Your best body ever in "2009", lean for life.

Boxers train to create a body that's a perfect balance of strength, stamina and speed.

Would you like to increase your lean muscle mass and the overall tone of your muscles, to Build a washboard stomach, defined legs & strong shoulders?

A boxing workout will allow you to sculpt and tone your body like no other workout. Experience total body conditioning.

Your first step is right here at ABFITT. Good luck & Happy New Year!


Boxing is an explosive sport, ballistic training methods are especially effective during weight training for boxing. Improve your strength

There are several general concepts, which helped to shape the specific program. First, the work profile of boxing is repeated 3-minute rounds of activity, often with very high intensity bursts within a round. The rounds are separated by one-minute rest intervals. Thus, the relative contribution of anaerobic energy release pathways is considered extremely important, with aerobic capacity playing an important role in terms of facilitating rapid recovery. Extreme conditioning is required to fight effectively for ten intense, 3-minute rounds and anaerobic endurance is a key aspect that cannot be overlooked.

Short of an early round knockout, boxers cannot afford to win only the early rounds of a fight. They must maintain an intense, but measured pace throughout a long and competitive bout. So conditioning counts almost as much as skill for boxing success. Optimal physical conditioning provides the platform from which the skills can be used. The best way to simulate the demands of boxing is to use conditioning methods, which mimic the work/rest ratio and integrated bursts of power that typify boxing.

Because boxing is an explosive sport, ballistic training methods are especially effective during weight training for boxing. Learn how to improve your strength and agility for boxing!

There are several general concepts, which helped to shape the specific program. First, the work profile of boxing is repeated 3-minute rounds of activity, often with very high intensity bursts within a round. The rounds are separated by one-minute rest intervals. Thus, the relative contribution of anaerobic energy release pathways is considered extremely important, with aerobic capacity playing an important role in terms of facilitating rapid recovery. Extreme conditioning is required to fight effectively for ten intense, 3-minute rounds and anaerobic endurance is a key aspect that cannot be overlooked.

Short of an early round knockout, boxers cannot afford to win only the early rounds of a fight. They must maintain an intense, but measured pace throughout a long and competitive bout. So conditioning counts almost as much as skill for boxing success. Optimal physical conditioning provides the platform from which the skills can be used. The best way to simulate the demands of boxing is to use conditioning methods, which mimic the work/rest ratio and integrated bursts of power that typify boxing.

Boxing is a highly individual sport. Fighters possess unique styles that create specific physical demands. Some rely on explosive strength ("power"), for others it's starting strength ("speed"), and for most a combination of the two ("speed-strength"). True champions change their style in a way that will make them more able to attack the weaknesses of any given opponent. Improvements in specific capacities can be made, but they are only helpful if integrated into the fighter's style. For example, extensive footwork exercises may not benefit the power puncher who fights stationary and looks to deliver a blow that starts with the legs and drives right through the opponent, and wins that way. Similarly, a fighter who relies on punching speed and fast footwork should not put all his training hours into heavy bag work and muscle mass development. So, the program designed must not only be specific to boxing, but also specific to the boxer.

Ideally, the boxing punch consists of synchronization between arm, leg, and trunk actions. The punching movement of a boxer consists of leg extension, trunk rotation, and arm extension, in succession. The more effective the coordination between arms, legs and trunk movements are the greatest and the impact force of a punch. The leg muscles play a vital role in the power developed in this sequence. Increasing leg force development and coordinating it with trunk and arm action is probably the most effective way to increase punching power.

Because boxing is an explosive sport, ballistic training methods are especially effective during weight training for boxing. This kind of training method requires the athlete to perform each repetition explosively, with maximal intended velocity. Finally, in my view, the best way to weight train for competitive boxing is via a cycled training schedule. This type of training schedule integrates workouts and exercises that will meet all the basic performance demands of boxing, strength, power, speed, agility, and strength endurance.

Hollywood, models & actor types get fit here. Because its real.

Shadowboxing allows you to rack up high reps without the resistance of a bag to slow your punches. You'll tone your shoulders, back, and core, which will help you throw faster punches.

Hit on beat: Play five songs that have strong rhythms and last three to four minutes each. On every fourth beat (count out loud to keep yourself on track), unleash one of the punch combinations below, and then bring your hands back to your starting stance before the next beat. The shifting tempo of some tracks may require you to punch continuously until the song slows.

Combos for each song:

1. Left jab, left jab, right cross

2. Right cross, left jab, right uppercut

3. Left body punch, right body punch, left uppercut

4. Right uppercut, right cross, left hook

5. Right cross, left hook, right hook

Warm Up Like a Champ

Three-time welterweight champ Antonio "the Tijuana Tornado" Margarito shows you how to prime your muscles. Complete each motion 12 to 15 times for enhanced mobility.

Upper body

Arm circles: Draw large circles with your arms, first in a forward motion, then backward.
Crossovers: Swing both arms out to your sides and then cross them in front of your chest.

Shoulder slumps: Tuck your chin toward your chest, drop your shoulders, and bring your chest slightly forward. Next, pull your shoulders back, raise your chin, and lift your chest while arching your back slightly.
Lower body

Hip circles: With your hands on your hips, spread your feet beyond shoulder-width apart. Move your hips clockwise in a circle, then counterclockwise. Repeat with your arms extended out to your sides.

Understand Why You're Doing Ab Work

Many people love performing a lot of high rep ab work because the burn they get in their abs makes them feel nice and tight. There's something about performing endless sets of high repetition ab exercises that makes people feel good. The stomach "feels" slimmer and tighter, even though it's only temporary.

Even people aware of the spot reduction myth still enjoy performing lots of ab work for this reason. However, your main goal should be to make those ab muscles bigger so they "pop out." Thenyou get the waist lean and tight through diet and overall exercise so those new muscles can shine through.

Think of it this way... Let's say you wanted to get more muscular biceps. So you go and pick up a 5-pound dumbbell and knock out 100 reps of curls. Your biceps feel nice, firm and pumped up right? But how much muscle are you going to build compared to picking up a 20-pound dumbbell and knocking out a set of 10 heavy curls? If you connect the dots back to the abs, you should be able to see the big picture.

Treat The Abs Like Any Other Muscle Group

It's still a big myth that the abs need a ton of repetitions. It's not uncommon to see people do 100 reps per set, performing exercises for minutes on end. However, the abdominals respond to resistance just like any other muscle group.

Since the range of motion on many ab exercises is shorter than something like a squat or bench press, a higher rep range can be used. But if you can perform any exercise for longer than a minute straight, you're not recruiting the type of muscle fiber that will lead to great ab stimulation.

Prioritize Basic Movements in the Gym

Many lifters and other athletes like boxers & gymnasts develop excellent core musculature without ever performing any ab exercises at all. If you perform big money movements like standing presses, deadlifts and squats, you can't help but activate your core.

Almost all single-legged movements, like lunges, are excellent for core activation. So are exercises like isometric planks, side planks, running sprints, and push-up variations.

Stimulate, Don't Annihilate

Remember, the goal with ab training is to get the abdominal muscles a little bigger so they pop out. Even when developed to the max, these muscles aren't very big because their potential for growth is limited. It doesn't take a ton of volume to stimulate them.

A total of 12 solid sets per week of direct ab work should be more than enough for anyone. Most people can actually get excellent results performing two or three sets twice per week. I prefer to pick two exercises, two or three days each week, and perform three to four sets of each movement.

weighted rope crunch
cable wood chop at med, high and low cable settings
dumbbell side bend superset
wheel.......bottom line get creative not crazy.


Fit guys and girls with lean, defined midsections stand out more than a Sumo wrestler in public. Not only is a granite set of abs sexy, but a solid core acts as a muscular belt that helps to stabilize the trunk and reduce the risk of back injury. Read on for a surefire recipe to turn a flabby belly into a six-pack.

Take a stroll through any crowded public place and, if you're like me, you'll probably find it hard not to make a mental "ewwww" note as you notice all the women walking around sporting flabby muffin tops.

In case you're not familiar with the terminology, muffin top is a slang term used for a female whose flabby midsection spills over the waistline of her pants so that it resembles the top of a figure-killing, calorie-dense muffin.

I'm not sure if the problem is that there are so many more flabby females these days or so many more ladies exposing their abdomens regardless of their shape, but the muffin top epidemic has become so bad that manufacturers have gotten involved and re-introduced mid-rise jeans, which come up higher on the waist to eliminate or hide the muffin top.

I know that the women who read this site might be in less-than-rock hard condition and would never deliberately expose their flabby tummies and back-fat like this, but the point is, with so much flab in today's world, there's something special and uncommon about a tight waistline and rock hard set of abs.

Get Your Diet Right!!!!

If your abs are covered in a blanket of bodyfat, you can train them until you're blue in the face... it's not going to make them look more impressive. You can't significantly increase fat loss by doing ab work. The way to shed the fat is by following a properdiet and training program.

One of the best exercises for developing a great set of abs is called a "push-away." Simply push yourself away from the dinner table when you start to feel full! Here are some quick general tips for getting your diet right:

#1: Protein Comes First

Whether you follow a low carb, moderate carb, or high carb diet, they can all work equally well providing you get your protein in. Shoot for at least one gram of protein per pound of bodyweight and make sure you eat protein at each meal. Craving junk food? You can have it from time to time, but not until you eat your protein!

#2: Try To Avoid The 7 C's

Sedentary people who have been eating "normal" food come to me all the time and say they've made up their mind. They want to get in shape and want me to do a complete overhaul on their diet overnight. I am usually reluctant to do this.

The problem is that going from a standard diet (which is usually full of junk) to a hardcore bodybuilding diet overnight is sure to drive anyone totally crazy and only set them up for failure. It's not uncommon for people to literally get sick when they go from eating junk to eating nothing but egg whites and chicken breasts.

The reality is that it doesn't take many adjustments for most people to make dramatic dietary improvements. All it reallytakes is avoiding the real "diet killers" and eating more protein. I call these diet killers the 7 C's. They are Colas, Candy, Cakes, Cookies, Crackers, ice Cream, and Cereal. Limit those and you instantly improve your diet.

#3: If It Can Be Shot or Grown, Eat It!

So what qualifies for a healthy food choice? If in doubt, ask yourself whether you can shoot it or grow it. If so, you can eat it. This will automatically get you eating more whole, unprocessed foods.

You can grow oatmeal, potatoes, and rice. You can't grow Frosted Flakes or ice cream. You can shoot steak, chicken breast, and fish. You can't shoot Pop Tarts. You can grow corn on the cob. You can't grow corn chips.

There is one exception - dairy products. They don't really fit the description but they are okay, except for ice cream.

#4: Snack Smart

When it comes to snacks, it's hard to beat beef jerky, raw fruit, or protein smoothies. Mixed nuts are okay in moderation. Many of the low-sugar puddings and Jell-O's aren't really healthy, but are also okay as an occasional snack.

What you want to avoid are calorie-dense, sugar-laden foods like the 7 C's. The problem with these foods is that they are so full of calories, sugar, and bad fats that it's just too easy to eat a half-day's worth of maintenance calories without realizing it.

Exercise: Focus on Activity, Not Crunches

The harder you train, the more calories you burn. The more calories you burn, the more fat you shed. The more fat you shed, the leaner you get and the better your midsection will look.What burns more calories... a set of squats or a set of crunches? A leisurely stroll on the treadmill or a 15-minute gut-busting session of high intensity cardio? Those are no-brainers. Hard exercises and workouts where you really break a sweat will keep your metabolism elevated for hours after you leave the gym.

A 30-minute session of moderate cardio and a 10-set weight training workout consisting of squats, bench presses, and rows will both burn the same amount of calories during exercise — about 300 to 350 calories. However, by doing the intense weight training, your metabolism will stay elevated for an entire day afterwards, burning an additional 700 or so calories.

So, if you want to burn a lot of fat, make sure to prioritize weight training and higher intensity cardio. If you need additional activity, you can add low intensity cardio once you have a solid, more intense plan already in place.

To the Warrior, there's only one goal in life: To be stronger than the previous day.

The Warrior awakens before the sun rises. To the Warrior, there's only one goal in life: To be stronger than the previous day. This means he must battle complacency and inner weakness. The Warrior must first win the struggle taking place within himself. The, he must overcome every external adversity that is presented before him. All of these adversities become battles within the larger war.

To win this war, the Warrior must reach deep down inside himself and find out what he's truly made of. A warrior does not say, "I will try." A warrior says, "I will do". No excuses. No regrets. No failures. If you live a life where you put limits upon yourself, you might as well be dead. Never accept mediocrity. To live, you must kill these self-imposed limits.

A warrior does not say, "I will try." A warrior says, "I will do".
A warrior always has a battle plan. You must learn to draw up a plan, implement your plan, overcome adversities, maintain discipline and control under great stress, and ultimately defeat your foes. To be a warrior, you must adopt this way of thinking. Now let's use this knowledge to improve your arsenal. It's time to build your shoulders.

The Battle Plan

The essence of the warrior's workout is to select those exercises that will elicit the greatest response. Therefore, you should always your workout with basic, heavy mass-building movements. These movements will recruit the greatest number of muscles from a particular area into the movement, therefore lending themselves to the heaviest weights.

Begin with the behind-the-neck military presses. This movement is one of the most riskiest due to the precarious position your shoulders are put in. The key is to be careful, start light and increase your poundages slowly over time. This exercise is the overall mass-builder for your shoulders. Your rep range should be in the neighborhood of 6 to 12, 12 for the warm-ups and down to 6 for the heaviest sets. You will do 4 working sets after your warm up.

You will do as many warm ups as needed to thoroughly warm up the shoulder area and get to your desired starting weight. Doing warm up sets is absolutely imperative for your first exercise.

Your next exercise will be seated dumbbell presses. The use of dumbbells for presses will help incorporate all of the stabilizer muscles in the shoulder region and make you stronger for all pressing movements. Do 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps. After doing these basic "mass" movements, head on to "isolation" movements.

Your shoulders should be thoroughly warmed up and fatigued. Now you need to isolate each individual muscle of the shoulder area. Begin by targeting the medial and front delts. To do this, superset standing side dumbbell laterals with front dumbbell raises. This combo will completely destroy the area. Go balls-to-the-wall here. Use the heaviest weight possible while keeping strict form. Finish 3 supersets of 10 to 12 reps for each exercise with absolutely no rest between them.

The key to both of these exercises is bringing the dumbbells as high as possible with your pinky slightly higher than your thumb (think of pouring a can of beer into a mug. The goal here is to completely exhaust the muscle and recruit every last muscle fiber. You'll know when you do it right. Your shoulders should be on fire and feel like they have been hit with napalm. You got to love the burn. You got to be able to take the heat.

There's one last area you need to hit. Rear delts. To be a true Warrior, you must never forget this area. Two exercises should crush this often neglected region. Begin with lying rear delt dumbbell lateral raises. This exercise is performed on an incline bench set at the lowest incline. Lie on the bench with your face facing into the bench and begin raising the dumbbells.

The rear delts are small in comparison to the rest of the shoulder complex. And since all the stress is placed onto the rear delts, they do not require a tremendous amount of weight. Even though you won't be using the large dumbbells, go as heavy as you can for 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps. After you finish this, they should be really pumped and screaming for you to stop. But you're not going to stop now. You're not finished yet. Go over and grab a low cable pulley and do 3 sets rear cable laterals. Again make sure that your pinky is higher than your thumb throughout the movement. Doing it this way places a greater amount of stress on the rear delt.


Oscar De La Hoya came into the ring wearing old-school brown colored gloves. By the time he left the ring, he just looked old.

In one of the most stunning and completely dominating upsets in boxing history, Manny Pacquiao won "The Dream Match" by TKO victory Saturday night when De La Hoya's corner threw in the towel after the eighth round.

A crowd of 15,001 fans at the MGM Grand Garden Arena and a worldwide HBO Pay-Per-View television audience witnessed what was described by HBO Sports President Ross Greenburg as "one of the greatest performances by a prize fighter I've seen in 31 years in this business."

Know More, Grow More, Richard Seymour's fit school.

How Much Can You Chin?
That's not a typo. Unlike in the bench press, most guys gauge chinup performance by how many reps they can complete, not the amount of weight they can lift. But Australian researchers determined you should be able to do a chinup with as much weight as you can bench-press. This validates an observation I've made training athletes: Shoulder injuries rise significantly once a guy can bench-press 15 percent more than he can chin.

To figure out how you measure up, do as many chinups as you can with your body weight, then compare that with the number of reps you can bench-press using the same weight. Let's say you weigh 180 pounds and can complete five chinups. Your strength balance is ideal if you can do, at most, five reps of the bench press with 180 pounds. If you can pump out 10 reps with that weight, however, you're substantially stronger in the bench, and a candidate for shoulder trouble.

How to do it: Grab a chinup bar with an underhand grip, hands shoulder-width apart. Hang with your arms straight. Pull your body up until your chin clears the bar, then slowly lower back down. Repeat.


Did you get punched in the nose by your boss at work today? Did he split open your lip with a right hand or crack your rib with a left hook?

Maybe he hit you so hard in the mouth that he cut your tongue and now it will take months to fully heal.

"It's got to be one of the worst jobs in sports," says sparring partner and heavyweight boxer Willie Chapman.

Perhaps he did all of that damage and didn't even pay for the medical bills. Don't bother calling the cops either because it's entirely legal.

Welcome to the world of a pro boxer's sparring partner, where daily pain and the ability to not fight back too hard are part of the job description.

"It's got to be one of the worst jobs in sports. It's hard," says Las Vegas-based heavyweight Willie Chapman, 36, who has sparred with former heavyweight champ Hasim Rahman, Wladimir Klitschko, 2000 Olympic gold medalist Audley Harrison and 2004 USA TODAY Prospect of the Year Samuel Peter.

"Every day you'd get beat up," says Jameel McCline, a 34-year-old former sparring partner for several big-name heavyweights who eventually went on to become a top fighter himself. "I did it for the experience. I wear it like a badge of honor."

Sparring partners are the anonymous fighters hired by the not-so anonymous fighters to help them prepare for an upcoming match. In other words, the sparring partner is the one who gets beat up regularly during the course of a training camp. Most good partners are ready to go three to four rounds as many as four times a week for as long as two months.

Wimps need not apply.

"We are the toughest (people) on the planet. We are tough as nails," says Chapman, who has a pro record of 18-20-3 but calls himself a professional sparring partner. "Boxing tests you every day. It gives you heart and soul. Mike Tyson cannot do my job. He don't have the heart. Being a sparring partner is my job, and I take pride in it. I never quit when I'm in there. I don't care if I die. It's better than sitting in some office."

Chapman — who once had his tongue severely ripped open while sparring — gets work with top heavyweights because he's able to imitate many styles and he's durable.

"When it comes to heavyweights, there is not a better sparring partner than me," says Chapman, who has used the money he's made sparring to help him pay for college courses and to support his 10 children. "When you're a sparring partner you want to act like the guy the other guy is going to fight. I purposely try to be like the other guy as much as I can. I believe I should get paid more because I do it so well."

No medical pay

The life of a sparring partner is hard. The work is irregular because it depends on the fighting schedule of the guys who hire you. There is no medical coverage and the pay is inconsistent. Chapman has worked for as little as $50 a day. The top partners could make a few thousand a week.

Regardless of how big or small the pay is, sparring partners have one thing in common: They are basically a piece of meat whose job depends on not being too good at fighting back but not being so easy to hit that they are of no help.

"The fastest way to get sent home as a sparring partner is to be really good or really bad," says Mike Middleton, 37, of Tampa, who has sparred with David Tua, Andrew Golota, Shannon Briggs, Michael Moorer and Corrie Sanders. "If you give them too much they'll send you home. And if you come in you're too easy to beat up and you don't give them any work at all they'll send you home. You have to give them work, but you just can't look too good.

"When you spar you know what speed to go at. You're there for the guy who is paying you. You are there to help him out. If he wants to go hard, you go hard. You go at his pace. You don't try to outdo him or they will send you home. Marvin Hagler used to say about sparring partners, 'You bring 'em in on a jet, and if they were no good we'd send them home on a bus.' "

Chapman says he learned how to follow his boss's lead early on.

"You go there not to beat him up," he says. "Just to give him good work. Beating him up doesn't do you no good because they don't give you a belt in the gym."

Sparring partners for the elite fighters will usually go to that fighter's training camp. It means being away from family and working in often spartan conditions.

"The worst part of being a sparring partner is taking care of yourself," McCline says. "No one is there to give you water in the corner. Sometimes you come into a city you are not familiar with. Your room and board is meager at best. I know one guy when he went to camp he had to stay three guys to a hotel room. The gym was a mile-and-a-half away, and they had to walk to the gym and walk back from the gym. And when they got back to the hotel the restaurant was already shut down. Sometimes it's not a very dignified job."

Says veteran manager Stan Hoffman, "You're not in charge in anything when you're the sparring partner. You're told when to get in the ring, when to get out, when to get up, when to run, when to eat."

Learning tool

McCline is one of the few boxers to escape being just a sparring partner. He turned pro in his mid 20s with just one amateur fight of experience, so his time as a sparring partner was a critical learning tool. He's since become a top 10 heavyweight and even earned a title shot, losing a split decision to Chris Byrd in November.

McCline (31-4-3, 19 KOs) says he owes much of his success to the fighters he sparred with in the early days, names such as Lennox Lewis, Tim Witherspoon, Ray Mercer, Michael Grant, Golota and Rahman.

"I got beat up so much, but I was big and strong and so young," McCline says. "I learned defense. I learned to protect myself from those guys. I know how to keep my chin down and head low. I definitely learned how to keep the shots from landing directly."

But there is also a negative that McCline says can haunt an aspiring fighter for the rest of his career.

"It gave me confidence in my chin because no one ever hurt me," he says. "Guys dazed me but no one ever took me off my feet so I got confidence. But the drawback was I didn't have the ability to learn to finish guys off. I didn't learn to sit down on my shots because I wasn't able to sit there and fight 100% with them."

Middleton (9-14-1, 5 KOs), a partner in a construction company, knows better than to rely on boxing as his full-time job. "You have to know your place in every sport," he says. "My place is if a kid is coming up and has some talent he can probably get by me. If a guy can't get by me he has no business being here."

But Middleton has the boxing bug and sparring, he says, is a great outlet. "I know I will never be able to get a fight with Tua or Golota, he says, "but I can get in and test my skills with them in the gym.

"How many people can say they've been in with those kind of guys? I'm lucky. I can show my kids pictures of me with those guys. I can say I was in the with the best. I got my (butt) kicked a lot, but hey .... "

The exercise ball helps athletes develop their explosive power skills.

Staying in shape is extremely important to many competitive athletes and casual athletes as well. Many exercises and exercise equipment have been created for the purpose of toning and maintaining the muscles used by athletes. One particular type of exercise equipment that many athletes find very important is the medicine ball. The medicine ball is sold in five to fifteen pound balls that are usually used during plyometric training.

The exercise ball helps athletes develop their explosive power skills and are commonly used by track and field athletes, boxers, baseball pitchers, basketball players, and football players. The medicine ball, also sometimes called the fitness ball or exercise ball, is round and usually the size of a basketball or volleyball. Athletes use a medicine ball for many different exercise routines. For example, boxers often use the medicine ball as a way to strengthen their abdomen which basketball players usually use the medicine ball to strengthen their arms or their chest.

Many athletes prefer the medicine ball because it is relatively small and does not take up a large amount of space. By staying is shape and using great athletic equipment such as the medicine ball, many athletes is able to perform at peek performance all year round.

Have You Abandoned the Pushup?

Have You Abandoned the Pushup?

I hope your answer is no. Because I've spent a lot of time training athletes, I far prefer the pushup to the bench press. After all, athletes don't typically spend a lot of time lying on their backs pushing up, unless they aren't very good at their sport.

So why train them that way? And besides working your pecs and triceps, the pushup engages your core, your lats, and just about every other muscle in your upper body. That makes it one of the most useful and efficient movements in any guy's exercise arsenal.

Think you're too strong for the pushup? Try the challenge I give to like-minded athletes: Assume a pushup position, but place your feet on a bench. Then have a partner place a 25-pound weight plate on your back, at the level of your shoulder blades. Now try to do 20 pushups with perfect form. Until you can pass this test, there's no reason to bother with the bench press.

How to do it: Keep your body rigid, in a straight line from your ankles to your head, and lower it as a single unit until your nose touches the floor. Then press back up until your arms are completely straight. Want an even greater challenge? I have my athletes perform the exercise with their hands on a BOSU ball (dome down), which adds an element of instability, forcing the core and shoulder muscles to work even harder.

Artificial sweeteners: A safe alternative to sugar?

Artificial sweeteners: A safe alternative to sugar?
What are sugar substitutes and how much is safe to eat?

More than ever, people are consuming large amounts of sugar as part of their daily diet. But in excess, sugar can take its toll. Eating large amounts of sugar adds extra calories, which can cause weight gain. So many people opt for artificial sweeteners—also referred to as sugar substitutes or low-calorie sweeteners—as a way to enjoy their favorite foods without as many calories.

What are artificial sweeteners?

Artificial sweeteners are chemicals or natural compounds that offer the sweetness of sugar without as many calories. Because the substitutes are much sweeter than sugar, it takes a much smaller quantity to create the same sweetness. Products made with artificial sweeteners have a much lower calorie count than do those made with sugar. Artificial sweeteners are often used as part of a weight-loss plan or as a means to control weight gain.

People with diabetes may use artificial sweeteners because they make food taste sweet without raising blood sugar levels. But keep in mind that if you do have diabetes, some foods containing artificial sweeteners, such as sugar-free yogurt, can still affect your blood sugar level due to other carbohydrates or proteins in the food. Some foods labeled "sugar-free"—such as sugar-free cookies and chocolates—may contain sweeteners, such as sorbitol or mannitol, which contain calories and can affect your blood sugar level. Some sugar-free products may also contain flour, which will raise blood sugar levels. Also, remember that foods containing sugar substitutes may also contain calories that may undermine your ability to lose weight and control blood sugar.

Sweet choices

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the following low-calorie sweeteners for use in a variety of foods. The FDA has established an "acceptable daily intake" (ADI) for each sweetener. This is the maximum amount considered safe to eat each day during your lifetime. ADIs are intended to be about 100 times less than the smallest amount that might cause health concerns.

Artificial sweetener ADI* Estimated ADI equivalent** OK for cooking?
Aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal) 50 milligrams (mg) per kilogram (kg) 18 to 19 cans of diet cola No
Saccharin (Sweet'N Low, SugarTwin) 5 mg per kg 9 to 12 packets of sweetener Yes
Acesulfame K (Sunett, Sweet One) 15 mg per kg 30 to 32 cans of diet lemon-lime soda*** Yes
Sucralose (Splenda) 5 mg per kg 6 cans of diet cola*** Yes

*FDA-established acceptable daily intake (ADI) limit per kilogram (2.2 pounds) of body weight.

**Product-consumption equivalent for a person weighing 150 pounds (68 kilograms).

***These products usually contain more than one type of sweetener.

Safety of artificial sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners are often the subject of stories, presented in the popular press and on the Internet, claiming that they cause a variety of health problems, including cancer. According to the National Cancer Institute, however, there's no scientific evidence that any of the artificial sweeteners approved for use in the United States cause cancer. And numerous studies confirm that artificial sweeteners are safe for the general population.

Aspartame does carry a cautionary note, however. It isn't safe for people who have the rare hereditary disease phenylketonuria (PKU). Products that contain aspartame must carry a PKU warning on the label.

Still empty calories

Just removing sugar from cookies and chocolates doesn't make them low-calorie, low-fat foods. If you eat too many, you'll still get more calories than you may need, and you may not get enough nutritious foods. Unlike fruits, vegetables and whole grains, sugar-free soft drinks, candy and desserts often provide few—if any—beneficial nutrients.

Use artificial sweeteners sensibly. It's okay to substitute a diet soda for a regular soda, for example, but diet soda shouldn't be the only beverage you drink.

Know More, Grow More, The Keys to Muscle Building

Every month for the past 22 years, I've logged more hours in the gym than most guys do in their lifetimes. And I've probably heard the question "Whaddya bench?" at least once a day.

Enough already. And not just for the sake of my sanity. I can tell you that when it comes to your workout, there are far more important questions. Questions that, combined with the right answers, will help you bust through longtime lifting plateaus and slash your risk of injury. Ready to pack on new muscle, build superstrength, and engineer a high-performance body? Your education starts now.

Can You Row Your Body Weight 10 Times?
There's a saying, If you're not rowing, you're not building muscle. And there's no better way to start doing both than with an exercise called the inverted row, or body-weight row.

Besides being great for muscle building, the inverted row is valuable because it strengthens your rear shoulders and upper back. These oft-neglected muscles directly oppose the muscles used in the bench press--a benefit that can help prevent a slumped posture. Think of it this way: If you bench-press far more than you row, the stronger muscles on the front of your upper body will overpower the weaker ones on the back, pulling your shoulders forward.

If you can't do 10 perfect repetitions of the inverted row, chances are you have a serious imbalance. The fix? Do two sets of the inverted row for every one set of bench presses (or other chest exercise) that you perform. Use this approach until you eliminate your weak spot.

How to do it: At a Smith machine, grab the bar with an overhand grip and place your heels on the floor, with your legs straight. Pull your chest to the bar, pause, and lower yourself until your arms are straight. To count as a rep, your chest must touch the bar.

"Super" Joe Beats "Superman"!

For the second time this year Joe Calzaghe rose from a first round knockdown to beat a contemporary boxing legend. Only this time, instead of a close split decision, there was no doubt as Calzaghe won a comprehensive 12-round unanimous decision against Roy Jones Jr. in the main arena of Madison Square Garden in New York City. In front of over 14,000 in attendance, most of which seemed to be rooting for Calzaghe, the light heavyweight champion won by three scores of 118-109, losing only the opening frame on all three cards.

Calzaghe: US fighters ignorant!

"Americans can't fight as well as they think they can," unbeaten light heavyweight Joe Calzaghe told the London Times in advance of Saturday's fight with Roy Jones Jr. "They've always been ignorant. That's why they don't give me the respect I deserve. Americans only won one boxing medal in the Olympics [a bronze]; they haven't got one heavyweight world champion. People say, 'You have to come to America, you're just a European fighter.' But Europeans are now better than American fighters." Calzaghe (45-0, 32 KOs), who moved to light heavyweight after a brilliant run as WBO super middleweight champion, insists that he will retire after this fight against the 39-year-old Jones. Previously he defeated 43-year-old light heavy Bernard Hopkins. We will see, I predict Jones with the upset!!!


BUILD YOUR BEST BODY EVER....could you, if you had the time?

On my flight over here to Africa, I found myself sitting next to a well dressed gentleman, a businessman on his way to South Africa after a brief stop in Angola. As we talked casually about the book I was reading ( boxing for fitness ) and about our work, I explained how I keep a one month on, one month off work schedule. He smiled and replied " Oh so that's how you keep in shape? With all that free time ". " Yea, if I had all that time I would be in that kind of shape too ".

I smiled and leaned back in my seat, " how old are you " I asked, noticing his bulging belly was protruding out of his neatly pressed shirt. Thirty three, he replied. I ended our conversation with a half hearted " hey, safe travels ". however what I was thinking was what a " jack ass!! " I am thirty seven years old and have made my living one way or the other through traveling, nationally and internationally since I was eighteen years old. Time, I thought....I make the time and always have, for my fitness and my health. Never have I allowed myself to get out of shape and never would I use that sorry excuse if I did.

Clearly the worst excuse you can make is claiming you don't have the time. I don't buy it. So I arrive in Africa after a day and a half worth of travel to get here. three plane rides, many security check points and a bumpy bus ride. As I drag myself to the gym I can't help but to recall that businessman's comment about time. I wondered even if a person has the time to commit to fitness and training, would they put in the effort it takes to maintain a low body fat percentage, Lean muscle tissue, resting heart rate below fifty beats per minute, supplementing and eating clean foods?

I wonder? What I am getting at is even for me, a man who has never known anything other than living a fitness lifestyle and gyms,( Stepped into my first one at the age of nine ) Finds it hard at times to keep it fresh and stay motivated. To put the hard work in, day after day, month after month, year after year. So Even if you had the time, doesn't mean you will put forth the effort it takes. Time doesn't equal effort. Effort equals results from the time you have put in to your fitness, your health.



Weighted pull up- stick a weight plate between your knees and perform a wide grip pull up.

Incline fingertip push-up....Get your feet up on a bench, press up on your fingertips and do the standard push up.

Squat press- Grab two dumbbells and hold at your sides, squat down below parallel and explode upwards pressing the weight above your head. Quickly go back down and continue.

Weighted bar dips- Again grab that weight plate stick it between your knees and dip until your elbows go below your shoulders.

You just trained all your muscle groups and have drove your body into a furious fat burning mode for hours after the workout.



Your back is made up of three major muscle groups. The latissimus dorsi is located on each side of your back and helps you extend, rotate, and pull your arms toward your body. The erector spinae (lower back) is made up of three muscles that run the length of your back from your neck to your fanny. The erector spinae is involved in flexion and extension of the upper body, as well as rotation. The rhomboids (major and minor) are between the shoulder blades and aid in rotation, elevation and retraction of the shoulder blades. These are also known as your 'posture' muscles.

Why Should You Work Your Back?

Your back muscles are involved in just about every activity you do each day, so it is important that they're strong enough to handle all that work. Strength training your back muscles will also add muscle mass to your upper body, which can help make your waist look smaller. Like your chest, your back is made up of big muscles that can handle heavy weight and, therefore, help you burn more calories.

How Often Should You Train Your Back?

Like all muscles in your body, you can perform back exercises up to three non-consecutive days a week. If you're lifting heavy weights, (enough that you can only complete six to eight repetitions) you'll need two or more days of rest before you perform the exercise again. For this reason, you might only work your back once or twice a week. If you're goal is endurance and strength, stick with one to three sets of 8-15 repetitions, and at least one day of rest before you perform the exercises again.

What Exercises Should You Do?

Most back exercises involve some type of rowing motion such as the seated row, dumbbell row and rear delt row. Other popular exercises include lat pulldowns, back extension and reverse flies. Choose a mixture of different exercises to target your back from a variety of directions and make sure you vary your routine every 4-6 weeks to avoid plateaus.Remember, don't neglect your other muscle groups.

The old man did it!!! Huge upset!!!

There is an old saying in boxing that says every great fighter has one great fight left. Former two-time world champion Bernard "The Executioner" Hopkins, at age 43, proved that adage true after he turned in a masterpiece against his 26-year-old opponent, world middleweight champion Kelly "The Ghost" Pavlik last night in front of 11,332 fans at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, NJ. Fighting at a catch-weight of 170 pounds in a non-title bout, Hopkins, 170, of Philadelphia, PA took Pavlik, 169, of Youngstown, OH, to school, winning 33 out of a possible 36 rounds scored by the three judges.


A friend sent this to me. It's been said that God first separated the salt water from the fresh, made dry land, planted a garden, made animals and fish... all before making a human. He made and provided what we'd need before we were born. These are best & more powerful when eaten raw. We're such slow learners...

God left us great clues as to what foods help what part of our body!
God's Pharmacy! Amazing!

A sliced Carrot looks like the human eye. The pupil, iris and radiating lines look just like the human eye... and YES, science now shows carrots greatly enhance blood flow to and function of the eyes.

A Tomato has four chambers and is red. The heart has four chambers and is red. All o f the research shows tomatoes are loaded with lycopine and are indeed pure heart and blood food.

Grapes hang in a cluster that has the shape of the heart. Each grape looks like a blood cell and all of the research today shows grapes are also profound heart and blood vitalizing food.

A Walnut looks like a little brain, a left and right hemisphere, upper cerebrums and lower cerebellums. Even the wrinkles or folds on the nut are just like the neo-cortex. We now know walnuts help develop more than three (3) dozen neuron-transmitters for brain function.

Kidney Beans actually heal and help maintain kidney function and yes, they look exactly like the human kidneys.

Celery, Bok Choy, Rhubarb and many more look just like bones. These foods specifically target bone strength. Bones are 23% sodium and these foods are 23% sodium. If you don't have enough sodium in your diet, the body pulls it from the bones, thus making them weak. These foods replenish the skeletal needs of the body.

Avocados, Eggplant and Pears target the health and function of the womb and cervix of the female - they look just like these organs. Today's research shows that when a woman eats one avocado a week, it balances hormones, sheds unwanted birth weight, and prevents cervical cancers. And how profound is this? It takes exactly nine (9) months to grow an avocado from blossom to ripened fruit. There are over 14,000 photolytic chemical constituents of nutrition in each one of these foods (modern science has only studied and named about 141 of them).

Figs are full of seeds and hang in twos when they grow. Figs increase the mobility of male sperm and increase the numbers of Sperm as well to overcome male sterility.

Sweet Potatoes look like the pancreas and actually balance the glycemic index of diabetics.

Olives assist the health and function of the ovaries
Oranges, Grapefruits, and other Citrus fruits look just like the mammary glands of the female and actually assist the health of the breasts and the movement of lymph in and out of the breasts.

Onions look like the body's cells. Today's research shows onions help clear waste materials from all of the body cells. They even produce tears which wash the epithelial layers of the eyes. A working companion, Garlic, also helps eliminate waste materials and dangerous free radicals from the body.


We all know how important cardiovascular exercise is -- how it's great for your heart, cholesterol, and blood pressure. And whether you choose to walk, bicycle, or jog, you know that any exercise that increases your heart rate helps you burn calories and melt away unwanted pounds.

But that's only half the equation.

For a balanced fitness program, strength training is essential. It can slow the muscle loss that comes with age, build the strength of your muscles and connective tissues, increase bone density, cut your risk of injury, and help ease arthritis pain.

"Strength training is very important, not just for your muscles but for your bones,It's preventative for [bone-thinning] osteoporosis and other problems."

Studies from the CDC have found that muscle-building exercise can also improve balance, reduce the likelihood of falls, improve blood-sugar control, and improve sleep and mental health.

And let us not forget the weight-loss benefits. Not only does it make you look trimmer and shapelier, but building muscle also helps you burn calories -- even after your workout is done.

"Three to four hours after a strength-training workout, you're still burning calories, programs such as my H.I.G.T launch your body into fat burning hyper-mode.

Strength training is especially important for dieters. When you lose weight, up to a quarter of the loss may come from muscle, which can slow your metabolism. Strength training helps you rebuild any muscle you lost by dieting -- or keep you from losing it in the first place. So add some strength training to your fitness goals.

David Beckhams Football Fitness Workout

David Beckham is probably the most famous footballer (soccer) of the current day. He has risen through the ranks from a schoolboy hopeful, to team captain, to win caps for England, play in two World Cups, and now helping to increase soccer awareness in the USA, playing for LA Galaxy. But in addition to this, he has become something of an icon, a style guru, and a model for male health and fitness. So, the big question is, how does he do it? How do you get a body like David Beckham? How does he train, what does he eat?

Many years ago professional footballers moved on from relying on a few Sunday morning training sessions to get themselves in shape for a game. Superior fitness is now essential in the modern football game.

David Beckham’s well toned physique is due to three essential components to a perfect body: strength training, cardio/endurance training, and diet/sports nutrition. In some ways David Beckham’s body is similar to that of the greatest fitness icon of all time, Bruce Lee. David Beckham has minimal body fat, well toned, but not overly bulky muscles, and a lean and lithe appearance. The three parts to David Beckham’s body can be summarized as follows:

David Beckham’s Diet

To ensure fat is kept to an absolute minimum, but muscle can still grow, it is essential to ensure that you have a fast metabolism that burns fat (body fat and dietary fat). To do so requires a well balanced and healthy diet - plenty of green leafy salads, low GI vegetables, lean meats, fish and poultry. Avoiding sugar, high GI carbohydrates (such as bread, pasta, flours, sugars, cakes, and general junk food) is essential to keeping the fat off and the metabolism fired up.

David Beckham’s Strength Training

The key to athletic and functional strength is compound weight training. Bodybuilding exercises which focus on individual muscles are only for show. To build functional strength for sports and athletics, compound training is essential. Compound exercises include the dead-lift, squats, bench press, bent-over/cable rows, shoulder presses and standing barbell curls.

The picture on the right shows him performing a free weight inclined bench press. As there is no safety cage and no sign of spotters, David is likely to be lifting a lighter weight, with higher reps. This provides more muscular endurance. Most athletes train with heavier weights for increased upper body functional strength, but for footballers, the main strengths are skill with the ball and speed. However, by bench pressing the upper body is kept in muscular balance with the lower body, and overall athleticism is increased.

David Beckham’s Endurance Training

For David Beckham, the bulk of his cardio fitness training probably comes from football training sessions, but supplemented with some running and cycling. The main training routine for footballers is a specific circuit training routine. Footballers include in their arsenal speed work and plyometric training routines, as well as classic old school circuit training, such as shuttle runs, squat thrusts, jumping jacks, skipping, jogging forwards and backwards, plus abs/core workouts and upper-body conditional with crunches, leg raises and press-ups (push ups). Take a look at our circuit training section for more in this type of training.

Soccer players require excellent strength and conditioning not only to perform well on the pitch, but also to help prevent injury during a game. Keeping the joints strong and flexible is essential. Here diet plays an important role, and supplementing a diet with cod liver, lucosamine and chondroitin, and other vitamins and minerals is essential to ensure supple but strong joints. Flexibility training is a vital area of physical training, with stretches both before and after workouts.

Combine these three elements of training and you can get a body like David Beckham, and strive to perform as well on the pitch as he does. We cannot help you with looks and style, but for fitness, endurance and strength, this should get you on track to have a “Beckham Body“.

It's body-beautiful over body-functional, aesthetics over athletics.

WE ARE SUCKERS for packaging. It makes Britney Spears a star and inflates sticker prices. So it should not shock that packaging has shanghaied fitness, too. There is so much emphasis, ego, pressure — and money — riding on the way the body looks that how well it works becomes secondary.

It's body-beautiful over body-functional, aesthetics over athletics.

Yet the true beauty of the body is in its engineering. It's a machine of synchronized components and interlocking systems. When one part lags, another automatically tries to pick up the slack. It comes with an automated warning system (lingering pain we often ignore) of potential or actual breakdown. It can move on all kinds of planes, is triggered by mere thought, and can repair itself.

The mechanisms are complex, influenced by and adapted from genetics, attitude, training and that thin line where use spills into overuse. Age is a constant in how the body evolves, but so is how you treat it.

At elite levels, the sport usually selects the athlete as much or more than vice versa. Certain strengths, body types and biomechanic skills match certain sports. Runners, in general, are svelte; the tall have a built-in advantage at basketball. And particular sports-related routines have profound influence on how the body develops. Hard-core weight-lifters build bulk. Rowers cultivate shoulders and backs. Swimmers boast powerful lungs. And in keeping with the wonder of the human body, there are exceptions to each of these rules.

How can someone exercise repetitively and excessively and not break down, while half as many movements chafe another athlete's joints and tendons? What causes that jab of pain at the end of a throw? How does someone rehab a back injury, stay healthy and be competitive, too? What mental adjustments offset age?

Top athletes face those sorts of questions all the time, but they concern the casual athlete and those who just want to stay active, too. With that in mind, we had doctors at the University of Washington Sports Medicine Clinic take a look at four athletes in various levels of fitness, commitment, circumstance, age and activity to get a picture of how the body develops, excels, breaks down and rebuilds.

WHY CAN KELLY STRONG run so far so fast so much and not wear out?

It's part genetics, part focused training and part hunger to achieve. An assistant UW track coach, Strong is a national-caliber distance runner in her prime, and she looks it. Slim, long-legged and 26, she runs 90 miles a week as she trains to race in the steeplechase at the USA Championships in three weeks (and perhaps qualify for the world championships).

Her build and gliding gait give her a chance against the best. So does her ability to process oxygen. Dr. Tom Robertson of the UW Medical Center's Pulmonary Diagnostic Lab recently put her on a treadmill to test her VO2 Max (the volume of oxygen consumed while exercising at maximum capacity). She produced the second-best score of any female runner he has ever tested in the lab.

It's the bursa that burns from overuse
Bursitis is inflammation of the bursa, a slippery sac that lies between tendons, bones and muscle. When it gets inflamed, often from overuse or repetitive movement, it gets swollen, which causes friction within the tight space it has to operate. Chet Morgan, an aggressive baseball player and dirt-bike racer, has lived with the ache for some time.

Under the "six-pack" is what counts
The rectus abdominis, what we often call the "six-pack" muscle, has the sex appeal, but it is the deep transverse abdominis that does the most work in stabilizing the spine. The rectus abdominis allows the trunk to flex, which causes the lumbar spine to flex, too. The transverse abdominis effectively surrounds and supports the spine. Olympic rower Jennifer Devine developed her transverse abdominis to help compete despite a history of back problems.

At stress points, tendons take the heat
Tendinitis is common around the elbows, shoulders and knees. It occurs when a tendon—which attaches muscles to bone—gets inflamed. Morgan's injury was below and on the inside of the elbow, which is why he feels it most at the end of a throw or at the bottom of a bicep curl.

"The amazing thing about athletes at her level," Robertson said after the grueling test, "is that if I put her back on there right now, she would probably give the same result." Robertson's clinic usually sees people recovering from surgery and suffering lung-related diseases. Most of them won't be running races, but all of them need to improve how they process oxygen. And they can.

Strong, who grew up near Portland, began running in seventh grade because her school didn't offer girls' soccer or softball. She was a natural and had a good high-school coach who helped refine her technique. She attended Arizona State, where, as Kelly MacDonald, she earned five All-American honors and three Pac-10 titles and set five school records.

"At first, the sport chose me, but then I chose it after I saw I had potential and that it was something I could do for a long time," she says. "I am still getting better. Many women runners don't reach peak until late 20s or early 30s."

Athletes at her level push their bodies to the brink, the thin line between fine-tuning and breaking down. She strained an Achilles tendon and lives with constant little aches, but has escaped significant injury. Her durability interests doctors, and she believes it is a function of mechanics as well as mental approach. She has a smooth, natural stride; her foot strokes the ground rather than pounds it. Although she works out in 13 sessions a week, she varies the routines.

"I think a key component is my competitiveness," she says. "I've increased my mileage and do all the extras like weights, drills, core work, medicine-ball work, strides, because that is simply what it takes to get better."

Going solely by her "body mass index" number, which loosely determines weight ranges in which people of certain height and gender should be, she is underweight. Yet Strong is strong because she adheres to good nutrition and sensible eating. She eats when she's hungry.

Dr. John O'Kane, head UW team physician, had Strong stand one-legged on an unstable surface. She handled it flawlessly, which makes sense. She spends 90 miles a week perched on one foot or the other and has developed the kind of balance and hip strength her sport demands. She was only average during a test to measure core strength, which also makes sense, says O'Kane. Her sport doesn't demand anything special in that regard.

Strong also has loose, hyper-flexible joints, the kind that got her teased as a kid with nicknames of Gumby and Beanpole. Those pliant joints help her run well, but would make her more susceptible to injury in a sport that requires tightly anchored joints.

"People always ask, 'Should I run? I'm worried about my bones and joints,' " says O'Kane. "Anyone with two legs and a halfway decent pair of sneakers can run, but how far you're going to go depends on factors, some of which you can control and some you can't. You can't change your genetics. You can change your VO2 Max within a range (perhaps 10 percent), and some people are naturally leaner. But you can control your nutrition and you can listen to your body."

HOW DID JENNIFER DEVINE overcome two herniated discs to become a two-time Olympian in rowing, a sport notoriously rough on the back?

For one thing, she is tough-minded. She was an underdog through much of her early career, having been turned away from the UW crew team because she was considered too short at 5 foot 7. For another, she is smart and inquisitive. Now 36 and working long hours as a resident at the UW School of Medicine, Devine dissected the biomechanics of her sport to fit her body type and stroke, and tackled her rehab with the same clinical precision.

She also developed tremendous core strength — those trunk muscles that control the motion of the lumbar spine, but aren't highlighted on magazine covers.

O'Kane put her through the same two tests he had Strong do. Although the two women share physiologic markers (Devine also has an excellent VO2 Max score), they also show distinct differences. Devine's balance was ordinary. Although she and other rowers have powerful legs, they sit through their sport, so excellent standing balance isn't necessary. Her core test was another matter. On her back and using only her core muscles, she smoothly lowered her legs to just inches above the ground and let them hover. She was able to do the test with no spine extension, which O'Kane says was better than he's seen anyone else do.

Core training is the rage, but too often it is presented as the way to six-pack abs. Those look nice, but they aren't the muscles that protect your spine. For one thing, they are farthest away. The muscles that help most are the deep ones: the transverse abdominis, which wraps like a belt around the spine, and the multifidi muscles, spliced between the spine's stacking vertebrae. These muscles can prevent the spine from excessively extending and rotating during movement, and they are generally weak in people with chronic back problems.

"A lot of people don't really use those muscles," says O'Kane. "They need to work with a physical therapist or a trainer who understands how to get those muscles to fire. You can learn how to engage those muscles and then subject yourself to increasing challenges of trunk control. Maybe lie down and lift one leg off the floor while keeping proper muscles engaged. Then do it using a stability ball. Or try lifting two limbs together, all the way keeping the contraction."

Not only did Devine do what it took to rehab from herniated discs on two separate occasions to make the Olympic teams in 1996 and 2004 (she skipped the 2000 Olympics for medical school), she developed a style of rowing that minimized her weakness and played to her strength. Devine also discovered she had natural gifts. The women's single-scull race is a long event that requires endurance. Her VO2 Max is virtually the same as Strong's, but she also produces low levels of lactates, meaning she has slow-twitch muscles built for endurance even in her muscular frame.

After she was injured, Devine didn't just rehab. She developed a plan to prevent recurrence, working her abdomen and back muscles, flexibility and posture to protect her back. It makes sense that Devine, who speaks four languages and is a classical pianist, is about to begin her career as a physiatrist, a nonsurgical branch of rehabilitative medicine.

"Everyone has to take the time to figure it out," she says. "You can't go right back after getting hurt and do the same thing. Ask yourself why does it hurt? What muscles do I need to recruit? I see training and exercise as a good investment in the future."

Perhaps because Devine did much of her training, rehabbing and learning alone, she became intimately invested in the sport. And today, she sorely misses the long hours of practice.

"Most people view fitness and exercise as dreary, things they have to do," says Devine, whose grueling shifts as a resident have kept her from doing much of it lately. "I just love to row. I have always loved training. I had to learn to love competing."

WHY DOES CHET MORGAN'S right elbow zing and his left shoulder crackle?

While Strong and Devine have trained with goals in mind, recreational athletes like Morgan pursue a different form of passion — and at an uneven pace. As do many weekend warriors, he goes full steam ahead. "When I'm out there competing," he says, "I go 110 miles per hour, and feel like I'm 10 feet tall and wearing a bulletproof vest."

He plays second baseman in the 28-and-over division of the Puget Sound Senior Baseball League. He's 36, but looks younger. He's fast and aggressive, leading the league in stolen bases last year, and has also put on 25 pounds, mostly muscles, since he got serious about weightlifting in 2001.

The injuries Morgan presented in the clinic were the sort that someone of his age, sports and go-go attitude gets. The elbow problem seems to be tendonitis, and the shoulder looks like bursitis.

Dr. Christopher Wahl, UW surgeon and team physician, says Morgan shows common overuse injuries, the kind that, if untreated, linger and can affect other parts of the kinetic chain. With repeated throwing and weightlifting, an athlete like Morgan gets micro-tears in the fibers of his biceps tendons. If those tears don't have time to heal, fewer fibers are left carrying a proportionally bigger load.

"We see this a lot in throwers," Wahl says. "A pitcher may see his velocity dropping or mechanics falling apart, so he starts pushing the ball or doing things with the rest of his body to compensate. He might have a shoulder or elbow problem, but he is developing low back pain because of changing his mechanics."

The first step to treatment is to recognize something's wrong. Then you need to rest and rehabilitate the injury. Many people, however, do what Morgan does. They grit their teeth and play through it. That often leads to a longer course of rehab and sometimes more injuries.

The source of Morgan's pain is at the far end of the biceps tendon on the inside of the elbow. He originally felt it throwing to first base on a cold day. He kept throwing after the first tweak, and it hurt more until he chalked it up to the inevitable price of aging. He continued doing heavy biceps curls at the gym but made sure he didn't extend the motion completely.

Wahl says rather than continuing with the standard curls, Morgan should focus only on the lowering motion of the exercise. Studies have shown that lowering — what's called "eccentric" exercise — helps rebuild the affected area more quickly than even complete rest.

Morgan's shoulder problem is an impingement of his bursa, which acts as a cushion where bones, muscles and tendons must slide across each other. The shoulder is our joint with the most range of motion and enables our arms to reach, stretch and rotate. That mobility also makes the shoulder most susceptible to dislocation and other injury, especially the farther from the torso the arms stray. Your shoulder stability is almost as unique as your looks. Two mechanisms determine how well the bone and socket stay connected: a fibrous envelope called the joint capsule and the rotator cuff muscles.

When Morgan lifts heavy weights, he exercises the muscles that tend to push and pull across the shoulder joint. To ensure the cuff muscles can hold their own and make these rotations frictionless, Morgan and other athletes should take the time to develop them through lightweight but targeted exercises.

"These are balance issues," Wahl says. "A lot of us are out of balance, and we choose to be by what we do and the way we train. Lifters want to lift huge weights. That's great until the amount or frequency of it exceeds the cuffs' ability to keep the head of the shoulder stable in the socket."

HOW LONG CAN LORI SABADO keep doing triathlons?

Sabado supervises physical therapy at the sports clinic and has been in need of such services, too, through much of her active life. She has hurt her hip and a shoulder in separate skiing accidents, and her back playing softball; ankle problems have dogged her since she was 12. She's had considerable knee problems, too.

Yet, she has done more than 70 triathlons and, at 49, plans to keep going. Through cross-training and compromise, she walks the fine line to balance aches and aging with her relentless energy. In fact, injury led her, at age 32, to her first triathlon. She learned how to swim after fracturing her back. After a year, she competed and finished the Emerald City Open Water Swim at Seward Park. That propelled her to competing in the Seafirst Triathlon. Her goal was simple: Don't be last. She beat five competitors. That was about 17 years ago, and she has been a dedicated triathlete since.

Sabado underwent a knee operation, a scoping of the patella, a few years ago, but it hasn't fully recovered so she uses her expertise as a physical therapist to monitor and rehab it. Knee injuries account for about 50 percent of the cases that come through the physical-therapy clinic. The joints just aren't prepared for the mayhem athletes put them through.

We all know about injuries caused by a traumatic mishap — we "blow out" something. But most knee injuries are caused by attrition and some are connected with imbalance elsewhere in the kinetic chain, from a weak hip to a pronated foot. The knee joint can be pulled side to side or excessively up or down or in a number of directions. These injuries often linger.

"We have to be pain detectives and try and deduce the factors that activated the symptoms," says Dr. Carol Teitz, a surgeon and UW team physician. "If you get hit by a car in the crosswalk and are treated for the injuries, you probably aren't going to go out and stand in a crosswalk again. But if you're a runner, you don't want us to tell you to stop running. So we have to look closer and come up with a plan."

That plan often involves rest, but also alternative forms of activity. The ability to train without jeopardizing an injured part enables athletes like Sabado to keep going. Some think that's why triathlons are so popular. She also usually chooses activities — swimming and biking — that are easier on her troublesome ankles and knees.

"I have to listen to what my body is telling me," she says. "When I feel that irritation, I do something else. Instead of running, I'll maybe bike or swim."

Although lingering pain should be taken seriously, soreness is also an initial step of the critical regeneration process. When you work out, you cause micro-damage. The body dispatches cells that release chemicals that clean up the site and produce inflammation that attracts other cells charged with rebuilding and regenerating the affected area. Taking anti-inflammatory drugs within that window, often between 36 and 48 hours, can delay the regeneration process.

Sabado's goal is longevity, not where she finishes in the standings.

"When I started running again I was smiling in all the pictures. A friend told me I wasn't working as hard as I needed to. I said, yes I was. I could have worked harder and been miserable. I wanted to enjoy what I was doing.

"Are the hours worth it to me? As I age, the answer is increasingly yes. I'm just happy to be out there. It takes enough time to train, and if I pushed harder, I'd probably be miserable. I prefer to dial it down some and enjoy the experience more."


The most demanding muscle groups to train are for many the legs. Working your leg muscles is a great way to build lean muscle mass and to amp up fat burning. Leg workouts typically are the most difficult, but well worth it! Remember you can not target fat loss to a specific area, but you can build lean muscle tissue while simultaneously burning fat over your entire body! Without a single doubt, the deep squat is king of all leg exercises.



A better way to burn fat!

If you have ever seen the same 230-pound man run for an hour on a treadmill 3 times a week and never get skinnier, there may be a good reason why. Maybe you are the 230-pounder that can’t get any lighter on the scales. In either case, research exists showing the superiority of strength and interval training to steady aerobic exercise for burning fat.

Hardcore runners will likely refute this point till their dying day. However, fitness specialist and former professional boxer Richard seymour recently presented a theory to the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Breaking several previously held ideas about fat loss.
“It comes down to disrupting the body’s resting metabolic rate,” said Seymour. “Effective fat loss hinges on the post-workout ‘what happens?’”
Long, steady endurance training does little to disturb the resting metabolic rate. With heavy lifting or intense running spurts, a greater demand is placed on the body than with an hour long jog. Heavy lifting, says Seymour, has been shown to increase the resting metabolic rate by 13% an hour after a workout, and by 4% sixteen hours after a workout.

In addition to increasing the amount of weight lifted, Seymour recommends taking rest times of 60 seconds or less to “create maximal metabolic disturbance.” A specific example he gave was to perform a heavy upper body exercise for less than a minute, then move to a heavy lower body exercise for less than a minute, then take 30-40 seconds of rest. This approach allows a total body workout that builds strength and burns fat simultaneously.

Take Away: Many will always prefer aerobic exercise to strength and interval training. Aerobics will always have their place, as they are great for increasing VO2 max and muscle endurance. If the goal is fat loss, however, heavy resistance with short rest time is a proven method with a clear advantage.

For individuals who want to burn fat, I end their sessions by having them complete a 4-station complex, take a minute rest and repeat 2-3 times. This is a great way to end a workout and leave yourself feeling exhausted.

Sore Muscles? Don't Stop Exercising

Starting a workout program can be challenging. Making the time to exercise, creating a balanced routine, and setting goals are hard enough, but add to that the muscle soreness that comes with adapting to that regimen, and it may be difficult to stay on track.

Chances are, you won't be leaping out of bed to get to the gym when it hurts to hold your arm up to brush your teeth.

After participating in some kind of strenuous physical activity, particularly something new to your body, boxing for fitness for example. It will be common to experience muscle soreness, tightness and achy hands.

"Muscles go through quite a bit of physical stress when we exercise," says Rick Sharp, professor of exercise physiology at Iowa State University in Ames.

"Mild soreness just a natural outcome of any kind of physical activity," he says. "And they're most prevalent in beginning stages of a program."

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness
Exercise physiologists refer to the gradually increasing discomfort that occurs between 24 and 48 hours after activity as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), and it is perfectly normal.

"Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is a common result of physical activity that stresses the muscle tissue beyond what it is accustomed to," says David O. Draper, professor and director of the graduate program in sports medicine/athletic training at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.

To be more specific, says Draper, who's also a member of the heat-responsive pain council, delayed onset muscle soreness occurs when the muscle is performing an eccentric or a lengthening contraction. Examples of this would be running downhill or the lengthening portion of a bicep curl.

"Small microscopic tears occur in the muscle," he says.

The mild muscle strain injury creates microscopic damage to the muscle fibers. Scientists believe this damage, coupled with the inflammation that accompanies these tears, causes the pain.

"The aches and pains should be minor," says Carol Torgan, an exercise physiologist and fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine, "and are simply indications that muscles are adapting to your fitness regimen."


Today's fitness programs tend to focus on functional fitness, which refers to exercise that simulates real-life activities and uses a wide variety of movements through a wide range of motion. At the heart of these routines are a variety of compound exercises. Compound exercises are multi-joint movements that work several muscles or muscle groups at one time. A great example of a compound exercise is the squat exercise, which engages many muscles in the lower body and core, including the quadriceps, the hamstrings, the calves, the glutes, the lower back and the core.
What Are Isolation Exercises?

Isolation exercises work only one muscle or muscle group and only one joint at a time. Examples of isolation exercises include the biceps curl or the quadriceps extension. These exercises are often performed with the commercial weight machines found in health clubs. The idea is to isolate one muscle group and move from from one machine to the next until you "work" your whole body. Isolation exercises are frequently used in physical therapy clinics and rehab centers in order to correct a specific muscle weakness or imbalance that often occurs after injury, illness, surgery or certain diseases.

Why Use Compound Exercises?

For healthy athletes who are trying to get the most out of a training program, compound exercises are generally preferred and recommended. There are many reasons to use compound exercises during your workout, including the following:

Using more muscle groups. . .

means more calories burned during exercise.
simulates real-world exercises and activities.
allows you to get a full body workout faster.
improves coordination, reaction time and balance.
improves joint stability and improves muscle balance across a joint.
decreases the risk of injury during sports.
keeps your heart rate up and provides cardiovascular benefits.
allows you to exercise longer with less muscle fatigue.
allows you to lift heavier loads and build more strength.
Examples of Compound Exercises

Kettlebell Swings
Shoulder Press
Pull Down
Pull Ups
Push Ups
Chest Press

Why Use Isolation Exercises?

Isolation exercises are often recommended to correct muscle imbalance or weakness that often occurs after an injury. Isolating a specific muscle is sometimes necessary to get it to activate and increase it's strength. Often, after an injury, a muscle becomes weak and other muscles compensate for that weakness. If you never retrain the injured muscles to fire properly again, it may set up a biomechanical imbalance that is difficult to correct.

Even if your weakness isn't noticeable because other muscles are compensating, imagine how much stronger you would be if all the muscles were firing at maximum contraction. That alone is a good reason to occasionally do isolation exercises.

Another reason to perform specific isolated exercises is to increase the size or bulk of a specific muscle group. If you want big biceps for your spring break beach vacation, you'll probably want to add some bicep isolation work to your regular exercise routine.

Most healthy athletes will use compound exercises for the majority of a training program and use isolation exercises to complement that program as needed.

Examples of Isolation Exercises

bicep curls
tricep kickbacks
lateral raises
front raises
rope pull-downs
leg extensions
hamstring curls
calf raises

The Bottom Line:

If you are interested in getting a complete, efficient and functional workout, doing predominantly compound exercises during your training is ideal. But there are times when isolating a specific muscle, muscle group or joint is necessary and recommended. If you aren't sure what is best for you, a personal trainer or athletic trainer can help locate any muscle imbalance or weakness you may have and design a program to fit your needs.

EXERCISE AND INTENSITY LEVEL, what it means too you!

Exercise intensity is defined in several ways—by measuring heart rate and oxygen consumption or by how an individual feels when performing an activity.

Intensity is the amount of physical power, expressed as a percentage of maximum, the body uses in performing an activity. For example, it defines how hard the body has to work to walk a mile in 20 minutes or to skip rope.

There are several ways to measure exercise intensity.1 One common method measures the amount of oxygen consumed by the body as an activity is performed. This method is expressed in studies as the percentage of maximum oxygen consumption, or %-VO2 max. The oxygen consumption method is used most often in a research setting.

Another method of measurement works with the increased heart rate that occurs with exercise. The greater the intensity of the activity being performed, the higher the heart rate. This method is expressed as a percentage of maximum heart rate or %-MHR.

Measuring heart rate is the method most often used to evaluate intensity in everyday life or to set the level of exercise in physical training.

Low, moderate and high levels of exercise intensity, as measured by heart rate, are defined as follows:
Low (or Light) is about 40-54% MHR.
Moderate is 55-69% MHR.
High (or Vigorous) is equal to or greater than 70% MHR.
An individual's maximum heart rate can be estimated by using the formula: 220 &150 age in years = MHR. Pulse rate can then be monitored while an exercise is being done and the % MHR calculated to assess intensity.

So, for example, the estimated MHR for a 50-year-old individual would be 220 - 50, or 170. Let's say that an individuals heart rate measured 100 beats per minute performing a certain activity. Since 100 is approximately 59% of the MHR (170), that would be considered a moderate level of exercise. The overall levels of intensity for a 50-year-old would be as follows:
Low Intensity: heart rate is 68-to-92 beats per minute.
Moderate Intensity: heart rate is 93-to-118 beats per minute.
High Intensity: heart rate is more than 119 beats per minute.
Rating of Perceived Exertion
A simpler method than monitoring heart rate, which also corresponds with measured MHR, is the Rating of Perceived Exertion (or RPE).2 RPE is measured by having a person rate how they feel (psychological perception) when performing an activity. This kind of a survey, in which a person rates their perceptions, attitudes or feelings on a scale, is known as a Likert scale.

The ratings of physical effort and feelings correspond with heart rate, and people can learn to exercise at a desired level of intensity based on their subjective feelings of exertion. It should be noted, however, that people who have been previously inactive tend to overestimate their intensity level, especially for moderate activity.3

Level of Intensity RPE Physical Cues
Light Easy Does not induce sweating unless it&39s a hot, humid day. There is no noticeable change in breathing patterns.
Moderate Somewhat hard Will break a sweat after performing the activity for about 10 minutes. Breathing becomes deeper and more frequent. You can carry on a conversation but not sing.
High Hard Will break a sweat after 3-5 minutes. Breathing is deep and rapid. You can only talk in short phrases.

All activity whether done at a light, moderate, or high level of intensity expends energy, so remember...intensity is simply the amount of effort you give in any exercise endeavor.


I remind myself daily of my good fortune and blessings, I remind myself that because as a child I had a mother and father that loved me and instilled in me very valuable tools for life and for achieving. As I start each new day I ask myself these six simple yet defining questions whenever a new challenge presents itself. I call this "My six."

1) My cause- Having a goal and a plan on how to achieve it is a huge driving force in my life. I believe in achieving simple goals first leading up to the main objective. Attacking any goal this way simply allows for success and reward.

2) My passion- Fitness and competition are without a doubt a strong passion that I have. My health is my greatest possession. I cherish it and thrive on discovering new ways to achieve overall physical and mental health. My years after professional boxing have been filled with educating others in the benefits of a fitness lifestyle.

3) My diet- Food is fuel, plain and simple. Without a doubt you are what you put in your body. The reflexion in the mirror is all the proof of this you need. I enjoy cheating with tasty treats, however ultimately I stay true to eating clean.

4) My workout- For anyone that reads my site regularly, you know the answer to this. My training preference is my H.I.G.T ( high intensity group training ) program. Heavy weight, multiple exercises, up to four performed back to back with little to no rest.

5) My stuff- I have come a long way from living in a dingy studio apartment on seventh st. in Allentown PA. driving a beat up used car. Through hard work, belief in myself, and some luck I have done good for myself. I remind myself daily of the harder times of my life. It keeps me sharp, motivated, and excited about the future.

6) My style- Yeah I am a jeans and T-shirt guy, but that isn't what I mean by style. By style I mean my way of living life and seeing the world as a grown man. I believe in honoring my wife and our marriage vows. "Honor and Respect, baby."
I believe in loyalty and commitment. I dream "big" because that's the only way I can. I believe each and everyday I will be better. I feel sad for those that make excuses for not believing the same. I don't hold grudges and I don't hate, I will not carry those burdens. I love my boxers, Zoe & Hayden, the quest for adventure and loyalty that they posses, I believe are traits every human should also strive for. I have heroes that I admire and try to be like, they are my parents. Without them I could never be the man that I am today!


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Five ways to recover from your toughest workout

It's hard to get excited about cold showers, taking naps, and popping fish-oil capsules. But all three can help you grow muscle and gain strength.

Take Fish Oil
It has been linked to reduced inflammation, which helps fight the soreness you feel a day or so after a heavy lifting session. You can find fish oil in pill and liquid forms in most drugstores and supermarkets.

Don't Go To Failure
It's OK to do it in a couple of workouts per month, but routinely hitting the wall will damage your body's ability to recruit your strongest muscle fibers and will deplete your protein and carbohydrate reserves. Instead, cut off your sets one rep shy of the most you could do with perfect form.

Drink A Post-Workout Shake
Chugging a mix of high-glycemic carbs and whey protein as soon as you're done lifting stops muscle breakdown right away and begins repairs. Look for a powder that offers a rough ratio of two grams of carbs for every gram of protein.

Get Wet
When you're showering after a workout, make the water as cold as you can withstand, and let it beat on the muscles you trained for one minute. Then immediately turn the water to as hot as you can withstand for another minute. Repeat the process a few times. The contrasting temperatures flush more blood into your muscles, providing essential nutrients that speed healing.

Your body releases growth hormone while you sleep, so staying up late every night robs it of the ability to build muscle. Make sure you get eight to 10 hours, and sneak in a nap during the day whenever possible