the same difference between suffering from a cold, and not. One state is a less-than-perfect diseased state, and the other state is a normal, natural disease free state that is characterized by radiant health and a positive, enthusiastic, outlook on life. It is only after being physically active that you can appreciate this difference. As I said above: you will know the difference once you experience it.
Take Responsibilty For Success
To change your life, you have to begin by realizing that you're responsible for your success; you are the change of force in your life. Being healthy is your destiny, and you can claim it any time that you want.
Here is how to do this:
- Go through your kitchen cupboards and remove every food item that's in a box, bag or package - chips, crackers, white pastas, sugar, etc. Take these items and throw them in the garbage.
- Next, empty your refrigerator of any non-diet sodas, any sugary syrups, flavored coffee drinks, cream, etc. Throw these into the garbage.
- Then go to the grocery store and stick to the outer isles of the store only. Purchase lean meats like beef, chicken and seafood. Buy fresh vegetables like broccoli, bean sprouts, cauliflower, lettuce and red, green and yellow peppers.
Your goal for your next grocery shopping trip is to buy healthy foods only - no junk! This way, when you get a craving for unhealthy and harmful food, no food will be present for you to eat.
Also, start walking around the block once a day at a time of your choice; do this for one month, gradually increasing the speed and distance that you walk. Be sure to stay well hydrated and take snacks like unsalted nuts and seeds with you; it's important to stay hydrated and to keep your energy levels up.
I'm going to challenge you to do this for four weeks - a small amount of time out of your long life. Will you do it? Will you do something healthy for your body, for a mere four weeks of your life?
I hope that you take up my challenge and take back control of your health destiny.
Please write me again and let me know of your progress.
[ Q ] I love working out and staying busy. The problem is that cooking breakfast is a hassle, especially when I'm hungry and short on time. I know that eating breakfast is important but sometimes I just skip is because I'm so busy.
What can I do or what can I eat that's quick and easy so that my food is there when I want it?
A: Eating breakfast is critical for your gains because your glycogen stores are depleted and your stomach is empty after you've been sleeping all night - leaving you in a catabolic state in the absence of amino-acids.
- Cook breakfast
- Use a MRP breakfast shake or bar that's formulated especially for breakfast
I recommend drinking a small amount of orange juice to quickly return your body to a muscle-building state (fructose is released more slowly than glucose), and also doing one of two things:
The breakfast of choice every morning for millions of Americans is usually bacon and eggs with orange juice, potatoes and whole wheat toast. As a bodybuilder, this breakfast can be modified slightly to suit your needs - by limiting your egg yolk consumption (eat mostly egg whites), substituting real bacon with lean turkey bacon, replacing home fries with boiled potatoes, and eating regular whole wheat toast with margarine instead of butter. The best part about this breakfast is that it's simple, and very easy to make quickly.
If you want a hassle-free breakfast - i.e. food that is ready to eat - you can either
- Hire your own chef
- Use dietary supplements
Since most of us can only afford the on-call chef named "mom" "girlfriend" or "wife", we have to use dietary supplements to make things easier.
It's important to understand that your dietary needs vary throughout the day according to your activity level, your metabolic rate, your hormone levels, as well as by the contents of your last meal. So, with this in mind, it's important to choose a dietary supplement that's designed to meet your needs at this critical time.
Like you, I'm very busy. I'm a full time writer in the bodybuilding and nutrition industry, and I serve as a consultant to many companies. As a result, I have to squeeze in exercise sessions when I can, usually in hotels or gyms wherever I travel on business. Because I'm often on the road, I rely on dietary supplements to provide quick nutrition at a good price. Two of my personal favorites that make breakfast easy are the Lean Body Instant Breakfast Shakes by Labrada and the Lean Body Breakfast Cookie Bars.
The Lean Body Instant Breakfast Shakes come in three flavors: Blueberries & Cream, Bananas & Cream, and Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal. These shakes mix easily, and each flavor tastes pretty good - but my absolute favorite flavor is the Apple-Cinnamon Oatmeal flavor - it's filling, tastes great, and, unlike other MRP's, it has complex carbs, unsaturated fats, and a mix of whey protein and milk protein concentrates and isolates.
It's true that you can take just any old dietary supplement if you want - but because your needs vary throughout the day, it's important to take a product that's actually going to do some good- i.e. that's going to meet your needs at that time, and get you into a muscle-building state. I didn't mention other general use products (other popular MRP's) because they are too generic and fail to account for varying needs.
To summarize: Begin preparing your food ahead of time so that it's ready to eat when you need it. Or, begin using dietary supplements like the above described, to get a nutritious, ready-to-eat meal.
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