Q&A with Mike Furci
October 5, 2012
Your "Fitness Myth Busters" web article was a good one. I have to say it was quite entertaining.
I've been going to the gym for over five months now. I do cardio six days a week, watch my diet, and strength train between four and five days per week. Of course when you start to do something to improve yourself, everyone seems to have an opinion and tells you what you are doing wrong, thus my reason for going on the web and seeing your site.
I recently decided to hire a personal trainer because I was being told so many different things (and) I wanted a professional opinion. He tells me that in order to lose weight (I would like to lose 20 pounds) I should be weight training, and he is starting me off with some different machines and moves -- and then I do cardio. But I have friends insisting that I should NOT be doing any weights until I get to my desired weight, or I will NEVER get to my desired weight. It is so confusing!
Anyway, have a nice day.
Not to sound harsh, but opinions are like assholes ... I'm sure you've heard the phrase.
The friends that are of the opinion you should not weight train until you reach your desired weight haven't the slightest idea what they're talking about. This is one of the worst mistakes you can make while trying to lose body fat. When humans lose weight, we lose both fat and muscle. This is a physiological fact. Losing muscle while dieting will have a detrimental effect on your body. Muscle drives the metabolism. The more we have, the faster our metabolism and vice versa. If you do not weight train while dieting, you will lose precious muscle and your metabolism will suffer.
Cardio should be considered icing on the cake. For decades studies have shown that moderate activity has little-to-nothing to do with effective weight lose; it's all diet. If you're going to take the time to do cardio, and weight loss is your goal, perform intervals. Don't waste your time with low intensity cardio like walking unless you truly enjoy doing it. However, don't expect any weight loss from it. Perform intervals no more than three times per week. Do not do more than 30 minutes per workout, including a five-minute warm-up and five-minute cool-down. Your diet and weight training are the most important aspects of your regimen to attain your goal by far.
FYI: It is not necessary to perform more than three sessions of weight training per week. This is mainly due to the fact that it is easy to over-train. Split your body into three days, and perform them every other day. Make sure your trainer pushes you hard and keeps meticulous records for each workout, and that you have access to the records whenever you wish. Keeping a training log is essential to attaining the fastest, most productive gains without overtraining. Use your log to compete against yourself. Never compare yourself to others.
Most importantly, your goal should be to lose size and change your shape, not lose weight. Don't get me wrong, you're going to lose weight; however, it's most important you attain the LOOK and shape for your build. Remember, muscle is 2.5 times as dense as fat. You may not reach the weight you want, but if you're training and dieting correctly, you'll LOOK better than ever.
Good luck Cindy.
I just wanted to say your article on the myths of fitness is excellent. If more people only knew these simple things, we would be healthier. Only thing to further include might be that Sat-Fats are essential for hormone regulation.
I work with a lot of women and train them very hard in the gym. When I turn up their Sat-Fat intake, within a week or so, they say they feel normal again. This doesn't happen with any other form of fat, carbohydrates or proteins.
Again, great article. The best I've seen outside journals.
Bill Johnson, M.D.
Thank you so much for the kind words. You're correct when you say, "if only more people knew." Unfortunately we're working against a multi-billion dollar food industry that spends millions ensuring that people don't find out just how deplorable the food they consume really is.
I would love to hear your feedback.
I have been working out now for about a year and I am finding it very hard to lose fat on my chest. I have lost a lot of weight since starting the gym, but am paranoid about my chest being flabby (man boobs). It's making my daily life quite difficult. I try to work out about four times a week doing a split schedule. I do my chest and arms on Tuesday, back and shoulders on Wednesday, chest and arms on Thursday, and legs on Friday. I do four sets of 10 to 15 reps on each muscle group. My body has changed shape immensely, but I am still paranoid about my chest! Also, my diet is very good with plenty of protein and low carbs -- any tips!! Please help.
Unfortunately for your chest, there is no such thing as spot reduction. You say you have lost some weight. I'm going to assume you feel you've gained some muscle. I'm wondering as I'm writing this if your "man boobs" have decreased as you've lost body fat? If it's fat accumulation around the chest area, diet and training will be able to take care of the problem. If it's breast tissue, it's a condition called gynecomastia.
Unfortunately, the only way to remove it is plastic surgery. Some of the most common causes of gynecomastia are obesity, puberty, steroid abuse and marijuana use. Some researchers believe the increase in the incidence of "man boobs" is the result of environmental estrogens contained in plastics and pesticides. Whatever the cause, it can be emotionally devastating. Some men feel embarrassed and humiliated. I've heard some men feel it takes away from their masculinity and almost never take their shirt off, even by the pool.
A good resource of information I've passed along to many people is a site called http://www.gynecomastia.org/
Concerning your workout, I'd like you to split your body into 3 or 4 days, and stop performing chest and arms twice a week. Working chest and arms twice a week will have no bearing on the speed of their development or the condition of your chest. In fact, if you're training with 100 percent intensity -- which is the way you should be training -- you're doing your chest and arms a disservice by hindering their progress.
I really enjoy your column on Bullz-eye.com. I am a 19-year-old university student from Australia. Between lectures I go to the gym on average about three times a week. My current goal is to build up my triceps and pectorals as fast as possible, and in this respect I tend to focus on them every workout. Is this a bad idea? Often my muscles strain with lactic acid the following day (I currently work out on Monday, Tuesday and then Friday, as that is only really when I am able to fit in the time to go to the gym) and I am not able to do as many reps as the previous day. I currently bench press, triceps pull down and "pec deck" as much as I can each day. I usually start off at a weight that I can do at least 10 reps on, and then decrease the weight to the lowest possible on the machine, and then break and start again in a few minutes. Is this also a bad routine as it tends to be a fairly unorganized scheme?
Your advice would be kindly appreciated.
Is training the same two body parts every time you train a bad idea? Absolutely. As you said, "I am not able to do as many reps as the previous day." Hello, Michael, what are you thinking?! You're not able to do as much because you're not recovering from the previous workout, which is severely hampering your efforts.
First you need to train the entire body for balance. Moreover, training the whole body will enhance your efforts to build the chest and triceps. Our bodies are a feat of engineering and to train them improperly is like using the wrong oil in your car. Man up and put a little effort into training your body properly. You will be much more satisfied with your progress.