Thursday, August 30, 2007

Try It and Find Out

“Try it and find out!” are probably the simplest words ever spoken, yet by far the most influential. Quite often, people ask opinions or suggestions from others who they feel or deem to be more knowledgeable than themselves. And like most often times, a person will respond by either regurgitating what they were told or think to be a correct response based on something they’ve read, have seen or possibly heard. Few are ever capable of recognizing what they’ve actually gained from personal experience because they are anticipating what they were told to expect or they feel they should be giving an “obvious or anticipated” response. And unfortunately, fewer individuals respond with what would be the best response which is “I don’t know”. For those who really “don’t know”, this would be the best possible (and you would think the most obvious) answer they could provide. For others who really “do know”, this too would be the best possible answer they could provide. Allow me to explain.

Too often, as I stated previously, individuals dole out recommendations with little or no working knowledge. More often than not it would be best to provide no comment or suggestion at all, but as I stated, most people need to express their thoughts. For those who truly understand what is of value, the sound advice of “Try it and find out” can be the best counsel one could ever offer. Being unique individuals with distinct needs, one can through trial and error discover what is in fact best for them.

I’ll leave you with this provoking quote from Luc de Clapiers de Vauvenargues: “The things we know best are things we haven’t been taught.” - Fred Fornicola

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Arthur Jones

Arthur Jones revolutionized strength training and the world of bodybuilding back in the early '70's by challenging mainstream thinking when he brought Nautilus equipment and his principles of hard, brief training to the forefront.

Arthur challenged the industry hard, leaving a wake in his path, and while he was not adorned by many, he was highly respected by those who came in contact with him. His straightforward approach and hard-nosed logic made Arthur Jones a man, who when he spoke, people listened.

I consider myself to be fortunate to have learned of Arthur Jones when I was at the tender age of 16 and have learned a great deal from his writings and applying his philosophy on training. I am also very lucky to have friends who were "there" when Nautilus and high intensity training were pioneering a more safe, efficient and effective means of exercise.

Today, Mr. Jones died at his home in Florida and he leaves a legacy that only those who knew him could truly understand. I offer my condolences to his friends and family and appreciate what he has done for me and the fitness industry. I don't think there will be another like Arthur Jones.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

And The Secret Is......

Hey, everyone wants to know the "secret" to looking and feeling good - and according to the marketing whores who manufacture ridiculous products and commercial gyms and trainers who offer the "latest and greatest" trendy craze, you'd really think there was a secret to becoming stronger and better fit.

So, because I'm such a nice guy, I'll let you in on the industry secret...... and that secret is, there is none!

No magic potion or exilir nor vibrating table, wobbly board or special amount of sets and reps lend themselves to being anything more than a game of Three Card Monty for the fool who is willing to play. Success in your fitness (and let's face it, in anything you do) revolves around using common sense, working hard and being consistent at your endeavor so those of you out there hoping the next Men's Health magazine will give you the next clue to great abs or you ladies are hoping to look like a Hollywood movie star next time you take your "butts and guts" class, understand that this may be just a fun way for you to achieve your fitness - and that's OK, but don't think for one minute that you are embarking on the ride to victory in your pursuit of physical greatness because 999 times out of 1,000 - you're on the wrong road. - Fred Fornicola

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Abbreviated Routines

Dr. Ken Leistner wrote a great article (one of many) back in December 2000 in the Hard Training Newsletter entitled “More On Abbreviated Routines”. Doc summed up how an abbreviated routine based around “squats” worked very hard two times a week and a couple pressing and pulling movements would more than satisfy the catalyst to improve one’s muscular (and cadiorespiratory) strength. Doc Ken also stated (and I concur) how many people are afraid of an abbreviated routine that involves fewer than four or five exercises done for one all-out effort and that that type of workout isn’t enough “work”.

I believe that many individuals, especially those who use recreational activities often, would benefit tremendously from an abbreviated or limited training program. If the following type movements aren’t contraindicating to an individual, a focus on some type of deep-knee bend, an overhead press and a pulling movement (especially one from the floor) would enable a trainee to stimulate all the major muscle groups if worked hard and consistently two or three times per week. A selection of bodyweight exercises, dumbbells, barbells, stones, sand bags and other odd objects would certainly fit the bill for a person to perform enough work to stimulate the overall musculature. Fred Fornicola

Monday, August 06, 2007

Staying Lean

I have always had trouble keeping a lean tight appearance. When I was competing in Body building in the 60’s and 70’s I tried all the suggestions that were common then. Training everyday and sometimes twice a day. Higher reps were a common answer. We also had our share of the “latest and Greatest” fat removing supplements. I tried them all, and it did work on my wallet. It got very lean. I never have had a problem looking “bigger.” Sometimes I looked much bigger than I really was. A blocky, thick look was handed down by my Grand Father. It missed my Dad. He was always very lean and muscular.

I was in the Gym everyday, pounding away. A few of my training partners had no problem at all staying lean and muscular. No thought was given to genetics back then. It had to be some secret training method. It never did occur to me that these guys were training just like me but getting and staying lean when I wasn’t. The answer had to be in the next issue of “Strength And Health” or “Muscular Development” or “Iron Man.” I read the Weider Mags too but didn’t believe much of it’s content. The York Gang were my heroes.

Gradually it dawned on me. I always ate way more than I needed. These same training partners and I would share meals. I really mean “share.” They rarely finished what they were eating and I would eat my portion and whatever they had left. So I’m thinking, “The leanest of these guys don’t have the appetite that I have.” So for a contest that was coming up I decided to cut back on the chow. At that contest I was more lean than ever. I had found the “secret.” For me anyway. This new addition to my training life took a lot of discipline. I was hungry much of the time but I had the “lean look” that I wanted. Carbs were out, and this was long before Dr. Atkins was heard of.

All of the “Fat Burners” only burned a whole in my finances. I had a huge supplement bill every month. Once I found out what I needed to do (for myself) it was pretty simple. Most things are simple when you remove all the BS and hype. Eat sensible and work out hard. No supplements necessary. Just iron and getting up from the table before everyone else.

Today I use the Fitday website to help me stay within a good calorie guideline. I stray now and then but know my body and soon get back on track. I have found that for me the “KISS Method” works everytime. - Jim Bryan