Q&A with Michael Furci
I’m 16 and I’m 5'8 and weigh 136 pounds. My problem is, I’m skinny and have a lot of definition in my arms, chest and legs but I can’t get abs no matter how much I work them. I am a vegetarian so I have no fat to lose on my abdominals, and I eat high protein/low carbs as much as possible. I also work out a minimum of an hour and a half a day six days a week. Like I said, I have a lot of definition everywhere except the most important spot. Do you have any ideas as I am going to be going to the beach everyday come hot weather? Any help would be much appreciated.
Chapel Hill, NC
I appreciate you visiting Bullz-Eye.com and reading my articles. I also thank you for the questions. I have but one question for you; why in the hell are you a vegetarian? But before you answer that, are you a true "vegan" or an ovo-lacto vegetarian? If you're a vegan for religious reasons, I can respect that, but if it's for health reasons, you are misinformed and need to come back to reality.
All throughout Paleolithic man’s time, they ate meat and fish. Man also ate whole and obviously unprocessed grains, roots and occasional pieces of fruit when available. We are made to eat meat! Do you really think that after millions of years of evolution our bodies are inefficient at processing meat and fish? Please! Oh, I've heard the bullshit: "They found 10 pounds of undigested meat in a man’s gut while performing an autopsy.” Ask any Gastroenterologist what he or she thinks of that statement.
And as far as the health benefits of being a vegan go, there are none for the average healthy person. Despite what you have probably read and have been told, protein has NO, that's NO, negative effects on the liver or kidneys in a healthy person. I'll tell you a few things science has discovered about men who are vegans. They have up to 10 percent less muscle mass than the average man and lower than average testosterone levels. If this is what you’re shooting for, keep eating the rabbit food and I'll eat the rabbit.
You say you have no fat to lose? You have no muscle to lose either. Now don't get me wrong, Chris -- even though I am a meat eater, when I started my senior year in high school I was 149 pounds at 5'10". Many teenage boys are very thin at your age. But, in the winter of that same year I started to eat more eggs, milk, and meat because I wanted to be a bodybuilder (and of course impress the girls). I also started to lift weights at that same time and graduated at 185 pounds with abs. I gained almost 10 pounds a month.
Chris, do yourself a favor and start to read more about protein. Educate yourself. Look into both sides of the story. After that, if you still absolutely refuse to eat meat or fish, than at least look into protein supplements like Beverly International and MetRx products. Products like these are milk based. This, I promise you, will be the best thing you can do for your body. Protein repairs and maintains every tissue and cell in our bodies. A true vegetarian diet yields pathetic sources of protein. Just because you can combine foods to make whole sources doesn't mean shit when it comes to the biological value. (Biological value is a way rating proteins based on our body’s ability to utilize them. Eggs, meat, fish and protein supplements are among the best in terms of biological value. Typical vegetarian sources are among the worst.)
Chris, you are going in the right direction, but are following the wrong path. However, I wish you the best of luck in whatever path you choose.
I am a 60-year-old male and love to do squats but my technique suffers at times as I always want to go heavy. I realize that you have other things to do than answer questions but I notice in the pictures that your eyes are looking straight ahead. I have been re-evaluating my squatting technique and was told that the eyes should be looking up as high as possible as you go down in the squat. The logic given was that this keeps your back straighter. Which is the right way?
How to you ensure that you are going low enough on each rep?
How many times a week should you do squats to get the most improvement?
Thanks for any help you can give.
Thanks for your questions. Looking up is an excellent way to help ensure your form is correct. But remember, the object of looking up is to get your head to extend. By looking up it will help keep your back in the proper position. However, if you look up without extending your head slightly toward the ceiling, you won’t get a benefit. The body follows the head.
I look straight ahead most of the time when I squat. The heavier I go, however, the more my head extends toward the ceiling.
While you’re warming up, have somebody watch your depth. "Parallel" is what you want to shoot for when squatting. Your femur or thigh bone should be level with the floor at the bottom of the movement. An easy way to judge this is by making sure the crease where your thigh meets your hip (at the bottom of the movement) is level with your knee.
Only squat once per week. The squat is by far the single most taxing exercise on your body. You will need time to recover.
Keep up the good work. Let me know how you do.
Q: Hi Mike,
My name is Kris, and I'm a new reader to your Website. You have some great tips throughout your articles and I learned a few things just sitting here that I didn't know before. A little about myself -- I'm 6'2, 175 pounds, 18 years old and I've been training extremely hard (dripping in sweat whenever I leave the gym and on leg days I almost want to barf). My problem is that I can't seem to get gains on my bicep/triceps. My chest used to lack so much because for three years I completely ignored any sort of bench press. I solved that problem by getting myself back into bench press and currently press 265 (correctly, that is). Unlike most I see just lobbing it around or bouncing it off their chest like their chest is a spring board. So could you perhaps give me some advice or a workout I could do for my arms? I eat correctly, chicken, pastas, tuna, protein (lots of), etc. I recently did a gain of 17 pounds in two weeks, which I really don't know what I did, but I went from a measly 158 to 175.... Still trying to figure that one out. Anyways, thanks for your time and would appreciate some insightful knowledge.
Let me start by saying that I am glad you’ve gotten some good tips from reading my articles. That is what makes doing what I do so rewarding.
Now, at 6’2” and 175 pounds, you are very thin. But don’t worry; most males your age are, including me 20 years ago. At 18 years old, your metabolism is running on rocket fuel. It’s a beautiful thing because you can eat just about as much as you want and not get fat. At this point your biggest concern should be how you’re going to gain overall mass while staying lean. I do not want to discourage you but at your weight and height, you need everything, not just arms.
First of all, I want you to eat between 250 and 350 grams of protein per day. This of course is assuming you are a normal healthy young man. If you have any kidney or liver dysfunction, do not follow this recommendation. Second of all, if you’re not gaining weight, you’re not eating enough. If you start to gain fat you’re eating too much.
On to training. Since you did not write down what your workout consists of I can not comment on it. I am glad to read that you are very concerned with form. You get an A+ for that one. Below you’ll find an arm workout that I think you’ll have good success with.
1. Standing Dumbbell Curls with supination. 2 - 3 warm-up sets; 10 -12 reps each; 1 set performed to failure at 8 – 10 reps.
2. 45 degree incline dumbbell curls, no supination. 1 warm-up set; 8 - 12 reps; 1 set to failure at 8 -10 reps.
3. Barbell curls. 2 sets; 6 - 8 reps with a 4030 tempo to failure.
If you are not familiar with tempo, read “A no-nonsense guide to designing your workouts,” part II.
Got a question for Mike? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.