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Abs Are NOT Made in the Kitchen!

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Yes, this is my second blog today! What can I say? I'm getting the New Year off to a good start!

I've heard the phrase "Abs are made in the kitchen" quoted lately by a lot of people I greatly respect. I've given it a lot of thought and have finally decided that, while I think I understand the intention behind this statement, I don't agree with it. At least, not entirely.

You can eat right all you want to and reduce the fat on your body, but the muscle that makes abs is not made in the kitchen. Mine were made mostly flat on my back on the floor doing ab exercises. And since my kitchen has a hard tile floor, I can say with utmost certainty that my abs were NEVER made in the kitchen. Uncovered in the kitchen? Yes! Made there? NO!

I guess I don't like the phrase "Abs were made in the kitchen", because it gives the false impression that if folks just eat well enough, they'll have abs of steel. Tight, muscular abs come from the hard work of exercise. Getting them hard, however, requires dedication to reducing fat through diet. Becuase let's face it: Fat isn't hard, it's soft. So if you have hard ab muscles but they are covered up by soft fat, you're still gonna have soft abs.

I've said before and will say again that you can build all the lean, strong, beautiful muscle you want to, but if it's covered up by fat no one is gonna see it. It doesn't mean the muscle you are building isn't doing you any good, because it certainly is! It's benefiting your health in a myriad of ways I won't take the time to go into here. But the fact is that you won't be able to actually visibly SEE the muscular fruits of your labor if you are over-fat.

It's always a two-part equation to building ANY muscle, not just abs: Fat reduction and weight bearing exercises. You can't leave one out and expect to see big results.

Abs are built in the gym and unveiled in the kitchen.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FORTYMILE 4/28/2011 5:38PM

    My abb workouts are my favourites.. Love working the abbs. emoticon

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SUNSHINE667 1/8/2011 1:47AM

    I so look forward to getting even better results now that I have joined a gym! I needed an outlet, but not only that the choices of the weights and equiptment that will help me add more to my look out, I am on way...your blog just motivated me to crank it up!


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GYMRAT_AT44 1/6/2011 10:30AM

    Nancy - I know I have posted it, and I think it comes from seeing and hearing people talk about the endless # of crunches and situps and planks they do. And then they say they do 100's daily, yaddy, yaddy, yaddy - but, they don't have a six pack... hmmm, wonder why! Yep, then you ask about there diet and BAM... there you have it. So, I would hope that people would understand that just like the rest of the body, the ab muscles have to be worked out to be developed and your diet helps refine the rest so you can see that hard work!

Great blog again!

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LOVE_2_RUN 1/5/2011 10:05PM

    I totally agree!! Another great, enlightening blog.

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SABANA5 1/4/2011 9:28PM

    i really like your take on this--and i totally agree!

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LUVYA04 1/3/2011 10:39PM

    Well said emoticon

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HEALTHDUDE 1/3/2011 6:40PM

    You said it Accurately...."Abs are built in the gym and unveiled in the kitchen".Unfortunately my problem isn't the gym. It's the kitchen.

Good blog.

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MUSCLES586 1/2/2011 8:41PM

    I love reading your blogs!

Happy New Year to you!

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BEACHGIRL76 1/2/2011 3:46PM

    I couldn't agree more. Said perfectly. I hope to see mine one day...probably next year. I have to lose this fat first! But I still weight train too :)

Comment edited on: 1/2/2011 3:49:36 PM

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CHARLIESANGEL10 1/2/2011 10:08AM

    You should know since you have steel abs! I hope sit ups on the bed work as well as on the floor b/c it's all I can do right now due to nerve damage...I'd better go for a walk to work on the fat layer now...

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GODZDESIGN95 1/2/2011 12:03AM

    I am wondering if you workout at home can you get just as much as good results as in the gym. The gym just is not for me. I got hit on too much by guys.

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CICI510 1/1/2011 7:43PM

    So true! Happy New Year sweetie!!!

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FITPRIS 1/1/2011 7:36PM

    You got that right! The only time my abs scream in the kitchen like they do in the gym is if I eat too much!

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    Another great blog! Sometimes people who just focus on the eating (and sometimes the eating and cardio) end up looking and feeling much different than they thought they would.

@THEHONESTME - I hope I'm not stepping on any toes, but I think others would agree that weight training is beneficial regardless of how much bodyfat you have to lose before you see results, as long as you are in good enough health to par take in weight training. You might not build up a lot of muscle, but it will help you preserve the muscle that you already have, because when we lose weight it isn't all fat. It's water, fat, and sometimes muscle that we lose.

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HEALTHYME47 1/1/2011 3:12PM

    I love it! As much as people like to argue about the question of which is more important, nutrition or exercise, there's no getting around it - we need to pay attention to BOTH to get the results we want!

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BANKER-CHUCK 1/1/2011 2:00PM

    Nancy I agree with your assessment in this Blog. The term "Abs were made in the kitchen" is only one part of the equation. Losing the fat that covers muscle will show definition but the Abs take hard work and be consistent.
Have a great year Nancy.

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THEHONESTME 1/1/2011 1:48PM

    Nancy Anne, my husband and I have had this conversation several times. We both have fat we want to lose and muscle we want to build. He thinks we should lose the fat first, then build muscle. I want to do both at the same time by using cardio to reduce fat and strength training to build muscle. I'm not asking you to take sides, but what do you think? I value your opinion. Thanks! Kathy

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Forget Making Fitness a New Years Resolution

Saturday, January 01, 2011

The term "New Years Resolution" sounds temporary- Like it is only supposed to last through the in new part of the year. Instead, make your fitness goals a "Life Time Resolution".

The problem with making weight loss and being more fit sound like temporary goals, even if you reach those goals, is that they aren't temporary at all! Who wants to lose the weight just to gain it back? Or get fit just to lose all of the progress they have made and go back to what they were before they set the goal? "Not I!", said the cat! These are goals that we want to be permanent, and to make them permanent you have to start patterns and habits that you will employ for the rest of your life. Otherwise, you are going to find yourself right back where you started.

So save your New Years Resolution for one-time good deals, like buying a new house or re-doing the spare room. Your health-related resolutions should have nothing to do with the New Year and have everything to do with being resolved to live a healthier life from this point on out.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LUVYA04 1/3/2012 9:27AM

Thanks for Posting Nancy. You are right Your health shouldn't be a New years Resolution.!!!!!!

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TIAGAYEPFA 1/2/2012 4:55PM

    Totally agree!


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    Sounds good!

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KAMAPERRY 1/2/2012 3:01PM

    Yes maam! Still perfect!

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MZKAY25 12/26/2011 8:51AM

    Sounds like a much better plan u have here love it!

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SUNSHINE667 1/8/2011 1:49AM

    AMEN! I never make resolutions becasue I set goals year round!

Hope your New Year is off to a great start! emoticon

Comment edited on: 1/8/2011 1:49:22 AM

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TEJAS1291 1/5/2011 3:21PM

  Not me said the flea!!! LOL and Amen said the choir!!LOL I was visiting a friend and noticed your pic and comments on her page and came by to check out your page.
I am trying to get buff and then some with the muscle,but this body is NOT cooperating.How DO you look so good?? I mean, I'm 50 and have had this thing going on with this weight for 4 years,slowly adding up the Lbs,until I reached 50 Lbs over my norm of 104.I had always been lean and had good muscle tone.Now I'm going for a lean but not skinny look and I want to add more muscle...You are probably sick of giving free advice but I'd LOVE to know what your program consists of.I see you are a personal trainer too!! I try to surround myself with friends that have a positive attitude and you seem to fit that bill perfectly.I'm in Texas too!! I live on South Padre Island about 30 miles south of Corpus Christi!! Can I add you as a friend?? I'd love to pick your brain about fitness!!!LOL

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KIMPOSSIBLE82 1/3/2011 9:28PM

    Excellent point!

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CHARLIESANGEL10 1/2/2011 10:04AM

    Losing it & gaining it back--are the worst! My only New Years resolutions this year are gonna be 30 % more fruit eaten( in place of large bread portions) & I am gonna add organize closet b/c I haven't done it yet, I have procrastinated so long that I forgot where one of the organizers I bought to do it is, hahaha)

Comment edited on: 1/2/2011 10:05:07 AM

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THEHONESTME 1/1/2011 1:07PM

    Well said! Yesterday I thought about writing down my 2011 GOALS -- then I realized I normally write down my resolutions -- this year I had referred to them as GOALS without even thinking about the difference. I intend to reach my maintenance goal weight and stay there once and for all. Happy New Year, NancyAnne!

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A Little Holiday Tough Love

Friday, December 03, 2010

Remember: It's a Holiday Season, not an Eating Season.

If you don't want to derail your own weight loss efforts, you are going to have to take ownership of your eating for the next month. Scratch that..... You are going to have to take ownership of your eating for the REST OF YOUR LIFE!

Yeah.... I know this reality sucks, but it's where we are- We didn't get fat by being careful throughout the Holiday Seasons prior, so we sure as heck aren't going to get (or stay) skinny by eating whatever the devil we please until January 2nd. Plus, if you DO eat whatever you desire for the next month it's going to be even harder to lose the cravings for the simple carbs when the four-week binge is over.

I have so many tempting food thingys coming up I can't even tell you. But I don't need to, because you can identify- You have them, too! Look folks, we can't make the tempting foods or fancy schmancy occasions with butter and sugar dripping from them go away. We are going to have to deal. And most of the time we are going to have to say "It looks marvelous! So tempting, but NO, and thank you very much for your efforts"- sometimes over and over. We're going to be confronted with food pushers. But if we cave it isn't their fault, it's our own: WE are responsible for the bodies God has entrusted us with, not them.

The fact is that we are going to have to develop backbones if we aren't going to seriously derail our own efforts by January second, and potentially longer if we have a hard time getting back on track. It's tough to say "No" when faced with yummy food you only get once a year. But what do you want more? The yummy food, or the yummy body? It's your choice, but personally, I'll take the bod, thank you.

So I'm allowing myself a few MEALS this month where I am allowed to eat and not count macro nutrients. But the rest of the time I am going to practice complete avoidance, starting with tonight: I have a cookie open house that I will take my daughter to and I am drinking either unsweetened tea or water, and I am eating NO COOKIES or goodies whatsoever. Yes, you heard that right: I will be avoiding the yummy little things all together. Because tomorrow I have to weigh and report it to my FaceBook Holiday Weight Loss Challenge I started. (If you want to join, Click here:!/event.p
It's open to anyone.) And next week I have to take progress photos for the cursed thing that RachelMac started and I committed to! (What can I say? I'm a glutton for punishment!)

I seriously doubt any of us will look back a few months from now and say "I so regret not eating more garbage this past Holiday season".

So if you've been binging, knock it off! Stop! Today! Right now! Go back to the basics! Claim whole, clean foods as your friend, and treat the next minute like a new chapter in life.

The year is too short to spend more than a full month of it destroying your health.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

APMAC_D 12/7/2010 10:19AM

    Great blog- you are 100% right. Thank you for being such a great sparker. I am going to stay dedicated over the holidays! No regrets

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PINKBEANBOO 12/6/2010 11:00AM

    I didn't say NO this weekend. My goal is to only have sweets on 12/18, 12/25, & 01/01. BUT I had 7 little butter cookies over the weekend. Dang. Ok, back to saying NO THANK YOU.
But thank you for the great blog.

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DEVORA4 12/6/2010 1:08AM

  GREAT blog and I hope the folks will pay attention to it!! I voted for it.

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    Great blog, so very true... I'll take the yummy body too:)

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HDHAWK 12/4/2010 11:43AM

    Excellent! I seem to do best if I tackle one event at a time. Make a game plan, get through it, then on to the next event. Seems to help instead of looking at weeks of events all at once!

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FLEXCHEF 12/4/2010 11:33AM

    Awesome blog as always girl. Love ya

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MCMOM11 12/4/2010 11:29AM

    emoticonThanks for the spark girl!!!!! Just what I needed;)

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CICI510 12/4/2010 10:13AM

    Your blog always inspires me!! Thank you so much for the reminder. :)

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MAJORMOM68 12/4/2010 10:04AM

    This was real good. We like to give ourselves excuses to eat crap we aren't suppose to. The holiday season is just another excuse.

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PRYCELESS1 12/4/2010 4:52AM

    Thanks for the reminder. I'm trying to keep my food and exercise on track for the rest of this month,then i will allow myself Christmas day (but i won't go overboard). I know you don't need it but good luck saying no to the cookies. emoticon

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NONNATAMMY 12/3/2010 11:57PM

    I hope you don't mind if I quote you on my spark page. Your first paragraph just slapped me in the face and I need that. The holidays just sneak in and seem to take over my eating without me even realizing it. But you are definately right it isn't the eating season. Thank you so much for the tough love. You deserve the popular blog award for this. Tammy

Comment edited on: 12/4/2010 12:15:26 AM

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MISSYGEEN 12/3/2010 7:36PM

    So far I have been tempted very little this holiday season and have kept my commitment to working out and pushing myself to work harder at the gym. For a long time I could not look at myself in the big mirrors at the gym to watch my form and now that I can look and smile at how far I've come there is no way I'm going backwards for a month of oil and sugar. Thanks for the reminder.

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    This is an excellent blog! Thank you for posting it. You are so right. I joined Rachel's challenge too. I know it will help keep me honest over the next month and beyond.

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Enjoy Your Weight Loss Journey

Sunday, November 21, 2010

This may sound ridiculous, but try to enjoy the process of losing your weight and obtaining fitness.

No, I have not lost my mind. emoticon

Celebrate the little victories: Relish being in the next size down, at the 5-pound mark you were waiting to get to, being in the 190's and 180's and 170's (or whatever numbers you need to get through). Gloat a little about the scale going down. Look at your emerging waistline or trimmer arms or thinner face with admiration. Enjoy the process! Because if you don't, that's going to be a lot of time you spend half-living, and I can't think of one good reason to do that willingly. Can you?

This is a journey that is uniquely yours. No one else will have the experience of traveling it but you. Enjoy it.

It took me about a year to lose about 45 pounds of excess weight, and although there were some moments of angst ("Why can't I get down below 166???"), I am glad that overall I enjoyed the process and celebrated little victories along the way. Otherwise, it would have been a year of wasted negativity.

No matter how much weight you have to lose, chances are you aren't going to lose it quickly. Life is too short to be waiting for "When I lose this weight". Live life RIGHT NOW, at your current weight, to it's fullest potential. Don't wait to have nice hair, wear stylish clothes, learn to do your makeup, or anything else that you think could make you feel better about yourself. Regardless of your weight, you have every right to feel good about yourself right where you are. And besides, it's good for you! Like I said in my blog "Love Yourself In Your Current Condition", posted back in April, the better you feel about yourself right now, the more likely you will be to see your weight loss efforts through.

How much of your life are you willing to live miserable?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MISSYGEEN 12/3/2010 7:55PM

    I agree! I am actually enjoying this journey. I celebrate the small things like passing up the donuts in the break room today. I did not have to talk myself out of eating them, it just didn't appeal to me and for that I celebrated. I almost felt like teasing the donuts and sticking my tongue out at it. I win!

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LOVE_2_RUN 12/1/2010 10:35PM

    Thank you for this blog!!

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KOOZIE1 11/29/2010 8:22PM

    THANK YOU! You have helped more than you know thru this post!

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DEVORA4 11/24/2010 10:02AM

  Hi I was web surfing and came accross your page. So glad I did! I loved your blog and totally agree. I have lost thr weight but now need to get buffed up. Happy Holiday!

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LASHAY74 11/23/2010 7:02PM

    Just what i need to hear as my journey is definately slower than most! I am enjoying seeing the changes. Although as i take my weekly pics, it usually takes my supportive husband to point out the changes and his encouragement! emoticon

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SUNSHINE667 11/22/2010 10:17PM

    Soo true and I am enjoying every minute of my journey! I enjoy the small victories along with the big ones. We enjoyed our great but slow journeys that took time ( pregnancy, college, etc)so why not enjoy our weight loss, GREAT BLOG!!!!

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HONEYBUNCH24 11/22/2010 9:28PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon I am so happy that I found your blog post!!! I needed to read this....YOU are such an inspiration...

emoticon emoticon and more emoticon

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TKADEEPBREATH 11/22/2010 8:46PM

    You are so right . . . I'm in total agreement with you.

Good job with this reminder to live to the fullest!!

Happy Thanksgiving!!! Jan

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MLAYESKI 11/22/2010 12:45PM

    Thank you! I agree, sometimes when you're in the moment you just look at how far away your final goal is. emoticon

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1000PENNIES 11/22/2010 8:01AM

  I agree completely with your take on the situation. I have alot of weight to lose and I refuse to wait until I get a certain weight before I start buying things that make me feel and look good. I have every intention of enojying this journey!

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CICI510 11/21/2010 8:32PM

    emoticon emoticon

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MTP717 11/21/2010 7:59PM

  Great reminder. emoticon

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ABETTERBECKY 11/21/2010 7:05PM

    I loved this - especially since I've been thinking lately, why can't I hit and get below 166!!

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ONECOOKIETWO 11/21/2010 6:20PM

    This sounds like good advice to me.
And, I think I'll try to avoid misery whenever possible.

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Rules Are Sometimes Meant To Be Broken

Monday, November 15, 2010

I love rules and find contentment in knowing I am following them. I think it's the German in me. At any rate, even I believe that there are times it's beneficial to break the rules, particularly when it comes to exercise. So, as promised in my last blog, here are some general rules of weight lifting and why I like to break them sometimes.

Rule: Work specific body parts together. (Back with biceps, Chest with shoulders and delts, etc)

When you work the bigger muscle groups (Quads, Hams, Chest, and Back), the smaller muscle groups assist you in the motion. So, it stands to reason that working the Quads and Hamstrings with the Calves and Abs is a wise idea (calves get pulled into most thigh exercises, and abs are used to stabilize heavily on them, as well). Similarly, the "pushing" motion of chest exercises engages the triceps and shoulders, and the "pulling" motion of back exercises engages the biceps, so working those muscle groups together can thoroughly exhaust the smaller muscle groups and require less exercises to finish them off, therefore saving time. This rule of thumb is terrific, but sometimes you may want to break the body parts up differently based on your goals and objectives.

For instance, I am always working to thicken my shoulders, which are naturally very slight, so I keep my shoulders as far away in my weekly split as possible from chest day (shoulders are now Monday and Friday with my thighs, and chest is Wednesday). This not only gives me two days to work shoulders (most of my body parts get hit once a week), but it also give them a "mini" workout between my two "big" shoulder days, with ample time to recover between all of them.

Rule:Work the big body parts first, then work the smaller ones.

For instance, when working the chest and triceps, always work the chest first. The reasoning here is that if you work the triceps first, they will be too tired to fully assist in your chest and you won't get as good a chest workout. Breaking this rule makes sense when the assisting muscle is the one that you want to build up more than the bigger muscle group. So if you are someone with underdeveloped triceps but your chest is coming along pretty good, I'd advise working triceps first, while they are fresh, to get maximum muscle stimulation in them.

I did something similar this morning: Generally it is advised to work quadriceps before hamstrings, but I hit hamstrings first so that they could give lift the most weight with the best form possible on an exercise isolating them away from quads (hyperextensions). I couldn't have given the effort I did on hyperextensions had I done the hack squats and plie squats that came later on in the workout first.

Rule:Work each body part at least 2 times per week.

For a beginner, this is a fine rule. But once you start really pushing your muscles this one doesn't work out very well for a couple of reasons: The first one is that its hard to find time to work every muscle group to the point where it will reach peak growth twice a week. The second reason is that often, after a grueling workout session, it takes a full week to recover the muscle group enough to hammer it again.

The fact is that most body builders and figure gals work most body parts once a week. This is proof that you can achieve muscle growth by breaking the minimum-twice-weekly rule. Like I mentioned above, my thighs and shoulders get hit twice a week, but everything else just once.

There are more, but this blog is long enough............

It might be worth noting that my weight lifting partner, the most muscular man I have ever known personally, breaks just about all of these rules routinely. He works legs together, but chest, back, and shoulders each get their own day. Abs get tossed in at will, and he does arms by themselves. When he works his arms, he usually works biceps (the smaller muscle group) before triceps. (And his horseshoe is the size of a Clydesdale's!) He never warms up with cardio (another weight lifting "rule") and he frequently goes more than a week between body parts, since they are broken down into just one or two muscle groups for each workout session (However, I have never seen him do less than 5 exercises per body part, and multiple sets per exercise). He might work his legs every two weeks, and they are the size of tree trunks! He spends a majority of time on his chest and shoulders and (this makes me nutz!), he has virtually no weight lifting schedule. I'm walking around with my training notebook that has my pre-planned routine, and he struts into the gym and says "I think I'll work back today!". He's doesn't care about the rules because he's been doing this long enough that he knows what works for him.

The point of this blog is this: When you hear a rule or general guideline for exercise, ask yourself if it is conducive to your own goals and objectives for exercise. As long as it does not compromise your safety, you may find you need to adjust accordingly. And sometimes it's nice to change the rules simply to break the monotony and keep things interesting. Even my lifting partner will take a routine out of Flex magazine and do it for several weeks, just to change things up.

Any other rules you've heard that you'd like me to address in this blog? Please ask- I'm sure I'll have something to say about it. :-D

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KOOZIE1 11/29/2010 8:20PM

    You are SOOOOOOOOOOO helpful and explanatory! Many, many thanks!

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AKMAMA08 11/17/2010 4:40PM

    Great blog! I like to break the rules too...shhh!
Sounds like my bodybuilder friend. He's the biggest guy in the gym, probably in town too. He pokes fun at me and my notebook! I don't know what I would do without it. I'm a list girl. I like to track and see progress in writing to reflect on and smile when I see my gains. Those darn men! I'm very thankful for him when I need a spotter though. =) I'm glad you have someone to break the rules with and be living proof that it's okay!

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AMC120 11/17/2010 12:13PM

    Great blog, as always!!

Thanks NancyAnne!!!

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CICI510 11/16/2010 12:28PM

    Thank you so much for this blog! There are a few things that I have wondered about and you've cleared them up for me a bit.

Is there any way you can help me with my fear of weight training? I'm not sure what is holding me back but I have been catching myself making excuses for weight training. I think its because I've never seriously trained before and am scared of looking stupid because I don't know what to do. I've been going on trying to find workouts for beginners and am just overwhelmed as well. Do you have any advice for me?

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WORKINGOUT12 11/15/2010 4:04PM

    Some of this really sounds good. Like the part of working arms...I want to increase my triceps more than my chest so of course I do them first. Thanks for the validation.

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