I do not tell people the things they *want* to hear, I tell them the truth as I understand it which often is very unpopular. I have never been interested in being popular. I do the videos I think people need to see, not the ones they want to see. If I just did what people wanted to see then every video would be a variant of “Shocking secret to huge arms”. If you want a website that tells you how to “target belly fat” or how to “Taylor Lautner secret to muscle gain” then this is the wrong place. I have over three hundred long web pages full of free fitness information and over two hundred instructional fitness videos and my detractors tend to latch onto one of the following five things to justify their hate:
- gaining muscle is slow
- skateboard squats
- my use of protein powder
- “spit it out”
- my stance on egg yolks
- I “don’t work” my legs and my neck is too small
Although they may agree with my advice on my other two hundred and ninety five pages, they use my unpopular stance on the above topics to blow off all my advice. If you completely turn off the advice of someone the moment you disagree with them on anything then you would have no one left to take advice from! Many people in bodybuilding make the mistake of only listening to the advice of people who agree with them. How can you possibly learn anything if you never listen to anyone with new ideas? You cant! Despite what people desperately want to believe, bodybuilding is more art than science. As with any art, there is no precise formula you can follow that leads to optimal results. Common sense is just as important to bodybuilding as research is and cherry picking research that agrees with you isn’t very helpful. If you really want to succeed in bodybuilding, you need to get lots of experience and read as much as you can – both things you agree with and things you don’t. You need to then be a critical thinker and decide for yourself what makes sense and what doesn’t. Now lets talk about the above points one at a time.
Gaining muscle is slow.
People really really latched onto my statement that you should expect to gain more than five to ten pounds muscle in a year. People desperately want to believe they can gain more so they lash out at me, the messenger. What I am attempting to do by telling everyone how slow and difficult it is to gain muscle is to set their expectations appropriately. Half of teens today have this warped and incorrect notion that its normal to gain 50lbs in six months like Taylor Lautner. I want people to make fitness, health and bodybuilding a lifelong passion and the most common reason people stop is because of disappointment. Many teens lift weights for 6 months and then give up because they discover they don’t look like Arnold Schwartzenneger yet. Or they lift for 6 months “without any results” then resort to steroids. Setting expectations appropriately is vitally important to keep people active in this healthy and lifelong pursuit. If you look at my bodybuilding expectations page you will see where my 5-10 pounds in a year number comes from – its for an adult who has been lifting more than two years. You also see there is a wide variation in the amount of lean body mass you can expect to gain in a year depending on your age, bodybuilding experience, and your lifting and nutritional program. Worst case you gain zero pounds a year and best cast 50 pounds a year but 5-10 pounds a year is a good average which is why I used that number in my videos. Many people want to hear that its normal to gain 30lbs muscle in six months, its not. I also have a personalized muscle gain calculator that gives you an estimate of what you can expect.
Wow, powerlifters have had fun with this one. The followers of Mark Rippetoe have an unhealthy superiority complex and think that *everyone* should be doing squats/deadlifts/bench and that only idiots would ever consider using machines or isolation exercises. As I mention, squats are great but they are not for everyone. Despite what Mark Rippetoe says, squats are not great for older people, people with a history of back problems, or for unsupervised teens. Teaching yourself to squat by watching videos is a very, very dangerous undertaking. Injure your back once and it often leads to a lifelong disability. To learn to squat safely you need an experienced coach to work with you until you have the form down. My website and videos are targeted to people who are working out at home, usually alone, and they don’t have squat racks, coaches, or spotters. In short, my videos are targeted to people for whom squatting is dangerous. Skateboard squats are a clever way I came up with to do a safe and effective leg workout at home by yourself. It is ergonomically exactly the same as doing a leg press machine at a gym and safely limits the range of motion. And yes, both leg press and skateboard squats are compound exercises just like squats are :)
My use of protein powder.
Many of my videos and quick healthy meals use protein powder and many people have fun with this one, not sure why. People have the mistaken notion that only meat can build muscles, its not true! There are vegetarian protein sources that have higher protein quality than beef does and dairy whey is one of them. I do not consider dairy whey to be a supplement – its a food. I do eat meat once or twice a week when I go out but about 95% of my protein comes from non-meat sources which is why I refer to myself as a pseudo-vegetarian. I’m not a vegetarian for political, religious, or ethical reasons. I’m a vegetarian because I believe it to be healthier. Can I *prove* that a vegetarian diet is healthier? No, but I can’t *prove* global warming either. Everyone has to decide for themselves what level of proof is required before they change their behavior. Many studies have indicated that meat can cause heart disease and cancer, this study suggests that red meat eaters are 18% more likely to have heart disease and 10% more likely to have cancer. Many who make fun of my use of protein powder console themselves that their chicken eating is far superior in health than my “artificial” dairy whey. Sorry, poultry is the most contaminated food sources in America. I’m not preachy about vegetarianism and I realize that most people have no interest in it whatsoever which is why many of my recipes include chicken and fish. When the camera turns off though, I become a “bean eater” and happily use “a scoop of protein powder with that” :)
“If it tastes good, spit it out!”
This is a quote from the late Jack LaLane who was a full 50 years ahead of the country in his grasp of health and fitness. Although some of his concepts were wrong, he had it far more right than anyone else in his time. In an era when the government “experts” had put meat and dairy at the top of the nutritional pyramid he was one of the few voices of reason disputing this and promoting daily exercise. The concept of “If it tastes good, spit it out” is even more important today than it was 50 years ago when Jack LaLane uttered it. People ran with this without bothering to listen to what I said in my video nor read what I wrote. Of course healthy things can taste good too, I’m not saying to spit everything out other than dirt, old diapers, and tacks. What I am saying is – know what’s in your mouth! If you don’t know exactly whats in your mouth then spit it out! If it tastes good, you can keep chewing if …
- it has no artificial flavors
- it has no artificial sweeteners
- it has no simple carbs
- it low in salt
- it has only good fats
- its low in fat
Obesity is an epidemic and a big part of the problem is engineered foods and intentionally addictive artificial flavors. Knowing what is in your mouth is far more important today than when Jack LaLane coined the phrase. For those interested in maximizing your muscle growth and getting as ripped as possible, its even ten times more important than for the general population to know what you are eating. When something tastes too good to be true, you had better know why!
Egg whites are awesome protein. They are relatively inexpensive and they have just as high a protein quality as most meats. Egg yolks are fine but only in moderation. If you are using eggs as a primary source of protein like in Scooby’s egg hash which typically uses 8 eggs, that is beyond moderation for a single serving in my opinion. You can either use real eggs and separate out the egg yolks or buy egg whites in a carton if you don’t like wasting food. I have probably gotten more hate mail about my stance on egg yolks than anything else. Why not eight whole eggs in a single sitting? Its true that eating cholesterol doesn’t raise your blood cholesterol, thats been shown. Saturated fat isn’t the horrible evil it was once thought to be either. So whats my problem with eggs and saturated fat? My problem with egg yolks in excess is two fold, calories and pesticides. Poultry is one of the most contaminated food sources in America. Very few people buy organic eggs which would solve my contamination objection to egg yolks. I can’t prove this but its a reasonable educated guess that since most pesticides are fat soluble that the pesticides in eggs reside in the yolks and not the whites so by using only the whites in non-organic eggs you can reduce your exposure to pesticides. Thats the first reason I feel its important that egg yolks only be consumed in moderation. The other is calories. People seem to forget that obesity is a huge problem in the developed world. This problem isn’t just with sedentary people, many gyms are filled with strong and fat people. Gaining muscle while staying lean requires a careful nutritional plan to insure that you get sufficient protein without getting an excess of calories. The number one best tool in keeping hunger at bay with a minimum of calories is fiber, it fills you up and makes you satisfied without calories. Each of the following breakfasts has 21 grams protein, which do you think would be the most filling?
- Three eggs
- One cup cooked oatmeal (1/2 cup dry) with one scoop protein powder (15g)
The three eggs has 240 calories and I don’t know about you but three eggs wouldn’t put a dent in my morning hunger. The meaty cup of oatmeal with dairy whey has only 210 calories and would go a lot further in satisfying my appetite because of the fiber.
I “don’t work” my legs and my neck is too small.
What people really mean to say is that I don’t workout legs like they do. Why? Because my goals are different! Many people have the mistaken notion that everyone in the world shares their fitness goals, this is why there are so many arguments about the “best workout”. I am very big on practicing what I preach and I nag people to set their fitness goals and work toward them. I follow my own advice. Every year I update my fitness goals and work toward them. I am not a cosmetic bodybuilder, I use bodybuilding as a tool to help in other sports and everyday life. Honestly I don’t care if people think my neck looks to small or if people think I should do squats. I do extreme endurance events like double centuries and half Ironman triathlons and my leg training is going to look different than a powerlifters or a pro bodybuilders. Biking up a 6000′ mountain might not show up on any leg workout plans but it’s still a killer leg workout. All the workouts on my website (beginner, intermediate, advanced) are all great general purpose workouts but there is no way that they can be optimal for every single goal! The “best workout” for a linebacker will be different than the “best workout” for a marathon runner or a MMA pro.
Let the haters hate if it makes them feel better. I will continue saying the things that I think need to be said and doing the videos that I think are important, regardless of how popular they are. Target those inner pecs!