Positioning your body for workouts, proper dieting, vegetarian diet

Q & A with Mike Furci

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Q: When working out, isn’t the individual supposed to place his feet somewhat forward, so when doing the squat there is a 90 degree angle between the thigh and the calf (thigh parallel to the floor) otherwise, the knees get a lot of pressure, and injury can occur? Isn’t it safer to perform the exercise on a machine in that case?

A: I’m assuming when you say “place his feet forward,” you're talking about doing squats on the Smith machine. Placing your feet forward while performing a barbell squat would be impossible. I have nothing against Smith machine squats being used occasionally to switch things up. Placing your feet forward puts less stress on the lower back. And putting a 90 degree limit on knee flexion keeps you from stimulating the glutes as much as they could be by squatting deep. However, if you want nice round glutes and well developed legs, Smith machine squats do not hold candle to barbell or dumbbell squats.

SquattingI must say, I am astonished that the myth that barbell squats are bad for the knees is still out there. The squat is one of the best and safest exercises for size and strength. As a matter of fact, it’s a normal movement for our bodies. The gains you make from barbell squats are highly transferable to everyday life.

The only time I recommend not performing a barbell squat is when limited by an injury.


Q: Mike,

I’ve been a vegetarian for a year now and I actually feel healthier. Mind you, my lifestyle is a lot healthier as well. But I think what motivated me to have a better lifestyle was the alertness and energy I felt when I became a vegetarian. When I used to eat meat, I always felt drained and tired (and disgusted, but that’s another matter). I can't say that what you said is wrong or not, but I do think it’s awfully biased. I don’t see why you feel you have the right to call it stupid. It’s been working for a lot of people and they feel great about it, so what’s the problem? And while there are disadvantages to having a vegetarian diet, I feel there are more disadvantages eating meat. I try to drink milk as little as often, but I
still eat eggs (so I'm lacto-ovo).

My main problem is that I really don’t know what is true or not. I don’t even trust the food guide because it is manipulated by large corporations that want to make money by selling false ideas to people. So some people say milk is bad for you, while others say there’s more protein in vegetables than there is in meats. There are so many things that are contradicted. I think I mainly go with what feels healthy (and what my fitness teacher says, but he’s generally unbiased and he is educated in this field). But sadly you didn’t provide much insight into it all. (I think it just made me doubt Internet sources even more).


A: You should doubt Internet sources, including me. I don’t say being vegetarian is stupid, unhealthy or anything like that. I’ve always stated that being vegetarian is not the optimum way for a human being to eat. We are omnivores, period. We are made to eat meat. What I do think is outrageous is the fact that vegetarians spew bogus science to insist that eating like a rabbit is more healthy than eating the way we have for millions of years. If you eat a certain way because you like it, or because you think animals shouldn’t be used as food, more power to you. Just don’t insult my intelligence with bullshit references. If it weren’t for supplements, a true vegetarian or vegan would parish from nutritional deficiencies.

Anatomically we are very similar to dogs and other carnivores. We are nothing like herbivores. We secrete hydrochloric acid in our stomach, which has the sole purpose of digesting protein. We do not chew our cud like herbivores. We do not have multiple stomachs like herbivores. Herbivores can digest cellulose, we cannot. Our jaws work vertically for tearing and crushing. A herbivore’s jaw works in a rotary fashion for grinding. Our colons are short and small. A herbivore’s is long and big. Our gallbladder is well developed. A herbivore’s is weak or absent. Just a few examples.

(Evan, completely missing my point, wrote back the next day.)


Q: I still don’t get what your point is. Sure, we’re made a certain way, but if we can live a healthy and content life doing/being something else, what really is the problem? Like homosexuality, we were physically “made” to be with the opposite sex, but obviously there can be other answers.

I do understand what you’re saying, and I respect that. But lol, being a vegetarian has made me healthier, happier, and groceries are less expensive. And I don’t take vitamin pills because most of them are crap.

And a few more points. You shouldn’t exaggerate about “eating like a rabbit” as I am aware that we couldn’t survive on carrots and grass alone. And people have been vegetarian for a lot longer than you give them credit for. It’s not some new phenomenon. I also know someone who has been vegetarian for about half her life, and she accidentally ate meat products from a restaurant. Her body refused it and she was sick (vomiting and all) for a few days. Simply, for some people it’s become natural.

It’s fine that you’re trying to make people aware that being a vegetarian has its disadvantages, but it really is unnecessary that you’re trying to discourage them (even if you don't intentionally mean to - just some snide, biased remarks) but thanks for the reply anyway.

Atkins DietA: No you don't get my point. You missed it by a long shot. Taken directly from my previous response: “If you eat a certain way because you like it, or because you think animals shouldn’t be used as food, more power to you.” And you still ask in your second statement, “what really is the problem?” Did you even read my response? You probably did, but like many ultra-libs you are emotionally tied to your beliefs and are devoid of logic.

My second point was to show very briefly the lack of science behind being a vegetarian. I could care less if you eat that way, but like I stated previously, don’t use pseudo science to back it up. And yes, in my view, people should avoid being vegetarian.

Homosexuality is another answer? To what? The fact that you put sexual orientation on par with choosing a diet borders on offensive. And I’m not homosexual. You’re right, however; we are made to be with the other sex, another biological fact. And, if you choose to be homosexual, just like choosing to be vegetarian, I could care less. What people do in their private lives is none of my business. However, when people use pseudo-science to back up bogus claims I’m going to call them on it. I could give a shit about being politically correct.

Q: Hey Mike,

I am a 35-year-old male who needs to get back in shape. Problem is I am a divorced, with two children and three jobs. I used to be in great shape. I wrestled and played football. I do tae-bo occasionally and have just seriously started a workout program. I have been riding my bike nightly 30 minutes to one hour. I do have a Bowflex that I was using but I started to gain weight and I really want to lose first. I am thinking of sticking with cardio for a while to drop weight before I start lifting again.

I know the 30 minutes to an hour doesn't sound like much but right now for me it is. My main problem is finding time to work out. But so far, I have been able to do it. Question is, do you think the Hotrox Extreme will work for me? I want to lose weight before I start to put it back on and with weights I tend to gain fast. I know muscle weight is better than the fat weight but I need to lose fat weight before I try to lift again. Thanks.


A: Jon,

What burns fat as fuel? Fat! Where is the logic in losing weight before you weight train? Muscle drives the metabolism. The more muscle you gain, the faster your metabolism will be. If you lose weight and discontinue weight training you will also lose muscle; hence, a slower metabolism. A loss of muscle mass is the main reason yo-yo dieting is so counterproductive to keeping the weight off. The best way to lose body fat is to increase your muscle mass and eat correctly. The only way to maintain or to build upon the muscle you have while losing body fat is to weight train.


Q: Hey Mike,

I’m a 27-year-old guy, 6 feet tall and I’m normally pretty active and somewhat fit. In the past year I experienced extreme weight loss and extreme weight gain. I travel a lot through Europe although I’m originally from Ohio. I was living in Ukraine in the beginning of the year and I was a very heavy 200 pounds. I didn't feel comfortable with myself so I went on this “Cabbage Soup Diet” to attempt to detox and lose some weight. After about a week on this diet, I lost 10 pounds and then I changed the diet to include more protein (mostly from tuna and eggs) but I kept on eating a lot of veggies. In three months I went down to 170 pounds.

Then, if that wasn’t enough, I moved to Denmark and over the course of five months I jumped up to 211 pounds. This was mainly due to my obsessive drinking with the finale at Oktoberfest in Munich (I gained a good 10 pounds there in just five days). I have now returned to the U.S. and I again decided to go on the “Cabbage Soup Diet.” Like the first time, I lost 10 pounds in the first week and then I altered the diet to include more nutrition and protein. It’s been five weeks now and I weigh 180 pounds.

This seems to be crazy. Is this normal? Is my body good at losing weight? Or am I hurting myself? Currently I eat a lot of veggies, I drink loads of fresh squeezed veggie-juice and I consume enormous amounts of tuna and soy.

Best Regards,


A: J.C.,

Stop! What the hell are you doing? Yo-yo dieting, cabbage, enormous amounts of soy? You ask, “Is my body good at losing weight?” I got news for you, nothing special happened to you. You were on a cabbage soup diet! Anyone can lose weight starving themselves. We are not herbivores. If your goal is to lose as much muscle as possible and lower your testosterone, you’re on the right path.

Atkins DietDieting without weight training is out of the question. Using a fad diet, like the Cabbage Diet, devoid of protein and other essential nutrients can be harmful. When humans lose weight our bodies do not specifically choose fat. When we lose weight we lose both fat and muscle.

The major reason yo-yo dieting is so detrimental is the loss of muscle that results. Muscle drives the metabolism. As the amount of muscle we have decreases, so does our metabolism. Progressive resistance weight training, along with proper protein consumption, is the only way you can keep -- or better yet -- add to the muscle you have.

Protein is made up of amino acids, eight of which are essential. This means we must consume them because our bodies cannot manufacture them. Our bodies need protein for a multitude of functions. Protein is involved in the production, repair and/or maintenance of every tissue in our body. If you do not consume enough protein, your body will get it from somewhere: your muscle. You literally start to consume yourself. Make sure you eat quality protein with every meal. Not just tuna.

As if all the above wasn’t bad enough, let’s add soy to the equation. I’m not going to mince words with you J.C. -- stop eating this garbage now. It is one of the most processed foods out there and has no benefits outside of being inexpensive. If you want loads of anti-nutrients that will wreak havoc on your body, you’re on the right path.

Things you need to do, J.C.:

1. Start a progressive resistance program. Full body twice a week is sufficient.
2. Eat a more inclusive diet. Eat various types of veggies and protein with every meal. Also make sure to get enough essential fatty acids. Eat fatty fish at least three times a week and/or use an Omega-3 supplement.
3. Stop eating soy!


Questions or comments? Send them to mike@bullz-eye.com.

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